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The OverAchiever: Mountain o' Mounts in Outland

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we continue the Mountain o' Mounts grind in Outland with a few notes on BC reputation.

If you're catching up with us after last week, we've finished off both The Ambassador and the first leg of Mountain o' Mounts. I have to confess that I approached both achievements from the perspective of a player who wasn't necessarily at the level cap (I've been leveling a goblin priest lately and greatly enjoying the benefits of faction tabards in dungeons), and I completely forgot that the Argent Tournament even existed. Whoops. (Either that, or I've got one hell of a mental block concerning jousting.)

This week, we're going to hit the dark portal in pursuit of more mount and reputation achievements. Outland is the single most fruitful continent for getting lots of mounts from a limited set of factions. If you've got the patience to make it to exalted with the three factions that sell transport around this shattered hellhole, you'll have an additional 19 mounts at your disposal. You can bump this up to 21 if you count the two PvP talbuks available from Halaa, but these days you'll probably have to arrange a battle royale in the zone in order to get the kills (and tokens) needed. More on this in a bit.

Otherwise, your three targets here are the Netherwing, the Sha'tari Skyguard, and the Kurenai/Mag'har. But first, a brief history lesson for all those of you who joined the game in Wrath of the Lich King and still need to work on your Outland reps ...

Outland: No tabard for you

The problem with Outland -- if you can call it a problem, rather than a reflection of the game's realities during The Burning Crusade -- is that you're not afforded too many conveniences on the long trek to exalted with anyone. Outland tabards are awarded at exalted rather than being an early bonus to reputation gains, and most factions are also associated with particular dungeons/heroics. While it's possible to do a lot of the rep grind outside of a faction's associated heroics, most of the revered to exalted leg has to be done in the dungeons.

As an example, someone working on Honor Hold/Thrallmar rep back in the day usually lit up the local channels on an endless hunt for heroic Ramparts, Blood Furnace, or (ye gods) Shattered Halls runs. This had the unfortunate effect of making some reputations easier to grind than others. Most players were willing to do the easier heroics like Mechanar -- a relatively quick 5-man for its time -- but heroics like Shattered Halls, Mana Tombs, and Shadow Labyrinth were a much harder sell. For most folks, reputation with the Sha'tar (associated with the Mechanar and other Tempest Keep heroics) was all but guaranteed with access to an easy series of Mech runs, but Consortium rep was another matter entirely. Of WoW's three expansions so far, heroics were probably at their most difficult in BC, and tanks who were usually around 10,000-12,000 HP stepping into heroics didn't like messing around in PuGs with, say, the Cabal Shadow Priest's 2,500-DPS Mind Flay or the Nexus Stalker's Gouge.

If you're going to combine the Outland reputation and mount grinds, be advised that none of the three factions offering mounts have a dungeon associated with them. For the others, this is what you're looking at if your toon can solo a BC-era heroic. Even if your toon's well-geared, keep in mind that overconfident pulling can still land you in hot water, and the vast array of mobs that stun (dropping your avoidance to a flat zero for the stun's duration) is your biggest problem. A full guide to grinding rep for each of them is beyond the scope of this particular article, but I've provided some relevant Wowpedia links and a quick gloss:
  • Honor Hold/Thrallmar Quest in Hellfire Peninsula, then grind your brains out in heroic Hellfire Ramparts, the Blood Furnace, and normal or heroic Shattered Halls.
  • Cenarion Expedition There are short quest chains toward the end of Hellfire Peninsula and a few in Terokkar, but the majority of quested rep for the Cenarion Expedition will come from Zangarmarsh. Afterwards, hit heroic Underbog and Slave Pens, and normal or heroic Steamvaults.
  • The Consortium Ouch. Consortium rep is a dog's breakfast of random quests scattered throughout Blade's Edge, Netherstorm, and Terokkar, some turn-ins, and heroic Mana Tombs.
  • Keepers of Time There's a short quest chain to get "attuned" to both BC-era CoT instances, but after that it's all Escape from Durnholde and Black Morass runs.
  • Lower City Questing in Terokkar and turn-ins up until honored. Afterwards, plan on spending time in heroic Auchenai Crypts and Sethekk Halls, and normal or heroic Shadow Labyrinth.
  • Sporeggar Strictly speaking, you can grind Sporeggar rep all the way to exalted with a repeatable quest after you finish the introductory series, but the Sanguine Hibiscus found in the Underbog will also be a big help.
  • Shattered Sun Offensive Daily quests in and around the Isle of Quel'danas and Magisters' Terrace.
All set? Let's get started on your mounts.

The Kurenai (Alliance) or the Mag'har (Horde)

The Kurenai of Nagrand are a tribe of Broken friendly to the Alliance; The Mag'har (also of Nagrand) are the last uncorrupted tribe of orcs friendly to the Horde. Both have tamed the talbuks native to the area and will offer them to adventurers at exalted.

Talbuk mounts were among the most beloved additions to The Burning Crusade, and just about everyone did the grind back in the day. To me, they always felt like Blizzard's take on the red elk of Princess Mononoke, and even today they're really pretty mounts with lovely animations (although I think they share the ram mount's skeleton). Kind of makes you sad that so many people skip straight to flyers these days.

You'll find introductory quests for Kurenai at Orebor Harborage in Zangarmarsh; the equivalent for Horde is at the small Mag'har outpost in the northern portion of Hellfire Peninsula. Otherwise, questing from the Telaar (Kurenai) or Garadar (Mag'har) hubs in Nagrand should get you up to at least honored, and afterwards you've got yourself a lot of ogre-killin' to do. In the end, they'll cough up access to the following mounts: While not part of the Kurenai or Mag'har grind, there are two additional talbuks available from an NPC Halaa (assuming your faction holds the town) if you can rustle up a little PvP in the area. This is actually on the tougher side these days, given that Outland's pretty empty, and it's not unusual to see players advertising for battle royales around Halaa on various realm for a to try to scare up some help. The real hurdle is the need for 100 Halaa Battle Tokens per mount; you'll only get one per kill of an enemy player in the vicinity of Halaa, and said enemy needs to be someone who'll also give you honor once killed (i.e., not a lower-level player you're ganking around the town). These days, it's all but required that you coordinate this with members of the opposing faction. I'm hoping that Blizzard eventually reexamines the high "cost" of both PvP talbuks as a result, because getting them is really designed around a context that no longer exists.

The other need for the talbuks is 20 Halaa Research Tokens, and those are available with turn-ins of Oshu'gun Crystal Powder, which are random drops off mobs in Nagrand. Save any you get while you're grinding ogres for the Kurenai/Mag'har talbuks.
The Sha'tari Skyguard

The Sha'tari Skyguard are a contingent of the Sha'tar fighting force largely concerned with aerial threats from Blade's Edge demons and Terokkar arrakoa. At exalted, they'll offer you an array of nether rays (termed by less-affectionate players the "flying sperm"), on which it's terrific fun to perch a character the size of a tauren or draenei due to the sheer improbability of ... well, everything.

You'll get started on your Skyguard odyssey with Yuula, located next to the Shattrath City flight master. They'll run you through a short and easy introductory quest chain, and then it's dailies, dailies, and more dailies in both the Skettis and Ogri'la locations until you hit exalted. You'll have access to the following at that point:
The Netherwing

The Netherwing are definitely one of WoW's more interesting factions, and there's a fabulous story behind their existence that actually touches on one of Cataclysm's story threads. They were Blizzard's first experiment with an immersive, quest-based reputation grind, and it's easy to see the seeds of where the developers went with that in Wrath.

You'll get your start with Kindness, a quest offered by what appears to be a blood elf named Mordenai in the southeastern portion of Shadowmoon Valley. The end of the quest chain will get you to neutral with the Netherwing and then send you to Netherwing Ledge, where you'll be tasked with taking the Dragonmaw orc empire down from within to free enslaved nether drakes. As with the Skyguard, this will ultimately involve the hell of a lot of dailies, but you'll get a great lore moment (and even a series of air races, itself the subject of an achievement) toward the end.
Also read: Combining The Ambassador and Mountain O' Mounts

Working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on Azeroth's holidays and special events, including new achievements, how to get 310% flight speed with achievement mounts, and Cataclysm reputation factions and achievements.

Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

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