A couple more pets and keys

9th March 2010 – 5.48 pm

Vulzerda has retired, Qattara is unavailable, leaving only death knight and warlock. One's an agent of chaos, serving the Lich King, the other is, uh, pretty much the same. With blackness in our hearts, we have only one path to follow: the quest for achievements! Achievements and pets, and pets lead to achievements. The Darkmoon Faire is in Elwynn Forest, so it is time reap the real reward for our visits to Blackrock Depths and get a Jubjub hatchling.

I rush down to the faire to get the pet frogs from the young orc fellow, but he only has the common tree frog to sell. The other, the wood frog, is an occasional offer only. I wait with Jubjub's owner whilst Livya finds the huge open gate that separates Burning Steppes from Redridge Mountains to complete her map, and I pester the orc kid each time he passes, but there is no wood frog. I am tickled, therefore, that Livya saunters down to the faire and casually manages to buy both the tree and wood frog straight away, without realising the artificial scarcity of the latter. She's kind enough to let me give the wood frog a home. We then use our dark iron ale to tempt Jubjub our way, before pouring dwarf alcohol in to her wide mouth until she lays an egg. In a week, the egg will hatch and we'll have a our own miniature Jubjub.

Three pets gained and the night is still young. A quick visit to Hellfire Peninsula in Outlands sees us slaughter a bunch of orcs to get the quest for Hellfire Ramparts in preparation for a later date. Livya also lends me some gold so I can buy the riding skill. I foolishly bought the death knight flying mount, costing 950 gold which I stole from Kiska, not realising that standard flying mount costs have been reduced to a mere 50 gold. Caveat emptor, I suppose, particularly when buying from the evil dead. But we are both ready to enter the ramparts at some point, and can both fly our mounts in the Outlands, and still the night is young. Not wanting to gain lots of experience whilst missing Qattara, I browse my lacklustre list of achievements.

Moving from paladin to death knight has reset all of my dungeon achievements, and the Filesystem Checkwits have visited nearly all of the standard dungeons. Missing those achievements isn't so bad, as the meta-achievement of 'classic dungeonmaster' can only be gained if Ragnaros, Nefarian, and C'thun are defeated, the original 40-man dungeon bosses, and I doubt we'll ever do that. But there are reasons for me to revisit a few of the old dungeons, and Livya is happy to come along for the journey. First stop, then, is Deadmines, where the pirates have been known to keep pet parrots.

I have visited Deadmines many times and seen only a few green wing macaws drop, so my hopes are not high, but the run through shouldn't take long. I think it's quaint that Livya tries to defeat every mob in the dungeon, taking on only a couple at a time. But she soon catches up as I hurtle at full-speed down the mine until an obstacle forces me to stop, at which point I turn around and use my howling blast to destroy the low-level elite mobs in one hit. Dungeons lose a lot of their sheen when they present no danger or challenge. Wantonly destroying anything in my path also reveals the contrived difficulty of levelling, yet is balanced by clearly showing the progress our characters have made.

The various areas of the Deadmines are quickly passed through, only pausing to open doors or say hello to Colin Woodcarver, and we are soon back at the dockyard where the pirates roam. Pirate after pirate is killed and searched, but no parrot can be found. We fight to the top of the ship and defeat Van Cleef before he can finish his little speech, jumping down to kill his chef Cookie and clearing the rest of the pirates from the ship, but still no parrot. There is one last encampment of pirates, just a little distance away from the exit, and I swim across to greet them with my sword. The last pirate in the Deadmines drops a green wing macaw, and Livya is kind enough to let me keep it. Mission accomplished!

Another achievement that is feasible to get and needs me to visit earlier dungeons is 'keymaster', where the holder has keys to various dungeons in the world. One of the keys is to the back door of Gnomeregan, and the two of us should be able to blast through the leper gnomes much like we did the pirates. Having visited Outlands, we have sensibly set our hearthstones to Shattrath City, offering portals to any Azerothian capital. This lets us use one of the portals to travel quickly to Ironforge, which sits conveniently close to Gnomeregan. Well, I use the Ironforge portal, Livya somehow ends up in the elf lands. And she's not just stranded in Auberdine, she's also 'sharing the dock with an RPer'. Although the motivation is present, there is no quick way out of there, having just used our hearthstones, so it's a race to see if Livya can catch up to me before I can complete Gnomeregan!

I ride out to Dun Morogh and onwards to Gnomeregan, but I honestly don't expect to get particularly deep in to the dungeon before Livya intercepts me. The home of the gnomes has always felt like a huge, sprawling mess, and that it takes ages to complete is why a back door is installed in the first place. At least I can mostly ignore the troggs, slimes and gnomes that infest the dungeon. With my 60th level health bar I can also survive the occasional drop that a lower-level character wouldn't, and when it looks like I can cut a corner and drop in to the slimes I wonder if I should. I'm not sure if dropping down would avoid the first boss, who holds the key I seek, so I go the long way, which turns out to be a simple matter of taking a staircase instead. And running through the slimes brings me to the first boss, piloting the Electrocutioner 6000. I break his springs and mechanics and steal the key, and then think about dropping down from his platform, again to cut a corner. This time I do it, as I have what I came for so any hastened progress is good.

It turns out that dropping off the Electrocutioner's platform brings me to the last corridor in Gnomeregan, populated by dark iron dwarves. It's a short trot to the end of the corridor to kill the final boss before he can even release a single bomb, and just as Livya walks in the front entrance. I'm not entirely sure how I clear the dungeon so quickly, as the usual procedure is to get lost and confused within ten seconds of entering, much like the last time Filesystem Checkwits went to Gnomeregan. It certainly felt a much more arduous adventure then. Never mind, we head out again and still have time to get the scarlet key from the Scarlet Monastery, flying to the north of the continent and riding in to Tirisfal Glades.

The scarlet key is rescued swiftly from Arcanist Doan's chest in the library. All three wings and the graveyard need to have their boss defeated for the dungeon's achievement, so whilst we are at the monastery it seems rude not to visit the armoury, cathedral and graveyard. Whilst we hack and slash our way through the scarlet zealots, Livya and I chat about spaceships and survival tactics in wormholes, without creating any kind of schism because draenei are goats from space and we're obviously talking about that. It turns out to be a relaxing evening, once we get in to the swing of things.

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