This blog is part of the series about The Dwarves – two low level Dwarf characters that my husband Shawn and I are playing in World of Warcraft. His is Hansbrix, a Hunter.  Mine is Bradanna, a Priest.  Together, The Dwarves are adventuring through Azeroth, one zone at a time.

We’ve barely begun, and it has been interesting to take a look at the old content again.  Much of it is still fun and holds up pretty well.  Some of it however, would be better if there was more background story provided.  There have also been some things in the game that I wasn’t paying attention to last time around, but that stands out to me as very problematic today.

The screenshots you see in this blog are the highlights of The Dwarves’ adventure through Loch Modan.  These screenshots were taken on January 11, January 12, January 15, January 18, January 25, January 29, January 30, and February 5, February 21, March 12, and March 16, 2015.

The path out of Dun Morogh takes players through the South Gate Outpost.  An NPC (non-player character) gave The Dwarves their first “Avenge the death of a random NPC” quest.  Pilot Hammerfoot sent Hansbrix and Bradanna to look for his friend and fellow Siege Engine Pilot, Mori Hildelve. This quest sends them back into the Dun Morogh zone and north of Helms Bed Lake.

Of course, by the time The Dwarves find Mori, he’s already dead and gone.

Mori Hildelve, in his last moments, wrote in his journal about a “huge Ice Claw bear” named Mangeclaw that mauled him nearly to death.  He asks whomever finds the note (and his body) to grant his one, final wish: to take revenge by killing Mangeclaw.

There was no need to go searching for Mangeclaw.  He just so happens to appear, right there, after The Dwarves finished reading Mori’s last words.

After killing Mangeclaw, The Dwarves returned to the South Gate Outpost, turned in the quest, and got another one that directed them to go to Loch Modan.  They were on their way out of the snow and cold of Dun Morogh!

The next series of quests involves killing a lot of Troggs.  The Dwarves are still too small to learn the riding skill, so they took a rest before heading out.

Impressive stone sculptures line this pathway.  I don’t remember those being here the last time I played through this zone.

Of course, both of the Dwarves did some pet battles in this new zone.  There were new pets to collect, including the Little Black Ram.  So adorable! Just look at him!   He’s a teeny tiny version of the Ram mounts!

The Dwarves battled Grawmug (and killed him).  I think the quest implied that Grawmug was some kind of Trogg leader, or something.   This is the last quest from the first batch of NPC’s. Next stop, Thelsamar “your home away from home in Loch Modan!”  (Or, so says the quest text that sends players there).

Mountaineer Kadrell: Welcome to Thelsamar, your home away from home in Loch Modan!

Thelsamar is a nice place, but it’s not all beer and salted meat for those who answer the call to duty!  If you’re willing to face danger in the name of the Alliance, then read the poster outside the Thelsamar branch of the Explorers’ League.

The most interesting quest chain in Thelsamar starts with a quest that asks players to hunt down a Dark Iron Spy.  So far, The Dwarves have had a very confusing storyline in regards to the Dark Iron Dwarves.  First, they dropped bombs on them and killed their commander, to prevent the Dark Iron Dwarves from taking the Ironforge Airfield (and, from there, Ironforge itself).

Next, they met Moira Thaurissan, the Dark Iron Representative on the Council of the Three Hammers.  She’s clearly not a Dark Iron Dwarf herself – she doesn’t look like them.  Somehow, she’s their representative.  Oh, and her infant son is in a cradle on the floor near where she stands.  Did Hansbrix and Bradanna just bomb her people?  The other two members of the Council make statements that imply that Moira doesn’t have any control over the Dark Iron Dwarves.

Wanted! : A dark iron spy has infiltrated the town, stolen documents from the Explorers’ League establishment, and is now in hiding somewhere nearby.  He was last sighted near the top of the hill to the south of town.

A sizable reward awaits anyone who can bring this spy to justice.  Dead or alive – dead preferred.

Now, here in Thelsamar, there’s a quest asking adventurers to “bring this spy to justice.  Dead or alive – dead preferred.”  He’s a Dark Iron Dwarf!  The game seems to be telling players that the Dark Iron Dwarves are the “bad guys”.  Yet, they are represented on the Council.   Is this a Civil War?

The Dark Iron Spy has “infiltrated the town” and stolen documents from the Explorers’ League establishment.  His name is Gorick Guzzledraught.

Gorick Guzzledraught:Managed to find me, eh?  No matter, you won’t live to tell anyone of it!

Kill him off, and two things happen.  One, you can turn in that quest.  Two, Gorick Guzzledraught drops a book called “Gorick’s Stash List”.

It gives you clues about where to find all six of the documents he (and others who he was working with) stole from the Explorers’ League.  Go find a document, bring it to the Explorer’s League, gain some coin and experience points!  It’s kind of like a treasure hunt.

On the way out of the cave, The Dwarves ran into Morick Darkbrew, Dark Iron Courier.  He’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dinner time at the Stoutlager Inn.

Some of the quests in Thelsamar send players off to kill a lot of Gnolls and Kobolds.  One of them is Grizlak, Associate Troggwhacker.

The Dwarves found Foreman Sharpeseer somewhere in the Silver Stream Mine.  They got sent there to retrieve boxes of stuff that belongs to the Explorer’s League.  Perhaps they should hire the next group of adventurers that comes through Thelsamar as security officers?  Or, maybe they could just start remembering to lock the door before leaving their office.

The Dwarves made a quick trip to Stormwind in an effort to find profession trainers who could give them more to work on.  Ultimately, it didn’t work out because they weren’t ready to move up to the next level in their professions.  Here’s a few screenshots of their visit to Stormwind.

Why is this lion named Golden King?

Hansbrix and Fridge waited for Bradanna to go find a Priest trainer in the Cathedral of Light.

They found Harrison Jones!  This didn’t really matter, though, since neither Hansbrix nor Bradanna were at a high enough level to even pick up the Archaeology profession yet.

“How did you end up down there?” 

Typically, it is a good idea to avoid Goldshire.  This time, though, Hansbrix and Bradanna had the nicest experience anyone could hope to have in Goldshire.

The Dwarves needed to do some cooking before returning to Loch Modan.  There was already a Dwarf standing in front of the fire. Hansbrix and Bradanna joined him figuring that a fellow Dwarf wouldn’t mind the company of a few more Dwarves.

When everyone was done, the Dwarf, named Shakedownst, cast Blessing of Kings on both Hansbrix and Bradanna before leaving.  That was nice!

From there, they made a quick trip to Westfall to fight against a Pet Trainer named Old McDonald.

The locals out there get pretty excited about watching people do pet battles.

Ok, time to return to Thelsamar.  The NPC’s gave the Dwarves a couple of quests that involve killing off the creatures that are roaming around in the area that used to be where Loch Modan itself was located (before Cataclysm).  One quest is called “Buzz Off”.

Mountaineer Kadrell: When the Stonewrought Dam burst, it drained near the entire loch.  Horrible ecological devastation.

And don’t you go thinking it didn’t really affect us dwarves!  Not only are we plumb out of fish, but there’s acres of dead threshadons out there left to rot in the sun.  The buzzards are after them, and they’re spreading all manner of filth and disease right on the outskirt of town.

I can’t ask you to clear it all up, but could you deal with the buzzards?  Killin’ even just a few will help.

Shawn and I aren’t really new to WoW.  We remember the Stonewrought Dam (and went with our guild to take a photo on it before the Cataclysm expansion).  To us, Loch Modan looks remarkably different than it used to.

The quests that send players to kill the buzzards, crocolisks, and giant bees, are more than just “go kill x number of monsters” quests.  They show what happened to this area after Cataclysm. The “Buzz Off” quest further notes that the buzzards are “spreading all manner of filth and disease right on the outskirts of town“.  We are being shown that when the Dam burst, it not only changed the landscape but also the quality of life for the Dwarves who lived in the area.

What would a player who was brand new to WoW think of these quests?  They won’t have the memories of the Stonewrought Dam, or of what this area looked like, before Cataclysm.  I think these quests are going to seem like nothing more than “go kill x number of monsters” quests to new players.  That’s kind of sad.

A Dwarf named Cannary Caskshot gave Hansbrix and Bradanna one of the most amusing quests in Loch Modan.  The Dwarves got to dress up as plants, sneak up on a private meeting between the Mosshide Gnoll Representative and a group of Murlocs, and ruin everything for them!  (And, in doing so, make life less dangerous for the Dwarves living in Thelsamar.)

“CURSE YOUR SUDDEN YET INEVITABLE BETRAYAL!”

Another series of quests sends players towards Ironband’s Excavation.  On the way, players end up helping a couple of Dwarves who are stuck because their wagon broke.  They were ambushed by some, you guessed it, Dark Iron Dwarves.  Once again, the game is telling players that the Dark Iron Dwarves are the “bad guys”.  So, why is there a representative of the “bad guys” on the Council of Three Hammers?  More story, please!

The Dwarves that you go to help had another problem.  There were originally three Dwarves who were with this caravan. One of them, Saean, turned out to be a “Dark Iron sympathizer”.  The other two Dwarves, who had been working with Saean for over a year, never saw the signs.

“I’m off.  Stay safe – I’ll be back as quickly as I’m able.”

 Huldar: I appreciate your help in this.  We never would have suspected Saean as a sympathizer – we just weren’t prepared for this.

Dark Iron Ambusher: We have need of your explosives.  I’ll take pleasure in killing you for them.

Saean: Sorry Huldar…But it seems I’ve misled you.

Huldar: “Good work!  I’m glad to see some revenge taken on that the traitor.  Go ahead and take the path Miran did to the east and let Prospector Ironband know we’re all set.  I’m sure he’ll have some work for you as well.”

Next, Hansbrix and Bradanna went to Ironband’s Excavation.  He did have work for them.  In short, they were to go into the excavation and check on some of the “strange carved idols” that had been partially uncovered.  Oh, and fight the Troggs that have overrun the area.  Shawn and I decided the most amusing way to screenshot this section was to do it like “tourist photos”.

The “Upturned Giant”

The “Overdressed Lady”

The “Broken Tablet”

Some time later, Bradanna finally hit Level 20 and became big enough to learn the Riding profession.  No more walking around!  She got a quest called “Learn to Ride” that required her to find an NPC named Ultham Ironhorn in Dun Morogh.

Ram Mounts!

 Next, Hansbrix and Bradanna returned to Loch Modan, rode to the Farstrider Lodge, and started picking up all the hunting quests there.

There lies Ol’ Sooty.

A second trip through this cave revealed that Ol’ Sooty had two cubs.

I’m rather impressed with this screenshot of Hansbrix, Bradanna, and Fridge fighting a Battle Chicken.

If you fish in this small puddle (or, what’s left of Loch Modan) and get the fishing lure into the circle, you can earn an Achievement.  The Dwarves have each successfully fished some Raw Sagefish out of this school.

Both Dwarves have “The Old Gnome and the Sea” Achievement now.  This isn’t the only location on Azeroth where you can get that Achievement (but it is a handy one for low level Dwarves).

They were on their way to talk to angsty little Ando Blastenheimer.  His father was worried about him, and sent us to check on the teen.

The Dwarves stare at the shadowy creature-like thing that is floating in the sky, wondering if it’s really a good idea to go over there and start a fight.

Hansbrix and Bradanna rode over the grassy hills, and passed by small tufts of flowers, on the way to the Twilight Camp.  Fridge ran along with them.

It turns out that it isn’t so easy to loot a guy who has died and fallen into his very own funeral arrangement of flowers.

Hansbrix the Hunter runs as fast as he can towards the Twilight Landscaper thing The Dwarves are supposed to destroy.  Fridge gallops along beside him.  Bradanna stays out of the range of the impending explosion and thinks “I’ll just heal them from here.”  (They didn’t end up needing healing, though).

Ashland Stonesmirk sends The Dwarves on another quest that involved fighting the Twilight cult. His information is strangely out of date.

Ashlan Stonesmirk: You hit the twilight camp at the center of the lake?  Not bad, lass!

If you’re ready to take the fight right to their doorstep.  I’ve got your chance.

“You hit the twilight camp at the center of the lake?”  Um, no.  It’s not in the center of the lake anymore.  It’s in the center of a hilly field of grass.

Ashlan Stonesmirk sent the Dwarves off to kill Ogres and to pull these strange Nascent Elementium Spikes out of the ground.

They were also given the task of killing Gor’Kresh.

Ando Blastenheimer offered The Dwarves a ride on his father’s Skystrider.  Naturally, they accepted.

A funny thing happened with this quest.  At first, the game showed Ando Blastenheimer on two Skystriders (one following the other).  Hansbrix was on one, and Bradanna was on the other.  But, shortly after takeoff, the two Skystriders merged into one.  Every so often, the two would bob up and down and you could see parts of Bradanna before she got merged into Hansbrix again.  It was weird!

The Dwarves got dropped off in front of Mountaineer Stormpike, who wasn’t the least bit impressed by the Skystrider.

Mountaineer Stormpike: What in blazes WAS that?  A flying mechanostrider?

You know what, I don’t want to know.  I’m just going to pretend that didn’t happen, and we’ll be all nice and businesslike.

He gives The Dwarves a quest that will take them out of Loch Modan and into the Wetlands. Before they left, they made sure to locate all of the stolen Explorer’s League Documents.  At this point, they had found four of them.  Two more to go, and then they can start working on the Wetlands quests. 

Don’t leave Loch Modan until you have found, and turned in, all 6 of the Explorer’s League Documents!  Here’s where they are located:

Number 1: Western Loch Dock (which is located out in the dried up area of Loch Modan).  It gives you Document number 2, for some reason.

Northeast of Thelsamar, there is a small dwelling and a dock that are utilized by dwarves on occasion during fishing season.  Store the package in a watertight container under the dock, out of sight. 

Drop offs and pickups from this location should occur only at night as to reduce risk of being witnessed by fishermen in the area.  This dropoff point will receive reduced priority during the fishing seasons for obvious reasons.

This must have been written before the Cataclysm expansion.   Loch Modan used to be a huge lake.  This is what it looks like now.

There’s no need to “store the package in a watertight container under the dock” anymore.  There hasn’t been a reason to do so since the Cataclysm expansion!  The entire area is dry.  That being said, there is still a Fishing Trainer and a Fishing Vendor inside the building.

Number 2: Grizzlepaw’s Den – This one was rather confusing, but it might not have been if I’d been playing closer attention.  It gives you Document number 1.

South of Thelsamar, there is a large hill.  On the south side of the hill, there is a path leading to the cave at the top.  Store packages behind the rocks in the back of the cave.

Please refrain from continued use of this cave as a shelter and/or hideout. Utilizing this cave for such compromises the security of our packages and our messenger routes.

Earlier in this blog (and in the early parts of The Dwarves exploration of Loch Modan),  they got a quest to kill a Dark Iron Spy.  He was located “at the top of the hill to the south of town” (Thelsamar).  The first confusing thing about this set of clues is that Gorick Guzzledraught is in the cave at the top of the hill.  His name certainly isn’t Grizzlepaw.  The cave, however, is located in Grizzlepaw Ridge.

The other confusing thing about this part was that the document pops up after you kill Gorick Guzzledraught (and at the same time that you obtain Gorick’s Stash List).  What ended up happening was that we picked up the Document, and turned it in, before we realized that it was part of a series of mini-quests that involved finding documents.

The quest text said: “Store packages behind the rocks in the back of the cave”.  However, the Document was in plain sight in the middle of the cave next to the fire.

We ended up spending time trying to find the Document in Grizzlepaw’s Den after we had already found it.  At the time, we didn’t realize that this cave was Grizzlepaw’s Den, so we didn’t associate the Document with the quests (and then forgot that we’d already picked up this Document).  It would be incredibly helpful if this series of quests had a “checklist” that players could view so they would always know which Documents had been found and which ones were still out there.

Number 3: Shanda’s Lair (Look for the box that is located outside of the cave).  Shanda is “an enormous murderous spider the size of two dwarves.”  This location gives you Explorer’s Document 3.

There is a small hovel to the southwest of the excavation site that once belonged to a reclusive hermit.  Shanda’s residence in this cave, however, has driven all potential inhabitants away.  Just outside the mouth of the cave serves as a perfect drop point.

As a reminder, Shanda is an enormous murderous spider the size of two dwarves.  Do not drop documents IN the cave, even if Shanda is not currently present; she will be, given time.

The Dwarves decided not to fight Shanda.  The giant spider wasn’t looking for a fight, either.  This could be due to the fact that The Dwarves were a higher level than the spider.

 Number 4: Ironband’s Cubby (which is located on top of a platform inside the excavation site)

A side passage in the heart of Ironband’s Excavation Site leads up to a well-hidden and disused alcove. Hidden right under the noses of the Explorer’s league, this is a prime dropoff spot.

The Troggs have distracted the Explorer’s League, but do not forget they are still hostile to us.  Take care when accessing the site at night, Troggs may be waiting in ambush.

Number 5: Location number 5 is near the Mo’Grash Idol (which is located somewhere near what is left of the Loch).  Location number 5 is where to find Document number 6.  I’ve no idea why these numbers don’t match up.

This stone skull idol seems like part of the ogre grounds, but is further south than the ogres actually roam.  Place documents at the base of it.

Do NOT place documents IN the mouth of the skull idol.  Several documents have been permanently lost this way, as well as one hand, mysteriously.

Number 6: Location number 6 “the Grove in the Loch”.  Look for a small group of three trees.  Location number 6 holds Document number 5.  Again, I have no idea why these numbers don’t match up.

 A small grove of three saplings in the center of the Loch serves as a well-isolated drop off point.

Draining of the Loch has left this space slightly less isolated.  The crocolisks have helped to mitigate this.

There is an easy way to discover whether or not you have found (and turned in) all of the Explorer’s League Documents.  When you turn in the last one, Torren Squarejaw says: “You located all of our documents!”  You have now completed the quest and are able to choose a reward.

Torren Squarejaw: You located all of our documents!  We can’t thank you enough for the help… we’d all but given up hope.  It seemed sure that the Dark Irons would be able to act upon all of this information soon.  It’s good to know that they’ll be left blind in their attacks for quite a while yet.

To thank you for all of your efforts on our behalf, we would like to offer you a gift.  An artifact really… something we recovered from one of our digs.  You have the appreciation of all of the Explorers’ League.

Bradanna chose the Star Shooter.  It is sparkly and little stars shoot out of it when she runs (or rides away on a mount).

Somewhere along the way, Bradanna went fishing inside Ironforge and earned the 25 Fish Achievement.  This one cracks me up, because about half of what she fished out of there was junk – not fish!

This concludes The Dwarves exploration of Loch Modan.  The next zone Hansbrix and Bradanna explore will be the Wetlands.  The received a quest that sends them there.  Before going, they made sure to find all those lost Explorer’s League Documents.

Overall, Loch Modan has some fun stuff to do.  As someone who has been playing WoW since Vanilla, it is also a hard zone to go through.  I miss the way it looked before the Stonewrought Dam broke, and I’m not a fan of the giant bees that now fly around what’s left of the Loch.  A brand new player wouldn’t look at this zone with nostalgia (like I do).

However, a person who actually was a brand new World of Warcraft player may have other difficulties.  It’s not easy to remember which Explorer’s League Documents you found, and which ones are still out there (unless, perhaps, you found them all on the same day during one “session” of WoW).  Some of the quests in Loch Modan have text that hasn’t been properly updated.  More than one implies that the Loch is the way it was before the Cataclysm expansion. That could lead to some confusion for players that diligently read the quest text.

Loch Modan also has a quest (the one where you have to kill the Dark Iron Spy) that reinforces that the Dark Iron Dwarves are “bad guys”.  I suspect a new player would still be trying to figure out why the “bad guys” have a representative on the Council of the Three Hammers in Ironforge. Honestly, I’m wondering about that myself since I’ve not yet run across a good explanation for it in-game since I started playing WoW.  If that lore exists in-game …. I haven’t found it yet.

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