'Tis the season! Winter Veil 2012 runs from Saturday, Dec. 15 through Tuesday, Jan. 2 this year. As with most of the WoW holidays, the Merrymaker meta is required for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been. Those of you who are still on the lookout for your Violet Proto-Drakes will want to keep an eye out for any achievements you still need.
Even if you don't want or don't need any achievements, Winter Veil also gives you the opportunity to turn your mount into a reindeer, become a snowman with a unique dance animation, and get noncombat pets and unique holiday items. This is also the only time of year where pets like Father Winter's Helper won't disappear with an excuse over how busy they are making toys, so if you want to run around for an extended time with gnomes dressed in Santa outfits, seize the day.
As always, I'll be up as the holiday goes live to make necessary additions or corrections to the guide, but we're not anticipating any major changes to Winter Veil this year.
On Metzen! involves a short but fun daily quest line called You're a Mean One ... that starts with Wulmort Jinglepocket in Ironforge (for Alliance) or Kaymard Copperpinch in Orgrimmar (for Horde). Both NPCs will send you to a small cave in the southern part of the Alterac Mountains to defeat The Abominable Greench. He's a pretty easy fight, and best of all, he's functionally a group quest, so don't worry about whether or not you're the first to tag him. Most of the time, you'll find players already fighting him or waiting to do so, and as long as you do some damage to him before he dies, you'll get credit for the kill.
If you've never seen the Greench before, these are the abilities he uses:
Shrink Heart Movement dispels this, so jump or run around when he applies it.
Cleave A standard cleave. Don't stand in front of him unless you're tanking.
Throw Winter Veil Tree Periodically he tosses a Winter Veil Tree onto a nearby player and will then charge it. If you get hit, you'll take damage and get stunned for 6 seconds, so just move out of the way.
Throw Strange Snowman In addition to trees, he'll also toss snowmen at players, which will Snow Crash you (also doing damage and stunning). Again, just move out of the way.
Upon defeating the Greench, the Stolen Treats will spawn just outside his cave, and you'll see Metzen fly off free. Head back to Orgrimmar, turn in the quest, and you've got your achievement. Every day you do the quest nets you a Stolen Present reward, which can contain the Lump of Coal noncombat pet or an array of goods from Dalaran's toy store.
Simply Abominable is basically a gimme once you've done the daily quest to kill the Abominable Greench. Once you turn the Stolen Treats in to the Ironforge or Orgrimmar NPC, you'll get a follow-up quest, A Smokywood Pastures' Thank You! This will send you on a short walk to your city's Greatfather Winter NPC, who will complete the quest for you, awarding the achievement.
Greatfather Winter for the Alliance has always been located outside the Ironforge bank, and Greatfather Winter for the Horde is located outside of Garrosh's building in central Orgrimmar.
There are machines located in major cities that will give you a buff turning you into a gnome with 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). Locations are as follows:
Orgrimmar Below the easternmost (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.
Pandaria I'm going to go ahead and assume that similar machines will be located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
Got your costume? Right. While disguised as a Santa gnome, you need to get 50 honorable kills. The most efficient way to do this is to queue for a battleground (preferably one of the larger ones, like Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest) or Wintergrasp/Tol Barad. The rugby scrums and bottlenecks that tend to occur in the larger battlegrounds are much better for this achievement than smaller battlegrounds like Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, and I've personally found this achievement easiest to do while healing Alterac Valley. Manning one of the cannons or siege weapons in the battlegrounds with vehicles will also afford you some protection while you racks up HKs. Glaive throwers in Isle of Conquest are particularly effective at contributing to kills on big groups of players, so do whatever you can to make sure your faction controls the docks. Because you lose the costume upon death, just keep getting the costume and queuing for battles until you've gotten 50.
On a highly irritating note for feral and guardian 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 isn't totally unheard of 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 for Scrooge: Horde will need to chuck one at Baine Bloodhoof in Thunder Bluff. 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.
Fa-la-la-la-Ogri'la will take a little elbow grease if your character hasn't played through Outland much. If you started playing after The Burning Crusade and aren't familiar with Ogri'la, it's a faction of enlightened ogres located on the western side of Blade's Edge in Outland, and you'll need a flying mount to reach them. While the 2009 version of the holiday allowed you to skip past the Ogri'la prerequisites to get the Bomb Them Again! daily immediately, the 2010 and 2011 versions did not.
Just in case you've got to do the full quest series to access the daily, this is what you've got to worry about:
Once you can access it, Bomb Them Again! is an pretty easy quest to do, particularly if you're already sitting on a 310% flyer. You'll need some Preserved Holly (contained in Winter Veil presents or buyable from holly machines around holiday NPCs) 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.
'Tis the Season
'Tis the Season 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, as they're crafted by tailors and leatherworkers respectively from patterns bought from Winter Veil NPCs or received through the mail as the holiday begins. 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. These traditionally drop off high-level boss mobs in 5-man dungeons during Winter Veil, and you'll have to roll for them. In 2011, they were 100% drops off the heroic versions of:
We probably won't know which Mists of Pandaria 5-man bosses the hats will drop off until the events begin, so I'll update as soon as the holiday goes live. However, if you see any boss wearing the Santa hat while you're in a dungeon, that means they should be dropping it.
Let It Snow is a mercifully kinder achievement than others of its ilk in What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been, because most of the combinations here are relatively common. Statistically speaking, the hardest one to get will probably be the dwarf paladin. You'll still have to hunt some of them down, of course, but none of them approach the absurdity of having to find a dwarf rogue for Pilgrim's Bounty. However, the post-Cataclysm world -- with the Alliance and Horde largely holed up in their own cities both in classic Azeroth and Mists of Pandaria -- has made this a bit tougher than it used to be when everyone was holed up in Shattrath or Dalaran. You might want to try combining this with A Frosty Shake in a Dalaran to try snagging members of the opposite faction. Otherwise, battlegrounds, Tol Barad, or just plain hanging around enemy quest hubs or cities are all good bets.
Handful of Snowflakes are random rewards from /kissing Winter Revelers in inns. You'll need to keep at this long enough to get the 10 handfuls you'll need and then hunt down the race/class combinations. Target the players in question, right-click your snowflakes, and you're all set.
Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho's
You'll need to track down a set of NPCs for this achievement, and while it looks like the Alliance has a lot more legwork to do, in reality, most of their "brothers" are in Stormwind. Track 'em all down, use the Mistletoe you'll get as a random gift from /kissing Winter Revelers, and you're in business.
Brother Keltan Located aboard the Horde gunship, Orgrim's Hammer, that patrols the northeastern portion of Icecrown
The Winter Veil Gourmet
The cooking skills you may have acquired during Pilgrim's Bounty are going to come in handy here, because you'll need to cook up three holiday recipes for The Winter Veil Gourmet. The Gingerbread Cookie, Egg Nog, and Hot Apple Cider recipes are all sold by Winter Veil NPCs in major cities, although the Hot Apple Cider recipe is only sold by their Ironforge and Orgrimmar counterparts. You also have a chance of being mailed the cider recipe instead of having to buy it, so complete other holiday quests and achievements first and see what happens.
As a shopping list for all three recipes, plan on buying or getting:
2 Small Egg Dropped most commonly (and conveniently) by Eversong dragonhawk mobs for Horde and moonkin mobs in Darkshore for Alliance. You'll also find a ton of these sold at wildly inflated prices on the Auction House if you can't be bothered to make the trip.
You'll need at least 325 cooking skill to make all three recipes (1 cooking for the Gingerbread Cookie, 35 for the Egg Nog, and 325 for the cider), so if you didn't level yours when you had the chance during Pilgrim's Bounty, you'll have some work to do.
He Knows if You've Been Naughty
Opening one of the presents beneath the Ironforge or Orgrimmar tree is quite simple -- you'll just need to wait on the presents to start spawning, which will start happening on Dec. 25 and will continue until the end of the holiday. When this happens, you'll see a series of quests spawn on top of specific presents, and all you have to do is right-click on one to open it. You used to have to wait for other presents to spawn, but last year you were able to get all your presents at once, which was quite nice.
The disguise kit is easy to get -- it's an unannounced reward from completing the quest line needed for Simply Abominable, so if you've done that achievement, you can expect to receive the disguise kit in the mail within the next 24 hours. Snowballs, as previously stated, can be purchased from holiday NPCs, picked up from snowy areas around the world, or dropped from Hyldnir Spoils. Finding snowmen in Dalaran will be easy during the first few days of the holiday, but the number will start dwindling as time goes on, so you're probably better off doing this achievement sooner rather than later. That said, there were a number of generous souls on my server who simply parked themselves on the bank steps as a snowman and /danced the night away to enable others to get their achievement, and -- as with the people who rolled rogues of underplayed races and got them summoned to Dalaran for Pilgrim's Bounty -- I wish nothing but the happiest of fortunes upon them this holiday season. 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.