Tag Archives: Achievements

Results of the Summer Loremaster Project

Back in June, with the summer hiatus of the instance group looming, I embarked on a project.  I was going to finish up quests in Azeroth in pursuit of the Loremaster achievement.  And I was going to attempt to do it with characters that were at the appropriate level for the zones being run.

The first big effort for the achievement was the 1-60 game in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.  That meant getting the quests achievement from all the zones in the old world, which includes some content from The Burning Crusade as well as the whole Cataclysm revamp.

Azeroth - The Burning Crusade timeframe

Azeroth – The Burning Crusade time frame

I had a few zones done already, thanks to the alts we rolled up when Cataclysm hit, but a lot of the zones were still there waiting for me.  So I rolled up a couple of new characters, as well as reviving a couple more old ones who had been languishing, and set out.  The results were covered in a series of posts charting my progress across Azeroth.

The old world took from mid-June until early August to complete.  It also left me with three characters (out of the five I used for various parts of the achievement) set up to head into the meat of the content from The Burning Crusade, Outland.

Here I had a couple of zones finished off.  I only ran bits of Hellfire Peninsula with my rogue Trianis in order to gear up a bit because I already had the achievement.  I was also able to skip Zangarmarsh, having wrapped that zone up ages ago.  That left me with five zones and 434 quests to finish off Outland.

  • Terokkar Forest  62-65 – 63 quests
  • Nagrand  64-67 – 75 quests
  • Blade’s Edge Mountains 65-68 – 86 quests
  • Netherstorm 66-70 – 120 quests
  • Shadowmoon Valley  67-70 – 90 quests

First up was Terokkar Forest, which went smoothly enough up until about 50 quests, when they dried up rapidly.  I sat for a while just two quests shy of the achievement before finally finding a couple of Shattrath related quest chains to finish off the zone.  But then came Nagrand.  To finish that up meant doing a set of group quests, then getting to level 70 and following a quest chain in from Shadowmoon Valley to wrap up the achievement.

So I left Nagrand empty handed and headed to the next zone on the list, the Blade’s Edge Mountains.  There I found myself wondering how we did some of these zones back in the day.  Doing the quests, at level, with a flying mount turned into a considerable chore, so the idea of doing them all with a ground mount seemed insane.  Eventually the zone ground me down and I left it unfinished.

Ogres must die

But I got to kill a lot of ogres

That was about the end of things.  It was September by that point and I found other distractions.  I binged on Pokemon for a while, finishing up  Pokemon Y, Pokemon White, and Pokemon White Version 2, which got me set for the upcoming release of Pokemon Alpha Ruby & Omega Sapphire.

In Azeroth I finally got my nether ray mounts and worked on pet battles a bit.  Then WoW 6.0 dropped and it was time to start thinking about that and the expansion, with Brewfest and Hallow’s End in there along the way.

And I did not totally give up on the Loremaster achievement.  Having played my rogue through to level 68 or so in a short period of time, I started to like the class.  I sent him out to Shadowmoon Valley for a while, but then decided to see if I could run him up into Pandaria before Warlords of Draenor hit.  He is now level 76, running quests in the Grizzly Hills, and using Dungeon Finder to speed things up.

So I did not make it to Loremaster, and there is little chance I will do so before the expansion drops.  I just don’t have the inclination at the moment and there are other things to do now.  But I made some headway, and after we have returned to Draenor and fought the Iron Horde, I may once again pick up the task.  This is what I have remaining on the list of zones I started with, plus whatever Warlords of Draenor brings us.

Outland Achievements

  • Nagrand  64-67 – 75 quests
  • Blade’s Edge Mountains 65-68 – 86 quests
  • Netherstorm 66-70 – 120 quests
  • Shadowmoon Valley  67-70 – 90 quests

Northrend Achievements

  • Grizzly Hills    73-75 – 85 quests
  • Zul’Drak    73-77 – 100 quests
  • Sholazar Basin*    75-80 – 75 quests
  • Icecrown    77-80 – 140 quests
  • The Storm Peaks    77-80 – 100 quests

Cataclysm Achievements

  • Mount Hyjal    80-82 – 115 quests
  • Vashj’ir    80-82 – 130 quests
  • Deepholm    82-83 – 110 quests
  • Uldum    83-84 – 105 quests
  • Twilight Highlands    84-85 – 120 quests

 

Sliding Down the Blade’s Edge

Last time around I found my progress towards the Loremaster achievement in World of Warcraft… well… if not thwarted, at least delayed.  While I did a lot of quests in Nagrand, I found myself 12 quests shy of the achievement, and for 11 of those 12 quests I need a group or to be level 70.

Not the end of the world.  It isn’t like I will lose that progress if I run off and do something else.  But I had hit a stride of having racked up at least one more achievement each week as I pressed forward towards my goal, only to have my streak broken.  It was a minor hit to my morale.

But what are you going to do?

I wasn’t going to give up, so the only thing to do was to press on to the next zone.  For Outland, that would be the Blade’s Edge Mountains.

Blade's Edge Mountains Map

Blade’s Edge Mountains Map

I did not have an intro quest for the zone, and I do not think I had actually run a quest in the zone since maybe 2008.  So the first thing I did was head off to Stormwind to turn my experience bar back on.

I had turned the bar off at Nagrand so as to not out-level all of the content into complete triviality.  Now, with Nagrand behind me and the zones ahead pretty much okay for up to level 70, it was time to resume leveling.

Then it was back through the Dark Portal to Outland.

Coming soon: A DARKER Portal

Coming soon: A DARKER Portal to a new Outland!

It was time to find my way to the Blade’s Edge Mountains.

More after the cut.

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Slammed in Nagrand

After finishing Terokkar Forest last week I was feeling a bit optimistic about the next zone on my Loremater project checklist.  I was headed to Nagrand.

Nagrand Map

Nagrand Map

I was optimistic for a few reasons.  The first was because Nagrand is a zone that I seem to carry some fondness for in the back of my brain.  I remember doing the Kurenai faction grind, which is pretty easily accomplished if you have a yen for slaughtering ogres and collecting their war beads.  I finished that effort and have all of the talbuk mounts to prove it.  And while Hemet Nesingwary was lurking out there in the zone, what could he possibly do to me that he hadn’t done a dozen or so times before?

Hemet's Camp/Crash Site

Hemet’s Camp/Crash Site

The second reason was because I was already underway in the chase for the 75 quests needed for the Nagrand achievement.  Finishing up Terokkar required me to start in on Nagrand to pick up a quest line that would lead back to Terokkar.  So I was starting 10 quests up.  Go me.

Finally, Nagrand is kind of a pleasant zone, made up of rolling green hill with some rivers surrounded by hills, which keeps you from thinking about the color of the sky.

Flying in Nagrand

Flying in Nagrand

There are only a few ogre mounds and floating rocks and other oddities that mark much of the terrain of Outland.  And even the floating rocks are covered in green turf.

What could go wrong?

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Two Shy in Terokkar Forest

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.

Map of Terokkar Forest

Map of 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.

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Bloodmyst Isle – The Worst Zone in WoW

I know I have rolled up a Draenei character or two at some point.  There was a time that, if you wanted a shaman on the alliance side of things, you had to make a Draenei.  I am sure I gave this a whirl at some point.  But when I looked through my list of characters, I could only find a Draenei death knight.  Since death knights start at level 55, that means he never went through the whole Draenei starter zone.

So Draenei have not been my thing, what with only a single blue space goat in my roster.  Now however, with the whole Loremaster project going on, it was time to return to the Draenei level 10-20 zone, Bloodmyst Isle, and the last achievement I needed for the alliance 1-60 part of the game.

Bloodmyst Isle MAp

Bloodmyst Isle Map

This should have been a doddle.  The first twenty levels are often cited as the fun part of MMOs.  It gets you out in the open air, you run through some easy-peasy quests, you level up quickly, gain new skills, and generally experience a lot of the things that seem fun before ending up in the torpor of the mid-levels. But the Draenei experience lasted hours. It was a slow, horrible death process.  So much so that I am making it the official position of this blog that Bloodmyst Isle is currently the worst zone in World of Warcraft.  And I say this with the perspective of having done most of the 1-60 zones in the game over the last year, including Silithus, the Eastern Plagulands, most of Vashjir, and the blood elf starting zone.

I get to laying out the sins of this zone after the cut.

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Wrapping Up the Eastern Kingdoms

With the Cape of Stranglethorn out of the way, I had just four more zones left for the Eastern Kingdoms Loremaster achievement.  They were:

  • Eastern Plaguelands    40-45 – 70 quests
  • Badlands    44-48 – 35 quests
  • Searing Gorge    47-51 – 35 quests
  • Burning Steppes    49-52 – 40 quests

And given that my shaman, who had just finished up the Cape of Stranglethorn, had just turned level 40, I was a bit tempted to just keep running with him.

The Eastern Kingdoms

The Eastern Kingdoms

However, I decided to switch characters once again.  So far I have used a rogue who ended up at level 61, a monk who now sits at level 57, and my shaman.  Now I brought out my warrior, Makarov, who sat at level 46.  That seemed to be a bit high level to launch into the Eastern Plaguelands, but I had a reason to fall back on him.

For starters, he laid the groundwork for this Loremaster achievement bid back before I had actually decided to make a go of it.  As I leveled him up, he managed to knock out a few of the zones I would have otherwise had to go back and complete, the most immediate of which was the Western Plaguelands.  That meant he had a flight point up there.  Plus he had a fair start already on the Eastern Plaguelands, having completed about half of the required 70 quests for the zone achievement.  That was enough of a head start to seal the deal.  It was off to the Eastern Plaguelands with Makarov.

More after the cut, as there are four zones worth of words and pictures.

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The Cape of Stranglethorn

Once there was a zone called Stranglethorn Vale.  It was a place of jungle and raptors and trolls and missing pages from books and that bastard Hemet Nesingwary who would continue to haunt our existence through every expansion with his wildlife slaughtering requests.

It was a large and somewhat controversial zone… though some appreciated the quest design… that would try your patience for endless running (you didn’t have a mount when you got there back in the day) and managing your bag space.

It was where the Horde and Alliance really started to merge.  Before Stranglethorn Vale, each side had most zones to themselves.  Afterwards, everybody ran down the same list of zones.

And it was placed right in the middle of the leveling curve, in that danger zone when the fun of the first twenty or so levels had receded from your rear view mirror, but the level cap of 60 (way back when) was still somewhere over the horizon.

At one point I had five or six characters stuck somewhere in their mid-30s, bags full of pages from The Green Hills of Stranglethorn and logs full of quests with horrible drop rates, congested “kill a single named mob” choke points, or more variations on slaughter for hire, unable to progress due to a desire never to see that jungle again.

Stranglethorn Vale that was...

Stranglethorn Vale that was…

From the rebel camp to Booty Bay, from the Vile Reef to the Venture Company sites, from Kurzen’s Camp to the Nesingwary Expedition, from the Gubashi Arena to the pirates off the the southeast coast, Stranglethorn Vale has a lot going on.  And while you can blue sky daydream about the good old days in the Vale, you have to remember that Blizzard felt it had to boost the questing experience in Dustwallow Marsh, adding in Mudsproket and a whole range of additional quests around Theramore and Brackenwall.  At the time this was pretty much a mea culpa from Blizzard that old STV might be a bit more of a pain than the expected.

And then came the Cataclysm.  The zone was split into two, with the top half becoming Northern Stranglethorn Vale and the bottom becoming the Cape of Stranglethorn, which strikes me a bit like having North Carolina and the Carolina Strand as states… you tend to call out “north” only if there is a “south” right… but then the whole continent is called The Eastern Kingdoms, which is a vague, hand waving description more than a name in my opinion, so my problems with the geographic naming conventions of Azeroth are long standing.

I had already wrapped up the Northern Stranglethorn achievement with my warrior, Makarov, way back in March of last year when I was back in the game on a seven day pass and still not over my post-Cataclysm malaise.

Northern Stranglethorn Vale

Northern Stranglethorn Vale

But for whatever reason, Makarov moved on to the Plaguelands (of which there is an East and a West, so there), leaving the Cape of Stranglethorn untouched.  And so it remained, until I decided to go for the Loremaster achievement this summer.

More after the cut.

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