Timewalking to an Unexpected Achievement

I only talked about timewalking on this blog once before, a little over a year ago. As I noted then, it's a feature I quite like, as it's one of Blizzard's (generally limited) efforts to let people enjoy old content as part of their normal gameplay. Sure, a group rushing through a heroic in ten minutes while AoEing everything along the way is not necessarily anything like the way that dungeon was experienced when it first came out, but it's still better than running it solo while over-levelled and just one-shotting everything. At least you get to see mechanics sometimes.

Last week was Cataclysm Timewalking, and there was a quest to run five of them for a gear reward box, so our little retail-playing friend group signed up for a full tour. It went well and I was actually reminded of how much I enjoyed the Cata dungeons at launch, so I decided to do the run-five-timewalking-dungeons quest on my demon hunter as well.

I've kind of reached the point where I'm reasonably confident queueing up to pug certain content in retail. I still think that the way people rush through dungeons is less than ideal, and makes for a terrible new player experience in particular as it means newbies just spend their time racing after the more experienced players without having the slightest clue about what's actually going on (thematically or mechanically). However, if you know the content you're queueing up for and mentally prepare yourself for the experience, it's generally tolerable.

One of the dungeons my demon hunter got thrown into was Lost City of the Tol'vir. The group rushed through AoEing everything as you'd expect, while I reminisced about how deadly many of those pulls used to be. However, when we killed the last boss, Siamat, something unexpected happened: I saw the Glory of the Cataclysm Hero achievement pop up, as well as a notification that I'd just earned the Volcanic Stone Drake mount.

I was briefly baffled but didn't have time to think about it too much, as I had to leap off the boss's terrace to quickly hand in the dungeon quest I'd picked up at the entrance (what with it being my demon hunter's first time there), and the rest of the group was already hitting the re-queue button.

It was only after completing my five runs that I could really sit down and take in what had happened. WoW's achievement system is a bit confusing with the way it mixes character-specific and account-wide achievements in some situations but not others, and my first thought had been that surely I just got some sort of character-specific achievement on my demon hunter that I'd already earned on another character. I even logged into my old troll priest, the original Shintar, to check her achievement log for comparison.

What I found though was that it was indeed true that it was my demon hunter who had earned me the Volcanic Stone Drake. Looking back at the various achievement dates, it looks like I made a bit of a push for Glory of the Cataclysm Hero in early 2011 and did in fact get all the achievements bar one: Headed South. I don't know why I didn't get that one in specific - I can only guess that it must've been challenging in some way, even if many of the Wowhead comments claim that it's super easy and barely an inconvenience. And then I never went back to try again even though I continued to play Cataclysm for another year after that.

Either way, getting that last achievement purely by accident twelve years later, in a timewalking pug that was just steamrolling the content, created a very brief flash of a connection to past me (who actually cared about this stuff) and made me feel very, very odd.


  1. You know, I think I only saw 4 or 5 of the Cataclysm dungeons, all on Normal, because of the toxicity and expectations that everybody had to know everything about the instance before setting foot in it. Given that running 5-person content was my favorite part of Wrath (granted, it was one of the few things I could do in Wrath) that was quite a blow to the system.

    That being said, I'm glad you got a chance to revisit one of the bright spots for you in Cata!

    1. Get outta here! Did you really not do Cata dungeons at all? I remember you commenting on some of my posts about them back in the day, like this one, so I thought you had a decent amount of experience with them too...

    2. I'd done some, but only the four or five that I learned. I was in Halls of Origination once and Blackrock Foundry (?) a few times, but I had no clue what I was doing in any of those. The underwater one and I did a few times, but the ones I remember running the most were the air one and the ground one in Uldum. If I queued up for an instance, I'd manually select those last two because I knew how to run them and they were relatively painless. But I never set foot in a Heroic in Cata at all; the Normals were toxic enough for my tastes.

    3. I remember flying, so it's Grim Batol I remember rather than the Blackrock one (Caverns, it seems to be). I just looked up all of the instances, and I don't recall the Deepholm one or Blackrock Caverns instances at all. And it also looks like I not only didn't run the Normal seven on Heroic mode but also seven Heroic mode only instances either. So yeah, my dungeon experience was very limited in Cataclysm and I'm very hard pressed to say I did more than 2 or 3 instances total in Mists. The only one I recall there is the Brewery one, and I was told bluntly by the tank to not bother queueing up if I'm not going to know the fights beforehand.

  2. Both deepholm and blackrock caverns were on the harder side. Deepholm had 2 bosses capable of 1 shots and Blackrock cavern needed dps capable of switching targets and burst dps. It was pretty much routine to wipe on the last boss 5 times or more.

    Deepholm I got kicked twice as healer, out of 100's or 1000's of heroics over the years and perhaps 5 kicks in total.

    Kicked once because what should have been a 1 shot was not quite a 1 shot with shield wall and the tank was 11k short of full. Kicked because on the tank going why no heals I showed he died in less then 2 second to fire from full and apparently in the time it took to run 100meters to run into the instance I had faked the death log(according to the tank)

    1. I just don't remember Cataclysm heroics as particularly toxic. I guess it helped that I stuck to guild runs at first and then eased myself into pugging. Which is not to say that I didn't see a lot of awful behaviour in those runs, but it mostly seemed to be an evolution of what had already started in Wrath pugs, so I never associated it with Cata in specific.