Welcome back to the war(craft) for another week. I'll spoil it a little bit now, I'm on the home stretch before we head to Outland. Which isn't as much of a spoiler as I think, because I tell you I got to level 51 in the critical information summary.
This week I have been playing a lot, still enjoying my time. I have noticed that the game itself isn't as complicated, but I haven't raided, or done too many instances (more on that later). My rotation is a single button, maybe two if I'm feeling frisky or in a hurry. The complexity comes in how you interact with the world around you - being careful not to pull too many enemies at once, managing your mana, picking an optimal questing route.
But I keep coming back to this rustic wholesomeness. I'll be very clear, I played retail and I enjoyed it. After I'm done here, I will (maybe) go back. I liked all the different systems and complexity in play. But there's something about being at the genesis of those systems, or prior to their induction. This is called nostalgia, kids.
But the honeymoon period continues for another week. I'm loving my time playing world of warcraft and then turning around and telling you all about it. I will be very disheartened when this all comes to an end - although some miniatures might finally get painted.
Critical Information Summary
Level Reached This Week: 51
Current Playtime: 105 Hours
Professions: Leatherworking (230) Skinning (300)
Again, like last time, World of Warcraft (and this will apply to all of the pre-cataclysm levelling content) prior to its rework had very flexible rules on levelling. On a number of occasions a zone will cover your levelling from, say, 30 - 35 and then from 40 - 45. Another zone will fill in that gap.
This is why it pays to have a guide - one of the advantages to having this entire game deconstructed is that there are these optimal routes through the content. The total experience is up to you - and I don't think having someone guide me through the content has cheapened it. Think of it a little bit like going on a guided tour.
So it's not totally confusing, here is the levelling route I took:
Dustwallow Marsh -> Stranglethorn Vale -> Swamp of Sorrows -> Tanaris -> Swamp of Sorrows -> Long, Magical Journey -> Badlands -> Swamp of Sorrows -> Stranglethorn Vale -> Dustwallow Marsh -> Feralas -> Tanaris -> The Hinterlands -> Un'Goro Crater
Confused? I would be too. I'll try and cover it off as best I can.
This is where we started off last time - we killed some spiders, killed some stealthed blokes, stole some stuff under Theramore's docks and raided a nearby Murloc village. Oh yes, that's the good stuff.
Later on in the piece, I returned to the zone to pay a visit to the Goblins down south in Mudsprocket and also to kill lots and lots of dragonkin and their dragon children. The rationale here is that the Ogres (previously led by Rexxar, the famous Orc hunter and now Hearthstone characters) of Brackenwall were forced out of their homes by the Dragonkin and now *some* of them want vengeance.
Some of them - in particular the Overlord, just want their barrel of snuff. Apparently that's a thing Ogres do when they start to wear armor.
I also killed an ancient crocodile for a hunter in Thunder Bluff. Deadmire was his name. Went down with the ol' lightning bolt special.
(That's just lots of lightning bolts.)
When my journey was complete in Dustwallow Marsh, I head for the mystical forests of Feralas - but before that, it was time to continue my adventures in the jungles of...
STV is well known as being a very broad area to level in. I was here on a number of occasions this week. My first visit here was on behalf of the stakeholders in Grom'Gol camp, who wanted me to go about organising the untimely death (and subsequent spirit torture) of two high ranking Bloodscalp tribe chaps - Gan'Zulah and Nezzilok.
Then when I was done I had to put them in this cauldron. Trolls are strange.
Nezzilok was easy to find and murder with lightning bolts.
Gan'Zulah, on the other hand, had some friends with him:
A few lightning bolts here and a few lightning bolts there, though, and he got what was coming to him:
It was at this point that I head off from Stranglethorn, intending to return later. Because both Nezzilok and Gan'Zulah asked me to kill some of their troll brethren who were higher level than me. What a crock.
So after gaining some experience, I came back to accept the new, higher band of Stranglethorn Quests. Mostly - I still had to take care of some business for Hemet and his friends.
First there was some business with the Bloodsail Pirates. Quite involved. I first found some plans from some conspicious pirates immediately outside the entrance to Booty Bay:
Then after killing a bunch of Bloodsail folk on a beach, I then boarded their ships and killed all their commanding officers in cold blood:
In between exciting fight sequences with the Bloodsails, I actually did quite a bit. First, I gathered some Gorilla giblets to give to some guy so he'd pay another guy his gambling debt that he owed:
Whilst gathering said giblets I also gathered the heart of a famous gorilla to secure its heart to cure a sick goblin of Stranglethorn Fever. It involved speaking to this fellow:
Then killing waves of apes until the big ape showed up, then killing him too.
I also mowed down Splintertusk and Zanzil trolls for a variety of different purposes. For necklaces, for tusks, for a secret mixture of eleven herbs and spices.
One troll in particular, Zanzil, has a cult following of other trolls and has turned some unlucky Booty Bay gamblers into zombies. But they still owe a guy in Booty Bay money, so you kill them anyway.
There was one other thing that was very liberating - and that was to do something I've never done before - complete the Green Hills of Stranglethorn. A fetch quest involving pages of a storybook carried by every enemy in the zone.
This screenshot here is why I wanted to blog about my adventure - so I could prove to one and all some of my best achievements.
Read it (or don't) and weep:
I also teamed up with some guild friends to take down the king of the jungle (after killing some smaller princes of the jungle).
And with all that, my time in STV was done. No more quests, no more things to do - I had done it all. Time to move on. Of course, that was three separate visits to the zone - so it wasn't just as easy as knocking it all over in a night.
This Troll is a king of the jungle.
Swamp of Sorrows
The Swamp is a very famous part of Warcraft, not just WoW, history. The Swamp of Sorrows is one of the first locations where the Orcs showed up (and ruined, because they're awful people).
Nowadays (post third war) there's a Horde outpost here, because the Alliance wouldn't be caught dead investing in terrible ideas like trying to hold a swamp.
But as a zone, it's fantastic - the whole zone is coated in this green tinge which makes it feel grimy and dirty - like Windshear crag, but for the whole zone. You know this is not a nice place, and it feels like that.
I made a couple of trips here. The first trip was very brief, involving my first taste of new content. In the original WoW the Exodar had yet to crash in classic - but now it's crashed and they're here - along with some degenerate Draenei who are called the "Lost Ones". You kill a famous one and present his cudgel and despite the fact that you're an evil red devil, they thank you.
Although it's very clear that some Draenei in the area are not to be trifled with and they're for alliance only, because they'll stomp you flat in seconds.
Because I'm a helpful chap, I also showed up at the Lost One village to kill some more of them. I also harvested some of their crystals:
And fed some of their pets tainted meat. Like an asshole.
I also paid a visit to the Sunken Temple of Atal'Hakkar, although I haven't run it yet. It is on my list.
I spent a lot longer than I would've liked, water walking around the instance trying to gather stone tablets for some dude at Stonard, the Horde outpost in the area.
I also nearly got killed by this guy, who is a quest objective in classic WoW. Crazy, huh.
Between visits, I did two things - I did half a run of Zul'Farrak (more on that later) and I returned to Sen'Jin village to collect my first mount. Admittedly, twelve levels late, but, who's counting.
It's a good thing I got that mount, because my guide then sent me somewhere I had no flight paths to - the Badlands. I don't know when I was supposed to get it, but I never did. So I went on a big long journey on my new Raptor.
First I went back through Duskwood, taking the time to murder a patrolling Alliance character:
Then up through the Redridge Mountains, past the beautiful Lakeshire:
I then took the turn-off toward the Burning Steppes. Here's where my mount really came in handy, because all the enemies at the time were level 55+ and my aggro range was huge.
It was at that point I discovered that I could not get through the Burning Steppes through to the Badlands. Although I did manage to score a flight point in a cave near the area, which did save me time when I came back. More on that later.
So I tried again from the other side. I first stopped off at the Arathi Highlands and took the turn down south through the Wetlands. Beautiful place, but, Alliance controlled. I levelled here way back in the day on my Dwarf Rogue.
Then through the Dwarf Tunnels toward Loch Modan:
I considered paying a visit to the Dwarven town of Thelsamar, but for some reason they weren't too keen on me. Who knew.
Finally, I'd made it - the Badlands. The rain immediately dried up, the entire zone looked miserable, it was like coming home.
There wasn't really much to do here - there were a few quests to turn in relating to Stonard and the Swamp of Sorrows, some missions to kill rock elementals, coyotes, vultures and a big Ogre. I took very little footage here, and it barely registers as a sidenote.
But I was here, so, there you go.
It also linked my flight paths together, though - so whilst my time here was short, it was ultimately critical to my success going forward.
But it wasn't long before I was on the move again. I came back to the Swamp of Sorrows, then Stranglethorn Vale, then Dustwallow Marsh. By the time I had finished going around those circuits one more time I was pretty much at the top of my level 40 game and was ready to head to:
Two visits here, punctuated by a visit to Feralas.
My first one involved killing humans, humans and more humans. I killed them in ruins for water pouches, I killed them in the middle of the desert. Apparently sunburn doesn't exist in this universe.
I also farmed up some turtle scales for some turtle scale armor - that I replaced (mostly) in less than two levels because that's how the world works.
I also saw the caverns of time - home to a Raid and a Dungeon in Burning Crusade. An omen of things to come?
The second visit was more interesting - and also carried out at night. I killed some pirates in a cove for their hats, gathered lots of artifacts in the desert, and killed ogres to get some artifacts resembling the avatar of a hydra god called Gahz'Rilla. Sounds like 'gorilla' - but it's a Hydra.
I also got back a shipment of grog - connecting a quest given to me by someone in Booty Bay. It's these long ambigious quests that really make me tingle. You don't get these any more.
I also killed some bugs. Lots of bugs. There were some interesting instances in WoW classic that revolved around bugs and here we see some of the preamble to that:
Now we're getting close to the end of the questing tale. But there are three more places I visited before penning this. Starting with:
Let me be very clear - I love Feralas. I love its limited green color palette, its visuals, and how it makes me feel. That is, a visitor to an ancient place much bigger than me or anything else that roams this world.
Don't believe me? Take a look at some of this b-roll from an area overrun with Ogres:
Just, so pretty. I'm glad I got to experience this one last time.
Feralas is a place that evokes feelings of wonderment. When I first went to Feralas, of course, I got murdered because I was way below level. That dangerous, mysterious element of Feralas has always stuck with me.
It's also home to Dire Maul, but I have never run Dire Maul so couldn't tell you how I feel about all of that.
Anyway in terms of things to do, your old friends the Grimtotem clan are up to no good, so naturally you have to kill them all:
As I mentioned before there's ogres to kill in several flavors. One of which involves going to a mine and digging up cobalt belonging to the local ogre tribe:
And you also have to mow down lots of gnolls. Because bollocks to those guys - there's even a timed quest to kill five gnolls of specific rank in an hour (which is, let's level with each other, way too long, but I'll live with it.)
I also stopped in to craft some turtle scale armor:
And popped into the local hive to help keep it in check. Make sure you kill all over-sized bugs on sight!
In the end I was sad to leave Feralas. There are clearly bigger and better things out there, but to me, Feralas will always be special. I may even make time to come back and run Dire Maul.
Home to evil Trolls, do-gooder Elves and all manner of furry fauna, my stop here was shorter than it was supposed to be on account of making up the XP by doing some instances this week.
I got Nat Pagle's special fishing rod (not a euphemism) for killing some Turtles:
And mowed down some local elves at Quel'Danil lodge. Here I'm drinking a refreshing beverage before returning to kill evil elves with lighting bolts.
Freeing an evil troll in the process for fat loot. The Horde - still pretty evil, even post third war.
On my way out I did two things - I solved a massive chain quest that I picked up from Stranglethorn Vale, which took me through the Swamp of Sorrows, Dustwallow Marsh and finally the chest underneath a waterfall on the western edge of the Hinterlands:
And took that Troll's stuff on an island just near Revantusk village, the horde outpost in the area, which I turned in to some lady in the undercity for a big chunk of XP and some more loot.
Then I arrived at my final destination. Sort of.
This place gives me Feralas vibes, but I only did it once, so I'm not sure how positive those vibes are.
I've not finished this zone yet, but for now I gathered some power crystals (Dr. Neo Cortex sends his regards) and grabbed a chunk off of a big dead dinosaur.
The adventure continues...
The Troll temple in Tanaris, I found six quests to go in here, so was pretty clear I should find a group to go and do it with.
There's lots of cool stuff in here - we're still a long way from the complicated boss fights of... well, anything in retail, but the challenge here is more about making sure your tank doesn't pull too many adds and thus get killed. It's not difficult, but it is tactical.
The only thing that does matter is that we had someone with the Mallet of Zul'Farrak who could ring the gong and summon Gahz'Rilla - who, again, was not difficult to kill quickly, but it's still a special moment - and a reward for taking the time and effort to assemble the mallet, which is a chain quest through the Hinterlands (which I didn't do.)
I did, however, turn Gahz's scale in for my Carrot on a Stick - hell yeah 3% mounted speed!
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here...
It took me five hours to complete this instance. We were carried by a level 63 mage who tore through the instance (although he ate shit on a number of times because he's still wearing cloth) - at least until we hit a spot where we needed a Shadowforge Key. A player's different character had the key, and so swapped between characters to unlock doors.
For what it's worth the Shadowforge Key is a very interesting quest - the way to get it is to die and then find a ghost prior to the instance. This will then allow you to kill a character in the instance and turn his hammer in to get some XP and the key.
Again, it just feels so... classic.
Blackrock Depths (or, BRD) is a huge instance. There's a ton of bosses and lots of loot on offer and I got several upgrades... that I cannot wear yet. There's no mechanics, but there is a certain level of technical competence to make sure you don't over-pull, as there are groups of enemies everywhere. Particularly in the Tavern.
But we muddled on - and we also stumbled upon the entrance to the Raid instance of Molten Core. Which makes me wonder how you're supposed to get to Molten Core as a 40 man raid group. But what a wonderous thing to discover.
Finally after eight hours, we made it to the promised land - Emperor Thaurissan and his captured wife of the Bronzebeard Clan.
We ran them over quickly and I got this fantastic snap atop his now empty throne. Blackrock Depths... Clear.
That's all for this week - see you next week for more tales of interest!
...I'm off to play WoW, now.
Catch you next time,
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