Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bored? Check out the WoW Iron Man Challenge(s)!

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Are you a veteran WoW player who is tired of garrison chores? Raiding got ya down? Leveling alts just not holding your interest right now? Well, I've got just the thing for you - the WoW Iron Man Challenge!

Let's face it, these past several years we've gotten used to running from one quest objective to the next as quickly as possible. Pulling as many mobs as we can at a time, mowing everything down in our paths with no real sense of danger. Between the addition of heirlooms, talent changes and the world around us things have gotten so easy that leveling has become (at least to me) a bit of a bore.

Well this challenge will turn that experience right back around. It is quite difficult, and adds a real sense of danger back into the world of leveling. Clearing paths to a named mob, carefully planning out routes of escape, feeling your heart beat rise as you make your way through a cave (hoping nothing respawns in your face), wiping the sweat off your brow as you make it through another fight with only 27hp left - these are all things commonly experienced by iron man challengers. As difficult as this challenge is, I have always found it fun and very rewarding, both from a gameplay perspective, and for the community formed around it. It'll also really make you appreciate the small things in game. ;)

That being said, the WoW Iron Man challenge is still around and thriving. Since I last posted regarding the adventures of the Iron Steves, there have even been two new challenges created in addition to the original. :D

What is the Iron Man Challenge?

For anyone unfamiliar with the WoW Iron Man challenge, it is a player-created challenge with the ultimate goal of trying to make it to max level in only grey/white gear, with no spec and without dying. (See link for full set of rules.)

The two new challenges, which have evolved from the original, are the Pacifist and Blood Thirsty challenges.

  • The Pacifist challenge, which I refer to as the "hardcore pacifist", has all of the same requirements as the original iron man (no gear above white quality, no spec, no dying) with one major difference - NO KILLS. Not even one. Professions are allowed however, making it possible to level via flower picking, mining, exploring and doing whatever non-kill quests you can find.
  • The Bloodthirsty challenge also has the same requirements as the original challenge, but is essentially the exact opposite of pacifist. Level to max via killing mobs for experience with as little questing as possible. (Basically the few quests to unlock certain zones/content are allowed.)
Where can I find more info?

All three challenges are being tracked at the new WoW Challenges site, and links to the full list of rules for each challenge can be found by following the above links.

Although the iron man challenge is a personal one, there is a vibrant community which has formed around it. On the WoW Challenges site you'll find a forum with helpful tips & tricks for leveling an iron man and people's awesome stories of triumph and defeat.

Are there any WoW Iron Man Guilds?

There are several dedicated iron man guilds for both factions on multiple servers. For those playing on US servers, there is an exceptionally friendly and active guild on Wyrmrest Accord called Wowironman. Simply do a who /wowironman and whisper any member for an invite. For those playing Horde, there is a (less active) guild on Wyrmrest Accord called Horde Ironman. There are other active iron man guilds on various servers, most of which can be found on the WoW Challenges Forums.

For a while, guilds were not permitted because of their xp bonus perk, and the few that did exist had to be disbanded and re-formed after leveling past 1. Now guilds are permitted once again, as there is no more +xp perk. A word of advise - leveling an ironman character in a guild with others trying to do the same thing is a lot more fun than doing it by yourself.

I've never done this before - what class should I try?

Not all classes were created equal in regards to the iron man challenge. Personally, I believe hunter and monk to probably be the easiest (currently) for an ironman to level. Granted everyone has their own opinion, but the pet to take hits + feign death definitely make hunter nice for first timers. A lot of iron man newbies and seasoned alike also roll night elf for their shadowmeld ability (hence so many Alliance participating), leaving two options to get out of combat if things go bad. Monk (at least at lower levels) are also pretty strong due to their Touch of Death and Paralysis abilities.

If your looking for a real challenge within even the iron man challenge itself, roll a warrior. They are hands down the toughest irons to play at the moment. Without talents they have almost no abilities, and it only seems to get tougher the higher you level. A close second to warrior (in my opinion) is shaman. I have also heard that pally is pretty tough, but I have yet to roll one, so I can not attest to that.

Helpful hints

Always be on the lookout for treasure chests when leveling an iron toon. Most treasure chests give a hefty amount of xp. For the easier iron classes, seeking out rares can get you a lot of additional xp as well. I pretty much covered every low level rare on this blog a few years ago - except I think Dustwallow Marsh (hey, I didn't have time to finish with the new baby and all). I even have videos of my ironman toons killing them, so for anyone participating, those might come in handy. Tougher classes such as warriors should avoid most rares (maybe not the super low level rares, but as you level they'll become more difficult to nearly impossible).

The state of my irons ~

As for my own ironman toons. All the Ironsteves are still "alive". Ironstevo (my main iron warlock) is currently level 91 and slowly and VERY carefully making his way to 100. He's pretty much the only horde character I'm focusing on, as leveling horde side tends to be a bit lonely. He's creeping his way around Pandaria at the moment picking and choosing quests that look safe and exploring. As he has no "get out of combat" abilities, I don't use the word "careful" lightly. If I am even remotely uncertain about a quest, I walk away.

"Look! I dinged 91 in a giant bleeding heart plant!"
On Alliance side I'm focusing mainly on my warrior and shaman. I've also started an iron monk (which didn't exist when I initially started the challenge), and WOW is he fun! All of these characters are in the level 30 - 40ish range.

Naturally, I couldn't help but create a pacifist when I found out about that challenge. Getting to 100 without killing a SINGLE thing? Sounds impossible. Sure, sign me up! I've gotten Pacifisteva here to level 10, and I'd like to point out that getting those first few levels without killing anything and not being killed yourself is NOT as easy at it sounds.

Now that I don't agro everything in a ten mile radius I can relax a bit as I run around armed with a Red Wine Glass and Mining Pick, putting every plant and rock I see into my impossibly large bags. I'm even vowing to finally complete those darn achievements for being all lovey with animals, you know the ones... To All The Squirrels I've Loved Before, and the rest of them. What better character to do it on? I don't know how far I'll ultimately get this character, but so far I'm enjoying it. The first few levels were very intense, followed by a nice calm.

I haven't started a bloodthirsty challenger yet, but I probably will in the future. Now that death knights are participating in the challenge, I may start one of those as well. I hear getting through the starting area with no gear is extremely difficult.

So to anyone brave (or crazy) enough to give any of the challenges a shot, come join in on the fun (insanity)! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Rares in Nagrand and Tannan Jungle (Patch 6.2.2)

Yeah I know, I haven't been posting much this expansion. With two kiddos under three years old, it's pretty hard to find the time these days. There's just no way I would have been able to cover the insane amount of rares added in WoD. Thankfully little additions to the game like the new 6.2.2 rares aren't too much to take on, and have motivated me to write up a quick post.

I also figured it was about time to make a few updates around the blog on various pages, the most notable one being to the "List of Rares by Zone" page. I couldn't cover every vignette in Draenor or the treasures right now, but I did link to the Wowhead guides for each zone so that they can be easily found in one place.

So anyway, let's get on to these new rares! In the latest mini patch 6.2.2 there were seven new rares introduced (all pictured on the map above). Three of these are located in the un-instanced version of Highmaul in Nagrand, one is located in the un-instanced version of Hellfire Citadel, and the remaining three are located beyond the Dark Portal in Tanaan Jungle. All of these rares can be accessed with flying mounts after achieving Draenor Pathfinder.


The three rares in the un-instanced version of highmaul are all level 102 elite ogres. They are pretty tough, but can be solo'd by a few classes *cough* hunter *cough*. For those who cannot solo them or just want them to die faster I HIGHLY recommend using the premade group finder to find others to help. I usually find a group almost instantly by searching for "rares" or "highmaul" in the custom tab.

Each ogre has about a 10% chance to drop a cute little manafiend pet. There are three pets, one different one from each ogre.
Empowered Manafiend (Left), Empyreal Manafiend (Top Right) and Energized Manafiend (Bottom Right)
These rares can be looted once per day per character. Killing them again on the same character on the same day will only get you a small amount of gold. Loot is personal, and being in a raid group will not effect the drop. They also respawn very quickly for rares (just a couple of minutes). The pets they drop can all be listed on the auction house for sale. On my server they are selling for around 4 - 5k gold right now. If you have the time and alts, it can be a quick way to make some extra gold.

Tanaan Jungle

There are four new rares in Tanaan Jungle. Fel Overseer Mudlump is all by his lonesome in the un-instanced Hellfire Citadel courtyard. He pretty much follows the same rules as the ogres listed above. He's level 102, elite, can be solo'd (but he's tough), and can be looted once per day per character. One important thing to note - be sure to stand within melee range during his encounter in order to avoid his booterang attack (it hurts).

Fel Overseer Mudlump has a chance to drop a Spike-Toed Booterang.

Those who played during the Burning Crusade may remember this rare from when he was originally encountered back in the level 70 version of Shadowmoon Valley. There he was known as Chief Overseer Mudlump and he gave the quest: The Booterang: A Cure For The Common Worthless Peon, where players working on their Nertherwing reputation had to toss a booterang at disobedient peons on Netherwing Ledge. lol, those peons had some of the best quotes...

Work is da poop! NO MORE! 
OOF! Booterang hurted me! Me tink work better den booterang!
AYAYA! One day me have dat booterang...

Ahhhhh, memories...

Behind the dark Portal in Tanaan Jungle

The three new rares beyond the Dark Portal are similar in difficulty to the above mentioned rares, and follow all the same loot rules. Again, I recommend using the premade group finder to take these guys down if you can't solo them (or just to kill them more quickly). Being in a raid group will not effect your ability to loot.

These rares each have a chance to drop a Crashin' Thrashin' toy. All three toys are part of the Iron Armada Achievement.

Crashin' Thrashin' Roller Controller drops from Drakum. You'll find him on the upper level of the building at 83.6, 43.6.
Crashin' Thrashin' Cannon Controller drops from Gondar. He's located inside the building at 80.6, 56.4.
Crashin' Thrashin' Mortar Controller drops from Smashum Grabb. He's pretty big and obvious, hanging out at 88.4, 55.4.

Until next time, happy rare hunting! <3 E 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How to get the "Predator" Title

A few days ago I read an article on Blizzard Watch talking about how to get the Predator title in Tannan Jungle. As soon as I saw this title I knew I HAD to have it for myself. I love titles, and this one especially I just had to have floating over my head. (Plus I also love a good rare-related challenge!) According to the article, you would need to be randomly ported to the demon Xemirkol by using the item: Master Hunter's Seeking Crystal. Upon killing him, you'll receive the Predator Achievement and corresponding Predator title. Although you will need the Crystal to reach Xemirkol, I found out that there is a little more to reaching him than just having the Crystal and being lucky.

After a few days of scouring Wowhead comments on pages related to this achievement and talking with people in game, I was able to figure out how to pretty much guarantee myself a port to Xemirkol. Here is what you'll need to do if your seeking out this title for yourself:
I used my crystal repeatedly over the past couple of days (before finishing the Jungle Stalker achievement and reaching exalted with Order of the Awakened) and was never once ported to Xemirkol. I also used it many times after completing the Jungle Stalker achievement, still with no luck. Then, last night I used several Medallion of the Legion to hit exalted with Order of the Awakened and was immediately ported to Xemirkol on the next use of my crystal.

Once you have all three of the above listed requirements covered you will be guaranteed a port to Xemirkol when you use your crystal, but only if he's alive. He absolutely IS on a shared timer, and it's a long one. If someone on your server has killed him recently you will have to wait for him to re-spawn before your crystal will send you to his platform. Just keep using it every 15 minutes when the cooldown is up, and you should eventually be ported to him. (Alternatively you could always hop onto another realm and try again if it doesn't work on the first try.)
If you end up porting to his platform and he is already engaged, ask if you can join the group killing him. His tag is a personal one, so simply attacking him without being grouped with the one who initiated the fight will not get you the title. If the other faction is taking him out then you are out of luck for the time.
The fight with Xemirkol is a little on the tough side if you aren't properly geared. I was able to defeat him with my ilevel 675 survival hunter, but it was not easy. I had to feign death and try again after initially engaging him. (I may have underestimated him a bit.) You'll need to move a lot to avoid his Shadow Crash and the Shadow Zone it leaves behind on the ground. He also casts Mind Blast and Carrion Blast which has a knockback. He kept knocking my pet off of the platform (I simply called him back each time). Apparently he can knock players off as well, so don't fight him too close to the edge and have your back facing the wall just in case. If you do get knocked off though, or fail to kill him, you can always use your crystal to find him again. He has a lot of health, 2617k to be exact. To burn through it more quickly be sure to use your garrison ability. Also bring some pots with you! (I forgot to stock up and had none for the fight. It would have been far easier had I been able to pop a quick healing potion.)
The toughest part of obtaining this title for me was probably hunting down every last rare in Tanaan Jungle for the Jungle Stalker achievement. My best advise for making that part easier is to be sure to pick up your Master Hunter's Seeking Crystal as soon as you hit revered with Order of the Awakened. Use it whenever it is not on cooldown. I was able to check a LOT of rares off of the list by using it while questing and exploring. If you are having trouble finding certain rares, use the group finder to server hop. Seriously, the group finder is one of your best friends here. A lot of friendly people open their garrisons for server hopping with open invites - just hop around from server to server in the area where the rare you are looking for spawns. Often times you'll find it right away. I do NOT however advise hopping to any and every group listed in the group finder. This is straight up rude. Using open garrisons should leave more than enough servers to hop through.
If any of the information I have provided changes, or new points become known I will update it right here in this post.
Happy Hunting!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Fantastic New Fel Friend (How to Tame a Green Fel Wolf in Tanaan Jungle)

Yesterday I managed to tame myself an amazingly awesome new pet in Tanaan Jungle - a beautiful green fel wolf. I LOVE her. She matches my little Fel Pup perfectly. Heck, she even matches the transmog I've been sporting for the past few weeks! I strolled around with her triumphantly through Lion's Watch after my victory and promptly received a whisper asking how I was able to make her mine. After explaining the details to my fellow hunter, I figured I'd post them here as well for anyone who may have missed this little hunter treat. Oh, and I almost forgot - the best thing about this pet is that you don't even have to be a Beast Mastery spec hunter to tame & enjoy!

Tamed Felbound Wolf & Fel Pup
You see, wolves with this skin and color have never been tamable prior to patch 6.2. I've been watching these lovelies wander the woods outside my garrison since beta, but have never been able to tame one because they are technically 'aberrations'. Well in the latest patch there was a brand new item introduced that will allow you to tame one of these awesome looking animals for one minute. This item is called the Vial of Fel Cleansing.

Fel Rangari Anaara
The vial drops off of an elite mob in Tanaan Jungle named Fel Rangari Anaara. You can find her sitting atop a mushroom on the shore directly south of Fang'Rila (54.0, 92.6).  Now before you just run up to her and start pew pewing, there are a few things that you should know. She is definitely not a pushover. This npc was designed to be killed by a hunter, and she is what I would call a 'hunter challenge' - a very fun one! She uses several abilities, for which you will need to use specific hunter skills to counter.
Before you engage her I advise clearing some of the wandering crabs nearby on the beach so that you don't pick up adds during the fight. While your clearing be on the lookout for Sand-Encrusted Egg lying on the beach. This item will give you a 10 minute +5% stat increase buff. Hey, every little bit helps! Don't forget to use your garrison ability too, she has a lot of health to burn through.

If you end up having trouble and need help taking her down, make sure you enlist the help of a fellow hunter friend and not another class. (She will make very quick work of any non-hunters who try to help.)

Once you have your vial, there are two areas in Tanaan Jungle where you can find a Felbound Wolf to tame: The Temple of Sha'naar, and the woods just north of Vol'mar. (If you don't yet have a Fel Pup, I advise going to The Temple of Sha'naar to see if Ceraxas is up. When this rare is killed a cute little pup spawns in the area with the quest: A Fel Puppy of My Own. This little pet will match your new wolf SO well! <3)

*Make sure you have an empty pet slot before you use the vial! The de-buff that the vial applies to the wolf you choose will only last one minute. It would stink to have to abandon a treasured pet to be able to complete the tame (or to have to fight Rangari Anaara again for another vial). I would also advise taming in an area without a lot of people in it to ensure that your chosen wolf doesn't get targeted by another player who happens to be questing nearby.

All locations discussed above are pictured on the map below:

Click map to Enlarge

Happy Hunting! <3 E