Tag Archives: Wetlands

Deadmines Preparation and Some More Travel

While we knocked out our first instance, we still are not quite settled as a group.  After running Jeepy the mage in Ragefire Chasm, Bung wanted to try out a druid.  This led to something in a shift of who was playing what.

Basically, what I will call the “small council,” Skronk, Ula, and I, decided that going without a mage would be bad.  Not only is the mage arguably the best DPS in a group, but there is also a ton of utility that comes with a mage, from food to transport to crowd control.  We would feel naked without a mage.

So Scscla, our Ragefire Chasm tank, was sent to the bench as Ula the mage came in for the team.

That meant we needed tank and the feeling is that only a warrior will do.  Until Earl is settled… still in transition to Japan with most of his stuff still in a shipping container on a boat somewhere… I pulled out my fourth alt, Viniki the gnome warrior.  Poor Chad was going to be on the bench as well.  Too bad.  He was feeling like he had a personality to me.

The changes, in turn, meant making sure we were on the right path to the Deadmines in Westfall.  With five active alts having run into the zone I am now a bit hazy on who has been where.  Viniki, it turned out, was reasonably far along.  He was at the Defias messenger stage of the lead in, which meant standing around in Moonbrook until he popped.

Outside the blacksmith’s shop

The first time I did this I ran it from memory.  But my memory was from a less busy time, when there wasn’t something of a queue waiting to kill the messenger, so he would actually have time to wander up and down the road between Moonbrook and the quarry.

There is also a bunch of running back and forth, both to keep you busy as well as to introduce you to another zone, Redridge in this case, before you get back to Gryan Stoutmantle.  At that point you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle if you don’t read his quest text… or maybe even if you do.  He doesn’t give you another quest, he just tells you to go talk to somebody.  But, if you’re like me and it is the last quest you do in the evening before you log out, you might not get what you need to do next.

I had to go do that step with a second character to get the quest text, as once it is gone it is gone.

The Defias Traitor

That isn’t a lot to go on, especially since the Defias traitor is likely nowhere in sight.

Just hanging about Sentinel Hill, nothing special here

It is another quest, like the Defias messenger, where there is one NPC and if somebody else is using him you’ll have to wait your turn.  It just seems odd that Blizz didn’t put in a linking quest from Gryan to the traitor, just to remind you of what you need to do.  I mean, the traitor isn’t too far off.

There he is, back from another walk to the Deadmines

And he does have a quest available marker above his head.  But if you’re like me and you’ve done all the other quests you’ve been handed, your quest log might be empty when it comes to Westfall, and some of us older players need a reminder.

Ah well, Classic is as Classic does.

The plan was to get everybody to the Defias traitor, as that is the lead-in to the instance if I recall right, and you want to be on that quest chain because otherwise Gryan won’t shout out your name to the whole zone.

Having gotten that lined up, both Viniki and Ula needed to get a couple levels as the guild target was level 18 to go forward.  With Westfall pretty much done we headed to Loch Modan with Skronk’s hunter in tow, since Skronk was already set in levels.

It has long been my habit to run both the Stormwind and Ironforge quest zones, and Viniki has a a few on the list there while Ula had a mage class quest in the zone as well.  So we spent some time slaying troggs, finding all of the tools Bingles lost, getting supplies to Ironband’s expedition, which has that odd surprise aspect that triggers an event when you arrive at the quest target, and a few other items along the way.

Then, for kicks, we decided to visit the ogres.  There are a couple of quests flagged as “elite” that involve bagging some elite ogres for one and a named ogre for another.  As there were three of us, we figured we could give it a try.

Flushing ogre brutes out of a cave

It was one of those things that, for the three of us, a single elite ogre wasn’t so bad.  The brutes were a bit brutal, but the others were no big deal.   Pairs of them though… well, when the tank yells “run” you should run.

And then run back to where it all happened

If we had had Skronk the priest along for heals it would have been a walk over, but a tank and two DPS meant getting things done with only a lesser healing potion for backup if there were adds or other issues.  Only one death, but we were dissuaded from going after the named ogre without heals.

We decided to take the path across Stonewrought Dam to turn in the quest, which had us stumble across another quest.  This is the thing about WoW Classic, there are proto-quest hubs, but there are a lot of rogue quests just out and about as well.  This had us checking up on the Darkiron dwarves hanging about the dam, then sent us off to the Wetlands.  So, after turning things in, off we went, letting the game guide our adventure.

At levels 16-18 the Wetlands were not a problem, not for three of us anyway.  I wasn’t keen to go chasing herbs in the middle of the local orc camp that Skronk saw on tracking, but on the road we were fine.

True dat

We got the turn in for the dam quest, which sent us back to Loch Modan, but we had also picked up a quest along the way that sent us to Menethil Harbor.  Since two of us needed the flight point there anyway, it seemed like a good plan to just keep on running that way.  We could always fly back.

Across the Wetlands

At Menethil Harbor we picked up the flight point and turned in the quest, but also found another quest that sent us off to Theramore Island, the Alliance outpost on the eastern side of Kalimdor.  Well, the boat to Theramore was there, so why not keep on rolling?

Once there, we grabbed that flight point, turned in the quest, and then decided to see if the run to Ratchet from there was viable.  Going via Theramore was one of our possible routes to Orgrimmar for our Ragefire Chasm run.

Routes to Orgrimmar

We gave up on that route at level 13 as being too dangerous, but at 17 or so…  well, it was still pretty dangerous.  The mobs were still level “skull” to us, but so long as they picked on Viniki we seemed able to outrun their interest in us.  When they went after Ula though, things were less happy.

That did not go well

We were able to get through with just that one death, though we had to learn the lesson about just sticking to the road in the Dustwallow Marsh, as Ula tried to take a direct route as a ghost and ended up getting funneled the wrong way for a bit.  But we eventually arrived at the Shady Rest Inn, where the sign promised refreshments.

Viniki could go for a short beer

The inn itself however did not live up to the promise of the sign.

Not at all like the pictures on the Airbnb site

I especially like the skeleton against the tree, its skull pinned to the tree with a knife.

There is a quest that sends you to the Shady Rest Inn at some point, that shield on the chimney being part of it if I recall correctly.  But that is for later levels.  We were into The Barrens, just a simple run up to Ratchet.

That was when we were reminded just how big The Barrens really is.  This is a zone on the scale of a couple of the Karana zones in EverQuest.  There is a reason they split it into two distinct zones with Cataclysm.  Running from what was not nearly the southernmost point to Ratchet, which is well shy of the northern end, was a bit of a hoof.  We made it without incident, save for a level 24 hyena jumping us at the southern end of the run, and ran into Ratchet to pick up the flight point there and take the boat across again to Booty Bay.

The boat was pulling in just as we arrived… we missed it

Across the water in Booty Bay we picked up our last flight point for the day, rounding out another travel adventure.  However, on seeing the price of a flight from Booty Bay to Stormwind (6 silver? Am I made of coin?), we opted to use our hearthstone to return home.

Recalling from the roof

Viniki and Ula got far enough along to be in the zone for Deadmines and I was able to work on a bit of the warrior tanking skills.  The hope is to be able to run the instance this coming weekend.

And I still have to get back to Stonewrought Dam to finish off that quest line that sent us off across the world.

The Journey to Orgrimmar and Ragefire Chasm

It could be a three-parter, called ‘Ruler of the Bracelet’. The first part would be called ‘The Brotherhood of the Bracelet’, followed by ‘A Couple of Towers’, with the climactic ending called ‘Hey, the King’s Back!

-The end of the best joke from the /silly command

Like the vision in that joke, this too will be a three-parter, largely because I started writing about the beginning before we had reached the end, and the end ended up being further down the road… both in time, events, and words written… than I expected.  But it all started with a plan.

Yes, we had a plan.

It was a flawed plan, based on incorrect information, assumptions, and some blind optimism, but it was a plan none the less.

In its most simple form, the plan was to get together and run the Ragefire Chasm instance.

We were still fumbling to get ourselves organized, and Earl was still getting set up in Japan, but we were also getting a little tired of just hanging around, working on alts, and holding ourselves back to the first half of Westfall so as not to get to strung out in levels.

In that regard Ragefire Chasm has an advantage.  In the ranking of dungeons by level RFC, as I will call it from now on, comes in before the Deadmines, being rated for levels 13-18.  We figured we could get in and do that and not spoil the level spread.  So I put up a a target in the guild MOTD for people to be levels 13-14 in anticipation of running RFC this past weekend.

That was the simple plan.  The actual requirement to accomplish this was somewhat more complex.

RFC is in Orgrimmar, a Horde city, home of the Orcs and Trolls.  RFC is located fairly deep in Orgrimmar, so getting there is a challenge… and all the more so if you want to get there at level 14 or so.  Still, we had done it before so naturally assumed we could do it again.  Piece of cake, details to be worked out later.  The target to do this was this past Saturday.

Skronk, Ula, and I were on early to start scouting things out.  One of the items that came to mind the night before was one we had overlooked up to that point.  How do we get to Orgrimmar?

A bit of discussion shook out three possible routes.

Routes to Orgrimmar

We were starting from Stormwind, and the first that came to mind was to take the boat from Booty Bay to Ratchet on Kalimdor.  From there is it just a short run up to Orgrimmar.  The problem is that getting to Booty Bay requires running/swimming the length of Stranglethorn Vale.  At levels 13-16, the level range of possible characters in our guild, that was going to be tough.  Not impossible, but the likelihood of dying a few times was high.

The second option was to take the boat from Menethil Harbor over to Theramore.  The run from Theramore to Orgimmar is about twice that of the run from Ratchet, but that still isn’t all that far.  That had two obstacles.   First, there is the need to do the reverse Wetlands run to get to Menethil Harbor.  That isn’t so bad at our levels and once you get there you get the flight point that connects to Ironforge, so you need never do it again.  The second problem was the run through Theramore, which is a higher level zone that Stranglethorn Vale, which to my mind made it more problematic that the first plan.

After hashing those out for a bit, the third route was hatched, to take the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine in Darkshore and run the length of Darkshore, then through Ashenvale, into the Barrens, and finally to Orgrimmar.  That had the Wetlands run again, but as I said you only have to do that once.  But it also had the longest run through Kalimdor, much further than the other two options.  However, I figured it was also the safest.  Darkshore is about Westfall in level range, and Ashenvale is the next zone after that, so not a big jump in levels.  Plus, Ashenvale feeds Alliance players in at one end and Horde players in at the other, so the lowest level mobs are at the ends, with the high levels spread out across the middle, reducing exposure.

While nobody was happy about the longer run, it did seem the most viable path.  We set about scouting it.  Ula and Skronk made the run to Menethil Harbor and then took the boat to Auberdine, taking a side trip to search out a quest for a staff for Ula.

I chose my character for the venture.  Having had another week go by I had run up another alt.  This time I rolled up a human rogue on something of a whim, giving me one each of all the non-cloth caster classes for the Alliance.  I named him Chadwicke, looking for some variation on “Chad” I could roll with, since rogues have something of a reputation so I thought I might play on that with some of the “Virgin vs. Chad” meme stuff.

Honestly, the real reason I made a rogue was that we got a couple of the Defias mask drops in Westfall last week, which is about the first bit of head gear you can get in WoW.  There aren’t many options until about level 26 or so.  For whatever reason, I wanted to wear that mask, but it is rogue only and bind on pickup.  So I had to roll up a rogue to get one.  And once I had one I was in the level range of the group.

Chad Masked

I wasn’t too sure how far I was going to go with Chad.  Rogues have been problematic for me in the past.  But once I did his class quest at level 10 and trained him into dual wield he was destroying mobs one on one. (I was doing that during the Reavers entosis op at one point.)  That sold him for me, so I decided he should go on the run to RFC.

I stripped him down… you put all your gear in your bags to keep them from being damaged if you die, and this trip was going to see a lot of deaths I figured, so I was down to my skivvies the whole way… and sent him on his way through Loch Modan and through the Wetlands, a run made easier by his rogue abilities.

I’ll just stealth by that orc thank you

He was into the Wetlands and on his way, saying the tagline I had picked out for him, for which I made a macro.

Roll on brother Chad

That won’t get old I am sure.

He made it to Menethils Harbor without incident and was soon waiting on the dock for the boat to Auberdine.

Mask bros at the dock

I took the boat, passed by Ula and Skronk, who were headed over to Darnassus as part of a quest or something, and started the run to Orgrimmar.

Darkshore is, as the name implies, rather dark, but the sun began to shine through once Chad made it to Ashenvale.

Sunny days again for Chad

Ashenvale was a hoof, but there wasn’t much in the way of danger.  There were a few ?? mobs off in the distance, but nothing came to get me.  I picked up the flight point at Anastaar, then realized I had forgotten to get the one at Auberdine.  Something to go back for later.  I just stuck to the roads and followed the signs.

This must be the way

Once you get to the boarder between Ashenvale and The Barrens, the road veers right and leads straight into a Horde fortification with guards and such.  Dangerous stuff for a low level Alliance player.

Horde customs and immigration check point

Fortunately, there is an obvious path off to the left that leads to a hole in the ramparts.

They built a wall and tried to make the Alliance pay for it

From there I just cut across The Barrens towards Durotar… dying once because I got a mob on me and forgot I was without my gear… running up to the back door of Orgrimmar, which is across a bridge over the Southfury River.

Bridge to Orgrimmar

Up until that point, everything had been going great.  We had been on for a couple of hours, Bung and his son were set to log in and join us to round out the group.  Ula was swapping out to her warrior alt Scscla to tank for us, Skronk was a dedicated holy priest set to heal, and Chad was there to help DPS.  We just had to get everybody out to where I was to begin the assault on Orgrimmar.

That is the topic for tomorrow’s post.

I Know Why the Night Elf Runs

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I have been working on three characters, with one going through each of the starter areas.  The third of these… the only one I didn’t roll up on opening night… was a night elf druid.

None of the starter areas are new to me.  I ran through them all at least a few times before Cataclysm hit and changed everything.  But of the three Teldrassil, the home of the night elves, has always been my least favorite, so I wasn’t sure I was going to roll up something there.  But I did want to make a druid, I like healing as a druid more than as a priest or pally for whatever reason, and a night elf is your only choice for druids on the alliance.

But starting in Teldrassil doesn’t mean you have to stay there.  The joke that isn’t a joke has always been about the run across the Wetlands that young night elves make to get to the other starter areas.  The snowy Dun Morogh of the dwarves might be a bit chilly for night elves showing up in their form fitting elf shorts.

Such muscle tone and such tight shorts

But Elwyn Forest and Westfall, that is where everybody wants to end up.  It is a nice zone, your friends are probably there already, and it starts the quest line that culminates in the Deadmines.

So my early plan with the druid was to get a few levels and then try to make the run across the Wetlands.

And then I started thinking about where I might find a druid trainer and whether or not I had to be around Darnassus to get my class quest and the Moonglade teleport skill and decided not to be in too much of a hurry to get out of Teldrassil.   Instead I decided to stick it out to level 10 so I could get my animal forms and all that.

So it was time to get to it.  The first few quests around Shadowglen are fine.  I had done them during the load test and, since opening night had passed, there wasn’t a huge crowd with which to contend.  A quick group in the spider caves was the only time I really had to work with anybody.

But then it was time to go to Dolanaar.

I don’t know what it is, but almost every quest in Dolanaar brings out this low level sense of dread in me, a voice in the back of my head that says, “Oh no, not this quest.”  Only it is for almost every single quest.  I’d pick one up and think, “Should I just run through the Wetlands instead?”

The first guy you run into you end up tricking

Which is odd, because the actual quests… well… aren’t so bad.  Mostly.  The ordering of the quests and the locations of the quest givers are probably not sorted out in the way a modern game designer would do it.  But that goes for all the zones.  There is a theme of having a low level quest that send you into a high level area now and again just to keep you on your toes.

There is, however, a lot of running in Teldrassil, and it feels like much more than the other two zones.  I started to work on a map with a series of arrows to show all the back and forth a young night elf has to do… including trips back and forth between Dolanaar and Darnassus which take a while… but I ended up with a blur of lines on the page obscuring the locations.

Here I am on the road again though

My working theory on why people leave Teldrassil began to include the idea that making the dash to Ironforge might actually involve less running than just sticking around.  You certainly start to feel that hour long cool down on being able to use your hearthstone.  If it were 20 minutes like current WoW you might be able to short cut some of those trips.  But with an hour timer, you save it until you need it and just make the run yet again.

And, of course, there are a few brutal quests.  Running into the Ban’ethil Barrow Den is a challenge, to the point that I wonder if they considered making it a real instanced dungeon at one point.

Looks welcoming on the outside…

You have to run in, find a few objects, get a drop, find a guy, and so on, all while in constrained tunnels and dealing with the sudden waves of respawns that mean you have to continually clear where you are and the path to where you want to be.

It was a good place to group up and I was happy to find a random group invite waiting for me before I had made it too far.  I returned the favor by clarifying how the quests down in the hole worked.

I didn’t say it was difficult, I just knew the answer

But I got through all the running and the tunnels and the various quests in Teldrassil, hit level 10, and ran off to the druid trainer in Darnassus who gave me the Moonglade teleport spell along with the usual “go talk to a guy” instructions.  I figured I was set.  I would go there, do a thing, get my updates, and move on.

But I have forgotten so much about the druid path.  It has been a long time.  While you go do a thing in Moonglade, you then have to travel to Auberdine in Darkshore to pick up the class quest thread.  What to say about Darkshore?  The locals are a bit of a pain.

Just another day on the beach

And it doesn’t measure up to Westfall or Loch Modan in my mind, but it wasn’t completely empty.  Not every night elf makes the run through the Wetlands.

The word of Poncho reaches to Auberdine

The more annoying thing was that I had used my hearthstone to cover yet another run from Dolanaar to Darnassus and then was stuck in Moonglade with a 40 minute cool down still ticking.  That meant finding the flight point in Moonglade… sort of where I remembered it, but the last druid I did was horde… and then take the bird to Auberdine, which runs 8 silver and 40 copper, a steep price in these early times.

Thinking to make the most of the trip, I grabbed a few of the other quests around town, just in case I could do some in passing, as I headed out to find a cave.  The right cave turns out to also be the closest cave when it comes down to it.

The right cave for the druid class quest

I think you can see the stone in the cave from this angle, the one you need to sprinkle the dust on.  But this cave looks quite a bit like a number of nearby caves, so I do not doubt there were some lost druids about.  Also, skeleton from a player death.  They are everywhere.

I got that then went off to knock out a couple of the nearby quests.  They fell into some of the common tropes.

My service can be bought for pants… but anything to replace those shorts!

After a bit of that, enough to recoup my air fare, I took the bird from Auberdine to Darnassus… which is free, so you don’t even have to take the boat if you’re a cheapskate like me… turned everything in and got… bear form.

Again, it had been a long time since I had done the druid starter, but I was a bit surprised to walk away with bear form as my only upgrade.   Oh, and a note to come back when I was level 14 for the next round.

We will mete this out slowly

That out of the way and not overly enthused by the Darkshore quest lines… as with the quests around Dolanaar I would read the quest text and get that feeling of dread as past efforts flooded into my mind… I decided to take the boat out of Auberdine to the Eastern Kingdoms and make a run for Ironforge.

Out into the Wetlands

I almost made it too.  Being level 10 meant that not everything in the zone had such a huge aggro radius… aggro radius being a function of the level difference between you and the local mobs… that I was able to slip through the main areas of the swamp unmolested… though the skeletons on the path showed others had been eaten along the way.

It wasn’t until I got into the pass through to Loch Modan that a level 21 Dragonmaw Grunt caught me.

Caught in the tunnel

But that was far enough into the run that my wisp appeared in a Loch Modan graveyard.  So I floated on back down the path to my corpse and left another skeleton behind.  I got a bit of cover at the next orc gathering as there were some people on them for a quest.

After that it was into Loch Modan and then through the tunnel to the chill weather of Dun Morogh and on the way to Ironforge.

Good thing I ditched those shorts

Ironforge was just a waypoint though.  I went in there, got the flight point, then took the tram to Stormwind with an eye to picking up in Elwyn Forest and eventually Westfall and its warm fields, clumps of quests, chickens, and dungeon.