Not much progress has been made along Knifey's XP bar this week, apart from a late run through Maraudon that garnered experience only for the latter half of the dungeon. Instead, with the old level cap of 60 approaching, thoughts of buying a swift steed are on my mind. Whilst it's true that a gnome on a pony is a splendid sight to behold, the swift ponies are rather dull in comparison to other swift mounts. It would be easy enough to get a swift mechanostrider but I thought I'd aim to ride that underused mount, the ram. I managed to get Tiger, my night elf warrior, trained to ride rams, but that was after reaching level 70 and involved getting the last few thousand Ironforge reputation through buying piles of runecloth from the auction house to make the cloth quartermaster happy. After getting the pony through questing only, I wanted to make Ironforge happy the same way.
As gnomes and dwarves still start in the same area, I got a good head start on the reputation gain for Ironforge, and meant that I didn't have to risk annoying too many new adventurers by whizzing through the beginner's quests, but I visited Kharanos and Steelgrill's Depot in Dun Morogh to see what I had left behind. Quite a bit, it seems. I must have left the snowy region early to head for the balmy climate of Elwynn Forest to gain some quick levels. I picked up all the quests available and started running around, stab-happy. One point to note is that quests requiring drops are much slower to complete than the archetypal 'kill ten rats' quests, if only because you have to stop to loot bodies in the former type.
Western Dun Morogh was cleared of wildlife, including trolls, fairly quickly, and I moved on the the Gol'Bolar Quarry further east. I always remember there being more quests at the quarry, but I only found two when I turned up this time. And apart from the ranch nearby, that is all the quests I could find in eastern Dun Morogh, which makes the large expanse seem quite empty.
The lack of further progression prompted me to move onwards to Loch Modan. Well, that and the couple of quests that tell me to go to Loch Modan. I started with the southern guard tower where I was tasked to started wiping out the local troglodyte infestation. With one quest to kill certain types of troglodyte and another to pick up some of their teeth I ran a little way north and stabbed with abandon in the troglodyte camp. It was after I did this that I realised my current frustration. Instead of Westfall's large number of concurrent quests, I was currently stuck with running back-and-forth to complete sequential quests. Granted, I was stuck in one part of Loch Modan, but that too is where Westfall succeeds in being free to quest.
In Westfall you would hear 'hey, Knifey, can you kill some Defias for me, and this chap would like it if you picked up some of their bandanas, and can you do something about the gnolls around here, and that fellow to the north is troubled by harvest reapers, and his wife wants lots of animal guts for a pie, and if you could pick up some oats for Old Blanchy at the same time it would be much appreciated.' And off you trot killing anything that comes within range with a good probability that you were meant to be killing them.
My current questing was a frustrating 'Kill some trogs, would you? ... Oh, I thought you wouldn't make it back, but as you have why not try killing some tougher trogs? ... Knifey, how's it going? Still not dead? Okay, well, you remember those named trogs, the ones you saw whilst on my last task for you? Yeah, I'd like you to go ahead and kill them. No, I don't care that you killed them before. That would be great.' Grr.
After southern Loch Modan I moved up to Thelsamar, and those took me a little further around the map, including close to the Farstrider Retreat. The Retreat is a hunting lodge tucked right in the south-eastern corner of the map, with a few quests available. No one sends you there, and the lodge is not obvious to find unless you try to explore all of the map, so it is easy to overlook. And even though the occupants are from Ironforge only one of the quests, collecting crocolisk skins, gains Ironforge reputation, so it's almost best to overlook the place.
'Almost best', because after saving the dam and moving on to Wetlands, where I had completed the Dun Modr quests previously, the number of Ironforge quests seems to be much thinner on the ground than the large number of Stormwind quests. It wasn't entirely straightforward to become exalted with Stormwind, but it didn't seem like a titanic struggle, and yet I have an extra 15 levels worth of quests to aid me in Ironforge reputation gains and am wondering where the last few thousand reputation is coming from.
My reputation bar had shifted a good 10,000 points since I started hitting the grey quests, aiming for the swift ram mount, but there was a fair bit to go. There's a couple of thousand left in Wetlands, and after that I'm struggling. I've wandered through Badlands and Searing Gorge, even completing the Searing Gorge gate key quest for some good gains, and have a few quests handed out in Ironforge itself, all 50+ quests too, but can't think of another dwarfy place to adventure. I could investigate whether Gnomeregan gives as much Ironforge reputation for completing its quests as it does for the gnome faction, and there is always Uldaman. Brr, Uldaman. I'd rather not go back in there, but it's a possibility for another thousand or two reputation. Other than that, it's back to handing in runecloth.
I have some levels to go before I hit 60 and can get trained to ride swift mounts, and there are some opportunities left to gain more reputation with Ironforge. But after running through so many quests, and with Uldaman being the 'Ironforge' dungeon, I have new-found respect for any non-dwarf that manages to get a ram at 40th level.