Sunday, February 26

Exploration Tutorial for WoW

I am an explorer of the World of Warcraft. When I play this game I prefer to spend my time exploring unknown areas. Often these areas are hard to reach places that the majority of WoW players might not even be aware of. It is an alternative way for me to enjoy the game.

There are some common methods used to explore these hidden locations. Here I will attempt to describe all of them in detail. The purpose is to expose new explorers to every exploration method currently available to us. Many people and threads contributed to the information here, but I have compiled it in one location for your use.

ITEMS / ABILITIES / METHODS used to explore the World of Warcraft:

If you are in a confined space where your head touches some sort of surface, you can often make your body grow, causing your head to push beyond that ceiling. At this point you can usually jump through the ceiling and to the area beyond. Items that will make you grow include (but are not limited to) the [Elixir of Giant Growth], [Darkmoon Firewater], [Winterfall Firewater], the [Vrykul Drinking Horn], and large mounts (like the [Reins of the Wooly Mammoth]). As of patch 4.3, you also have to disconnect as you use the growth item to get through the wall. On a PC, this can be done using a disconnect macro, pressing Alt+F4, or clicking the red “X” in windowed mode to close WoW. On a Mac, press Alt+Command (Apple key)+ESC in full-screen mode.

Some items will get you through walls, but only under certain conditions. Often the item needs to be used when you are standing on a surface that goes through the wall you are trying to get through. Examples of these spots include castle walls that run through mountains, or tree branches that run through invisible walls. Items that will go through these walls include the [Fishing Chair], [Mushroom Chair], [Darkmoon Tiger], and [Sandbox Tiger].

The Mage spell Blink can be used in many ways for exploration. You can blink through several of the instance portals in this game to get to the other side without hitting a loading screen. It can be used at the last second of a long fall to completely avoid fall damage. It can be used when slow falling to change the direction of your fall. There are many doors, walls, and objects in the game that can be blinked through. If you are flying on a flying mount, you can blink through most mountains simply by facing the mountain and blinking (be sure to have “auto dismount in flight” checked in your options).

An explanation video can be found here:

The Rogue spell Shadowstep can be used to get through walls and to climb up steep inclines. If the mob you are targeting is where you want to be, simply shadowstep to it.

An explanation video can be found here: 

The Warrior spell Heroic Leap or the Warlock spell Demon Leap can be used to get through many walls and to climb up steep inclines. The abilities can also be used mid-air, so can be used in conjunction with things like Rocket Boots or Rocket Jump for maximum efficiency.

The Warlock spell Fear or the Mage spell Polymorph can be used to get through many walls. When under the effects of fear or polymorph you will often walk through walls. You stay wherever you land when the effect wears off… so with several attempts you can easily have dueling friends (or friends of the other faction) polymorph or fear you through certain walls.

There are many items and abilities in WoW that can increase your speed. Sometimes all you need is that little speed boost to make a jump that was previously impossible. You can increase your speed using a Swiftness Potion, or the buff you receive from Improved Blink or Soulburn Demonic Circle.

There are several items and abilities in WoW that allow you to walk on water. Sometimes you need a solid jumping point to reach your hidden destination, but the only surface to jump from is water. Use the Elixir of Water Walking, the Shaman ability Water Walking, or the Death Knight’s Path of Frost.

One of the best ways to get to hidden areas in non-flying zones is the ability to fall very slowly. A Mage’s Slow Fall, a Priest’s Levitate, a Noggenfogger Elixir, and various parachute cloaks can grant you this effect. There are also items such as Evonices Landin Pilla or the Very Soft Pillow. As mentioned above, a well-timed Blink can change the direction of your slow fall.

The Mage spell Ice Block can be used during a long fall to completely avoid fall damage. It can also be used to remove negative buffs (debuffs), which can allow you to access areas not typically reachable.

The Goblin racial ability Rocket Jump, and the Engineering Rocket Boots, can be used to get to very hard to reach places. If you can’t fly, but need to span a large horizontal space, these items can help you get there. The Rocket Jump can be used while already in the air, so can be used to change direction with a turn of the body, or in conjunction with abilities like the Warrior’s Heroic Leap.

An explanation video can be found here: 

The Shaman’s ability Far Sight and the Hunter ability Eagle Eye can be used to see extremely high or distant places that are impossible to reach normally. The Shaman ability can be chain-cast to get your sight to just about any location. The Hunter ability cannot normally be chain-cast, but you can force it to chain by using the macro: /cast !Eagle Eye. You can also use that Eagle Eye macro to pass through solid objects, like boxes or trees. Simply stand on the item and chain-use the macro until it knocks you down. You will then fall through the objects.

An explanation video can be found here: 

The Warlock ability Eye of Kilrogg, and the item MiniZep Controller can be used to get a bird’s eye view in locations where you can’t fly. They are also great ways to see if a floor or wall is solid. If you find yourself at the end of the line, use one of these items to look that extra distance.

The Origami Slime item releases many slimes onto the surrounding area. The Crashin' Thrashin' Racer is a car that can be sent on the ground a short distance. You can use these items to test for solid flooring, or even to plan your next steps carefully. Classes with pets, like Warlocks, Hunters or Mages, can also use their pets “move to” ability to test for solid ground.

The Horde Mechano-hog or the Alliance Mekgineer's Chopper are the only ground mounts in WoW that can jump in-place. They are also 2-seat mounts, which can be used to eject your passenger through many mountains and invisible walls. These mounts seem to have a very tiny model size, slipping through narrow places. This is why many explorers prefer the hog/chopper as their ground mount.

The Gnomish Gravity Well launches you into the air, and can be used several times in a row to get higher. Typically you fall straight down from this… however if you slowfall and then disconnect at the apex of your launch, you can log back in and push your character to drift down in a different direction. Typically this item cannot be used in instances, but exceptions have been found...

This Warlock ability is amazing when trying to make a difficult jump. The ability teleports the caster back to the Demonic Circle. Use this when you are wall jumping at a difficult spot, and falling would mean a lengthy start-over.

The World of Warcraft is mostly hollow. If you look underneath the ground, or behind that mountain wall, typically there is just empty space. This is a great way to travel and to explore. Find a way to get into a mountain or under the world, and then you can fly up into just about anything. Most outdoor cave entrances can be glitched through (using growth/mount through walls method) to get underneath the world. Want to get into a closed building or tower? Try to get underneath the world and then fly up into the hidden location.

Bodies of water in the World of Warcraft extend infinitely below the ground. This means if you are flying or jumping beneath the surface of the ground, and you jump toward water, the water will “catch” you. This fact can be used very effectively in non-flying zones and instances to get underneath walls that have a body of water on the other side. When mountains and oceans are next to each other, a common Mage exploration tactic is to blink through the mountain on a flying mount, turn around mid-air, then slowfall and blink toward the ocean.

Typically you will get dismounted when you fly into water. Hybrid mounts, however, can fly in water without dismounting you. If you are flying underneath the world, you will want to be on a hybrid mount just in-case you hit a lake or river. Also hybrid mounts can fly in non-flying areas like Ghostlands if you can reach an 'unknown zone' in that area. Any mount that can go on both land and air, such as the Headless Horsemans Mount, the Turbo-Charged Flying Machine, Tyraels Charger and the X-53 Touring Rocket are considered hybrid mounts.

Mountains in WoW may look like smooth surfaces, but they are actually covered in little invisible ledges and platforms. Climbing mountains using these invisible platforms is known as “wall jumping”. Sometimes you can use auto-run to walk up these platforms…this is known as “wall walking”. Some platforms are too large for a mount to land on, but you need a mount’s jumping speed to get to them… in this case you jump while mounted (to gain the speed), but then dismount right after jumping, so you are landing on the invisible platform un-mounted. This is known as “wall mount-jumping”. All three of these methods are difficult and take much practice… but can get you places that are absolutely impossible to reach otherwise.

An explanation video can be found here: 

If you have a class with a pet and a Warrior using Intervene, you can climb up mountains that you normally wouldn't be able to climb. Simply send the pet up the mountain and have the Warrior intervene.

An explanation video can be found here: 

Some objects in WoW take longer to load than others, such as doors, barrels, mailboxes and crates. Occasionally you can use this fact to pass through these barriers. Simply log out of the game while on top of the object, and you may be inside that object when you log back in. Push forward during a loading screen into a BG or Arena, and you may get through a barrier that is supposed to hold you back before the barrier properly loads (such as the pink bubble in Eye of the Storm, or the gates in Arenas).

The act of disconnecting from the WoW server can get you into many places. Disconnect as you run into an instance portal or loading screen and you can often explore what is really on the other side. Disconnect as you use a giant-growth ability, and you can expand through walls. Disconnect in an unknown zone, or when the game is confused about your current location, and you can appear in your faction’s default location (Westfall for Alliance, Crossroads for Horde). On a PC, this can be done using a disconnect macro, pressing Alt+F4, or clicking the red “X” in windowed mode to close WoW. On a Mac, press Alt+Command (Apple key)+ESC in full-screen mode.

A currently working disconnect macro for patch 4.3 is as follows:
/script PickupItem(22736)
/script PlaceAction(1)

Playing WoW while disconnected (offline) from Blizzard servers has huge advantages for exploration. You are typically not affected by server-side restrictions like fatigue, falling damage, no-man's land debuffs, or breathing underwater when playing in offline mode. This mode can be achieved by several methods. One is to open two instances of the WoW program, logging into your account back-and-forth on each instance until one is kicked offline but not disconnected from the game. Another method is to physically pull your LAN card out from your modem (which lasts only for a few seconds on a PC before disconnecting you, but seems to last a few minutes on a Mac). Mac users can use the Terminal program to cause lag. More information on that here.

Playing WoW with heavy lag can offer similar advantages to exploration than playing offline. You can temporarily get around barriers like fatigue, damage, and loading windows...anything that relies on speaking to the Blizzard server. Lag is caused when your computer and the Blizzard server are speaking to each other slower than usual. It can be achieved by many things. Macros, too much activity in a small area, maxed out video settings, and running several programs or videos in the background of WoW can all cause game lag. There are several third party programs that you can download to purposefully restrict the flow of information to cause lag.

The RAOV group discovered a currently working lag macro for patch 4.3 (which must be used at a Guild Bank):
/script for s=1,80 do _G[format("GuildBankColumn%dButton%d", ceil(s / 14), s % 14 + 1)]:Click("LeftButton") _G[format("GuildBankColumn%dButton%d", random(1,7), random(1,14))]:Click("LeftButton") end

Some mobs have abilities that simulate things listed above, which you can then use for exploration. Examples include, but are not limited to, mobs that can fear you through walls, or mobs that can lift you into the air. A perfect example of this would be the mobs in the AQ40 raid instance, which can throw you up and out of the normal boundaries of the instance.

An explanation video can be found here: 

There is an invisible line on the vertical axis of every WoW zone. Explorers call this the "death line". If you go below it, you hear a "whoosh" sound, your camera stays put while your character plummets, and you die. If you land on the ground below that line and can be resurrected, you come back to life in a sort of offline mode. Your camera still wants to stay high (and often does), but you can run around below the death line and explore large areas that were previously impossible to reach.

You can glitch quests and quest items to achieve impossible explorations. This one is a bit vague, as every quest in WoW is different. Typically quests that have vehicles, cinematics, or phasing are the easiest to glitch. Often times the glitch will involve disconnecting or abandoning the quest at a crucial time. Results can be as wild as invisiblity, teleporting to a different location, or walking on air.

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