Welcome to Part 2 of my lengthy saga of how I acquired the “Insane in the Membrane” feat of strength, wherein we make billions of cards and stab a whole ton of orcs. Where we last left off, it was the day of the Cataclysm pre-patch, wherein we met the dragon what come and blew fire and things. I had finished up both my Shen’dralar and Goblin rep that day, and now it was time to finish up the last two reputations. I was not expecting it to take another year and a half.
Darkmoon Faire: 5,200 Card Pick-Up
The Faire was a lot harder of a reputation to grind out before Blizzard gave it the revamp. Anyone looking to rep up with this group only had a handful of profession quests (which capped out at Friendly) and turning in decks. There wasn’t really much to do at the Faire other than buy some materials off vendors, eat some food and turn in decks for trinkets that didn’t start becoming really good until Burning Crusade. Similarly, this is most of what we did in order to get to exalted – turning in thousands of card decks. Both Myth and I took the recommended action of leveling up scribes for this reputation, as it would have cost us thousands more in cards if we had not. The reason that people did this as you literally would spend hours farming herbs, milling them, and turning them into cards and this was considered the easiest way to the end. Working on Darkmoon Faire was by far the most RNG-filled out of any of the Insane grinds. Myth and I had two scribes working on this, as well as a shared bank guild. This is due to the fact that all the decks had between 3-9 cards (particularly the trinket decks) and you were never guaranteed to make the ones you needed, so you were always scanning the Auction House for the cards you needed cheaply. I let my more anal-retentive personality characteristics run free here, because organization was key here. There’s no way you would make it through this part of Insane without literally going insane if you didn’t really get your shit together. (I also had considerable help from add-ons such as Altoholic, Postal and Auctionator.)
It’s no surprise that Myth and I shared a Google Wave (remember that?) full of materials we needed for every rep and where we were at in all of the reputations.
When <Sweet Cuppin Cakes> was started, I took over two tabs of our bank guild in order to order all of the decks and cards we had in individual rows, in numerical order so that it would be easy for me to see what cards we had duplicates of, which ones we were missing, and then turning all completed card sets into decks. There was also the matter of holding onto all these decks until the Faire came around that month. We’d race to the grounds and turn them in the first day, then attempt to sell off the trinkets to recoup money. There was also much spamming of Trade Chat to have people let us turn in their trinket decks for them just for the rep. This would have been easier if we were on a more populated server that wasn’t already overrun with Insane-grinders, I believe.
For a while, this was my daily routine:
- Bank alt goes to AH, prices out and finds cheap materials for six different kinds of Darkmoon Cards via material shopping lists I built into Auctionator.
- Buy out herbs and inks as cheaply and in gross as possible (using AH pricing data), including many stacks of herbs that had no business being sold that low.
- Check bank guild for missing numbered cards.
- Check AH for said card shopping list using Auctionator.
- Buy any cards listed reasonably (although near to the end, the yardstick for “reasonable” started moving quite far) as well as cards on shopping list. Duplicates bought cheaply would be put towards future decks.
- Empty mailbox of herbs, primals, inks and cards. Mail materials to scribe. Take cards to bank.
- Order cards in bank using set/numerical layout. Turn any finished sets into decks. Set decks aside.
- Clear out glut of decks and mail even number to Myth and my main.
- Hop onto scribe and mill all herbs.
- Turn herbs into ink.
- Take inks and primals and make as many cards as possible.
- Mail cards to bank alt.
- Arrange cards into various slots in the bank guild.
- Dynamically update card list.
- Do this several times a day.
I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I spent a lot of time and money on this particular part of our grind. The fact that anyone can achieve exalted reputation with Darkmoon Faire via dailies now is mind-blowing. I sunk in excess of 20,000 actual gold and countless more in gold-hours from farming, buying, and putting everything together. Near the end I was spending thousands a day and kept myself financially afloat by some of the other financial ventures I was into like soloing and making money via raiding. (Did I mention that I was still a progression raider throughout this grind?) But honestly, it was fun. It was fun trying to watch for deals and shop very smartly. This was the reputation that Myth and I spent the most time helping each other out with since we had gotten into this mess together.
This was the final showdown and ultimately where I proved that I didn’t quite have the fortitude to finish as quickly as Myth did. While she crossed the finish line last year in September, I dawdled around until April. A lot of it had to do with the fact that Myth had already a rogue, but even when I had finished up leveling a rogue for just this purpose, I had so much more work to do. One of the ways to save a lot of time turning in lockboxes as simply grinding out Ravenholdt rep by killing swaths of Syndicate mobs in Alterac Mountains, Hillsbrad and Arathi Highlands. What she had done was do loops around Hillsbrad at the Lordamere Internment Camp killing the Syndicate there, but by the time I was ready to that, Cataclysm had hit and those mobs were gone. I did, however, find an alternate solution in Arathi – do loops around Northfold Manor and Stromgarde Keep. My rep sat between Honored and Revered for a very long time. I didn’t want to grind lockboxes, I didn’t want to pick off mobs for 5.5 rep a piece.
So I didn’t.
Sure, I kept planning to. But other things came first or go in the way. I’d half-heartedly say that I’d do it but tab out of WoW and go AFK in Stormwind. All those things I would sit around talking in guild chat could have been times I was killing mobs. Eventually I did though and hit 11999/12000 Revered. Then I knew it was time for the hardest part: pickpocketing lockboxes. You don’t necessarily have to do it all yourself but if you want any control over the speed/process, you’ll want to. A lot of people buy lockboxes in bulk and if this were a bigger server, I might have been able to con a rogue into doing it for me. But given that I had wasted all the time leveling up a rogue to do it, I conscripted a couple guildies to help me for the last bit on their rogues (for some cool money) and did some of the grunt work myself. The two best places to do this are the Blackrock Stronghold (with the packs of quest mobs lined up) and LBRS. I chose mostly Blackrock Spire as it was an instance and I wouldn’t run into other rogues hoping to farm lockboxes as well. However, my farming fatigue is super high, especially after having done that marathon stretch in Dire Maul. Still, I plow through a couple days worth of loops around LBRS, watching Adventure Time episodes as I go. I have an amazing system down even: clear through the end of the instance, drop down one level from the end and re-pickpocket back to the beginning, reset the instance, and mail off 75 lockboxes when my bags get full.
Within a couple days of guildie help (thank you to Relkir, Myth, and especially Trangie!), I reach my goal and become Apple Cider the Insane.
This was a test of my dedication towards achievements. What really made this fun though was the fact that I had a friend. Doing something this dramatic with someone I enjoy being around made the more lonely parts enjoyable. Is this a metaphor for life in general? I think it could be taken as such.
Over the past 2 years or so, I’ve definitely burned out a lot of my capacity to sit and camp things, farm stuff up. It was a huge goal of mine on my “WoW bucket list” to complete this though, so I feel accomplished in that regard. Other people have done this with more brevity than I, but I don’t care. I got it when it was still “hard” and that’s good enough for me. I would never do this again, though. And I doubt that Blizzard is going to ever have a Feat of Strength like this again. They are moving towards a model of game that doesn’t require lengths this profoundly complicated to go through and most of the reputation changes have indicated this. All of the reputations now only require kill grinding or turn-ins or even dailies. While there might be another carrot dangled in front of us achievement crazies, I doubt it will ever be as sweet as this one.
However, you bet your sweet bippy I’ll be finding all 10,000 waterfalls in Mists.