Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ten Things I learned from the Loremaster Achievement

Ever since the achievement system came out I've been working on gaining the Loremaster title bit by bit. I've been playing my current character for quite some time and I thought I was familiar with almost every quest in the game. However, I quickly found out that I was severely mistaken since almost every zone had a few surprises waiting for me. It's really nice to see that I haven't seen everything in the game yet even though I've been playing since launch. I found quests off dead bodies at the bottom of huge ravines and up steep hidden paths. I really would like to put together a guide, but it would probably be a couple hundred pages. Instead I just decided to do a quick overview of the quests, mobs, and trends that stood out the most as I traversed Azeroth, the Outlands, and Northend.

1. Evolution can be Dangerous
I was doing a really annoying quest in Blade's Edge mountains that had me evolving netherdrake eggs for the deranged gnomes in the area. Using some sort of time ray I fast forwarded unhatched eggs into either proto-drakes, whelps or mature netherwings. Imagine my surprise when one of the eggs turned into an elite ?? dragon who started to giving me a speech about being freed from the time in between spaces. After declaring he would now destroy the world I gave him another shot of the time ray which caused him to shout Nooooooooo! and then turn into whelp. I couldn't stop laughing for ten minutes.

2. Ashenvale and Azshara suck more then Stranglethorn Vale
I always wondered why Ashenvale and Azshara were so lightly populated with people. After running and flying across both of them multiple times trying to track down quests, I now have my answer. Both zones are poorly constructed and prevent anyone from traveling in a straight line on the map. Azshara not only has this problem, but also has very few quests and has a lot of unfinished projects. The Forlorn Ridge in the zone was supposed to be another battleground but never got put into the game. Ashenvale got more quests when the Burning Crusade came out, but it's still a nightmare to travel across. Also all the guards in Ashenvale are low level, which attracts a lot of bored gankers from both factions. Overall I now have a couple zones I hate more then Stranglethorn Vale.

3. Blizzard is fascinated with poop
I heard this theory proposed on the wowinsider show and I hate to say that the evidence just keep mounting up in support. I know in Nagrand I had to devle through antelope crap for cherries and the same process repeats itself a couple times in Wrath of the Lich King. In Borean Tundra you have to poison worgs to give them the runs and reclaim microfilm they ate, yuck. And in the Howling Fjord you have to throw firecrackers under bats so you can scare the guano out of them. However, the worst is probably in Grizzly Hills where you actually have to gather the reagents for a laxative since you accidentally swallowed some priceless seeds. To complete the quest you have to use an outhouse which causes loud grunting noises and foul dust clouds to come rolling out. While I appreciate juvenile humour I think Blizzard may be over-using the gag.

4. Critters can Attack
I think Blizzard got tired of critters being the low man on the totem pole in Wrath of the Lich King. I noticed a couple events where they got tired of being pushed around and made a scene worthy of a FOX special. In the Howling Fjord if you try to get the Friend of Fowl achievement by killing 15 turkeys you'll earn a feathery reprisal. Also in the Grizzly Hills you can watch the young deer, Bambina, and his friends wonder around the northern alliance camp. If you watch them long enough you'll see a hunter come out and shoot the mother of Bambina. This isn't the Disney version though since this enrages the deer and it kills the hunter. Made me much more wary of killing critters though I still joined Nessingwary for the big hunt.

5. Doing the newbie quests will earn you multiple achivements.
I knew the easy way to complete the old world achievements was to go back and do the newbie zone quests. What surprised me though was the amount of faction each one gave you. Most of the early quests not only give you reputation with the quest giver, but also with the other alliance/horde races. As a result you can also quickly gain the Ambassador title just by questing in each race's starting zones. The other achievement that I earned almost by accident was the one to gain 50 mounts. Each race has 6-8 mounts and becoming exalted with them greatly reduces the price. To get the last 10 or so you just need to buy a couple of flying mounts and become exalted with one of the Outlands factions with mounts. I suggest the Kurenai since they sell Talbuks for only 50-80gp at exalted.

6. The Fallen Hero of the Horde is Long
There's a infamous quest chain in the old world that comes form a orc ghost located between the Swamp of Sorrows and the Blasted Lands. The chain has about a billion steps but resulted in a trinket and large bag that made it worth doing back when Dire Maul was the newest dungeon in the game. Still since the quest chain runs between both continents its well worth doing if your trying to get the classic loremaster achievement. I just wish it didn't sent you to Azshara, you all know how I feel about that zone. I will say one thing though is that I really appreciate long quest chains that result in a useful item. Northend had a couple ones set up in a similar manner and only required a small group for the last step.

7. Arugal is still tough
One my favorite dungeons in the game is Shadowfang Keep. It's a bit larger then most modern day dungeons, but isn't a sprawling mess like Maraudon or Wailing Caverns. There are a lot of similarities between it and Karazhan including that both are ruled by a mad wizard. The lord of Shadowfang Keep is Arugul who is the creator of the worgen and master of teleporting between hard to reach platforms. Probably trained under Gannon or something. Anyways I was surprised to run into a quest chain in the Grizzly Hills that eventually revealed that Arugul had been revived by Arthas. I was kind of expecting him to be a push over like most of the elite quest mobs, but he actually put up a decent fight. If you find yourself doing the quest chain be careful because once again he's on the top of a tower and surrounded by lots of werewolves.

8. Goblins are Awesome
Hunting down the last quests in Kalimdor would have been impossible without the surprising amount of goblin quest hubs spread throughout the land. And the best thing about goblins is they don't discriminate. Even outside the gates of Ogrimmar I was able to find a goblin willing to let met kill some harpies for him. Also in every goblin quest there's a good chance of at least one explosion happening at any point. I was seriously thinking of giving up on the Kalimdor achievement until I remember the race track in thousand needles. The goblins and gnomes there made it possible finish though it they did send me back and forth between Booty Bay a lot.

9. Every zone has at least one hidden escort mission
As I became desperate to find more quests in each zone I noticed there seemed to be a lot of escort quests I had missed. I know no one likes escort missions, but half of old world ones start with NPCs that are hidden in the middle of nowhere. I can only conclude that even the Blizzard developers hated these quests and really didn't want people finding them since they would probably complain. And there is reason to complain since most of the old world escorts are on timers and are either tuned too fast or way too slow for the quester. Also it seems like most escort NPCs are secretly suicidal and would like nothing more then to take you with them. Thankfully, the design has improved for escort quests lately since most of the newer ones have the NPC following you at the pace you set.

10. The quest quality in the game has really improved.
Azeroth: Quests are repetitive kill and collection types which require lots of travel.
Outlands: Quests are still repetitive, but better positioned to reduce long travel times.
Northend: Quests have little redundant travel and have unique methods of completion.

I would have to say my favorite quests are the ones that require you to travel around in vehicles. It didn't matter if the vehicle was a stealth flying machine in Icecrown or a pissed off storm-giant in Zul'drak, I really enjoyed them. I'm looking forward to seeing how Blizzard expands upon this idea in the future. I'm crossing my fingers for flying PvP zones with vehicles.


Talmuk said...

Oh, you beat us to it! My husband and I are currently doing Kalimdor to get the achievement there (having about 25 quests left in Eastern Kingdom that we hope will get sorted out automatically as we progress in Kalimdor) and yes, Azshara is horrible, even with epic mount. No wonder we skipped it when on foot.. But we have a big problem. We can't seem to find a group to help us to the Blade's Edge quest required to get quests from Ogri'la (Grim(oire) business).. It requires 5 people for a summon, and we have so far gotten NO replies to our LFMs. We're the only active ones left in our guild, so no luck there. You (or one of your readers?) don't happen to know of a way around this? We really want to get it done!

Thanks for writing a nice blog!

// Talmuk of Outland (EU)

Relmstein said...

I lucked out with Blade's Edge and had some friends help me with the Ogrila quests when they first came out. Nowadays your probably going to have to bribe some guildies into helping you with it. Maybe some advertising in Dalaran might help since there is a portal to Shattrath right there.

Anonymous said...

The fallen hero of the horde chain is one of my favorites i did it at 60 and it rewarded surprisingly decent loot in addition the final boss fight was pretty dang fun at level 60

it makes me miss the epic chain quests, there were quite a few in vanilla perhaps 1 or 2 in TBC and yeah i miss them (of course i might be one of the only people to do so since i did basically every chain with great difficulty as no one else wanted to do them :P)

zardoz said...

More evidence for "3. Blizzard is fascinated with poop" is this stylish item...

Mallika said...

The Fallen Hero of the Horde was one of my favorite questlines, mainly because I found the story so incredibly sad. Quite touching to finally help the guy be at peace, or at least at whatever semblance of peace he can get.

*vlad* said...

"Blizzard is fascinated with poop".

There is also a quest in Azshara to collect Giant Poop. You probably did it.

For all those people struggling to finish their Kalimdor quests Achievement, Blizzard are reducing the number of quests required, in the next patch.
For those of you who have already done it, I commiserate.

Anonymous said...

Achievements like this in WoW are a blessing and a curse I think. They definitely feed into that whole completionist thing that some of us have going.

Back when I first leveled my main at WoW's launch, I was obsessive about finding and completing every quest available on both continents. I got into that early on, while I was waiting for friends to catch up to my level and I'm sure I got every last quest I possibly could.

I slacked off later and then gave up entirely on it once AQ was out.

Because once I was done, I was done. That was the idea. More quests are good, but I just did them as I felt like instead of pursuing all options for completeness sake.

Also, for some reason, having achievements or deeds or badges kinda deflates my need to do them. Maybe because I already naturally consume every bit of content, especially when it comes to exploring.

徵信情感小屋 said...

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