Children’s Week 2009 Guide

Posted by Toque in articles on 05 2nd, 2009

It would be cool if Blizz would do Children’s Week next year to include a Northrend orphan. Perhaps we all get taunka orphans or something? That would rule :) Little tiny tauren-cousins following you around everywhere? Gah, I’m already overwhelmed by cuteness! Ahem, but let’s focus on this year’s Children’s Week! You may notice that this article looks very similar to a post I made exactly a year ago on May 1, 2008, and it mostly is, with a few adjustments for 2009. Happy Children’s Week 2009!

I love Children’s Week! It is probably my most favourite in-game event of them all, not only because the interaction with the cute little orphan child makes you feel good since you’re doing something good to help someone in need, but also because the cool pet rewards are worth the effort, too! The whole event is very touching and definitely something I look forward to. I’ve done Children’s Week events in the past years, and this is my second year guiding Horde side. Sorry, Alliance — this walkthrough is just For the Horde!

So what is Children’s Week? Well, once a year the matrons of the orphanages at Orgrimmar and Shattrath open their doors and allow adventurers of the world to come and show an orphan around. Most of these kids have never set foot outside of the city that their orphanage is in, and so they’ve spent their days dreaming of adventures and places they’ve only heard about in stories. It would really mean a lot to the orphaned children if someone big and strong took them under their wing and could take them to some of the amazing sights that they’ve been dreaming about. This is where you come in! Children’s Week only takes a small amount of time out of your busy grinding and PvP day, and the reward of making a child’s day (plus a unique pet!) is more than worth the effort, especially when you see how attached your orphan has grown to you by the end of your travels together. It’s touching, and you may just wish you never had to take your orphan back.

Children’s Week is an in-game event that takes place between May 1 and May 7, 2009. Once you go to the matron in Orgrimmar or Shattrath and accept the responsibility of taking an orphan sightseeing, you will be given an orphan whistle. You’ll use the whistle you are given to summon and dismiss your orphan. I like to put it on an empty spot on my hotbar for easy access. To gain access to the Orgrimmar quest series, you must be level 10. To gain access to the Shattrath quest series, you must be level 60. Once you have the whistle, to get started in either Orgrimmar or Shattrath City, call out your orphan and say hello.

The idea is simple: your orphan has a list of places they’ve heard about and that they’d like to visit. You simply need to go the areas indicated in the quest description and use the whistle to summon your orphan if they’re not already out with you. Sometimes I’ve noticed that if you don’t get thecompletion message right away, dismissing and re-calling your orphan will typically do the trick. Some of the quests just require the orphan to be present when you reach the location described in the quest log, and others will initiate little interactions between your orphan and other NPCs or objects at the location, like a little mini event for you to watch before the quest completes.

NOTE for 2009: This year, there are also World Event in-game achievements as part of the new achievement system in place that go along with Children’s Week. So not only can you complete the quest series as instructed by your orphans, but you can also perform a few other achievements with your orphan to go for the title of Matron/Patron and go towards the ultimate goal of getting the violet proto-drake pet after completing all of the World Event (holiday) achievements. For more information on all of the Children’s Week achievements, check out Miyari’s Informative Post on Wowhead to get all the details.

If you are level 60+, it is possible for you to do both the Outland and the Azeroth Children’s Week quest chains, for two unique pets! How fun is that? Now, let’s get into some more detail on the quest series for each city.

Orgrimmar
Requires level 10
Seek out Orphan Matron Battlewail at 70, 25 in the Valley of Honor. She will give you the task called Children’s Week and hand you your orcish orphan whistle. Call your orphan via the whistle to say hello and meet your ward. He’ll have 3 quests initially:

Down at the Docks
This one is fairly simple: just go to the docks of Ratchet and summon your orphan.

Gateway to the Frontier
Another fairly simple one: just head north of the Barrens to the Mor’shan Rampart, on the edge of the Barrens and Ashenvale zones. If you don’t get the completion message right away after summoning your orcish orphan, be sure to walk closer to the archway that leads into Ashenvale and you should get it. You should not have to enter Ashenvale to trigger this, for you lower level PvP server folks.

Lordaeron Throne Room
More travel! Head over to the other continent and go to Undercity. You’re aiming for the ruins above the city that you pass on your way down. I got the complete message when I was mounted and running through, before I even called my orphan. I called her and was able to ‘turn in’ the quest to her.

After you’ve taken your orphan to the first three places on their list, you’ll see the ! above their head and they’ll give you the next leg of the travel quests, which includes 2 more stops:

Cairne’s Hoofprint
For this portion of the series, you need to go and see Cairne Bloodhoof in Thunder Bluff with your orphan to get an autograph. You’ll find the High Chieftain at 60, 51. This one is tricky only because having your orphan out will not trigger the completion — instead, you must speak to Cairne on your orphan’s behalf because he is shy. Initiate conversation with the High Chieftain to get the autograph for your orphan: I really enjoy hearing what Cairne has to say when asked for his autograph:

“Ah, a young warrior to be no doubt! I take it you are participating in Children’s Week, yes? It warms these weary bones to hear that you are setting the example by which others will be sure to follow.

I’d be delighted to oblige you and the young lad. Hrmm… what advice should I give to him? Listen to the spirits, yes… maybe something about eating all of his vegetables too…”

What a wise and witty High Chieftain! Now take a flight back to Orgrimmar. Trust me.

You Scream, I Scream…
After a long day of travels, your orphan wants a sweet treat of strawberry ice cream, specifically Tigule and Foror’s Strawberry flavour. While you can travel out to the Shimmering Flats to purchase this from Brivelthwerp the Ice Cream Vendor at the raceway (coordinates 77, 77), it’s easier to just buy from the goblin Alowicious Czervik next to the bank in Orgrimmar standing around 52, 69. This also makes it the ideal last place to stop since you’ll need to return your orphan to the matron in Orgrimmar anyway. Lower levels (especially on a PvP server, I highly recommend skipping the travel to Shimmering Flats and just buy your ice cream in Orgrimmar.

After you’ve completed the last of the travel quests, you’ll get one final quest from your orphan: A Warden of the Horde. Now you are to take your orcish orphan back to the matron in Orgrimmar. You also will be able to choose your reward:

Piglet’s Collar
Rat Cage
Turtle Box
Curmudgeon’s Payoff (5g)

Congratulations! You have made a difference in the life of an Orgrimmar orphan! Now doesn’t that feel good?


Shattrath City
Requires level 60
Seek out Orphan Matron Mercy in Lower City of Shattrath at 75, 48. She will give you the task also called Children’s Week and hand you your blood elf orphan whistle. Call your orphan via the whistle to say hello and meet your ward. She’ll have 3 quests initially:

A Trip to the Dark Portal
This is the simplest one: go to the top of the Stairway of Destiny at the Dark Portal and call your orphan out to see the sights.

Hch’uu and the Mushroom People
This one is cute. Your orphan spent time with another orphan named Hch’uu at the orphanage before Hch’uu was adopted and taken to live in Sporeggar with her people. Head out to Zangarmarsh and search out the little Sporeggarling at 19, 51, a quick run from the Zabra’jin flight path. Call your orphan next to Hch’uu and watch the emotional reunion of these two friends. It’s cute little interactions like this that make me love Children’s Week!

Visit the Throne of the Elements
Now it’s time to head out to Nagrand. This is an easy next step if you’ve got your flight path to Zabra’jin — just take the road south into Nagrand if you don’t already have the flight path for Garadar. The Throne of the Elements is just northish of Garadar, and you’re looking for Elementalist Sharvak at 60, 22. Call out your orphan and speak to Elementalist Sharvak to complete the quest. Don’t forget to admire the beautiful scenery of Nagrand! :)

After you’ve taken your orphan to the first three places on their list, you’ll see the ! above their head and they’ll give you the next leg of the travel quests, which includes 2 more stops in Azeroth:

Now, When I Grow Up…
Your orphan wants to meet Sig Nicious the rock star! The easiest way to do this is to fly back to Shattrath and take the portal to Silvermoon so you don’t blow any hearthstone cooldowns. Sig Nicious of The Tauren Chieftains can be found around 75, 79 in the Walk of Elders near the southern entrance to Silvermoon City. This one was tricky — stand under the balcony and summon your orphan and let her initiate the event. She’ll try to impress them with her own rocking out, which is adorable. You may need to wait for another player to finish their portion before you can successfully start yours. You also may need to resummon your orphan a few times to get it to start.

Time to Visit the Caverns
Now you need to head out to Gadgetzan in Tanaris and run down southeast to the Caverns of Time, nestled in some mountains on the eastern coast. Run way down into the Caverns, and on your way to seek out the giant yellow dragon Zaladormu at 60, 57, stop and see Alurmi the Keepers of Time Quartermaster at 63, 57 and purchase a Toy Dragon. Now summon your orphan and head over to Zaladormu. Stand back and let the short event take place where some guards will charge at your orphan at first, until Zaladormu shouts at them to stop with an interesting line: “WAIT! This girl has done nothing, and will not be held accountable for what she might do, or fail to do, in the future.” This child you’ve been escorting around all day sure must have an interesting future ahead of them!

When you’re done with the last of the travel quests, you’ll get one last quest from your orphan: Back to the Orphanage. Use your hearthstone and take her back to Shattrath and the matron and you’ll also be able to choose your reward:

Egbert’s Egg
Elekk Training Collar
Sleepy Willy

Congratulations! You have made a difference in the life of a Shattrath orphan! Now doesn’t that feel good? :) Even more congratulations are in order to you if you completed both city series quests — your kindness and generosity to the children in need is greatly appreciated and has not gone unnoticed. Thank you. Now go load up your alts and do it all over again! :) Enjoy, and happy Children’s Week 2009!


Articles may not be republished elsewhere in whole or in part without permission. Feel free to link directly to this post. ©2005-2009 by Lesley Karpiuk (Toque of pinktoque.com)



Enough About Welfare Epics Already!

Posted by Toque in articles, world of warcraft on 12 2nd, 2008

A.K.A. The dead horse rant of Raiders vs. PvPers

I know, I know. Dead horse, right? I get tired of hearing the term “welfare epics” tossed around so willy nilly, so be prepared for an extra long-winded article. Sure you’ll see a little bias towards the playstyle I am defending, but realize that I actively am involved in both PvP and raiding with my guild, so instead of this being strictly a “Your way sucks, my way is better.” article and refusing to acknowledge the skill and abilities required for the opposing side, I’m actually making a point of showing how they are both very viable ways to enjoy the end-game and get epic gear. And most importantly I’ll be using these comparisons to support the fact that there is no reason for anyone on either side to put down the other since you’ll be able to see how both require hard work and time dedication in order to walk away with purples. There is no welfare system in Azeroth, so enough about welfare epics already.

First of all, World of Warcraft is a game. And as such, should be fun.
How you achieve the fulfillment of fun can be approached from different angles in WoW because thankfully, Blizzard allows us to have multiple playstyles and still be successful in the world of Azeroth and beyond in Outland and Northrend. Typically you hear ranting from two sides: Raiders and PvP’ers. Not everyone in-game fits into just these two very generalized and stereotypical groups because naturally there are people that do both, neither, or just don’t care about the argument or feel strongly either way. This used to be the “Raider vs. Non-Raider” dead horse, but lately I get tired of hearing the raider group complain about PvP’ers and their “welfare epics.”

The phrase “welfare epics” has bothered me because some tend to think that grinding honour and battleground marks isn’t real work, and that somehow in contrast, repeating the same predictable dungeons and bosses over and over and over again to get a drop is real work. I beg to differ. Personally, I think both those that raid and those that PvP work hard for their gear. Why should one group put down another because the way that they get gear is different? Now please note that I am generalizing and stereotyping these two groups, which does not include everyone. Not everyone who is a raider feels this way, nor does everyone that is a PvP’er. I am merely responding to the stereotypical generalization that raiders feel PvP’ers obtain “welfare epics” and that it’s somehow ridiculously easy in comparison to raiding. You’ll find that this article will be a little biased towards PvP’ing, but I raid pretty steadily on a regular basis as well, so it doesn’t mean that raiding is any less viable or that my playstyle is better than yours, because that’s simply not true. Because I actively participate in both scenarios, I am merely pointing out flaws in the “welfare epic” ranters and sharing my opinion, which does not mean I am putting down raiders or the raiding style, nor putting down PvP’ers or the PvP playstyle. Do what you enjoy, in my opinion, just don’t put down others for being different. PvP’ers work just as hard as a raider and vice versa, just in a different way.

The Scenery
While the scenery and playing field of Alterac Valley, for example, is the same every time I load in to a new game, what happens between the Alliance and Horde bases varies each game. The strategies are the same, but they’re not always able to be played out as planned because you’re dealing with a new group of people each time. Each new game can be quite different. Sure there are premades (which are fun), but generally I just queue up into the next available game and am teamed with not only new and different people than last time, but face off against new and different people, too. The scenery is the same, but the gameplay is not always the same. Some games in AV, for example, I am part of the offense and spend more time up north than I do defending down south. But in some games I’m part of the defense. Still in other games I’m part of the stealthed team that guards flags in towers to take them. It’s fun and exciting to go up against new opponents who can all be geared in various ways. Some are easier than others to take down. Sometimes I’ll find myself in a new or strange situation without aid or get into a one-on-one situation that really tests my abilities. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but either way I feel a lot more engaged in the content and my role when I PvP than I ever did raiding back on Azeroth or in Outlands. And let’s face it — the walls of the dungeons you run are always the same and the content inside never changes.

Lolskill
In a battleground, the skill and ability of the player I’m up against will always vary but meanwhile in a raid setting, a boss’ AI, skills and abilities will always be the same. The same strategy will always work on a raid boss once it’s figured out. It definitely can be hard and/or challenging when you encounter a boss for the first time because it may take coordination and plenty of focus to get the strategy down, but once you figure it out and can execute the strategy properly, it won’t change. You must stand here and do this in phase 1, rush here and avoid this in phase 2, and then in phase 3 do this and voila. Rinse and repeat week after week, day after day. It can bore me to tears, which is why I partake in a balance of raiding and PvP’ing. In a battleground setup, it’s never the same. It’s always different people all over the map and no two games are ever exactly the same. You may think you have a strategy for AV down, but since the intelligence and responsiveness of your enemy (and even your own side) is another living, breathing, thinking person, you can’t always rely on your strategy working every time. And unless you’re in a premade, you can’t guarantee that everyone on your side will follow your same strategy so you may have to improvise there, too. You have to be prepared to change things up as the situation changes. That will never be an issue in an instance after you’ve run it a few times and know what to expect, so please don’t tell me that it takes MORE skill to raid than it does to PvP. 99% of the time, your guild is NOT developing the strategy for the first time on the boss you’re up against, and instead you are looking up the strategies on other sites or learning from others who have downed the boss before you. That’s just how it goes. There are a slim number of guilds out there who are truly premier and who down bosses first and develop the strategy that becomes mainstream for the rest of us. And again, the boss you’re up against may be difficult to coordinate and pull off initially because it’s new to you, but once you know how and have practiced it a few times, it becomes second nature and you’d be able to do it in your sleep because how the boss responds will never change. I honestly feel like I could perform the Safety Dance from Heigen the Unclean in Naxxramas in my sleep at this point. Both raiding and PvP’ing take some skill to pull off successfully, but that doesn’t mean one requires more skill than another. They’re just different types of skills applied in different ways. So to say one takes more skill than the other is just wrong.

When I raided on my Warlock I could almost fall asleep sometimes, literally. Ok, we’re on this boss. Dot 1, Dot 2, Dot 3, etc. Pause. Check debuff timers. Refresh Dot 1, Dot 2, Dot 3, etc. when they expire. Sit and wait 20 minutes to distribute loot, take bio breaks, and get prepared for the next set of pulls and boss. Go over strategy just in case. Sometimes the most exciting part of a raid that occasionally would change from raid to raid for me was whether I was the ‘lock putting on Curse of Shadows or Curse of Elements. Then they took that away from me! These days I play my Druid healer and it’s a totally different story. I am not paying as much attention to the fight itself but moreso to the health of my peers. I of course have to pay attention if I don’t want to die in the slime or stand on the smoky black circle, though, but I find it more challenging and enjoyable as a healer. And thankfully, Blizz has reduced the number of trash pulls these days compared to what I remember in old school raids. However, sometimes my problem with raiding all the time is that in a raid 9 other people or 24 other people are either waiting on me or I’m waiting on them to get anything done in a raid group and I have to rely on all of those other people in order to accomplish anything or progress. Sure I rely on 39 others in AV to get things done in that battleground, but since the games are quicker and shorter and the queue can pull from a pool of people that spans across several servers in our battlegroup to form a raid group at any time of the day or night, I am never at a loss to find others to play with or against. The difference is that it’s on MY time and MY schedule. If I can only play for a half hour, I can and also can still progress myself. If I join a queue and then something comes up and I need to leave the queue for a bit, I can. There will be plenty of people and a spot for me in a battlegroup in 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or an hour from now when I’M ready.

Let’s Talk About Time
Both raiding and PvP’ing in battlegrounds take a lot of time. Regardless of which route you choose, expect to spend hours and hours at either/or. Raids could swallow up an entire afternoon and you may not come home with any loot to show for it. While some argue that fact is why it’s “so hard” to raid and why raiding loot should be regarded as more work than PvP loot, I disagree. Raiding itself isn’t hard. Like I said, the strategy on x boss never ever changes. He won’t suddenly grow a brain and react differently than the last time you downed him. Once you’ve done it a few times, he’s on farm status anyways. Each role does the same set of button smashing and you’re done. It just takes hours of your life away in one big chunk vs. PvP’ing, which takes hours of your life away in smaller, more manageable and bite-sized chunks. Even an epic Alterac Valley game is only around 30 minutes these days. And when the game is over, you can break for as long as you need and not have to worry about other people waiting on you or you having to wait on others in order to get back into the action. You play and work at your progression on your own schedule unlike the rigid raiding schedule that you may be forced to commit to in order to be a part of a typical high end raiding guild. Some folks find it hard or ridiculous to be required to commit to a block of time that can span several hours at a time, week after week, sometimes several days a week, to a raid schedule for a video game. They shouldn’t be punished because their playstyle is different. Perhaps they would rather put in their hours and hours in a different way that is more fun and manageable for them. There should be nothing wrong with that. Again, whichever route you choose, you will have to spend hours and hours in able to reap rewards so neither option is an “easy” way out.

Drama, onoes!
I’ve found in my past raiding experience when you are in a high-end raiding guild there tends to be too much drama about who gets what loot, and DKP systems are another topic I could go on and on about. There’s always threads on the forums agonizing over loot and organizing a large and competent group is way too much hassle for the effort required to sit and stare at the same dungeon walls all day, in my opinion. That doesn’t make it wrong if that’s what you enjoy doing, but don’t put down the PvP playstyle or the gear people get from playing in a way that is fun for them just because it’s different than how you have fun or how you get gear. As a raider I’m in a guild whose schedule is pretty relaxed; we do heroics on a daily basis and fit in Naxx/Obsidian Sanctum/Vault of Archavon at some point in the week. But if we can’t make it, then we can’t make it. We don’t have a DKP system and we roll on things if we actually need them, greed otherwise. It’s very simple and close-knit and I prefer it that way. Let’s be honest: with instance raiding, putting the group together and getting everyone to log on at the same time to do said instance is more difficult than actually doing the instance itself once you know the strategies, not to mention keeping tabs on keeping a huge, well managed guild in check. There is no arguing over loot in PvP because there’s enough gear to go around as you save for it. You show up and you do your job and enjoy killing the enemy and eventually you are able to obtain good gear to help you continue to do what you enjoy even better. That sounds an awful lot like raiding. You show up, do what you enjoy to obtain good gear to help you continue to do what you enjoy even better. What’s the problem here?

AFK’ers
You have them on both sides. Honestly, AFK’ers in battlegrounds suck, but I know that we’ll always have a couple, and I know that the enemy team also has a couple. It balances out. They suck, but who cares. They will progress slower because they aren’t out in the action getting their own kills on top of the bonus honour for winning a match or capping bases and towers. They will always end up with the minimum. In comparison to raiding… well, like it or not, it’s way too easy, especially on farm status raids, to AFK (or semi-AFK at the very least) and put someone on /follow. Occasionally push a button or two to do your one role within the raid, much like pushing a button or two to enter and queue for battlegrounds before you AFK. I could go make a sandwich and watch an episode or two of my favourite television show while raiding on my Warlock and only pay half attention in some farm status raids. That doesn’t mean I do or did, but it was possible because I know of people that did and are proud to tell you that they still do. Some even argue that raiding is more like only needing one person to have a clue and the other 9 or 24 or 39 just put them on /follow to get handed epics. If you are conscious enough to /roll for items or push a button or two as needed, you’re golden. Now this mostly applies to the old school raids like MC where it would literally take a good 20 minutes in between pulls sometimes, which means people with short attention spans would semi-afk through things because it was such a big group. Now playing a healer, I of course have to be on the ball the entire time — but some DPS could semi-afk if all they’re doing is pelting the boss with damage from afar. And some of the fights in Naxx require a lot of movement and coordination so AFK’ing in there isn’t really possible yet ;) I couldn’t possibly stop and go make a sandwich and watch TV while in the midst of a battleground because I’m too busy fighting off the enemy that’s coming at me from all sides constantly. The difference is that in battlegrounds the battle is unpredictable with so many different people versus the artificial intelligence of NPCs that is predictable. In a farm status instance you know exactly what is going to happen next, exactly how to take down x boss, and it’s easy to do something else while you’re raiding because you’ve done the same exact thing hundreds of times now. How is that harder than live action PvP that is constantly moving and changing? While AFK’ers and semi-AFK’ers suck, they will always be there. They’ll be in your battlegrounds and they will be in your raid groups, guaranteed. That doesn’t mean that everyone does it, but those people that claim people just AFK in battlegrounds to grind honour and do nothing need to realize that there are people /afk in their raid groups getting handed epics for being competent enough to use /follow, too. If you can manage to show up three times a week at a specific time and use these three DoTs, you get handed epics is the counter to those who feel EVERYONE who PvPs just AFK’s their way through it. Does EVERYONE in your raid AFK? No. Then it’s just as unfair to say that EVERYONE who PvPs just AFK’s their way to epics.

I haven’t even touched on arena teams yet. Up until this point, my PvP discussion has centered around those who run battleground games such as Alterac Valley or Arathi Basin. Let’s look at arena teams. There’s no WAY you can AFK in those. The same rules as battleground setups apply: you’ll be up against new and different opponents each time, making you actually have to think in order to be successful instead of applying the same strategy to the same AI boss every time. Typically if you’re on an arena team you’ve got some PvP experience under your belt and most likely somewhat decent gear. It’s not always the case, but when you first start your PvP career you tend to do battlegrounds to learn and get some decent PvP gear so that you’ll be successful in an arena team. It’s like your second year of college. The first year you were in those general classes with huge masses of other people so it was easy to blend in with the crowd and you didn’t have to be absolutely top notch, but you were learning so you could be better down the road. Everyone starts here, just like everyone starts out in greens in battlegrounds and raids and work their way up to more difficult raids and more difficult encounters to get better gear. Now you’re in your second year of college and you’re in those smaller classes with like 10 other students in it with you. There’s nowhere to hide and you’ll be responsible for doing really well at your part or it’ll be obvious. Arena teams are like that. You CAN’T AFK your way through arena teams, and that’s where the best PvP gear comes from. Some people throw a fit because they feel that arena rewards should be based on winning games and that team members should only get rewards or honour if they win a game vs. getting points no matter if you win or lose. Let’s look at that from a raiding point of view for a moment. Think about the first few times you tackled Kara. Were you successful on every boss the first time? (I.E. did you “win” the battle when you went up against each boss every time?) No, you did not. BUT, you still managed to come out of the instance with some loot because loot drops from more than just bosses. There’s always the blue or green items or recipes or other items that drop from even trash mobs that reward you or that you can sell for profit. You may not have “won” up against every boss, but you did leave with loot nonetheless or were able to maybe complete a quest you had at least, which rewards you with gold or reputation; perhaps even a badge or two. Possibly even experience, which is something that PvP’ers cannot get from doing what they enjoy.

Badges Badges Badges Badges, Mushroom Mushroom!
And since I mentioned badges, I can’t help but notice that doing heroic runs or “badge runs” seems an awful lot like farming battleground marks for gear. Now that the badge system has been established, those PvE raiders who are acting as elitists no longer have the high ground to put down PvP’ers because it’s the same basic system of grinding out badges/marks for gear. The marks versus badges may seem like it’s easier as a PvP’er, but you have to factor in that you need boatloads of honour on top of the marks requirements. Let’s also remember that raiders are typically running the same instance with the same predictable bosses over and over and over until they can do it in their sleep while PvP’ers are always up against new opponents that can think for themselves, making the game never the same. Let’s say that you run Kara a few times and let’s even say you weren’t one of the lucky ones that got a sweet drop. You still get badges each run which are turned in to the badge vendor for epic pieces. So just by running a raid that you know like the back of your hand you get badges, much like by running a battleground you get marks. PvP’ers are doing just as much work for those rewards, though, because they also have to kill the enemy, capture bases and win battleground matches for bonus honour because their rewards require both honour and marks to obtain. This seems a little more balanced when you compare that it takes 75 badges to get a PvE belt, for example, and only 40 marks in a battleground plus several thousand honour points together for a PvP belt. It’s a relative exchange or tradeoff. The number of marks needed is less than badges needed which then makes people assume that it’s “easier”, but what they’re forgetting is the necessary honour needed, which can take several days and runs to collect just like it takes several days and runs to gather the necessary number of badges in a raid. It’s very easy to obtain marks in battlegrounds because you get at least one even if you lose; the part that takes the most time is collecting honour. As a raider if you do your heroic daily, even if you aren’t successful against EVERY boss in the instance, by at least completing the quest you will walk away with a couple badges, too. So in that respect, I still don’t see how PvP gear is easier to get or more “welfare” than raiding.

The above paragraph is a bit outdated since in Wrath of the Lich King you don’t need marks to accompany your PvP gear purchases. However, the honour currency required to purchase items has increased severely. For example, the level 70 PvP epic rings cost 19,000 honour and a handful of specific battleground marks. In Wrath, the level 80 PvP epic rings costs 38,000 honour. No marks required. But since the honour requirements have been raised significantly, I still feel it’s fairly balanced. The following paragraph makes references to Karazhan which is outdated as well and the cost for PvP items referenced has changed since marks aren’t required but the honour required has increased, but the paragraph still can be applied to Naxxramas and beyond.

A full Kara badge run gleans 22 badges or so. That is roughly a third of what you’d need for a piece that requires 75 badges. And it will take you several hours to achieve that third, maybe less for a guild with Kara on farm. It takes me several hours of running non-stop AV matches to gain 4-5k honour, roughly a third of what I’d need for a typical 15k honour item. That seems fairly balanced to me. I may still need to run some more AV matches for marks if I am a few marks short, just like a raider may need to run a heroic or do the daily if they are a few badges short. Now of course, some PvP and PvE items cost more or less marks and badges, respectively. Perhaps I am going for a 40k honour item or you were going for a 100 badge item. In terms of time and effort, they’re scaled pretty close. Someone who AFK’s in the battlegrounds for those several hours will not have netted as much honour as I because they won’t have their own kills and caps’ worth, just bonus, while a semi-AFK raider conscious enough to loot at each boss or turn in the daily afterwards will net just as many badges as his 100% attentive raiding buddies. They may even still get phat loot drops on top of badges at each boss, too, which is something a PvP’er isn’t going to get. Now I realize that Kara is a once-a-week run only, so you can only get 22 badges a week from Kara, HOWEVER, Kara is not the only way to gain badges. There’s always the heroic daily which gives you extra badges on top of the badges you get from each boss, and the option to run heroics to your heart’s content, which can only require 4 other people to do. And the heroic instance runs don’t take as much time as a full Kara run. By running so many Karas or other heroics you will not only gain badges, but over the course of time to gather the y number badges you need for x piece, you will no doubt get a lot of other epic loot drops in those instances as well. PvP’ers have no way to get extra epic drops while in battlegrounds. Thus you stand to gain a lot more cash from raiding than you will from PvP’ing. A raider’s trash loot can sell for several gold, even grey items, while a PvP’ers trash loot that actually makes it out of the battleground with them consists of grey items like sleeveless t-shirts or worn running shoes that will maybe net them a single silver each. Now while a raider can argue that the gold he “makes” in dungeon runs goes right back into the dungeon by way of stocking up on healing pots, flasks and repairs, a raider still stands to make more cash by running dungeons even after all of that because the opportunity with epic drops is there. Some items that drop in instances can sell for several thousand gold, giving you a profit above and beyond getting pots for your next run or repairing. I still have repair costs when I PvP for several hours at a time, they’re just not as hefty as a raider’s repair bill. Then again, I make absolutely no cash PvP’ing. (With the exception of those 1 silver worn running shoes that I may see one or two of in an entire day’s worth of battleground goodness.) Now, IF I do both the Nagrand PvP daily AND the normal battleground daily I could make approximately 24 gold combined and approximately 700 bonus honour points. However, a raider can do the daily instance and make 16 gold from it, and then another 25 gold from doing the heroic daily as well. That’s around 17 gold more that a raider makes than a PvP’er by doing the dailies for their preferred end-game playstyle, which doesn’t include loot or vendor trash they sell afterwards. I’m not complaining since I enjoy PvP I’d do it regardless of the rewards, but those who complain as a raider that it’s so much easier to get gear as a PvP’er need to see that their opportunity to make more money (which in turn means they can afford more things such as enchants for their gear) and get more gear faster is so much richer than a PvP’er who stands to ONLY gain honour and marks from doing battlegrounds that can be turned in for gear, with no chance for extra epic item drops. But again, I realize it costs a raider more to do instances than it does for a PvP’er in terms of repairs, pots, etc. (boy do I know), but I still don’t think the difference is that great. It seems to scale appropriately with what you’re doing. I mean, people do buy pots and flasks and whatnot, too, in order to boost themselves and do well in battlegrounds just like a raider buffs up for an instance run.

Editor’s Note: I realize that my article is a bit “behind” as far as dungeons and such since Wrath of the Lich King is out now. However, the principles still apply as there is still a heroic badge system for end-game level 80 instances as well as stone shards when your faction has control of Wintergrasp.

Anyway, because there’s more than one way to play the game, there should be more than one way to gain good gear. You shouldn’t put down one style or another or one method of getting gear over another because both methods described in this article require a lot of time and dedication to obtain. Whether the time dedicated is all in one big chunk three times a week or split up into several half hour chunks each day of the week shouldn’t matter. Now while my article is obviously biased for PvP’ing and asking raiders to stop referring to PvP gear as “welfare epics”, I personally participate regularly in both raiding and PvP and understand both sides of the coin. I don’t care way or the other how YOU like to play, and nor should you care how others like to play. This article is in response to those who put down PvP gear as “welfare epics” so that I can counter and share my disagreement with that statement, but it’s not meant to put down the PvE/raiding playstyle because it is a completely viable and popular way to play the game and one of the ways I enjoy playing in the end-game, too. Play how YOU want to play and don’t worry about the gear others have because they play differently than you. WoW is a game and as such, is meant to be fun. Fun for you may be reached in a different way than someone else, but it shouldn’t matter in the end if everyone is enjoying what they do and getting rewards for doing what they think is fun.

Articles may not be republished elsewhere in whole or in part without permission. Feel free to link directly to this post. ©2005-2008 by Lesley Karpiuk (Toque of pinktoque.com)



Challe’s Home for Little Tykes

Posted by Toque in articles, world of warcraft on 05 20th, 2008

The sign out front says “Challe’s Home for Little Tykes”, but the true goings on within the fenced in property that’s tucked securely away in the mountains that divide Nagrand from Zangarmarsh are truly an unsolved mystery. At first glance the home appears to be a hidden orphanage kept high above the dangers of Outland, a haven for newborns of both factions. Or is it? Rumours that the self-proclaimed troll matron Challe is a cannibal that eats small children like the witch in Hansel and Gretel cloud the innocence of this haven. I went on location to take a look at the secret orphanage in attempt to try and find fact or fiction on these outrageous rumours.

Much mystery surrounds the circumstances of Challe and her hidden orphanage. First of all, it is only accessible by level 70+ players or druids that are at least 68+ with flight form, as the orphanage is nestled in a small clearing up in the mountains unreachable by normal ground modes of transportation. With three large and public orphanages in the major cities of Shattrath, Orgrimmar and Stormwind, some are wondering why there is even a need for keeping such a small separate orphanage secret in between the wilds of Zangarmarsh and Nagrand, which are no places for newborn babies. But perhaps that secrecy is the exact reason why such a dangerous site was chosen; who would think to look for defenseless babies in such a place? It surely would not be the first place that the enemies of the Horde and Alliance would think to look.

To try and unravel the mystery and to see Challe’s Home for Little Tykes for myself, I set off for Nagrand. Be sure to check out my video for where and how to get there, and to see what things await you once you get there for a sneak preview to accompany this article. I highly recommend using the video to get there for yourself, though. This is one strange easter egg that must be seen with your own eyes! Members of the Horde should fly into Garadar, Nagrand. From there, head out the west entrance of town and take a sharp turn north towards the mountains by the Laughing Skull Ruins. From there, mount up on your flying mount and go above the mountains in attempts to cross over into Zangarmarsh. You can’t miss the large clearing that reveals itself once you’re flying high in the sky. The orphanage is located around where the final ‘g’ of “Laughing Skull Ruins” is on your map. Or for those with coordinates, Challe’s exact location is 50, 14 in Nagrand.

At first inspection the home looks fairly serene and with good intent; there is a fence that defines Challe’s property and a cozy hut that houses several newborn babies carefully snuggled into tiny beds. Visitors to Challe’s place will find two tauren babies, two troll babies, one orc baby, and one night elf baby inside the hut and another troll and tauren baby outside the hut next to Challe. Inside there are assorted rattles and dolls, and playful childlike drawings decorate the inner walls. The dirt floor is covered with soft bear skins, and furs line the tiny beds and envelop the babies in warmth and comfort. They all seem content; not once did any of the children cry while I was there. Outside, a sandbox and a makeshift merry-go-round grace the front yard. Two older children, Sa’rah and Chaddo, gleefully chase each other around the yard in a neverending game of tag. I ran and played tag with them for a bit, but quickly grew dizzy from running circles with them. That or I was dizzy from how high up we were. I admit seeing the children run so close to the edge of the cliff overlooking Zangarmarsh made me a little nervous. Sa’rah and Chaddo were too busy and breathless from their games to speak to me, but I will report that they seemed happy and carefree here.

I next spoke to Challe, who greeted me warmly and welcomed me into her home. She gave me a tour of the hut and her land, explaining her home’s purpose. She told me that her orphanage is hidden away for security purposes to protect the children. When I asked her why there was need for her orphanage when the major cities already had large and fully staffed orphanages, she seemed a little wounded, but explained that the first 12 months for a newborn were the most delicate in a child’s life. Challe’s Home for Little Tykes is the first stop for all orphans and rescued children in Outland. She claims that once the children are old enough, say around Sa’rah and Chaddo’s age, as well as healthy enough, they are sent to Shattrath where they are hopefully placed with loving and caring foster parents via the Shattrath Orphanage. This seemed reasonable enough. The wilds of Outland are full of hungry creatures that would love to snack on bite sized tauren or night elves if given the chance, so it’s comforting to know that someone has their best interests at heart and a place to keep them safe from such harm. As long as those chilling rumours aren’t true…

But while it seems that everything is innocent, one can’t help but notice the more curious inconsistencies that shroud Challe’s home. These things weren’t pointed out on her tour, but I couldn’t ignore the cages I found behind her home. As I browsed the area, I came upon three small cages in the back, one with what appeared to be humanoid remains inside. I was not able to get a good angle on the skeleton, so I am unsure if it is humanoid, but from what I could see, it did appear to be. Who or what was in that cage? Why were they put there? Are the bones the small remains of a child? And if so… why are or were they in a cage? Some speculate that Challe raises the children to later eat, being a troll and all. I would like to point out that many tribes of trolls, including the elusive Shatterspear tribe, are NOT cannibals, so one cannot assume automatically that Challe is cannibalistic. But the rumours were swirling around my head as I kept combing the property. I noticed that two of the babies, a troll and a tauren, are in beds situated outside the hut by Challe, right in front of a large bubbling cauldron. While I know that Challe of course has to eat and most likely cooks her meals here (which may not mean the babies, you pessimists!), it kind of creeped me out a little. Being so secluded with limited accessibility makes me wonder what she does eat? The only evidence of meals that I noticed was a large bowl within the hut that had a few leftover bones in it. The bones were small, but didn’t strike me as humanoid. But I’m no archaeologist.

I went for a walk over to check out the sandbox. It seemed to be any normal child’s sandbox at first glance; several overturned and half buried buckets for playing with and a wagon… but then I noticed a pull toy of fairly realistic looking explosives in one corner of the box. Perhaps it is just a toy and not real, but it doesn’t seem like a very appropriate toy for children. I didn’t light the fuse to find out, either. That’s when I noticed Jara, a small orc boy, hiding in the corner of the sandbox among some large debris overhanging the play area. He was very timid and would not speak to me or come out from his hiding place. Unlike Sa’rah and Chaddo, he did not seem to be happy and carefree. But his refusal to answer me made it tough to find out his story. Perhaps he’s seen some grisly happenings at Challe’s place and is in hiding to avoid being next? I mean, let’s face it — the location leaves little room to run or hide. However, Jara could just simply be sad or feel lonely because he misses his mother and father or siblings. There are lots of things that are possible causes for his seclusion, so it doesn’t necessarily support the idea that something fishy is going on at Challe’s, though it does make you wonder.

I caught up with Sa’rah and Chaddo on the north end of the yard playing again, and while running with them I bumped into an empty doghouse, which turned out to be another mysterious property of Challe’s Home for Little Tykes. The doghouse wasn’t completely empty; inside were half eaten remains of something. What that something is (or was), I have no idea and can only guess. Perhaps it’s the meal of the missing dog or maybe it was the remains of the dog itself? I was unable to avert my eyes from noticing the large baseball bat-like club resting against the side of the doghouse, though. Could the bones in the cage behind the hut have something to do with the missing pet? Or was the missing dog the smell wafting from the bubbling cauldron behind Challe? So many oddities and unanswered questions that didn’t seem to help Challe look innocent in the rumours, though it could just be a simple coincidence. Perhaps Challe’s pet dog died of natural causes or was attacked and killed by some flying wildlife? That could explain the club; Challe might’ve attempted to fend off the attacker from her pet. Whatever happened, it doesn’t look as though the family pet survived. I’d like to think there’s a good and not-so-grisly explanation.

The combination of all of these strange things out at Challe’s Home for Little Tykes set off a red flag in the minds of the people of Outland and has even made its way into Azeroth storytelling. You know how kids like to gather around a campfire and tell ghost stories? The rumours of “Cannibalistic Challe” have been discussed and retold many, many times at many, many campfires with the hopes of scaring those present. Some parents tell their children early on the horror story of “Cannibalistic Challe” and her creepy orphanage to remind them of how lucky or fortunate they are to have parents. Still others use the rumour about Challe as a threat: “Be good and eat your vegetables or you’ll be sent to Challe’s Home for Little Tykes!” *shudder* But are these stories true? One can’t help but notice the oddities at the orphanage, but perhaps they are just coincidences or there is a reasonable explanation for them? All SEEMS well, but isn’t that how it goes in most horror movies? Only Challe knows for sure.

From what I gathered during my trip, I was unable to present evidence to prove or disprove without a doubt the rumours about Challe or her Home for Little Tykes. Plenty of speculation, but no cold hard facts to support either side undoubtedly. Without proof, we can only assume that the intentions of the troll matron are good. Be sure to check the place out for yourself and let me know what you think or find there that might put an end to the speculations about Challe once and for all. The location has had changes along the way and may continue to have updates or changes applied that will give us a clearer picture of the real truth. As of the time of this writing, there are no known quest lines that involve the location or Challe, and tests conducted during Children’s Week 2008 came up with nothing. We can only hope the mystery will be solved in time. Happy exploring!

Watch the video footage of my trip to Challe’s Home for Little Tykes HERE
View all of the photos I took on my adventure in my gallery under World of Warcraft -> Exploration

Articles may not be republished elsewhere in whole or in part without permission. Feel free to link directly to this post. ©2005-2008 by Lesley Karpiuk (Toque of pinktoque.com)





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I'm Toque, (aka @geeksoap) and I'm a gamer girl. This is where I've been blogging about the game(s) I play and sharing screenshots and gaming articles I've written since 2006.

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WoW Characters


Amoodala, Tauren Monk on the Emerald Dream US realm. Horde main, Mistweaver spec. Guilded with After Hours.

Amoothyst, Tauren Druid on the Emerald Dream US realm. Resto main, Balance secondary. Guild: Bloodscourge Pillagers.

Lumiya, Blood elf Hunter on the Emerald Dream US realm.

Guild Wars 2 Characters


Lumryia, asura ranger on Sorrow's Furnace. Guilded with Ultimate Genesis [GEN]. Account currently inactive.


Llumyria, asura guardian on Sorrow's Furnace. Also in [GEN], but account currently inactive.



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