Ganked by a spider

13th October 2009 – 5.36 pm

We clear the Deadmines. Big deal, everyone has. Gryan Stoutmantle must have hundreds of masked heads of Van Cleef rotting in Sentinel Tower by now. But a feat that few characters have bothered to do since Northrend was put on the map is to run from Stormwind to Menethil Harbour. Once an arduous rite of passage for the lowbie, the route was generally travelled the other way, elves coming from their depressingly dark forests to experience the snow of Dun Morogh and sunshine of Westfall. Part of the Stormind Renovation Project, the new harbour was opened once the pesky ice dragons had been slain, and the elves moved their shipping route directly to the human capital. There was much elven rejoicing. But Filesystem Checkwits are old-school, not too smart, and here to experience Azeroth.

We aren't too old-school or lacking in intelligence to eschew some of the more positive changes to travel, notably gaining mounts at 20th level these days instead of 40th. Some might say that the journey is more important than the destination, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't gain a 60% speed boost to arrive at your destination sooner and relax with your feet up. Actually, it's probably not wise to drink brandy in a smoking jacket when your destination is Shadowfang Keep, but you still don't want to run the whole way on foot. We are heading to Shadowfang Keep, in the far northern Silverpine Forest, in order to relive the danger of the old Darnassus-Stormwind rally. Being 22nd level makes us relatively safe from harm from the Wetlands beasts, but running through Arathi Highlands should keep us on our toes. Oh, and my paladin trainer wants me to pick up a hammer for him in the Keep.

The first few creatures we spot after crossing the Thandol Span in to Arathi Highlands are raptors whose level still cons as a number to us. Even though the numbers are in the 'delightfully deadly' shade of red, at least they aren't replaced by skulls, indicating a level of danger so high that we need to be protected from seeing their true threat to us. No, those mobs are just around the corner. We talk to the flight master in Refuge Point before heading deeper in to the highlands towards Hillsbrad Foothills. Our plan to stick to the road like epic loot to a hunter is scuppered by the presence of the forsaken courier who, along with his four bodyguards, walks the length of Arathi Highlands in to Hillsbrad.

Either we risk leaving the road to avoid the courier and perhaps face just as dangerous natural beasts, or we risk the road by riding through the courier and his entourage. Being sufficiently low level means that we can do both! Our aggro radius is huge against mobs over ten levels above us, so we manage to pull not only the courier and his pals but also a few creatures from the fields. With several deadly mobs attacking us from several fronts, it is times like these when our coherence as a group is fully tested. Needless to say, we panic and flee in every direction, our only saving grace being that none of us jump off a cliff.

Reviving ourselves, the lowbie odyssey through Arathi Highlands continues with a spider the size of a really large boar pursuing us almost to Hillsbrad Foothills. When Thoradin's Wall comes wthin draw distance we are hopeful we can make it, but the mob-only daze attack, spider venom, and our low level all conspire to kill us one last time in the highlands. The good news is that the forsaken courier has apparently disappeared, and Livya gains an exploration ding by entering the new zone! The path to Southshore and onwards becomes safer again, the only dilemma being whether to gank Horde characters on our way, but not being on a PvP server makes the question academic.

We enter Silverpine Forest and travel southwards, taking this opportunity to see the Greymane Wall and its closed gate perhaps for the last time, out of which Alliance worgen will pour once the cataclysm hits the land. Poor Wallace, the blind weaponsmith just outside the gate, won't know what's hit him. Livya is quite impressed that he's still got both his arms, though, and ditches some vendor trash on him, hoping to pretend it is good quality loot from Shadowfang Keep instead. The dungeon itself is now only a stone's throw away, just beyond Pyrewood Village. We have made our destination, now to slaughter its inhabitants.

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