I will have more details about leveling my new Mage, Belsynis, in a future post. For right now I want to focus on a specific aspect of what I have been doing with that character, which is farming reputation with Darnassus for the sake of getting their mount as opposed to the boring (in my opinion) Human horses.
Fueling My Fire
After rolling my Mage I made an announcement in Twitter, “Playing around with a Human mage on #Durotan with @Fynralyl, trying to get Exalted with NElfs asap for cat mount. Honored at level 14 so far”.
I got a few responses to that, including the following:
- @WoWDawgs, “@psynister won’t happen by level 20.” and “@psynister not possible. Not enough rep quests to do it by 20.”
- @LordKaladar, “@psynister GL with that.. its like Darkspear.. once you leave the starting area.. there are no more Elf quest hubs :(“
- @Faulsey, “@psynister It’s hard to get exalted with a faction by -40- nevermind 20. (Did Darny when my Drae Hunter got his first mount, at 40.)”
All those responses really managed to do was get me even more focused and determined to get it done. While I was pretty sure level 20 wasn’t going to happen, I was hoping for some time shortly after so that I wouldn’t have to stick with the boring horses that the Humans get by default.
I got to work on grinding the reputation after I hit level 10, and though I was flying through quests and building up rep pretty fast, it didn’t take me long to see that it was not going to happen nearly as fast as I had hoped. So, I put that out there on Twitter as well, “#WoW My mage is level 16 and is about 1k Rep over half-way through Honored. No way I’m hitting Exalted by level 20 unless I turn of exp.”
I only got one reply to that one though, @WoWDawgs, “@psynister heh heh heh.”
As I’ve said before, telling me that I can’t do something, or that it’s not possible, is the best kind of motivation you can give me. It’s not a matter of trying to prove people wrong, it’s about overcoming the limits around me.
Fueling My Frost
So, after the guys on Twitter told me how hard it was going to be, I decided it was time to put all the knowledge that I had built up from leveling my previous Mage to 80 to good use and started hitting the grinding wheel pretty hard.
When it comes to building reputation with the Faction Races you don’t have a whole lot of options. Basically, you quest and you turn in cloth, and that’s about where it ends. But cloth can only be turned in once per cloth type until you get up to Runecloth, and you can’t do that until around level 50. You can turn in Wool Cloth once at level 10 for some rep, and Silk Cloth at level 30 for some more rep, but otherwise your only option is questing.
I looked up quests on wowhead.com to try to find where to get reputation with Darnassus, but what I found was that almost every quest mentioning Darnassus rep was wrong either in that it gave a different amount of rep than the website claimed, or that it gave the rep with another faction all together. After about the eighth time I was burned on that deal I gave up on referencing quests and instead focused on the NPC’s that gave the quests.
Advice: The most reliable method I found in finding quests in other zones was to accept quests that either came from, or were turned in to, a Night Elf NPC.
So I knew that I had to focus solely on questing, and that’s what I did. While a Fire build hits harder, and an Arcane build is apparently viable now for leveling, I stuck with what I know works and what I’m most familiar with: Frost
Somewhere in my mid-teens, I forgot to note exactly when it happened (/fail), I managed to hit Honored with Darnassus.
When Belsynis hit level 10 I left the Human starting zones and went straight to the starting zone for the Night Elves and quested there as though I were a level 1 Night Elf. I did every quest in the starting area of Shadowglen and then moved on to the town of Dolonaar and did every quest there as well. After finishing those I moved on over to Darnassus and did every quest they had to offer me as well.
When you want to build reputation with a faction, hit their starting areas first and then progress through the entire zone. I don’t mention specific quests here because I literally did every single quest that I was able to find in the entire zone. I ran a path around the entire map after I thought I had done them all just to see if I could find any quests in some random, out of the way location that I had missed before. My thoughts proved to be true as I found no other quests that I had left undone.
My wife is currently leveling a Draenei character, and as she heard me mention that I had finished with the quests in the Night Elf zones she mentioned that there were several quests in the Draenei starting area that offered the reputation as well. This is where I did the search for quests on wowhead.com (mentioned above) that came back with disappointing results. Luckily, I did find quite a few quests that gave the reputation, but a lot of them were very small amounts. In the end, it was certainly worth the time and effort to do them. As with the Night Elf zone I went through every area on the map for the Draenei and accepted every quest I could find that came from or was turned in to a Night Elf NPC.
Doing this did slow down my progression in leveling because I was already higher level than most of the mobs that I faced. I did gain experience from all of the quests that I turned in, but that experience was enough to continue pushing me over the level of the mobs that I faced in most of the areas.
So I left the Human starting zone of Elwyn Forest at level 10, the Night Elf zone of Teldrassil at level 14, and the Draenei zones (Azuremyst and Bloodmyst Isles) at level 16.
From there it was time to head to the next stop in the Night Elf quest lines and head over to Auberdine. Most of the quests in this zone reward Darnassus reputation, but not all of them. Following the same guideline here as I had in previous areas I took every quest that came from a Night Elf NPC or was turned in to one and did every one I could find.
It didn’t take me long to get up to level 20, but since I knew I still had a long way to go before I got my Darnassus mounts that I went ahead and bought all of the human horses (including the black one from Wetlands) so that I could quest faster.
In the end I did every quest, or quest chain, in the entire zone except for the ones given by the Gnome upstairs in the Auberdine Inn. I did his first quest, found that it gave Gnomer rep, and then left it at that for him.
The good thing about Auberdine is that it’s a fairly small zone with a whole lot of quests. The bad thing is, a lot of these quests require you to do a lot of running around back and forth. There also happens to be a couple of quests that send you into areas that are also part of even higher level quests from other zones that send you back to Auberdine. So you can be running around in an area full of level 16 mobs and then find yourself facing a level 29 mob out of the blue. So a word of advice if you are doing this with a low level toon, be careful around towers.
I manged to reach Revered in Auberdine, but I did not get very far into it before I ran out of quests. As with Teldrassil, I ran a full circuit around the map after finishing all of the quests to make sure I did not miss any. This time around I actually found 2 that I had missed, so it certainly paid off this time.
Next stop, Ashenvale.
Most of the quests offered in Ashenvale provide you with Darnassus reputation; not all of them, but most. A couple of those quests include running through the BFD instance in Northwest Ashenvale, and since my wife had a freshly transferred level 80 Paladin on the realm I just had her run me through it, though I did find a group for it the following day as well.
Ashenvale has a lot of quests that span the entire map, and the locations of their quests are overall pretty good though not great. I generally liked doing the quests here, but there were a few of them that just really bugged me. Quests that require an item to drop that has a horribly low drop rate, kill quests that require certain numbers of several different mobs that are all spawned randomly so that you have to do a full clear of the area five times to get the ones you need, etc.
Ashenvale is where the level of the mobs finally started meshing well with my own level and where experience really started picking up.
I only had a few accidental run-ins with Horde NPCs, but none of them were fatal. I did stumble onto a couple of rare spawns that gave me lessons on how to die quickly though, and chief among them was Prince Raze, a rare spawn demon that hits extremely hard and is well known for agroing my characters while I’m in the middle of fighting other mobs or just as I sit down to eat/drink. That rare spawn alone is responsible for over 20 deaths across my various characters, and because of that I now make a special effort to go and kill him any time I take a high level character into Ashenvale, even if my destination is nowhere near his spawn point. He killed Belsynis once because I didn’t see him when I attacked a mob near him, and a second time when I came back specifically to claim my revenge. The third time he went down.
But, I’m getting off topic here. Back to questing.
I kept a very close eye on my reputation throughout this entire process, but especially during the anxious grinding from Revered to Exalted, and the closer I got the closer I kept my eye on it.
After finishing every quest I could find in Ashenvale, and having already turned in both Wool and Silk cloth for rep, I still had not reached Exalted, though I was close. I hit the internet again searching for quests in other zones and managed to find a few spread out in various places, but they just didn’t weren’t enough. I found a few quests that would give me what I needed, but they all high minimum level requirements of 38 or higher and I was only level 31.
Reputation: 121 Reputation short
I looked everywhere I could think of and just couldn’t find anything at all. I was so close, and yet I was stuck. There I was sitting just 121 reputation away from being Exalted with Darnassus, and I had no other resources that I could tap for it without gaining several more levels. I spent a couple more hours in the game running around in other zones trying to find another quest and still found nothing. It was about 4 a.m. then and I had said four hours earlier that I was going to stay awake until I reached my goal. But while my mind loves the game, my body couldn’t care less and it was done. So, I called it a night with 121 Reputation left to go.
The next “morning”, I got on and it hit me. I had run full around the entire map looking for quests in all of the previous zones but I hadn’t bothered doing so with Ashenvale. I knew though that I had completed every quests around there so I wasn’t very hopeful. I ran and I ran. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I let out a big, heavy sign of frustration and disappointment as I pulled up my map for a vain search for hope.
As a long time Horde player the first thing that always draws my eye when I look at the Ashenvale map is the flight path there on the coast at Zoram Strand. My eyes found it this time too, and suddenly memories came back to me. Memories of killing a stupid PvP flagged NPC Night Elf that sits beside a fire near the Horde flight path. A dinky little level 14 nobody that I killed every time I saw him simply because he was Alliance. I had avoided the area on Belsynis because I knew that the Horde camp was there, but I had always wondered what his purpose was as my Horde characters killed him.
So, I jumped on my black horse and went straight for him down the quickest path I knew. Sure enough, just as he came within range on my map I saw that he held a quest. I accepted, ran a little ways north to get the statue he wanted and then rushed right back to him. I handed him the statue that was just lying there on the beach with a single naga watching over it and my computer froze…
But it only froze for the half second that it takes for my MultiShot addon to take a screenshot when I get an achievement, Somebody Likes Me. The quest gave me 9 silver coins, 120 experience and 165 Reputation with Darnassus. I reached Exalted: Darnassus at level 31 and I went ahead and finished off that little Night Elf’s quest line just to return the favor.
The only thing left to do was to /cast Teleport: Darnassus and purchase all four of the mounts that were available to me. I keep the black horse on one of my action bars simply because he performed his duty well in helping me get all of those quests done, but the White Striped and Black Striped Frostsaber mounts are the only ones that I ride now.