After leveling several characters of varying types into the 30's and spending more than my share of time in the lush, tropical, yet deadly oasis that is Stranglethorn Vale, I decided that, with my latest character, I would actually try and do something with all those annoying pages that kept filling up my backpack; even after reading how un-rewarding & tedious the quest was (especially for a Hunter), I decided to actually attempt to piece together The Green Hills of Stranglethorn.
And, since I'm just the type of idiot who doesn't like to take shortcuts with things, I decided that I would find all the pages myself, without buying them from the Auction House. How hard could it be?, I thought, I find the darn things on every single monster that I kill! It HAS to be pretty easy, right?
Well, read on to find the answer...
First of all, let me just say that if I had a time machine, I would rather go back and spend the hours I wasted on this quest watching reruns of Family matters dubbed into Burmese. It would have been a lot less frustrating trying to get through it, anyway.
For those of you who have never attempted or found the quest, The Green Hills of Stranglethorn starts in Stranglethorn Vale at Nessingwary's Expedition to the north, and consists of collecting several lost pages from the eponymous tome off basically any monster in the zone, combining them in the right order to make three chapters, and returning them to the dwarf Barnil Stonepot at Nessingwary's.
This has simply got to be one of those quests that I'm sure began with the developer's best intentions, but once it became evident late in the process that it was just too unwieldy, they decided to push on through because they had already added the stupid things to all the loot tables for the area. Because i cannot rationalize for the life of me why any dev in his right mind would think that, at the stage in the game where I would be in Stranglethorn Vale to receive this quest, I'd also have 57,000 bag slots open to carry all the pages required. I wouldn't exaggerate if I said that literally 1/4 of my time spent on this quest was spent running back to the vendor to clear up more bag space.
I also see no good reason, aside from sheer malignancy, to have the pages & the chapters be numbered in a completely arbitrary fashion, instead of chronologically, and to have to open three different screens within your quest log to find out the order needed to turn the various chapters in. Sure, it's not a huge deal, but with a quest involving so many different things to keep track of in the first place, the least they could do is put all the relevant info on one quest page.
And, in the end, I must confess that, after spending literally an entire day & a half wandering around, slaughtering everything that moved within that whole zone while avoiding kill-happy Horde the entire time, in the end I still had to end up visiting the AH to complete the quest. I walked in ashamed, with my helmet-clad head hung low, but I did it...I was at my wits end.
Now sure, you could say that the Auction House or trade channel is, in a way, an integral part of this quest; that it's not meant to be completed without the help of others. Well, sir...to you I say hogwash; just make the darn things unique & yet trade-able, so I won't have to keep picking up 37 copies of page 24 & hoping I can sell them for a few silver to allay my frustration.
Finally, though, I assembled all the chapters & turned them in for my reward: a pair of plate boots (which I knew I couldn't use ahead of time), a couple of armor kits (yippee!), and some healing potions. Be still my heart. Although I knew of the rewards ahead of time & still elected to do the quest, I still couldn't help but be disappointed in the end, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been much less so had I been a Warrior or Paladin; the reward is just simply weak, by any standards.
Sure, at it's heart, it's just a simple gather & return quest...but it's one of the most tedious, time-consuming gathering & returnings I've ever seen, and the very least Blizzard could do is offer a class-based choice of reward items. The XP is decent, but it wasn't anything spectacular, and there wasn't even any money involved to sweeten the deal.
So, I guess it's my own fault now that I have an irrational fear of gorillas & that every time I see a tiger, I want to puke; I think I'll be avoiding Stranglethorn Vale for a while. I'm sure there are worse quests out there (Deep Ocean, Vast Sea, anyone?), but for me, this was quite possibly the most boring time I've ever had playing WoW...and that says something, 'cus I've spent an awful lot of time fishing.
And yes, I'm aware of the Hemingway reference...