After getting the guild tabard for Bricaard (it made me look like a royal knight) I helped my friend Marc with my priest for a while, but it was boring doing the same quests again that I had already done with Bricaard. It was probably the first good hint that leveling alts wasn’t really for me.
Bricaard then went to Duskwood, the third zone that took place in an ominous dark forest with undeads. I was together with Bulwai most of the time, and he told me about a Scandinavian guild that he was also a member of. All of the members were grownups and there was a friendly tone. Unfortunately the guild leader was on a ski vacation, so I had to wait a while in case I wanted to change guilds.
Questing with Bulwai in Duskwood was great some of the time, but it wasn’t always fantastic.
Exploring an area with Bulwai is great when we trash groups of enemies together, but he too has the much too typical mindset of just rushing ahead and expect me to follow suit. I’m really getting tired of that mindset in this game.2 March 2005
Maybe it was also a problem on my part that I sometimes felt like being dragged along like a dog on a leash but not saying anything about it. It just silently annoyed me and I wasn’t always good at complaining.
There were even stretches were I simply made a habit of activating “follow” on Bulwai, for example when we were running from Darkshire in the east to Raven Hill in the west.4 March 2005
The incredible eagerness of Bulwai also hit me when we were following a class quest line for obtaining a special paladin weapon. He was almost obsessed and kept going. We went to the beginning of Shadowfang Keep, a low-level dungeon in Silverpine Forest, to get a hammer. Then we took a ship to the other continent where it sort of teleported to the other harbour after a loading screen. Then another low-level dungeon, Blackfathom Deeps, that had a beach entrance that looked like an underground ruin straight out of Tomb Raider. Here we obtained a gem – another important part of the paladin weapon.
I was now getting tired and wanted a bathroom break, but Bulwai was extremely insisting and kept going. It was clear that he really wanted to get hold of that paladin weapon in this single session. “We are almost there,” he repeatedly promised – even if we both knew it wasn’t really true. Only after I took a look at a web site and mentioned stuff that still needed to be done, did he admit that we couldn’t finish it now.
But we got the last gems in Blackfathom Deeps the day after, and we finally built Verigan’s Fist.
I helped my friend Marc in Loch Modan with my other paladin, and one noteworthy experience here was visiting an island in the middle of the lake to find things for the gnome Bingles. Somehow the developers at Blizzard must have typed in the wrong timer value in a properties setting because the enemies on this island respawned like crazy. I think it literally took just a few seconds each time.
Next up was Wetlands with Bricaard, a swampy zone with lots of crocodiles. First I killed pirate ghosts on shipwrecks a short distance from the beach. Sometimes I was temporarily transformed into looking like one of them myself. I also grouped up to kill Dark Iron dwarfs, killed raptors in Whelgar’s Excavation Site, and I did quests for Greenwarden – a big bog beast I was glad I didn’t have to fight.
I reached level 31 and used a talent point on Seal of Command. It was an ability that could make me swing my weapon for double holy damage along with a swooshing animation, but unfortunately the attack was random and that made it criticized for years by paladin players in general. I quickly learned that the damage was maximized by only using a two-handed weapon.
In the middle of the big city Stormwind was a dungeon with prison cells – the Stockades. A riot had begun down there and this became a dungeon. It didn’t give a good impression when I first visited it. It seemed a bit samey and uninspired. I also tried killing the elite boss Morbent Fel in Duskwood, but I had to wait until a hunter could help me kill him the next day. Then I helped him with Mor’Ladim in the same zone.
I then went to Arathi Highlands, a craggy zone north of Wetlands with raptors and elementals. I actually had some trouble finding Refuge Pointe in the middle. It was just a tiny outpost and also placed in sort of a pit. The enemies were a bit too high level for my liking, however. A guide on the internet recommended the jungle zone Stranglethorn Vale instead. It was south of Duskwood and had a lot of jungle animals.
But somehow it seemed destiny really wanted me to postpone Stranglethorn Vale because I was constantly headhunted just as I was about to run down there. First I helped a guy I knew from many levels ago do a few quests in Duskwood. Here I met “Stitches” for the first time, a big undead elite monster. It was fun to see how players ran away in all directions at first. He handed me my ass at first, but the second time he was in the town and there we players banded together. Then as I was about to embark again, a guy in my guild needed help with quests in Arathi Highlands and I agreed to help him since I needed that too. And the next day, the guy from Duskwood offered me a spot in a group – but this time I declined.
Enough was enough. I was never going to get to Stranglethorn Vale this way.
I gathered quests in north and also ran down to visit the gryphon master in Booty Bay in the south – a neutral harbour town with goblins. It was dangerous as the enemies were up to level 40 as I got near, and Bricaard was only level 33. I parted with my paladin weapon as I got something better, and it was actually a bit sad that it was replaced so soon – after all the trouble Bulwai and I had been through to get it.
Back on my paladin alt Falknox I once again helped Marc and Henning back in Duskwood. Over by Eliza’s grave we got to talk to a nice couple that was married in real life – Belfachmor and Nonaki. They suggested creating a raid since we were more than five people queued up for the respawning of this boss. This was the first time I ever saw the raid interface. I remember being miffed about quest rewards not being given to all members of the raid, but then we just killed Eliza a few more times. The couple helped us in Redridge Mountains and it was clear that they were both very helpful and also played well. They were members of a guild called OLD BOYS and we joined up. Then we went to Stockades and annihilated the place.
Belfachmor later turned out to have quite a rowdy humor. You were always aware of him logging on in the guild. But he was also a little whipped in his marriage. One word from his wife Nonaki and was immediately restrained. Maybe that was just a show, but Henning and I thought it was both cute and hilarious.
“I AM LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS” – “BEL!” – “Yes, dear.”
Back with Bricaard in Stranglethorn Vale, I fought water elementals on an island, killed basilisks, and I had trouble getting four stone tablets from various locations. The worst was in some ruins with blue trolls.
Whenever I think back to my adventures in World of Warcraft, this is a spot that always comes to mind almost immediately. I patiently watched them from hills nearby, hoping for an opening or maybe a small group clearing them out for me to have a chance at obtaining the tablets. The tablets had the usual jazz with a progress bar filling up slowly, so it wasn’t possible to just run in and brute force it.
That was probably the single one time in the game where I felt truly alone. I should have asked someone from my guild or looked for a group, but for some reason I insisted upon soloing it.
Eventually I parked that quest and instead went back up to Arathi Highlands. A lot of kobolds died that day. I also acquired three keys from three stone circles with patrolling level 38-39 elementals. The second one was quite tough. I tried running in, switching on my paladin shield for temporary immunity, then grabbing the key. That punished me in two ways. The first was discovering that the shield prevented me from interacting with the key. The second was that my PC crashed.
That’ll teach him.
Later I got another one of those quests that just left me standing there in the landscape, sighing at insurmountable odds. I had to kill a big level 42 elite monster that was accompanied by 3-4 level 39-40 kobolds. The big brute just walked around in the landscape without a worry in the world. That he had a yellow name tag didn’t help matters much. Another quest that had to be parked for a while.
Instead I ran west towards a big stone wall leading to Hillsbrad Foothills.
Right next to the stone gate something unexpected happened. A group of 4-5 Alliance players stood next to 4-5 Horde players, and before I knew it I was invited into my first PvP fight. Luckily the Horde players were considerably lower level than me, and the other Alliance players clearly had some experience. The battle was short – and as I always suspected; practically futile. The Horde players just “died” and that was it. No XP, no reward, no nothing. What the players see in this (apart from the honor) is a complete mystery to me, and I doubt that I will ever be tempted by this part of World of Warcraft.23 March 2005
But Hillsbrad Foothills had level 31-33 quests in the fishing village Southshore and that was much more feasible for my character at this time. I killed yeti, mountain lions and syndicate thieves.
And then I noticed it.
Over there to the west was a strange magenta sphere with blue lightning, kind of like a bizarre moon far away in the distance. I ran up close and discovered that it was an enormous magical barrier surrounding Dalaran, a city we wouldn’t visit for ourselves until two expansions later.
In the meantime Emalthar, the guild leader from Eternal Knights, had dissolved his guild due to an overall low quality. He created a new guild for me to join up instead with Bricaard. I immediately decided that there was both a very good and a very bad thing about it. The very good thing was the tabard. It was black and had an awesome design. The very bad thing was the name – Fist Of Chaos. Not that there’s anything wrong with the name itself, but notice that capital letter in the middle word? Absolutely not okay. Another bad thing were the guildies. They didn’t answer questions or help each other out much.
Then later that same evening, I got acquainted with a member of a Danish guild called The Danish Order. Even though he was clearly a kid, he still managed to make me jump guilds – not that it was difficult to part with the old one. I immediately decided that there was both a very good and a very bad thing about it. The very good thing was of course that all guild chat was in my own, first language. The very bad thing was the tabard. It was the ugliest piece of shit I had ever laid my eyes upon. Red with clashing green edges and a pitiful, light green mountain as a logo in the middle of it. I just parked it in the bank.
A mixed pair of sessions arrived. I found a snow covered valley in Alterac Mountains with ogres, I was in Stockades again with Belfachmor and Nonaki, and after that, Wetlands. I decided never to tell Belfachmor about my main Bricaard, even though he asked me directly about it. He was the extroverted type and I liked a bit of peace and quiet with Bricaard. Later they went to Deadmines just to get loot.
Together with Marc again in Wetlands, we discovered a peculiar jump puzzle across the dilapidated ruins of a bridge across a river towards Arathi Highlands. We tried making the jump several times but always fell into the river instead. We got so stubborn about it that I read up on it on the internet. There was this potion that could help – a swiftness potion. It gave 50% increased speed for a few seconds, great for outrunning death – and for making that jump. Marc went back and bought them in Ironforge. The dude on the other side had a timed quest for reaching Southshore in 15 minutes, but I had also read up on that and we had both bound our Hearthstones there for easy teleportation. 3050 XP for each of us.
Many levels later I made the jump again with Bricaard. Easiest thing in the world with a mount.
But to rewind, I went back to Stranglethorn Vale again to finish a few parked quests. Here I had an awful experience that seems so silly when I read about it today. Why didn’t I end this lunacy earlier?
I got the dubious honor of being invited into a small group with probably the most idiotic and egoistic player I have ever met in this game. It was a female Night Elf Druid at level 38 (I was still just level 37 at this point). Soon the third player in her group dropped out and I soon learned why he split that fast. The Druid turned out to be French and almost didn’t speak any English at all. I was wondering why she was playing on an English server in the first place. She helped me a bit with half invisible panthers, and I helped her in turn. On the way we picked up a Warrior and this is where the problems began. The Druid really only wanted to help me, and when the Warrior had to log off later due to family commitments, she misunderstood and tried to challenge him to a duel several times. This ended with her writing “KOME IS GAY” in chat. She always used all capital letters in chat. Later, as we fought level 40 monsters, she made several really bad pulls and I died twice. Then she got annoyed about the fact that I got part of the loot, so she changed the setting to “Master Loot” for her to get all of it. When I died again I let myself be revived by the spirit healer, resigned in chat, and threw her into my ignore list – but not until she had time to quickly unload a “PFFFF!” in chat. It is really sad that we have to stumble upon such idiots from time to time. It doesn’t exactly encourage my desire to try out other pick-up groups in the future.27 March 2005
I continued with quests from Booty Bay, the peculiar goblin town. In Kurzen’s mine, magicians often turned me into half my size with a similar reduction in strength and stamina. Later I got curious about that quest with the stone tablets that I had parked earlier. I was lucky and arrived to the trolls ruins just alongside another group and I got another tablet, but then I was stuck again. After a trip to Stormgarde Keep in Arathi Highlands, I tried getting the last tablet and I was lucky that a group once again cleared the place.
Probably the most annoying place in Stranglethorn Vale was that area with the dynamite-throwing goblins. They had a lot of health and a big aggro radius, I died once, and some of the items I needed had a really rare drop chance. I was now level 39 but most of the remaining quests in Booty Bay were too high.
So instead I went on a long journey.
I sailed with the ship from Wetlands to Theramore on the other continent. It looked like Stormwind’s “little brother” to me. The goal was to get to Desolace in the far west, and that was only possible through a lot of other zones. First through the withered swamps in Dustwallow Marsh, through Southern Barrens (a replica of the African savannah with variations on giraffes, zebras and antelopes), up to Stonetalon Peak in the next zone, and finally I arrived in the greenish and stony Desolace.29 March 2005
Desolace became my next quest zone of choice for Bricaard. First I swam around an island close to the beach where I found a silver and a gold key for a treasure chest. I picked up bones in a graveyard for old lizards that just moved around slowly, minding their own business. Quests were between level 32 and 38 and thus much more up my alley – and I finally hit level 40. Time for my mount.
I immediately traveled to Ironforge and then Stormwind to get a spell that could summon a mount for 60% increased speed. Level 40 also brought along a batch of new spells plus the ability to wear plate armor.
Below is a gallery from this month. RSS readers may need to view the blog page to start the screenshot browser.
That was the end of part 2. Click here for part 3.