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Nether Ray Mounts Obtained October 1, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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I think I started working on Burning Crusade factions at some point after we had mostly wrapped up Wrath of the Lich King but before I had beaten the Argent Tournament to death.  It was a transitional age, where achievements were still somewhat new, mounts no longer took up bag slots, and collecting one of each seemed to be encouraged.  The hunt for mounts began.

The first stop for me was Nagrand.  I do not really remember why at this point… it might have been to harvest netherweave for Ula… but I wanted to get the Talbuk mounts that the Kurenai will sell you when you hit exalted.  The Kurenai faction grind is pretty manageable, something I was reminded of with my latest look into Nagrand.  Slaughtering ogres for netherweave also gets you war beads that you can turn in for a faction bump, plus every ogre is worth a few points of faction with the Kureani.  I was on a talbuk mount in no time… just about five years back. (See, this is why I blog, because I’d never remember when I did this otherwise.)

Talbuk in the Snow

Talbuk in the Snow

That also got me to the 10 mount achievement and made me think about getting more mounts.

From there I went on to the Argent Tournament.  That was the easiest way to get to exalted with the alliance city factions and there were a number of special mounts to be had, including my long time favorite, the Silver Covenant Hippogryph.  I spend a lot of time on dailies at the Argent Tournament and in other parts of Northrend.  I even made the chopper.  Eventually Northrend began to peter out and I looked back to Outland for more mounts.  I even made a start with the Netherwing and the Sha’tari Skyguard, but by the time I was working on those Cataclysm was just around the corner.

And after Cataclysm, well… there was the long break from World of Warcraft.

My daughter an I returned to Azeroth last summer, and with the Warlords of Draenor announcement, the full instance group team was back in the game and working our way through the content by basically picking up where we left off with our group in Wrath of the Lich King.  A return to form and good times.

And I got myself invested back in the game and started doing all the little side activities, including hunting for mounts again.  That got me back to Outland again where, after some fumbling about, I was finally able to pick up where I left off and finish the Netherwing faction and pick up the netherdrake mounts.

Down at Crazy Barthamus' Netherdrake Dealership

Down at Crazy Barthamus’ Netherdrake Dealership

And once I finished that I turned my eye to the Sha’tari Skyguard and their nether ray mounts.  I started in on that and then… stopped.  I went looking for other things to do.  I started on the quest for the Loremaster achievement.  It wasn’t that the faction grind for the Skyguard was difficult.  It is actually pretty doable, as you are not as dependent on daily quests as with the Netherwing and if you can buckle down and just hang around Skettis for a day, you can plow through it.  (Earl did that.  He is an iron man on grinds.)  I just had other things I wanted to do.

Eventually though, as the summer passed, I started looking at where I stood and what I wanted to get done before Warlords of Draenor launched… or even before the 6.0 patch dropped… and saw the Sha’tari Skyguard sitting at revered on my faction list and said, “Time to wrap this up!”  So I headed out to Skettis in the corner of Terokkar Forest and buckled down to work through the 10K faction I was shy of exalted.

Skettis, where the bird people are

Skettis, where the bird people are

And while progress seemed like it should be slow… you get a big 12 faction points for popping Arakoaa… but with the little quests and the drops you can turn in adding up, it ended up going by pretty quickly.  And it is a pretty good low attention task, so you can listen to a podcast or an audio book while you work through it.  So, before long I hit the mark, made it to exalted, and the achievement was mine.


Two achievements down with that, as it was also my 35th exalted, which is about 34 more than I would have told you I expected to get back in vanilla WoW.  And then, of course, I had to go buy the five nether ray mounts (bumping my mount total to 138), the nether ray fry pet, and the tabard that are all unlocked with exalted status.  I think the red nether ray is my favorite.  It stands out amongst pack.

Red Nether Ray

Red Nether Ray

Another item to check off my list.  And this might even count as a Bragtoberfest item as well… I think.  It is an achievement and all.

And now, with the 6.0 patch looming, I am wondering what I should work on next.  At some point I want to get a set of battle pets up to level 25 so I can finish up catching all the ones in the wild.  I am past the 250 mark for pets caught, but my top three pets are only level 21 at this point and I haven’t even started on Northrend, Cataclysm, or Pandaria, and it might be nice to wrap up there before all the new zones roll in with Warlords of Draenor.


A Lust for Living Steel January 22, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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As I noted back in December, coming back to Azeroth after a long stretch away has left me with an embarrassment of options when it comes to what to do.

One of those was trade skills.  Once I got Vikund to level 90 I went about getting his chosen professions, Engineering, up to 600.

Engineering is a strange profession, one of those aspects of WoW that probably seemed like an interesting idea at some point, but which took quite a while to really come into its own.  In the end, engineering gives you some benefits… you get an engineers-only auction house broker in Panderia… and some interesting little gadgets… the wormhole generator, and the required parachute to accompany it, was fun… but I am not sure that it is a “must have” profession for anybody.

Getting to 600 went well enough… there is so much ghost iron in Pandaria that Potshot was wondering why they bother to build things out of bamboo… and I even got the drop for the final batch of engineering recipes, Chief Engineer Jard’s Journal, as I was finishing off the some quests in the Kun-Lai Summit.

Those recipes gave me yet another goal to pursue, another mount.  In this case, it was the Sky Golem.  I will go quite a ways out of my way for another mount, and this one seemed especially silly.  And the recipe seemed simple enough.  I just needed 30 units each of two items.

Sky Golem parts...

Sky Golem parts…

That screen shot shows me having 41 of Jard’s Peculiar Energy Source and 30 Living Steel.  But when I started I had none of each, so it was time to figure out how to get there.

The energy sources were simple enough.  Engineers can make them.  They only require 10 ghost iron bars to make, and as noted above, ghost iron is pretty common in Pandaria.  The only hitch was that it was a “once per day” recipe that generated a soulbound item.  I would be at least 30 days getting there.

And then there was the Living Steel.

Engineers cannot make Living Steel.  That is the domain of alchemists.  But alchemists can’t really use it once they make it, so it is like any other raw material in that it can be bought and sold at the auction house.  So my first option was to just buy 30 bars of Living Steel on the market.

On our server, Eldre’Thalas, Living Steel tends to hover at around 400 gold per bar, so that would require at least 12,000 gold, maybe more if the price wandered up, as it tends to at times.

That was not an insurmountable price.  In the age of Panderia, where there is a plethora of daily quests that will give you 20 gold in reward, you can rack up some gold pretty quickly.  Add in the auction house and gold is there if you want to put in the effort.

The problem is that I have trouble dedicating myself to accruing gold, and the gold I was earning was earmarked for other items.  All of those Pandaria factions have mounts for sale when you hit exalted, and I wanted them.

So it was time to look for an alchemist.

Potshot turned out to have an alchemist in the form of his instance group character Skronk.  He managed to level up alchemy to 600 pretty quickly and soon I started feeding him resources to produce Living Steel.  An alchemist needs six bars of Trillium, which comes from a rare harvest node in Pandaria (if I see two in one day, I feel blessed), but which you can also grow on your farm, if you have chosen to indulge in farming.

A farmer's life is full of toil...

A farmer’s life is full of toil…

Of course I have a farm.  And every day I plant my 16 snakeroot seeds, which in theory should yield me 4 Trillium bars.  Trillium is difficult in that it comes in black and white and you need two of each to make a single bar, and the farm (or nodes) toss the two types out at random.  So to make up the difference I had to buy some of the correct ore to cover imbalance and shortfalls.  Trillium bars can also be created from 10 ghost iron bars, so I sent a bunch of those to Skronk early on to cover daily shorts.

So we started off.  But then Earl got his level 90 alt up to 600 in blacksmithing, and guess who what other profession needs Living Steel.  Earl deferred his Living Steel requests until I finished the Sky Golem… like many of us, he is a sucker for mounts and will no doubt be working on one when his engineer gets to 600… but I could see a serious Living Steel bottleneck approaching for our little guild.

So I cast my eye upon my alts to see who might take up alchemy as well.

As I mentioned before, I have parallel druids on our server, Alioto and Selirus.  Don’t ask why.  I am not sure I could explain it.  They are both night elves who went with restoration for much of their careers (Alioto swapped to feral when he became my entry for the instance group) and who picked up herbalism and inscription for professions.

Alioto was further along with inscription, so I decided to drop inscription on Selirus and pick up alchemy.  Fortunately, herbalism is a must for both, and he was far enough along there to be set.  I just had to get him from 1 to 600 in the profession.  And I started off doing it the hard way.  I went to WoW Professions, looked at their 1-600 alchemy guide, and started harvesting.

Potentially I could have just bought the supplies on the market, but low to mid-level herbs can be surprisingly expensive and I had still wanted to spend gold on mounts and not raw materials.  So I set myself a goal of boosting alchemy between 25 and 50 skill points a night to keep the whole thing from becoming a soul sucking grind, and stuck to it. (Actually exceeded it most nights, but just didn’t do it in one giant grind.)

I also worked a bit on leveling Selirus as well, since he was level 78 and you need to be at least level 80 to train into the Zen Master (525 to 600) range of alchemy.

That went well enough and after a week Selirus had passed into the Cataclysm recipe range and harvesting was becoming a bit more challenging as was just getting exactly the right herbs.  But it was a Saturday night, when the market is usually stuffed and prices tend to dip to their lowest, so I decided to splurge.  I spent approximately 1,000 gold and bought all the herbs needed to get Selirus to 600.  That was about how much he had made from the auction house by selling his creations and excess herbage, so it was something of a wash.  And along the way he learned the recipe for Living Steel.  The guild now has two level 600 alchemists, doubling our potential Living Steel production.

So I was able to stuff Selirus with yet more ghost iron to hurry along my Sky Golem project by a few days.  Another mount obtained.

The Sky Golem

The Sky Golem

The mount itself is another in the line of silly engineering mounts.  It looks crazy, makes the usual array of odd noises, and swerves all over the sky as you fly along, doing the occasional barrel roll.  The prime benefit it bestows is that it does not require you to dismount to harvest herbs, allowing non-duids to enjoy the benefit that druids have long had in that regard with their flight form.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me much.   All of my herbalists are druids already.  But I am happy enough to have yet another mount.

Making Friends with the Netherwing January 6, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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Several of us in the guild have been working on various reputation tasks with factions from past expansions.  The objective has generally been mounts.

This has meant quite a bit of stomping around in older instances to earn rep or to get specific mount drops, like the Bronze Drake.

Skronk, myself, and Earl on various mounts

Skronk, myself, and Earl on various mounts

This is, of course, part of the reason that Blizzard’s outlook on this sort of thing… and their plans for “The Squish”… were of interest to me this past weekend.  I was wondering if we might need to hurry things along or if things would remain as they were post-squish.  For now it looks like old instance venturing will remain the same. (Which makes me wonder about the necessity of “The Squish,”  since, to me at least, we are just talking about numbers.  Once you get used to doing, say, 50K DPS (or 30K or 90K or whatever), it seems pretty normal.)

Anyway, we’ve all been running off in various directions.  Earl did a quick grind for the Cenarion Expedition to get their War Hippogryph, shown in the picture above. (Next to my Silver Covenant Hippogryph, which I earned at the Argent Tournament back in WotLK.)  Skronk and Ula were off after exalted reputation with the Wyrmcrest Accord to get their drake mount.

I went in a third direction, back (again) to Outland in pursuit of the Netherwing Drake mounts.

I won’t detail the whole process of getting there.  There is a good write up over at WoW Pro that goes into all the details if you want to do this (and which I only found AFTER I had finished the whole thing and started writing this post).

This was one of those medium term objectives that I can be pretty good at where, after the initial quest line, you have to log in every day and spend about 30-45 minutes running a series of daily quests.  A reasonable objective for the holiday season, and one helped along by the fact that we had hit level 12 with the guild, which gives members a 10% boost to faction rewards for quests and such.  Between that, and the Netherwing Egg wildcard, I was able to finish in 11 days, which the guide puts the process at 15 days.

Of course, there was a problem.  There is always a problem.

I started the initial quest line with Vikund way back in the WotLK days and then apparently dropped it before I finished it, leaving me unable to jump into the daily quest segment.  Furthermore, I couldn’t figure out where I had left off.  I eventually got out my level 86 hunter, Tistann, to check if the initial quest giver, Mordenai, was still there.  He was.  So I followed the initial quest line through with Tistann (it doesn’t take long) and then retraced his steps with Vikund until I finally found where I had left off.

Once I got there, I was off to the races and I eventually managed to become exalted with the Netherwing, complete with backported achievement for the whole thing.


Ta daa!  Another faction grind complete and a few more mounts in my collection.

The interesting thing about this whole run was how different it felt compared to similar faction quests I have been plugging away at in Pandaria.  If the latter represent the “state of the art” for Blizz, whatever that might mean, then the Netherwing are… strangely primitive.

The quest mechanisms themselves are fine.  These were the very early days of the whole daily quest idea, and Blizz seemed to think it was just fine to make you do exactly the same thing day after day.  No variety.

I am going to guess that they were not sure that many people would even buy into the whole daily quest thing.  Granted, you need artisan level flying to even get this quest line, which was a pricey option back in the day.  But still, the dailies are such that if two people are trying to do them at the same time, you will notice, and three or more people will have a serious impact on your ability to get them done in a reasonable time.

But the thing that struck me every day was the somewhat schizophrenic nature of the quests.  The idea is to get exalted with the Netherwing.  The initial quest line gives you a buff that disguises you as an Dragonmaw Orc, and your mount as a Netherwing drake, so you can infiltrate the orcs who are breeding them for their use.

If I understood the initial quest line correctly, the Netherwing are not happy about this. Neltharaku gives you lecture about it, Karynaku is chained up in the Dragonmaw Fortress and you have to free him.  It seems like you’re going to go in there and help the Netherwing stick it to the Dragonmaw.

And then you start doing the dailies and you find yourself hurting the Dragonmaw at times and helping them out at others.  My favorite bizarro world pair of quests are the ones where, with one quest, you are poisoning Dragonmaw peons to stop them from working, while with a second quest you are beating idle or disgruntled peons (with the Booterang) to get them back to work.

So every day I was out there interdicting their supplies and poisoning their peons while also killing their enemies, punishing their slackers, and helping them with their whole mining effort.  And the whole thing ends up on an even stranger note.  Finally, when you get to exalted, Illidan… or a shadow form of him… shows up, sees right through your disguise, and just before they do you in, you are rescues by a Netherwing dragon.

Carried off on the back of the Netherwing

Carried off on the back of the Netherwing

The dragon takes you… slowly… off to Shattrath where you get to finish up the whole quest line.  This includes picking ONE Netherdrake to add to your collection of mounts.

Down at Crazy Barthamus' Netherdrake Dealership

Down at Crazy Barthamus’ Netherdrake Dealership

So you’re done, right?  One Netherdrake is all you get?  The guide I linked above seems to end on that note.  But what about all the other models.  Can you buy them?  They seem to be all lined up like they were for sale or something, right?

No.  Barthamus ain’t selling.

However, if you fly all the way back to the Dragonmaw base camp, where your orc illusion will still activate and where they will have all conveniently forgotten about what just happened between you and Illidan, you will be able to hit up Drake Dealer Hurlunk in the middle of the camp and buy the other five Netherdrake models.

Drake Dealer Hurlunk

Drake Dealer Hurlunk

This was actually the bit I knew about in advance, and one of the reasons I chose run down this faction quest.  Six excellent looking mounts waiting at the end were reason enough.  And the fact that they were only 200 gold each… which is laughably cheap in the age of Pandaria… sealed the deal.

So I am quite happy having spent my time on this.  My favorite out of the bunch right now is the Veridian Netherdrake, by virtue of being the “different” color scheme out of the bunch.  Plus I rarely ever see that model out and about.  Though, with so many mounts in the game you could say that about many of the older models.

Veridian in the Vale

Veridian in the Vale

But I have to imagine that some designer at Blizzard is mildly embarrassed at how odd or rough the whole Netherwing faction quest line and dailies look in 2014.  Or maybe not.  Daily quests were a new-ish thing in WoW.  Mounts took up bag space.  And the fast flying skill was and expensive thing for most players.  It was a different time.

The Instance Group… Under the Sea December 4, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , ,

Under the sea,
Under the sea,
There’ll be no accusations,
Just friendly crustaceans,
Under the sea!

Homer Simpson, Homer Badman episode

Unless you go to Vashj’ir, in which case the crustaceans and often pretty hostile, along with the sharks and the sea goblins and the naga.

Did you know that the naga are, in fact, mutated highborn elves?  True story.

Anyway, we were headed back to Vashj’ir, the zone under the sea.

Flying in to Vashj'ir

Flying in to Vashj’ir

We finished up Wrath of the Lich King last week and dipped our collective toes into Cataclysm.  Our plan is to see some of the overland (or under water) content, find whatever dungeon there is along the way, and basically avoid using tools like Dungeon Finder to speed things along.

Not that the Dungeon Finder isn’t a fine thing.  It removes almost all the pain of forming a PUG so you can get straight to hating the rest of your group in the shortest possible time.  But for us, travel is part of the adventure.

And, for the second week running, all of us were together and online.  The group was:

  • Earlthecat – Level 81 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 81 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 81 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 81 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 82 Gnome Mage DPS

We got ourselves back into Vashj’ir.  I took the bird to the island flight point and jumped in the water.  Others found the portal in Stormwind and came via that route.  Somehow we all managed to get in same general area, which sounds easy but which can be surprisingly difficult in an under water environment where everybody isn’t necessarily on the same horizontal plane.  Up and down are a factor.

More after the cut because I run off at the keyboard as usual.


Armored White War Tiger – Rift Steals Another Page from the Blizzard Playbook July 12, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Rift.
Tags: , ,

Mounts are where the money is at, right?

Blizzard has been selling sparkle ponies in World of Warcraft for a couple of years now.  The initial queue to buy one was 140,000 transactions deep.  Multiply that by $25.

SOE says that mounts make up the biggest chunk of their cash shop purchases in EverQuest II, which is why they offer… um… such a variety.  Lord of the Rings Online will sell you mounts of many colors for Turbine Points, and they keep cranking out new ones, so they must be moving.  In F2P, if it sells, you start making more.

So if you are looking for another revenue stream, mounts seem like a pretty safe way to go.

And so Rift is now offering up an Armored White War Tiger mount at a special opening price for subscribers. (Who else would want it?)


We’re offering this special Armored White War Tiger to all active RIFT account holders at a special introductory price.

Cold. Unforgiving. The frozen wastelands of Telara can be a deadly place. Stride across the icy tundra atop this fearsome and powerful Armored White War Tiger. Opponents will quake in fear as your mount swiftly covers huge distances, slicing into all attackers with its deadly claws and armored blades. Strong and relentless, this fierce tiger will carry you through your adventures wherever you go in Telara!

Be the envy of your friends as you race into battle on your new mount. This is a limited time offer so act now.

Purchase of this item entitles you to one Armored White Tiger on each character on your RIFT Account.

Your Armored White War Tiger will match the speed of your fastest mount, or grant you 60% run speed if you don’t have another mount.

Trion has offered up mounts in Rift as part of collector’s editions and other special packs.  That is where I got my two headed turtle mount.   But I believe this is the first time they have offered up a mount all by itself.

No word on how limited the time is on the offer, nor what the regular price will be.  At least they are going with the same model as Blizzard where buying the mount gets you a White Tiger on every character associated with your account.

Run Tiger, Run!

I do wonder what all that stuff is hanging out over its butt.  I guess I will have to wait until I see one in-game.  I imaging there will be a few hanging out in Meridian by tonight.  You just have to head to the Trion Worlds account management page to pick one up.

I imagine that this tiger will more than pay for itself… from Trion’s perspective.

Will you be buying one?

A New Least Favorite Mount July 1, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II.

The flying carpet has long been my least favorite mount in EverQuest II.  I have disliked it since it showed up as part of the Desert of Flames expansion nearly 6 years ago.

While I was not very enthusiastic about the whole “Arabian Nights” theme of the expansion, at least the desert and the city of Maj’Dul stayed put.  I could sit in Qeynos or wherever and ignore the whole thing if I so desired.

But the flying carpets, they ended up everywhere.  A rare novelty at first, they soon seemed to reproduce beyond all reason.  Their eventual ubiquity and theme breaking nature kept the embers of my grudge against them going for years.  I still groan when I see something like this, which is all too often:

Horrible Fantasy Mash Up!

This picture should be hung up as a warning.

First we have a dwarf, in his pajamas I think, wearing something like a coolie hat, on a flying carpet, in the frozen city of New Halas.  And then, just to cap it off, there is a half-dressed woman riding a unicorn in the background.  The full effect of this scene could only be increased if it were painted on black velvet… or on the side of a van with custom rims.

And that the flying carpet has remained the subject of my ire for so long is actually quite remarkable when you have seen some of the truly ugly mounts SOE sells in the Station Cash Marketplace.  There are mounts in there that I would be embarrassed to ever ride in public.

But those eyesores remain rare, while I still run into flying carpets quite frequently.

However, a different mount has begun to annoy me more that the flying carpets.  It is both equally ubiquitous and an serious eyesore to boot.

The mount of which I speak is the gnomish hover-disk things with the propellers.

Frog on a Blender

These make the flying carpets look good. (And nice fae on a dinosaur in the background, yet another picture/warning comb I think.)

I mean, the flying carpet just explains its existence with magic.  Speed, hovering, the inability to fly more than a foot off the ground, all aspects of the magic that makes them go.

The hover disk thing… and I really do not know what they are officially called… explains itself through gnomish technology.  I guess the hover is then some sort of repulser field or gravity polarization or some such.  Fine, go see Arthur Clarke’s third law for that one.

But then there are the propellers on the back, which imply that they are the source or propulsion.  Only they move at a constant and relatively slow speed.  It just makes the whole thing look goofy, not to mention raising the question, “If you can press against gravity to lift, why can you press against it to move forward?”

And they just look like crap in my opinion, which is probably the key item for me.

So a new “worst mount in EQ2″ for me.

But maybe I will see less of them.  One of the reasons to upgrade to some of the awful mounts in the game is to get a faster run speed.  However, SOE recently chose to change that, and now all ground mounts move at the same speed, giving a 130% speed boost over base character run speed.

Which is freaking fast, given that before this an expensive mount from the Marketplace used to provide an unmatched 65% speed boost.  Everything is now twice as fast, which seems like a pretty random change to more than just me it seems.

The idea seems to be to make the key difference in mounts appearance rather than run speed, which is really odd, since EQ2 has a mount appearance slot.  You can equip one mount and then have it look like another. (So those flying disk people want to look like that on purpose!)

Anyway, maybe this will lead to fewer ugly mounts out and about.  Of course ugly is subjective.  I am sure there are people out there who love their flying disk.

But for now you first quest mount is as fast on the ground as anything you can buy.

Speed - We Haz It!

Of course there are now new leaping, gliding, and flying mounts with which to contend.  I haven’t even started to form an opinion on that.

I Want My Fast Horse NOW! September 9, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online, Runes of Magic, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , , ,

More tales of the LOTRO Store.

While I was on with Silinus, who is level 39 and who owns a fast mount already, I started digging through the various sections of the LOTRO store to see what was available.

Naturally, I ended up in the mounts section.  There you can purchase both temporary and permanent mounts.

A permanent fast mount is 695 Turbine Points, which run a penny a piece, making it a bit cheaper than the controversial Runes of Magic $10 horse of last summer and a lot cheaper than the World of Warcraft greed steed.

Permanent Mounts

Temporary Mounts

The temporary mounts don’t look like an outstanding bargain.  But then as they stand, they are likely to get you to spend just another dollar or two to get the perm version, which is probably the plan.

As I am looking at the mounts, Potshot logs on.  He was interested in the mount question as well.

However, he logged in as Garfinkle, a level 25 minstrel.  When he goes to the LOTRO store and looks at the mounts, the store tells him that there is nothing available for his class/level.

I took a closer look at the mounts.

It says "Level 5"

Helpful friend that I am, I tell him it says level 5 minimum, all classes.

He cannot see the mounts.

I log off Silinus and come back with Roderigo, a level 24 burglar and check out the store.

With Roderigo I am also told that there are no mounts available for my level/class.

This seems a bit odd.

Again, here is a key item for the LOTRO Store, here is a character prime to purchase it (at least once they settle my missing vault slot issue), and for some reason I am being denied.

They don’t want my money.

Well, okay, I didn’t spend any money directly on those Turbine points.  But I know how accounting works.  At some point in the operation, there is somebody who is getting paid to get people to spend those points no matter what their origin.

On a whim, I decided to see if, perhaps there was still some link between mounts and the Hengstacer Farm in the Northern Bree Fields.

Sure enough, when I got there, Eogar (son of Hadogar and cousin of Teri Garr) had the big golden quest ring over his head.  And when I spoke to him, he was offering up the quest Proving Your Quality.

It had been updated.  It is now a level 20 quest.

The Horse Quest

And it also lacks the lead-in quests that used to have you riding to Bree, Michel Delving, and Othrikar.  Those were easy enough at level 35.  By that point you had probably been to all of those places and were high enough level to not have to worry about the fauna taking a bite out of you.

Now it is just a matter of racing through the gates set around the farm.

But I have to wonder what the plan is for mounts.  I only went to the Hengstacer farm because I already knew that was where you had to go for a mount.

Having already gotten my notice to visit the farm for a the old level 20 mount, I am going to guess that there is no trigger event to send me back there for another horse.  I wonder when new characters will get that note.

And I’d also like to know if you could really get a mount at level 5.  You have to finish a level 20 quest to get it.  Will it be available to you at that level?

I might have to roll up a new character to see.

Did I Mention The Rocket? July 20, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: , , ,

You know… the rocket.  The X-53 Touring Rocket that you get with the refer a friend program in World of Warcraft.

This rocket.

Rocketing past Dalaran

A friend and former co-worker wanted to give WoW a re-try and helped me out with a little extra game time by letting me refer him for a new account.  And, of course, there was the rocket.

Like the Zhevra mount, the past reward, the rocket goes to a single character that you select and then shows up via an in-game message.

Rocket Delivery

I sent the mount to Vikund, my mount collection character.  He still has a ways to go to the 100 mounts obtained achievement, but this puts him one step closer.

The rocket is a two person flying mount that scales to whatever flying skill you may possess.  So if you have already qualified for a 310% speed flying mount, it will go that fast as well.

And the rocket looks pretty cool.  Very gnomish.  It smokes and yaws from side to side a bit while it flies.

However, it suffers from the same problem that the chopper does; it seems slow.

For no good reason, the way my four-legged mounts feel faster than the chopper on the ground (despite being the same exact speed), my wing-flapping flying mounts feel faster than the rocket.

I suspect that it is a combination of things.

First, a lot less motion goes into the rockets movement.  No flapping wings, no pauses for glides, no movement of the mounts body at all, just that plume of oily black smoke which trails behind. (A nice effect.)

Second, the rocket just feels like it should be going faster.  It is a rocket.  A gnomish rocket.  It should be flying faster than sanity dictates.  The way the chopper should be tearing up the landscape, a gnomish rocket should be tearing the sky in two and terrorizing its passengers.

Instead it sort of loafs along through the sky feeling for all the world like a ride you might find at a traveling carnival or outside of a run-down mall; rickety, slow, fragile, and drastically at odds with the “Super Moon Rocket Ride” graphic painted on the side.

Of course, that could also be viewed as an aspect of gnomish engineering.  I’ve seen a few rides in my day that looked like they were designed my gnomes.

But otherwise it is a nice mount.  It is the only two-seat flying mount in the game.  I’ve promised my daughter that I’ll take her on a tour of Northrend with a low level character so she can reap the exploration experience.

I also want to say thanks to my friend to did the referral.  And apologize since, as soon as he started playing, I seemed to stop.  The instance group has been on summer hiatus and I have been more immersed in Middle-earth of late.  Such is life.

This certainly isn’t the first time things have worked out that way.

Getting My Goat in Middle-earth July 16, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
Tags: , , ,

I finally got a real mount in Lord of the Rings Online.

I’ve only been at it, off and on, for over three years.

But this week I finally had a character hit level 35.  I could proudly claim my horse.

Okay, yes, I have had that founders mount for ages now, the Bree Horse, which as a founder I get for free at level 15.  But even regular players can get a similar slow mount at level 20 these days.  (Though those mounts are faster than I thought they were… Terentia, a warden, was passed by one the other day, albeit slowly, while she was using her “force march” skill, which gives a 25% movement bonus.)

But for those around since the early days, the level 35 horse is the real mount.

I previously mentioned having hit 33 with two characters, Silinus my ranger and Terentia my warden and decided it was time to make a choice and push forward with one.

Terentia was my choice, and it was with her I began to press on.  And it seemed a good thing I made a choice, since getting the mere two levels from 33 to 35 seemed to drag on my longer than the previous half dozen.

Some of that was my re-routing and picking up some lower level book quests that I had missed with Terentia.  I had been able to run the two characters through reasonably different paths up to level 33, with Silinus concentrating on the Lone Lands and Terentia in the North Downs.  But I wanted to keep up with the story with my newly designated main character, so I ran back to grab them.

Still, lower level quests aside, I think I am now past the point of getting a level in a single play session, even with a full blue bar of double experience.

But I digress.

I made level 35 and got to run up to the horse fields and collect my mount… after passing a few tests.

I had heard about the tests.  There are four.

The first three are basic cross-country navigation tests.  Ride a horse to the stable master in Bree.  Ride a horse to the stable master in Michel Delving.  Ride a horse to the stable master in Othrikar, famed land of the shopping carts.

At level 35, the hazards are low and it is just a matter of not getting lost which, given the built-in quest tracker pointing you in the right direction on your mini-map, shouldn’t even be an option.

It is a good thing there are now horse routes that take you back to the Hengstacer Farm.  It was no doubt pretty annoying in the old days, riding a mount out to a distant location only to have to walk back to the horse fields.

And then there was the last test, which should be easy, but which I managed to fail on the first try.

You have to run a course around the Hengstacer Farm which is marked out by a series of “gates” through which you must ride.  There are twelve of them in all, and they form a bit of a steeple chase.  The first few are nicely on a path, but others require you to jump fences, bushed, and boulders to get to efficiently.  And efficiency is needed, since the whole thing is times.

I blew my first run at the 9th gate when I went up a hill (thinking there might be a gate on the other side) rather than driving right for the next gate I could see.  The hill ended in a cliff and I hurt myself landing, thus slowing my mount for a few seconds.

I still thought I was going to make it, but the quest put up the “fail” message when I was at the 11th gate with 18 seconds left on the clock.  I guess it felt I was mathematically eliminated or some such.

Anyway, I managed the run on the second try.  There were still not that many seconds left on the clock, so unlike the previous three tests, there is no time for slacking.

And so I obtained the riding skill and was allowed to drop 3 gold on a nice new horse.  I chose the blonde sorrel.

Terentia Rides! Faster!

Part of the reason I’ve never really gone back to our original characters on Windfola is that they are all dirt poor.  Money was tough to come by in the early days.  My level 33 guardian on Windfola has all of 200 silver clinking around in his coin purse, compare to the over 6 gold that Terentia had on hand.

And then I realized that I could bypass the expense of buying a horse.  As somebody who pre-ordered the Mines of Moria expansion, all of my characters, now and forever, are issued a goat upon entering Middle-earth for the first time.

And what a goat it is.  A veritable sport utility goat.

The 2008 Dusky Nimblefoot

They are reasonably rare, look unique (outside of Moria in any case), are rated “fast” just like the blonde sorrel I purchased, and they are free!  Well, free if you had the foresight to pre-order Mines of Moria in any case.  That’s planning.

I might have to level up and elf to 35, just to see one on a goat.  And I am sure my level 33 dwarf guardian on Windfola would be quite proud to ride one… should I ever return to that server.

And it looks like I’ll be set in at least one way when (and if) I actually get to Moria.  It looks like horses don’t take to the underground.  Goats though, they do just fine, but you need to work on your reputation to be able to purchase one.  But I have one already.

A Mount of a Different Color August 14, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: ,

I am generally not one for faction grinds in WoW or any other game.

Once in a while though I can combine something else with such a grind to make it tolerable.  Getting to exalted with the Kalu’ak for example gave me decent experience running their daily quests and I really wanted that fishing pole.

So when Ula decided over the past weekend to take on the tailor role in our little guild, I jumped in to help gather netherweave cloth for the effort.  I already knew where I could get some.

I had been working, very slowly on faction with the Kurenai in Nagrand.  By killing ogres in Nagrand you get a small boost to Kurenai faction, plus you have a chance to get warbead drops which can been handed over in stacks of 10 for 500 faction with the Kurenai.

I was already at revered with the Kurenai, but I was having a problem motivating myself for that 21K faction point climb to get to exalted.

But as a side benefit from killing the ogres, you end up with a lot of netherweave cloth.  So there was the hook and away I went.

By the time Ula was done with netherweave I was past the 16K faction mark and I had a pile of warbeads on me, so I went to turn them in.

The main benefit from Kurenai faction for me was the ability to purchase talbuk mounts from them.  So I picked out a nice cobalt blue riding talbuk.

Talbuk in the Snow

Talbuk in the Snow

I showed this new mount to my daughter.  She liked it.  It is a bit different.  But then she wanted to know when I was going to get a dragon mount to fly around on.  That is another faction grind.

I actually bought a couple of the talbuk mounts, which got me another achievement.

Stable Keeper is the achievement for having 10 mounts.  At 50 mounts you get the achievement Leading the Cavalry which also comes with an Albino Drake as a reward.  I will have to go study the Warcraft Mounts web site to see what it would take me to get there.

Of course, as a paladin and an engineer, Vikund gets a pretty easy four mount boost.  Still, 40 mounts to go.  I’d probably best start with faction from the original alliance factions first.  If I can stand the grind.