Not all of them were due to Cata, but we have certainly had a lot of trouble filling our raid roster this expansion, and part of that was definitely due to the ridiculous difficulty switch from Icecrown to Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight.
And I have to say...respect for those groups who managed to get Sinestra when she was current. We finally got around to taking her down this weekend. We had done Dragonsoul this weekend, finished the last achievements for people to get their meta drakes, and figured we would try to get this boss down before Mists would hit.
My raid group had only ever looked at her once before and, even with our overpowered Dragonsoul heroic gear, it took us 1,5 hours to get her down this weekend.
I also don't think I have ever seen a boss with this many bugs before, which made it all the more amusing. I think we spent an hour on learning which abilities we couldn't use due to the encounter reacting buggy, and half an hour on the fight. But we did get her down eventually.
Of course the shard drops and I am on my hunter...but yeah, that is how life works.
So yes, looking back at Cata, what have I loved and what have I hated?
I hated how steep the increase in difficulty was. We went from facerollilng to being facerolled. And quite a few people lost courage through that. Straight at the beginning already when we wanted to start raiding it turned out that people had simply not invested the time needed to run the content back then.
And to be fair, it went from having to spend an hour or 2 outside of raid to prepare to an hour or 15 outside of raid times to prepare. I think quite a few people simply didn't think it was worth the trouble anymore.
I have also cursed the fact that Blizzard decided that it was fun to have mana issues. And seriously, I know they meant mana management, but for me it has been mana issues throughout the entire expansion. Right before this last patch we were doing spine (with 30% buff already!) and I was still running oom. Not fun.
I really hope they will watch that better and have the encounters and the class design fit better together.
On the other side, I love how we can fly everywhere in the old world now. Super conveniant, super to see the world from above, and finally less obstacles to actually go do that old dungeon a couple of times for the mount.
The guild achievements...yeah, still not sure how I think about that. The best guild perks are already taken out again in Mists, and I'm still not sure why.
Have group will travel was brilliant for raiding. It means people needed less preparation time and that means that people with a life will have an easier time to raid. It also meant peace of mind to the raidleader. Summoning stones are ok, but Have group will Travel was pretty brilliant.
Transmogrification is of course pretty nice as well. I think my priest has had a different dress every other week since that was introduced.
Raiding wise this expansion has been one of great ups and downs. My raid team has managed to kill all the endbosses, but with tears and blood. And while I believe it is good if it takes a bit of effort to achieve something (feeling of reward will be bigger), I also believe Cataclysm was over the top for me.
When we finally would kill a boss I would experience a feeling of relief to finally be done with certain content, not a feeling of pride to have conquered it.
If I had not had such a brilliant raid team I don't think I would be playing the game at all anymore.
In the end, Cataclysm is the first expansion that I can truly say that I am not sorry to see that it is over. I felt sad to say goodbye to Burning Crusade (the first expansion I truly raided in), sad to leave Icecrown behind, but I am glad to say hello to Mists of Pandaria on Tuesday.
See you there in Pandaland!