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Silver Tide Hollow entrance in WoW Cataclysm Classic
Screenshot by Dot Esports

Should you go to Mount Hyjal or Vashj’ir in WoW Cataclysm Classic?

This should be a no-brainer for people who have played Cataclysm before.

After the fiasco that was every player running through the Dark Portal at the same time at the start of the Burning Crusade expansion, the WoW devs decided it would make more sense to have the player base be able to make a decision on where they started their journey in a new expansion by offering them multiple zones to level through at the beginning of the questing experience. 

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In Wrath of the Lich King, those two zones were the Borean Tundra and the Howling Fjord. And in Cataclysm, they are Mount Hyjal and Vashj’ir.

Here’s how to decide where you should start your WoW Cataclysm Classic leveling journey between the two zones of Vashj’ir and Mount Hyjal. 

Mount Hyjal or Vashj’ir? Which is the better leveling zone in Cataclysm

We personally recommend Mount Hyjal over Vashj’ir for almost every player in the game as it’s way more convenient of a zone and should be more recognizable to a traditional WoW zone. Vashj’ir isn’t a bad zone, necessarily, it’s just that the completely underwater nature of it makes travel difficult at times, and it doesn’t have the same easy-to-access amenities as Hyjal (or any other WoW zone for that matter). 

The Horde portal location to Mount Hyjal in Orgrimmar in WoW Cata Classic
The start to the Hyjal questing experience begins in Orgrimmar and Stormwind. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Unless you have a serious affinity for Vashj’ir and love the underwater elements of the zone, we’d recommend staying away.

The only people who should be going to Vashj’ir are the serious power-levelers and borderline loners who want nothing more to avoid the crowd and have a questing experience where competition for mobs will be relatively nonexistent. Even with that being said, Mount Hyjal is going to offer a faster leveling runthrough with that competition factored in as the inconveniences of Vashj’ir far outweigh the low population of players you’re going to find in the zone. 

Vashj’ir / Mount Hyjal reputation differences

For endgame grinders, the only difference between Vashj’ir and Mount Hyjal is going to be the factions you unlock from questing in the two zones. Players who elect to go to Vashj’ir will have access to the Earthen Ring and all of their rewards, while Mount Hyjal players will earn reputation with the Guardians of Hyjal

Regardless, you can go back and complete the storyline for either zone once you reach the max level of 85 if you’re concerned with missing out on reputation with either faction; you are not locked into your choice of leveling zone at the start of Cataclysm Classic

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Michael Kelly
Staff Writer covering World of Warcraft and League of Legends, among others. Mike's been with Dot since 2020, and has been covering esports since 2018.