Finally the day has come! The Lunar Festival started on Sunday, an event I've been waiting an awful long time for. It's the last seasonal event I need to finally finish What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been, which will net me the awesome Reins of the Violet Proto-Drake! Last year I was too low level to get into the dungeons to get all the dungeon elders, but not anymore!
I devoted most of my gametime to this yesterday, since I needed all of the elders of Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend and the Dungeons. (I had gotten all the Kalimdor and Alliance elders last year, which I remember as being decidedly NOT FUN...freaking Ironforge and Stormwind ones, anyways) I started making the slow, gradual circuit from north to south in Eastern Kingdoms, getting Brill and the Plaguelands, before heading into Strathholme to get the elder there.
Sidenote: When did they add a flight point at the Bulwark?? And since when has there been one in Western Plaguelands??
After finding the Strathholme elder, I figured I might as well dispatch the Baron while I was in the neighborhood, see if could convince him to relinquish his mount. He didn't, but I realized I was agonizingly close to Exalted with Argent Dawn. So I handed in whatever Scourgestones I had, and headed to Light's Hope Chapel to get the elder there and see if there were any Argent quests I hadn't done yet. While poking around, I found the NPCs who want you to get them lots of various crap - Dark Iron Scraps, Savage Fronds, Bone Fragments, etc. FINALLY A USE FOR THAT GARBAGE! I knew there was a reason I had kept them all stashed in a bank alt's bags.
I gathered them all up and cashed them in, as well as a few small quests, then ran Strathholme once more to get more Scourgestones, which was just enough to put me to Exalted and the Argent Champion achievement/title. I also picked up 20 Exalted Reputations at the same time, a nice bonus! I then gleefully destroyed the Argent Dawn Commission, since I would never need to collect those annoying Scourgestones again.
After that lengthy diversion, it was back on track. The two Blackrock instance elders took me a few minutes each to find, because I'm not very familiar with them, but nothing too messy. The Westfall/Sentinel Hill elder was surprisingly annoying, being at the top of a tower. Not because the NPCs are any threat, but because aggroing them flags you for PVP. In my case, I got the elder and then had an "oh shit" moment when I realized the next elder was in Goldshire, just outside Stormwind...where people like to congregate. Thankfully, I managed to sneak in, use the elder, then hightail it away before anyone noticed me. In retrospect, it would have been a much better idea to get Goldshire first before heading to Westfall.
Off to Northrend next, and this is where the pain started. I looked over the dungeon elders and realized that I would need a group for the Utgarde Pinnacle elder, since he was after Skadi and I seriously doubted I could make it all the way there solo. I figured I would be able to solo my way to the rest. Well, I was right, but it wasn't easy...and the repair bills of my trial-and-error experiments weren't cheap.
For all of these I used my soloing BM spec/gearset, and a bear pet. Since I wasn't really worried about threat, a turtle would have been better but sadly I abandoned my turtle Zaratan a while back. Other essential tools were Deterrence, Feign Death, and Rocket Boots.
Ironically, AS I WAS WRITING THIS, Frostheim posted his guide on Extreme soloing on wow.com.
Utgarde Keep / Nexus
Both of these are easily soloed and weren't any trouble.
I had never tried soloing this instance, and wasn't really looking forward to it. The two gauntlet-ish fights (Krik'thir and Hadronox) seemed like they would be pretty tough solo. I avoided the first pack of mobs and scooted down to the bottom, sicced my pet on the Watcher groups and Krik'thir and made a beeline for the door...only to discover that it was covered with a web barrier! Panic, /flail and desperate feign death. Thankfully the mobs and Krik'thir despawned, giving me enough time to retreat back to the rear of the room and rez my pet. Guess I would have to kill him. It took a few tries, mostly because it was hard to kill the Watcher groups quick enough to finish them off before the next one aggroed, while keeping my pet alive. (BM soloing isn't meant for fast damage, it's meant for lengthy fights). Eventually I managed to do it, feign death-despawned Hadronox and his mobs, and ran down to the elder. Not easy, but doable.
This one gave me the most headache. Try as I might, I kept screwing up the Feign positionings and dying. I think it was the sheer volume of trash packs you have to get past. Two in the hall, one on the stairs, a GIANT pack of undead and abominations in Trollgore's room, Trollgore, spider room, Novos, bat room, TROLL PATROL, then another TROLL PATROL, then finally you're at the elder. I made it past Trollgore and was elated, then died from spider poison the next Feign because I had forgotten to heal. Then the next time I froze a spider, ran past and was all the way to the bat room when the spider unfroze, re-aggroed, and mauled me from behind as I was examining the bat paths. Rage!
This was actually really easy, because I discovered an accidental alternate way of reaching the elder. I tried making my way through the instance like normal, but died due to some poor Feigning. When I ran back in as a ghost, I apparently entered the portal that takes you right to Moorabi. I just took out the mobs on the balcony, sent my pet at the mobs in the center of the room to distract them, and Deterrence-ran past Moorabi into the water. He didn't pursue me, so I was safe to head up the stairs behind the Colossus and talk to the elder there.
Halls of Stone
Whole lotta pet abuse in this one. Let's see. Killed my way through the dwarves through some chain trapping and desperate DPS/healing. However, when I got to the circular room and pathing mobs, I said screw it and just set pet in, rocket boots + Deterrence and dashed as far as I could get before feigning. I ended up in one of the mini-rooms with the trio of dwarves patrolling, and discovered that I could lurk behind them and follow them around the room without aggroing them. This let me rez my pet, regain mana in Viper, and refresh my rocket boots/Deterrence/Feign Death cooldowns for the next part. Dismissed my pet, then deterrence/rocket boots ran through the entire quarry room, chugging a runic healing potion as I went plus dropping a Frost trap along the way. Feigned by the final set of excavating dwarves. Called my pet to distract them as I deterrence-ran for the elder - got him, but Feign was still on CD so ate a death on that one. Rough soloing.
Did this as a group, so nothing of note. Queued for it while flying around collecting the last Northrend elders, so the standard DPS wait didn't even seem that bad. :D
Finally, I popped into Zul'Farrak to get the last elder. I was actually really excited...over a year's effort would finally be paying off! (What am I going to do during seasonal events now? haha...)