There’s one complicated, you could say contradictory, requirement to earning Insane in the Membrane: You must reach Exalted with the Steamwheedle Cartel (the Goblins who hang out in Booty Bay, Ratchet, Everlook and Gadgetzan) but you must also reach Honored with Bloodsail Buccaneers.
The goblins at Booty Bay are the sworn enemies of the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Killing members of the Bloodsail Buccaneers will increase reputation with the Steamwheedle… but get you no closer to completing Insane in the Membrane as you wreck your Bloodsail Buccaneers rep.
Most of the guides suggest the following plan of attack: gaining Bloodsail reputation (which you can only do by killing) and then repairing your (now Hated) Steamwheedle reputation all the way back to where you initially were, and then on to Exalted through a repeatable quest that doesn’t harm your Bloodsail rep. The quest forces you to run Dire Maul: North over and over again – hoping that you’ll be able to find a key and Free Knot! once every run for 350 reputation (385 for Humans).
Then there’s a second school of thought: The achievement never states that you must gain both Exalted Steamwheedle Cartel and Honored Bloodsail Buccaneers at the same point in time.
No clear consensus has yet been reached on whether or not you must be simultaneously exalted with the Steamwheedle Cartel and honored with the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Responses from Blizzard Representatives have been mixed.
Players can grind to exalted with Steamwheedle Cartel before attempting Bloodsail Buccaneers, if they wish. However, it does not appear guaranteed the achievement will be earned this way.
Unfortunately I found more proof that you did need to meet all the criteria simultaneously than proof to the contrary.
You find three GM responses here, here and here that say you don’t need them at the same time. There’s also a blue post here saying the same thing… [But]… Kambiae of the Spirestone Server recorded this video on live in which despite having had all the reps at different times no achievement was awarded.
Curiosity got the better of me. Or, more likely, I just didn’t want to damage four reputations at the start of the Insane in the Membrane grind. Or spend the start of the grind in a world PVP hot spot.
And regardless of whether you need the reputations simultaneously or not, I would post my finding here on the blog. So here goes:
- I reached Exalted Ravenholdt first
- Then ran Dire Maul: North, completing Free Knot!, until I reached Exalted Booty Bay and kept running Dire Maul: North until I also had Exalted Ratchet, Exalted Everlook and Exalted Gadgetzan
- Bought the last few items (Librams, Diamonds) and farmed the easy stuff (Blood of Heroes, Skin of Shadow, Frayed Abomination Stitching) to hand in and complete Exalted Shendralar
- Spent one evening with a friend in Booty Bay until we both became Admirals AKA reached Honoured with the Bloodsail Buccaneers. By now I was well and truly Hated by all the goblins.
- Cried about the herb market
- Handed in my last deck to reach Exalted Darkmoon Faire
And was awarded the achievement Insane in the Membrane even though I am currently Hated by four of the required factions. That’s right: Hated Booty Bay, Ratchet, Everlook and Gadgetzan. You can Armory me if you don’t believe me.
If I had gambled and lost, I would be back in Dire Maul: North now. With hundreds of extra Dire Maul clears still to complete searching for that stupid key in order to Free Knot!
I ran Dire Maul: North about 50 times to get my worst Steamwheedle faction up from Revered to Exalted. And each run took me about 20-30 minutes. Going from Hated to Exalted would be a bitch. Can you imagine how much time I’ve saved?
Achievements are funny things. Originally I just figured that I would check the status of the Achievement when I lost Exalted with the first Steamwheedle faction. If it remained green and checked off – I was going to be okay. After all, I reasoned, that’s how people used to fake the Epic and Superior achievements with just 1 excellent trinket and ring. You could move it into the second ring/trinket slot and keep the first ring slot still checked off as complete.
This would be possible except that Insane in the Membrane is a Feat of Strength. You can’t browse to it and track your progress using the Achievement panel.
I had another bad moment when I did lose Exalted Steamwheedle. Reaching Exalted Steamwheedle and Shendralar during those Dire Maul runs had pushed me all the way up to 39/40 Exalted Reputations: just one away from Cassandri the Exalted. If the Exalted and the Insane achievements behaved in the same fashion – and indeed they are worded the same – the Exalted wouldn’t require me to earn 40 Exalted reputations simultaneously either.
Unfortunately it turns out that The Exalted achievement does require you to have 40 Exalted reputations simultaneously. Earning Honored Bloodsail Buccaneers and losing Exalted Booty Bay, Exalted Ratchet, Exalted Everlook and Exalted Gadgetzan dropped me back to 36/40 on that progress bar.
This seemed like a bad omen for my Insane in the Membrane plan.
Thank god these two achievements don’t work in the same way.
I may not be welcome in Booty Bay anymore. I may be way off The Exalted. But it’s all worth it if I never have to solo run Dire Maul again.