Weekend warcrafting

29th September 2008 – 7.32 am

This weekend's gaming time was again spent mostly in Azeroth, partly because I got the bug for tanking and partly because my game time runs out immintently. I was a little forgetful in ordering a new time card for World of Warcraft and am expecting a break of a few days between my time expiring and the new card being delivered. I am making the most of the time I have left in World of Warcraft after which I'll jump back in to my pod in EVE Online, happy to focus on being a space cadet again. Having spent last week tanking in the Sunken Temple I was also keen to get my warrior, Sapphire, levelled up and ready to go to the Outlands.

There is also some group pressure to try to get at least one character to 70th level before the Wrath of the Lich King expansion is released in six weeks or so. It may be possible to reach 70th level by then, but I don't think it would be a problem to be a few weeks late entering the new areas as it would allow the early rush to die down. I'm more concerned with Sapphire not having a gathering profession, leaving the mining up to Knifey. I will need Knifey to stay in step with Sapphire at least to feed her minerals and gems if I want to keep her professions current.

As for the weekend, I approximated a levelling machine. After the flurry of activity of last week, seeing me gain three levels, I was keen to try to gain some more levels quickly. A guild run in to the Sunken Temple helped, and having been in there only last week I was quite comfortable finding my way around for once. We even completed the two quests I had in the dungeon that last week's pick-up group avoided. Otherwise, I ran around Felwood and Winterspring mostly, trying to raise my reputation with the furbolgs for probably futile purposes of gaining crafting patterns that I will never use.

I ran out of rested XP quite early, using a chunk of it last week and depleting it during the week as well. This didn't stop me from adventuring, though. I seemed to be taking on quests and enemies two to three levels higher than me for half the time, which was more of a challenge on my resources but more interesting than wading through lower-level enemies and garnered me with higher XP rewards. Eventually I thought I'd better head away from Winterspring whilst all the quests were one difficulty step higher than normal and ventured down to Burning Steppes.

After wasting a little time trying to get a rare drop for a quest in the Blackrock Depths dungeon that I probably wasn't going to complete anyway, I made a more efficient plan. I headed back to Ironforge to pick up a quest for the Ruins of Thaurissan, also part of a chain for BRD, then south to Searing Gorge where I completed the chain that gets me the black dragonflight moult as part of the quest reward, alleviating the need to get it as a drop. It just so happened that just as I completed that quest a guild member popped on an wondered if I would be interested in going in to Blackrock Depths.

BRD is a huge, sprawling instance, which takes many hours to fight through on the best of days, and requires multiple trips in and out to get anything done. It's a nightmarish design that thankfully has denied in the Outlands instances. I have completed it maybe once in my years of playing, and still don't really know the layout after venturing in a dozen or so times. But guild runs can be a lot of fun, so I agreed, and got two more guild members online to help out. It was more fun being a guild run than otherwise, and we set a pretty good pace.

With no one having the Shadowforge Key our options were limited to running the very long way around. Finding the long way around was interesting, as I have only done that maybe once or twice too, but it turned out to be fairly straightforward once the two loops of doom were avoided. There were a few wipes, nothing serious, and the first allowed us to pick up the quest to get the Shadowforge Key, given by a ghost outside the instance. We killed a few bosses, including a couple of rare spawns, and got quite a bit of loot for our troubles.

After retrieving Ironfel, the quest item needed for the key, it was getting quite late. However, in classic MMORPG design, Incendius was in the next room, so we pushed on just one more fight to defeat him before heading back to the shrine to pick up the Shadowforge Key before calling an end to the run. It was a fairly successful adventure in to BRD and far less traumatic or tedious than I expected it to be, being rather enjoyable with friends.

As for levelling, I started the weekend about half of the way through 52nd level. My efforts at power-levelling, as well as an unexpected second dungeon crawl, got me to half-way through my 56th level by the end of the weekend. That's some decent progress. With any luck, and a time card arriving, I'll be taking Sapphire to the Outlands by the start of next week.

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