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Critter Killer Squad

After a few conversations back and forth on Twitter, it was decided that I should be the one to do a post about tips for farming the Critter Killer Squad achievement for your guild by killing 50,000 critters collectively. Completing this achievement gives your guild members access to the Armadillo Pup companion pet, though you do have one heck of a rep grind to do with your guild before you can actually purchase and summon him. The current PTR patch mentions he’s purchasable at Revered once the patch goes live, but currently it’s Exalted.

This isn’t really a guide to show you how to do it, it’s merely a list of tips to help you along the way. I’m going to point out the primary locations for where I did most of my grinding as well as things you can do to help you out in your own.

General Tips

Classy Killers
The first thing to consider if you’re going to go on a critter farming spree is your class. If you don’t have good AoE spells, or you’re not able to “spam” your AoE spells, then you aren’t really an ideal farmer. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it of course, only that you could do better if you were a different class. Which class is the best Critter farmer in the game? Mages followed by Priests.

Mages are the best critter farmers because they have a cheap AoE spell that you can spam (no cooldown) and several ways of getting their mana back quickly and easily. By taking the Arcane spec they can reduce the cooldown of their best mana return, Evocation, to every two minutes. By taking the Fire spec they gain access to two more AoE spells that can be cast instantly on a targeted location. And they can always conjure their own food for free if mana returns get stuck on cooldown.

Priests have a similarly useful AoE, but mana can become an issue after sustained periods without as many ways of generating it back.

You can also do a fair job with a Death Knight if you take the Frost Spec, allowing you to cast two Blood Boils, and two Howling Blasts to clear large numbers of critters. The drawback is that Howling Blast does require you to select a target which can be hard if you’re having to click on some of these tiny critters. You can get around that either with a macro or by trying to click on other, larger targets to center it on. You can also use your “ice cubes” cooldown when it’s up, allowing Frost Fever to kill them.

Critter Killer “SQUAD”
The next thing to consider is whether or not other people in your guild are willing to help you. Why is that important? Because just like loot in dungeons or raids, you get credit for the kills as long as you’re in the area when they die. Credit in the case of critters is the kill count. What that means is that if you’re in a group then everyone who is there and within “reward range” of the critters when they die all get credit for it.

So if you’re in a group with another person for your guild then every critter killed counts as two critters because both of you are rewarded with a kill. If you’re in a group of five, then every critter counts as five. And if you’re in a 40 man raid, then every critter counts as 40 instead.

Remember, guild achievements aren’t meant to be accomplished by a single individual, they’re meant to be a group effort; that’s why they’re guild achievements. Get a group together for the areas you want to farm in and then go do them together. You can either send a large group, like the 40 man raid, to a single location, or you can do smaller parties or raids to several locations at once.

Uldum
Uldum: the land of sheep, moths, lizards and scarabs.

This is where most of the people who got this achievement first did their thing. There are two locations on the map where two groups of sheep spawn which make it an excellent zone to grab a few, quick kills from. When the expansion was first released killing these sheep forced more sheep to instantly respawn, making it the single-best location in the game to farm the achievement. Once Blizzard caught on though, they took away the respawn rate and now they respawn about the same as any other critter, though maybe a tad slower.

Those little packs of sheep are still a great source of kills though, so I still enjoyed farming them even after the respawn nerf.

Anywhere that you find green growth in the zone can also be home to moths which count for the achievement as well. If you happen to be an herbalist or a skinner then you’ll likely be farming these areas for your professions as well, and killing critters while you’re in the middle of farming something else anyway is a great way to contribute to the guild without going out of your way. The sheep don’t quite have enough time to respawn after a single path along the highest spawn points of Whiptail unless you manage to find several of the nodes and stop for moths along the way, but a double-path should have the big sheep packs back up for you.

If you’re a miner then you’ll often find along your mining paths here that there will be several groups of critters that spawn in groups of three and then spread out and “flee” when you get close to them. Drop down in the middle and fire off an AoE spell to grab your three kills and then return to your ore farming. Many of the ore nodes themselves are spawn points for these critters which you can use to some extent as a reference for a place to keep your eyes open for a node you’re not aware of.

I start my mining path just south of where the sheep spawn, at a point where I often find Pyrite nodes and then I run a path that takes me through both sheep spawn locations, up around where the Armadillo rare spawn is located, up into the western mountain ranges looping around the north side of the map all the way to the east where I also find several Pyrite nodes, and then I go back to the sheep spot. My mining path is significantly larger than my herb path, and the sheep have always respawned by the time I get back around.

You can also make a macro to “/target Strange Camel Statue” to search for the statue that gives you a chance at a camel mount. I haven’t had any luck with that one myself yet, but I’ve been told that’s the best way to find it since the statue can be targeted.

Zul’Gurub
Zul’Gurub: The raid that once was, land of the eternal snakes.

In Zul’Gurub you’re going to be killing snakes. Lots, and lots, and lots of snakes. Now, there aren’t all that many snakes that are actually there, probably only 25-30 in this particular area, but killing them forces more to spawn and they also have a fast respawn rate on their own. The key to getting them to spawn a lot is to make sure that you kill all of them, and doing that requires you to know where all of them are.

Go to the area marked on the map. You’ll find the section where the snake boss used to be located when ZG was still a raid instance. Now, back out of his room onto the main pathway that runs around the instance. There are 4 snakes that spawn right outside there; 2 are in line with the doorway and there is one slightly to both the left and right of the door. The doorway itself also has up to 3 snakes that can spawn inside it.

Now your objective is clear a ring around the entire area inside the snake bosses “room”. So go in the door and start making a circle around the edge, spamming your AoE the whole time. I prefer to turn right and go around counter-clockwise, but that’s just me. When you come around opposite the doorway to where the stairs are go on up and do the same thing there, spamming your AoE as you circle around the upper floor. Then go back down the stairs and finish your ring of the lower level by following it around and going back out the door.

From there it’s just a simple matter of repeating everything you just did. If you don’t kill all of the snakes then not all of them will respawn, that’s why I have you kill the ones outside the door. You can’t kill just the lower floor and outside the door, or the snakes will follow normal respawn rules. If you do take the time to get snake down in there then you’ll have a constant supply of snakes to kill.

As you path around here you’ll pick up on where all of the snakes are and get a feel for where you need to stand when you fire your AoE to kill the most snakes per cast, and you’ll find just how close you need to get to the edges of the room. Once you’ve got a feel for it you’ll be able to clear the place in no time and can probably develop a rhythm like I did where I didn’t even have to look at the screen anymore because I knew how far to turn in each direction in sequence to get to where I was going.

ZG farming gets old pretty fast, but it is effective and it’s your best source if you don’t want to deal with respawn rates. If you’re grinding the achievement with your guild you probably don’t want to bring more than 2-3 other people with you to this place. While killing does force respawns, there’s still a little bit of an actual respawn on the forced spawn as well which ends up giving you a slight delay followed by bursts of snakes in random places and it gets a little screwy.

Eastern Plaguelands
Eastern Plaguelands: Enough creepy crawlies to feed the entire goblin race for a decade.

Eastern Plaguelands is overall the best place for you to farm. It has more critters than any other location in the game now, and they all have a reasonable respawn rate of 3-5 minutes. The respawn timer kind of sucks, but the cave is large enough and there are enough critters in there to make up for it.

EPL comes with another side benefit though which helps with that respawn timer, and that’s farming for the Mr. Grubbs companion pet. The whole point of killing these critters is to open up another pet, so don’t try to tell me you’re not in it for pets. ;)

If you don’t already have Mr. Grubbs then go ahead and clear out the cave full of critters and then fly east and farm some mobs for a chance to get Mr. Grubbs. After a few minutes of grinding those, head back to the cave and kill some more, then grind Grubbs while you wait, and so on and so forth.

If you’re going to grind this achievement with your guild then this is the best place to do it in groups.

Psynister’s Psystem
I did a large portion of my guild’s critter farming solo, mostly because I had no idea at the time that doing it in groups could multiply your kill count. If I had known that then we would have gotten it way sooner than we did.

I started off farming the sheep in Uldum, pre-nerf, and not expecting a nerf to come for a while I mostly took my time with them and only did a few thousand at a time before going off to do something else. I don’t remember what our count was when the nerf hit, but I think it was around 10-12k at that point.

The nerf wasn’t a big setback though because I had found a location that was even better. I was leveling a Worgen Fury Warrior to become PvP twink when I suddenly found myself in a tunnel/hallway absolutely full of critters. I remembered it from the Beta but I had completely forgotten that the area existed. The great thing about this place was that the critters actually attacked you which mean that my Warrior had a never ending supply of Rage along with a never ending supply of critters, and a wonderful spell to dump that Rage into that just happened to be an AoE.

I farmed the crap out of that hall until all of my non-BoA gear was broken. Once it broke I set off to find myself a repair vendor so I could make use of my enchanted Hand-Me-Downs again, but none of them existed in the phase I was in. Sadly, neither did a mailbox so I couldn’t send the BoA’s to a new Warrior. The grinding was still great, but slower after all of my gear was busted so I took a break there for a while as well. The following week this place was nerfed as well so that the critters don’t count. Still, I’d managed over 20,000 kills there.

That left me with only a few options so I searched for other good places to go and stumbled onto the snakes in ZG. The good thing about them is that they do have an excellent respawn rate. The bad thing is, farming them kind of sucks with how spread out they are so you don’t get as many kills in as short of a time. And because of the layout I actually got bored with it easier than I did the others. I only did maybe 500-1,000 there before I got bored and left.

I then went to try my luck in EPL which is where I decided to spend most of my remaining time farming it. The respawn rate isn’t great, but the number of critters inside was fantastic. The respawn timer did make it boring pretty easily though, so again I only ended up with a little over 1,000 kills here at the time.

From there I left the achievement alone for a while at around 36,000 critters. From there I left it up to the rest of the guild for a while and we made decent progress from there. When I saw that we were within 5,000 of the achievement I went back to farming a bit more seriously and decided to beat the respawn timers by setting up a different toon in each of my three best farming locations and just relog each time I finished off an area. That worked for all of two cycles before I was killing them all too fast to really make it efficient. The DK in Uldum was doing good slaying sheep with Blood Boil and Howling Blast, but the Balance Druid kind of sucked in ZG with how much they were spread out and how much mana my non-cooldown AoE spells required to cast. The Mage was still slaying like crazy in EPL though, and eventually I just gave up on the rotation and stuck with Mage/EPL.

Quite a few members jumped in there at the end trying to finish off the achievement. At the very end, I saw two other people farming critters and only one of which was in a good spot (Uldum) for getting big numbers in a short amount of time. I’d worked so hard on the achievement though that I wasn’t about to let someone else finish what I’d started so I jumped back on the Mage for one final push through that EPL tunnel. I went in with 200 critters left on the countdown and started in.

I saw the numbers drop quickly, and just as we hit 13 I saw someone else in my tunnel doing the same thing. If he had been flagged, and on the opposite faction, I’d have killed him with AoE spells a’blazing, but that was not the case. Luckily I’d been through that stinking cave so many times that I knew all of the twists and turns and I knew there was a side passage to his right…and apparently so did he.

But, he wasn’t a mage.

/cast Blink
/cast Arcane Explosion (critter count: 3)
/cast Arcane Explosion (critter count: -7)

Now all I have to do is stop being such a friggin altoholic and focus on a single character long enough to get my rep high enough to buy the Armadillo. I’m not real big on companion pets, but still – I am a Texan, after all.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Death Knight, Mage, Priest, World of Warcraft

 

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