Postcards from WoW, Part 3

By Shamus
on Aug 2, 2010
Filed under:
Pictures

wow_desolace.jpg

My main character is currently in her mid-40’s. I’ve surpassed the point where I gave up on the game two years ago, and I’m still having fun this time around.

You get a “fast mount” at level 40, and as soon as I got that I decided it was time to start filling in the world map. Those large blank expanses have taunted me for far too long, and I intend to see it all.

So I start my explorations in the low-level Horde side areas where the Undead characters begin the game.

wow_tirisfal_glades.jpg

It’s really funny visiting the Human towns in this part of the world. The towns don’t actually have any services for Alliance-side characters like me. No shops. No trainers. No travel points. Just crowds of friendly humans who say, “Greetings!” when I click on them.

Of course, these towns aren’t here for my benefit. They’re here for the undead. To a Horde-side character these people are just mobs to fight. There are probably a few named humans in here as well. No doubt Undead characters come in here with quests like, “Kill 10 town guards and 10 Town Scouts” or “Eliminate Mayor McMustache”. The funny part is that because these towns are so large and populous, they actually seem healthier and more vibrant than the real Alliance towns in other parts of the world.

Consider Darkshire, where I leveled from 25 to 30:

wow_darkshire.jpg

The town has about a dozen beleaguered, terrified peasants in a couple of houses handing out “save our poor town” quests, while the human town in the Undead area (is it Ambermill? I forget.) has over a hundred Human soldiers and Gnome mages guarding their sprawling, lively city of heavily armed killers.

Anyway. Exploring.

Each racial starting area has a very deliberate construction. Here is the one for the Dwarves:

wow_ironforge.jpg

All starting areas will have the initial newbie zone (lower left) which is a carefully walled off area for characters 1-5. In this area monsters will never attack you unprovoked. The area will be small to keep things focused and straightforward, and you’ll probably never have more than two or three quests going at once. The quest rewards should give you several key bits of armor and one new weapon before you leave. You’ll probably spend under an hour in this part of the game.

The wall around the newbie zone serves two purposes: First, it keeps you from accidentally wandering into other areas and getting lost or killed before you understand the game. More importantly, it makes it difficult for members of the enemy faction to get in. There are always a few elite high-level guards watching the entrance to the newbie area. A level 80 character (particularly a wizard) could make life really difficult for a new character and Blizzard wanted to give newcomers an extra level of griefing protection. (It still happens now and again, but it’s brief and a lot less fun for the griefers now that the low-level game is so sparsely populated. You’ll need a team to get past the door guards, and if you and a few other level 80 characters form a team there are probably more interesting ways to spend your time than fighting waves of respawning elite guards so you can slightly annoy a single level 3 player.)

Outside of the newbie area is a larger area where you’ll do levels 6-10. Then a quest giver will aim you at the big city for your race.

Exploring a place like this is problematic for members of the opposite faction because of the guards around the newbie zone and the big city. But I’m not going to let that stop me.

First I visit The Undercity, the Undead city. This is easier than I expected. Because the city is reached via an underground tunnel, it’s possible to just stick my head in the door and get credit for visiting without getting near any of the guards inside. Doing so flags me for PvP (making me open to attacks from opposing factions players) so if any high level Horde players come along I might have a problem.

I dash off and explore some of the wilderness areas of the map while I wait for the PvP flag to expire, and I manage to fill in the entire rest of the map except for the walled-off newbie playpen of Deathknell.

wow_deathknell.jpg

This is the only entrance to Deathknell. I need to get in here. You don’t get credit for exploring a zone until you’ve visited all of the regions inside. There’s an achievement for doing so, but I’m not so much interested in the achievement as simply filling in the map and knowing that I’ve been everywhere. My inner explorer demands that I get in here.

I inch up towards the door on my mount, trying to get a feel for how long the dash might take. I just need to get my head in the door and stay alive for one or two seconds, which is all it will take for me to get credit for visiting. Suddenly one of the guards starts running.

GAH!

He’s FAST. 28 Days Later fast. Much faster than any player on foot. He’s halfway down the hill before I even get my brain in gear and start running. I whip my mount around and try to push the W key right through the keyboard and into the desk. He manages to smack me once before I pull away.

He is not the forgiving type. He chases me for a good while before giving up and returning to his post. Whew. If I’d been on foot or on a slow mount, I’d never have escaped.

Well, that was educational. His one hit took about 70% of my health, so any plan that requires me to take two hits is not going to work. This is a problem, seeing as how there are two guards and they have an aggressively broad detection range.

But! I have an ace in the hole. A special artifact I’ve been saving for just such an occasion. A quest reward a few levels back earned me a potion which grants 8 seconds of invulnerability. Now, this sounds like a slam-dunk, but I’m not sure it will be enough. Given the extreme speed of the guards and our immense level disparity, simply being immune to damage might not be enough. Foes many levels above you will often stun you, which knocks you off your mount and will slow your walking speed to a crawl. I can imagine a scenario where they would reach me before I got anywhere near the door and stun me until the mojo wore off. It’s entirely possible I might not even make it halfway up the hill.

Still, it’s either this or go level up for two more months.

Deep breath. Let’s do this.

I use all the buffs I have. (Which as a hunter isn’t all that much.) I eat some food which gives me a mild stat boost. This is like putting on an extra-thick sweater because you’re worried about getting shotgunned in the chest. It’s a meaningless gesture, but the buff icons in the upper right corner give me a little foolish confidence.

I edge up the hill as far as I dare and get on my mount. I think it’s a five second dash to the door, which gives me three extra seconds. Oh. But I’ll have to survive for one or two more seconds to get credit. Okay. So this is going to be close. I click on the potion.

My mount vanishes.

WHAT!?!?

Did it just vanish because I dank a potion, or does the potion prohibit being mounted?! Quick! Is it faster to re-mount or to just run? Crap! I only get one shot at this! Arg! I don’t know!

I run. The guards see me coming and converge on me. The blows come. The invulnerability buff ticks down.

wow_deathknell2.jpg

The guards are actually back at their posts before my death animation ends and I go face down.

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Okay. One starting area done.

Now I just need to do the Tauren, Orc, and Blood Elf areas.

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202020206There are now 86 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Chargone says:

    if memory serves, I’m pretty sure it’s ‘doing things dismounts you’. if the thing prohibits being mounted it’s unusual.

    that said, it’s been probably years since i last played WoW now :D

    still, at least you got credit for exploring the place…

    even if all you can actually see is the inner wall :P

  2. Will says:

    Drinking the potion is what dismounted you.

    You cannot do anything on a mount. Ever. Use an item? Dismount. Attack somone? Dismount. Use a spell? Dismount. Look at someone funny? Dismount. Meet a friend and say hi? Dismount. Get bored? Dismount.

    All you can do on a mount is move and jump. I’m surprised you havn’t run into this before.

    • lazlo says:

      There are actually a very very few things you can do while mounted. You can see what they are by taking a gryphon and seeing what *doesn’t* go gray. I think that as a hunter, you can apply trueshot aura, and that’s it. My priest can (in shadow spec) turn on or off shadowform. I believe my DK can switch presences. I think that the theme here is that if it’s not a spell/ability but an attribute, something that really persists, then you can turn it on while mounted.

      It also seems that there are some things that you can do that will dismount you, and others that will cause a “you are mounted” error. Handy differentiation, especially when you’re flying.

      I do recall some fun playing with targeting a flying mob/player while flying, then dismmounting and seeing how many instant-cast DOTs I could apply before falling out of range…. and seeing if I could cast levitate before “landing”

      • Adeon says:

        My hunter is an engineer and I’ve developed an unhealthy fondness for engaging NPCs by flying above them, unsummoning my mount and then using my parachute cloak to land safely. Death From Above!

      • glassdirigible says:

        You can cast dispersion as a shadow priest. It is actually quite weird, as you will be inside the gryphon, and therefore, invisible. On a horse you just turn into a cloud on its back.

        When I played I used dispersion while mounted a few times to get away.

    • Jack says:

      As of patch 3.08, you can OPEN CLAMS while mounted! Along with a whole load of other clam related improvements!

      The interface has a setting so anything you attempt while on a flying mount comes up with the “You are mounted” message.

    • Daf says:

      I remember, back in the day, when I was doing my Priest’s Benediction quest chain (yes, way, way back in that day) that I used the trinket thing while mounted, which it let me do, but because I was mounted it didn’t cast the spell (you can’t cast spells while mounted) so I didn’t get the buff and couldn’t see the quest giver. Took me 15 minutes to figure out why she hadn’t respawned yet. :)

    • Cthulhu says:

      Death Knights can cast their water walking while mounted, so they don’t have to dismount every time they come to a river. Of course, Shamans still get dismounted when they cast waterwalking, and they have to waste a glyph slot making it not cost material components (talk about vestigial mechanics), but blizzard hasn’t exactly spent much effort thinking about Shamans this expansion.

  3. Shiro_ax says:

    The guards are “only” level 65, you might want to put off your exploring till then. And yes you did get dismounted for drinking a pot.

    Alternate tactic: Use Feign Death. I forgot which level you learn it so you might not have that yet.

    Alternate alternate tactic: Get naked. Run to the gate and get killed. Ghost run to the other side of the gate, rez and get killed. You should also get the exploration credit. It’ll take a couple more getting killed to get out. Put clothes back on.

    Probably best if you wait till mid Outland at least to finish that, you can’t reach Blood Elf starting areas till the mid 50s anyway.

    Have you tried doing an instance yet?

    • Hitch says:

      For the benefit of non-WoW players reading this, Shiro_ax is not promoting random exhibitionism. When you die in the game all the equipment you are wearing takes damage and you have to pay to repair it. If you aren’t wearing it, there’s no damage and no repair bill. If you’re sure your going to die anyway, it pays to be naked.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        So the game itself is promoting exhibitionism?

      • Shoku says:

        The bigger issue is if you don’t want to run back to your body (and seeing as he died on guards he might have to run back several times to pop up far enough away to survive.)

        You can revive at the graveyard at the penalty of a much bigger durability hit to your equipment (in addition to the 10% from dieing in the first place.)

        It also drops you down to like 10% of your regular stats for ten minutes but if you’re just running around low population areas that’s no biggie.

  4. GM says:

    do you get xp for discovering? and this is lots of fun reminds me of story I found named You awaken in Razor Hill which is blend of wow and Silent Hill.

  5. Hal says:

    This is why I’m glad my main, the character I have done all my achievements and fulfilled my explorer’s itch with, is a paladin. The bubble-hearth has saved my big blue bacon so many times I can’t even count. Granted, I’ve had my face used as a scabbard more than enough times anyhow, but there’s something immensely satisfying about watching guards and players pound futilely against your impenetrable shield while you port away.

    • Sean Riley says:

      You’re a paladin. If you’re tanking, using your face as a scabbard for the enemy is your job. :)

      Also, my main? Rogue. Sneaky sneaky sneaky ooh exploration XP sneak away repeat. Love it.

  6. Jarenth says:

    You’ll need a team to get past the door guards, and if you and a few other level 80 characters form a team there are probably more interesting ways to spend your time than fighting waves of respawning elite guards so you can slightly annoy a single level 3 player.)

    You’d be suprised how much fun it can be to fight waves of respawning elite guards while a couple of level 1 newbies stand around looking on in utter befuddlement. Then dance with them inbetween combat.

    • Aelyn says:

      You are correct, sir. I would be very surprised indeed.

      • Jarenth says:

        Try it out then, why won’t you. It’s truly an exquisite delight. Just take care not to harm the low-levels, they’re an endangered breed as is.

        • SatansBestBuddy says:

          I remember that happening when I started as a human, some level 60 orc (this was during the Burning Crusade, you see) was camping the guards, and everybody was kind watching him and dancing with him and trying to talk to him despite him not understanding anything we said, then a level 70 Night Elf came by and killed him, and we all talked to him, then some guy challenged him to a duel, and he accepted and just stood there taking no damage for a good minute till he got bored and one shoted the noob.

          Good times, good times.

  7. Ian says:

    More importantly, it makes it difficult for members of the enemy faction to get in. There are always a few elite high-level guards watching the entrance to the newbie area.

    Heh…

    When I was getting the World Explorer achievement on my main character I found myself casually walking past these guys. While they probably do a pretty effective job in keeping characters under, say, level 70 out, they didn’t even give me a second glance when I galloped past them.

    Luckily, I’m not a jerk. I pretty much just ran into the newbie area to wait for my PvP flag to expire (I have zero PvP gear on that guy, so getting hit by other players hurts more than just my feelings) and continued.

    Oh, I have to say, getting the World Explorer achievement as a Hordie is…fun. You know how there’s no way into Teldrassil outside of the teleporter? The teleporter that takes you to a remote corner smack dab in the middle of Darnassus? *shudder*

    Amazingly, I didn’t die, despite nearly running into the city’s capital building. I clearly need to play my Alliance toons more. :x

    • glassdirigible says:

      When in a city of yours or a level 1-10 zone, you are subject to PvE flagging rules, even on a PvP server. The guards and gate are just for show.

      I’m sure that make Shamus feel better as he suicides through them.

      And yes, a level 80 should have no issues ignoring the guards, whether they hit you or not. Only the goblin guards should mean something to a level 80, and that’s still only if you pull way too many or get in a spot where they can’t go (they pull out rifles that have knockbacks rather than evade bugging). If they corner you with a rifle you are dead. You will stay cornered until you run out of health/mana.

  8. Kdansky says:

    Finally someone found a solution on what to spend quest rewards such as that on. LK is much more streamlined, with very few quirky and unusual items, and a lot of very bland +m items where m is just the tiniest smidge higher than the +n you are wearing right now.

  9. kmc says:

    I will say that, at least for the orc/troll starting area, and I think for the undead area too (possibly), I actually managed to climb one of the nearby cliffs far enough to get credit. Yes, it took me a while, and yes, it’s probably a ridiculous and unnecessary solution, but it was also kind of a fun challenge that didn’t involve killing anything at all.

  10. Mark says:

    That sounds like a load of fun.

  11. Zukhramm says:

    The hight of my adventures in WoW was getting the Explorer title without a flying mount, after that I quit playing.

    Then they lowered the level requiered for flying and I was no longer special.

  12. Kaorael says:

    Have you tried running “through” the guards? With a fast mount you can often pass through them and be off before they have the time to hit you more than once, and often you can even escape unscathed.

  13. Ace Calhoon says:

    This is easier than I expected. Because the city is reached via an underground tunnel, it’s possible to just stick my head in the door and get credit for visiting without getting near any of the guards inside.

    You didn’t meet anyone because that’s not the entrance to the Undercity… It’s a back door. You’ll have similar luck with all of the other Horde cities (Alliance cities don’t have unguarded back entrances. No, I’m not disproportionately bitter…).

    • Shamus says:

      Wow. There’s a back entrance to Ogrimiwhatzit? That is a tough nut to crack. I got killed a LONG way from the front door, and figured it would take several deaths to get inside. And the graveyard was a friggin’ HIKE.

      I should see if I can find that.

      • luagha says:

        Orgrimmar has the east side river entrance that can be very convenient for some low-level quests, but I don’t believe it’s exactly unguarded.

      • Ian says:

        It’s in the northeast corner of the Barrens near the Sludge Fen.

        The easiest way there would be to get yourself to Ratchet, leave town, then head due north. You’ll want to follow the river to your right and dodge any guards that you see. The first bridge you come across will be the one going between Durotar (eventually leading to Razor Hill) and the Barrens (eventually leading to the infamous Crossroads). The second bridge will take you straight into Orgrimmar — the troll district, to be precise.

      • Adam P says:

        Eh, the corpse run to Orgrimmar isn’t terrible, even for Alliance. (Assuming that the graveyard is still at Razor Hill, in the center of the zone.)

        Now, a Horde corpse run into Stormwind on the other hand, is terrible. When my guild plans an attack on the Alliance capital cities, we always hit Stormwind last because of the corpse run if we die. Our PvP flags will wear off before we even get our ghosts back into the city!

        The PvP flag automatically turns off after 5 minutes, btw. That’s a long run, about 3200 yards if I remember correctly.

    • Ian says:

      I wouldn’t exactly call it “unguarded,” but Stormwind does have the harbor. Also, Exodar most definitely does have a back door. Finally, the teleporter for Darnassus takes you alarmingly close to the city leader.

      Also, unless the Alliance can use the Orb of Translocation, I believe Silvermoon is rather well protected (not that many non-jewelcrafters and non-blood elves really go there, but that’s another story altogether :p).

      That said, Orgrimmar’s rear entrance is just ridiculous. Pretty much the only thing that could slow down the flow of [For The Alliance!] traffic through that entrance are the people at the flight point. Unlike most other cities, there are only two ways to actually make it up there from the main part of the city — the long way and the longer way. Flight tower (with its forced dismount and all) or the Drag — pick your poison!

      That said, the Exodar isn’t much better and generally suffers from underpopulation. The volume of players that roam Orgrimmar at least work to somewhat offset the back door issue.

      • Ace Calhoon says:

        Finally, the teleporter for Darnassus takes you alarmingly close to the city leader.

        You mean the teleporter in the middle of an Alliance village, reachable only by riding an Alliance boat, guarded by another Alliance village? That is the ONLY access point to the city? Darnassus is easy to get in to only because no Alliance ever go there. If they did, it’d be choke point central.

        I wouldn’t exactly call it “unguarded,” but Stormwind does have the harbor.

        How dare you pollute a good rant with silly facts.

        • Ian says:

          You mean the teleporter in the middle of an Alliance village, reachable only by riding an Alliance boat, guarded by another Alliance village?

          You can actually get there on, uh, “foot” before fatigue kills you if you have some sort of water walking (though levitate won’t work because you need to be mounted). That was my way to do it.

          Another option that I accidentally worked out was getting yourself stuck on the bottom of the boat (i.e. stuck on the geometry, but not bad enough that you can’t work your way out of it) and having the boat take you. That only really works on PvE realms, because otherwise anyone can just dip underwater and kill you (and you can be easily detected thanks to addons like Carbonite that spam your message log with “ENEMY DETECTED,” not to mention nameplates).

          As far as it being an Alliance village, yes, it definitely is. From my experience playing as a Night Elf, though, no high level toons spend any time outside of the city unless there is the potential for an attack. It’s easy to get to (from within the city), yes, but it’s also easy to rush the hill and jump into the teleporter. With a raid group, I’d say it’s far easier to invade Darnassus than most other cities. Additionally, in my experience, it’s easier for a lone explorer to run in unnoticed, though Darnassus being a very wide open area helps.

          Darnassus is easy to get in to only because no Alliance ever go there. If they did, it’d be choke point central.

          *shudder* No argument there!

          How dare you pollute a good rant with silly facts.

          I like to make people sad. :)

          • At higher levels the guards on the boat don’t aggro to you. For some of the world event quests I’ve ridden over on the boat and through Darn and out again without much trouble. Probably one of the easiest areas to explore ;)

            • Ace Calhoon says:

              It isn’t so much that Darnassus is impossible to get into NOW (although good luck doing it on a level 40 without stealth like Shamus is doing for the Horde cities), as it is that the original three Alliance cities were built like impenetrable fortresses while the Horde cities all had easily accessible back doors.

              And of the three, Darnassus has the best fortifications out there. With a single entrance and a choke point that begins at Auberdine, a defensive force could hold there pretty much indefinitely if they wanted to. The trick is that nobody wants to hold it… Darnassus is an empty super fortress with the door left open, but that doesn’t change what it is.

              Of course, all of this gets more and more irrelevant as each expansion hits. Especially when the next one hits and everyone has flying mounts.

      • Adeon says:

        Also I believe it’s possible for Horde players to move between Stormwind and Ironforge using the tram so potentially if you can get into one there’s a back route into the other.

        • Will says:

          It is possible; every now and then a high level raid group, usually of Rogues and Druids, will sneak into the Deeprun Tram and murder everything for awhile until some bored max level chars from Ironforge decide to clear them out.

          • Kalil says:

            Or better yet, they’ll sneak a small party with a Warlock in, and summon in a whole raid group.

            • Nathon says:

              Whenever I’ve done the For the Horde achievement, we’ve started near Uldaman (at the summoning stone) then run to Ironforge, deeprun tram to Stormwind (have to hit it early so it won’t be heavily defended), then took the boat to Darkshore. From there, we take whichever boat comes first: Darnassus or Exodar. The Exodar’s entrance by the boat (not the main one) is conveniently near the leader. Darnassus is a ghost town. The guards on the boats don’t put up much of a fight to a raid with 40 level 80 characters. We usually drop a warlock stone on the dock while waiting for the boat (or tram) to pick up anyone who’s died on a previous boss.

  14. Drue says:

    Aggro radius also scales with level. At top level you can run right past most of the mobs in the world and they don’t even blink.

  15. luagha says:

    Thunder Bluff has an unguarded back.. what? Hidden escalator?

  16. TehShrike says:

    I’ll post this link one more time, for those who want the ability to enjoy posts like these in their feed readers:

    http://error420.com/twentysided/posts.php

    It’s Shamus’s feed, but with working images. <3

  17. RTBones says:

    Exploration is, to me, part of the fun of WoW. When I first played the game, I made it a point to go and try to find all the gryphon locations I could once I reached about level 20. Made a nice break from questing/grinding, and it was/is always fun to see how far I can make it before I get squashed like a bug. Did a lot of corpse hopping/ghost running, but it was (is) always fun.

  18. Thom says:

    Well… I guess the Tauren area is the easiest to explore, both starting area and Thunder Bluff :)
    Don’t even have to enter the city, you can just walk around the bottom.

  19. Athan says:

    As a hunter you also have the trick of using your pet to distract mobs, including guards.

    1) Find a safe spot as far from the guards as possible, but not so far your pet would despawn if you were stood at the guards. Tell it to STAY there.

    2) Now you want to get close to the guards, but not so close you aggro them, and preferably on a different side to the pet. Picture an equilateral triangle, guards at the apex, pet at one other point, you starting from the other and edging in.

    3) Tell the pet to attack a guard. It might need to hit ’em and run, which could mean it won’t survive, but if it can just aggro…

    4) Soon as it tags the guards tell it to go Passive. This is important, NOT ‘Follow’ as it’ll come to *you*. You want it to go back to its stay spot.

    5) RUN LIKE HELL before the guards kill your pet or get bored with it.

    Downside these days is this means you can’t be mounted as doing so will dismiss the pet, and it may not be worth it with the mount-up time to do so just as your pet is close to the stay spot.

    I used to use this tactic to solo uncap/cap Alterac Valley graveyards. Pet makes guards run away, I get just enough time to uncap the flag and start the timer for it to cap to our side.

    Back when mounting up didn’t cause pets to disappear it was handy with a flying mount to use the pet on the ground to kite mobs away for a friend too. I wasn’t too happy when they changed it (you could always just fly high enough to get the pet to dismiss without happiness penalty anyway).

  20. Samrobb says:

    If you’re going to continue to explore, you may want to try and get your hands on a couple of invisibility potions or lesser invisibility potions. They probably wouldn’t have helped in this situation – most Horde/Alliance guards can see invisible – but I do recall that while I was exploring on my mage, being able to turn invisible at certain points was incredibly useful.

    • Ian says:

      High level invisibility potions helped my friend (a blood elf warlock) get some of the world event achievements in Stormwind and other Alliance cities while remaining undetected. That said, there’s probably a level minimum on some of the higher level potions.

  21. Dev Null says:

    I did the explorer quests on my druid; stealth rocks.

    Of course, most of the guards – and a fair number of mobs – can see through it if they get close enough and the level differential is high enough, so you had to actually work at stealth for a change; timing the gaps in guard patrols and things. I thought it was a lot of fun (but I am one of those weirdos who like to run Thief missions without alerting any guards… ymmv)

  22. Sam says:

    Ah, memories. I remember when I took my hunter exploring. He was probably 30 levels higher than your character, Shamus, but it was still a pain. The most harrowing experience was when I tried to explore the Blood Elf capital. I had to dash into the little hallway entrance, which alerted several guards. About halfway there, I was knocked off my mount and stunned. I figured I was dead. But in an unforeseeable twist, my pet appeared and took all the guards’ attention from me. It perished, but I managed to escape without dying. I never finished exploring the entire world, as Northrend had a lot of places that were still extremely dangerous to try to explore, even at level 75 and with a flying mount.

    You’re going to enjoy flying mounts quite a bit, I’ll wager.

  23. Armagrodden says:

    There’s actually a back way into the orc and troll starting area. If you start nosing around the mountains by the river, you’ll eventually find a path that leads in. And even if you don’t get in, there are several places in the mountains that are close enough that they’re considered “in the zone” and let you discover the region (I think the same is true of the tauren starting area). The Blood Elf starting area is even easier (just ignore the bridge and swim to it), but getting to their zone as a whole could be something of a challenge (It’s a corpse run through Eastern Plaguelands; swimming from Tirisfal doesn’t work).

  24. froogger says:

    Doggone it, now he’s got me playing WoW again. When the wifey asks what happened to our projects I’ll point at you.

  25. Rosseloh says:

    Random question, Shamus. I’ve been playing this lately; do you have any addons that you consider “required” to further your enjoyment of the game? We have very similar playstyles (enjoying exploration, for example).

    I have one, QuestHelper, but I haven’t seen any others that have much use outside of grouping, yet.

    • Shamus says:

      Yes. It’s not even worth running the game without Quest Helper.

      I also have some sort of Auction House thing.

      Explorer Coords puts little dots on the map showing where you need to go to get credit for visiting area. Handy for those annoying areas that are the size of three football fields and have an exploration trigger the size of putting green.

      DCoords is ok. It just shows your current Zone, Region, and Coords in a movable little window. Handy about once a week, but when you need it you REALLY need it.

      • Adeon says:

        I think Quest Helper is a lot less important than it used to be. The new built in quest information interface is actually pretty decent. I’ve been using it and have only encountered a handful of quests where it didn’t provide clear directions for me.

        • Rosseloh says:

          Yeah the built in thing wasn’t TERRIBLE, but with my altoholism I love the little arrow.

          Thanks for the info guys. And if you happen to stop by Grizzly Hills, horde side, say hi to the various “Turn” family (Turnam, Turn, Turnholm)

      • Khizan says:

        The new built in questmap feature has pretty much removed any real need for QuestHelper.

        Some of my must-have mods:

        Cartographer: Reposition the map, add notes to it, etc, etc. Also functions as a coordinate mod

        BetterInbox: Allows you to empty your mailbox in just a few clicks. Really nice for when you buy 40 stacks of cloth to level tailoring, etc.

        AuctionLite: A simple auction mod that just makes it easy to buy multiple things and see which stacks are priced the cheapest. I don’t play the AH, so this is all I need.

        FuBar and ExperienceFu: FuBar is general status bar with plugins. ExperienceFu displays your current exp level as a percentage to the next, lets you know how much is needed, gives you an expected time-to-level at current rates, etc. There’s a ton of plugins for FuBar, but that’s my “mandatory” one.

        Bartender4: Fairly complex, but it replaces the bulky default UI with a customizable set of action bars. Shrink them, turn them into boxes of various sizes, etc. I just hate the bulky awkward positioning of the standard UI.

      • Jarenth says:

        It’s not even worth running the game without Quest Helper.

        Every time I hear someone say that I find myself crying a little. I mean, I understand the utility of the thing when you’re levelling your fourth or fifth character, but for me, on my first character, figuring out the quest directions – where do I go, how do I get there, stuff like that — was an integral part of the exploring part of the game.

        Simply running after Questhelper’s little floating arrow turns the game even more grind-rific, too much so for me.

      • Shunal says:

        Unless I’m mistaken, Quest Helper actually can help you with your exploration achievements. It has somewhat the same features as Explorer Coords which you just need to switch on in your achievement window.

  26. Vekni says:

    Oh come on now. If need be, die, and you’ll likely end up at a graveyard IN the area you were pushing towards. Take the spirit rez or make the walk. Eitherway, death is no obstacle to exploration-it can be and is a very helpful tool to be exploited!

  27. Josh says:

    Zul’Farrak, eh? I was wondering if you’d start hitting some dungeons. As you’ve no doubt noticed, the equipment far surpasses anything you can get from questing or crafting (note: above level 60 there are some useful crafted items).

    I’ve heard it hypothesized that the dungeon loot is so powerful because you had to work hard to organize a group to go and get it, back in the day. As a result, dungeon finder has unbalanced the game by making that great equipment easy to get.

  28. Silfir says:

    This sounds like exactly the way I would enjoy playing World of Warcraft. I want to hear more exploration exploits!

  29. Danath says:

    I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s you that’s managed to enjoy the game more, but that blizzard actively lowered the amount of grinding required. They lowered xp requirements for all levels, boosted xp gains from mobs/quests, revamped a few areas for additional quests… stuff like that. But it seems to have helped you get past that hump, so I guess it worked!

    Amusingly I found Quest Helper annoying when I leveled and ended up always turning it off, go figure. As a side note, undead starting zone is probably the HARDEST one to explore. The Tauren, orc, and blood elf ones are not as bad from what I remember. Although maybe my memory is just playing tricks on me due to the horrible slaughter I experienced.

  30. David V.S. says:

    My main character is currently in her mid-40′s. I’ve surpassed the point where I gave up on the game two years ago, and I’m still having fun this time around.

    Have you identified any particular reason(s) why this time ’round is more lasting fun?

  31. BaCoN says:

    Actually, Shamus, there are vendors for the Alliance in Pyrewood Village, in Silverpine(but only during the day! By night… WEREWOLVES!). And I’m fairly sure there’s a tailor who will buy stuff in Ambermill, as well. :x

    Oh god, I know this game too well. :(

    Also, the Tauren one is REALLY easy. Mulgore is so stupidly open(and just stupidly stupid) that you don’t really have to worry about the guards being in any essential chokepoints.

  32. Michael says:

    Damnit Shamus, why do you make me want to look into this addictive timesink? :( :p

  33. SatansBestBuddy says:

    So, hey, I was surfing YouTube for Starcraft 2 easter eggs when I cam across a video series and blog about exploring WoW, but not in the huge, get the XP kind of way, but looking for the little details, the easily missed stuff, and in a game as big as WoW, there’s a ton of little details that aren’t very well known.

    My favourite so far is the Dancing Troll Village, but he’s posted plenty others in his blog, which I suggest you check out.

  34. Noel Proulx says:

    I really like the first picture, what it is missing is the view 3 seconds lateer when the 80 rouge unstealths and cuts you to ribbons for daring to stand there. I gave up on the game awhile back when I felt there was not much left to do will probably return for cataclysm

  35. Mazinja says:

    Exploration is fun and awesome! (and deadly).

    Once Achievements came out, it turns out I ALREADY had fully explored most places. This still left some exploring to do, however, and other fun activities such as… BOOK READING!

    While you could find many of those books in Dalaran once Lich King came out, you could find ALL those books scattered around the map. I wanted that achievement before the expansion was out. One of the books… is in the Stormwind Library. The library that is inside the castle. The castle filled with elite guards that I believe are level 85, and which is a place that forces you to dismount. Getting that book was… painful.

    More amusing was one in one of the dwarven villages, that has much lower level guards. It was in an inn, so I just pictured my huge level 70 Tauren tank warrior sipping on some ale and reading a book while the guards futitely bashed at him.

  36. spiralofhope says:

    It’s not that you can’t do /anything/ on a mount, you can still dance for example. =)

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