Cynwise said something funny in his guide to this year's Pilgrim's Bounty: "doing those first 350 points any other way is just silly". I have to admit that at first that comment actually stung me a little. Why is it silly? I love cooking (in game; in real life I'm terrible at it), and have done so pretty much for as long as I can remember. I remember being a level six noob with barely half a clue about anything in the game and eagerly cooking up Herb Baked Eggs and Kaldorei Spider Kabobs. At around level thirty or so, my friend who was wisely levelling her cooking and fishing in sync gifted me a stack of Sagefish Delights one day and I was like, OMG, eating these gives me an mp5 buff? Crazy! I also have fond memories of winning the recipe for Runn Tum Tuber Surprise in Dire Maul East and being told that I was extremely lucky.
I've always loved cooking for how it was a profession that benefited from almost everything I enjoyed doing in the game anyway. Explore and find a vendor in a remote location who sells an interesting recipe, hoard anything that might look useful to find out later that you can turn it into a tasty meal with the right recipe, quest to raise your cooking skill beyond 225, and so on and so forth. It always felt very engaging to me, and to this day I've maintained one to two tabs in my private guild banks that are devoted to nothing but raw cooking materials, gathered in one place to redistribute them to alts for later use.
However, looking at it honestly, I had to admit that I've really been struggling to level cooking on my new alts whenever I tried. With the new levelling system, you zoom from one place to the next and past many zones so quickly that you might never even see many recipe vendors, and you end up killing fewer mobs that might provide you with raw materials as well. Having alts "help each other out" seemed to have a very limited effect too, as I found it hard to keep track of who needed which recipes (Altoholic is supposed to track that in principle, but for me at least its profession tracking has been buggy for ages), and somehow pretty much every character seemed to run into the same skill point humps, needing stacks upon stacks of the exact same raw foods and I never had enough. As much as I used to love it, it had become annoying in its current incarnation. It worked when levelling was slow and had you traipsing all over Azeroth, but in this brave new world... not so much.
So I thought what the hell, might as well get it done, and so I've been spending a good chunk of the past two evenings cooking up Pilgrim's Bounty foods on various alts. (I still have a couple left, but we'll see whether I get around to them tomorrow.) I didn't just level my cooking either; basically I did the following things on all of my characters:
- I did the quest line that sends you back and forth between the cities to deliver different foods to different places.
- I ate at a Bountiful Table to complete the Share a Bountiful Feast quest and did Sharing is Caring while I was at it.
- I completed each of the dailies at least once, which was easy enough since I was cooking up lots of food to level my skill anyway, and got the Pilgrim's Progress achievement on the side.
If there were other people at the table with me, I threw food at them for "FOOD FIGHT!", but I didn't hang around to wait if nobody else was eating. Fun fact: even though I've been participating in this holiday in some form or another ever since its inception, it took me until this year to figure out how this achievement actually works. I used to think that it was just a random chance whenever you hit the button to share food. D'oh.
I also got The Turkinator on lots of characters, though not all, as I didn't fret about it if I had a streak of bad luck. As long as I got enough turkeys to do my cooking I was happy.
I only did Pilgrim's Pouch on one or two characters as I considered getting to the Exodar too much of a hassle in addition to the repeated back and forth for the quest line (most of the alts that needed skilling up were Alliance). This rang particularly true after I tried to take the portal to the Exodar from Darnassus one time and accidentally sent myself to the Blasted Lands with my hearthstone on cooldown. Arrrgh.
However, even without such mishaps these little adventures turned out to be quite a time-intensive endeavour, with each character needing about an hour to complete the whole tour, mostly due to travel time and the time it took to gather sufficient amounts of turkeys. It was all pretty relaxed though, and I watched some tv on the side and went AFK while on flight paths. Missing the boat over and over again also gave me happy flashbacks to my newbie days, though I never fell into the water.
The only thing that really got on my nerves was, funnily enough... people standing in the fire. Seriously, you don't need to stand in the cooking fire to use it! I noticed that it was mostly max-level characters in raid gear who were doing that, which then made me wonder whether it's some kind of subconscious way of being rebellious? An "I have to move out of the fire all the damn time, this one's not hurting me so I'll stand in it all day long" kind of thing? The thing is, I don't really care whether they stand in the fire in their raids or not, but being audio-spammed with incessant "oof oof oof" sounds gets annoying really quickly. This then got me thinking whether bad stuff on the ground wouldn't be easier to avoid if it always made your character make that sound... you might find yourself moving out of sheer annoyance, or else your guildies would at least yell at you for the same reason. (I vaguely recall a bug in DBM during ICC I think it was, where it kept making a warning noise on Blood Princes even if other people were moving with the shadow prison debuff... you bet that had me shouting at them!)