Tuesday, July 31, 2007

WoW Rookie: Traveling around Azeroth

Perhaps you're thinking that how to navigate around Azeroth is trivial information that everyone should know. And after playing World of Warcraft for a couple of years, this sort of information seems obvious. But when you're first starting a new game, even the most basic facts of the game-world are a mystery. And covering the basics for players who are just getting started is just what WoW Rookie is here to do. So if you're getting started and having trouble finding your way around -- keep reading. We're here to walk you through it.

Gryphons/Wyverns: In every major city -- and most good sized encampments -- you'll see an NPC with a green exclamation point over their head. (The green exclamation point indicates a flight path you haven't yet discovered.) This is the Gryphon or Wind Rider Master (which you'll find depends on your faction -- Alliance prefer Gryphons and Horde favor Wyverns), and they'll sell you a ride to any other town with a flight path for a small fee.

But there is a drawback. Before you can travel to any flight path, you have to visit it and talk to their Gryphon/Wind Rider Master to "discover" the flight path. After this first visit, however, you can conveniently return by the flight path in the future. Also, Gryphons and Wyverns can only transport you around a single continent -- if you want to go from Kalimdor to the Eastern Kingdoms, you'll have to consider our next transportation option...

Boats/Zeppelins: You can find boats coming and going from ports throughout Azeroth. They follow set paths from one port to another and will transport you for free between any ports. They're the primary way of moving from one continent to another.

Zeppelins are similar to boats -- they transport you from place to place and between continents for free. However, the only zeppelins in the game are located in Horde-controlled territories.

The trouble with boats and zeppelins (and the reason it's sometimes worth paying to take a flight path instead of riding for free) is that you have to wait at a dock for them to arrive. If you're easily distracted, like I am, this means you could wind up sitting at the dock for 10 minutes (or longer) because you keep missing the boat while alt-tabbed reading the forums. (Sadly, only a couple of these transportation routes overlap flight paths, though!) But it's still an excellent transportation option for the thrifty or the patient.

Boats will transport you between the following locations:
  • Booty Bay (in Stranglethorn Vale) to Rachet (in the Barrens).
  • Auberdine (in Darkshore -- closest town to Darnassus) to Rut'theran Village (for all intents and purposes, Darnassus). Note: these are both Alliance cities.
  • Auberdine (in Darkshore -- closest town to Darnassus) to Bloodmyst Isle (the Draenei starting zone). Note: these are both Alliance cities.
  • Menethil Harbor (in the Wetlands) to Auberdine (in Darkshore -- closest town to Darnassus). Note: these are both Alliance cities.
  • Menethil Harbor (in the Wetlands) to Theramore Isle (in Duskwallow Marsh). Note: these are both Alliance cities.
Zeppelins will transport you between the following locations (Note: these are all Horde cities):
  • Orgrimmar to Tirisfal (just outside of the Undercity)
  • Grom'gol (in Stranglethorn Vale) to Orgrimmar
  • Tirisfal (just outside of the Undercity) to Grom'gol (in Stranglethorn Vale)
These are the major modes of transport throughout the world. However, there are some other special ways to move from point A to point B.

Hearthstone: Everyone starts the game with one of these handy toys. It will transport you to whatever inn you've set as your "home," on a one-hour cooldown. It's advisable to set your home to an inn in the area you're actively questing in -- then you when you've ventured far from town working on quests, you've got a quick way back to turn them in.

Engineering Transporters: Engineers have access to Ultrasafe Transporters (taking Gnomish engineers to Gadgetzen at 260 skill and Toshley's Station at 350 skill) and Dimensional Rippers (taking Goblin engineers to Everlook at 260 skill and Area 52 at 350 skill). These items are trinkets (that must be equipped to be used) on a 4-hour cooldown. They'll always get you to your destination, though sometimes they're known to... ahem... malfunction.

Mage Portals: At various levels, Mages gain access to skills allowing them to open portals to major cities for themselves and for others.
Teleports: transport the Mage only
  • Level 20: Alliance get Exodar/Ironforge/Stormwind, Horde get Orgrimmar/Silvermoon/Undercity
  • Level 30: Alliance get Darnassus, Horde get Thunder Bluff
  • Level 60: Alliance and Horde get Shattrath
Portals: transport any players in the Mage's group, though the portal will close after the Mage goes through.
  • Level 40: Alliance get Exodar/Ironforge/Stormwind, Horde get Orgrimmar/Silvermoon/Undercity
  • Level 50: Alliance get Darnassus, Horde get Thunder Bluff
  • Level 65: Alliance and Horde get Shattrath
If you need to get to a major city quickly, a Mage portal may be the way to go -- but if you want one, be sure to ask any Mages in the area politely and offer a tip. Portals use a Rune of Portals reagent, and while they aren't expensive (20s), they aren't free, either.

Warlock Summons: Warlocks can summon other players to their location. However, in order to summon another player to them, Warlocks use up a soul shard and require the assistance of two players. These requirements can make summoning a bit of a nuisance, so if you want a summon, ask politely and offer a tip. And be aware -- even if you ask nicely, the Warlock may not have two other people nearby to help with a summon, and turn you down.

Meeting Stone Summons: If you're looking to run an instance, you'll find that every instance has a meeting stone near the entrance. Using a meeting stone, two players can summon a member of their party to the meeting stone.

Druid Teleport: Starting at level 10, Druids can teleport themselves to Moonglade. Druids also get a special flight path in Moonglade, which I've always thought was a bit classist, myself.

Shaman Astral Recall: Shamans have access to the spell Astral Recall starting at level 30. This allows the Shaman to return to their home location on a 15-minute cooldown. Very nice -- if you're a Shaman!

Shattrath City: Shattrath City in Outland has portals to all major Horde and Alliance cities conveniently located in the city's center. This can be a very convenient place to set your hearthstone to if you want quick transport between Azeroth and Outland.

Other: There are a couple of miscellanious methods of transport in the game, and I'll list the two most notable here.

Alliance players can travel between Stormwind City and Ironforge via the Deeprun Tram -- quite handy, as the path between Stormwind and Ironforge would take a new player through some high-level areas, otherwise. Check your city map for the location of the tram.

Horde players can travel between the Undercity and Silvermoon city via an orb located in the Undercity courtyard and behind the throne room in Silvermoon. Again, it's convenient as traveling on foot would be dangerous for lower level players. (Trust me, I've tried it!)

Have any other tricks for travelling around Azeroth? Let us know in the comments!

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