Friday, October 23, 2009

Achievement Hunting Volume 2: Hallow's End

Well as you've seen below, the holiday Achievement system is worth your while if you want to see some of the best content in the game that's only here for small spurts at a time. This was the holiday that I personally split over two years due to not being max leveled quite yet in 2008. However, this is definitely one of the best holidays no matter where your toon resides in the levels. There's a cool title on the line, perhaps the best of the seasonal titles "the Hallowed." So let's get to it!

Hallow's End revolves around two things: the Headless Horseman, and trick or treating. Therefore, it's a lot like real life Halloween with scary movies and theme parks capped off by a night full of candy. There's a ton of travel involved, but as a side benefit, completing this holiday will put you mighty close to Explorer and all the flight points in the world, assuming they were not handed to you already as a Death Knight. From easiest to hardest...

1. Trick or Treat - The easiest step of the path to "the Hallowed" is a key part of the holiday. Yet again you will be visiting your local innkeeper every hour to trick or treat. Sometimes you get candy, or transforming wands, or toothpicks, and a few times you get tricked and transformed for an hour or a minute. Do this for the first time of what will be many hourly visits, and this achievement is yours.

2. That Sparkling Smile - Although this is all determined by the luck of the random number generator (RNG) when you trick or treat, you should eventually get a toothpick to clean those filthy candy-covered teeth. Use one and this achievement is yours.

3. Out With It - Just like real life, you will simply have to stuff yourself with so much of the candy you get from trick or treating all at once, and once you barf, this achievement is yours. It only takes about 5-6 rapid candies, so this one is pretty easy.

4. The Savior of Hallow's End - This is kind of like the Iron Dwarf event from Brewfest. You have a set of quests which eventually ends with a quest to put out some fires the Headless horseman sets in a starter town outside one of the major cities. Every hour this happens and if you have enough people putting water on the fires, you will complete this quest and profit with the achievement.

5. Bring Me The Head Of...Oh Wait - You must kill the Headless Horseman. This doesn't require you to be any level really, but only level 75 characters can summon him this year with the update for level 80. Still, the Horseman fight is not very difficult and could be done with 3-4 appropriate level characters. You kill the horseman, then his head, and continue until the head is finally finished off.

6. Rotten Hallow - There is also another line of seasonal quests which will take you up to Southshore to set or clean up stinkbombs and hang out at the Wickerman festival outside Undercity. Nothing complicated here, just a quick trip during your trick or treating.

7. Check Your Head - If you kill the Horseman regularly, you will receive weighted jack'o'lanterns. Furthermore, these are not soulbound and can be traded with friends who have received extras. You'll need 10 of them, and go to Dalaran and place one on each race. For the record, YOU WILL NOT GET CREDIT FOR PEOPLE WITH WEIGHTED JACK O LANTERN HEADS ALREADY! So pick another gnome!

8. The Masquerade - Again, you will need to rely on other people for this one. In the course of trick or treating, you will get one of 7 wands which can transform others into Pirates, Wisps, etc. You cannot target yourself, but you can trade with other people who have other wands. Eventually you convince enough strangers or guildies to do this to you with all the different kinds of wands, and the achievement will be yours.

9. G.N.E.R.D. Rage - As you trick or treat and visit candy buckets around the world, you will pick up a bunch of G.N.E.R.D. candy, which gives you a speed boost. The goal is to get 50 Honorable Kills while under the buff granted by that candy. The only hitch is that if you die in the battleground, the buff is gone for the remainder of the battleground and cannot be recovered, as you cannot eat candy once the battleground has started. Thus, even with the shorter BG's now, you are faced with waiting out the BG or waiting out the 15 minute deserter debuff if you drop. I've heard Wintergrasp is the new best place to do this, but Alterac Valley is a nice place to run because you can get in with the zerg and not likely be killed. When you are a priest, you are really handicapped and have to chase others around to do this achievement. Very time consuming and annoying for non-PvP'ers, but fear not. None of the other PvP holiday achievements are this hard, and sometimes you get lucky and nab 15-20 HK's in one BG!

10. Tricks and Treats of Azeroth - While some will disagree and put G.N.E.R.D. Rage higher, I put this up here because it is more time-consuming and requires a Northrend level toon. You must essentially visit almost every inn your faction has in every zone of Eastenr Kingdoms, Kalimdor, and Outland for the achievement. In each inn there is a candy bucket which you click on for candy and a quest completion. A good way to get gold at 80 (over 6 gold per bucket) or experience at any level (over 11,000 xp at level 70). Even if you want to split this holiday over a couple years, grab the free money or experience that is handy to you and then you'll have less to do next year.

11. Sinister Calling - Ahh, the RNG strikes back! If you are complaining about drop rates on toothpicks from inns, wait until you see the droprates on the Sinister Squashling pet and Hallowed Helm from the Horseman. At least you have a very minor chance to get these from Trick or Treating as well, but the best way is still killing the Horseman 5 times a day in your 5 man group. The only hitch is not only are the drop rates kind of low on each, but you have to win the roll for each item. So it's RNG squared, and can be the real hiccup of the holiday. Roll those dice and hope for the best.

That's all you need to do, and then you may have two new titles in The Explorer and the Hallowed. More importantly, you'll be one step closer to that violet proto drake. Now that most of the real holiday junkies have their drakes, don't get left behind! Enjoy the holiday with all your friends, maybe even set up a big group for PvP with G.N.E.R.D.'s after a big journey across the landy to many candy buckets. Take this time to enjoy the fun parts of the Halloween season, well other than the ridiculous/sexy costumes and drinking if you happen to be on a college campus. But for those of us who are not, viva la Horseman!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



All the holiday achievements have been very fun to pursue since I was introduced to the Headless Horseman on the last 2 days of Hallow's End 2008. At that time I was level 66 and being carried by friends. Ever since grabbing the free experience from candy buckets and opening up flight points last year, I've been hooked to the holiday events. The fact that there was a big achievement and reward at the end made it so much more worth the while. So above I present to you...THE VIOLET PROTO DRAKE!

So did I have to wait for the RNG to treat me well with the Horseman drops? Yes, but not in the way you think. I had 4 of the Hallow's End achievements left to do from last year. Two were the holiday quests which were easy peasy. I also needed to put Weighted Jack O Lanterns on people's heads and get the pet and hallowed helm from the Horseman. Well I got lucky on the pet and helm dropping the second day of the holiday, but I could never get the Horseman to drop the weighted jack o lanterns. Found out tonight they are tradeable, so a couple guildies sent me some and I got some from night three of Horseman runs. Off to Dalaran, and a few cackles later, the deed was done. Definitely one of the better titles in the game, and by far the best of the holiday titles. Ekaterinae The Hallowed. Now riding around at such a speed it will make you hear sonic booms. Hallelujah.

Here's some screenies of the big moment and the long-awaited payoff.

So the second major achievement dream has been chased successfully, Explorer being the first. Time to set my eyes on some dungeons or Loremaster, or maybe something else entirely. Suggestions welcome, but it better be fun!

In other news, I've been in Onyxia 10 and 25 and Trial of the Crusader 25 twice the past week. I'll give my thoughts on Patch 3.2 and 3.2.2 in a future entry for those who have yet to see the newest content. It's quite a bit easier than the learning curve on Ulduar, but Icecrown is certain to have some serious challenges ahead.

Until next time, may your dream-chasing be successful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Awesome news for one AE Team Member

Well ever since I rolled Biancae the paladin on Horde-side to experience that side of the game, I knew it would be an uphill battle on Biancae as she is a lone ranger on that faction. Unlike Arielae and Clarissae, Biancae has no big bags, no substantial gold (although I am working on that with another cross-faction friend), and most importantly, no heirloom items. This might not have been a huge deal initially, but with champion's seals it is now possible to cut about 17% off the leveling time. When you are talking about 7-8 days in game time, that becomes a significant amount of extra time. So what gets announced tonight in a blue post but the news people like me have been hoping to see for a long time.

Bind on Account (BoA) items will be transferable between characters of different factions on your account. This will likely be released with Patch 3.3.

Boom! There it is, a Friday night bombshell. Not only will you be able to move your heirlooms across factions if you choose to, but it will be coming most likely in the next content patch. Considering Icecrown Citadel raid encounters began testing this week, it is only a matter of a few weeks until Patch 3.3 drops. And then, Biancae will no longer take 17% longer to level. This is just the help the Horde-side of the AE Team needed, and I thank Blizzard for thinking of those of us just starting on our WoW journey.

In other news, it's October and I'm 210 hours off my yearly goal. Hence, I'm working a ton. On the bright side, I have a bit of extra time to work on the new house and enjoy WoW this week with my family visiting others in Wisconsin. So hopefully I'll be on here a bit more. Apologies to my new followers, who have not seen much out of me. Arielae has dinged 31 and crossed into the tough territory of the early 30's. She's headed to Kalimdor for her next swath of leveling, and I hope to report level 40 quickly.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brief Note

Congratulations to Eitrin, who just welcomed his first child in real life. Welcome Liam and we can't wait to see you enjoy the gaming world as you grow older! Cheers!

Also, the Druid has been getting my limited playtime recently. She's up to 28, so expect some ding 30's in the near future. As for Ekat, she got left on the sidelines for a Trial of the Crusader guild run, but when the wife and kiddo leaves for a week and a half beginning next week...let's just say raiding is on the top of my list of things to do. So looking forward to heroic Ulduar, which will be good enough to bridge the gap on gear hopefully.

Patch 3.3 is already on the PTR and looking amazing. We have Tier 10, new emblems, Icecrown raid, and three new 5-man dungeons to talk about plus the usual tweaks to priest and other healing classes. Well back to the grind of billing 200 or more hours a month. If you have no idea what that entails, consider yourself lucky :-)