Tag Archives: Burning Crusade Classic

Reflections on Outland after Burning Crusade Classic

Here we are at the very tail end of the first Burning Crusade Classic experience, where we got to try and relive something akin to the way things were back in 2007 when the expansion landed and gave us something new to do.  Tomorrow it will be Wrath of the Lich King Classic, so there are only a few hours left for Outland.

Through the Dark Portal

I will say that the adventure was a bit of a surprise, at least relative to the initial WoW Classic experience.  Or maybe it was just an odd juxtaposition.

I came into WoW Classic wondering if it was going to be as good, fun, engaging as it was back when I started playing in 2005.  And somehow it managed to meet those expectations.  I mean, it certainly reaffirmed some of the negative bits as well… that level 40-ish content drought was as painful as I remembered… but it was a lot of fun and I am glad we went back to play.

With Burning Crusade Classic the question was more whether or not it was as annoying or awkward or grindy as I remembered it.  And it too confirmed my long held sentiment about the expansion.  I have complained about it in the past, and I was able to go back an experience the root of those complaints.

However, I will say that as far as WoW expansions go, there is a LOT of content in Outland.  I very much get the sense that the design of TBC was a reaction by the dev and design team about how they were going to keep players busy in a ten level expansion after they had consumed a 60 level initial game in two years.

Everything is slower, every quest means killing more mobs than you would have in Azeroth, every skill improvement takes just that much more effort, and the experience bar moved very slowly all the way through, making sure you felt like you had to do all the many, many quests that each zone contained.

I have joked in the past that about the Outland motto being, “If killing ten rats is good, then killing twenty must be even better!”  But having been into it again, it was clearly more a matter of “If we don’t keep the players busy, they’ll leave!  So we had better slow them down as much as we dare!”  And the same goes for crafting.  While I have leveled up all my harvesting, my crafting lags far behind.

I think that in later expansions, once Blizz had discovered end game content beyond raiding and giving players horizontal objectives and daily quests that were not dull and repetitive, they didn’t feel the need to cram quite so much into every zone.  It feels like there is about two expansions worth of overland content in Outland, that they could have split it in half and had us run through ten levels on that, then given us the other half for another ten levels.

Of course, the winnowing of the run to level cap reach its absurd end with the Shadowlands expansion, where you could get there in under a month of casual play and the next 23 months of the expansion was all alts and end game.

Except I never bothered with the alts and the end game for non-raiders was boring.

So Outland at least has content.  There is no lack of that.  The problem is that once you ease up on the slow xp crawl to make it feel like you’re actually making some progress with each play session, there is too much content.  Easing the XP curve means being done in the first three zones pretty much.  Maybe four.  But Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley, those get skipped.

I wonder how the Outland experience is in retail WoW after the level squish?  Is playing 50 levels of Outland better than 10 levels?  All I know is that an accelerated experience probably sold the expansion short.

Otherwise it was all very much a step on the evolutionary path of the game.  Blizz decided that maybe one flight point per zone wasn’t necessarily enough, though they stuck to that in some zones.  And that trend would continue until we got a flight point per quest hub pretty much.

In hindsight, for all of my criticism, it was good to go back and play through some of the expansion, if only to revive memories.  I wish we could have managed more dungeons, but being a group of four is a limiting factor there.  And it will be all the more so in Northrend.  Prince Keleseth will be a huge barrier for us.

Then there are the general problems of WoW Classic, such as the draw distance, which never ceases to annoy.  Also, what is Blizzard’s plan now for the classic path?  It sounds like all servers will more forward to Northrend and, if the signs are correct, to Cataclysm.  That will be a bad move, but we’ll get to that discussion later.

So enjoy the last day when Outland is the peak destination in WoW Classic.  I still have to play there, having alts that I might want to level up.  But that will come later.  Tomorrow I’ll have two characters ready for the cold north.

Classes in Wrath Classic

One of the differences between running a “classic” server in World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs doing the same is how Blizzard handles classes.

For example, we’ll take my benchmark for retro servers, EverQuest, which did its first such servers back in 2007, when the game was a mere eight years old.  The team at SOE, and later at Daybreak, didn’t spend a bunch of time worrying about classes

That isn’t because things haven’t changed in the game over the years, but due to how they have handled change.  Rolling up a level 1 warrior and dropping in Qeynos today you’ll find a lot has changed since 1999.  You earn xp faster, your health regenerates faster, you’ve had to bypass a tutorial and other starter zone options, and the UI has changed with the times, just to name a few obvious updates.

But if you put on your rose colored glasses and squint your eyes a bit, you can attack a snake out in front of Qeynos with your basic skills… kick, taunt, and shield bash I think… and get the occasional skill improve and generally feel the way you did back in 1999.

That is because the team has mostly handled class changes for expansions by using skills or spells or alternate advancements or special abilities within the context of a specific expansion.  When it comes to classes, expansions are somewhat compartmentalized, in that they don’t effect the class as it played up to that point, but adds or changes things that go forward.

That is a general rule, and there are some exceptions.  SOE redid spells at one point so you don’t get them every five levels, for example, and that affected everybody from level 1 forward.  But for the most part they have kept to that rule.  So when you go back to an old expansion on a retro server, it at least plays and feels mostly like it did at the time.

This is, of course, in stark contrast to how Blizzard has handled classes in World of Warcraft when it comes to expansions.  In WoW every expansion revamps your class.  Sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot.  Sometimes your favorite class and spec becomes unfun, and sometimes things get a bit better.

Between vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade the class changes were not very radical.  My paladin and my hunter, the two classes I have played continuously since I first started with WoW, got some updates, but there wasn’t any radical change as to how the classes played.

My paladin was still putting up seals, judging them on every cool down, to improve damage and, in the case of my protection pally, hold aggro by enhancing holy damage.  Likewise, my beast mastery hunter still had to run off and tame other pets to learn skills to train his main pet, who needed to be fed pretty regularly.

And that seems pretty logical, given what we know.  The WoW team spent a lot of the time during vanilla just honing the game, udoing false assumptions, and really trying to make the whole thing work.  So there wasn’t as much time for radical class changes as they prepared for Outland.

The road to Northrend though, that seemed to have room enough for class reworks, and I have been trying to get on board with them.

With my paladin, Wrath is the first of a long line of expansions where somebody felt it was time to rework seals and judgment.  Or judgements, because with Wrath you get three flavors of judgement.

I have no memory of this…

Seals are also flat rate now, no ranks to them, and last for 30 minutes or until you judge.  So there is some getting used to things on that front.

On the other hand, exorcism is no longer limited to undead and demons, so my pally now has a single target ranged attack for pulling.

For my hunter, on the other hand, the Wrath pre-patch has been like Christmas.

Happy hunter and pet out in the Blade’s Edge Mountains

I did a quick re-spec of him after the patch and was doing some lazy questing and, with just auto-shot most of the time, he got a 100 DPS bonus before I started digging into things.

His pet now has its own talent tree with some interesting abilities, like Heart of the Phoenix, which totally not OP.

Basically, a backup pet in you pocket if your pet dies

I did the Hemet Nesingwary quests solo with my hunter, including the final named mobs, and solo’d them without problem.  I had to use the Heart of Phoenix skill once, but my hunter and pet were otherwise blazing away without issue.

And, while we’re not there yet for the removal of ammo yet… hunters free up that ammo pouch slot with the Cataclysm pre-patch… ammo now stacks in groups of 1,000 rather than 200, which means you really have to neglect your supplies to run dry.  My 16 slot ammo pouch now holds 16,000 rounds rather than 3,200.  Or, I can just get a regular bag and keep some ammo in there because ammo pouches no longer give you a bonus.

Meanwhile, I am still trying to figure out my druid.  There were some changes to feral spec, but I have been mostly distracted by having flight form, which is one of the single best things about druids in WoW.

I haven’t had time for any other classes so far.  My warrior is still level 60, and the next highest character after that is my level 40 rogue.

My goal is to get a few characters to 68, or as close as I can, while the experience bonus remains in the game, because when that goes away it will be a bit of a drag to level character up through Outland.  If there is a reason to regret not getting the dungeon finder in Wrath Classic, it is that it was the fastest way through Outland.

Sixty Eight in the Blade’s Edge Mountains

In coming into last weekend there was a question as to where we ought to carry on in our run towards Northrend.  After a few weeks in Nagrand we still had a couple of quest lines remaining, but not much.  As nice as a zone as it is, it was starting to feel like Nagrand might be spent when it came to our needs.

I did consider jumping in on the scourge invasion event and even flew out to Light’s Hope Chapel in the Eastern Plaguelands to see what that was about.

Departing Ironforge with a scourge thingy hanging over the gates

Out in EPL however, it didn’t seem like a very profitable venture, being a mix of randomness and a need to kill the right mobs at the right time with no sharing between groups.  That is the way of classic.

That set aside, it looked like the next stop on the zone list was the pointiest zone in Outland… and possibly the pointiest zone in the game overall… the Blade’s Edge Mountains.

Their favorite album here is The Point

Even the map tries to represent the abundance of sharp spikes that make up the zone.

The Blade’s Edge Mountains

I remembered that there was a quest in Zangarmarsh, in Orebor Harborage, that sent you up to the Blade’s Edge Mountains.  I stopped in there, picked it up, and took my flying mount over the spiked ridge and into the zone, wanting to avoid what I recalled was a trek through some caves with mobs to slay.

I mean sure, there was also a quest to slay those mobs, but the only thing the expansion has that matches the number of spikes in the zone is the number of quests overall.  We could give that one a miss.

I flew up there and was soon joined by Beanpole and Fergorin.  We just needed Ula, who was back in Stormwind working on something.  Beanpole being a warlock and all, we had the option to bring her to us via the ritual of summoning or whatever it is that warlocks do.  We either haven’t used it very often or it changed with the Wrath pre-patch, because it seemed different to me.

First we had to join in with Beanpole to bring forth his spell.

Starting the ritual

After that there is a portal of some sort that shows up, which I gather any one of us could click on and summon the person in our group that we had targeted.   I think.  It is hard to tell because we all did it at once.  However it worked, Ula appeared with us having made the direct flight from wherever.

Ula arrives with a pop

Then we were left standing there with the summoning thingy, like a fifth Beatle.  So we stepped away to distance ourselves from it.

It goes away after a while, right?

Together in Sylvanaar, we ran around and vacuumed up the quests, which were focused initially on the areas south and east of town, with a list of creatures to kill and drops to gather.

The neighborhood

The Blade’s Edge Mountains are in the back half of the zone list, a bridging zone between the Nagrand and the grand finales of Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley, and as such there were any number of re-used mobs to slay.  So there was the local cat species, the lynx in this case, and the Arakkoa, whose feathers we needed as drops, and then the ogres.  So many ogres.

Stop… its ogre time!

Seriously, at this point we’re deep enough into ogre killing that even Hemet Nesingwary is probably thinking, “Who there, maybe give the whole ogre thing a rest now.  Like, what did they ever do to you?”

And, of course, there were wolves.  The iron law of early 2000s MMORPGs is that in every zone you must have a quest to slay either bears, boars, or wolves… and usually two from the list.

On the bright side, since the pre-patch unlocked flight for us, and everybody in the group finally got on board the flying mount idea, we were able to navigate around the various obstacles and packs of aggro mobs rather than having to schlep our way on ground mounts like losers.

Also, for reasons unexplained, three of us chose the white griffon as our flying mount.

The group in some sort of formation

I always go with the golden griffon on my main because it looks like the default flight point griffon and I have it in my head that there is some mischief or deception that I could pull off by pretending I am not controlling the mount.

It has never happened… but it could!

Anyway, we carved our way through the various wildlife, Arakkoa, and ogres, wrapping up the whole quest series around Sylvanaar, after which we were sent off to Toshley’s Station, to the east.  It will be time for some Gnome adventures if we carry on again.

But who knows if we will?  Because the primary goal of the pre-patch time had been achieved.  Our main characters had all made it to level 68.

The group at level 68

I actually forgot to take a screen shot of that with us all online, so I did it from a lower level alt and fiddled the brightness and contrast to look like we were all online.

Anyway, we could carry on to level 70, but there are some arguments against that.

First, at level 68 we are able to get into Northrend, so we’re set.  Furthermore, since we’ll be going in as a group, it might be at list a little more interesting to be only 68 rather than 70.

Also, the xp bonus that is part of this pre-patch run won’t last.  It will be gone by the 26th, and it might be wise to use it on some alts.  Maybe even some Death Knight alts… and all the more so because Blizz is offering up a special mount in retail WoW is you run through the Death Knight starter zone before Wrath launches on the 26th.

What would I do for another mount?

Anyway, something to decide for next week.  We have at least hit our base goal for the pre-patch, we are ready to go to Northrend.

Tough Times for Plague Zombies

My memories of the zombie plague event before the original Wrath of the Lich King launch back in 2008 are, admittedly, a bit foggy.  It has been almost fourteen years, so my recollections are a misty water colored memory of people being angry, a chaos of zombies throwing themselves at players in town, and new players being griefed relentlessly, causing me to pack up and stay out in the field for the duration of the event.

Players trying to go about their business were angry about how things were going and Blizzard was telling people to maybe, you know, just not log in during the run of the event if they were not having fun.

My writing style was a bit more crude and terse back then, but I did post about the whole thing.  But no screen shots and not much in the way of detail was included.  These days I have a dozen screen shots in a post about a minor UI change in a game.  My memories are more easily stimulated by visuals.

Anyway, with this bit of color in the back of my head, I suspected this week might be chaos and griefing once more and accepted that I likely wouldn’t be able to get anything done in town.  I was just going to stay away.

But then curiosity began to pick at my will.  Some part of me wanted to see how it was playing out.  So I logged in and went to Stormwind and stood around in the town square between the bank and the auction house, a locus of activity for any such event… and there was nothing.

I mean, sure, there were a few plagued cockroaches wandering around, but they were getting zapped by passers by about as fast as they popped up.

You’d get zapped even if you were not plagued

So I started looking around to see if maybe I could get this party started.  And, sure enough, I found some cases of plagued grain on one of the docks.

All that grain just sitting there… in boxes… which is how we store grain now I guess…

We know the grain is the source of the plague because even Arthas figured that out eventually back in Warcraft III.

Yes, dammit, it is the grain!

So I clicked on one of the plagued grain cases and, hey presto, had the zombie plague on me.

Here we go, on the train to zombie town

And then, suddenly, I was cured.  Did I heal myself?  Did I get some insufficiently bad grain?

So I clicked on a box again… got plagued… then was suddenly cured.

I had to look around for a bit before I spotted a priest sitting on the bridge nearby casting cure disease on anybody who touched the grain.

Will nobody rid me of this troublesome priest?

No fun to be had here.  I can’t get mad at them.  It is an RP server after all, and there they are diligently defending the town from the zombie plague.  So I went looking for trouble elsewhere.

To Ironfoge!

I took the tram over and went looking for plague grain there, finding some over in the military district.

More crates of grain

That was far enough away from the bank and auction house to be safe from prying eyes.  Still, I wasn’t going to take any chance this time.  I click on the grain, then ran around the corner and hid, waiting for the zombie timer to run down and transform me.

A zombie at last

Now I just had to run to the bank and cause some chaos.

However, the guards had other ideas.

The guards spot me

Zombies run slowly.  You get a little speed booster, but it is on a cool down and the guards will catch you if you’re not careful.  They caught me.

Well, back to the drawing board… or the plague crates as it were.

This time I decided I would contract the plague, then rush over to the bank and hide behind the counter until zombie time.  But as I rode over I passed by one of the Argent Healers and… well… he healed me.

Uh… thanks I guess…

Again, my memories of the original event are dim, but I thought you had to actually speak to them to get a heal back in the day.  Maybe?  I could be wrong.

So I went back to the grain again, got myself infected, then rode back, keeping well clear of the Argent Healers… which was a bit of a task because there is even one in the bank… and managed to slip through without being cured.  I hid in the vault and waited.

Waiting to be a vault zombie

The timer ran down and I was a zombie again.  Now I had to decide how to play this,

I decided to just walk up behind one of the bank NPCs behind the counter and use the explode skill, which hits everybody within a given range with the zombie plague, players and NPCs alike.

So I did it.

Dead zombie on the counter

But even as I watched, the Argent Healed cured everybody on his side of the bank and a priest showed p and cured everybody else.

Zombie chaos was just not going to happen.

Now, while I was in evening prime time, this was still on a week night on the Bloodsail Buccaneers server, which is not a high population “OMG it has a queue again” server, so my experiences might not be representative.  But it sure seemed like the whole zombie thing wasn’t going to have much of an impact without more effort than I was willing to put in.

And now the zombie plague event ended early as the scourge invasion has reportedly begun.

Probably for the best.

Still some Quests to be done in Nagrand

The group returned for another run in Nagrand this past weekend, still having some tasks to complete.

Once more in Nagrand

Of course, before we could get stuck into Nagrand we first had to figure out what was going on with our characters.  There were specs to be looked up, talents to be researched, skills to be trained, and the need to figure out where our mounts and pets went.

I had forgotten that Wrath took pets and mounts out of our bags and gave them their own tab.

Actually, I might not have noticed since paladin mounts were summoning spells back in vanilla rather than mounts that sat in your bag.  But then I bought a flying mount, clicked on it in my bag, and it went away.  Then I had to go find it.

The mounts tab on your character sheet

We also had to talk about flying mounts and whether or not we wanted to invest in them as a group.  I already had, as noted earlier this week, but not everybody was sold on the idea.  The problem was that buying flying right before Wrath meant losing it the moment we showed up in Northrend.  That has been a problem with about every expansion since too… except Cataclysm.  We got flying right away in that, didn’t we?  Or am I mis-remembering?  I have been doing a lot of that of late.

Anyway, flying mounts were not going to be mandatory for the group.

We would be riding old school

We did, however, all need to be 67 to get onto the same set of quests.  Fortunately, only Beanpole was shy of the mark, and only by a sliver of xp.  We went out of Telaar and hit the first mob we saw, which was enough to level him up.  The group was all on the same page again.

67 across the board… and on an alt as well

That allowed us to share the quests he was missing, then it was off around Nagrand once more.  We stopped off at Forge Camp: Hate for a few quests against the invaders.

It is one of the dark patches in Nagrand

Then it was up to Warmaul Hill for the final rescue of Corki.  We fought our way up to the cave he was in, updated the quest, then had to go find Cho’war in the cave across the way.  We ended up in a bit of a chase with a Horde group clearly on its way to the same destination.

Running up to Cho’war

This led to a bit of comedy as the two groups managed to get mixed up and both groups ended up having members fall off the upper ramp on the way to Cho’war and getting turned around and lost.

Ula and I ended up at Cho’war on our own and managed to take him down.

There is Cho’war

Then we had to run back down to find where Fergorin and Beanpole had ended up.  Meanwhile, the Horde group was also running around trying to collect its members.  Ula and I ended up jumping down to the lower level and we all ran back up together.  Somehow, some distant memory of doing this years ago stuck with me and I remembered the route.

We arrived back at Cho’war, who is on a fast respawn, so were able to engage him again… only to find that we didn’t need to because the corpse from the first fight was still there.  We killed him again anyway, collected the key, then dropped down to the lower level and ran back across to Corki to free him for the final time.

Corki let loose again

There was, however, some strange lag going on, and only three of us got the update right away for releasing him.  As we sat around trying to figure out why Fergorin was left out of the update, it suddenly arrived, having been delayed somewhere, and updated him.

Fergorin’s fashionably late update

Then it was back out of the cave and… well, it would have been a perfect time to have a flying mount to just head off to the next quest… but instead we schlepped along on the ground.

The last quest on the list for the day was Gurok, and we had some trouble getting together on that one.  Fergorin had the quest to go get him already, but the rest of us did not.  We had to figure out where the quest came from, which turned out to have a pre-requisite quest, which the three of us had to do before we finally got ourselves caught up with Fergorin.

And then we had to find Gurok.

After some mis-direction at the Laughing Skull Ruins, we found out he was actually up on Warmaul Hill.  So we rode back on up there again to find the place to summon Gurok up on the peak of the hill.

Summoned, he was handled in rapid fashion.

Gurok summoned and slain

We turned that in, and that was the end of the road for me for the day.  But we still have a couple more possible quests in Nagrand.  I am not sure if that will be enough to get us to our goal, level 68 for the whole group.

But if it isn’t, then we’ll be off to the Blade’s Edge Mountains.

Flight in Pre-Patch Outland

Flying mounts were one of the big features of Burning Crusade back in the day.  There have been plenty of arguments since it was introduced as to whether or not it was a good idea or not, and Blizzard has spent a lot of time since trying to figure out how to put that genie back in the bottle.  But it has been part of the game since early 2007, so naturally I splurged the day it became available.

Flying unlocked

I will stipulate that flying changes the game… changes it dramatically.  Flying straight to your destination, bypassing anything in your way, that is a very different scenario after 67 levels of being stuck to the ground for all travels outside of what a flight path or a portal can offer.

I know it changes the game, but I also won’t eschew it and walk when I can fly.  I refer you to one of my favorite quotes:

Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.

Edward Castronova

Anyway, the rational economic calculator part of my brain was somewhat surprised at the price of flying.  Granted that our group gave most of Burning Crusade Classic a miss, it being everything I remembered and didn’t really enjoy back in the day, so we never got to the point of being able to buy flying mounts or the related skills this time around.

But with the Wrath Classic pre-patch hitting last week, suddenly flying was open to levels 60 and up.  Your level 60+ characters get a note inviting them to head over to Honor Hold where they can purchase the flying skill and mounts.  I was worried we might be priced out of flying.  But I forgot how much of a discount on these things came in with WotLK.

So, to start with, there is the fast riding skill.  Some of us were in a rush to get that and purchased that on alts before the patch.  Not I, however, and the price was suddenly pretty easy to bear.

Journeyman Riding in Honor Hold

45 gold.  That isn’t very much at all.

And then there was Expert Riding, which is they flying skill.

Expert Riding in Honor Hold

I am going to have to dig out the post from back in 2008 when our group back then finally hit level 70 and saved up to get our flying mounts in Outland.  I don’t remember how much it was, but I suspect it was more than 225 gold.  Granted, that number is based on your reputation, but still, it is a pretty reasonable ask.

And the mounts themselves… also not all the pricey.

Flying Mounts in Honor Hold

Of course, it wasn’t all cake and ice cream.  Artisan Riding… fast flying mount speeds… that remained pretty spendy.

Artisan Riding in Honor Hold

4,500 gold is more than I have all combined so far since the launch of WoW Classic.  I was happy to have the gold to buy into the quests to get my paladin’s charger, and that was slightly cheaper than just an epic mount and the skill.

Fortunately, I don’t really need to worry about Artisan Riding.  To start with, I do not yet have any characters at level 70, so I couldn’t buy it even if I could afford it.

Second, the moment we step into Northrend we’ll be back to ground mounts again anyway.  Better to save up for Cold Weather Flying at the back end of WotLK than to blow a bunch of gold now.

Then again, I could make that argument about flying in general.  Why bother if we’re just going to be back on the ground by the end of the month?

Well, being able to fly up and suck up elemental motes with my engineering mote-vac is useful and earns me a bit of gold at the auction house.

Up on a floating island in Nagrand

And it does help me get around and bypass mobs and other content that gets in the way of where I want to go and what I want to do… which includes mining nodes.

Exploration Achievement

It is certainly easier to be an exploration completionist when you can fly.  But that brings us to achievements, which also came in with the patch.  I might have some words on those as well.

But for now my main and my primary alts can fly around Outland.  That might even be more useful starting today, as the zombie plague event kicks off.  I recall being up in the air and away from the zombie crowds being a blessing.

Nagrand before the Wrath Pre-Patch

As I wrote on Tuesday, it had slipped my mind that the pre-patch for Wrath of the Lich King Classic was going to hit then.  So when we met up this past Sunday, I didn’t realize that it was going to be our last run in Burning Crusade Classic.

Once more in Nagrand

Not that Outland is going anywhere.  We still have a few weeks to go before we can move on to Northrend, and plenty of work to do in order to be prepared.  But with the pre-patch on Tuesday so much in the game changed… I had forgotten how much stuff came in with WotLK.

But I’ll get to all the changes next week.  For us it was another afternoon in Nagrand where we still had quests to finish… and ogres to kill.  So many ogres.

The main quest we had involved slaying 50 ogres, 25 warriors and 25 shaman.  In addition, there were ogre warbeads to collect.  Then there was Corki to find again… a series of rescue quests in the zone.  And there were also some elementals to be hunted down.  We met up in Telaar, where the flight point is.

Hanging out in central Telaar

We had a quest to turn in up at the Throne of Elements that got us all on the same page quest-wise, so we rode up there first.

From there it was a ride to find some ogres.  I recalled that the ones we wanted were down in a valley somewhere because, back in the day, I had spent a lot of time slaying them and collecting the warbeads for faction in order to be able to buy the talbuk mounts that the locals will sell you once you are exalted with them.  A lot of ogres died for those mounts.

We found them and, in doing so, actually ended up in a bit of a sweet spot.  There are two ogre caves, one at each end of the valley that runs below Halaa.  And, in the space between, there were groups of the elementals we needed to hunt.  So we set about going up and down the valley.

Ogre run around Halaa

We found plenty of ogres at each end of the run, both outside and in the caves.  The caves are, of course, identical in layout.  There is probably a ID number for that particular cave structure.  But there were ogres there, and that was what we needed.

Some dead ogres

We killed ogres at the south end, then elementals in the middle, then more ogres at the north end.  The northern cave also had Corki, who we freed once more.

Everybody confirms Corki

Then it was back to the elementals.  One set needed just five cores to drop.  But with four of us, that meant 20 total, and with TBC quest rules, the lower the number of drops you need, the more annoyingly low the drop rate is.

Still, we persisted and made it through.  Then it was back to the the Throne of Elements to turn the elemental quests in.  Then we made an arc around to Sundering Post, where we had some further elementals to clear out of the nearby lake.  There was also an escort quest for us in the middle of the town.

While the NPC did the usual routine of marching straight through town rather than skirting around danger, they at list didn’t go full Pengail on us and run straight towards every hostile within line of site.  (LOTRO is my baseline for escort quests, Sara Oakheart and Pengail being the slow and overly aggressive parameters.)  And we didn’t have to get the NPC very far before we were done.

Sure, sure, but will you stamp our book so we can redeem our coupon?

From there we made our way back around to Telaar and some more quest turn ins.  Along the way Ula and I both hit level 67.  Our levels at the end of that run will now stand as our high water mark for Burning Crusade Classic.

Where we stood at the end

The next time we get together… well, we will have some work to do.  Specs to work out, skills to buy, and perhaps some new mounts to purchase.  Northrend isn’t available to use yet, and we still have a set of quests to work through in Nagrand, but we’ll have a different view of the zone soon enough.

Flying unlocked

I was worried about how much expert riding and flying mounts would cost.  As it turns out, base flying isn’t all that much.  We can afford it.

Around Nagrand to Durn the Hungerer

This past weekend once again found the group together out in Nagrand.

Hanging out in Nagrand

As somebody pointed out in the comments last week, it really is the nicest zone in the expansion in a number of ways.  And, not the least of those ways is the quests, their organization, and quality.

Beanpole and I were on first and were eyeing the quest up the road from Telaar that has you grabbing an egg out of a tree for a hungry NPC.

Promise me a bit of gold and it is yours!

Wazat there wants one of the eggs up in the tree behind him there.  He also has the Jump-a-tron, a typically goblin device, that will bounce you up in the air and then let you slow fall down into the giant nest where the eggs are.  In theory.

In practice, the Jump-a-tron is kind of all over the map as a delivery mechanism.

Too far past the eggs again…

It is also a bit of a hazard if you aren’t paying close attention.  The Jump-a-tron gives you a three minute slow fall buff, which doesn’t refresh when you use it again if the buff is still active, so it is quite possible to get thrown in the air, have the buff expire, and come crashing down and die.

Saw it happen even as we were futzing around trying to figure this out.

I had not done this quest in so long that I had no real idea how to land in the nest, but a passing druid in flight form shouted, “no no no, jump off the cliff” at us, then flew on to where ever they were headed.  But the druid was right.  You get the buff, run up to the cliff that overlooks the tree, and ride on off.  If you do it right, you will land in the tree.

In the nest at last

It took a few tries, and I rode my charger off the cliff at least twice after the buff expired, but I managed to survive.  Once up there though, I wasn’t going anyway until Ula and Fergorin logged on.  I didn’t want to do that twice.

When the did log on though, they confirmed that they had done the quest already, so I grabbed one of the eggs, which summons the mama bird, which we then fought and defeated.  You get a nice cloak as a reward.

That got us all together and we rode back to Telaar to vacuum up all the quests there, which required a bit of quest journal management for some of us.  Our group was:

  • Ula – 66 mage
  • Fergorin – 66 paladin (holy)
  • Wilhelm – 66 paladin (protection)
  • Beanpole – 65 warlock

There had been a little bit of extra-curricular activity to get some of us to 66.  Ula got there last week and Wilhelm and Fergorin ran around in Zangarmarsh doing some now down-level quests for the cash and the xp, which still isn’t bad with the current buff.  Beanpole was still 65 and had been on vacation all last week, so was a bit behind.  But we had a sack full of quests and a free afternoon to work on that.

So we started on Telaar and moved clockwise around the map, hitting one target after another.  We found close by.

Tusker waiting for us

Then there was Gava’xi across the way.

All in on Gava’xi

There were some things to collect and mobs to kill around there before moving on around the map to Sunspring Post where we cleared out more mobs and set others on fire.

Questie sings out for us all

As you can see, I decided to load up the Questie AddOn, joining the rest of the group.  I actually got through all of vanilla without any quest AddOn help.  But then I was doing some quests in Zangarmarsh and got tired of trying to find things on my on and gave in.  I am more trying to get through Burning Crusade than experience it at this point, so it isn’t ruining my experience or immersion.

Then we had trolls in the hills, elementals around the Throne of Elements, then more trolls… and more trolls… and then some other guys whose taxonomy I cannot quite recall.  I only remember they were dropping marks of Kil’jaden.

And after all of that we were back at Telaar for the big quest turn-in.  I think I had 23 quests in my log when we set out and 7 after we cashed in and got fresh quests.

One of the quests we picked up was for Durn the Hungerer, who marches around in a great circle around Oshu’gun, just west of Telaar.  The quest said it needed five players, but we figured that meant five normal slackers, not advanced slackers like us.  So we decided to go out and do that as our last quest of the day.  It was right there.

Ready to waylay Durn

We got out there and found Durn and got him to a fairly open spot in his circuit, where adds didn’t seem to be a problem.  It was, “There he is, get him!” and off we went.

And we wiped.

But we were kind of just winging it, and we didn’t do too badly.  So we decided to give it another go.  We waited for Durn to walk all the way around again then, having buffed up and come up with a plan, went after him again.

This time it was close.

Working on Durn

I was out of all healing options by the time he got under 10% and died.  But the group carried on, getting him down to 3% health before Fergorin was down.  We had wiped again, but we were so close it felt like we could do it.

So we sat and waited for Durn to come around again.  As we waited, a level 67 hunter rolled up to us and wanted to join in.  We were fine with that.  We sat around, got ready, and killed off any mob that got anywhere close to us until Durn showed up once more.  In to battle once more.

I died once again, but Durn was almost down… and then he began evading, reset, and was full health again.  That sucked, but only I had died.

So it was time to wait yet again.  The fourth time we managed it, we brought him down.

Questie announces Durn is down

But we had a little help, a group of three had shown up as we were fighting and joined in, helping us bring him down.  That was fine with us.

The helpers around Durn

They asked if we could stick around and help them get Durn.  They had helped us and, even though the evening was wearing on and we thought we were done, we opted to help them, waiting for Durn to respawn.  We had picked a point where Durn shows up, so that was easy.

The next fight went well and we killed Durn again.  Happy days!

And then it turned out that Beanpole did not have the quest.  You need to be level 66 to get it and he was only 65.  I’m not sure why this didn’t come up before, but by this point he only had to kill a couple more mobs to hit 66.  So we asked the group that showed up if they would wait and help us kill Durn just one more time and they agreed.

So we waited for Durn to spawn then all went after him for a final go.  He went down with no complications.

Durn has had a busy day and is down for a nap

That done I thanked people for hanging out.  It is good to find nice people willing to help out in the game.

Hail and farewell

And then it was back to Telaar to turn that in and call it a day.

We still have some quests to do in Nagrand… there are still many ogres to be killed… so I suspect we’ll be back to finish them off.  We’re on a roll and the next zone on the list, the Blade’s Edge Mountains, isn’t anybody’s especial favorite, so why not stick around where it is nice.

Meeting up with Hemet Nesingwary in Nagrand

We decided we had had enough of Terokkar after our second visit.  We were a bit ahead of the curve in levels and wanted to move along to some place where we could do something simple, like some straight up kill quests, because we were a bit tired of things like the worg tail quest.

And next on the list of zones in Outland was Nagrand, and we all know who has set up camp there!  Yes, our fauna murdering pal Hemet Nesingwary.  So we set out to ride to Nagrand, which we approached through Zangarmarsh.

Leaving the fungus behind us

Just over the boarder on the road from Zangarmarsh is where the Nesingwary Expedition… or Safari or whatever they are in this iteration… has set up shop.

Hanging out in Nagrand

Hemet’s camp was, of course, tied up with the quest objective inflation that seemed to grip Blizzard with this expansion, so rather than the three quests of ten kills each for three different species… 90 kills total… we had two quests of 30 kills each for three species… 180 kills… waiting for us.

More is better, right?

But at least it was a simple set of goals, kill quests that we should be able to work our way through… if we could find enough mobs.  The thing with upping the count is that you really need to up the population as well.

The first round went pretty well.  They are all the closest to the camp and, fortunate for us, there were not many other people working on the same quests.  The population was adequate for us and a couple other people, but much more than that and we would have had to go pretty far afield to find enough mobs to fill out our sizable quota.

For the next round, which are not in the immediate vicinity, we ended up roaming far around the zone in search of our 90 kills.  That got us far enough out that we stopped in Telaar and got the flight point as well as picking up the one quest available to us there.

That got us side-tracked for a bit, but eventually we found our way around and picked off the last of the 90 mobs we needed for the second round.

When your group mates are all running Questie

Then it was back to Hemet’s camp for the final round, the named mobs, Gutripper, Bach’lor, and Banthar, who all lay in an arc along the road around the map.

We got slowed up a bit because one of the groups running the same set of quests started out on that arc just before we did, so we caught up to them just as they were slaying Gutripper.  But he respawned again soon enough.

Then it was around the map to Bach’lor, who we caught just as he respawned.

Questie lets you know when everybody has looted

Finally, it was on to Banthar, who wanders the area around the Oshu’gun mound.

Here we had a bit of trouble.  We had loaded up on quests from the Consortium along the way, so when we found Banthar’s corpse, we went off to do one of those other quests.  But Banthar respawns fast.  As soon as we saw him we ran over to tag him.   However, we ended up with a bunch of adds, and Banthar himself was no slouch.  The old freeze and burn AOE trick turned on us and Ula went down.

We fought on for a bit, and managed to get Banthar down, but we still had a some adds to deal with and I ended up dead on the ground as well.

Out in the Oshu’gun field lay Bathar

Fergorin, a paladin, ressed me, but there were still hostile mobs running around, including Banthar respawned.  He ended up stomping Fergorin down as Beanpole and I ran around trying to stay alive.  I barely had any health left before I finally was out of combat and able to sit down to drink and eat and get a ress onto Fergorin.

We got ourselves back together and out of the clefthoof traffic circle and back to camp, where were collected our various rewards.

Back at Hemet’s camp

With a little bit of time left, we went over to the Throne of Elements and picked up some of the quests there, including the poop quest.  Pro tip:  Turning down the ground cover density in the settings will make the poop piled much easier to find.

Look, poop! Also, compare the grass density here with the pic above

That all took us a few hours, with an interruption here and there.  We did all end up well into level 65, so we made progress towards our goal.  But at the rate of a level a week or so, we might be skirting it kind of close in our attempt to get to level 70 before Wrath of the Lich King Classic shows up… though we will get to play with the new talent trees when the pre-patch hits on August 30th.

Fast and Slow in Terokkar Forest

The group picked back up again on Sunday in its quest to get to level 70, carrying on from where we left off in Terokkar Forest.  We left off last week with the quest to head on down to Allerian Stronghold, which is the big quest hub for the zone.

Terokkar Forst so far

Allerian Stronghold also has a flight point, so as we straggled on to the game we rode on down and met at the flight master to make sure everybody clicked on that.

Meeting up by the flight master

After that, it was time to roam around the place to vacuum up the quests available.  This was the era of peak quest hub density and I think we must have had a dozen quests before we headed on out to start completing them.

Some of our quest choices

There was some variety in the mix.  We had to find somebody, explore something else, slaughter some minions one place, slay some named in another, and collect things… Olemba seeds, which are on the ground and worg tails, which are attached to the worgs that wander the forest.

There were four of us as usual, though we had a change out.  Moronae the druid, who ran with us last week, got swapped for Beanpole the warlock as we continued to try and work out what group we should take into Northrend.  So no druid buff, but we did get health stones… once Beanpole remembered how to make them.

I don’t think I have done anything in Terokkar Forest since I was going for the Loremaster title back in 2014.  It is very much of the mold of the expansion, which I have complained about in the past.

The odd thing is that, in doing it as a group, some aspects get smoothed over.  For example, we had to meet up with Private Weeks (no relation to Honeysuckle), who sends you into a hot spot to first scout while in disguise, then to go in and slay various mobs.

Our man Weeks

I recall doing this solo, as a paladin, back in the day and that it was a pain in the butt.  A somewhat constrained space with lots of mobs not very well spaced out, with some walkers roaming about to keep things interesting, meant that it was easy to get in over your head inadvertently.

But with four of us grinding things down it was a snap.  Or was a snap when we could remember to stick together.  We have a bit of a habit of wandering off and getting into trouble.  It makes life hard on the healer.  We were able to get through that fairly well and without loss.

Other quests though, they are made worse by the presence of a group.  For example, the worg tails mentioned above.  Those are drops and we all needed 12.  However, they don’t drop as often as one would hope.  I would estimate less than 50% of the time a tail came up.  So we needed 48 tails but probably killed a lot more worgs than that while we were on.

More worgs

I didn’t even get all my worg tails before we were done for the day and logged back on during the week to collect the remaining four.  I just wish one of us had been a skinner.  There were a lot of worg corpses to clear up.

The Ombra seeds were not so bad, once we realized they were in the little blue pod on the ground.  They were scattered all over and we seemed to take it in turns to focus on grabbing them, so one person would finish then somebody else would take over.

We also stopped to catch Beanpole up on the quests he missed last week, which meant slaying the moths again.  Another very low drop rate.

Die moth, die!

Overall though we managed to carry on and made some decent progress with the xp boost in effect.  Ula was the first of the group to hit 65, and the rest of us are pretty close behind.  We managed to get through most of the first round of quests and picked up some of the next round, which sent us into the Bone Wastes for a simple kill quest.  That was incentive enough.

So we’re carrying on.  I remain mixed on the whole expansion.  Also, I had forgotten what Khadgar looked like

I met Khadgar in a later expansion and… he didn’t look like that

I have been mostly holding off and trying to level with the group, so when I have a bit of time I get out my hunter, who is level 63 at this point and… well… I remember why a hunter was my main alt back in the day.  Send in the pet, stand back and shoot, let things sort themselves out… it is relaxing compared to the paladin, and the paladin is stronger in Outland than he was back in vanilla.

Of course the hunter is still short a bag in order to hold ammo and has to keep food around for his pet, so he is always short of inventory space.  But he is much easier to play over all.