Monday, June 22, 2009

I cheated again!

The team is 47 and very close to 48 and zooming right along. The title refers to the way I completed the quest line that begins when you click on a bottle of poison in a small troll camp in the Hinterlands. There is one step that requires you to click on a tablet in Zul'Farrak after killing the boss named Theka the Martyr. The final step involves summoning and defeating a level 55 elite spider in the Hinterlands.

The team was 43 at the time and I knew that the part in Zul'Farrak would probably be doable, but it would be difficult and time-consuming. And the 55 elite that you summon at the end is particularly tough even for a level 55 elite. So I decided to go with a tried-and-true formula... outrank the quest!

This would be a bit tricky, since Zul'Farrak is a 5-man zone, and my team is always full. I wanted to make sure that all five could interact with the tablet, but I also didn't want to make multiple trips if I could avoid it. Thus, some juggling was in order. First, I zoned in with the normal team. And just to be safe (although this step was probably not necessary) I killed the first three mobs in the zone with the group. Then I zoned out, dropped one of the party members, and invited my level 80 shaman. She zoned in by herself and quickly cleared a path to Theka, then killed him and ran back out. I re-invited the last group member and ran back in to loot the tablet.

Zul'Farrak has many patrols. Most are a single mob or a pair of mobs, but other groups have up to four (these groups can be a real problem, but there are none between the entrance and Theka's area). Some of the patrol paths are very long, and the patrols do respawn. The group had to deal with two patrols while running the path that the shaman had cleared just moments before. I don't know if they respawned that quickly or simply were on a very long patrol path. Both consisted of a single mob and were dispatched with ease, and I was able to continue the quest line. All that was left was to summon and defeat Shadra, the named spider.

That part was a bit simpler, as I kept the shaman near the group instead of switching her in. The group summoned the spider and initiated the attack, thus "claiming" the mob for loot purposes. The shaman took over (too slowly, as it turned out-- Shadra flattened one of the hunters in mere seconds!) and killed the mob. Then she rez'ed the dead hunter, everyone looted what they needed, and the group was on its way to fame and fortune.

Well, perhaps not fame, but fortune for sure! The quest finale has two steps to it. The first is turning in the last quest item to an NPC in Tarren Mill (who guides you through the quest line). The last step is to report to an NPC in the Undercity to inform him of your progress. Each of these steps rewards 12,250 experience (remember, this is a quest designed to be completed in the early/mid 50s) for a total of 24,500! And the hunters walked out with an updated quest reward, a very nice BP! The shaman also got a shield upgrade, though it's designed more around tanking than spell-casting. So far she rarely does anything besides stand around and soak up experience, so it's not a big deal.

Having moved past level 44, two of the hunters dropped their DPS pets and replaced them with a scorpid and a bear, both of which are tank pets. At level 44, the tank pets have access to a talent that causes their Growl ability to generate extra threat and also increase their happiness. The DPS pets have a talent that gives a chance on hit to increase their happiness and heal them. The upshot is that now the pets do not need to be fed as long as they are in combat periodically. Since I'm always questing and killing, I have not had to feed them since getting those talents.

Anyway, my recent leveling path took me through Feralas and the Hinterlands. If there is one collection quest that I will never multibox again, it is the one called Natural Materials. I tend to be selective about collection quests, since I have to collect five times as many items as a solo character. But depending on the drop rate and any associated quests, they can be manageable. For example, if you're doing most of the quests in Tarren Mill, you may as well pick up the one called Souvenirs of Death, which requires that you collect 30 skulls. For my group, this meant 150 skulls! but the skulls were a 100% drop rate and there were many other quests that required you to kill the humanoids that dropped them. I didn't require more than a handful of extra kills to get the 150 drops I needed.

But Natural Materials... ugh. The main problem was the Metallic Fragments, of which you have to loot 40-- per character. That's 200 drops total, of an item that doesn't have a 100% drop rate. But I figured that since I would be questing on the mobs that drop the quest items, it would work out.

Not quite.

The fragments drop off of hippogryphs in Feralas. And as I explained, the drop rate is less than 100%. In fact, it seemed to be somewhere in the 40%-60% range. Which means that I wound up killing something like 350-500 of the damned things. What's even dumber is that the drop rate on the other items was better, even though I required far fewer of them. Why did I put myself through that? For one thing, I had already collected the other items and felt that if I'd come that far, I would finish it (stubbornness is not always an admirable trait). But more importantly, the area where you find the hippogryphs is teeming with them. There is almost never anyone else around, and the 'gryphs respawn quickly. This means that I never had to wait on a respawn and could kill and kill and kill... and kill... and kill...

But I finally did get it done. =P

Anyway, here's to level 48, which I can get tonight. And then on towards 50, at which point I assume I'll head to the Western Plaguelands...

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