Monthly Archives: May 2014

Iron Man Challenge: Thousand Needles Edition

Though I originally wrote Thousand Needles off as being boring and bland, I decided to give it a second shot. Lo and behold, it turned out to be more entertaining and scenic than I had expected.

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Let’s get this out of the way first: I almost died like three times in Thousand Needles. ALMOST.

First, do you remember that helpful list of survival tips I posted a while back? I broke rule number 23. I thought, hey! I can jump off this absurdly high cliff and land safely in the water below as a shortcut! So I jumped. And I landed on a little lip sticking out of the bottom of the cliff at 2% health.

Never ever ever EVER for any reason jump off of anything ever. Got it?

Second, I didn’t read the quest text and went stumbling into combat with several elites I was actually meant to kill via disguise and assassination. I managed to kill them, barely, and only realized afterwards that I could have spared myself the risk by donning the disguise. Whoops.

Moral of the story is, if you’re doing the Iron Man Challenge, don’t be a dope.

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Near-death experiences aside, I enjoyed Thousand Needles. Coming from the forests of Feralas, it was quite a change in scenery. The Cataclysm virtually obliterated everything familiar about the zone: the dusty valley floor is now a vast maze of ocean and mesa pillars, the old quest lines have been retooled to different designs, and pirates have taken over where centaur once roamed.

Our first stop was the speed barge run by Fizzle and Pozzik.

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It was a lively place full of very short people, a lot of small explosions, and long lines to the bathroom.

They periodically got into brawls over who cut in from of whom.

They periodically got into brawls over who cut in from of whom.

Nobody seemed to realize that they were on a boat, and all you have to do if you have to pee is hop over the edge for a few moments. Iarann did just that – albeit for a quest and not at the insistence of her bladder – and was met by some very inquisitive triangle fish.

Not tropical fish, mind you. Triangle fish.

NEMO TOUCHED THE BUTT.

Apparently the flooding triggered by the Cataclysm was substantial enough to drag in a whale shark the size of Teldrassil.

Itty bitty draenei in the foreground for scale.

Itty bitty draenei in the foreground for scale.

After blowing up a bunch of pirates and attempting to trick a tribe of centaur, we were dispatched to the mesa-top tauren villages now under siege by Magatha’s people. We slaughtered dozens of tauren invaders, took out their leaders, burned their weapons, and challenged their demi-god. Have I mentioned how much I love tauren culture?

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I took a screenshot of this dream catcher because I may actually try to make one just like it someday.

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I managed to worm my way through killing several elite quest mobs by catching a ride on the coat-tails of a particularly well-geared level 40-something paladin. The mobs in questions gave quest credit to anyone who tapped them, so I was able to complete the quests without dying horribly. I decided that this was better than standing around waiting for the respawns, which were taking longer than I would have liked.

After stabbing a few tauren leaders in the face, we took a boat ride to the wyvern’s nesting grounds.

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This place used to be way high up. It just shows how far the water has risen since Cataclysm. We fought, we ran, we rescued countless adorable baby wyverns, and we hitched a ride on their big papa to go kill the stupid twilight guy who was causing all this unnecessary ruckus.

They look cute now, but they tore a heavily armored grown man apart in about 10 seconds.

They look cute now, but they tore a heavily armored grown man apart in about 10 seconds.

 

Finally, after much questing, we reached the part I was secretly excited about: we found Magatha Grimtotem. I mentioned before how much I love her and this time was no exception. Despite the fact that I had killed a bunch of her tribe in other zones, she seemed perfectly willing to work with me. Or, more accurately, make me work for her.

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So I ransacked the twilight camps up on the bluffs, killing lackies, freeing captives, subduing the out of control elements. Anything for you, Magatha.

Pictured: ominous Twilight structures.  Not pictured: me nearly dying.

Pictured: ominous Twilight structures.
Not pictured: me nearly dying.

 

This is where I ended up nearly dead more than once because I decided I was too cool to read quest texts. Derp. Pro tip: read the quest text!

This is about where our Thousand Needles adventure wrapped its self up in a neat little package. It ended up being a lot more photogenic than I had expected. As always, click on the screenshots to see a larger, better version.

We’ll pick up next time in Felwood. Here, have another screenshot before I go.

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Iron Man Challenge: Feralas Edition

Did you think I had forgotten about my Iron Man progression? Well, I did. But I remembered, so here’s the next post!

 

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After tromping around in a fetid swamp for what felt like forever, the lush, open forests of Feralas seemed like a welcomed vacation, all things considered. There was no grand battle against the Horde, no swarm of orcs to defeat, and no Alliance generals barking orders. It was quiet. Mostly.

Our first quest lead us like a breadcrumb trail off to the Feathermoon Stronghold on the western shores of the zone. Years ago before Deathwing threw a temper tantrum, the Stronghold was located on an island out in the bay. The elves lost control of that island to the naga, and had to rebuild.

Before...

Before…

After!

After!

The quests really haven’t changed that much since the Cataclysm, much like the zone its self. There’s still the usual “kill yetis, kill ogres, kill gnolls” quest progression, along with a bevy of sea giants that like to fart bubbles and pop them for their own amusement.

This time, though, the zone has a few new arrivals. Satyrs made a brief appearance shortly before they ran away from a volley of arrows flung by an archer in a very odd mish-mash of gear…

This is a satyr...um...altar?

This is a satyr…um…altar?

The Green Dragonflight also has a more pronounced appearance here, with some hullabaloo about the Emerald Nightmare overflowing into Feralas and causing a lot of issues with local wildlife. Thanks to Iarann’s immaculate archery skills, however, a lot of the corrupted fauna has been put to rest. I loved seeing the dream portal in the northern part of the zone featured in a few quests.

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This particular plot culminated in a face-off with a very large corrupt green dragon who was suspiciously squishy for being elite. Apparently killing him has freed Feralas from the Nightmare, allowing it to heal. Yay!

 

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Also new to the zone are the ogre plot lines since Cataclysm. And if we’re going to talk about ogres, we of course have to talk about Cho’gall. He made an appearance long enough for Iarann to sink a few well-placed arrows into his eyes.

AAAGH! He's looking right at me! ...I think...

AAAGH! He’s looking right at me! …I think…

No lie, I was apprehensive about taking him down. I was promised the full support of the night elf army in Feralas, but I received approximately three eleven warriors and one elven archer. Five puny mortals plinking away at the ankles of a massive, all-powerful ogre demi-god. Thank Elune he had an Achilles heel or something, because he threw a fit at 80% health and ported away.

He left his minions behind though.

I'm not really sure what was going on here, but Cho'gall was yelling a lot.

I’m not really sure what was going on here, but Cho’gall was yelling a lot.

Feralas is a gorgeous zone. It’s dark and shady and cool and full of hippogryphs and faerie dragons. It’s easy to see why long-lost elven societies called it home.

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The ruins of these ancient civilizations are now being colonized by less-than-lovely creatures. Harpies took over the ruins in the north:

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While ogres have been squatting in various other ruined cities. Dire Maul, once the wondrous elven city of Eldre’Thalas, has been turned in to an ogre community. It probably stinks to high heaven now, but it’s still pretty.

Around every corner, a pile of ogre shit.

Around every corner, a pile of ogre shit.

However, some of these ancient cities are still populated by the Highborne…dead ones, anyway. Iarann’s misadventures lead her to the marshy ruins of a temple high atop a hill in central Feralas where she was duped into helping the spectre of a malicious long-dead demon corrupt the poor elven spirits further. Oops. After killing ghosts and digging through the mud, Iarann was told to “take this thing to the dead tree at the northern edge of the ruins”. All of the trees were dead. It took me several minutes of running around using the item before I finally found which “dead” tree I was supposed to use it on. Oy.

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I see dead people.

Our travels took us deep into the heart of an ancient, unchanged paradise. Quests and mobs were as green to us as the foliage, but I think that is probably to our advantage. Usually I leave a zone once the quests turn green regardless of if I have completed it, but I thought it best to stay not only for the story but for the easy experience. Despite being decked out in crappy level 30ish vendor trash gear, Iarann is mowing through mobs just as easily as if she were in full heirlooms.

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Our journey through Feralas came to a wrap with the slaughtering of a few dozen silithid pests. I have always been slightly put off by silithid hives. They move on their own. They pulse. They’re full of chirping, hissing, humming, buzzing insects. They have long, finger-like protrusions above ground that twitch and flex. Are they alive? Are the hives the slowly-decaying corpses of massive, ancient bugs?

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I decided I really didn’t care to find out. We killed our share of bugs but, just as we were about to high-tail it out of the hive, something pretty and blue and flappy appeared on the screen. So I tamed it. Meet our new friend Honeycomb (named, of course, after a character from My Little Pony).

I like flowers and sunshine and stabbing people in the face with my butt.

I like flowers and sunshine and stabbing people in the face with my butt.

That’s about it for the Feralas edition. With Honeycomb in tow Iarann and I headed for the next zone and the next adventure. Where will it be this time? I’m still deciding. I might trade the lush comfort of Feralas for the arid beauty of Thousand Needles, or I might find myself trekking through the putrid forests of Felwood. Find out next time! And don’t forget to stop and admire the scenery once in a while.

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