Saturday, May 16, 2009

Higher Learning Achievement Guide

One of the most confusing and ultimately rewarding Achievements is Higher Learning which tasks you with tracking down and reading eight missing volumes of the Schools of Arcane Learning scattered throughout Dalaran. In a perfect world, this achievement could be completed in one flawless circuit of the floating city. Much more likely it will take days, if not weeks, of meticulously scouring the books' individual spawn points to land the reward.

Higher Learning nets you The Schools of Arcane Learning: Mastery which is your ticket to purchase a Kirin Tor Familiar. The Kirin Tor Familiar is, in my opinion, one of the coolest pets in the game. He is basically a little arcane Void Walker which follows you around, occasionally casting entirely superficial arcane explosions. What makes him particularly exceptional is his size, which is roughly that of a gnome.



Each of the eight books you must find, with one exception, spawns in one and only one location in Dalaran (the exception spawns in two locations). These, however, are no ordinary spawns. Each book's spawn point has a chance to spawn either the book you need for the achievement or one of a number of junk books. Which appears is entirely random. Where the frustrating part comes in is that each spawn point generates a book only once three to four hours after the last book to appear there disappears. This means that even if you manage to catch a spawned book, if it is junk, you will have to wait at least three hours to try again.

There is, however, a shining light in how the books despawn. Rather than disappearing after a single reader, the books instead despawn exactly two minutes after being first read. This means multiple players can take advantage of the same spawn if their timing is right.

Now on to where and how to find them. Here is a quick rundown of where each book spawns:

Introduction: On the floor in the Teleportation Crystal Room (2)
Divination: On the floor in the Violet Citadel right next to the portal for the Caverns of Time (5)
Necromancy: In the bookshelf in the bedroom on the top floor of Ledgermain Lodge (3)
Transmutaion: In the bookshelf on the lower floor of the Ledgermain Lodge near the Northern enterance (3)
Conjuration: In the Violet Citadel on one of the bookshelves directly to the right on the first floor (5)
Abjuration: Either on the Floor next to the bookshelf in the Teleportation Crystal Room or on the floor in the Dalaran Visitor's Center directly between the two bookshelves (2, 6)
Enchantment: On a box on the second floor balcony of Threads of Fate (4)
Illusion: On the boxes right next to the daily dungeon quest giver near the entrance to the Violet Hold (1)

As for how to find them, you will want to run a circuit through Dalaran that hits each spawn point. Use the map below as a guide:


Try to shave off extra seconds wherever you can because you will be making this run many, many, many times. For example, hop off the balcony at Threads of Fate (4) rather than running back through the shop.

Odds are, you will come across your first several books rather quickly. As you start to gather the books, modify your rout around the city to cut out the spawns you no longer need. Even if you are not intensely pursuing the Achievement, making a single lap of Dalaran whenever you find yourself there should eventually net you the prize. As another tip, try always logging out at one of the book spawn locations. That way, when you log back in you can instantly check for a book you still need. Lastly, check immediately after server maintenance and during off peak hours to increase your chances of landing a spawn.

As you begin to need fewer books, the process slows dramatically and finding junk books is all the more disheartening. Keep in mind though that when you find a junk book, you know the hour window during which the spawn will repopulate. Use that to your advantage. You may very well need to camp that last book or two, but it will be worth it in the end. Good luck!

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