Saturday, November 6, 2010

Traveling the world for fun and profit

Rakkael blew through three or four levels last weekend, and reached 62 before she ran out of rest. Once again, Orzu's advice about the hunter Survival spec, and using a bear, really helped. I'm following Jame's guides, but I'm two or three levels ahead by now, and the mobs die fast!

I also followed Orzu's advice and did a couple of dungeons, which got me through almost an entire level. Also took Alaurai (level 76 Alliance) into Orgrimmar to help some guild-mates do Ragefire Chasm.

Getting an Alliance toon through Ogrimmar was a real challenge. I made it about halfway from the west entrance to the Valley of Strength before a combination of guards and Horde players brought me down. Had to death run the rest of the way to the east end of Cleft of Shadows and RFC. When the guildies saw the trouble I was having getting through, they sent an 80. She beat me to the entrance of RFC, but only by seconds.

Doing this dungeon - which I've done before, but with a lower level Horde toon - was quite a revelation. The dungeon seemed a lot smaller this time! There were a couple of 80's in the group, and a couple in the 50's. The mobs died as soon as either of the 80's targeted them. It took what seemed like five minutes to get all the way through the entire dungeon!

Then we all went back to the entrance, and the 80's amused themselves by popping out through the portal and trying to get back in before the horde of Horde players lurking just outside could kill them. By the time we'd finished the run through the instance, about a dozen Horde had gathered outside the RFC gate, and as time went on - and the guildies kept taunting them - more and more of them kept arriving. My guildies had a blast! I wish I hadn't teleported out of the dungeon quite as soon; it would have been fun to join them.

This was my first experience of invading a city of the opposite faction. It never would have occurred to me to do it myself. But it was really fun, and made me feel much more a part of the guild. It also desensitized me to dying. Now making a death run to somewhere I want to be seems pretty routine.

This came in handy this week. My health took a turn for the worse, and after Monday I didn't feel up to doing any more dungeons. So I went exploring. I got my level 19 Alliance hunter to level 20, got her a tiger to ride, and went exploring.

The previous week I'd ridden my level 21 Horde hunter down through the Barrens and then northwest through Thousand Needles to Camp Mojache in Feralas - and I'd done so without dying once. Given that Thousand Needles and Feralas are much higher level zones than this toon, this was quite satisfying.

Getting to Mojache was also very useful because there are some recipes available from vendors there that sell for quite good gold on the auction house. Since this level 21 hunter is my highest level toon on that server, I figured it made sense to open up flight access to a location that would help me make some gold.

So this week I decided to run my level 20 Alliance hunter to the equivalent vendor in Feralas. However, this is much harder than getting a Horde to Camp Mojache, because to get an Alliance toon to Feathermoon Stronghold you have to run down from Astranaar in Ashenvale through Stonetalon and Desolace. These are much more brutal zones for a 20ish toon than the Barrens and Thousand Needles.

I made it through Stonetalon alive, but I got clobbered by a nasty beast on my way up to Nijel's Point in Desolace. Died a couple of times before I got away and up to safety. But I picked up some nice recipes there, as well as the flight point, and headed south.

Died one more time when I ran into a bunch of mobs just south of the kodo burial ground, but after that it was clear sailing all the way to Feathermoon, where I bought a bunch more recipes. Unfortunately, for some reason Ghost Dye doesn't seem to sell as well on Alliance AH's as it does on Horde, but it was still a fun and very fun and worthwhile trip.

After that I just went crazy, riding my young Alliance hunter everywhere in the world that seemed at all feasible. Got to Ratchet quite easily, which gave me access to Booty Bay and all its nice profitable recipes. Fell off the Great Lift (between the Barrens and Thousand Needles) and died trying to avoid getting killed by the guards. Got killed when I rode by two other guards hanging out at the bottom of the elevators to Freewind Post. But otherwise the trip to Tanaris was smooth sailing, and I picked up a bunch more nice recipes in Gadgetzan and Steamwheedle Port.

Roamed the Eastern Kingdoms, too, getting flight points in Menethil Harbor, Booty Bay, Arathi Highlands, and wherever else I could think of. Rode the ship from Menethil to Theramore for more recipes and the flight point.

Then I got really adventurous. I kept seeing people asking for mage portals to Dalaran in the trade chat. I was really tempted to ask for one myself. But is it really worth spending 20 gold to get a portal to a city which will become a ghost town - and useless as a portal hub - in just four weeks?

Nah. Shattrath City is almost as good as a portal hub as Dalaran - and I could get there for free.

Could I, though? I'd have to get through Deadwind Pass - piece of cake - and then Swamp of Sorrows and the Blasted Lands. How many times would I have to die to make it to the Dark Portal - and the flight point that would get me to Shattrath?

Not many, it turned out. In Swamp of Sorrows a bunch of Horde NPC's patrolling the road came after me, but using my hunter's tracking skills I managed to dodge and outrun them. But then I made a wrong turn just north of the portal and ran into a bunch of big nasty hogs and died two or three times getting out of there. That was my mistake; if I hadn't made the wrong turn they'd never have seen me.

Then when I rode through the little ravine leading to the portal two giant demons jumped me and killed me instantly. But I think that was the only death I couldn't have avoided.

Once I'd rezzed and rode on down to the portal, it was a piece of cake. Through the portal, take a hard left and jump off the platform, and go over to the flight master. This guy gives you access to Honor Hold and Shattrath as soon as you find him. Stopped by at the inn in Honor Hold and picked up some more profitable recipes, and then roamed the Lower City at Shattrath for a bunch more. And set my hearthstone at the Aldor inn, of course.

This exploration was so much fun - and so lucrative - that I decided to do the same thing with my 21 Horde hunter. Now she's got the flight points at Gadgetzan, Brackenwall Village, Ratchet, Stonard, Light's Hope Chapel, and the key one at Kargath in Badlands, which links the Horde flight points in the northern part of the continent with those in the south. And, of course, she picked up lots of inventory (for auctioning by my bank alt) along the way.

Getting to Shattrath was only a little more difficult for this (by now) level 22 Horde hunter than it was for the 21 Alliance, mainly because of having to get past the Alliance guards in and around Darkshire. She died a couple of times getting through there. Also made a wrong turn in Swamp of Sorrows and died a few times escaping the nasty wild cats north of Stonard. Probably could've gotten clean through the Swamp to Stonard without that wrong turn.

Only died once in Blasted Lands, when a couple of mobs knocked me off my mount. Seems to be a requirement that you die at least once when getting a low level toon through this zone.

Light's Hope Chapel was actually tougher, partly because I headed too far south when I got to the end of that ravine that runs east form the road toward the chapel. Ran into a bunch of slime, and died several times getting out of there. Also, a low level Horde toon has a hard time in Light's Hope itself, because there is a mob that hangs out close enough to the flight master that it aggros when you try to get a flight. And it comes and kills you no matter what you do.

But after the mob killed me the guards killed it, so after I rezzed I was able to take a flight out of there before he respawned. Only after, of course, putting a nice limited-supply recipe in the mail to my bank alt to ease the pain. LOL!

All in all this has been an exciting week of happily taking two characters in the low 20's to lots of places they shouldn't be, lighting up my map and grabbing flight points all over the world, and filling up their bank alts' inventories for weeks of profitable auctioning.

A side benefit was all the XP generated by the exploration; my Alliance hunter went from 2% to 68% of level 20 just on exploration XP alone.

I think perhaps all this traveling around is my way of saying goodbye to the classic Old World. With the retooling of the zones into different levels after the Cataclysm, and the destruction or ravaging of some of my favorite zones and towns (the Barrens, Thousand Needles, Ashenvale, Auberdine, Southshore, Menethil, etc.) so much of what I've learned about traveling, mining, and leveling in the Old World will become obsolete on December 7. I'm trying to make the most of these final days of Azeroth as we've known it.

Next on my agenda: battlegrounds. I met someone who told me that you get really good XP from battlegrounds, especially if you do them on their holiday weekend. I'm going to try to do a few this weekend and see how far I get.