The Persistent Death Knight in Northrend

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my Death Knight, Irondam, has become my main “level through the game and see all the things” character.  There are some advantages to having a DK in that roll.

This is why they had to give us that water mount in Pandaria

One of the aspects of him being in that role is that I have held him to finishing up the main quest lines to the point of getting the quest achievement for each of the zones he has worked his way through.

You don’t have to do ALL the quests in a zone for the achievement, but you end up doing most of them, usually leaving off the group quests, and the total rings up at a hundred or so for some of the zones.  So, while he has gotten himself to 75, he has really only worked in three zones so far.  They are:

Borean Tundra

This is kind of the lesser of the two starting zones.  It certainly feels like the zone where you should start if you’re running into the Northrend at level 68… like I did with four characters.

Welcome to Borean Tundra

There is a lot going on with the Borean Tundra map and you run into a few different groups, each with their own sets of quest lines.  With each little area pretty much sticking to itself and the various story threads not really intertwining, the place feels like a bit of a patchwork.  That isn’t bad, but aside from Coldarra perhaps you don’t come out of it feeling like “well, there was a story!”

I mean, there are stories there, some even related to the main thread of the expansion.  But they are a bit jumbled together.  Mostly it feels like the zone you show up in dressed from the last expansion and leave with all your gear updated to a new look and an appreciation into how to play your class.

I made my way through and didn’t have any problem finding enough quests to get the achievement.

So you say

It has its moments, but isn’t as memorable as later locations.

Howling Fjrod

While you can start in Howling Fjord, unless you’re in a hurry to get to the first dungeon, there isn’t a lot of advantage to it.

Welcome to the Fjord

Having played through both the start of Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord on three of four characters, you don’t get any especially different gear.  I sent my hunter over there hoping to get a gun rather than the bow that is the first ranged weapon in the tundra quest chain, but found myself offered a crossbow instead.  There is a gun further down the line in Howling Fjord, but there is also one in Borean Tundra, so whatever.

And the initial quests are a bit of a trial.  They aren’t hard, just kind of a pain and maybe a bit opaque in description.  But you have to run back and forth through a gauntlet of mobs to keep reporting back in.

Once you get through that though and out of the pit that is Valgarde, it is also where you start getting into some of the meat of the story as well as getting to experience the new vehicle mechanics that Blizz introduced.  You are flying around in planes, playing sky crane with a helicopter, shooting harpoons at dragon riders, and riding a flaming harpoon across the Fjord.

Never did this in Outland

There are also some goofy mechanics and some quests with rather unhelpful descriptions that kind of just assume you’re going to go look it up I guess, because I had to in the end.  Still, I made it through without having to beat the bushes for additional quests.

I've been all over

I’ve been all over

I am glad I started into the expansion at 68, because even though those first two levels were quick, they did burn off a layer of quests so that Irondam didn’t get ahead of them too far in levels.

Both of those zones converge into Dragonblight.

Dragonblight

These feels like the zone that Blizz said, “Here, here is where we will dig into the story and play with some of our new ideas.

Dragonblight in the middle

It is also where you run into many more quests with some dubious quest text descriptions.  Also, there is the whole Winterguard Keep series of quests where you have to run back and forth through fields of mobs to get to various quest objectives.  It isn’t too bad if you steer your mount around things, but err in that and get dismounted and you end up having to take down the half dozen mobs that were most recently chasing you.  Again, DK for the win with just enough self healing to keep going.  My druid would have been toast.

But it is also story time and in a big way.  It is here, in Dragonblight, that the devs are suddenly ready to tell you all about Arthas and his army and how he gave into his need for revenge at any cost.  You see his ghostly army still haunting the shores where they landed.  You also follow a vision of Arthas as he picks up a handy sword he found just sitting in a cave.

Frostmourne? Cool name for a cool sword

And then there is the foreshadowing event at the Wrathgate, where you get a cinematic in the middle of a zone that includes the steamiest chemistry between two WoW characters outside of the Goldshire Inn.

Get a room you two!

The Wrathgate is a big enough deal that you get an achievement for just being there to see the cinematic.

Veteran of the tour, in anyway case

But as I wound up the various quest lines, I found myself coming up nearly 20 short of the 115 quests needed for the zone achievement.  Eventually I ran down one quest that sent me to Stormwind to the king who had Jaina portal me around and then we ended up outside of the Undercity, ready to run in and figure out who was behind… something… I sort of lost the thread of the tale as I was trying to keep up.

Anyway, you’re outside the Undercity with the king, ready to attack.

Whenever you’re ready Varian

This was actually a bit of a slog, not helped by the vague quest description, the need to wait around for five minutes before anything happens, and the ongoing fights where you’ve been given a buff so you likely won’t die unless you AFK, but is just one empty fight after another until you reach the guy at the end deep in the Undercity for one last big fight.

Then the king sends you back to Dragonblight and you get a reward with a serious gear upgrade, and an easy dozen or more quests because the whole event is a series of short milestone quests.

After that I was still a couple of quests shy of the mark, but realized I hadn’t done any of the quests in Mo’kai harbor yet.  So I flew down there and was soon over the mark.

It is quite a fright, especially at night

A lot of the quests I recognized, though I have no memory of that assault on the Undercity.  But it was both a discreet and slightly dull event, so maybe my memory just let go of that one.

That put me ready for the next zone.  I wasn’t sure whether Sholazar Basin or Grizzly Hills was the right choice, but I was closer to the latter and had picked up the flight point from that one quest in Winterguard Keep that basically throws you on a bird and flies you there without warning the moment you accept it.  So that is where I am headed next.  I don’t remember much about it, besides some bees or something and maybe chasing a heard of horses.  I guess I’ll see when I get there.

2 thoughts on “The Persistent Death Knight in Northrend

  1. Naithin

    Surprised you forgot about the Assault on Undercity; it was kinda a big deal back when it came out! But… Can’t disagree on your summary of how it goes and feels to do it.

    I ran that thing altogether too many times on various characters for the gear upgrade. xD Nearly always seemed to come in at the peak of the 5-minute wait to start, too. A thing I *had* forgotten until just doing the Deathknight starting area wait for the siege on the church.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Naithin – I had a little flash of memory around the final fight, but that was about it. There are so many story bits in Dragonblight that the boring pieces fell out.

    For example, I knew to take that screen shot of Bolvar, and totally remember Arthas picking up Frostmourne. But I probably did those with multiple characters, while the Undercity thing I probably did with just one.

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