In the time since we last visited Alex’s Adventures in Azeroth, he has rapidly climbed through the levels, until he is now a stones throw from being a level 50 feral worgen druid.
How have we gone so far in so short a time, even with the Recruit-A-Friend XP bonus?
Well, Cassie has begun running Alex and myself through instances, and with that bonus the levels are flying past.
RFD, Scholomance, Stratholme live and Stratholme undead, just that fast we are already up to being able to do the delving deeps of Blackrock Depths. With each instance, even with Cassie’s level 85 presence, we see two or even three level increases when you count in the quests.
As we chased after Cassie in the Scholomance, Alex suddenly announced that “my official nickname is the Cute Kitty of DOOM!”
And he IS a cute kitty of doom. He loves dashing and pouncing. He also really loves having Cassie clear the way of mobs so that Alex can loot them. He’s cool with that.
Nice work if you can get it, but I hated to break it to him that in normal groups, you can’t just run around looking cute and once everyone else kills all the stuff enjoy the loot.
Then I stopped and thought about my recent Dragon Soul LFR runs. Now that I really think about it…
We completed Stratholme Undead a few nights ago, and I checked to see what the next instance was up on the list. Blackrock Depths? Oh, I love BRD. I have ALWAYS liked BRD, even when it was a mammoth unbroken slog for 5 hours, when you had to go in four damn times to sync everyone up on the escort quest for Onyxia attunement because someone forgot to clicky before we started, etc. I know that place by heart, all of it’s twists and turns and tricks.
I informed Cassie of our destination decision for the next night of playing, and she put her leather-clad foot down.
NO MORE RUNS.
At least, no more runs until we had quested through, in her words, the “must see quests” of Badlands.
In the Badlands, there are a few quests that both Cassie and I loved when we did them, quests full of humor and style.
There are a lot of quests throughout the revampled Cataclysm 1 – 60 areas that Cassie lumps together as ‘gimmick’ quests. Gimmick quests can consist of many things, but the core of a gimmick quest is anything that replaces your normal, familiar character mechanics with a new action bar and new abilities only relevant to that one quest.
Cassie doesn’t generally like gimmick quests. She’s playing her character to play her character, not to (as an example) suddenly be the driver in a tank simulator in order to proceed with the story in that area.
All that aside, the quest that Cassie knew Alex HAD to do is an early quest in Fuselight.
Fuselight is a gnome city perched high atop a rocky peak in the Badlands. The ‘must see’ quest is called “It’s Goat Time, Baby“. The quest consists of you taking a blasting stick and walking around the perimeter of Fuselight, blasting goats off the peak.
When you use the blasting stick, the goat is launched away from you as if shot from a cannon, to fall into the canyon beyond.
If you haven’t done the quest yourself, I’ll let you ponder that mental image for a second.
Okay, let’s move on.
I took Alex to Fuselight, went through the prelim quests, got him his blasting stick and the OMG quest, and then got taken violently ill and had to leave him be. I came back to the office a half hour later to find him STILL blasting goats off the peak in delight, or as he put it, ‘goat punching’. He was still going at it enthusiastically and experimenting with arcs of travel, shooting goats at distant peaks, and generally delighting in goat punching mayhem.
I showed him how, by moving around to be on the other side of the goat from Fuselight facing in, he could punch the goats to land INTO the city, and thus could begin shooting goats at buildings, NPCs, and yes, other players. Much more fun was thus had.
If a few friends felt like it, I imagine a little game of Tag could be conducted by shooting goats at each other, but I would never do such a thing myself. It would be unseemly.
What surprised me most about this was the quest item activator button.
On most quests, you are given a task, say “punch 12 goats off the mountain”, and the button appears next to the quest on your screen. You can easily push the button to use the item, activate the goat punching blast stick, whatever it is while you do your quest.
Once the 12 goats or whatever requirement is complete, generally the button vanishes off your screen. You might still be able to use the item, but you’d have to open up your bags and click on it from there, or drag it to your button bar.
For this quest, he must have punched, I’m not kidding, hundreds of goats off that damn mountain, and the button never vanished.
Makes me wonder if Blizzard knew people might like to keep that quest and item active forever, and come back every once in a while for some therapeutic goat punching.
As we ran around punching goats, Alex taught me something I didn’t know about the game.
When we group up in a party, Alex likes to mark himself with a skull and me with a star, so even in the crowded streets of Stormwind City we can find each other. We run around everywhere marked.
As we were running around Fuselight, Alex decided he wanted to involve his non-combat pet in the action, and so went to click on the pet and mark it with a diamond.
I started to tell him you couldn’t mark non-combat pets, and before I could, he did! Put a damn mark right on his pet bunny.
… yes, Alex the Bunnyslayer runs around EVERYWHERE with a pet bunny. What?
I prefer to think of it as Alex being haunted by the ghost of bunnies past.
Alex was enthralled at the idea of the first quest, where I promised him he’d get to punch Deathwing in the mouth. I neglected to tell him that it is Deathwing in his mortal incarnation, and so he was very disappointed when he finally saw him. Note to Blizzard – the child in all of us would like to punch Deathwing the GIANT DRAGON in the mouth, please. Much obliged.
Along the way, something came up that reminded me of just how long the memory of a young child can be.
He was controlling the dwarf Theldurin and punching his way up the Scar of the Worldbreaker, punching through rock walls and Earth Elementals, and he says to me, “I like punching rock guys. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine.”
His saying that instantly threw me back to years ago, when I was leveling a character in Badlands, and he was watching me climb up into those southern areas of the Badlands where Earth Elementals gather. I’d ride up there or run up there, kill the elementals and mine the surrounding ore. Had to have been during Burning Crusade, and he would watch me play, see me kill ‘rock guys’, and then ask me if he could play my character to kill them for a while and I’d let him kill rock guys for a while.
Years ago this was, so it had to be when he was five or six, and here we are now, fulfilling his ‘lifelong dream’ of punching rock guys himself with his own character.
Ah, that all of our life ambitions could be so easily realized.
As of today we’ve completed the ‘must see’ quests of Badlands, and hopefully tonight we’ll be able to go through the joy that is Blackrock Depths.
Our goal is to continue to play until Alex the Druid reaches level 55. At that point, he will achieve a second ‘lifelong dream’.
He will be able to create a Death Knight.
From the moment I upgraded his account, he has spent some time every couple of days on the “New Character” screen, choosing the Death Knight class and trying out the appearance on various races.
I’m frankly curious to see what he finally chooses. I’ve told him you can only ever have one Death Knight on a server, so he has to choose his race and appearance wisely. Whatever he picks is going to be exciting for me, since I deleted my old Death Knight (that I had even bought the DK undead flying mount for!) just so I can pick the exact same thing and level with him.
I told him that you can’t create a Death Knight until you have at least one character to level 55, and so that is a burning goal of his. Will he continue playing his druid past 55 once he has a Death Knight? Only time will tell.
Perhaps having a kickass looking transmog set for his druid will help. Effraeti was kind enough to design one specifically for him, in his favorite color, orange, and he is delighted and excited. Maybe exploring throughout Outlands looking like a pumpkin will do the trick?
His delight in the goat punching quest, his fun at punching his way up the Scar until he punched Deathwing in the nose… those were both memorable moments in the game, epic moments that I know he will remember long after he’s forgotten questing on his druid.
Which brings me to my question for you, dear friends.
What other quests in the game would you consider to be the “must play” quests?
What are the quests that, if your friend were to start playing the game for the very first time, you would say to them, “Oh you’ve GOT to go do this, this is so cool!”
I have a few others in mind, one small chain in particular on Horde side I love, but I’d really like to hear yours!