A mere two days after I hit level 85 in the wake of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’s release less than a week before, the guild Premonition on the Sen’jin server was accomplishing great things. Specifically, while people like me were busy catching up on their professions and gawking at the new faction rewards, Premonition was carving a name for itself as the first raid guild in the world to slay the 25-man version of the dragon Nefarian. That’s no small accomplishment, especially considering that Nefarian is the final boss of Blackwing Descent — one of the three tough raid instances that appeared with Cataclysm’s launch. What’s more, that’s just one of a number of world firsts for this long-running Alliance guild, which has consistently ranked among the world’s top guilds since their founding in 2007.
The leader of this ambitious bunch is a 25-year-old Californian named Andrew, who’s better known to the gaming world at large as Xav, a Worgen warrior. Xav is one of those rare players in World of Warcraft who approaches something resembling celebrity status, and he frequently appears on lists of the greatest tanks in the game. I’ve seen players who treat screenshots of his user interface and talent trees like holy scripture, and I’ve encountered others who obsessively take note of every minute change to his gear. And since I’ve long felt that this column needs an expert’s take on the current raiding environment, Xav seemed like the perfect man to comment on successes and failures of Cataclysm’s current endgame raiding scene. As you’ll see below, he turned out to be an epic source of information.