Our run at Drak’Tharon Keep tipped both Vikund, my paladin, and Ula over the mark and into level 77.
Of course level 77 is a special level. It is the level at which you can train cold weather flying, the skill that lets you use you flying mount in Northrend. A fine moment indeed, especially if you got your flying mount at 70 then moved on to Northrend only to find you had to wait another seven levels before you could use it again.
The skill costs 1,000 gold and there is no faction discount. Not yet, anyway. And while Vikund spent nearly all his gold recently getting his epic flying mount, I have since been on a harvesting binge with him. And so he blew yet another thousand gold for this skill.
Of course, once you have the skill, you want to do something with it and I had just the thing in mind.
Previously I had wrapped up all the exploration achievements for old Azeroth and the Outlands. The biggest pain of that was actually Kalimdor. I had fully explored surprisingly few zones on that landmass. The Eastern Kingdoms were a better covered because they had been the focus of much of my quest activity, though there were still a few sticky spots I had to pick up, like the Blood Elf lands.
The Outlands, on the other hand, were very easy. Exploration is easy when you have a flying mount. And since I could fly in Northrend, it was time to wrap up another set of achievements.
And, as we had been hitting Northrend as a group, I had been finishing off the exploration of those zones through which we worked. That left me just four zones to finish off, Sholazar Basin, Ice Crown, Zul’Drak, and Storm Peaks.
So I ended up on Saturday morning flying over the last of those, taking in the scenery.
A circuit around the zone hit most of the key points, though I always seem to miss at least one little spot, so a second, shorter round got me to the magic point.
Technically there should have been three achievements, the two above plus the one for Storm Peaks, but I guess achievement notifications cap out at two.
In addition to the achievements, you also get the title “The Explorer” and a special tabard. The title shows up immediately, but the tabard comes through the mail. I’m not sure who put Brann Bronzebeard in charge of this achievement, but you get the tabard from him along with a short note.
The tabard, which features a globe, was immediately dubbed the tabard of world domination or the tabard of the tri-continental commission.
That deserved a big cheer.
Vikund now has 67 out of 70 possible exploration achievements. The remaining three are a bit problematic. Two of them are in the Outlands and involve first killing one very rare NPC, then all of the rare Outlands NPCs. I might, perhaps, get one of the rares. I did so in Northrend when I stumbled upon King Ping on evening. But to get all of them, that would require an EverQuest level of commitment to camping a couple of dozen NPCs.
And the final exploration achievement left is killing all of the rare Northrend NPCs. Again, beyond my level of commitment to the game.
But that is okay. There are plenty of other achievements towards which to work.