The summer season is fully upon us, so while the entire pet-hunting population of cross-folded servers descends like locusts upon Silithis in search of their Qiraji Guardling, I decided to take advantage of this vacuum in the seeker continuum and hunt for an Unborn Val’kyr.
Much is made of MMO Champion, WoW Insider and various bloggers concerning their helpfulness.
To me, the true heroes on the front lines of information warfare are the commentators on Wowhead.
MMO Champion tells us what is coming and dutifully keeps us informed as to the latest gossip, but when I want to know the facts, I go to Wowhead. There, I am sure to find someone that has worked their ass off to anticipate questions, gather information and post the latest facts and info at the nitty-gritty level.
The hunt for the Unborn Val’kyr is no exception.
Visiting Wowhead revealed current and updated comments by Nalain, Ozlem and Alisonder giving plenty of information, everything I needed to know.
Now, here’s the only reason I post any of this instead of assuming the links to Wowhead are enough for you. I wasted a lot of time figuring things out myself, because I’ve never used TomTom before, and I wanted it to do things it ain’t designed to.
The key points I learned from Wowhead were that the Unborn Val’kyr can spawn in any zone in Northrend, and each zone has three potential spawn points.
This tells me that, to seek the Unborn Val’kyr, I will want a route to follow that spans the entire continent.
Normally, when farming Ore or Herbs, I use the Routes addon in conjunction with Gathermate 2. Routes takes provided x,y data points and crunches the numbers to provide a least-time graphical route displayed on minimap and main map for you to follow to hit them all.
The problem? Routes crunches numbers for data points within only one zone, it doesn’t have a setting to let you provide points for a route spanning multiple zones. The reason is clear, it takes a lot of processor power to compute least-time intercepts for a zone with over a thousand potential mining nodes, and if someone were careless enough to try and run such a process for all the mining nodes of, say, Eastern Kingdoms… well, computer say bye-bye for a while and take a nap.
I believe that it is potentially possible to input data points into Routes using the Handynotes addon, and then manually configure a single-zone map route to also include points outside one zone. I spent over an hour testing this hypothesis, because why the hell not. Um, fail.
After wasting some time, I asked myself anew what my objective was, reminded myself that I didn’t need to have a route hold my damn hand to find a single pet, and dropped the project. Maybe it can be done, but I wasn’t willing to invest the time needed to figure it out. There was mindless farming to be done!
It takes provided data points, and puts them up on your screen and map as waypoints, along with a ‘crazy taxi’ style arrow to lead the way.
I’ve never used it before.
After installing it, I took the list of coordinates provided by Alisander, popped it into Notepad to strip any hidden HTML tags, and copy/pasted it all into multiple macros. I didn’t know why I needed permanent macros, until I saw that there wasn’t a way to just type in coords directly into a TomTom text window. You use line commands, so each individual line command adds a single active waypoint into TomTom.
An active waypoint. Not a stored waypoint you can refresh anytime you like. You add a waypoint, and once you reach it, it’s gone. Because, hell, you reached it, so why the hell would you want to keep it?
That’s the point of the macros. To store your waypoints and keep them handy to refresh TomTom once you’ve hit them all and cleared them on one pass.
I still didn’t really get it. I had to try it in the game before I understood, waypoints are markers drawn on a whiteboard, with the eraser riding hard on your ass.
I put in my macros, 5 of them, to cover all the potential spawnpoints in Northrend.
I tried to input the coordinates in a specific order, sorted so that the waypoints went in the order I wanted to follow on the map. My own redneck route.
It took me a while to figure this out. TomTom does not work like that. But I thought it did, which is why I laid my coordinate list out in the pattern that I did.
I sorted the coordinates as follows into 5 macros to create a route of links in the sequence I hoped to follow;
/way Dragonblight 64.4, 43.7
/way Dragonblight 82, 66
/way Grizzly Hills 26, 57
/way Howling Fjord 45, 43
/way Howling Fjord 68.10, 67.63
/way Howling Fjord 71.91, 43.39
/way Grizzly Hills 79.60, 50.79
/way Grizzly Hills 61, 18
/way Zul’Drak 75, 22
/way Zul’Drak 57.0, 39.8
/way Zul’Drak 24.3, 63.7
/way Crystalsong Forest 67.8, 49.5
/way Crystalsong Forest 18.6,57.0
/way Crystalsong Forest 43.3, 44.0
/way Storm Peaks 42.5, 78.5
/way Storm Peaks 65, 41
/way Storm Peaks 29.0, 50.0
/way Icecrown 73.8, 64.5
/way Icecrown 47.9, 86.6
/way Icecrown 43, 33
/way Sholazar Basin 58.5, 22.0
/way Sholazar Basin 36.8, 19.4
/way Sholazar Basin 44.47, 69.59
/way Borean Tundra 48, 8
/way Borean Tundra 32.7, 60.1
/way Borean Tundra 80, 48
/way Dragonblight 26.9, 54.1
I organized it to sync with this excellent map that Myzou provided, as follows;
I printed out a rough black and white copy of the map, and figured that the start point I’d circled, having been the first of the waypoints I uploaded with my macro, would obviously be the first point that the addon would direct me to.
Lols. Um, no. TomTom does NOT follow some kind of pattern. It’s all about proximity.
TomTom sends you to the nearest waypoint, or one you specify, and even then by default only on waypoints within your current zone. It does NOT create a sequential route. Ever.
So. Ah well. This is both good and bad.
The good part is, when you fly over a waypoint, that point vanishes from your list. You only see the points you have yet to visit.
Also, you can use your macros to refresh/reload your waypoints whenever you want. Any waypoints you load that are already active are ignored, they don’t stack up, cluttering up your list.
So, all I needed to do was change the default setting to allow the closest waypoints outside of my current zone would be used too.
With this all set up, a map printed and the macros for the TomTom waypoints, the easiest way to use them seemed to be to follow the waypoints as long as they pointed to the next point on the printed map I wanted to go, and when they didn’t point that way on their own, I would head off in the direction I knew was correct myself, and once I got close enough use a macro of “/cway” to reset the arrow to the new closest waypoint. Generally, I had to use that most often in Howling Fjord and Storm Peaks, and of course in Crystalsong Forest when the path I wanted to follow doubled up on itself.
As the waypoints were reached, they’d drop off the list and no longer interfere with ‘closest waypoint’ indicators.
If I logged off, got into a LFR, or otherwise went off to do something, I could come back anytime and hit all 5 macros to refresh the route and pick it up from wherever I wanted.
If it weren’t for the people who work so hard to gather this information and post it on Wowhead, there is no way I’d have had a chance to get the pet. It’s that simple. I’d know it was in Northrend somewhere, because MMO Champion told me so, but I would have had no idea where to go or what to do to be able to seek it out, and beyond all of that, Cladhaire, the author/programmer of the TomTom addon is the one that makes such a waypoint system possible. Without that, the best bet for me would have been to just camp one spawn point for the next week and hope for the best.
Now, I don’t use SilverDragon or NPCScan to tell me when I have found a rare, but a lot of people love them for the alerts so you know there is a pet around to search for. Me, I don’t spend near enough time hunting rares to make it worthwhile to clear the cache constantly. Also, players who keep their pets out to spoof your tracker give me heart failure. They are cool, so don’t overlook them if you want that extra edge, but I didn’t use one and I did all right.
After I got everything set up based on the info from the fine folks at Wowhead, it took me about 3 hours of flying around to have an Unborn Val’kyr appear. It was a poor, but that is fine by me since I can buy a Polished Battlestone for 1000 Justice Points to bring it up to uncommon, and trust that I’ll find an Undead Battlestone somewhere along the line.
Good luck to all of you in your hunt for one, grats to all those who already have one, and a heartfelt thank you to Nalain, Ozlem, Alisonder, Cladhaire and everyone else who did so much hard work to gather the information and publish it to allow me to follow along their hard-won path to find my own.