Monday, November 27, 2006

The Stranglethorn Hell

I had a wide selection of gaming options open to me this Thanksgiving holiday but somehow I still ended up playing World of Warcraft the most. I had recently become addicted to my beastmaster specced hunter and was having fun blowing through the early levels. Unfortunately late Thursday night I hit level 36 with her and entered what is one of the few dead areas in the game. I had done the few quests for the Alliance in Desolace, Arathi Highlands, Hillsbrad and I was left with only one more zone to visit. Every character come to a point in their life where they make the decision to head to Stranglethorn Vale or just grind world mobs. On a PvE server this choice is less relevant but to those of us who play PvP its a major virtual life decision.

Stranglethorn Vale is a questing bonanza with over 30 quests for both the horde and the alliance. They start around level 33 and slowly increase to about level 44. A lot of them are simple kill ten rats quests which can be grouped together by a enterprising individual so they are working on several at the same time. Most of the mobs in the zone are either beasts with no casting abilities or trolls with very low hit points. Both are great for grinding against and can easily help a player to finish up a level between quests. So if this zone is such a nice place to level why is it referred to as the Stranglethorn Hell?

1) The Gank Factor:
The high amount of quests in the zone is like a giant fly zapper. People can't resist the thought of all that easily earned experience just waiting there softly glowing. They forget about the last time they went into the Stranglethorn Hell and being camped at Nessingway's for two hours. The ease and multitude of the quests in STV guarantee a constant stream of players entering the zone and as a result gankers know they can always find victims there.

2) Zul'Gurub
ZG is probably one of the easiest raid zones to do and Pick-Up-Raids for both factions form all the time. As a result there is a lot of level sixty foot traffic heading to the entrance of this zone. This wouldn't be so bad if the entrance was away from any of the questing areas but no Blizzard decide in true cutthroat fashion to place it in the middle. Thus as a raid moves in you can pretty much count out finishing a Nessingway's or Venture Co. quest.

3) The Fishing Extravaganza
Starting every Sunday at 2pm you can expect the coastline of STV to fill up with both Horde and Alliance as they quickly try to fish up 40 tasty fish to win a tournament. Even after the tournament ends the special fishing spots continue to exist for a few more hours and they will continue to be in use. Several nice items with high stamina can be earned by fishing there so often times people will bring a 19 twink to fish and a level 60 to kill everything in sight.

4) The Gurabashi Arena
The loot isn't really that good but it has a habit of getting out of hand with different groups and guilds calling in reinforcements whenever the chest is dropped off. Thus basically you get a lot of people looking for some hardcore PvP flying into the zone and traveling to the exact center where the arena is located. On their way in they have a habit of killing everything of the opposite faction. Its good practice and gets the blood flowing.

5) It's a Jungle In There
STV is designed with a very high mob density so much so that there really only two routes from the south to the north. One is the coastline which has level 40 pirates and Naga and the other is the main road. This basically means that if you're under level 40 you have to take the main road to move between Nessingway's and Booty Bay. Thus every time you have to turn in a quest you are forced to travel the same path as every other character in the zone. As you have learned by now the chance of a level 60 letting a lower level person pass by them is only about 25%. There not even real gankers at heart they just remember all the times they were killed by a high level and blackout into a murderous rage.

So now that you know why people love to hate Stranglethorn Vale you have to wonder, "Is it worth visiting?" The short answer is yes since you can really move fast through the mid thirties if you quest here. However, you have to follow certain conditions when questing here or you are going to spend more time running back to your body then doing actual quests.

Condition 1)
Know the quests and group them together for maximum efficiency. Remember every time you travel to Booty Bay/ Nessgingway/ Gromgol/ Kurzen Camp you have a very high chance of being ganked. Thus the less time spent traveling on the main road the better.

Condition 2)
Do not play in STV during primetime, it is death incarnate.

Condition 3)
Do not bring weak PvP classes to the STV. The entire zone is practically a free for all battleground. If you have no escape abilities then you should not come here. This is mostly talking to warriors and paladins who are basically like turtles without shells before level 40.

Condition 4)
Always approach Nessingway's Camp with utmost caution since usually sixties from one faction or another will be killing someone there. Try to get a look to see if anyone is in the camp before even getting close since people will mount up and chase you.

Condition 5)
Bring friends to quest in Stranglethorn Vale. Yes we all know that grouping actually hurts the experience you can gain in World of Warcraft but the added protection enables you to quickly go through the quests.

The danger of visiting STV depends on the server. The older a server gets the less traffic you see in the zone for questing and raids going to ZulGurub. Also on servers with highly unbalanced faction populations the zone can be quite safe for those of the more populous faction.


Anonymous said...

I was on a PvP server up to level 60. I didn't spend much time there in STV. I did a few hunting quests, tried to avoid the new level 40 Shadow Priest Night Elves, and otherwise avoided the place like the plague. I went back at 60 to go to ZG, help out friends leveling up their toons, and exact a little revenge.

To get to 60, and skip STV, I equipped my Hydrocane (from Gnomeregan) and ground mobs off the coast of Desolace.

And I spent more time than usual in the very quiet Swamp of Sorrows just grinding. I think I dinged 40 there.

PvP never floated my boat. I did reach 60 on that character on that realm, and got into BWL with him.

Now he relaxes, and reached Blood Guard, as I play with my wife on our new RP home.

Relmstein said...

There really isn't a lot of choices from 35-40 especially if your playing the quest scarce Alliance faction. Its pretty much Scarlet Monestary, World Mobs, or STV quests.

Anonymous said...

I am currently trying to avoid STV like the plague. I have a 39 hunter and 36 shadow priest that I'm slowly leveling. I spent 45 minutes last night trying to decide where to grind with my hunter purely to avoid more STV.

Now that I think about it, I hated it the first time around... 35-45 are the slowest levels in the game...

Samownall said...

STV. The very initials make my blood boil :) I hate that ganking area; I went there when I was still fresh onto the WOW scene and remember being ganked 5 times in a row by some cocky rogue who proceeded to dance on my corpse. STV - "Nooooo" :)
Samownall WoW tips

Saylah said...

I skipped STV on my Warlock. I was on a PVP server and the BG's didn't exist so world PVP was all that existed. STV was an absolute hell hole and this is back when the bruisers didn't work. I had enough just landing in the zone to look around. So I waved off trying to quest there.

On my hunter I poked around a little. BM spec'd, I'd stand in side my freezing trap so if anyone was even thinking of jumping me they'd get frozen first. I figure ranged attacks gave me an opportunity to flee. It was okay. Definitely better than it had been. BGs were in the game and the zone wasn't nearly as crowded.

On my Shadow Priest, I did STV in earnest. I wanted to quests and I needed to farm the area for my herbalist skills so decided to just deal with it. I got ganked a few times but did the same to others. I had been a twink on the toon before I decided to go ahead and level her so my equipment was quite good and with my own enchanter, tailor and herbalist, they certainly got more than the expected a lot of the time.

I also parked my warlock there and dealt out a little vengence when people got too annoying.

Hunter said...

For Alliance between 35-40 there is really no choice. So few quests anywhere else. As a Hunter, once I hit lvl 38, I headed back to Arathi and did Stormguard elite quests solo, but having played all classes, Hunter seems the only one that could do this solo. All the elite quests clock me up to lvl 40.

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