Category Archives: Joy the Nerfed Hunter

The Auschwitz of Azeroth

I wanted Joy go to Hillsbrad Foothills for one reason only. I wanted to know what was up with the Sludge Fields and I knew this could only be done by someone of the Horde faction.

I’ve marked the place that I would call an Azerothian Auschwitz on the map below.

I had passed by this point a few months earlier on my draenei shaman and what I saw truly freaked me out. I’m sure we all remember this place as a Horde quest area in the old world, but the town, a human settlement previously known as Hillbrad Fields, has now been turned into an internment camp for the captured human prisoners.

It’s not just that, it’s also a horrific experimental lab for … I don’t know – judge for yourself.

The journal of Clerk Horrace Whitesteed, a prisoner of war held at this camp, can be read here and it gives a chilling picture of what happened to this place. I’ve included some of the passages below:

Whitesteed before Hillsbrad Fields was taken over

Day 20
The Hillsbrad Fields are no more. Those that did not flee were captured. The Forsaken have declared us as prisoners of war. We are to be laborers at their new plantation.

Day 25
They incinerated our farms and made us watch. Construction begins tomorrow.

Day 40
Construction of their plantation is nearly complete. This place resembles no farm or plantation that I’ve ever seen.

Day 45
We’ve started laboring in the sludge fields. They grow poisonous mushrooms in fetid water and muck.

Day 50
I hear screams coming from the Warden’s manor. People are starting to disappear.

Day 52
I overheard that some guards talking about the farmers, Ray, Getz and Kalaba. Something terrible has happened to them – of this I am certain.

Day 60
Those of us that remain are scared for our lives. Some of the farmers claim to have seen ghouls running amok at night.

I wrote my article on what I thought were the 10 most creepy things in WoW before Cataclysm was released. Had I written it today, I would have put this place at the same level of creepyness as Thaddius or even Karazhan Crypt. If the Crypt didn’t have the Upside Downs Sinners, which admittedly is the main reason the crypt is so nightmarish, this place could easily have topped it.

Speaking of Upside Down Sinners, the Sludge Fields did in fact have one more sample for the horror hungering: hanging corpses of the same model as the ones in Karazhan Crypt.

Poor Joy, she didn’t enJoy this place although it had moments of sillyness too. What she did like was the opportunity to “do the right thing”.

The quest is given by a shovel – the shovel of mercy. Notice how save is wrapped in inverted commas … fishy. It turns out this quest can be solved in two different ways.

Use the shovel to smash in the human seedling’s heads.
[Right Click] the human seedlings to free them from the dirt.
Do the right thing.

Aha! Interresting. How often do you as a Horde figure get to act on your own accord and not as a tool of the Horde war machine? (this goes for Alliance too) When I made Joy I imagined she was barely loyal to the Horde, rather she’d go her own way, but of course this is not something I often got the chance to see relfected in her questing, except now.

I didn’t know about this choice when I completed the quest, but I’m happy that Joy at the time saved the human seedlings instead of “saving” them and so Joy did do the right thing, at least what was right for her.

I want to be a part of the WoW Ironman Challenge too!

This is what I found when I googled "Ironman Challenge". Look at that proud man standing at the foot of this monstrosity of a bouncy castle.

Joy was created before I read about The WoW Ironman Challenge. She was heavily inspired by Thriftee, but I never made a guideline for myself on how I wanted to level her. I’m pretty close to the Ironman Challenge rule set, primarily on the points of exclusively using crappy gear, not using xp enhancers and avoid grouping/LFD.

Joy’s only role was to be a fun character to play – whatever it took. She’s currently lvl 32 and I felt she was leveling too quickly, so I’ve paused her xp gain for a while. I was originally considering going for the Loremaster achievement, completing the zones while at the right level bracket, but now I have a new plan!

I want to be a part of the WoW Ironman Challenge too!

I don’t feel like I can revert Joy to fit the rules, she already broke them and starting her over is not a very appealing choice either. I’ve therefore decided to make a new character who will follow the rules strictly, a character who is less of a hippie than Joy is, in fact yuppie is probably a better description of him. When I say “him”, it’s because playing a male character is also part of the challenge for me. For unknown reasons, I’m less likely to gender-bend my characters (in any game), probably because I tend to identify quite heavily. As a personal test, I will see how I feel about playing a dude.

This will also meet my need to level slower as I can level two characters at once and more importantly, I get to cover more quest zones and both factions. It means I can now safely take Joy’s xp block away and won’t have to worry about her blasting through content, I have a second character to cover what I want to see now.

I’m not a fast leveler, never have been, so I’m not playing along as a race, this also means my updates on Joy and dude will not tick in like daily news, especially because I will be dividing my time between the two.

I have some future updates on Joy waiting, including laying out her rule set. I will also be introducing the dude soon, the at-the-moment-anonymous character I will be playing the real Ironman way.

And I thought I was being Pranked!

Yesterday I received a suspicious whisper on my hunter named Joy:


“The Tribe has found you at last”

I didn’t know this person, so the first thing that popped into my mind was that someone was pranking me. It didn’t make it less suspicious that the name of this person’s guild was “Joy Tribe” and they were only two levels above me. That was a lot of coincidences, so many that I couldn’t make sense of it. Who were these people and why were they setting all this up, or was all of this just a really obscure chance of events?

I was then invited to a group with a few of them and asked where I had been and that the Tribe had been missing me. Still being utterly confused with my mind racing trying to figure it out, I started to wonder if it was someone who had read my blog who was now teasing me, or one of my study mates.

This person (I’m calling them V here*), who was being really nice, proceeded to ask me if I wanted “to return home“.

And I accepted… I don’t know why, I guess I was just too damn curious, so I went with the flow of the situation, this despite my plans for Joy isn’t raiding nor anything big, but rather relaxation and random unobligated playtime.

But now I was a member of Joy Tribe and was even promised a special rank, as I was “the essense of the guild“. It felt like being caught around a flash mob, your ability to read the situation is challenged for a while, as you slowly start to realize that everything was a set-up, actors in a real time Truman Show.

So was this a set-up?

When I joined the guild, V enthusiastically told me about the other members and we joked around a little. He then stated that this was just a small social guild with a “predilection for exploring dungeons in a joyful manner” and that they were very selective with picking their members. He had himself tried to make a character named Joy, only to find out it was unavailable (cause lucky me took it!). He didn’t say it, but I assume this made him curious to whom Joy was, put the name on his friendslist and then whispered me when I came online.

Here's my first meeting with the guild master "F".

I’m both thrilled and in doubt. See, Joy was meant to be a solo character, a character for me alone, where I can just log on and off without any consideration, no hi’s and bye’s – just me, Joy and Azeroth. I’m not shy of guilds and do in fact enjoy membership, but guilds don’t have a “show as offline” button or any way to seamlessly be invisible without a neon DND (“do not disturb”). Sometimes it’s nice to play WoW not as a social game, but as a solo game.

My old main, a night elf shadowpriest, was initially conceived as a secret character. I played low-level Warsong Gulch with her without any of my online friends knowing, later I brought her out into the open. Secret characters don’t have to be secret forever. Joy is not secret per se, but it does put me in a dilemma.

What’s worse is that the dilemma is double edged. With so few members in this guild, it’s likely that I can easily continue my solo adventure without too much guild chat attention, and maybe this is the kind of guild I should stay in, just because they seem like really nice people, basically the kind of guild you’d never find your way to, unless they approached you. BUT! I have consciously avoided all types of level enhancers, all heirlooms. This guild is still level 1, but the level 2 perk is “Fast Track”, that’s 5% extra xp, a boost I very much want to avoid.

So on one hand the solo issue might solve itself. When the guild hits level 2, I could leave it. On the other hand, is this an adventure I should explore more, see what fun opportunities come out it? It was a curious and entertaining beginning, the kind of beginning that predicts well for the future perhaps?

* As I don’t have a permission from them to use what is actually a private conversation, including guild chat, which is also a sort of closed venue, I’m blanking names out. Even though the content is not harmful in any way, I’m doing it out of principle.