Having done maybe a bit too much badge farming on my level eighties in the past two weeks, I decided to just mess around on a really low-level alt today for a change. My choice eventually fell on a blood elf rogue in his early twenties, whom I hadn't played in many, many months, except to log on briefly and fiddle with his enchanting occasionally.
The first thing I did was go out and buy him a mount. I knew that they had made mount and riding training cheaper in the last patch but was still baffled when it ended up costing me less than five gold altogether. I'm not complaining though, while I find money-making easy these days, I still vividly remember my first character hitting forty, me being very much not able to afford my training at the time and being quite frustrated by that. Speed boosts for everyone, I say!
Also, no matter if it's black (a nice rogue-ish colour), a hawkstrider is still a supremely silly battle chicken and my rogue looks really naff riding it. Whatever gets the job done, I guess.
Anyway, I looked at my quest log and found a rogue quest called Deep Cover that sends you to the northern Barrens. I vaguely remembered attempting it before but then being forced to abandon and restart it for some reason after the elite mob at the end had kicked my leather-clad little arse. As I quickly found out, the quest does indeed lead on to Mission: Possible But Not Probable, which requires you to steal some stuff and kill a bunch of mobs including a named elite. I wasn't worried about that this time around however, because while I hadn't actually played my rogue in months, he had received a constant stream of random bind-on-equip gear that I had picked up while playing other characters and had as such become pretty well-geared for his level.
And indeed, I had no trouble taking down even multiple mobs at once, including the named elite. As I looted the quest item at the top of the tower I noticed that I got debuffed with something called Touch of Zanzil. "Cannot stealth or turn invisible"? Ouch, that's a pretty cruel debuff to put on a rogue. Considering that it comes from a class-specific quest however, I assumed that they specifically put that in to make a point and force players to hurry up and/or play in a way they aren't used to.
I fought my way out of the tower again to hand in the finished quest but had to realise that one of the objectives was still greyed out, namely the one to get "Silixiz's tower key". I re-read the quest description and targeted Foreman Silixiz. He was a corpse on the ground behind me. Wait, if I had just killed this guy, why didn't I have his key? Ah I get it, since it's a rogue quest I have to use pickpocket... fine, I'll just wait for him to respawn and then...
No. Hang on. Touch of Zanzil. Cannot stealth. I guess I'll have to wait for that to run out first. What was the duration of it again?
Seven. Days. I kid you not.
I think I spent a good minute just sitting there and staring at my screen in astonishment. Would Blizzard, who's made so much wonderful and well thought-out content for this game, really implement a quest with a mechanic this stupid? Because, you know, I can't finish it without stealthing, and I can't stealth without (presumeably) getting rid of the debuff by finishing the quest first. And the only alternative seems to be to spend seven days waiting for the debuff to run out before trying again. At level twenty-three.
Incredulous and convinced that I couldn't have been the first person to run into this problem and that there must be a better solution, I checked the wowhead comments for this quest and was delighted to be informed that the debuff was just an ordinary poison. A highlighted comment specifically pointed out that it could also be removed by the low-level first aid item called anti-venom.
Anti-venom? You mean that stuff that I used to create en masse when I was new because it seemed really useful and then I never used it? The same stuff that I stopped making because I never used it and I couldn't even sell it on the auction house? The very same stuff for which I don't have the materials lying around on any of my alts, despite of my exessive hoarding? /sigh
Still, I tried to look at it as a challenge. Creating three pieces of anti-venom only requires a single small venom sac, an item that drops quite commonly from low-level spiders. Well, usually anyway. So I made my way over to Stonetalon Mountains, suddenly feeling that I was on an epic quest to save my rogue's life from being ended (or at least ruined) by a deadly poison. As it goes with usually common drops they suddenly become increasingly rare when you need them, so I had to clear out Sishir Canyon three times before I got my first venom sac. Excitedly I crafted the anti-venom, used the first charge... but except for a sparkly little animation nothing happened. I was still indecently touched by Zanzil. Maybe anti-venom could be resisted or something? I tried again; still nothing. Hoping against hope that the third time would be the charm I used the last charge but it was also in vain. Only as I went back to wowhead to complain about the useless advice I had been given I noticed that there were already comments about this not working anymore, they just hadn't been highlighted yet. D'oh.
Anyway, at this point I finished a couple more easy quests in the area and then hearthed back to Orgrimmar. The first paladin I saw emerging from the auction house received a polite whisper from me, asking him to please remove the poison on me, which he did. But now that I finally could have gone back to finish the quest I didn't feel like it anymore.
I'm always wary when people talk about how much the old world needs a revamp because it's not streamlined enough - I do like having to take a bit of a detour now and then, it keeps things interesting. But unfinishable quests with seven-day-long debuffs that take away your class's defining abilities? Crap like that really does need to be fixed, man.
The Call of Free Trade in Norrath
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