The Explorer

Posted March 25th, 2010 by Kharin

Exploring Oultands

The World Explorer title and tabard (for exploring Northrend) is one of the simplest titles to earn.   In real life, I love to travel to distant and exotic places – to explore different landscapes, places and cultures.  One of the things I love about WOW is the variety and beauty of its diverse landscapes some which bring back memories of savannahs and semi-desert lanscapes of my childhood while others have a more alien beauty. So exploring different areas has always been part of the fun.  However, it was the seasonal events that really got me started towards the World Explorer title – first when my main (then in her 40s) made her determined (and suicidal) push to Light’s Hope Chapel, Eastern Plaguelands to complete Trick and Treats of the Eastern Kingdoms, and then when she (having just made 70) made a even more determined attempt to reach Frost Hold, Bouldercrag’s Refuge and Tunka’lo Camp in Storm Peaks to complete Elders of Northrend.  Both attempts were successful though the attempt to get to Frost Hold without a flying mount took the most tries (an understatement LOL).  Having reached Elder Fargal in Frosthold she was inspired to finish exploring – gaining the title at level 73.

With patch 3.2.0  introduced last year (2009), this achievement has become easier now that flight in Outlands is available at 60 and cold weather flying is available at 68 if at least one other alt is at 80 on the same realm (through the purchase an account bound book from Hira Snowdoawn at Krasus landing, Dalaran).  Otherwise, cold weather flying is available at 77 for the appropriate amount of gold.  So once players reach 77 (or 68 on alts) this achievement is just a matter of taking the time to travel.  It can however be achieved much earlier.  Tenen, a Dwarf Warrior (Moon Guard realm) gained the World Explorer title at Level 17 (a level he achieved entirely from exploration – no quests, pvp or mob kills etc)!)  Tenen did receive help from other players who at times escorted him through areas or summoned him to inaccessible places in Outlands impossible to reach without flight.

None of my toons have been this dedicated though my druid got the title at 69 (just before the level for Outland flying was lowered – druids at that time got flight form at 68) and my priest at 65 (she actually had explored all Northrend, Outlands, Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms with a single exception at 63 – but then had to wait til 65 to be able to fly to the Isle of Quel’Danos.) As my priest was running through the Argent Tournament I suddenly realised she was the subject of general chat – what was a 61 priest doing at the top of Icecrown?  Most thought I must be a gold farmer – though why one would farm in Icecrown on at 61 toon I’m not too sure – while one lonely voice suggested I might be exploring.  All in all, I had lots of fun going were no level 60 toon had gone before (well not many at least.J)

So if you want to explore – you don’t have to wait to 80, though of course you can.  My suggestions would be:

  1. Start early – explore as you level.  It often doesn’t take a lot of extra time to uncover all the areas of a map when you have been questing in an area – and it saves you time later.
  2. Remember to grab flight points as you go.
  3. Except for low level areas you may only need to cover 4-5 points of each area to get full credit.  Of course, exploring additional areas gives you additional experience points (for toons below 80).
  4. Track the achievement for exploring that area to see what points on the map remain to be uncovered.
  5. Remember to think laterally – sometimes the points to uncover are on the edges of the map, through caves or round promontories.
  6. Use resources such as maps provided by if you are having problems finding a spot.
  7. Once you start exploring in earnest you may want to do low level dungeons in the area if you haven’t got the achievement for them.  And of course you can always gather as you go.  My druid maxxed out herbalism while exploring Northrend.
  8. In Northrend & Outlands the best way to explore is to fly – though this is not strictly necessary, especially in Northrend.

There are three main challenges in old world areas (for those 50+).

  1. Areas defended by aggressive elites – such as major faction cities and towns; the dragon portals in Ashenvale, Duskwood, Feralas and Hinterlands; other areas with elites such as Zul’ Grub or Tyr’s Hand.  In some instances you just have to mount up, ride in & then use all the protection/heals/crowd control skills you have available (i.e. in major cities such as Silvermoon or Ironforge).  However, in many cases a lateral rather than a frontal approach (literally) is all that is needed. For instance, if you come to Shadow Bough at a certain point over the ridge from the road you can get credit without the dragon guards king hiting you.
  2. The Isle of Quel’Danos can only be reached by flight path (automatically acquired on reaching level 65) or portal from Shattrath City (available once reaching 70) – unless you can arrange a summons by a friendly ‘lock.
  3. There are a few hidden places easy to miss such as Zalashji’s Den in Tanaris (this can a small cove between Steamwheedle Port and Wavestrider Beach which can only be reached by swimming), the Hidden Grove reached through a cave in far north-west of Winterspring or Farstrider Lodge on the eastern edge of Loch Modan not too far north of Ironband’s Excavation Site.  Matching uncovered grey spots on your map with a reference map (eg from gamepressure) can help here.

There was really only one main challenge in Outlands for 60+ toons which has been eliminated by making flight available at 60 rather than 70 (68 for druids).

  1. There are 4 spots that are impossible to reach without flight in Outlands –  Throne of Kil’jaeden  in Hellfire Peninsula (a quest in the Isle of Quel’Danos does port you there though); Skettis in Terrokar Forrest, Twilight Ridge in Nagrand and Netherwing Ledge in Shadowmoon Valley. Netherstorm, by the way, is accessible as there is a bridge from Blades Edge and bridges between the different “islands”.

There are two basic challenges in Northrend:

  1. The level of the mobs (particularly in Icecrown and Stormpeaks which include plenty of elite 80+s).  Once you can fly this is not a problem (just watch out for aerial mobs) – otherwise ride, run, shield or bubble, heal, and delay as much as you can.  If you do die, decide whether running back to your body or spirit rezzing will bring you closer to your next map point.
  2. A number of areas in Scholazar Basin, Storm Peaks, Icecrown and the city of Dalaran that are ordinarily accessible only by flying.  A mage portal to Dalaran and ‘lock summons to the other spots can overcome this.  However, all these areas can be explored without flight (see Flightless in Northrend).

So there you have it – a tabard in the mail after exploring Northrend and new title after uncovering all those spots on the map across Azeroth and Outlands.   For my first two toons the achievement flashed on the screen as they finished climbing the steps to Icecrown Citadel.  There was something very satisfying about dancing at the very front door of the Lich King.  And after all the toils and terrors of charging through Icecrown it was a surprisingly safe place to be.  The urge to explore and move beyond the known and familiar has been at the very heart of the human race since its beginning though the urge to stay home and build walls is probably just as ancient.  Exploring Azeroth is a lot of fun and the almost picture card landscapes (think White Christmas in Winterspring), like the beautiful, three-dimensional landscapes of Avatar – reminds me that beyond the concrete and bitumen we do in fact live in a diverse, fragile, beautiful, immense, amazing cosmos.


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