Taking Wing in Draenor

As I mentioned in late June, my daughter and I are back to playing World of Warcraft in anticipation of the upcoming Legion expansion.  While she has faltered a bit, not having a task in mind, I went straight for unlocking flying in Draenor as a goal.

Unlocking flying requires earning five achievements, which are:

  1. Loremaster of Draenor Achievement
  2. Explore Draenor Achievement
  3. Tanaan Diplomat Achievement
  4. Master Treasure Hunter Achievement
  5. Securing Draenor Achievement

As it turned out, I had none of those achievements when I set off.

(If you want to see your own status, WoW Head has a page that takes your character name and server and tells you how far along you are.  thanks to Kimeni who shared that in the comments on previous WoW post.)

I had none of them, but I was close on a couple.  As noted in the last post, I only had a couple of steps to go before getting the Loremaster of Draenor achievement.

Likewise, the Explore Draenor achievement was fairly close to being done.  I had explored two zones fully already and was one location away on a couple more.  The only place I had to do some work on the achievement was Frostfire Ridge, which is the horde starting zone.

Frostfire Ridge Explored

Frostfire Ridge Explored

Fortunately I already had the two alliance flight points there, so getting out to the zone was easy.  It was just a matter of riding around the map to fill in the blank spots.  Of course, the last blank spot ended up being the point furthest away from my current location on the map when it came down to it.  It always seems to work out that way.

So that was two down.

The third item on the list Tanaan Diplomat, which meant getting revered status with the three factions introduced with the Tanaan Jungle zone, Hand of the Prophet, Order of the Awakened, and The Saberstalkers.  That all showed up with the 6.2 patch about a year back if I recall right, which is about when I stopped playing.  So I was starting from scratch.

I have done rep grinds before, and I am sure I will do them again.  So I figured I would be in for a couple weeks of daily quests to conquer that part of the effort.  However Mazer, also in the comments on the previous WoW post, mentioned the Medallion of the Legion item, which can be used to gain 1,000 rep with all Draenor factions per medallion.

Why do work when you can spend gold?  And Gold I had.  Not enough gold that I could spend recklessly, but enough to invest in that particular aspect of the effort.  Since I had chosen a human character for this, I was already set to get a 10% bonus to reputation gains via his innate “Diplomacy” skill.  But just enhance that some more, I tore down the enchanting building in my garrison and put up a trading post, upgrading it to level 3, to give me an additional 20% gain to reputation.  If I did my math right, that saved me a couple of medallions, which made it well worth the cost.

I went to the auction house and bought some medallions.  My reputation started at friendly with the three key factions:

Reputation - Before Medallions

Reputation – Before Medallions

And was revered afterwards:

Reputation - After Medallions

Reputation – After Medallions

That also got me Exalted status with the Arakkoa Outcasts and the Council of Exarchs, two achievements there, which meant being able to buy their special mounts, pets, and tabards, which happened to also roll me into an achievement for mounts and tabards.  Now I just need the 7.0 patch to hit and move tabards to their own special storage, as those are taking up 40 bank slots currently.

Anyway, three down.

The fourth on the list, the Master Treasure Hunter achievement, is probably where I spent most of my time.  There just isn’t any short cut, you have to go out in the world and find 100 treasures in Draenor, excluding Tanaan Jungle.

I did go download the HandyNotes addon for Draenor treasures.  That put all of their locations on the in-game map and mini-map for you.  However, as helpful as that was, it didn’t turn the hunt into a 100% gimme event.

First, knowing where a treasure is on a 2D map and then actually finding it in a 3D world are two different things.  Sometimes the treasure is in a cave below the spot shown on the map, and the entrance is a ways off.  Sometimes the treasure is up in a tree or on top of something.  Once a treasure was in a hole in the roof of a cave, and you could see it from the cave, but had to go a long way around a mountain to find my way up to drop into the hole and land on a ledge to grab the item.  And I missed the ledge on the first try.

And then there is the fact that some of those treasures are difficult to see, even when you know they are there.  Some are just hidden from view.  But I had one, a ring at the bottom of a small pond, that simply wasn’t visible until you were right on top of it.  And even then you had to mouse over it to get the cogwheel icon to be sure.

That last item was made worse by the fact that HandyNotes will take the treasure off your map once you have found it, but it doesn’t know about any treasures you might have found before you installed the addon.  Having already found 25 treasures before I started on this mission, I had a few cases of, “Did I already find this one, or am I simply not seeing it?”

I had the most luck with treasures in Spires of Arak.  It seemed to have the most treasures I had yet to find, and I was able to get the next 25 treasures mostly in that zone, which got me to the mid-point achievement.

Half way through the treasure hunt

Half way through the treasure hunt

Of course, while the zone seemed to have the most treasures, it also seemed the most intent on making you work for them.  That pond I mentioned was there.  There are treasures at shrines, as in the picture above, that required you to find an elixir first (which at least counted as a treasure as well) in order to be able to see the treasure.  And, being a zone with lots of vertical terrain, it had more than its share of jumping and climbing puzzles in order to get to treasures.

With a bird on a wire

With a bird on a wire

There were any number of times I caught myself thinking something along the lines of, “This would be much easier if I had flying.”  At a couple of points I left Spires of Arak for other zones, hoping for greener pastures.  But for actual treasure density, it was tough to beat spires and, for whatever reason, I find it easier to deal with a treasure I can see, but have to work to get to, than one out in the open half way across the map.  And so it was that I ended up returning there and getting the final treasure achievement.

FDTHachi

Four out of five down, which left only the Securing Draenor achievement.

I had been avoiding that achievement somewhat after my experiences running The Pit.  The LFG groups I founded tended to be all over the map of AFK in hopes of letting somebody else do the heavy lifting.  Eventually I got some help with it and was able to wrap it up, but I put those missions on the back burner, having figured out that you can run them on demand by spending 200 garrison resources for a quest starter “missive” from the garrison quartermaster.

I did a couple of the solo ones as they popped up on the garrison daily table, but otherwise spent my time treasure hunting, until I was done with that.  Once that was done, it was time to dig in and wrap those up.  I had four left to do and bought the missives, one by one as I ran the missions.

As luck would have it, the four remaining missions I had were all easily done solo.  My putting them off as the final difficult task turned out to be needless worry.  The final mission wrapped up was Shattrath Harbor, though I was in the middle of a fight when I got the last kill I needed and nearly missed the screen shot.

Finishing in Shattrath Harbor

Finishing in Shattrath Harbor

That was it.  The meta achievement, Draenor Pathfinder was mine, the mount that came with it was added to my collection, and I was able to fly.

Over my harbor on the Soaring Skyterror mount

Over my harbor on the Soaring Skyterror mount

That gave me a new perspective on Draenor.  It is always interesting simply being able to see the landscape from a high vantage point.

Of course, it also turned on “easy mode” in Draenor.  The landscape, carefully designed to channel you towards specific areas was now unable to enforce its will upon me.  I was now “that guy” who can drop in on something while avoiding any of the interim effort.

Along the way I had managed to upgrade my garrison shipyard to level 3, which led to an oil shortage, the resource required for naval activity.  While garrison missions will supply some, it is available in larger lots by doing dailies in Tanaan Jungle.  The previous need to get to a nearby flight point and then cross some of the level 100 infested landscape was removed.  I could just saunter over on my flying mount and drop into whatever area I needed.

And so it goes with flying in WoW.  It has ever been the double edged blade, simultaneously the best thing ever once you have it and trivializing a lot of the challenge of the open world.  It even makes death easier in Draenor, as now your spirit gets a flying mount in order to return to your corpse.

Anyway, mission accomplished.

Yet here we stand, less than a week into July, and probably at least two weeks from the pre-Legion WoW 7.0 patch, and I have completed my objective.  Not only that, I have built up my shipyard and have less than 100 gold left to loot for the Got My Mind On My Draenor Money achievement, which will unlock the level 3 storehouse blueprint, which will about wrap up garrison buildings.  So I will likely soon need a new task to keep me busy until that 7.0 patch hits and the pre-Legion events kick off.

There is always pet battles.  I have a lot of pets left to catch.  There are always alts.  At some point I want to level a horde alt up to level cap.  But I don’t want to rush that either.  I would prefer to see the horde storylines through the expansions rather than bypass them.  Or I could just go achievement hunting.  We shall see.  But whatever I do, it looks like I will be able to fly all the way… for now.

3 thoughts on “Taking Wing in Draenor

  1. bhagpuss

    I don’t think you’ve got a character high enough to have flight in EQ2, have you? In my opinion the addition of flight was the best thing that ever happened to the game. In much the same way as the addition of Mercenaries to EQ, free flight turned EQ2 into a different game. A better game, I would say. There’s convenience and there’s freedom – those two changes are the latter.

    I cannot even imagine how infuriated I would be if DBG decided to release an expansion for EQ2 and blithely turn off flying in it. It would be enough to make me not buy it, most likely.

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  2. Balthazar

    I thought doing the Pathfinder achievement was pretty fun. I’ll admit, I complained about it when they first announced it. But, it was certainly more fun than grinding a bunch of gold like I had to do in BC. Still, I have friends who are playing right now that have just flat out refused to do it, almost in protest. I’m curious how flying will work in Legion and whether the Pathfinder achievement will continue to be required to fly in Draenor, but apparently not curious enough to look it up and see if Blizzard has announced this yet…

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