In Azeroth (and the Outlands) the Midsummer Fire Festival is upon us. You would think a company in Irvine would be a little skittish about summer fires, much of our state being a constant blaze during the dry season, but maybe that is the source of the inspiration. A little bit of black humor perhaps?
Anyway, the event is akin in some ways to the Lunar Festival. Rather than running around and honoring the scattered elders for event currency, you run around and honor… well… fires… which are located near, but not in, various settlements. You ride up, talk to the guy with the exclamation point over his or her head (the local Flamewarden), collect your experience, your cash, a few burning blossoms (the currency… talk about money burning a hole in your pocket… I can’t believe I made that joke, I swore I wouldn’t…), and off you go.
There are a few other things you can do. You can juggle fire. You can throw fire. You can dance around the fire pole.
And you can go desecrate the opposing faction’s bonfires.
That last bit is actually the fun part.
Since the bonfires are often located close to horde camps (as the alliance ones are often close to alliance outposts) there is a certain amount of risk involved since the moment you’re done with the desecration, you are flagged PvP and it is open season in you for five minutes.
Sunday morning when the whole thing started this was no big deal. The only ones running after flames and bonfires were the hard core achievers, so there was some waving to the opposing faction but almost no conflict. Then as the day wore on, the killers got involved. There was fresh, flagged meat to be had.
By that time I had stopped running Vikund through the festival fun, fearing that the experience gains would level him up ahead of the instance group. Instead I decided it might be a good time for alts.
I ended up getting out a couple of me “stuck in the 40s” alts, a 41 druid and a 42 rogue.
I made a point of picking up all of the alliance flamewarden updates with them that I could. In the Eastern Kingdoms it was possible with a character in the low 40s to pick them all up for the achievement and maximum experience. On Kalimdor though, Silithus and Winterspring are a bit tough for a character of that level to approach.
And then there were the horde bonfires. The ones that were in close proximity with their alliance counterpart, like the ones near Booty Bay or Gadgetzen, were generally unguarded. But the ones that stood alone or that were sites of traditional struggles, they ended up being a challenge at time.
Both of my characters had to dodge and run from higher level players at the Tauren Mill. Both got away from the scene, though my druid got popped making his way up the canyon to the Hinterlands.
My druid got caught again on the road through Feralas by a group of horde players. I managed to dodge them for over a minute before a consecrating Blood Elf Paladin got me cornered and finished me off.
In Trisfal Glades my rogue got into a long chase with a Blood Elf hunter that he only lost because I decided to stop and desecrate the Silverpine bonfire while I was passing by, enough of a delay to get me killed.
And at the Crossroads in The Barrens my rogue ended up playing hide and seek with another Blood Elf hunter (what is it with the Blood Elves? Is being too pretty making them over compensate?) both getting to the bonfire and then getting away. I was surprised to actually make it out of that one alive.
I even ended up deciding on a couple of survival tactics, the prime one being to avoid any road that runs directly between any horde and alliance camps. They tend to be traveled by players already flagged PvP, 90% of whom are much higher level than me.
The other tactic involves a quick escape. When you bring up the quest page to desecrate a bonfire, you get dismounted. However, you can resummon your mount before you complete the quest, so you can be riding away just as you get flagged PvP. Not a sure fire tactic, since every single player who has been after me has been on an epic mount (when are we getting th0se level 40 epic mounts?), but it gives me a bit of a chance to get out of site, stealth, and lose them.
After running through Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, my rogue was level 44 and my druid level 43.
Then today I read that they reset all the flags for the various camps to fix an issue with people who ran the quests last year, so I will be able to get out there with my rogue and do it all again.
And I am even relearning a bit about playing a rogue. It has been nearly two years since I had him out in the field.
So not a bad deal for a silly WoW holiday.