When travel is hard

| Thursday, August 13, 2009
It's actually more fun.

Here's the story:
My shaman is 77, but for no clear reason does not have cold weather flying. My hearth is Dalaran, I have more than enough gold, but he can't fly in Northrend.

Lately instances have been unusuable due to a lack of additional instances which also cannot be launched and furthermore, have I mentioned that I can't run any instances? The exception was somehow I got into BRD last night using my remote, which I got from my bank using Jeeves. Someone probably wandered into that cave north of Northrend wondering why the hell there was a mailbox and flying robot.

My shaman has a lot of rested XP. I'd guess that combined with quests it will last until 80. When this happens I like to run instances; burn off rested, get some nice gear, meet people. But I cannot run instances.

So what do I do? I farm mobs. I looked up the enchanting formulas which I could farm, and found that three are Icecrown zone drops and three are off specific mobs. Great. I headed over to an area with two of them, near Aldur'thar.

I started in Grizzly Hills. From there I wandered around Zul'drak, noticing that it is an absolutely amazing zone, visually (the quests are good too). Over to the the woods with the crystallized trees (this is what happens when blue dragons explode). It looked amazing, btw. Up to K3 in Storm Peaks, since I might need the FP someday. Tip toe through the mines in pursuit of herbs. Back down to Crystalsong.

I've never before ridden up to the Argent Vanguard. It's a fairly impressive run which is practically invisible from the air. From there I ran through the breach and north towards the tournament, dodging spiders and ghouls, along with bone whelps.

It turns out you can run all along the south ridge of the nothernmost mountains, all the way to where they meet the general area I was going to farm. I wasn't there yet though. I first had to fight my way around the edge of the area to get to the mobs.

I got both enchants pretty quickly. It turns out elemental is really good at making things die quickly, even if they're 2-3 levels higher. Now for the hard one: Cultist Shard Watchers. I'd been to the area, but I'd flown. I had no idea how to get there.

My first path was directly south and then a little bit east through the Desolation Gate in order to find the Horde path up to Ymirheim. From there I hoped to go west onto one or both of level levels of the Horror Gate: Corp'rethar. That didn't work, so I had to fight my way back out of a town filled with hostile and higher level Vrykul.

Time to try the other end. You know the area where you kill converted heroes for the Argent dailies? Yea, that place, across there. Remember how they tend to patrol in groups of 6+ and have MS and a shout that snares? Uh oh? Well I managed to avoid the big groups, picking off 1-2 at a time as they came across my path. It was slow going and sometimes got a bit close.

From there it was up into the mountains again. My first path was too far south and didn't actually get anywhere. The second was further north. It was totally out of the way, running through the various sub-zones around the Fleshwerks. That was just as slow, going mob to mob, pulling carefully, and running on a surprisingly long path. Finally I made it to the top level of the gate, and promptly was rushing to the very edge to avoid the dogs and liches. I ran along the edge to the center with the shard watchers, without incident, though it was a long way down (good thing I don't get virtual vertigo). The view from up there is impressive.

I could have done all this travel in only a few minutes on a flying mount. But what fun would that have been? I enjoyed fighting my way towards a goal. I enjoyed finding a path which I wasn't even sure existed. I've rarely been able to really explore and I was glad I gave myself this opportunity.

I encourage you as well to try riding around and see how much more you can find when you don't skip it all in a flyover. The world is much larger and more interesting from the group.

P.S. I eventually found a path from Ymirheim to Corp'rethar, though it seems to involve a little bit of jumping into an angle until it catches.

[edit a couple days later]
About two thirds down the page; it's a Warhammer review
(Too?) Convenient Travel

Jumping around between WAR's zones is very easy, with Flight Masters happy to take you to any zone in your Tier or below. Being able to rapidly reach the fight wherever it is in the world, or experience the different flavours of each race's chapters with minimal fuss is excellent.

Flight is just a cutscene, however, and even by foot crossing Tiers requires a portal and a load screen. Given my ordinarily gamist leanings I'm loathe to complain about this, but the feeling of a meaningful virtual world is damaged. WAR's setting lacks Azeroth's sense of place, as much as I hesitate to suggest that inconveniencing the player has some value.


Hana said...

Someone probably wandered into that cave north of Northrend wondering why the hell there was a mailbox and flying robot.

Hahaha... That's so something I would do. I've dropped my mailbox in the craziest places; in the middle of Naxx, inside a vrykul building in Howling Fjord. I haven't done it in a battleground yet, come to think of it, but any time I run out of bag space I bring out ye olde mailbox before I even think of junking something.

I don't have Jeeves yet though. :( I can't bring myself to purposesly grind for him, though I really do want him.

Klepsacovic said...

I suggest avoiding grinds whenever you just don't feel like doing them. That way when something cool comes along, the grind is almost fun, or at least novel.

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