Impressions of Darkmoon Island

It took me a few days to realise that the new and revamped Darkmoon Faire still seems to follow the same old pattern of only being available for one week per month. It's easy enough to make the portals unavailable I suppose, but since the new Island is a dedicated zone instead of a temporary addition to existing scenery, I can't help but wonder how limited it will really be. What happens if you log out on the Island before the Darkmoon Faire is supposed to end? Do you get teleported out? Can you stay but find the whole site abandoned? Or will you be able to do dailies all month if you're insane enough to never leave the area? There's probably a very simple and straightforward answer to this, but I haven't seen anyone mention it yet.

My first impression of the new Island was actually very positive simply due to the sights evoking pleasant memories. The portal dumps you in a dark forest with scary eyes blinking at you from the bushes, with the faire in the distance, and the whole scenery reminded me a lot of Melee Island in the original Secret of Monkey Island, a game that I enjoyed very much.

A quick look around the place didn't really reveal anything amazing or surprising. The main impression I got was that the Faire as a whole has simply been streamlined and brought up to par with the rest of the game, so instead of trying to work out an obscure hand-in system for otherwise useless items, you simply do some dailies now. I reckon that Soft Bushy Tails and the like will soon be turned into greys - which is kind of a shame, as I still have tons of them, evil bat eyes, scorpid blood and whatever else there was, left in my bank.

The first thing I did was do the non-daily quests for professions. They are very simple along the lines of "pick five flowers" but award five profession skill-ups at once. Irrelevant to a level-capped character but probably nice for levelling alts. While they weren't dailies, I would be very surprised if they didn't end up being repeatable at least once a month.

The new daily quests are all little mini games which are decent enough fun. My favourite so far is Whack-a-Gnoll, which is incidentally also the only one where I can currently complete the whole daily in one go. I truly am a born healer. The only thing that bugged me a little bit was that I had positioning issues with some games. More specifically I would get an error message when trying to use the shooting gallery, telling me that I had to stand at the booth (even though I already was), and then I had to step back, forward and sideways a few times until the game would actually let me play. Not a big deal in principle but annoying when you have to pay for each attempt and it only lasts a limited amount of time, so time spent fiddling around in an attempt to find the right spot is wasted money too.

I was glad to see that they kept the big cannon, even though I'm terrible at it. I swear I got a bullseye once but the game disagreed with me and only awarded me three points.

They didn't completely get rid of the hand-in idea though, and I was pleased to see that there are several things that you can collect in PvP. I was just a bit disappointed that the drop rate for Grisly Trophies seems to be low and generally weird... I've seen comments from people saying that they managed to gather hundreds in a single dungeon run, but after a whole night of doing battlegrounds I had barely collected a dozen. At first I thought it was related to me being a healer and generally not scoring any killing blows, but I didn't notice myself getting any more trophies once I made an attempt to do more damage. In fact, sometimes I would still get them from enemies that I hadn't even touched, so I still don't really understand how it works.

Journals, banners and insignia dropping from enemy players in PvP is a strange adjustment as well, as I stopped trying to loot player corpses years ago (usually they are only a distraction and drop nothing but a few silver). Now it's suddenly worth doing again, but you have to be lucky to be the first one to click on a body and actually get a drop. I only managed to pick up one item all night but a friend was nice enough to gift me the other two needed for the Darkmoon Defender achievement.

Speaking of PvP, the new Deathmatch Pit is pretty fun. It's basically identical to the Gurubashi Arena except that you need to go through a click and a cast bar to actually enter it (presumably to avoid players falling in by accident) and that it's located smack in the middle of a new quest hub and thus always busy. In the Gurubashi Arena you can get lucky as a low level at a quiet time of day and grab the chest there unopposed, but I reckon that there's no chance of this happening at the Faire anytime soon. Even at 3am the pit was absolutely packed - I went in with a group of friends and we wiped everyone else out; I imagine that it must be very difficult to win this fight on your own right now. Of course only one person can actually get the loot, but nobody seemed to begrudge the mage in our group the achievement.

My absolute favourite part of the new Faire are actually the small things though, such as noticing a gnome mage NPC near the shoreline when I crawled out of the water after failing to hit the cannon target for the umpteenth time. When I clicked on him he offered to teleport me straight back to the cannon for a small fee of thirty silver. Thanks, Blizzard, for anticipating my repeated failure and giving me a shortcut to repeating it even faster!

And while I haven't really been playing Alliance very seriously in a while, there are some things that you never forget... and I actually burst out laughing when I spotted this little fellow in one of the animal holding pens:


  1. My guildie was just lamenting about the long ride back to the cannon (he was going for the achievement) when he spotted the teleport mage. He saw that it was a fee, and immediately yelled "It's JUST LIKE A REAL FAIR! WHAT A SCAM!"

    Of course, he then dutifully paid his 30s and got ported back. :D

  2. I have yet to visit the Darkmoon Faire. I really need to get to it. (Just been a busy week.) Reading your impressions it really sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

    The fact that Corki is there makes me laugh. Those quests are so frustrating when leveling through Nagrand, and eventually you just want to /facepalm every time you hear his name.

  3. I haven't been yet simply due to time constraints and a misplaced desire to improve my shammy's alchemy, but I'm really glad to hear such a good review of it. I looked for it on day 2 of 4.3 (after I'd done all the dungeons) and couldn't figure out how to get there (like you, I didn't realize it was a limited time access), I basically forgot about it. I'll definitely check it out now, though (especially since I can steal a few profession skill ups with it). Great post!

  4. I ended up burning down packs of Converted Heroes in Icecrown to get my trophies. Took me and my crappy Ret spec 30 minutes. :)

  5. I love the new faire. I really, really wish they developed more content like this. How nice is it to go to ANY area of the world outside capital city and see players *all over the place*? The shooting gallery has been a hoot all week with all the players in there banging away.

  6. I've been loving the Faire as well. I basically ignored it previously; but now I'm happily spending my 20 minutes before work getting through my dailies. I don't dungeon or PvP much, so the items from those are going to be harder to grab for me. My partner and I duo'd Wrath content (we're still grinding our old reps for achievements because we were especially lazy during Wrath) to get our insignias. I think it took four or five heroic UK runs. I got quite a few on my druid just going about her regular business. If I don't have what I need on her by Saturday morning, I'll go hit up Icecrown for the rest.

  7. For the Grislies I also went to Northrend, but instead farmed demons at the Fleshwerks. They die pretty quickly.

  8. I have been working on the grislies while doing dungeons and raids. At this rate I might have them in 2 years. Once dungeon I got a total of 12 from. I might just go out and farm.

    I love the little ponies, if they ever make them a real mount I can assure you my mage will live on the thing. They are mounts meant for gnomes I tell you.

    I like the new fair, it seems better then the old one, and the once a month thing makes it seems like less of a grind and more of something you can have fun doing only once a month.

  9. I'm up to 25 grizzly trophies from around 243 hks. Going to take a while.

  10. @Saga & Stubborn: I hope you've rectified this since then! The new dungeons or whatever else you've been doing will still be there and relevant for a while, but the Faire will be gone this Sunday and then stay that way for a month. :)

    @Doone: It's nice to have a place dedicated to whimsy like that. I've done the Deathmatch Pit a few more times since this post and it's a hoot every time. No great rewards, just pure fun.

    @Grumpy: I agree that the limited availability helps. It's not so rare that you feel you have to complete everything or else you won't have another chance for a year (like it can be the case with the seasonal events), but at the same time you won't burn yourself out by doing it every day for months. It feels like a treat to be able to go instead something you have to do.

  11. FYI:

    If you log out at the faire and the faire ends when you log back in it auto teleports you out, as of PTR. If alliance you get ported to goldshire if Horde Mulgore.

    How to collect 250 Grizzlie trophies in 10 mins:

    This method is super easy and simple. Note - you have to have your Molten Front dailies available.

    If you have unlocked the ability to do the quest Enduring the Heat then this will be an easy farm for you. In this quest you have to go inside the cavern east of the Magma Springs. Once inside, you'll see 8 blue runes spread throughout the cavern. You can use these runes to protect you from the fiery creatures, but you need to stamp all of them out to end the quest.

    However these fiery creatures each drop 1 grislie trophie. So you can effectively run in head to a rune, stand there until there are 6-10 elementals around you then hit the rune. Bam 6-10 trophies. ^_^

    Note you will only be able to collect about 50 before you get to the last rune in the place, DO NOT HIT THE LAST RUNE! Run far outside the cavern, the elementals die off after leaving the cave. Once you've ran out the runes get reset. Rinse and repeat till you get them all ^_^ Happy farming!

    Also, those of you farming the artifacts for the archology quest thingie, you can get them from doing low lvl dungeons as well. I got one last night on my lvl 85 priest from running Scarlett Monistary. Note they are not bound so you can sell them on AH as well. However once everyone realizes you can get them from low lvl content i don't think they will sell quite as good. Good Luck and see you at the Faire!

  12. Did the grislys in an hour hitting the crocs around Uldum. Cake :)

  13. While TEK above is right, i have an easier method for those interested.

    You get the trophies when you kill an enemy within the exp levels, right. Then those packs of undead that run together in front of the Icecrown Citadel in Icecrown can also do the trick.

    And btw, i also laughed when i saw Corki. Ne didn't suspected he got trapped...again. Well, at least the captors are friendly this time.

    Best wishes,

  14. I farmed the grislys by killing mobs in a zone far enough below me that it just barely gave any xp - that went pretty fast. So, for example, I had my lvl 60 blood DK do northwest Un'goro and east Silithus, including Southwind Village (2 for the price of 1!)

    I definitely will have my main try the Enduring the Heat method, thank you! It's pretty easy going on any class that can self-heal as it runs (she's a druid).

  15. Some great farming tips in the comments here, but personally I have to say that part of what I like about the Grisly Trophy thing is that I don't have to farm them, as they drop from stuff that I'm doing anyway. :P I just remain unsure about how exactly the game calculates how many trophies I should get while doing group content.

  16. I was logged in when Darkmoon Fair Island closed on Sunday. It doesn't kick you out. I Hung around until the quest daily clock rolled over and picked up the 5 dailies as usual. The Chest did not spawn for the Arena though. I logged out after I finished dailies and logged back in. It then ported me outside Goldshire. Don't know what happens if you die there after the fair closes though.

  17. I logged out there before it ended, and when I logged back in today the Darkmoon loading screen came up and I was there for a brief moment, just enough time to glimpse the tents when I was ported to Goldshire. Disappointing, I would have liked to stay there a while alone even if I couldn't do the dailies. Some quiet fishing time on a creepy island would be relaxing. I think they should have just closed down the attractions and had the tents all dark and closed up instead, why not let us go there?

  18. It took me about a day to realise the mage who could port me back to the cannon. Nice little perk I must say even if you do have to pay 30s for it. It was also nice to explore the island. Managed to get some great pics there :)