The coolest new title in Wrath of the Lich King?
But since my guild’s still got people leveling up and others gearing for raiding, implementing advanced strategies in a 10-man Sartharion fight is at least a couple weeks off.
In the meantime, I decided to follow the lead of some of my friends and go for the Explorer title.
Upon dinging 77, I hit Astral Recall and dropped my 1k gold on Cold Weather Flying. Ah, sweet freedom! I could finally take my time and enjoy Northrend’s views from up high while exploring every sub-zone en route to becoming an Explorer.
The great thing about WotLK is that at about 2,100 to 2,200 XP per discovered zone, discovery alone can net upwards of 400,000 XP. At 77, I had explored the Howling Fjord in its entirety, most of the Dragonblight save a tiny sliver on the northern section of the map, most of the Borean Tundra, and the majority of Grizzly Hills. Still, exploring the rest of Northrend via flying mount got me just over 350,ooo XP without doing a single quest in that span. Not bad.
When I was finished racking up the Northrend zones, I headed back to Kalimdor. Aside from Mulgore, the Thousand Needles, the Barrens, Silithus and Un’Goro Crater, my map was peppered with tiny patches of unexplored territory amid mostly-explored zones. I was annoyed with myself.
I headed over to Azuremyst Isle, then on to Bloodmist, learning quickly that the most efficient way to knock out zones is to have screen captures of each area pulled up in the browser. Not only does it make it easier to identify specific map points that’ll grant a discovery, it also helps with those pain-in-the-ass areas that aren’t actually linked to a map graphic. If you don’t have a copy of a fully explored map handy, it’s easy to look at a map and think you’ve got every sub-zone covered. That’s a time-waster when you have to double back and grab a tiny tract of land on a ground mount, and I learned the hard way.
After the Draenei starting areas, I was off to Teldrassil. Since you’ve got to run through Darnassus to get to the rest of the island, I knew this would be a bit of a challenge. Arriving at the dock of the small village at the southern edge of the isle, I attracted the attention of too many level 75 guards and couldn’t keep up as they spawned on top of me and earned myself a grave yard run.
Upon rezzing, I realized I could sneak below the dock, regain my health and mount up without getting aggro from the guards again.
From there, it was one quick, surprisingly easy dash through the center of Darnassus and out the other side. When I rode out of the city, I had two guards on my back who dismounted and dazed me. I led them a few dozen yards from the gate and killed them just in time to notice a level 74 human Death Knight riding up towards me, with half my mana gone and my health at 75%. As the Death Knight dismounted, I summoned my Spirit Wolves and proceeded to administer a deeply-satisfying ass beating. Deeply satisfying because the Death Knight clearly expected an easy kill, and ass-beating because when it was over I was at 98% health and he was face-down in the dirt. Viva la Spirit Wolves!
The rest of Teldrassil was a breeze. I hearthed out, plotted a good flight path route and logged, then came back and knocked out bits of the unexplored zones tonight — small patches of land in Dustwallow Marsh, the off-shore islands in Feralas, the far eastern centaur lands in Desolace — finally ending with the Kalimdor meta-achievement as I finished up in Azshara.
Next up: The Eastern Kingdoms. Pathetically, the only two Eastern Kingdoms zones I have fully explored are Deadwind Pass and Sunwell Isle. I’ve got a lot of exploring to do, but luckily a guildie going after the same title will join me tomorrow. After all, two is better than one when it comes to skulking around hostile territory.