The chase for the Loremaster title continues in Outland. Having decided to go through the unfinished zones the hard way, at level with a character new to each zone, it was time to get started. My rogue, Trianis, ran through some of Hellfire Peninsula in order to gear up a bit and get to level 62 so that quests would be available, then headed into Terokkar Forest.
I will start off by stipulating that everything I bitched about while doing Bloodmyst Isle is present in Terokkar Forest as well; too many “kill 12 things” quests, the “kill 12 things” quests where there are only 15 things so if two people are trying to do the quest you start to hate each other, horrible drop rates for quests that require drops, having to run back and forth across the zone, being sent to kill minions and running back to the quest giver only to be told you now have to kill the boss behind all the now respawned minions, too many quests available to the player at one so that any story thread gets lost, and at least three escort quests where the NPC seems to actively seek out hostiles.
It is all there in the Blizzard of 2007, “People like quest? Then we will drown them in quests!” vision of how to make an MMO.
As I have said before, I have pretty much bought into Blizzard’s more recent vision of how to do a zone, where they limit you to two or three quests at a time to keep the story clear, pop up the “kill the boss” quest right then and there once you have killed the minions (or at least put the minions in combat with some of your allies so you don’t have to clear the field every time you need to pass through), and do not rely quite so heavily “go kill a dozen foozles while we figure out where to send you next” mechanics.
And before you ask, no I don’t hate The Burning Crusade. It has/had some of the best dungeon content in the game. The instance group had quite a time there. It is just the solo, overland quest philosophy that aches now even more than it did back then.
Anyway, all of that is there and… at least from this point forward… I will try not to dwell on those aspects of the zone. They were at least mitigated by having access to a flying mount (though I started to yearn for the faster mounts after a few round trips) and playing through with a rogue who could at least stealth through bad guys at need.
So on to the zone… after the cut.
It is something of an odd zone. Shattrath, the main city in the expansion, is located in the zone according to the map. And, true to its location, some quests from the forest send you into the city, and some quests in the city send you out to the forest. However, it isn’t always consistent as to which of those quests will actually count towards your total. You need to complete 63 quests in Terokkar Forest for the achievement, and the seeming capricious nature of what counted towards that total and what did not came into play as time went on.
But first I had to figure out where to start in the zone. If I recall right, you eventually get a quest sending you there at some point in Zangarmarsh, but I was skipping Zangarmarsh this time around, having already earned the quest achievement for it a while back. (I have no memory of that, but the achievement list shows I did it, so I’ll accept that as true.) But some distant memory in the back of my brain seemed to twitch at the sight of Cenarion Thicket in the northwest corner of the forest. And, sure enough, Earthbinder Tavgren and another NPC were there with a couple of quests ready. I was on my way.
Their initial quests were in the vicinity and easily finished thanks to stealth and some luck with the random number generator when it came to drops. From there the you get sent off to Tuurem to collect a box, after which you are sent to talk to Empoor.
Judging by the comments I have seen, Empoor is a bit of a challenge. He wanders the forest road between Shattrath and Tuurem, however the built-in quest finder puts him in a static location on the map rather than in a possible area along the road. (A similar quest on Bloodmyst Isle did this the right way, so I know it can be done.) In addition, the quest tracker highlights him with a question mark, so you expect him to be a quest turn in point with the big yellow punctuation above his head.
But he both wanders and has no yellow question mark above his head.
You have to travel the road (yay flight!) until you find him, actually talk to him, fight him and his bodyguard, and then you get your quest turn in. He sends you off the Shattrath where you end up picking up a number of quests some of which, as noted, count towards your total and some of which do not. You also start in on the Arakoaa, the bird people in the zone, with quests around their encampments along the northern mountains and just south of Shattrath.
This all eventually leads you to Allerian Stronghold, the main Alliance base in Terokkar and the location of the one flight point in the zone. Another way that the later Blizzard zone design philosophy has spoiled me; flight points. There are zones with half a dozen or more fight points, so you can more from one camp to the next quickly, or fly back to about where you left off if you need to go to town. But back in 2007 and before, flight points were to deliver you to a zone and having more than one was a luxury.
Allerian Stonghold is also where the zone starts dropping a big pile of quests on you. So I ran around, grabbed them all, and started trying to do them in some sort of logical order.
Around this point I also remember that rogues have the ability to apply poison to their weapons.
This is a problem I have with swapping around between characters. I play a class for a while, get used to it, then swap to something else. Then when I come back, it takes me a while… sometimes a long while… to remember things like “rogues have poison!” or “hunters have traps!” or some such. Anyway, poison applied, I went off, my already impressive damage enhanced even more so.
I did end up with some interesting hats at the stronghold. Moar hats please! I will be hanging on to a couple of these for possible transmorg opportunities later.
The quests radiate out from the stronghold, getting further and further afield, to the point that at least one quest from there required me to travel to the far side of the quest hub in the Bone Wastes and back, despite having to literally pass over another quest hub. Lots of flying.
That put me out in the less forest-like part of the Terokkar Forest in a series of quests that moved in a clockwise pattern around the Auchindoun complex in the center of the wastes, the location of four instances. A couple of the quests were lead-ins to get you to dungeons, but counted towards your zone total. So I picked those up. There were a few quests I might have otherwise passed on had I just been trying to level up through the zone, especially since I seemed to be leveling up a bit too quickly. About 55 quests into the zone I had already hit level 66.
It was already starting to look like I might have to use more than one character in Outland if I was going to do the zones at something close to level. While Trianis was working with a lot of blue bar, and has the level 25 guild boost to exp, that was the extent of his bonuses. The only heirloom gear he has are his weapons, and those do not boost exp like some of the other heirloom items.
But that was a decision for later. I kept on going, picking up every quest I could find, touring some of the old places that I did recall, like the giant spider.
As I approached the magic number of quests though, things began to trail off. At 61 or 63 quests I had the lead-in quest for the Nagrand zone and nothing else.
I started flying around the zone looking for any quest markers I might have missed. I did find a nice little escort quest all by itself about straight south from Allerian Stronghold.
It was an escort quest, and a bit of a chore due to the confined space. But there was also a platform jump, which I do not think I have seen before in a WoW quest. You are in an Arakoaa tree platform and you have to jump across an open gap to a lower platform on another tree. And Skywing does get straight to the point, so it didn’t turn into one of cross zone epic journeys that you used to find now and again back in vanilla.
That got me to 62 of 63, but I had no idea where to find that last quest.
I ran a few in Shattrath that I had left aside up to that point, like the big tour around the city. But as I suspected, they did not count. Eventually I tired of flying around and went to WoWhead to see what people had to say about the achievement. There were any number of quests mentioned in the comments, but it seemed like I had done them all. So I had to go with the comment at the top that mentioned one of the quest chains in Nagrand sends you back to Shattrath and Terokkar, and that those portions count towards your total. To start that I had to find Huntress Kima at Telaar in Nagrand. She starts the quest chain that leads back to Shattrath.
However, she is a member of the Kurenai faction, which is unfriendly when you arrive. Fortunately, you only have to get them to neutral before she will give you the quest, and that only takes a few quests to achieve, at which point the whole encampment opens up quests for you.
She sends you across the zone to another NPC who sends you on a few quests before directing you to Sal’salabim in Shattrath. You have to beat up Sal, because everybody needs a black eye to be convinced around here it seems, then he sends you off to find three people who owe him money. You are to collect what they owe, and the quest isn’t called “Crackin’ Some Skulls” because they all meekly pay up. The three are scattered about, with one up in Zangarmarsh, so once again flying was damn convenient.
Once I murdered all three and collected what they owed from their corpses, I returned to Sal for the quest turn in. And it counted. The achievement was mine.
Terror of Terokkar indeed! So the first of the five zones to do in Outland was complete. Four more to go.
- Nagrand 64-67 – 75 quests
- Blade’s Edge Mountains 65-68 – 86 quests
- Netherstorm 66-70 – 120 quests
- Shadowmoon Valley 67-70 – 90 quests
And I was already ten quests into Nagrand at this point. Now the quest is, do I wrap up Nagrand with Trianis or, since he is already level 66, should I leave Nagrand for another character and start the assault on the 120 quests in Netherstorm?
It might be worth it to just go and turn off experience for a big while I wrap up Nagrand, since I seem to do well with the rogue, and that will spare me from having to spend time getting my warrior or monk up to 64 for the zone.
And, as a total aside, the best NPC quote in the zone might be this last one:
There are days when I feel like that might be the case.