Bonus points if you get the reference! Yes, welcome back to Cataclysm content, specifically the burnt-out ruins of Mount Hyjal, ravaged by the Twilight’s Hammer and, more specifically, the Firelord, Ragnaros. The zone throws you straight back in to the battle against Deathwing and his allies, tasking you with aiding the Green Dragon Aspect, Ysera, in summoning the ancient spirits back to Azeroth to help combat the Twilight threat.
The first thing to know about Hyjal is that it’s a gigantic step up from Northrend in terms of gear and difficulty. The opening quests give greens of slightly lower ilevel than Heroic Icecrown Citadel gear – for those who’ve just quested through Northrend, like Illirica, some of the rewards are twice the ilevel of what they’re replacing. Combined with a couple of early quests in very packed areas, and it’d be very easy to die repeatedly here, if you don’t have Vanish. The rewards come thick and fast, however, and it isn’t long until your gear is more appropriate for the challenges.
The questlines in Cataclysm content are broadly linear, and Hyjal is no exception. You begin by saving the three ancients, Tortolla, Goldrinn and Aviana before moving on to begin restoring some of the damage done by Ragnaros by invoking Aessina, in a very dramatic phasing change to the zone. At the end of the zone, you go undercover in the Twilight’s Hammer (in my case as “Illiricadamus”) in order to save the legendary general, Jarod Shadowsong. These quests are very amusing, as they show exactly what a shambles the Hammer is. Well, we weren’t expecting excellent organisation from an insane doomsday cult, were we?
Finally, with the ancients restored and Shadowsong to lead them, Ysera finishes summoning Cenarius so that we can go on the offensive and force Ragnaros back in to the Firelands.
Cenarius leads Hamuul and Malfurion, together with our hero, in to the elemental plane of fire to do battle with Ragnaros. After dodging fire waves, killing adds, and doing an awful lot of stabbing, the Firelord is finally banished to the darkest, most hellish depths of patch 4.2, never to be seen again.
Done with Hyjal, Illirica is at the top of level 82. Off to Deepholm next – though whether I stay for the duration, or head off to Uldum as soon I level is up for debate. I certainly want to do Uldum.