The night before launch, I sat in my chair, coffee in hand, capping professions on alts, buzzing with excitement for the chaos to come. Most of my guild-mates had reasonably gone to bed while I stayed awake with one other person, my Australian friend and as midnight approached, we nervously logged out and then logged back in.
The Stormwind flight pad was absolutley CHOKED with people, AoEing everything in sight. Good thing I had my interact with target key-bound and quickly learned flight, ran out to the city and mounted up on that bony Icecrown drake. A second later I was doing laps around my beloved Stormwind, tiles on rooftops shimmering in the Ultra-settings and I was shocked at just how huge it is. I mean, I always thought it was big, especially after the changes, but perspective was great to see it all in a new way.
I really wanted to explore, but instead, I flew down to the portals, completed my quest and then started flying to Vashj'ir before I realized I should probably take the boat as instructed, even if it was utterly overstuffed with people and mounts and pets so that I couldn't see the NPCs while they bantered on the way in.
I only did a few of the starting quests before turning in around 4:30 AM and then a day of work ensued. I got home, and couldn't log in for ages due to some computer issues that cropped up with the latest build, and when I finally made it in, I was able to quest for a bit but Vashj'ir has a lot of specific NPC and loot-item quests which are difficult to do when the entire server is trying to do them. But I powered through somehow and once I moved out of the Kelp'thar Forest, life become better almost immediately.
By the way, if you're waiting for an NPC to spawn, and there is someone in your faction also waiting, throw out an invite, everyone is always happy to accept and it makes life easier for them and you. Also, it gives you another buddy to help steal the mob from the Horde and that's always awesome. Tagging mobs as a paladin is pretty easy and fun - Holy Wrath and Consecrate make it pretty much impossible NOT to tag something. Also, leveling as Prot has been slower than Ret, but pretty fast and I never have to worry about dying. So far, the gear is okay, but I've been DE'ing for mats right now rather than upgrade. I'm sure that'll change.
Anyway - the quests in Vashj'ir are great, the storytelling is much stronger, there is a ton of new tech in place that makes the game compelling and I'm super-excited to keep leveling. I hit 81 last night and will keep on leveling in Vashj'ir until I run out of quests. Haven't decided where to go after that - maybe Hyjal, maybe Deepholm.
And there are still dungeons to do, rep to grind and a lot of work to do still.
I'm super happy with Cataclysm so far. :-)