Though not always. Keep at it! Even Santa RNG has a heart.
Past the cut, I've revised and expanded our 2009 guide for anyone looking to complete the meta (and earn the title) Merrymaker. Cataclysm has almost certainly affected how you'll do this holiday, but unfortunately, there's no hard information yet as to how. I doubt that Blizzard had the time to tinker extensively with Winter Veil in the crush of work surrounding a new expansion, but we'll see. As always, I'll be around as the holiday goes live to check and update the article. For the moment, I've included some commonsense speculation on likely changes (such as when an NPC's probably changed locations due to city/topography upheaval).
This achievement's probably changed a bit, seeing as to how the Tanaris option for rescuing Metzen is now ... er ... underwater. However, the Tanaris pirates are still around, so it's possible that they've found somewhere else in the zone to stash everyone's favorite reindeer.
Saving Metzen for the achievement On Metzen! involves a short but fun quest line that starts with an NPC in Ironforge (if you're Alliance) with Metzen the Reindeer or an NPC in Orgrimmar (if you're Horde) with Metzen the Reindeer. The former is between the Ironforge bank and auction house; the latter may have moved a bit due to Garrosh's newfound talent for civic planning but will probably still be around the Grommash Hold area in the Valley of Strength.
With a Little Helper from My Friends
If you've never taken part in Winter Veil previously, what you need to know is that there are machines located outside (or in) most major cities that will give you a buff that turns you into a gnome in a Winter Helper costume. Once you've got this buff, you'll have the costume for an hour, until death, or until clicked off (whichever comes first). Pre-Cataclysm locations were as follows:
- Orgrimmar This was once located next to the zeppelin tower to Undercity/Grom'Gol, which was outside of the city proper. It's likely to remain in a high-traffic area and may simply have migrated along with the zeppelin tower to the city's high bluff. EDIT: Yup, it's still below the eastern (Undercity/Grom'Gol) zeppelin tower in Orgrimmar.
- Ironforge Outside the city's main gates.
- Undercity At the zeppelin tower to Orgrimmar/Grom'Gol.
- Stormwind Outside the entrance to the flight master.
- Tanaris East of Gadgetzan.
- Booty Bay On the docks.
- Shattrath Just east of the city in Terokkar Forest.
- Dalaran Smack in the middle of the city in Runeweaver Square.
Last year, it was arguably easiest to do this achievement in Wintergrasp, but right now, that zone's emptied in players' rush to Cataclysm content. Given that the vast majority of players have yet to reach level 85 and queue for Tol Barad, I'm not sure whether to suggest going there yet either.
On an irritating note for feral druids, the costume is instantly lost upon shapeshifting. Yes, this is an enormous pain in the ass, and no, there's nothing you can do about it. I would recommend respeccing to balance or restoration for this, or at least plan on getting the achievement by way of vehicle combat.
On a more general note, it wasn't totally unheard of last year for malicious players to specifically target those with the Winter Helper costume. Keep at it.
Alliance will need to toss a snowball at Muradin Bronzebeard in Ironforge; Horde will need to chuck one at Baine Bloodhoof in Thunder Bluff (the achievements previously concerned Magni and Cairne, who are obviously no longer around). Snowballs are very easy to come by during the holiday. You'll find them sold by Winter Veil NPCs in all major cities, or -- if you're too cheap to shell out 10 copper -- you can also get them from snow mounds all over the Alterac Mountains, Dun Morogh, and Winterspring. Those of you still trying for a polar bear mount from the Brunnhildar daily offered by Thyra Kvinnshal will probably also get some in the reward bag each day.
If you started playing after The Burning Crusade and aren't familiar with Ogri'la, it's a faction of "enlightened ogres" located at 28,57 in Blade's Edge in Outland (the western side of the zone). You'll need a flying mount to reach them and complete the quest needed for this achievement, but fortunately you don't have to have done the starting Ogri'la chain. Even if your character's never seen the ogres before, the Bomb Them Again! daily will be on offer (at least for the duration of the holiday). EDIT: Sadly, this is no longer true. I'm unsure whether it's a bug or intended, but you'll have to do the prerequisites (beginning with Our Boy Wants To Be a Skyguard Ranger, given by Torkus at 28,57 in Ogri'la) in order to get to the Bomb Them Again! daily.
Bomb Them Again! is an pretty easy quest to do, and it'll only get easier with more players rocking 310 percent flying mounts. You'll need some Preserved Holly (which you should already have, if you've already rescued Metzen) or Fresh Holly (a random reward from /kissing Winter Revelers in inns) to turn your flying mount into a reindeer. And yes, you will need a flying mount, so druids, if you've been gadding around with either version of flight form and haven't bothered to buy an actual mount, you'll need to drop some gold. Turn your mount into a reindeer, pick up the quest, do your bombing run around the demon cannons on the ridge, turn the quest in, and you're all set.
The achievement itself is simple, but getting the stuff you need to do it that will take some work.
First off, you'll need the threads. The chest and boots are fairly simple to get and are crafted by tailors and leatherworkers respectively from patterns bought from Winter Veil NPCs. You'll need either the Red Winter Clothes or the Green Winter Clothes, plus a pair of Winter Boots. Finished sets command high prices on the auction house during the holiday, so you can save yourself some money by collecting as many of the mats as possible and press-ganging a guild tailor or tipping an independent craftsman to make them. Failing that, the recipes only require 250 tailoring and 285 leatherworking respectively, and if you've got an alt with either profession, it might be more cost-effective simply to level the necessary skill rather than shell out to people making a killing off the holiday demand.
The competitive piece is the hat. For Winter Veil, these traditionally dropped off high-level boss mobs in 5-man dungeons. During Wrath, with the Red Winter Hat dropped off Grand Magus Telestra in the Nexus and Jedoga Shadowseeker in Ahn'kahet, and the Green Winter Hat dropped off Mage-Lord Urom in the Oculus. Courtesy of a bug fix that went live the day after Cataclysm premiered, I'm pretty sure that Corla in Blackrock Caverns will be dropping the red hat, but we're still waiting to see who else will. I'll update when the holiday goes live. If you lose the roll on the hat, don't worry; just queue for the dungeon again.
EDIT: So far I've confirmed two drops in heroic Stonecore and heroic Grim Batol -- one off High Priestess Azil and the other off Drahga Shadowburner. I'm not yet sure if they drop on normal.
Got your chest, boots, and hat? The fruitcake you need is contained in a package you'll receive in the hours after completing the quest to save Metzen. Toss on your new duds, choke down the fruitcake (bleh), and you're done.
The short quest line starts with Stolen Winter Veil Treats (for Alliance) or Stolen Winter Veil Treats (for Horde). These will take you to the Strange Snowman NPC in the Alterac Mountains, who will direct you to kill The Abominable Greench, a spawned mob in the area. Although the Greench respawns quickly, the worst part about the quest line is having to tag him before someone else does, so I highly recommend grouping with other people of your faction in the area in order to get this done faster. Once you've killed him and looted the Stolen Treats, speak to the Snowman again, then head back to the Ironforge/Orgrimmar Winter Veil NPCs.
Click the link below for the rest of the guide on Winter Veil!