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I cried.

:(

For the lost and/or confused, this text refers to a death knight quest. Anything further information would be considered a spoiler.

Time for Bullet News(tm)!

  • Winters hit level 80 gathering bits of firewood in Zul’Drak. She is reported as saying: “They put up quite a fight!”
  • Anj has boosted her gear supported by Winterstar’s leatherworking habit. Razorstrike Breastplate, Eaglebane Bracers and Dragonstompers together with Belt of Tasselled Lanterns gemmed for +16 hit rating from the auction house and she might start doing a little better in the next heroic.
  • It still hurts Anj a little that Kurzel’s Rage, a ring she still needs to get from a pretty simple quest in Drak’tharon Keep, trumps Violet Signet of the Master Assassin with ludicrous ease. Badge gear can come and go but, dammit, she had to run Karazhan to exalted for that ring!
  • Although not started yet, the name for Next Hunter has been chosen. She is Bluesonja because she’s Draenic and… blue. But, you know, way better than the film
  • OMG! Getting the link for Red Sonja and I find out that “they” are remaking Red Sonja! Oh this I have to see. /gasp! I predict a train-wreck, as much as recent Hollywood output has made that statement like going to a road and predicting cars.
  • This might even need a rethink on the whole ‘Bluesonja’ idea. I mean, these things need chronological distance…
  • Dammit Hollywood, why must you ruin everything?!

Pew pew!

The most recent ding put Winterstar equal with Anj on mighty level seventy-eight and with lots of my friends already on eighty, does this bother me? Not a jot. I mean, first of all, I’m pretty happy with how long The Levelling of Anj and Winters Together has lasted – seriously, I expected one to take over the other at some point and remain sufficiently more interesting to keep the gap growing but, hey, I’ve shown an uncharacteristic amount of discipline.

Anyway, the new expansion isn’t even two months old yet, between now and the next expansion I don’t think time is going to be an issue, going at a moderate to brisk pace and enjoying the levelling process in the meantime is hardly going to break the bank. Winters has only just begun questing in Sholazar Basin and that’s the furthest either of the sisters have travelled so far, having been diligently working through the quests in Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills.

Of course, the benefits of having level eighty friends is the ease at which I can get invites to the level cap instances which you wouldn’t think is that big a deal but there’s far too many people obsessed with keeping everything easy-mode and afraid of anything even remotely challenging, you’re either over-geared or not invited. Psh. Kids. Just because they ain’t a God Mode. This is my theory and I’m sticking with it. :p

Anj has taken part in The Culling of Stratholme and also Utgarde Pinnacle, the first of which continued her unbroken experience of having no useful hunter drops, at least until Trophy Gatherer dropped in the latter. We all know how excited Anj gets about shiny new bows, despite the fact that the selling of her old pointy stick launcher has left a -20 Hit Cap deficit. Well at least it’s a round number, one has to expect stat fluctuations while gearing up. It’s par for the course!

Notable also was the Gilded Ringmail Hauberk quest reward from Junk In My Trunk which replaced Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard, the first of Anj’s two hundred-badge items from Outland to be put to pasture.

Onwards, quite literally, HO!

During the Ampitheater of Anguish event in Zul’Drak, the planets align for Winters.

xp_equinox

For those unfamiliar with Fubar: ExperienceFu, that’s 77.8% left to go for level 77, with a comfortably snug 77.8% of rest time remaining. Doesn’t this sort of numerology summon demons?

No decent rewards for the likes of a feral druid in Lich King’s effective The Ring Of Blood 2: Blood Harder, other than XP and the helpful feeling in aiding a group that was asking for a tank for ages in the LFG.

Answering a Too Cute cry for help elsewhere in Zul’Drak filled that gap with Staff of the Sorrowful Chieftan many days earlier. And it seems like just months ago that Winters finally managed to feel the delicious power of that wonderful Staff of Beasts. Oh, wait, it was just months ago.

Anj, on the other hand, swung by the Ampitheater pretty much as soon as hitting seventy-five and asks you to remark on the fine craftsmanship of her Icier Barbed Spear, and that it remains shiny and uncontaminated by blood.

Well, it’s just amazing. That’s all.

This post has been restarted about three times and on each occasion threatened to run into several PageDowns listing the minutiae of every tiny point of awesome. Anj stepped of the boat in the Fjord and was almost immediately thrown into an ongoing siege of overdosed testosterone not entirely unlike a pub rioting after the news that Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts have gone acoustic. Winterstar’s Outland reputation preceded her on arrival in Borean Tundra and was graciously allowed to skip the recruitment queue and has since been hip-deep in bits of dead Scourge.

I think a little more time is needed before I can feel comfortable with casually mentioning the details of exactly why everything is so great, but here’s a few things:

Utgarde Keep is dirty and violent, The Nexus is floaty and ethereal (although this one is highest on my list to do again since the first time I was a little too tipsy to really notice the details), but Azjol-Nerub is by turns staggeringly beautiful and downright terrifying. For serious. Enjoy the jump-off though, wiping on the last boss has a silver lining.

Hunters will want to have a /hug ready when they visit their trainer at seventy-one. And that’s just level seventy-one! *giddy*!

There’s whisperings amongst the denizens of Sporeggar about a trip to Northrend to sort out, with violence if necessary, the issue of Just “Who Is The Cutest Faction Around Here Anyway?” with The Kalu’ak. Aaaw! Look at the bless ’ems with their plummy British accents! ^.^

The quest Flight of the Wintergarde Defender seems to have a reputation of being stupid and totally annoying but, for the record, I loved it. I recommend you look out for it and draw your own conclusions. It’s in Dragonblight, by the way.

Anj’s bow and Winters’ staff were replaced within three quests. Haste and armour penetration are becoming popular stats by the looks of it. The dirty, battle-hardened look of the gear as compared to the clean and shiny Outland stuff is shaping up very well indeed.

I think that should do it. Fow now. Happy hunting! :)

In stark contrast to Anj and Alysha’s frantic storm through levels sixty to seventy, when the whole Ring of Blood idea was saved until the cap to maximise the money earned, Winters was itching go as soon as it became available. I mean, the Staff of Beasts? Girl’s gotta have it!

Besides, being a druid, the flying mount cost isn’t something that’s really going to worry Winters anyway, something that still makes me giggle with excitement, and Anj has a good deal of money in a pot labelled with “Swift Flight Form Funds”.

Breezed through it rather well, a few hiccups and alt-swaps along the way but that’s to be expected. With thanks to the raid-geared troll mage who I thought was going to do the old trick of taking out the healer as soon as the fight started but actually helped.

The fact that I never expected a class to be as fun as hunter for levelling showed little more than a staggering lack of research. To be a shaman is to be almost stupidly overpowered that it’s not even funny, except… well, it is funny. And tons o’fun! Twas only yesterday while en route to Badlands for a Uldaman boost that I was challenged to a duel by a level 45 rogue. I accepted, given that PvP is something I badly need practice in and, well, the upshot of the event is that the rogue fled the duel with about 20% health. Are you stealthed? Not while I have a Magma Totem lying around, you’re not. Can’t believe she actually ran away…

Out in Dustwallow Marsh with Bupu and Verity (priest and paladin respectively) we were on the trail for some Murloc heads to satisfy some ogre, and had one of those moments where two people simultaneously decide for themselves that they will pull the next group of mobs which just turns out to be two separate groups and, before you know it, we’re surrounded by about ten to fifteen Murlocs.

Listless at first with that resigned sense of “We’re not going to survive this!”, we quickly gained some kind of consciousness, Verity hit Consecrate, I dropped a Magma Totem (my favourite totem) and burned most of my mana on Chain Lightning and Shocks while Bupu threw out the DoTs and heals. Before you know it, we were surrounded by about ten to fifteen dead murlocs. Like a water slide on a hot day, “Let’s do it again!”. Turns out that shaman, priest and paladin actually makes for a pretty shatterproof team.

Discount Totem Warehouse

Totems, though. Oy vey. Where does one put them all? My action bars are desperately in need of a serious reorganisin’, I have my most common totems easily reachable but as soon as I need some of the more situational ones, I’m lost. The best hint I’ve had so far is to make a bunch of castsequence macros to set down combinations of air, earth, fire and water but I’m not keen on the idea, when I tried that with my warlock’s DoTs it was fine for some of the time but lacked any real flexibility to make it worthwhile.

So I’m thinking about bringing the numeric keypad in for the job, a 3×3 block of keys with air, earth and fire taking a column each and… finding somewhere else for the water. It’s then simply a matter of having various three-figure codes to suit (almost) any situation. It sounds pretty good in theory, but that theory has a wicked sense of humour sometimes… We’ll see.

With an additional fifteen daily quests available per day, and enough quests to amply fill that, anyone with half a mind can be kept busy no matter what their calendar says. But exactly how long would it take to cover all of the daily quests, at least those than can easily be taken solo? An experiment was devised to find out!

After a few brief warm-up exercises in Shattrath, stretches, a few lunges, squat thrusts and the like, the marathon began at 2pm. First quest picked up was the gathering assignment, Gaining The Advantage. This would be ongoing throughout the day but at 16g for collecting 8x Mana Residue and collecting vital ingredients for crafting along the way, this is something of a gift to the lover of professions. Or at least so it seems… We’ll come back to that.

Phase 1: It begins.

First destination, a flight to Nagrand for The Multiphase Survey, ludicrously easy (at least it is when you’re not getting pipped to the post on the orbs of fire by other players with fancy epic flying mounts, grr!) and the first 10g 10s is secured. Without even a pause for breath, the next stop was Zangarmarsh for the fishing excursion, Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy. A chance to wear my new fishing hat but since it’s Zangarmarsh, no need for a lure! Seven fish reeled in, five of them being the ones I was after, two shrimps contained within each one. Misleading quest name, as it turns out “shrimpin'” is extremely easy.

Quick as a shot back to Shattrath to cash these in, with a Badge of Justice in the reward pouch for Multiphase and just shy of 7g for the fishing. Woop!

Phase 2: Skettis. 00h 25m.

From Old Man Barlo’s patch on the banks of Silmyr Lake, I took my own flying mount as the crow flies to Allerian Stronghold, skimming the ground for herbs on the way. Found a few, no Residues as yet. We’re being patient, there’s nothing to worry about. From Allerian, a dramatic upward turn and in the blink of an eye we’re in the familiar surroundings of the Skyguard Outpost. The two quests here have been covered in this blog before and, to be honest, there’s nothing more to it other than bomb eggs, locate the prisoner, lead him to safety and return to reap the rewards. The cooking quest for the day, Revenge Is Tasty, requires ingredients from around this area too so, you know, while we’re passing and have the bag space…

Phase 3: Ogri’la. 00h 45m.

A free ride from Skettis to the Ogri’la Skyguard Outpost? Well, it would be foolish to go anywhere else next then. Again, the quests up here, The Relics Emanation (9g 10s), Wrangle More Aether Rays! (11g 99s), Bomb Them Again (11g 99s) and Banish More Demons (11g 99s) have been around since the ten-a-day rule and pose no significant problems. I even beat my record of six Fel Cannon Stacks bombed before getting knocked off my mount, bringing it up to twelve! Go me. I was then dismounted in mid-air three times having only bombed one further stack. Don’t go me.

Phase 4: Loose ends. 01h 25m.

From Ogri’la, headed north-east and touched down at Bashir Landing for Intercepting The Mana Cells (10g 10s) and a slight bout of general weirdness to keep things, erm, interesting. The first phasing device I used looked to all intents and purposes like it had worked but I was unable to pick up any of the mana cells. Got the coggy icon and everything, just no bending down to pick them up. Sigh. So I phased out again, killed a few more Ethereals to collect another one and, bingo, we’re back in business. Just me and about twenty-five other players of mixed factions and, wouldn’t you know it, some cheeky blood elf mage tried killing me to get the a cell that I’d spent the time and effort clearing the Phase Wyrms away from. Go to the graveyard, mage, do not pass go, do not collect 200g. I mean, the nerve!

A short trip to Evergrove and taxi flight to Area 52 before heading to Manaforge Coruu, landing at 01h 45m for Sunfury Attack Plans (10g 10s). The Goddess was smiling down on me, first kill, plans, in the bag. Elune be praised! Hearthstone back to Shattrath to cash in a whole bunch of quests. Yay! Now, if only employment in the over-rated Real World(tm) was this easy.

Phase 5: Isle of Quel’Danas. 02h 00m.

Clearly I came here at the wrong time of day. The place was swamped and, as expected, my poor compuper does no like that. Nevertheless we press on, at least as best as we can. Further Conversions (9g 10s) and Arm The Wards! (9g 10s) can be taken together and completed within a minute of each other. No problems there, no massive amount of time spent either. The Battle for Sun’s Reach Armory (9g 10s), being set in a relatively small area, was like a battleground during which I was killed by an undead warlock while trying to deal with two Sunfury Archers. Well. So that’s the rules we’re playing is it? Okay, just as long as I know because if so, that warlock… (points vaguely north-east)… there, has about ten seconds of Not Being A Ghost time left. It was probably the same one, I don’t know. Well, they all look the same with their bad posture and uniformly pig-ugly faces, who can tell? Just don’t get uppity when someone decides to murder one back, m’kay? And, wow, look! It turns out that surprise attacking somebody while they’re fighting something else is remarkably easy. I even ran out of Blackflight Arrows and had to clumsily switch to my stock of Adamantite Stingers midway through.

All that remained here to be able to finally get out of 5fps country was Distraction At The Dead Scar (10g 10s) which, impressively, I totally did in one lap, though only just. I thought I’d missed the last Eredar Sorcerer and would have had a proper miff on if I had to do the whole thing again just for that. Watching him crumble to the floor was such sweet joy. A whole basket of yays and no small amount of hails to the night.

On to Hellfire Peninsula for the final run and we’re done. The only problem was, I had 21 minutes of cooldown time on my hearthstone and I’d be damned if I was going to just sit around waiting for that. Taxi!

Notice how much shorter the trip to the island is as compared to the trip back. Oh, the hilarity when I landed at Nethergarde Keep with just 3mins of hearthstone cooldown left. Damn you all, it was time for a break.

(time passes)

Phase 6: Hellfire Peninsula and The Final Clean-up. 02h 40m.

Blood For Blood (11g 99s) and Blast The Gateway (10g 10s), simultaneous quests mmm I love you. The only thing to keep in mind is to have some demonic blood handy at all times in case you get jumped by a pre-drained elite while bringing down a fire elemental. Oh, and if you see someone else killing a fire elemental, for the love of Elune run towards them and collect a free Living Flame upgrade! The whole thing takes less than ten minutes.

Now all that remained was the gathering of herbs for the Mana Residue. I’d picked a few herbs on my travels but only one residue was forthcoming, one down, seven to go. Terokkar Forest is a favourite area here because I always have a need for Terocone and Felweed. The sad thing is that herb skinning doesn’t seem to count, at least I’ve never had a quest drop from doing it. I’ve never seen anyone ploughing through the forest with a combine harvester but clearly it goes on because eventually I had to move on to Nagrand having found precious few herbs in Terokkar. You know, I did this quest with Powdor the other day, her with her skinning, me with my herbs. She was done in ten minutes! No joke! Well, I suppose by the time I do eventually complete the quest I have more herbs… It’s still not on.

Phase 7: Final hand-in. 03h 30m.

Herbalism plus Mana Residue drop rate equals ridiculous.

A-a-a-a-and relax. Eighteen quests done, a total profit (quest rewards plus junk items sold) of 189g 79s 74c, not even counting a bunch of items sent to Cherrytea for auctioning. The experiment is done! And never again will I do them all in one go.

(photo by dier madrid and shared under a Creative Commons license)
August 2017
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