I still think this is the single greatest holiday screenshot I have ever captured.
Noblegarden is one of WoW's less stressful holidays overall -- which is good, as you'll have to deal with Children's Week later in the month. Noblegarden will run this year from Sunday, April 8 (this Sunday) until Sunday, April 15 (well, technically Saturday at 11:59 pm server time, if your calendar reads the same as mine). If you've never done Noblegarden before or only done its pre-2009 version, be aware that Noble Gardener (the holiday's meta) is part of the year-long What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been achievement rewarding the 310% speed Violet Proto-Drake.
The one new thing that I can confirm in 2012 is the presence of the Swift Springstrider, which can be purchased for 500 (!) Noblegarden chocolate from holiday vendors or found randomly in eggs. (However, nobody knows what the drop rate is like. I would bet on "bad.") This is pretty much the same deal as the Swift Lovebird from Love Is In the Air -- it's a way to keep players who already have the meta involved with the holiday.
- As with Hallow's End, much of the holiday content is found in and around level 5 towns: Azure Watch, Dolanaar, Goldshire, and Kharanos for the Alliance; Bloodhoof Village, Brill, Falconwing Square, and Razor Hill for the Horde. You'll find holiday NPCs in major cities giving you breadcrumb quests to direct you to the nearest town, but which you pick won't really matter. If one town seems overly crowded, you can just pick up and move to another one.
- Brightly Colored Eggs (see right) will spawn in and around these towns for the duration of the celebration (the week between this Sunday and next). Don't be fooled by the apparent size from the picture, however; while the eggs definitely stick out, they're very small. They're smaller than the average noncombat pet. You'll find them on ledges, around bushes, next to fence posts, and in a host of other areas.
- Most egg spawns drop an item called Noblegarden chocolate. While you can use it as a food item, it's more valuable as a currency at special holiday vendors (also located in level 5 towns) selling a noncombat pet, Noblegarden clothing, and other items you'll need for some of the achievements. Mages can also buy the Tome of Polymorph: Rabbit (which can't be learned until level 60).
- Buying all of the items you'll need for the achievements will run you a total of 365 chocolates. This may sound like a lot, but in practice, players rarely have to get this many. Most of the items you'll need for achievements are also random (and not hugely uncommon) drops from the eggs.
- Completing the meta-achievement Noble Gardener will reward the title the Noble.
- If you want the new mount, don't buy any of the other items you need until you're sitting on enough chocolate to get it. There's nothing more frustrating than shelling out to buy items for the holiday achievements, and then having the exact same items drop in the next egg you open. And don't forget that at least 100 chocolates need to be reserved for Chocoholic!
Generally speaking, most Noblegarden achievements are neither difficult nor time-consuming. This is definitely one of the more forgiving holidays with respect to earning its meta-achievement. Enjoy that while it lasts, because Children's Week is coming up, and it's still got one of the nastiest achievements in the game attached to it.
I Found One!
I Found One! is the easiest requirement by far. All this achievement requires you to do is find one Brightly Colored Egg. Since you'll need hundreds for the meta-achievement, this will just be the first of many.
For all those of us who love having Sting trapped in our heads. For Desert Rose, you'll need Spring Robes (which allow you to plant a flower on a 1-minute cooldown) from a Noblegarden vendor, and that'll run you 50 Noblegarden chocolates or a lucky drop. Four out of the five locations here are in Kalimdor, which should cut down on your travel time somewhat, but you'll still need to make the hike across the ocean to the Badlands. The achievement will count as long as you're within each zone; location doesn't otherwise matter.
While Thousand Needles is now largely underwater, there's still plenty of dry, parched land around both the edges of the zone and on top of the many mesas to get some planting done.
The easiest way to do Hard Boiled, short of getting lucky with an egg granting the Noblegarden bunny buff, is to head down to Un'Goro with friends who've bought the Blossoming Branch (a very easy purchase for 10 Noblegarden chocolates). The Golakka Hot Springs are the lake area to the west of the central mountain (Fire Plume Springs) in Un'goro. They're now substantially easier to find with the benefit of Cataclysm's improved maps. Head down, have your friend cast the buff, and wait until you lay an egg. It's a periodic trigger, so you probably won't have to wait too long. Be sure to bring your own Branch so you can return the favor.
If you do get the bunny buff from a random egg and don't have someone online to help you with a Branch, it's possible to just run down to Un'Goro all on your own, but be forewarned that you'll lose the buff by shapeshifting, mounting, or taking a flight path.
Noble Garden (Alliance) or Noble Garden (Horde) requires the purchase of a Brightly Colored Egg from a vendor (five chocolates). If you're Horde, head to Silvermoon; if you're Alliance, head to Stormwind. Right-click your egg to spawn another, and you're all set. Interestingly, you can loot the egg after you place it, thus "refunding" yourself a chocolate.
In addition to saving enough chocolates for the purchase of items you need for achievements, you'll need to eat 100 over the course of the week for Chocoholic. This sounds like a lot, but it amounts to a little less than 15 chocolates a day if you ration it out instead of saving them up and eating them in one big marathon.
Spring Fling (Alliance) or Spring Fling (Horde) is arguably one of the funniest (and/or most disturbing) achievements in the game, when you stop to think about it.
This one will run you 100 Noblegarden chocolates in order to buy the holiday's noncombat pet, the Spring Rabbit. What do you get for your hard-won confectioneries? The pet has a fairly unique behavior; like Stinker, the skunk you're awarded for Shop Smart, Shop Pet ... Smart, it falls in love, but -- unlike absolutely everything else in this T-rated game, which is a pity -- it makes babies. Leave your Spring Rabbit in proximity to someone else's Spring Rabbit and ... um ... you'll get more rabbits. Parents may want to keep their own small offspring away from the monitor for the duration of the holiday unless they want the subject of "the talk" to be prompted by pixelated rabbit goings-on.
Before the new version of Noblegarden went live in 2009, I wrote that the highlight of my playing experience was going to be a raid full of players with Spring Rabbits out, and my guild didn't disappoint. 10-mans will get five nice stable rabbit pairs, but a 25-man raid with a full complement of rabbits inevitably leaves one rabbit without a mate. Or so I thought. Near as I can tell, rabbits "pair off" based on proximity rather than actual emotional attachment, but once you've got a bunch of tiny bunny children running around, it gets a little hard to tell.
Oh, the achievement. Right. Uh, bring your rabbit to each of the four level 5 towns for your faction and wait for something beautiful and natural to happen with someone else's rabbit. There you go. Does that make you kind of a rabbit pimp? I think it does. Like I said, this is one of the more slyly funny achievements in the game, although these days you may need to ask around in guild or trade chat for some help if you're doing it a bit later in the holiday.
Shake Your Bunny Maker
Next on the agenda after pimping out your rabbit will be placing bunny ears on nubile 18+ players for Shake Your Bunny Maker. I mean, level 18+, of course. In the game! The game! Get your mind out of the gutter. You'll need to buy Spring Flowers for 50 chocolates, which let you place bunny ears on other players. You can place bunny ears on your own toon (helpful if you play a female, which lets you knock one of the requirements out right off the bat), but otherwise, you're going to have to start hunting down female toons of each race.
As the Wowhead thread notes, on some realms it's pretty hard to find females of certain races, and historically, trolls, orcs, tauren, and dwarves are the usual suspects. If you get desperate and don't yet have a death knight, the most expedient means of getting this achievement done might be rolling a female DK of the race your friends need and having her summoned somewhere convenient (and then having a friend do the same for you).
Please note that the formalwear described in the achievement notes for Blushing Bride is not the white-quality stuff from tailoring that anybody can get; you'll need to get these pieces as drops from eggs, or else buy them from a Noblegarden vendor. The pants and shirt cost 25 chocolates each, and the dress costs 50, so count on spending at least 50 chocolates for this. However, the clothing drops aren't terribly uncommon.
Sunday's Finest (not required for the meta)
Sunday's Finest is purely a matter of luck, but you'll probably (emphasis on probably) get it, if you're a really dedicated egg-hunter. There's really no strategy involved here -- just keep cracking those eggs open.
Dressed for the Occasion (not required for the meta)
Dressed for the Occasion is pretty much the same deal as Sunday's Finest. You just need to keep getting eggs to increase the odds of finding an Elegant Dress. However, if player comments are anything to go on, this one's rarer than its tuxedo counterparts.
Once you add up all of the items you'll need for the meta-achievement, with a worst-case scenario (i.e., very unlucky with drops from eggs, and you have to buy everything), you'll need to have 365 chocolates stashed away (add 50 more if you also buy an Elegant Dress to help friends who need Blushing Bride). And if you want the new mount, add another 500. (I know -- ouch.)
Don't forget that you've got a week to get this done, however. Good luck, and happy hunting!
Enjoy working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on patch 4.3 achievements, our guide to Mountain O' Mounts, and a good, hard look at what's wrong with archaeology and how Blizzard could fix it.