I’ve been spending a lot of time lately running new hunter characters to level 10. My main goal is to research the level 10 pet quests for a new top-secret project that I’m working on, but since that requires several new characters I’ve decided to kill two birds with one stone and set these characters up for my Grand Experiment as well.
The Grand Experiment, if you remember, is where I level 18 hunters, each associated with one or two pet families, so I can see how each family plays. I won’t be playing all these characters immediately, but when I do eventually get back to them they will at least be level 10 and have their first pets.
So this evening I leveled a Tauren hunter that is slated to keep bears. Levels 1 to 9 went smoothly, then I hit level 10 and did the research I needed to do — and the pet quests — and then it was time to tame her first pet. Since I like to stretch my hunters, this Tauren was going to tame Mangeclaw from Dun Morogh and a black bear from Loch Modan.
First I used the ghost traveling trick to get to the dwarf lands. Ghost traveling involves dying on one continent (in this case near Orgrimmar), then taking a boat or zeppelin to the other continent while you’re dead (in this case the zeppelin to Undercity), then running slowly and tediously as a ghost to wherever it is you want to be (Loch Modan), and resurrecting at a Spirit Healer there (outside Thelsamar). It only works if you die on one continent and resurrect on the other — if you die in Silverpine, run to Loch Modan and resurrect, you’ll end up back in Silverpine. But apparently when you zone between continents, the information about where you died is not preserved, so the server let’s you choose your resurrection spot.
(I don’t feel too terrible about using this method to tame low-level pets because it’s a real pain in the neck. You certainly wouldn’t want to use it to try to pick up a bunch of flight points or anything like that — it’s just too much running. Also note that the portal into Darnassus from Rut’theran Village doesn’t count as changing continents. I haven’t tried the zoning between Darkshore and the Draenei lands yet, but several readers have let me know that the portal between the Eastern Plaguelands and the Ghostlands does count — which makes this the easy way to tame a lynx or dragonhawk for the Alliance. Well, ‘easier’ anyway. )
But I started running into trouble when I arrived in Dun Morogh because I couldn’t remember where the graveyard nearest to Mangeclaw was. After some running back and forth I gave in and Google’d it and realized that I’d be better off resurrecting in Loch Modan, outside Thelsamar. Thankfully I managed to miss the roving patrol when I rez’d, but as soon as I was alive again I came to an awful conclusion — I was still level 10! Both Mangeclaw and the black bears are level 11, so I had intended to level up to 11 before I started this trip, but I’d forgotten.
Well, no problem — I’ll just farm some of the handy spiders and boars around Thelsamar, I thought. I pick a target, get into range, attack, and … nothing. What?! Oh, hell — my gun was broken, presumably by the death that got me to Loch Modan. So there I was, deep in enemy territory with no chance of repairing my equipment, unable to attack, unable to tame my quarry, and unwilling to go home because I really didn’t want to face that run again, ghost or no.
After a moment of thought I realized what I could do. My axe was still functional, so I quickly tamed a level 10 boar and used him to attack the spiders. After he had established solid aggro on each spider I’d wade in with my axe and we’d slowly whittle the bloody thing down. I was worried that my axe would break before I reached level 11, but thankfully that didn’t happen.
Level 11! Time to go get Mangeclaw! I planned on picking up a black bear also by using the new dismiss-and-tame bug/feature, but just in case something went wrong I wanted Mangeclaw first. I snuck through the tunnel into Dun Morogh and ran smack into a dwarven guard on the other side. No problem, though — I still had the boar, so he defended me while I ran. Except that the defending boar flagged me for PvP, which I wasn’t expecting — last time I did this, defensive pets didn’t flag. Terrified that a passing Alliance would make this whole process even more arduous, I ran and hid in the woods until the flag wore off. :>
With that crisis past, I found Mangeclaw’s little cul-de-sac and used the boar to clear out the snow leopards in the area. Then I dismissed the boar and began taming Mangeclaw. I thought I was home free when, one single second from the tame completing, Mangeclaw did his swipe manuever and interrupted the tame.
Bugger, I thought. Mangeclaw has a swipe? Why don’t I ever remember these things? Well, I only had one second left on that one — certainly the next tame will do it. Five attempts later, the snow leopards respawned and almost wiped me out. So I tamed another boar, killed the snow leopards, and went back to trying to tame Mangeclaw.
I tried everything I could to slow him down and get me another few seconds free of his swipe. At level 11 I didn’t have Freeze Trap, of course, and while I could have normally used Concussive Shot … well, my gun was broken. So I was left with terrain — making him run up hills and around trees to get to me. But despite my efforts, he kept swiping, usually after only 10 or so seconds. That first tame, where I made it down to only one second left, seemed like a lucky fluke — and I wasn’t getting any luckier.
Now there’s another white bear in Dun Morogh — Bjarn. And I had a vague memory from somewhere that only one of the two white bears would swip and interrupt a tame. If that memory was correct, that would imply that Bjarn wouldn’t swipe. So maybe I should go tame him? Except that Bjarn is level 12, and I was just barely level 11, and I really wasn’t sure that my axe would survive another whole level of beating-things-to-death-with-the-help-of-a-boar. I could just see myself after my axe broke, slowly punching snow leopards to death with my bare hands.
So that idea was out. I’d just have to keep trying Mangeclaw. Three attempts later, more snow leopards respawned and I had to tame another boar to deal with them. I was running out of boars! But I doggedly kept on. I was not going to go through this whole thing again!
But then, on attempt #10, Lady Luck smiled on me and Mangeclaw didn’t swipe. I had tamed him! He was mine! Hooray!
A few seconds later, an high level Alliance rode into the cul-de-sac, presumably to check out what a Horde was doing in his newbie zone. But he was too late — I already had my prize! I snuck back out through the tunnel to Lock Modan (but this time I put the pet on passive and avoided flagging), tamed a black bear, and hearthstoned home.
The things we do for pets. Sheesh.