There were only four of us on last Saturday night, Earlthecat, Skronk, Bigbut, and myself, playing as Tokarev.
That meant postponing the question from last time, how will Draenor work out for a part of five playing through, to embrace the question of the moment, which was how will Draenor work out for a party of four playing through that doesn’t want to get too far ahead of a fifth member who is out for the week.
Skronk, who had been thinking of this in advance, suggested that we roam Shadowmoon Valley in search of rares and whatever else we might encounter. That sounded like a reasonable plan, so we ran with it.
We met up right outside of the garrison border line and hit that “suggested three player but you can probably solo it” Elekk quest that is right there. Knocking that out, we moved on into the zone.
Initially we were following Skonk, who was looking for rare locations in a browser window while we roamed hither and yon. After a bit I grabbed an addon, MyRareFinder, that marks all the rares on your map and marks them off once you have killed them. (They are only good for one pass, after which they are just regular mobs.)
Of course, in an age of all ground travel, having something marked on the map doesn’t automatically mean you know how to get there. In fact, I am beginning to suspect that we won’t get flying mounts in Draenor for a long while as Blizzard clearly spent some time making things a bit tricky when traveling on ground mounts.
In the north of the zone mobs were on one plateau or another and we had to find the right path.
At the Anguish Fortress, which was guarded by a forcefield because none of had done that quest with Khadgar yet, we had to find our way around into the place through a back door in order to get to Voidseer Kalurg.
I wonder if, when I do get to that quest, if I can just tell Khadgar that forcefield is no big deal because the Iron Horde left the back door open?
But our biggest challenge of the night was getting to the rare named Hypnocroak. He isn’t just a Futurama reference, he is also a jumping puzzle, and one it took us a while to find.
We went to the spot on the map where his location is marked, which is up on a plateau, in a lake. However, he was nowhere to be seen, though we could, when in the correct position, see his icon on the mini map.
The lake had a waterfall at one end that led down to another water area. Standing at the edge of the waterfall, however, put his icon on the mini map behind us. So we decided he must be behind the waterfall.
Standing on the edge of the waterfall, we thought we could just glimpse a cave opening. I tried to see if I could get to it by dropping first onto the trunk of a tree sticking out from the waterfall, then jump to the mouth of the cave. That did not quite work out as I expected.
But from there I could at least see the cave. It was also clear that the cave was situated in a way to prevent us from dropping in from above. Instead, we would have to reach the cave from below via a jumping puzzle.
As it turned out, I fell to my death at just about a perfect spot, as it marked the point you had to get to on one of the rocks in order to be able to successfully jump to the next. A death not in vain.
Scrambling and jumping and falling and trying again, I managed to bull my way up and into the cave without really being able to describe how I did it.
Earl made it up next, then Bigbut managed the last jump and was up in the cave as well, which left only Skronk working his way up. And he was having problems, to the point that we were beginning to discuss whether or not this was a short race issue. As the dwarf in a group with two Draenei and a human, Skronk was at a serious height deficit.
Eventually though, he was able to get past the two big jumps, which were really all that was standing in his way. With a dwarf you have to time them just right. So he made it up and we were able to slay Toxicroak. His loot was a toy that lets you hypnotize critters so that they will follow you around.
From there, Skronk hit us all with levitate again and we were able to cruise on down to the water below and float to our next objective.
Levitate is kind of a creepy way to travel. You just adopt a casual pose and float off in the direction you’re headed. There is no look of “I’m moving” on your character. It is, rather, one of some indifference.
From there we went on to hunt down a few more rares.
But it wasn’t much long before I called it a night. We managed to find some rares, we all added a follower to our garrison, and we at least picked up the quest chain that unlocks the level 2 town hall upgrade, though we did not finish it up. I went and did that the next day and ran the upgrade.
No a bad evening. We will see if we can get back to the party of five next time.