Monthly Archives: February 2014

Iron Man Challenge: Dustwallow Marsh Edition

Our next stop in Iarann’s Iron Man World Tour is Dustwallow Marsh. It may not be green and splendid or beautiful and airy, but it has a certain amount of old-world charm to it. Dustwallow used to be a favorite zone of mine to level in pre-Cataclysm. I’m not sure why. It was dark and ugly and boring.

It’s still dark and ugly, but it’s far from boring. The revamp added dozens of new quests that touch on the old story lines we came to know and (sort of) love: deserters in Theramore, the haunted house in the swamp, the Grimtotem clan, and the black dragon presence in the south.

I chose Dustwallow over Thousand Needles because it was a) closer and b) more likely to provide interesting screen shots. This is, after all, a photo journal of my attempts to make it to 90 without dying. So let’s get started!

I thought this was blown to bits?

I thought this was blown to bits?

Our journey began in Theramore, proud home of Jaina and her endless thinking. Somehow it’s still here, even though it was canonically blown to smithereens, but whatever. It had numerous quests for me right inside its gates, which is awesome because I can’t possibly die while delivering quests back and forth in a major city…right? But after shaming deserters, killing pirates, and pestering various NPCs, I had to head out into the swamps. It was a dark and dismal world beyond those stone walls.

WoWScrnShot_011714_125305

Since I’m trying so hard not to die, I try not to get acquainted with graveyards. Bad juju, and all. This graveyard was part of a quest chain, however, and I saw more of it than I would have liked.

The swamp may be dark, and it may smell a little bit like a small animal died in a gym bag, but it has it’s beauty.

WoWScrnShot_022114_171012

It also has its dark side. Apparently there is some sort of demon lurking in the waterways, because poor Jarl and his house are possessed. I did my best to take care of the issue, but he’s probably going to be crazy the rest of his life. And with a face like this haunting your dreams, it’s hard not to be.

Boo!

Boo!

Thankfully it wasn’t all demons. I got a break from the murk and the marsh when Jaina tasked me with flying over Alcaz Island.

WoWScrnShot_022114_180829

And I thought, sure, why the hell not. It’s free experience points and I don’t have to do anything but sit on a gryphon. Alcaz Island remained the last subzone of Dustwallow that I didn’t get to explore for the achievement. Color me crazy, but I’m not going anywhere near that place. As far as I know, it’s covered in elite creatures too high level for my squishy ass to survive. So it remained smugly unexplored, sitting lush and tropical off in the distance.

I have no idea why I was asked to survey it. It used to be part of the “King Varian is missing oh whatever will we do!” quest line back in the original version of the game. But the king’s back and the island has no purpose anymore and I didn’t read the quest text. Oh well.

Upon returning to Theramore I was tasked with discovering what happened at the Shady Rest Inn, which is one of my favorite quests in the zone.

Do I have my murder mystery sunglasses? Check.

Do I have my murder mystery sunglasses? Check.

 

I got a little too close to the Horde encampment nearby for my own comfort. The last thing I want to do is die by accidentally running face first into a Horde guard! Their base also remained unexplored. I’m not dying for no achievement.

I ended up at Mudsprocket, a quaint little goblin establishment that reminds me oddly of Disneyland.

WoWScrnShot_022214_111115

I had a near-mishap just outside of Mudsprocket, thanks in no small part to the add-on NPCscan and my own lust for rare blood. The add-on went off telling me Dart was nearby, and I didn’t question it because Dart is actually a rare raptor found in the zone. I could have sworn he was up in the northern part of the zone, but whatever. I set off to find and stab him. I finally found him, pulled out my bow to fire the first shot, and hesitated. Wait a second, I told myself. Why is he standing still? On the road? And why is his level showing up as a boss skull icon?

I’m glad I took a second to question these things, because I very nearly opened fire on a flagged level 90 horde hunter’s pet. Derp.

Moving right along. I got to poke some dragons in the eye, which is always fun.

WoWScrnShot_022114_224742

I got kind of uneasy being so close to Onyxia’s lair, though. I know it’s illogical but I kept glancing over, afraid that she would suddenly erupt from her own raid portal and turn me into a greasy blue stain on the ground as penance for slaughtering her brood. So when I was tasked with planting a mocking banner outside the jaws of her lair and killing whatever showed up, I was a little on edge. This place would make any Iron Man feel a little weak in the knees.

WoWScrnShot_022114_231951

I survived, though, with a score of dead dragons beneath my feet. I took my trusty raptor pet and my bow and hoofed it out of there, before anything huge and scaly could erupt out of the ground.

I tried to get a shot of both moons and smoke rising, but they wouldn't cooperate.

I tried to get a shot of both moons and smoke rising, but they wouldn’t cooperate.

 

One of the last things I was asked to do before fleeing Dustwallow’s humidity was to kill a few Grimtotem tauren and burn their camp to the ground. I’ve already expressed my love for the Grimtotem clan, and it makes me sad to exterminate them. But pay anyone enough gold and they’ll do what you ask.

WoWScrnShot_022114_223424

I felt bad lighting these pretty totems on fire. Why can’t we be friends?

That’s pretty much it. I got a quest to head to Feralas, and that is where Iarann’s journey will pick up next time. Until then.

WoWScrnShot_022114_225124

Advertisements

Iron Man Challenge: Southern Barrens Edition

Last time we left off right at the entrance to the contested Southern Barrens. If I was sick of the Horde in Stonetalon, the Barrens had a surprise for me: more Horde!

WoWScrnShot_010914_190922

My first quest in the Barrens had me defending the Alliance bases from a Horde onslaught along the coast. I remember when the Barrens were all about stabbing animals in the face and stealing their body parts. Ah, memories.

At least the scenery has improved a bit. The oases were always rather pretty but ever since the Cataclysm, they’ve been put on steroids.

WoWScrnShot_010914_190801

After killing a bunch of Horde infantry, I was sent off to investigate the strange power that turned the little oases from little bursts of green into a massive, sprawling jungle. If you look closely enough, there are a lot of interesting things tucked away in the corners of the Barrens. Like the raptor dens.

WoWScrnShot_010914_194613

If I recall correctly, raptors in Warcraft are supremely intelligent creatures with a complex social structure. I might be recalling that from fan fiction, but whatever. There’s evidence enough in WoW to support it, if you look closely. These quests in the Barrens have you tracking down a den of raptors who ambushed a supply caravan and stole (!) the supplies. Not only are they coordinated enough to ambush a caravan successfully, but they have the brain power to recognize the value of Alliance supplies (which they have likely not seen before) and the ability to coordinate themselves enough to take those supplies back home. Damn.

They also appear intelligent enough to build homes instead of nests (pictured) and decorate them. Let’s take a second to understand the significance of that. Any introductory anthropology class will tell you that one of the things that separates humans from the rest of the social beasts is that we have art. We decorate things. We add adornment to our bodies and to our homes. Apparently so do raptors. Look closely and you’ll see feathers tied to the structures above. Those feathers had to come from somewhere. They didn’t fall off a raptor and get stuck. They didn’t magically appear. They were tied to the sticks on purpose. Raptors, apparently, are smart enough to say, “This is my home, and I want it to look nice.” They can also, apparently, climb trees to hangĀ  surprisingly intricate ornaments up around the perimeter of their den, much like many native human tribes do to mark territory.

WoWScrnShot_010914_194331

How the hell did they get it up there?

The icing on the cake is that raptors on Azeroth wear feather armbands. It’s highly unlikely that a passing troll decided to bedeck every raptor forearm he saw. That means that raptors adorn each other, a practice seen almost exclusively among humans. Kinda interesting, I thought.

After taking back the supplies from the raptors, I came across a tauren burial site. I’ve mentioned before that I love tauren, and this is one of the many tiny details I love about them. If you take the time to look, this game has so many little tidbits of lore hiding in plain site. I love how the developers thought to give the tauren their own burial rituals. This site was tauren-only, but there are other grave sites in the Barrens that display all the Horde races, and each one has a unique way of burying their dead. Fascinating.

WoWScrnShot_010914_194723

I reached the cool, shady boughs of the overgrown oasis in the middle of the Barrens. It’s a far cry from the small, lush pools that used to dot the landscape. Thanks in no small part to Naralex and his meddling, the Barrens’ ecosystem is out of control. And thanks to some timely intervention by yours truly, it’s on the mend. Have a picture of flowers.

WoWScrnShot_011014_180213

The Barrens’ lighting makes taking well-lit screen shots rather difficult. Outside of the oasis it was bright and sunny but inside everything had this sickly yellow, late-evening sunlight sort of thing going on. Still, it was pretty, if a little forbidding.

Deep inside the brambles Iarann and I met with a tribe of quillboar who could not be persuaded to act rationally. So we slaughtered them. Amidst the carnage, I noticed that the local quillboar had taken to using unwary travelers as building materials.

I think it was an orc.

I think it was an orc.

Back at the base camp among the thorns, I ran in to this guy. His name was Ol’ Durty Pete and I highly recommend you stop by and speak to him next time you’re in the area. His stories are pretty funny, not what you’d expect of some random low level NPC.

"When the grog ran out, that's when we had the knife fight. For sport."

“When the grog ran out, that’s when we had the knife fight. For sport.”

We left the shade of the oasis behindĀ  (after a strongly worded reprimand to Naralex for, you know, screwing everything up) and rode south to continue the fight against the Horde. So tired of Horde. So tired. But the Alliance needed me. So I went.

We passed the burning husk of Camp Taurajo, where I had spent so much time back in the day leveling Horde characters. It’s part of a great quest line now where you learn just how far the Alliance is – and isn’t – willing to go in this war. When Taurajo was attacked, defenseless civilians died, and the quest text tells you that the Alliance General responsible didn’t want it to go that way. Honor amid chaos. Garrosh could learn a thing or two.

WoWScrnShot_011014_182807

The passage in to Mulgore is blocked now by a very impressive set of gates, and I don’t really blame the Tauren for building them.

Someone might be compensating for something, here.

Someone might be compensating for something, here.

Onward further south, Iarann and I joined in the Alliance battle against the Horde. I’m not really sure how helpful we were, but we didn’t die, and that’s good. The same cannot be said for the good general who tried to make right by the civilians he killed. Rest in peace, sir.

WoWScrnShot_011014_190205

Finally, finally, we left the battlefields behind. I dunno about you, but I’m tired of the Horde and tired of the conflict. I just want to shoot things with my crappy bow, take pretty screenshots, and try not to die. We found some dwarves and tried to help them, and somehow managed to set an entire stone bunker on fire (it was not our fault, I swear). We killed some more quillboar. And at long last, we waved farewell to the dusty, war-torn Barrens and hiked down into the fetid, mossy swamps of Dustwallow.

WoWScrnShot_011014_200503

We’ll catch you next time for the Dustwallow chapter!

You Won’t Do That Again, Will You.

So I’m out in Dustwallow Marsh on my 90 hunter farming heavy leather, because transmog rules my life. Long story short, I made a kick-ass transmog set for her only to find out that the two key pieces I need are leatherworking only. I dropped mining, thanked the stars that I already had skinning, and now I’m working on leveling up leatherworking from scratch. Fun.

That took me to Dustwallow, which Wowhead commenters said was best for heavy leather. They’d be right. As I’m running around mindlessly killing beast after beast, raptor after raptor, dragonkin after dragonkin, I ran in to a level 62 blood elf flagged for PvP combat. Ooo.

Now, I’m not a complete asswipe. I left her alone. It’s not fun and it isn’t sportsman-like to pop someone who presents me no threat. I fully intended to let her go upon her merry way…

Until she committed one of my biggest pet peeves in WoW. I guess I’m kinda old school, but I believe in being courteous to other people. We all share this virtual world together and things are a lot more pleasant if we be kind and polite and don’t go out of our way to piss people off. So if I see someone fighting to get to a mining node, I don’t rush in and steal it from them while they fight. And if I end up running for an herb with someone else, I usually back off and let them have it. And I don’t ever run up and skin a corpse right out from under someone else who just killed it half a second ago. That’s just effing rude.

Apparently this blood elf didn’t get the memo. I’m standing right on top of the dead dragon and a split second after I loot it, the blood elf skins it. So I did a /rude to attempt to communicate my disdain and moved on, only to notice a few seconds later that the same corpse was still there, so apparently the elf realized her mistake and left the leather behind. As I’m running towards it to skin it myself, she pops back up, skins it, and mounts up to fly away. Oh hell no.

Did you know that a concussive shot fired from a level 90 hunter into a level 62 blood elf on her flying mount will one shot the blood elf and knock her ass back to earth? I did. Now so does she.

I think the moral of the story is: if you’re low level and flagged for combat, don’t be a dick to a level 90 minding their own business.