For the past couple of weeks I've been pushing towards the World Explorer mega-meta achievement and it's associated title. Last night I finally finished it in Winterspring.
When you complete this achievement you are awarded a total of 85 achievement points:
- 50 for World Explorer
- 25 for the final continent you discovered, such as Kalimdor in my case
- 10 for the final zone you discovered, such as Winterspring in my case
It has been a long and arduous journey. While this is one of the biggest meta-achievements that can be easily (as in "a matter of time") accomplished by a solo player, it is very lengthy and at times annoying.
As far as I can tell, this is also the easiest way to obtain a title for players who don't wish to do PvP or raids. The title, obviously, is "the Explorer" which is suffixed to your name.
The order in which I went through the continents was Outland > Northrend > Eastern Continent > Kalimdor. This is also roughly the order of difficulty for me, although I Northrend seems to have more sub-zones than Outland. Now you can imagine that the two classic continents were the hardest to explore due to not being able to use your flying mount. Bugger! Outland and Northrend were cake in comparison.
So this is what I found most tedious and annoying: riding through dozens of zones and sub-zones. On the upside, I really got to appreciate the work that went into this World of Warcraft of ours and especially the amount of detail. I got to see beautiful vistas...
and remote regions that I had never seen before...
I have also learned to love and hate certain zones all over again. Some of the worst zones for me are Azshara and the Barrens. It takes ages to get through them. One thing that I have rediscovered is the relatively large number of hidden nooks and crannies that seem to have been abandoned by developers. They look desolate and sad. Unfortunately I don't think they will ever be populated but on the other hand maybe that's not such a bad thing since it's so hard to get to them in the first place. Besides, such zones are always a source of mystery and speculation so maybe it's better for them to remain as such.
In my travels I came across some of the dragon-infested areas known as boughs, such as Bough Shadow and Dream Bough. There's also a nasty area in Blasted Lands called The Tainted Scar which is filled with very tough elites. In fact, these low level (60-ish) elites are tougher than many non-raid 80 elites. I had trouble soloing them on my 80 hunter and at one point I had to sacrifice my pet who had become surrounded by them and went down swiftly. So explorers, beware!
Here are a dozen tips for making your explorations less tedious and more fun/profitable:
1. If you can gather stuff (mining/herbalism/fishing), try to pick up nodes as you go. I kinda suffer from a bit of OCD so I had to stop for most nodes but in the low-level areas I only picked those that were directly in my path because I was simply swamped in Copper Nodes, Peacebloom and the like. On the other hand if you are in a hurry to complete this achievement, don't bother stopping.
2. Try to pop into dungeons if you are in the area. I managed to complete Razorfen Kraul, Razorfen Downs and Wailing Caverns. Exterminating the denizens of such a low level dungeon can provide a welcome change of pace. And you will also make a bit of gold on the side.
3. Plan your portals. Being able to set your hearthstone to Dalaran is ideal. From there you can jump to any of the major cities and if you already have a bunch of flight paths, it's easy to get to the specific zones you need. Also try planning an ideal path through the zones you wish to explore and aim for efficiency. Running around aimlessly won't make for a more pleasant experience.
4. Use autorun as much as possible. I'm being Mr. Obvious here but some people still haven't mastered autorun. Personally I'm one of those noobs who discovered it very late in the game and I was like, wooow this is so awesome!!
5. Pick up missing flight paths. Even though my main is my most experienced character and I've had him since Classic WoW, I still missed some flight hubs. So picking those up along the way was a no-brainer.
6. Use helpful addons. I just discovered Tomtom and man, it was of enormous help in conjunction with the comments from Wowhead. You see, people who have already explored these zones were so nice as to load the coordinates of the various sub-zones in the comments under each zone's achievements. So you just plug those coordinates into Tomtom and it's smooth sailing from there! No longer will you have to hunt that elusive sub-zone for hours on end.
7. Empty your bags before you start because you never know what you might pick up along the way. Since I'm a miner/herbalist I managed to gather a lot of herbs and ore while exploring. When I popped into lower level dungeons my bags also popped at the seams with dropped stuff. Unfortunately I had to destroy a lot of it but I still ended up with roughly 100-150G from these dungeons.
8. Don't attempt to explore all zones in a single sitting. Unless that's your thing. Because you will go crazy. I would.
9. Pick up easy quests along the way. Some of them may be fun but this is another way to work towards The Loremaster meta-achievement. This is how I finally completed Hemet Nesingwary: The Collected Quests. Oddly enough, even though I had finished all the Nesingwary quests in Outland and Northrend, the final quest in the original series, namely Big Game Hunter, was incomplete. It was of course a matter of 10 minutes to finish it and it allowed me to complete another meta-achievement.
10. Keep a lookout for rare elites. Even low level ones drop nice stuff that you can put on the AH for a quick profit.
11. If on a normal (non PvP) server, try not to become flagged (again, unless that's your thing). Getting flagged can equate to getting murdered by the opposite faction. Also, if you need to get in close proximity to one of the major cities of the opposite faction, try to leave it for last because there are high chances that you will get flagged. To me it happened twice: once in Silvermoon City where I actually had to ride a bit inside the city gates to get the achievement. I even had to fight 2 guards that were in my way but since this was my last sub-zone, I just hearthed to Dalaran after I defeated the guards. The second time it happened on the outskirts of Thunder Bluff but again, I'd left it for last and afterwards I ported out of there.
12. Most of all, try to enjoy yourself. If it stops being fun, stop exploring for the day. You can come back tomorrow with a fresh desire for more discoveries. Also try to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of each zone. You may never see it again!
One thing that I was reminded of is the complexity of certain dungeons. It seems especially boggling that very low level instances such as Wailing Caverns can be so convoluted and labyrinthine. At one point I was ready to quit because I simply couldn't get to one of the bosses. And in order to complete the particular achievement for this dungeon you have to kill all the 4 main bosses who are spread throughout the instance, after which the last boss spawns but not before you start a small quest from an NPC at the entrance. So yeah, all my level 80 firepower didn't help one bit in this regard.
Another thing that still amazes me is how people used to run through these simple-looking dungeons which nonetheless lasted for hours. Unfortunately, although there are a lot of blue drops, 99% of them are BOP which for me equals vendor bait.
Overall "the Explorer" title is still one of the easiest to achieve. All you need to invest is time, depending on how many zones you have already explored. A freshly-minted Death Knight, for example, will have a much harder time accomplishing this feat. I am very glad I went through with this but I wouldn't do it again on an alt.
Patch 1.0.5 commentary
6 months ago