The two-headed ogre roared menacingly from the platform, short-sightedly unaware that his sycophantic audience was no more. My dwarf hunter and her faithful turtle Snowflake edged closer to the monster, getting ready to engage in combat. This is it … just one more quest to go …
The road towards Loremaster begins innocently enough in one of the eight (four horde, four alliance) starter villages – but there is no telling where it might finish. To my hunter it had begun in the snow blanketed hills of Dun Morgnh months before achievements such as Loremaster had been introduced. Since then Loremaster of Northrend, Loremaster of Kalimdor, Seeker (complete 3000 quests), Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms had all flashed up on the screen. All that remained were half the quests in Nagrand and all the Shadowmoon quests. What could be easier?
Then I got stuck at eight quests short in Nagrand. Falling short of the required number of quests had happened a few times before – in Borean Tundra, Zul Drak, Netherstorm, Blades Edge Mountains – but usually after a bit of research on the web, I’d found a new quest centre, quest drop or quest line that I’d missed. Netherstorm was the exception – I camped fruitlessly for weeks waiting for the Congealed Void Horror (the vial it drops starts The Horrors of Pollution quest) to get my last quest for Into the Nether . Eventually, I gave up and managed to solo Deathblow to the Legion .
In Nagrand, the web did not (completely) fail me as I learned that a Nagrand quest line started in Shadowmoon Valley. So off I went to complete the Shadow of the Betrayer achievement in short time. There I found the Altruis questline leading back to Nagrand. I’d also saved the gnome (Kristen Dipswitch) that appears every other hour at the Nessingwary camp (opens up I’m Saved ) and looted the Murkblood Invasion Plans from the Murkblood Invaders (2 more quests). I’d previously stumbled on the Kurenai captive escort quest, the Consortium lead in quest, the 2 quests from the goblin Wazat and the Howling Wind drop quest. No other area seems to have as many elusive or isolated and difficult to find quests even for Horde (who have more quests here in Nagrand). At last, I only had one more quest hand in to complete the Nagrand Slam, Loremaster of Outlands and Loremaster.
So here I was, in the Shadow Labyrinths – facing Blackheart the Inciter and ready to wrest from his ham like fists the Fel Book of Names. As the Ogre fell and my hunter held the thick volume in her hands … nothing, no flash, no achievement. Well of course not, I still had to hand the book in to Altruis. My hunter threaded her way back through the dungeon and flew with speed to northwest Nagrand. I almost keyed in guild chat “wait for it” as I hand the book to Altrius. Nothing – nada – zilch – my counter is still stuck at 75/76. Apparently the hand-in counts towards Shadowmoon not Nagrand.
What have I missed? Once again I troll the web and reread the posts until at last a couple of posts jump out at me – the first hand in of the monthly consortium rep quest (friendly required) at Aeries Landing can count towards Loremaster. I’d done this particular quest on some of my toons, but had I done it on my hunter? Definitely worth a try – and sure enough, after a quick fly south to Aeries Landing to find the quest available … flash, flash, flash … Nagrand Slam, Loremaster of Outlands, Loremaster! The end of this particular long journey.
“/g woot” I type into the aether with a wide grin. My fellow guildies, preoccupied with other things, stay silent . When I had completed Shadow of the Betrayer, a guildie had commented “someone pursuing Loremaser”. “Yes,” I said, “Only 7 more quests to go.” “Oh, I’m concentrating on being the epic priest achievement,” says another. “And you are an epic priest,” another guildie replies. “I lost interest in pursuing Loremaster once I got Seeker,” another murmurs. The guild chat moves on. Well, that’s one of the things I love about WOW – it has so many different aspects to it. Some are interested in questing, some in achievements, some in the social aspects of the game, some in levelling professions, others in PvP, or raiding and usually some combination of these. At the end of the day I had another title, another tabard, vastly extended knowledge of the lore and history of the world of Azeroth, a quiet feeling of achievement and hours of fun questing with others or on my own. And the quests I enjoyed the most were the quests that told a story.
People give their time, energy and passion to all kinds of past times and pursuits – mastering chess, watching TV, social games on facebook, sewing intricate quilts, clubbing or boozing with friends. Is a consuming pursuit of fame, fortune, power, excitement or pleasure in the non-virtual world any more or less worthwhile? No doubt it is a matter of perspective, consequences and balance. As the loading screen tips intone: “Remember to take all things in moderation” adding somewhat tongue in cheek “even World of Warcraft!” and “Bring your friends to Azeroth, but don’t forget to go outside Azeroth with them as well.” http://www.wowwiki.com/Loading_screen_tips
It is easy for WOW to consume a lot of our time, energy and focus – even perhaps to forget that it is virtual reality, a game which while it is a lot of fun in the end gives largely ephemeral gains. My hunter may be able to juggle 40 burning torches with great ease but there is no way I’m going try that stunt in real life. It begs the question – what is real, what is eternal, what really matters? Sure, it’s okay to chill out and even better when we can do that with our friends. In the end, it is only when we know the answer to the question of what really matters that we can know what is the best investment of our time, talents, resources and passions.
Like the Explorer title, Loremaster requires patience, persistence and dedicated time but not necessarily the completion of some insanely difficult task (like in my humble opinion the pvp achievment Ironman for instance). Simply put, all that is required is completing the right number of quests in the different regions of Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Northrend and Outlands. The main difficulty comes in finding the final few quests which are as often as not group quests or require dungeon forays or are hard to find.
Keep in mind that:
# not all quests count towards lore master – for instance dailies (though sometimes the first time does sometimes count), seasonal quests, PvP quests and some dungeon quests.
# Questlines may cross continents or regions and it is sometimes difficult to predict towards which region a particular quest will count [Edit: This is probably less likely in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor with the radical revamp of quests in these regions with the release of Cataclysm.];
# Once the majority of quests in a region has been completed quests are much more likely to be group quests or linked to an instance in the region. While the lower level group or dungeon related quests are easy to solo at 80, it becomes more of a challenge in Icecrown (depending on gear). However, my hunter was able to solo enough of the group quests in Icecrown to get the achievement.
# It is not uncommon to be appear to run out of quests while still short of the required number in many regions. All regions actually have more quests than required for the achievement though that margin is a lot smaller in some areas than others.
# Things to consider if you have run short of quests:
* Often one or two quests in a region start from a drop and in many cases this can open up an important quest line eg in Zul Drak the Unliving Choker (opens up a string of quests important to the main story line and also contributes towards the achievement Guru of Drakuru).
* Think about a quest center you may have missed as a region often has more than one (in Borean Tundra for instance there are at least 6 main quest centres so it is easy to miss one or more.)
* There is often one or two quest givers in isolated and/or hard to find areas. In some cases there will be lead in quest (eg a Diplomatic Mission in Borean Tundra) while in others are stand alone quests (eg two quests from Kim’jael in Ashzara ). In the later case you will may need to look over resource sites such as Game Pressure (which lists all the quests with the quest giver, location and whether quest giver is alliance, horde or neutral). Comments of other players on sites like thotbot, Wowiki and WOWhead can be very useful.
* Some quests only open after completing another quest line, finding a drop, doing a specific action (ie you can get the quest The horn of the Beast from a drop off Margol in Searing Gorge but speaking to Pebblebitty at the Searing Gorge gate will steer you towards this hard to find beast). In a number of cases, quests/quest lines only open up once you have gained a certain level of reputation with a faction (eg consortium rep or Aldor’s or Scyrer’s rep in the Outlands).
* Quest lines that start in another region may in fact count towards the zone in which you are missing quests (eg Altrius quest line but other quest lines that cross zones include ).
* Be as efficient as possible by picking up all the quests in at a particular quest hub so that you can complete 2-3 quests at the same time. Generally it makes sense to complete the quests in one area before moving on to the next hub.)
* As much as possible, complete all the prerequisite quests before completing a dungeon
* Don’t forget to have your “low level quest” finder on your mini-map when you are questing in low level regions.
* As with the Explorer achievment, you can combine Loremaster with other achievements – e.g. if you are doing the majority of the quests in an area why not completely explore it as well or finish off the dungeons in that area.
* It is not necessary to do absolutely every quest – there are more quests in each region than needed for the relevant title. This includes Loremaster of the Eastern Kingdoms and Loremaster of Kalimdor.
Don’t forget to have fun and remember that this is one achievement that takes time, plenty of it.