Save the island shoveltusks!

Generally I like it when Blizzard does little things that make the world (of Warcraft) seem more alive. Friendly NPCs having conversations, hostile NPCs fighting each other, that kind of thing. Anything to give us the impression that all these characters have a bigger purpose than standing around until we kill them or need them to buy our vendor trash.

However, there's such a thing as taking it too far. Case in point: Feeding the Survivors in Howling Fjord. The other day I did this quest on my Alliance priest and unfortunately it has become no less annoying since the first did it on my troll.

The premise is simple enough: Bring us six pieces of island shoveltusk meat. There are plenty of island shoveltusks around this village. Go!

Except... there aren't really. Now, Blizzard creating too few mob spawns for a quest that requires a certain minimum amount of kills isn't something new. The heinous twist in this case is that there should be plenty of shoveltusks around, theoretically, it's just that they keep getting killed by an omnipresent army of worgs.

Okay, worgs eat shoveltusks too, I get it. It's only natural, right? Well, not to this extent, in my opinion at least. Seriously, a shoveltusk barely has time to enjoy its new-found life for a few seconds after it's spawned before it will be attacked by a worg. Travelling in herds doesn't seem to help either, as the worgs will just systematically take them down one by one. It's frightening and frustrating. It's bad enough when you have to compete with other players for the few spawns, but to be in constant competition with NPCs even when you're the only player on the whole island is depressing.

It's not that I don't like a challenge, but the way this works is simply unfair. Most of the time you can't even run in to "save" the shoveltusks (so you can then kill them yourself, ahem), as their fighting is scripted and they'll often die after two or three hits from the worg no matter what. I'm a healer, I should be able to save people (and animals)! In practice I just spend a lot of time running in circles, crying out as I see yet another shoveltusk die only a few yards away from me, and then aggroing the worgs that just killed it. Woohoo. The whole quest just feels wrong. Surely it should have been about saving the shoveltusks from extinction by an unnaturally high number of predators? I don't know.

There was only one quest in BC that filled me with a comparable amount of frustration: I Was A Lot Of Things... You had a better chance at saving the boars in that case, but on the other hand they were only useful to you if they just happened to stand in the right spot (which they often didn't). Shoveltusks, the new shadowmoon tubers? It seems the answer is yes.


  1. I didn't notice this problem when I did the quest, but then I was, of course, standing behind M'Pocket Tank in my sissy robe doing nothing.

    But you're right, that is a tragic situation. Obviously the arrival of Horde and Alliance races in Northrend, or maybe Arthas's undead army (after all, we known from The Forsaken that zombies need to eat too), has upset the delicate ecosystem.

    It's clear that everyone is eating the shoveltusks, so the worgs are starving and desperate ... and now the shoveltusks are horribly endangered. Like the dodo of WoW.

  2. Very tragic, but you would think that the villagers would adapt. Save a shoveltusk, eat a worg!