The Mage They Call Jayne(z): The “Quest” in “Request”

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There’s a funny thing about NPCs. No matter how strong or badass or important they might be, they seem to always need you to do their dirty work. Sure, Thrall might be able to breeze through Blackrock Spire and crush Rend Blackhand’s head with his massive, throbbing …… finger, but he’s got better things to do, right? Someone has to stand around in the throne room and glower at lowbies, after all.

So if badasses like Tirion Fordring, Thrall, and High Overlord Saurfang are seemingly incapable of doing their own dirty work, imagine how helpless all the other NPCs in the world (of Warcraft) must be. Really, it’s a wonder we don’t have to remind them to keep breathing!

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After taking the Ancient Lift down to Kamagua, the village of the Tuskarr walrus-men-people-things, I discovered – surprise of surprises – that the Tuskarr were pretty much up a certain creek without a certain instrument, and needed me to help them out of it. But they were ugly and the whole place probably smells like fish, so I made the excellent decision to book it out of there. Oh sure, I’ll help them at some point, but time to let ’em stew for a little bit.

Mmm, walrus-man stew…

Back on my Druid, I head on over to the Alliance stronghold of Westguard Keep, where I find a captured Goblin Zeppelin (complete with captured Goblin) awaiting adventurers. It turns out that the zeppelin is involved in a daily quest to ferry players around the nearby ice floes and drop bombs on unsuspecting pirates. Whom you’d think would be pretty suspecting by the fourth or fifth flyby. It’s kind of like the Shattered Sun bombing runs, except much slower and you’ll probably end up with a bunch of people all crowding on one zeppelin to try and get it done. That’s why God invented grouping.

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By the way? The nearby Ember Clutch – a grove of perpetual fire where the proto-drakes of the Fjord are hatched – looks really, really cool. Seeing as how the proto-drake whelpings actually look just like your normal, every-day baby dragons, I wonder at what stage of their lifespan they get smacked around with the ugly stick to become grown proto-drakes.

Also, it turns out that killing the proto-drake whelplings will actually piss said proto-drakes off, and they will come attack your keep. Whoops. Silly Alliance.

Since I don’t feel like dealing with angry proto-drakes at the moment, I return to my Mage and head to Camp Winterhoof, where I’m asked to go help the Dryads in a nearby grove. All right, that I can do! Dryads are cute and friendly and totally not at all ugly smelly walrus-men or ugly angry dragon-man things. No, not Trogdor.

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While some of these wintry Dryads are all happy and fine (and they’re the ones giving the quests, natch), not all is happy in Dryad-ville. Some of the Sisters have been corrupted and driven insane, oh no! Also, some of their fellow Keepers of the Grove have succumbed as well. However, seeing as how the Keepers of the Grove are not cute and spunky, nor do they have jokes about “human calls,” we don’t care about them, do we? That’s right, I thought not. So, off to kill the evil Keepers and save the evil Dryads!

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However, I can’t help but be a tad resentful when I save the Dryads and not a single one sticks around to, y’know, help me save the others. Ungrateful little … aw, but they’re so cute. I can’t stay angry at them for long.

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Another quest from Winterhoof tasks players to go lure a nearby Yeti out from hiding. They don’t tell me explicitly to kill him, but really – is there any other solution? Apparently, by blowing a horn that sounds like the Yeti mating call, said Yeti assumes I’m actually a female Yeti. Given the fact that I am quite clearly a male Troll with a badass Mohawk, the fact that he doesn’t realize this for a good few seconds after seeing me face to face causes me to wonder about said Yeti’s intelligence. Or possibly his eyesight.

Oh, poor William the Nearsighted Yeti. You will be sorely missed.

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Further quests send me to Giant’s Run, where we run into the Iron Dwarves. Much like the Dark Iron Dwarves, these guys are evil, though they’ve also got cool neon blue electricity all over their body so I have to give them a bit of a pass, right? They’re busy at work carving runes into the bodies of the local Stone Giants in order to control them and direct them from nefarious – yet unspecified – purposes. We can’t have that, now can we?

By the way, finding the Lodestone for one particular quest is a real pain. Yes, go search for a rock, young adventurer! A rock that happens to look much like every other rock around it, in an area filled with rocks! As well as giant beings made of rock! And smaller beings made of … well, iron, okay, but it’s still a mineral. Screw you, Lodestone.

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Giving up on the Lodestone for now, I decide to explore Howling Fjord a little bit more. Whisper Gulch is particularly creepy, though I can’t really say why the Dwarves from the Explorer’s League all seem to have gone insane, other than A.) too much to drink, and B.) that’s what good guys in Azeroth do. It has a wonderfully eerie atmosphere.

The Vrykul fortress of Gjalerbron, though, has a wonderfully sinister atmosphere. Yeah, so, you know how all the Vrykul are aligned with the Lich King? (Oh, by the way, they’re all aligned with the Lich King) Gjalerbron is the center for this literally-unholy-union, where Scourge and Vrykul are fully united. There are Vrykul wandering around to kill, but also elite Liches that resulted in more than a few “Run awaaaaaaaaaaay!” moments for me.

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Adventuring in the catacombs beneath Gjalerbron and encountering a new monster type that looks like an homage to Resident Evil and other survival horror games – this thing is truly and terrifically ugly – is also creepy. All of Gjalerbron has a very evil aura around it, and it works incredibly well. Though perhaps it’s all bark and very little bite: preparing to deal with a Necromancer and his four bodyguards, I pop all my cooldowns only to find that the guards aren’t actually linked to the Necromancer himself. In fact, I can pull and kill each one individually. Perhaps the Vrykul-Scourge alliance needs to hire better help.

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Many of the Vrykul at Gjalerbron are all sleeping. I’m not sure why they’re asleep, nor am I sure what exactly they’ll do if they wake up (other than people seem to not want it to happen), but hey, it’s not like beating up sleeping people is a bad thing, right? It’s like assaulting the homeless – comedy gold, people! Only I don’t go around attacking slumbering Vrykul in real life, of course.

Uh, right. Moving along then.

One of the dormant Vrykul is their king, Ymrion, who is in the process of being woken up by his Queen Angerboda. Perhaps she might just want to throw water on the guy rather than jumping through all these hoops. Thankfully, I’m awesome and successfully kill her before she can succeed … though the timely arrival of a certain former Prince of Lordaeron spirits Ymiron’s body away before I can take care of him too. I’m sure we won’t have to deal with him later, though!

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After returning to the Tuskar village of Kamagua and getting to play pirate for a little while – including some great comedic moments with a displaced captain of a rowboat and a human who wants to be a fancy-pants elf (quite the pirate, if you get my drift) … it’s time to be done with the Howling Fjord. We’ve spent entirely too much time here as is!

In fact, I think it’s time to skip right to the good stuff. Don’t you? And thanks to level 80 premades, we can do just that.

See you next time!

-TMTCJ(z)

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