Monday, September 16, 2019

Looking For Grom'Gol In All The Wrong Places: WoW Classic

On Saturday morning I did a bit of this and a little of that, then after lunch I logged into Classic. The thing with Classic at the moment is, once I get started I don't want to stop, so I try not to start too early.

Before I went to bed on Friday I'd picked up several quests at the Raceway. The demented goblins there wanted various body parts from the local wildlife to further their course record ambitions. Or something. I was very tired and Goblins don't make a lot of sense at the best of the times.

Even though I hadn't had the energy to get started on the quests, I'd managed to scope out the options before I called it a night. I'd found there were several pockets of level 30-32 mobs in among the 34s and 35s. I generally back my hunter to win most fights with anything up to and including four levels above him so that looked good.

Since he got out of the starting area it's been his practice to take mostly orange quests. The enhanced experience and rewards far outweigh any deaths he encounters by overreaching but constantly punching above his weight  does mean he tends to need a rest after a couple of hours. Or, I should say, I do.

Hunting that way also relies on not getting adds. Well, not too many adds. I can usually handle two mobs a couple of levels above me at once, especially if they're animals. Scare Beast is great for that. It also helps enormously to have a wide open, flat space with excellent visibility. Shimmering Flats is perfect.

Or it would be, if it didn't have some of the most annoying pathing I've seen. The mobs aren't packed tight but they wander in hard-to-predict ways, zigging and zagging, stopping, going back in the direction they came, turning, carrying on. I'm sure there's a predictable pattern in there somewhere but you'd be a long time defining it and committing it to memory.

Bear down! Run away!

Everything also has a big aggro range, or it does when it's a few levels above you. It took me a good while, half an hour or so, to establish a fairly safe routine. Before that there was a lot of running away and small amount of dying. I also ran out of food and drink and they didn't seem to sell any at Raceway, so I had to take a trip to Gadgetzan to restock.

I love Gadgetzan. Not surprising. Goblin is my favorite Azerothian race. It's a full service town too, which is handy. They have a bank there and an Auction House with almost nothing for sale. Less than one screen for all the weapons! I thought it was linked to the Booty Bay AH , both of them being Goblin-operated, but maybe not.

Eventually I settled down to slaughter the desert fauna. The quest to rip some body part I forget from the twitching corpses of Scorpids went easily enough. Probably only had to kill three times the number of drops to get that done.

There was one that didn't need me to kill anything, just pick up thirty parts from old, broken race cars. That sounded like a lot but there were plenty of ground spawns. I had them to myself because Shimmering Flats was mostly empty of players. The odd person passed by on their way to somewhere else but in the couple of hours I was hunting I saw maybe just two or three others doing the quests. It was so peaceful. Apart from all the killing, but that was mostly me.

Eventually I had two of the four quests completed but it was plain that I wasn't going to finish the other two. I had twenty of the required thirty basilisk kills but the third type of basil I needed only came in flavors 34 or 35. As for the hardened shells from tortoises... after maybe two dozen kills I was 2/9. What gives? Doesn't every tortoise have a hard shell?

Night-time shot from Friday auto-leveled to look like daytime on Saturday. Convincing, isn't it?
I gave up on those two for the time being, handed in the ones I'd completed and took a break. When I came back I decided it was time to move on.

The guy I'd delivered the box from Ironforge to had given me a box of ammo to take to Hemet Nesingwary. As a pair of fetch and carry quests, that has to break some kind of distance record - a round trip from Ironforge to Stranglethorne by way of Shimmering Flats!

At this point, had I had the brains I was born with, I would have Hearthstoned to Ironforge and griffined to Duskwood but oh, no. I was on an exploring binge and nothing would do but to run the whole thing on foot.

I decided to retrace my steps as far as The Barrens, then find my way to the other Goblin outpost I remembered, the one on the coast where you can get a ship to Booty Bay. That did seem to make sense. Barrens had been a safe run  and Booty Bay is right in the zone I needed. If only I had remembered exactly where that Goblin town was...

I got back to the cliff lift with no problems. Had to kill a bunch of centaurs and cats. Got on the lift, set the pet to passive, legged it off the platform with Tauren guards in hot pursuit, switched the pet to aggro, pointed him at them and carried on running. Got a good lead, swapped him back to passive and kept going 'til they leashed. No-one died.

So far so good. And that was the end of my luck. Or, I should say, my judgment.

Oh, come on! I thought bears liked swimming...

Seeing Theramore to the East as I ran through The Barrens I decided that would be the quickest way to go. I thought I remembered the Goblin port was just North of there, along the coast.

It is, in fact, although not that close. What I'd completely forgotten is that Theramore isn't in the low level Barrens but the significantly higher-level  Dustwallow Marsh. I found that out when I veered off the road to take a shortcut through the undergrowtth and got sideswiped by some mob with a deathshead for a level.

Even then things would most likely have been fine if I'd rezzed at Theramore graveyard and carried along the road. Too easy. Too sensible.

I died again getting my body. Third time I got on the road and down to Theramore, where I came up with the stellar plan of swimming north, running along the shoreline when it seemed safe to get out of the water. That worked for as long as the only mobs in range were non-aggressive turtles. When I came to a tribe of high-30s Murlocs, not so much. I avoided them by heading inland, whereupon several spiders decided to have me for lunch.

I think I died three more times getting my body and slowly edging it over to the paved road. Could have been four. Then I died once more on the road itself, when I ran across a flooded bridge with hostiles in pursuit, only to find the water was deep enough to force me to start swimming. Swimming is slow.

Eventually I made it out of Duskwood and back into The Barrens with my armor hanging off me in tatters. Looking at the map I saw I was about two minutes North of where I'd turned off to go to Theramore. Not my finest hour as an intrepid explorer...

Leaving Ratchet. An hour late and half a dozen deaths down.

The rest of the trip to the Goblin port, Ratchet, as I discovered it's called, passed without incident. I repaired and took the boat to Booty Bay, another great town. I pottered around there for a while, bought a parrot pet for forty silver from a goblin selling "Pirate Supplies", checked the Auction House, which seemed better-stocked although not by much.

After a while I thought I'd better get on with my delivery. I checked the instructions. Nesingwary's last known location was North of somewhere called Grom'Gol. Sounded straightforward enough.

I had it in my mind that Nesingwary hung out somewhere in the North of the zone, so I headed that way. Coming out of Booty Bay into the Stranglethorne jungle, every mob was either a skull or eight or nine levels above me. Learning my lesson I stuck to the road. I got chased a few times but I got away.

As I went North the levels declined until I was seeing things I could kill. That made sense. I'd been given the quest at 28 so it would seem logical it would be in some area I could reasonably expect to handle.

I got all the way to the end of the zone, hung a left just before the exit to Duskwood, jogged up the path to where I thought I remembered seeing Nesingway the last time I played, a decade ago. Surprise, surprise he wasn't there. It's a different bunch of questgivers entirely.

I picked up a quest to kill crocolisks while I was there. If I'd set about doing it right away this post would be a lot shorter. Instead I headed off into the jungle in search of Grom'Gol. 

Everywhere was busy. Lots of mobs were being killed by lots of groups, making travel seem safer than it really was. I roamed around the Northern end of the zone, trying to open the map. I even killed a few things. It was fine until I hit the Venture Company's mining operation. Those hostile goblins were six or seven levels above me and aggroed from a long way off. They were also mostly casters. I was fireballed to death before I could work out which way to run.

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Another couple of deaths recovering my corpse and attempting to get clear gave me a great idea. I'd noticed that even though discoveries made in ghost form don't clear the fog of war from your map, those discoveries do still flag up on screen. I figured it would be a lot safer to go looking for Grom'Gol as a ghost.

And it was. I covered the entire map, or I thought so, anyway. Hard to tell when there's no record of where you've been. As a ghost I couldn't see any mobs or NPCs so I might have run right over Nesingwary without knowing it but I wasn't looking for him. I was looking for the ever-elusive Grom'Gol.

Never found it. Still haven't. After more than an hour of staring at a greyed-out vision of the afterlife I gave up. I found my corpse, got back on the road and left Stranglethorne to go spend the rest of Saturday finishing some Duskwood stuff I had left in my book.

On Sunday morning I had a hospital appointment. That went quickly and smoothly. I was back in Azeroth and hunting by eleven a.m. I joined another player to finish the "Legend of Stalvan" questline, something few people seem to bother with, probably because 90% of it is running around. I also grouped for the last of the "kill a metric tonne of werewolves" sequence. I could have soloed both but it's more fun in a group, especially on a Sunday morning.

That done I couldn't put it off any longer. I gritted my teeth and headed back into Stranglethorne. To give myself an easy start I thought I'd knock out the croc quest. Crocs, naturally, live along the river bank. I dropped down to the river, killed an annoying fish that snapped at my heels as I swam across, then headed East along the waterline, looking for crocs.

About twenty seconds later I was handing my crate of ammo over to Hemet Nesingwary. His camp is right by the river in the North East corner of Stranglethorn Vale.

Where Grom'Gol is I still have no idea.


  1. Ahaha, I'm glad you found him eventually. I was getting a bit twitchy there at the end, reading your descriptions of how you pretty much ran just past him multiple times.

    Grom'gol is the local Horde town, so not the friendliest point of reference to give to an Alliance character, but I guess to a neutral goblin it's all the same. Plus there aren't exactly a lot of easy to reference landmarks in Stranglethorn.

    1. Of course, if I was willing to look things up it would have taken me a tenth as long. I seem to have inadvertently got myself into one of those self-imposed difficulty projects Telwyn was taling about. I am finding it much more fun this way than just solving every problem with a trip to the wiki.

  2. If my memory serves correctly, the AH in gadgetzan is cross-faction. Not connected to other AH's.

    1. I thought that too but it didn't seem to have as much on it as the Stormwind one. Maybe it was just the time of day.

    2. The neutral AH seldom has as much on it as the dedicated Faction AHs. You'll find some things that are faction specific being sold to the other side. If you are willing to try to snipe auctions you can sometimes snag things folks are trying to pass from a character on one side to the other.

      That, and lots of Green Hills pages since people dump those on the Booty Bay AH. ^_^

    3. Besides being generally less convenient to get to, the neutral one also had (has?) higher fees, so it discouraged posting anything you could get from your own faction that way. Market economics at work!


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