Flying or Grinding? Choices!
Owlaf is still my main, considering all that she’s done in the past to farm reputations and collect mounts and pets. Even though the last two items are account wide now (with the exception of class specific mounts for some reason), my druid remains my favorite class to play most of the time. Other times it’s my mage, hunter, or monk. I wished that reputations became accountwide so you wouldn’t have to farm for rep on more than one character. I mean think about it… the latest expansion and patch: Tanaan Jungle. The achievement required to get flying in Draenor involves several things, one of which is reputation. You have to be revered with the three factions in that jungle. With everything in the game, it’d make you want to only focus on one character to get that far up the reputation tree, but once you do earn this achievement, you unlock flying in Draenor for ALL your characters. It’s an account-wide achievement, so naturally all your characters, despite their level, can fly in draenor once you earn this achievement.
However, I’ve been procrastinating. Again. When I learned about the rep grind and how it involved questing every day, and only one or two quests at that, I balked at the challenge. I downright hated it. In the past you had to reach the maximum level of that expansion in order to unlock flying. Back during Burning Crusade, it was level 70 (68 for druids and flight form – I still have the moonstone from the questline to get the faster flight form too!) When Wrath of the Lich King came out, they had you use ground mounts in Northrend until you reached level 80, at which time you could purchase a cold weather flying license that let your character fly in Northrend at last.
Then Cataclysm came out. The whole land of Azeroth was changed. Up to this point, you could only fly in the Outlands and Northrend. With Azeroth being remade on a computer graphics scale, it gave Blizzard a reason to “finish” their design of Azeroth and allow us to explore every nook and cranny from a bird’s eye view. Unfortunately we had to purchase a master flying license from the flight master trainers so we could fly in old Azeroth and the new Cataclysm zones like Twilight Highlands and Mount Hyjal. Back when Cataclysm was released it sounded reasonable, but now it’s kind of silly. You pay 250 gold for the expert riding (flying) and pay another 250 just to be able to fly in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingsoms, and Deepholm? One would think they’d get rid of the Flight Master’s License entirely and just have the Expert Riding Skill grant flying in Outlands, Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, and Deepholm, because odds are, at the level you get this flight training is at 60 and you’ll have a few quests to wrap up in Azeroth before you enter a portal to Outland and begin questing there. First level of riding is 4 gold at level 20, then at level 40 the next ground speed costs 50 gold (not counting reputation discounts mind you)… then at level 60 you pay 250 to fly in outland and another 250 to fly everywhere else? O.o Talk about money sinks, but this is just senseless to me. One would think you pay once to fly in the places you’ve already been and are qualified to go. Now once you reach Northrend you can learn the cold weather flying at level 70 instead of 80, but it’s 500 gold, same amount is costs to fly in EK, Kalim, and Outland.
Now after the cataclysm, we visit pandaria… and as of this writing you cannot fly when you immediately get there at level 85. Nope. Even with a new expansion out, you still have to level to 90 to get the flying in Pandaria, and it still costs a whopping 2500 gold. Quite a steep price for flying training when you reach a level where you no longer are questing in Pandaria and are instead about to go through the dark portal and head into Draenor. Might as well not buy it if you’re leveling a new toon, folks. It was worth it while the expansion was out, but not if you’re only going to be there for a short while. Just get to 90, slap the flight master in the face, and go through the dark portal to draenor.
Oh, and if you get the achievement on your main, all your alts can fly in draenor, regardless of level. How nice is that? No gold sink this year. I guess we can thank blizzard for that, but I’m hoping I’m not alone when I say I wish I could have just purchased the flying and be done with it instead of reputation grinding. Never before in this game did we have to grind reps to learn how to fly in a specific zone – we always talked to someone and gold exchanged hands and we were airborne. Reputations, if I may remind blizzard, is there for certain rewards that are supposed to be worth grinding for, like the mounts and pets, or a specific trinket or armor/weapon that is better than whatever could possibly drop anywhere else. We never had to rep grind to fly.
And that’s just one criteria for the achievement needed to fly. You also have to explore, collect treasures, complete quests, those kinds of things, just to prove you know draenor better than the stinkin’ flight masters. Crazy world of warcraft, eh?
So when I’m not rep grinding, I’m farming for other things.
Soloing for Mounts and Pets! Weee!
Recently I found that on my druid Owlaf, I can solo Dragonsoul on 25 player mode Heroic. I go for 25 player because more loot drops in that mode, and heroic because Deathwing drops two mounts, one of which only drops in heroic, but unless I’m mistaken the one that drops from DW on normal mode also can drop in heroic. I figure two birds with one stone, huh? Or perhaps two dragons with one butt whooping moonfire! BOOM!
But it can get kinda close to shaving my tail feathers. Morchok in heroic mode splits into two beings which share a health pool, so you just have to focus down on one of them. The only thing to be wary of are the crystals that drop on the ground. When their time runs out they explode and make you jump in the air, so spellcasters like me have to watch for that. Otehrwise it’s pretty simple and you never even get to the part where he yanks you underground to his position then spreads horrible black stuff on the ground where you have to run and hide behind stuff that juts up from the ground. Phase one, easily killed. For Warlord Zon’ozz, you better bounce the purple ball (void of the unmaking) back and forth between yourself and yourself (or a friend if you chose not to solo it). One method you can try is to damage the boss a bit as you’re moving while also playing ping pong with yourself. Bounce this ball ten times then kill the boss and you get an achievement, but you might die in the process on heroic mode even if you are level 100, so be careful! Anotehr method that (as a caster) I prefer to do is I bounce the ball, then try to kite the boss around the ball and get the ball to hit him. If the ball hits the wall you get thrown up into the air and can take serious falling damage, so you want to avoid that. Instead I hit the ball myself a couple fo times, get it to hit the boss, then he goes to the center of the room and I can stop worrying about the ball hitting the wall and I can stand still and unleash hell on him.
Next is Yor’sahj the Unsleeping… I bet he drinks a lot of coffee if he’s true to his name! I take out a coupld of the blood mobs patroling around the boss, then just engage the boss with starfall (glyphed now so it hits every bloody thing int eh room (no pun intended!)) and a hurricane so I can kill the rest of the bloods while also begining the encounter with this boss. I don’t even worry when he calls blood, I just pwn him. Even when the bloods reach the boss and all four abilities activate, I shrug and kill him. No worries there.
But now, folks, we get to the challenging parts. First up is Hagara the Stormbinder, a female orc shaman who can summon some serious lightning totems. It’s a shame that a person who uses the very elements of the world could turn evil and want to destroy everything when you’re supposed to revere the elements and the land and such, but oh well. Shrug your shoulders and get on with it. Before you pull though, you might want to glance at her weapons. If they look like they have snowflakes, that’s alright, but if it’s arching with lighting, “Uh-oh”. The reason being is after about 30-40 seconds, she casts her special. If it’s frost, four big ice crystals appear and you just need to killt hemt o maek her vulnerable again, but if it’s lightning, you’d need more than one person because you’d have to make the lighting chain from one totem to the other until you can overload them all and cause them to vanish, but there’s no way you can do this alone. Hunters and warlocks can command their pets or demons to move to a certain spot to help, but soloing is impossible. The only alternative is to kick her butt as fast as possible. Hagara is a DPS race, but not quite so desperate as Ultraxion!
Yes! Ultraxion! The dragon that has a chance to drop a mount (not one required for the drake mount achievement, but oh come on, I still want it!) This is the ultimate DPS race when you’re soloing. When he casts Hour of Twilight, it can have devastating consequences. Normally, in 25 man heroic mode, it has to hit no fewer than 5 players. if it does, then the protection around the Aspects vanishes and they become vulnerable. Ultraxion of course notices this and casts Twilight Eruption, which kills everyone including himself. Unfortunately this does not count as killing the boss since you die as well, so the encounter resets and you have to try again. So if you’re soloing and he casts Hour of Twilight, then he’ll cast Twilight Eruption immediately after that. Your only chance if soloing 25man heroic is to kill Ultraxion within 40-50 seconds. Any longer and you lose. Of all the fights, this one is the toughest to solo, but if you can do it, the rest is easy. Well, mostly easy!
Next up is the boat… or air ship… When you begin the encounter with Warmaster Blackhorn, you’ll only be dealing with adds. Killing the dragons that carry in the two adds is a must as when they fly out they’ll sometimes attack the Skyfire, and you want to minimize as much damage as possible on the ship, but you don’t want to kill them if they have their passenger on their backs while they’re still flying over the sea. Let me explain. Once when I first tried soloing this, I killed a dragon before it flew over the Skyfire, and dragon and humanoid add went falling to the sea. At first I thought, “Aha! I don’t have to deal with that add anymore! SWEET!” and the next thing I knew I was dead and the fight was over. No explanation whatsoever. Then I realized that I can’t let the add fall to his demise, he has to land on the deck of the Skyfire. So I shrug my shoulders and carefully kill the dragons as they fly over the deck, and in this way they can drop their precious adds and not cause the fight to reset! Beyond that, watch out when Blackhorn yells “Goriana! GIVE THEM HELL!” Stand in the hell to absorb the attack and prevent damage to the Skyfire. In heroic mode Goriana aslo fires a broadside attack to the Skyfire, which is unavoidable, so don’t worry too much about it, just kill the drakes overhead (NOT overboard!) and the adds. Also beware of that goblin sapper, we dont’ want him to damage the ship either. Once the adds phase is done, Blackhorn will land. I say take out Goriana first since she’ll heal the boss. Once she’s injured enough, she flies away and you can focus on Blackhorn. Blackhorn himself can cause spell schools to lock out if he roars while you’re casting, and can do a stomp that you ought to avoid. Other than that it’s a fun fight.
I wonder what ever happened to Goriana… she flies away at the end of the encounter… More on this speculation later!
Now another challenging fight occurs. The Spine of Deathwing. Nothing can be more fun than riding on the back of an enormous dragon while ripping is back to pieces! Deathwing probably won’t approve of this impromptu acupuncture, so he’ll sometimes roll to toss you off his back. Soloing this is tricky because he’ll want to roll constantly. See, the original fight idea was that DW will sense you on his back, and if he sensed most of the raid on one side of the back he’d roll that way, but if the raid distributed evenly across his spine he wouldn’t roll. Although you’d want to make him roll to get rid of the Hideous Amalgamations. This is how I do the fight:
Start off by killing three of the tentacles (one will always remain up even if you kill it – another will appear to replace it, so just kill the first 3 for now). Stand in a hole where one of the tentacles was, it will root you down (sort of) and you can survive a barrel roll from DW now. Once he rolls, the three Amalgamations will fly off. Now you can focus on waiting for the bloods to emerge from the holes. When you think you have 9 or 10, kill the remaining tentacle. While a new tentacle pops up, an Amalgamation will appear from the recently deceased tentacle, and you can kite it over the blood remains. When he absorbs nine, kite him as close as you can to the plate, and kill it. Once it dies it causes a nuclear blast that rips up the plate, kill the Burning Tendons, and the plate detaches from the spine. Rinse, repeat, and you’re golden.
I should probably also mention that you need to prevent DW from rolling when you have your one Agmalgamation up and you want it to collect blood and blow up a plate. If you’re soloing, you need to dance… that’s right, kite the add across the bloods while moving from one side of the spine to the other. If you have Deadly Boss Mods installed, you ought to hear the word “Beware!” go off every second or two. FUN FIGHT! REALLY!
At last we get to the Maelstrom. When the fight starts I usually jump to the right platform where Kalecgos is (blue platform) and kill the limb there, then I go across to green, then Bronze, and finally end with Alexstraza’s platform. The reason is that red dragon will breathe fire on the burning tentacles and any corruptions, which is a nice help. I take out the corrupted tentacle that impales the aspects and myself as soon as I can, but on most other limbs I can DPS the limb so fast that the Mutated Corruption has no chance to spawn.
Once old DW is down for the count, you loot the treasure chest and hope and pray that you get the mounts. if not, wave goodbye to the Maelstrom and tell Deathwing, “See you later! Good work, sleep well, I’ll most likely kill you next week!”
Other Farming Adventures
And that’s what I do when I’m not farming reputations in Draenor… kicking Deathwing’s butt and farming mounts and pets. Owlaf has collected 567 pets, and 230 mounts (well, 232 if I was on my Death Knight or Warlock, really!) I really hope I can get to 250 mounts so I can get the reward for that achievement, although now I hear that there’s yet another one when you reach 300 mounts. I guess I better get back to the argent tournament and farm for the tokens I need to buy the others from there. >.<
As for the pets, I’m currently focused on getting two remaining pets I need for the Raiding with Leashes III achievement. All I need left is the Fragment of Desire from Black Temple, and the Sunblade Micro Defender from the Sunwell raids. Once I get those I’ll have K’ute, the reward pet from this achievement.
And Owlaf isn’t the only one to farm these either. I have five other level 100 characters, and in between getting brewfest tokens this week, I’m also taking them on a whirwind tour of mount and pet farming where I can, but only Owlaf is deep in the Tanaan Jungle grinding those reputations, just to let everyone else fly.