Over the last week I have gotten various questions from guildies that all essentially equate to “What is going on in the Western Plaguelands?” because apparently it has been noticed that I have been spending an inordinate amount of time there. I embarked upon a path to madness and have been working my way through it. Essentially I have been courting the Heart of Corruption alternate appearance for my Paladin. There was a time that I loved the Ashbringer weapon graphic… but that time was 2006 and my graphical fidelity standards were maybe a little more forgiving. What seemed like a really awesome looking graphic at the time just feels extremely dated and part of a design ethic that has changed as World of Warcraft has matured. This is all the more apparent when you look at just how damned amazing Truthguard or The Silver Hand are in comparison. Options were essentially to keep staring at the weapon I didn’t really like, transmog it to something that I did like… or set down a path to farming the modern and updated corrupted ashbringer appearance. Clearly I chose the most annoying of these… and as a result have been living at the Thondroril River as a result.
Once upon a time when the Corrupted Ashbringer was introduced with the original Naxxramas, there was a sequence of items and quest text that pointed at the possibility of somehow cleansing the weapon and turning it into the proper Ashbringer form. During the Naxxramas patch cycle this was thought to be the next Legendary weapon to be added to the game… during an era when we actually thought every class was going to get a legendary that they could use. It only took a decade to reach that point, with the Artifact weapons… but whatever we were impressionable youth (not really youth). Most of these fan theories revolved around the two copies of Nat Pagle’s Guide to Extreme Anglin… the one that was looted off players in Alterac Valley, and the copy found laying on the ground in Dire Maul. I likely would not have started down this path were it not for the fact that Ashgar had recently picked up the book on a trip to Dire Maul, and happened to have a copy laying around. His copy acquired I decided that I was going to do this thing… and queued up for Alterac Valley. I however had the presence of mind to check the auction house to see just how much the books were going for. The AV copy was hovering around 25,000 gold on my server, however I noticed there happened to be one sitting at 5,000 g that I leap on. It was well worth that amount to not have to deal with Alterac Valley, or more so the RNG of trying to loot a bunch of bodies… in AV.
Book in hand I went to my Class Hall and spoke with the NPC that starts the quest… of note… this is not a traditional quest. This is more in the lines of the original Everquest, where you have to know who you need to talk to, in order to progress to the next part. The NPC takes your two copies of the book and merges them together giving you one complete book, and suggests that Prince Tortheldrin in Dire Maul West might know something…. but is only willing to talk to someone who has slain Nefarian. After a quick jaunt into Blackwing Lair, I had obtained my Head of Nefarian and was off to Dire Maul to have a chat. From there he pointed me in the direction of another person, who currently resides at Chillwind Point who was also looking for the Corrupted Ashbringer, but failed to bring him the head of nef. From there I found out that there is apparently a slime in the Western Plaguelands that is the remains of the mage Timolain, so it was off to find that and get the next step. This part took me a week of checking in on the supposed spawn point… with this weekend representing my first real attempt at camping it. There was a point on Saturday where I missed the spawn by about 15 minutes… because when we got home from running errands I logged back in to see a bunch of paladins furiously fishing. During the podcast I managed to finally find a group up in the finder, and port onto a server that happened to have it up. Getting my kill and looting the Phylactery of the mage turned Lich… allowed me to find out that he threw the corrupted shard in the near by river.
The next part is as you might expect… for a quest involving Nat Pagle’s fishing guide. You have to now fish up the shard from the river… and this is the step that breaks most people. At count I have fished up a mixture of 1500 or so Mithril Head Trout and Bristle Whisker Catfish. I’ve heard tale of this taking as many as 8000 casts before folks got their Shard of Darkness, the component needed to finally turn in and get the hidden appearance. I spent most of Sunday fishing, when not needed for running mythics or other things. I hung out downstairs with the laptop and kept dropping lures in the river… having a brief moment of excitement when I clicked each one… only to be disappointed once again when I saw fish. For those that are interested in this madness there is a full guide found in the comments section on wowhead. Much like with the Warrior hidden appearance, there is a handy macro you can use to check your progress on the various steps of the quest.
/run local p,q,t=print,IsQuestFlaggedCompleted,tostring p('Talked to Prince Tortheldrin: '..t(q(43682)))p('Talked to Alexia/Bardu: '..t(q(43683)))p('Slime can drop Timolain: '..t(q(43684)))p('Shard can be fished up: '..t(q(43685)))
This will give you some peace of mind that you really did get flagged for each step of the quest before you actually sit down and fish for hours without actually finding anything. I have literally checked this macro a few times just to make sure that I still am eligible to fish up the shard out of paranoia. The awesome thing about this process is that you end up making friends with several of the other paladins doing the various camps. I ended up btag friending a horde paladin that happened to be hanging out for the bulk of the vigil so that we could chat back and forth while waiting on the slime spawn. He was super lucky in that he got his shard after only a few dozen casts. My luck however seems to have been spent completely on the two legendaries for Belghast, and I figure I will be one of those 10,000 casts to catch the shard people. In any case… this is what I have been doing in the Western Plaguelands… now leave me the hell alone I have some fishing to do!