Tag Archives: Hellfire Peninsula

Through the Dark Portal at Last

All the tension and the build-up and what not over the last two weeks since the pre-patch came to a head yesterday at 3pm my time.

The date finally arrived

I had logged in earlier in the day and set my hunter Tistann up on the rim of the vale where the Dark Portal lay.  About ten minutes before “go time” I logged back in to see the crowd assembled.  It honestly didn’t seem that bad.

The portal awaits

What that picture doesn’t really show is the size of the scrum down in the vale, clustered around where the quest giver with the intro quest would show up.  But all I had to do was get closer to see how dense the throng was.

Nobody was wearing a mask either

There were still technically a couple minutes to go before the 3pm start time, but people were already running towards the portal.  The quest giver was apparently up somewhere in the scrum of people.

There is a quest giver in there somewhere

I am not sure how I managed to click on the quest giver… I certainly couldn’t pick him out of the crush of players, but I managed it and got the quest.

I’ve got a golden ticket!

After that if was time to head through the portal.  I didn’t even get back on my mount.  I started to click it but I couldn’t see myself in the mass and started to move too soon, so I just turned on Aspect of the Cheetah and hoofed it through the portal.  My screen shot time stamp says I made it into Outland at 2:58:41pm Pacific Time.

On the far side there was an almost comic stream of characters running through the portal, pooling up at each quest giver, then moving on to the next.  The last step there was the flight master who was launching gryphons like a machine gun, sending people off to Honor Hold.

Fly my pretties! Off to Honor Hold

At the far end I was in the stream of flights dropping people in Honor Hold.  The stream was non-stop for a while.  I wish I had setup to record a video of it, as it was just one of those things that you only ever seen at moments like this.

Coming in to Honor Hold

Once there I found the quest giver, once again buried in a mass of players, then went around and found the skinning trainer, the leatherworking trainer, and the cooking trainer.  The latter confused me for a moment.  You don’t get trained, you buy a training book from him.

And then I went back to the inn and logged off for a while.  Having refreshed my memory of the starting quests in the beta, I knew there was going to be a huge competition for mobs as the “bowling ball through a python” mass of players tried to move in parallel into the expansion.  As fun as the first night of WoW Classic was, I wasn’t up for standing in line or fighting over spawns.  I went off to do other things.

When I logged back in a couple hours later things had calmed down.  Blizzard had reported a DDoS attack about 45 minutes after the launch, but it appeared to have been cleared up by then.

Honor Hold had calmed down considerably… which is to say it was still full of people and when I went out to do a couple of the initial quests there were still a lot of people out in the field with me, but it wasn’t completely crazy.

As far as I could tell our server, Bloodsail Buccaneers, didn’t have a queue and wasn’t showing any lag, but it is also the RP-PvE server, so not the most popular in the batch.

It will no doubt remain busy for a while though and I expect that we might see queues come the weekend as those without a lot of free time during the week get stuck into the expansion.

Meanwhile, back on Azeroth, Ironforge was deserted.  I literally saw zero players in the usually active area between the bank and the auction house.

They’ve all gone off

Stormwind was likewise feeling like a ghost town, though its proximity to the Dark Portal meant a few people could be spotted now and then.

Burning Crusade Classic has landed at last.  Outland lays before us, and everybody who could get through the portal last night apparently went.

Addendum:  I didn’t have the foresight to record video, but Ula did.

Some nice images of the opening moments in that video. (Also a blog post about it.)

Meanwhile, there are already players at level cap.  I think my hunter ended up 10% into level 60.

Whither Outland?

After finishing up the 1-60 achievements for my Loremaster project, culminating with the Bloodmyst Isle run, I hit a bit of wall in my effort.  I can be a very goal oriented person, but once the goal has been achieved I sometimes drop right off.  So while I had a lot of fun going through all of the zones I had not previously finished after Cataclysm, I was now facing a new goal in the form of another set of zones in Outland.  Five of the seven level 60-70 zones from The Burning Crusade,waited for me.

Outland Map

Outland Map

Those five zones held a total of 434 quests to be done.

  • 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

After Bloodmyst Isle I was not ready to face that, so I slept for a bit.  My WoW play time pretty much dropped off a cliff.  If it had not been for Darkmoon Faire, it might have dropped to zero.

But this week revived my spirits a bit.  With the release date announcement coming, I knew it would also put a limit on how much time I had to screw around with old stuff before the fresh, new expansion fun began.  So the question had to be answered: How was I going to deal with Outland?

The easiest path was to just dig through some of my higher level characters who had already made it through the expansion and use them to finish up whatever zones they were close to being done with.  I have characters that are within 25 quests of being done for the first three of the zones listed.  That would rush me through some of it, but would leave me two zones I left to run.

The downside of that plan is the fact that running zones with a high level takes a lot of the fun out of things.  One shotting mobs gets old… and annoying when you have a quest that requires you to get them down to 20% health and apply a gizmo to them… and is a sure fire way to turn the whole thing into a numbers game.

The other option was to draw from a set of characters I had ready for Outland… I ended up my 1-60 run with a level 58 Monk, a level 59 Warrior, and a Level 61 Rogue… press through the early bits… I already have Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh done… and take on the zones at level.

The real upside to this plan, beyond doing the quests at level so as to feel some connection to things, is that it feels like it might be a perfectly timed review of the Outland content before Warlords of Draenor shows up and presents a different view of these zones.

A Better Draenor vs. Outland map

Draenor vs. Outland map

To test this out I brought my level 61 Rogue, Trianis, through the portal… soon to be “the old portal” I suppose, though with time travel it might just be “the other portal” or some such… to see if I was really ready.

On a bombing mission before we had the whole vehicle thing...

On a bombing mission before we had the whole vehicle thing…

Things went okay, though my good feelings were mitigated by a couple of factors.

The first was that Hellfire Peninsula is literally the most familiar place in Outland for me.  As the starting, kick-off zone, I have been through at least the first half of it with every single character over 60, just to gear up some before running instances if nothing else.  So I knew the story, I knew which quests out of the big pile to do in which order to avoid retracing my steps repeatedly, I knew where the named mobs hung out even without the little skull on the mini-map,  and I knew exactly where to find those damn prayer beads for the exorcism.  (Not to mention what to do during the exorcism, which is confusing even if you have read the quest text.)

Plus, having hit level 60, I had the skill and access to a wide selection of flying mounts, so I was able to avoid pounding back and forth through the same mobs.

And, being a rogue helps.  The whole stealth thing lets you bypass trash and get straight to the point.  Plus, at level 60, I got the “I Win!” button… or skill.

Cloak and Dagger...

Cloak and Dagger…

I chose this skill after hitting level 60 because… well… it is yet another reason why people who don’t play rogues hate them.

I just have to stealth myself within 40 yards of my target and activate one of my “Hey, surprise, gotcha!” skill and I am teleported directly behind the mob and get that first attack pretty much for free.  And with at level mobs, my pair of heirloom weapons, and a crit, that can be a one-shot kill.  Even I hate me for having access to that sort of skill.

So I was able to carve a path through the zone, upgrade his gear, and get him to level 62 in fairly short order.  Now I have to find my way to the starting quest for Terokkar Forest, the first zone on the list.  My memories are pretty sparse when it comes to that zone.  There are some blood elves and a big spider, right?

Yeah, that one...

Yeah, that one…

That screen shot was taken back in 2008.

We shall see if I have a pre-WoD tour of Outland in me.  If I can get on that bicycle, there will be a few more zone touring posts.

Three Zones Through the Outlands

The Outlands occupy a strange place now in World of Warcraft.  They represent a hurdle between classic Azeroth and the current destination location of Northrend.  Most people, it seems, don’t want to get to the Outlands, they just want to get past them.

Put me on that list as well, I guess.

My daughter, my mother, and myself have been lingering in the Outlands for a couple of months.  This slow progress has been mostly because my daughter spends a lot of her time distracted making alts, figuring out how to get on top of buildings, and taming new pets for her hunter.

Once in a while though she is driven to actually concentrate on her main character for a bit.  And so it was, a couple of  Sundays back, when she suddnely declared she had hit level 68 and was now ready to venture into Northrend.

That meant there was some catching up to be done!

I was not horribly far behind, sitting around level 65.  I had been through the Hellfire Peninsula quests and was working my way through Zangarmarsh.

A diligent weekend afternoon got me through Zangarmarsh, after which I jumped to Nagrand, which seemed most appropriate for my level.  And then another couple of focused hours in Nagrand got me to 68 and ready to ascend to Northrend.

So three zones worth of content was about enough.

I did divert into Terokkar and the Blade’s Edge Mountains for a couple of “go talk to…” quests, but never ran down the follow-ons.

I also ran one and a half instances with the dungeon finder.  And the half instance was barely that, as I got kicked because, as healer, I couldn’t keep the level 61 tank alive when he pulled full rooms of mobs in the Steamvault.  The group did me a favor on that one.  Good luck to the next healer, I thought, if a level 67 resto spec’d druid running HealBot can’t keep this guy alive.

So there were some other sources of experience, but not enough that I would have had to visit another zone.  I left Nagrand with quests left on my plate.

And so I left The Burning Crusade for Wrath of the Lich King.

I knew the Outlands had more content than needed to get you from 60 to 70, but when you only have to get to 68, you pretty much shave off a whole zone or so worth of content.

And when you can fly at level 60, even the run through those few zones goes pretty quickly.

Now just another seven levels until I can fly again.

Alting in Hellfire

Saturday night found us one player short. Bung was out with some sort of contagious crud. So we decided it might be a good night for working on alts.

Unfortunately, while our main group is fairly well coordinated when it comes to being able to work as a team, our alts are a little more chaotic. So this is who we had roving Hellfire Peninsula on Saturday night.

59 Warrior – Scscla
60 Hunter – Nodens
64 Hunter – Tistann
70 Warrior – Earlthecatwo

Tistann is my own hunter alt, while Nodens is Skronk’s. Scscla (pronounced on Skype as “shizz-ill-uh” and not “scuzz-claw”) is Ula’s gnome warrior alter ego. And Earlthecatwo is Earlthecat’s… well… level 70 warrior alt. Earl can be a binge player at time, so his alt hit 70 a while back, has a flying mount (which we got to see finally) and is doing the daily quests to grind cash for his epic flying mount.

Between us and out pets, we had lots of tanking, plenty of DPS, no healing unless you count pet healing, and not many other options.

We briefly discussed our potential for doing Hellfire Ramparts, but decided we had best stick to group quests.

On the plus side, Earl and Tistann had not done any of the group quests in Hellfire Peninsula.

The downside was that Sccla and Nodens were not yet eligible for those quests.

I read the 10 Commandments of Altitis yesterday and thought perhaps an 11th ought to be something along the lines of “if you plan to do more than solo with your alt, you might try to plan alts with your friends.”

Not that that is what alts are about, but here we were at the picnic and everybody ignored instructions and brought potato salad.

So we got together to just plow through some level 60-ish quests together.

At the time the experience for killing mobs did not seem to bad, running to 250-300 exp per.

However, when I thought about it, I realized that, solo, these guys were 1000-1200 exp. I think the fact that we were playing LOTRO the night before and were killing light blue and green mobs for a quest, 19-27 exp per kill, might have colored my perception.

There was much node harvesting as we quested and Tistann, who is a leatherworker, made out well skinning ravagers and boars.

And Scscla hit level 60. Always a landmark level.

We still have not decided our path for next week.

Through The Portal Lightly

Last week, as part of the off-night activities, most of the instance group brought their characters through the dark portal and into the Outlands. I got to see that the portal looks just like it does in the splash screen:

tbcportal.png

The trip was something of a celebration of one year of The Burning Crusade, something of a celebration of one year of Potshot, something of a lack of real goals for the night, and something of a desire for new goodies!

Okay, it was mostly about new goodies.

We went in and did about six quests, each one of which handed out an item at the end that was so obviously superior to the equipment we had in the same slot that there were no questions asked in trading up.

Go us!

Not that the new shiny equipment made our Saturday instance crawl any easier (more on that later this week), but it was nice to have.

However, this was not my first trip into the Outlands. No, I ventured in about a week before. Not in search of shiny new gear, because at that point we had not, as a group, made the decision to do that, but for shiny new skills.

Vikund, my paladin, is a miner and an engineer and I had managed, at last, to get both of those skills to the pre-TBC cap of 300. That meant I needed a trip through the portal to train to the next level.

So I went exploring on my own.

I made it to Honor Hold and got my first glimpse of the strange Outlands sky.

vikinoutlands.png

That, and the stuff that comes flying out of the sky.

tbcincoming.png

As I stood there, about a dozen of these things hit the town. I did not see anybody actually get smacked full-on by one of them, but I staggered around stunned for a bit after a near miss.

Gaff showed up while I was out there and showed off his druid flight form, which he has had for almost a year now.

nerralflightform.png

I was really impressed. It looked like as much fun as he described back when he got it.

I was so impressed I got out my level 33 druid later that night. Then I saw nothing but Stranglethorn Vale quests in his log and put him away again. Maybe later.

After that, I ran around and found my trainers, mined a little bit of Fel iron, and then headed back to Stormwind with my new skill caps.

vikprofs2.png

Of course, I am getting close on fishing and cooking now as well. I will have to make a trip out for those skills as well.