The Netherwing grind is better than Northrend questing

19th February 2009 – 4.29 pm

I recently made enough gold to buy artisan riding for Sapphire, with a little left over for more auction house speculation, and I have started the reputation grind for the Netherwing Drake flying mount. With my protestation over the heavy restrictions and limitations in Northrend questing it is fair to ask why I am enjoying being back in Outlands running sabotage quests against the Dragonmaw orcs and not making the same complaints. It is a good point to make, as getting a Netherwing Drake requires a minimum of 70th level and artisan level riding, and the quests are only unlocked after certain reputation levels are reached. However, there are crucial differences to the way the information about the restrictions is given to the player.

After completing the quest chain the ends with defeating Zuluhed the Whacked the player is then told that she must master the art of flying when subsequently talking to the NPC dragon, an in-game and in-character pointer to needing the artisan riding skill. This is in contrast to getting underneath Dalaran in Crystalsong Forest and having none of the NPCs give any clue as to how to enter the city or what restrictions are in place.

There is an initial quest chain to unlock the Netherwing daily quests, but this consists of talking to an orc in the camp you've been sent to, which then opens up the rest of the available quests some twenty in-game feet away. This is not unlocking content as much as pointing you in the right direction, as the quest is designed to get you to Netherwing Ledge where everything takes place.

When the reputation grind begins you have a limited number of quests to complete and it is only when you attain a new level of reputation with the Netherwing that more quests become available, a superficial parallel to the level restrictions in Northrend. Whereas the level restrictions prevent you from doing anything meaningful in a zone you are already busy questing in Netherwing Ledge as soon as you get your first daily quest. And each level of reputation makes new quests available that you can see in the immediate area or are guided to, no travelling to a new zone with only a hope of new content available. Each level of reputation is also better defined than experience levels and gives reasonable expectation of change.

All the relevant information is freely presented to the player. There are no leaps of faith to be made, no fruitless return trips in case a minor character change has made a difference. The player understands what is available and what can be expected, from previous experience with game mechanics, in a way that encourages progression. The Netherwing quests let you know when you will be ready and offer clear enticements to continue. What puzzles me is how this design philosophy has been lost for the early Northrend content.

  1. 6 Responses to “The Netherwing grind is better than Northrend questing”

  2. My daughter really wants me to get that mount... so she can ride it around, of course.

    By wilhelm2451 on Feb 19, 2009

  3. I think it's worth it! Your daughter will love it too, as it is great to fly around on.

    With the increased mob spawns and 100% drop rate for quest items the grind has been significantly lessened, and with higher character levels it really is just a matter of making a little time here and there.

    By pjharvey on Feb 19, 2009

  4. Out of curiosity, why not try a Wrath of the Lich King rep grind such as the Wyrmrest Accord which I believe you're probably around the right level for? You get a very shiny Red Drake when you hit exalted, and as I understand it, it's no more difficult to do than Netherwing.

    I do know, however, that you enjoyed the majority of the Netherwing quests, so I'm curious as to whether they're still a better package compared to Wyrmrest.

    I have to say that I used to love the Netherwing drakes when I first saw them, but now I think I prefer the drakes and proto-drakes that are found in WotLK.

    I still haven't found the energy to grind for either yet, though.

    By Melmoth on Feb 20, 2009

  5. I might have to get to 80th level before grinding with the Wyrmrest becomes smoother, but I'll definitely look in to it further.

    Maybe I can keep my warrior on the path of the Netherwing and take my death knight to play with the Wyrmrest Accord. It will keep both characters involved and get me back to Northrend and interested. Thanks!

    By pjharvey on Feb 20, 2009

  6. I'm grinding the Netherwing drake out on my Death Knight. My reasoning is that I'm sure very few Death Knights are going to have this mount since it requires going back and grinding out an old faction. It's a breeze now compared to when I got it on my warlock, since there's no fighting over mob spawns and there are eggs everywhere (since the place is basically barren).

    Still one of the greatest looking fliers in the game!

    By Dustin on Mar 6, 2009

  7. The death knight class also has its own custom mount, whose speed scales with riding skill, so there is less need to go out and get a separate swift flying mount.

    Have fun with your Netherwing Drake!

    By pjharvey on Mar 6, 2009

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