Thursday, February 26, 2009

No, Honey! It Looks Fine.

If you haven't reached 50 yet, don't plan on doing battlegrounds, aren't rich, and still want a different mount, you still can. Simply quest your way to exalted (and note that it's not exhalted or exaulted or some variant. People who spell it that way are rediculous and probably play rouges). This is also the best option if you plan on doing the Loremaster or Ambassador achievements. Lucky for you, it's not that hard, especially now that Blizzard has added the 'Low Level Quests' tracking type. All that's required is a knowledge of where to quest. Some factions are harder to get exalted with than others: Gnomeregan Exiles and Darkspear Trolls have quests primarily in their starting zones, then scattered all over Azeroth. Additional reputation for these factions will come primarily as 'spillover' from other factions' quests.

I've gotten exalted with Darnassus twice; once with a human and once with a Draenei. On both, I skipped a number of quests that gave primarily Darnassus reputation, and so didn't hit exalted until I was questing in Feralas. Of course, back then you didn't get your mount until level 40, so getting a cat at level 43 wasn't that long a wait. Now it's different, but there is hope.

Step 1 in getting exalted with a faction is identifying the faction you want to get exalted with. The next step is locating quest areas that give out plenty of reputation for your chosen faction. The racial starting area is a must. Quests there don't give spillover rep, but can be completed very quickly. There are usually a couple of other low-level zones that are primarily associated with your faction friends. Do every quest you can find in those zones.

I've mentioned spillover rep a couple of times now. Let me explain what I mean. Each quest you complete usually grants some experience and some reputation with a particular faction. Many (most?) quests for one of the primary factions also gives 'spillover' reputation to every other racial faction in your side, usually about one-fourth of the amount given to the main faction. For example, if you complete a quest that grants 250 reputation for Stormwind, you may also be credited with 62 or 63 reputation for each of Gnomeregan Exiles, Exodar, Darnassus and Ironforge. You won't see it in the chat panel, but you will see it if you keep track of your before/after reputation for each race. The primary exception to this rule is the racial starting areas. Quests in Elwynn Forest will usually only grant Stormwind reputation, quests in Teldrassil are Darnassus-rep only, etc.. The shared starting areas, Durotar and Dun Morogh, give reputation to both factions sharing the zone, but no other.

Let's say you want to get exalted with Darnassus. I know I do (again). You should first have completed your own starting zone. You might as well start out at level 10 or so. Once you're ready, head to Darnassus, run straight through to the other side, then follow the road all the way to Shadowglen. Enable 'low level quest' as your search type, run around and gather all the quests you can, then complete them. Turn them in and repeat until you're done. It might be worth consulting a quest guide to make sure you're not missing any. There are several guides at WoW-Pro or you can download their addon. You could also install Tourguide, Lightheaded and TomTom. These are all freely available tools that can help speed your questing without putting down a dime (other than your monthly fee). As you go on, you will find that there are a few out-of-the-way quests that you can easily miss without help.

Now that you're done Teldrassil, go do the quests in Azuremyst and Bloodmyst Isles. There are a fair number of quests that give Darnassus rep in both those areas, and many of the rest will give spillover. Don't miss the quests in Odesyus' Landing and Silvermyst Isle. They're a little out of the way, but give plenty of Darnassus rep. Especially that young girl that's hiding behind a log on the beach of Silvermyst. I've been there several times, but only found her once Tourguide pointed her location out to me.

Once you're done dealing with the Draenei, head over to Auberdine and do all the quests in Darkshore, Ashenvale, and Stonetalon Mountains. You will need a fishing skill of 30 to get the fishing quests from the gnome upstairs in the inn. Don't feel like doing them? Do them anyway. If you ever want to get exalted with Gnomeregan Exiles, you'll want the rep, and they definitely do grant spillover reputation. Also, once you've turned in the two 'Washed Ashore' quests to the NPC at the flightpath, be on the lookout for additional beached sea creatures all along the coast of Darkshore. Each one that you turn gets you more rep, and you'll be up and down the coast doing quests, anyway.

I've usually skipped Stonetalon Mountains and all the quests for Blackfathom Deeps. That was because I was in no rush. If you can wait until the 40s to get exalted, you can skip them too, and do Feralas instead later. I plan on doing them with my low-level shammy, though. I want to see how close to 30 I can get exalted.

Yes, it takes a lot of time to do these quests, but it's also going to take you a lot of time to do the battlegrounds or farm the cloth or gold for the other methods. This is also the only way to get another race's mount before level 50. Once you've done it this way, you'll also find that you've already made significant progress towards being Ambassador. If you want to explore all the beautiful areas of Azeroth, this may be for you. Unless you're Horde, in which case it's a great way to see all the brown and dirt that Azeroth has to offer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Does This Thing Make My Butt Look Big?

Hey. How's it going? Good? Good. Me? Fine. Yeah, so, um ... listen. I'm not sure how to tell you this, but I thought someone should. There's been a lot of snickering directed your way. Not your fault, though. Not at all! It's just ... that mount of yours makes your butt look huge.

Other classes have at least a couple of options on race, so having a ridiculous looking mount can usually be prevented. However,if you're playing a Horde druid or Alliance shaman, you have no choice at all. So how can you get yourself another race's mount? Well, there are three ways to do it: battlegrounds, cloth turnins and quests.

If you already plan on doing battlegrounds and can wait until level 60, purchasing a mount this way may be your best option. With the removal of battground marks for purchase of end-game items, players can find themselves with plenty on hand. These items are the currency used to buy the racial mounts as battleground rewards. Each of your faction's epic racial mount styles is available for purchase in any colour you like, as long as it's black. These mounts cost 30 marks of Arathi Basin, Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley (yes, that's 90 marks in total), and are available at the Hall of Legends for the Horde, or Hall of Champions if you're Alliance. If black isn't your thing, you can get a (white) Frostwolf Howler if you're Horde, or Stormpike Battle Charger (Alliance), for the cost of 50 Alterac Valley marks. The vendor for these mounts is in Alterac Valley itself.

What to do if you're level 50 or higher and have tons of gold or runecloth? Well, since you can only buy another race's mount if you're exalted with their faction, you can do the repeatable cloth turnin quest for whomever you prefer. My favourite mounts are the sabers sold in Darnassus. Other popular choices are the mechanostriders sold by the Gnomeregan Exiles, the Darkspear Trolls raptors, and Orgrimmar's wolves. Make sure that you know which NPC you should be turning cloth in to; mistakes can be very expensive. Even if you get it right, it's still going to be expensive. Each stack of runecloth is worth 75 reputation, so if you've just hit revered it will take around 280 cloth turnins. If you can get all your runecloth for 5 gold a stack, that's 1400 gold for the privilege of buying a mount. On the other hand, if you can get the cloth, it can be the fastest way to get yourself a nicer ride.

In part 2, I'll talk about the questing option, with some specific tips and examples involving getting a saber mount from Darnassus.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blame it on the Dwarves

Just a quick note to apologize in advance for any oddities or outages over the next few weeks. I'm experimenting with features, but communicating my wishes to the dwarves (ugh!) doing the actual behind-the-scenes work is complicated. I don't actually speak Dwarvish, and I'm not sure they speak Common. Can't they speak through their thick, matted beards, or is it just that they don't value diction? It would be easier if I could speak directly to their gnomish masters, but you know how bureaucracy is. In any case, things may happen, and I appreciate your patience.

My update schedule may also change from time to time. I think that Monday/Thursday is good for now, but if I do change, I'll make note of it at the top of the page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Light the Torches, Pass Out the Pitchforks

It's always entertaining to read another's tales of woe, strife and other players. This is why I've been such a big fan of Hannelore at the Egotistical Priest and have been catching up on recent Big Bear Butt posts. In fact, reading a post from a few weeks ago reminded me of an incident that happened to a guildie and me.

We're questing in Hellfire Peninsula, and are heading out of the Den of Haal'esh. We've been slaughtering arakkoa and kaliri left and right in an attempt to get to friendlier ground. At the entrance to the area, we spot a blood elf escorting an NPC, presumably doing the escort quest there. Now, I hate escort quests, and so does my friend. When we see this blood elf struggling to bring the pilgrim to safety (and she is struggling), we both jump in to help, even though we're playing Alliance. What does it hurt us? We all have to leave, we have to fight our way out anyway, and whenever I'm doing an escort I'm desperately grateful for any assistance. The two of us don't even discuss it as we start pulling aggro off the NPC and give the Horde player a bit of breathing room.

After a couple of very violent minutes, there are arakkoa bodies everywhere, and nothing but clear ground and open sky for our blood elf friends. Just as we are scanning the horizon for more threats, along comes a draenei paladin. He races over, dismounts, and consecrates right on the NPC. Bam! Bam! Bam! We rage helplessly as this guy three-shots the escort. Our blood elf friend can't do anything either, since she's still below half-health.

As I watch this jerk ride away, I have an epiphany. A new mode of PvP that will allow me to inflict justice on those injustices I see. Lynching. Now, I've got to admit that I'm a little hazy on the details, and I definitely see how this could be abused, but when I see some murloc-loving son-of-a-kodo who's allegedly on my side pulling stuff like this, it makes me want to break out the pitchforks and light the torches.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Am Shamalamabam - Hear Me Roar!

A few months ago, Blizzard came up with the Refer-A-Friend promotion. As a confirmed altoholic who had a passing interest in dual boxing, this promotion spoke to me on a personal level. I play on one server in a guild with real-life friends, play on another server in a guild with relatives, and play on a third server where my second guild has an Alliance branch. Triple XP meant that I would be able to level some characters quickly on each of those servers, and it would give me the excuse I've always needed (wanted) to get that second account for dual boxing. At the end of the promotional period, I had a few level 60+ characters on each of these servers, as well as some levels I could grant to new or existing characters.

Fast forward to today. I have a couple of accounts and a bunch of characters strewn over a few servers. I have at least one of every class. I've explored Azeroth on my rogue. I've healed my way to the mid-70s on my priest. I love my warlock, my paladins get more fun the more I play them, and hunters are always fun. I like druids, always seem to wind up using my mages as bank alts, and I'm giving my warrior another chance. The one class that has remained an enigma is the shaman.

I currently have three shamans (shamen?). Since I hadn't played one before, I thought I'd use some of the grantable levels I had accumulated to start a shaman at the high 50s. I did the same on another server to get one to level 30. I started a third one from level 1 to try out the Wow-Pro addon, since I'm a big fan of Jame's Levelling Guide. Between the three of them, I'm starting to have fun.

I plan on focussing on my shamans (shamii?) in this blog, but will talk about other classes or other WoW-related topics that interest me. Ooh! Shinies!