WoW Classic Spotlight: The Ahn'Qiraj War Effort
Hey everyone! We're back with another Classic Spotlight, where we take a deeper look at events that happened during WoW Vanilla to remember them and get hyped up for the upcoming WoW Classic servers! In this first post of a 2-part series, we're looking at the event that started it all and unlocked the secrets of the qiraji, the
Ahn'Qiraj War Effort
With the upcoming
event and the recent newfound relevancy of
, we have decided to look at two classic instances:
! In this first of a 2-post series, we will look at the massive server-wide event that led to the opening of those 2 instances.
Check out our past Classic spotlights as well on
Farming Nature Resistance
The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj was Blizzard's first attempt at a massive event that required efforts from the entire server.
Patch 1.9 was released on January 3rd, in 2006
, the two raid instances that composed Ahn'Qiraj,
, were not immediately available to the general population. Instead, players had to undertake a massive war effort to help open the instance which included two segments: the gathering of hundreds of thousands of supplies, and completing an epic questline that took the server's most geared characters through an adventure to help the Dragonflights. The event reached its climax with a server-wide 10 hour event, which spanned lots of zones in Kalimdor.
How fast or slowly Ahn'Qiraj opened depended only on the dedication of the entire server.
There was never such an event since AQ - Blizzard has created server-wide events since then, such as pre-expansion events, but these weren't as involved or as taxing on the players as the Ahn'Qiraj War Effort was. Although epic, the AQ event was plagued with server crashes, massive lag and even weird bugs.
Closed Scarab Wall image taken by
Tour of Azeroth on flickr
Opening the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj and Lore
The Scarab Wall was created by the might of the Dragonflights, as a way to contain the Qiraji at the end of the War of the Shifting Sands. The only way the wall could be opened was by banging the Scarab Gong with the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, a creation from all the combined Dragonflights. As for the lore, the scepter was shattered by Fandral Staghelm, as documented in the Chronicle series of books:
"As a final act, Anachronos forged two mystical artifacts: the Scarab Gong and the Scepter of the Shifting Sands. The dragon entrusted the scepter to Fandral. Should the need ever arise to enter Ahn'Qiraj again, he could use this artifact to open the Scarab Wall.
Fandral found no solace in ending the qiraji threat, for Valstann's death still tormented his heart. In his rage, he shattered the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, and the pieces became lost for the next thousand years."
Warcraft Chronicle Volume One, page 148.
In the WoW lore, the official Scarab Lord, responsible for banging the gong and starting the second War of the Shifting Sands, is the veteran Night Elf Priestess Shiromar. You can read a short story on the War of the Shifting Sands
on the official WoW website, written by Micky Neilson.
In this massive event, the most dedicated players reassembled the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, while the rest of the server gathered materials to aid in the war effort. As the Scarab Wall opened, a myriad of qiraji creatures would rush at the players, so the entire population of Azeroth had to prepare for the attack.
Gathering War Supplies
One of the necessary steps to open Ahn'Qiraj was the gathering of supplies. Both Horde and Alliance had to collect hundreds of thousands of supplies to aid in the war effort. You could turn these in at the War Effort bases (located at the Military Ward in
for Alliance, and the Valley of Spirits in
Each turn-in gave you an
, containing a green item equivalent to the level of the item you turned in, and a number of signets (
), which were turned it at Commendation Officers for reputation for the capital city of your choice. This was actually a good way to farm reputation with capital cities, as the only other option at the time was cloth turn-ins (like
Both factions had to gather a total of:
(1 signet per turn in)
(7 signets per turn in)
(7 signets per turn in)
(7 signets per turn in)
(10 signets per turn in)
also had to gather:
also had to gather:
Ironforge War Effort photo taken by
A stack of each item resulted in a turn-in, and the first turn-in for each item always gave you 10 signets. Subsequent turn-ins gave you the number of signets stated above.
As you can see, this was no mere task. The entire server had to come in together and help, after all, this is war we're talking about. There were shortages of every single one of the above items, and you had to decide which was more important: you or the server?
There has never been such a massive event on WoW servers since. The sense of urgency and the qiraji threat didn't ring true just on max-level, top-geared characters - everyone was feeling it. The event also promoted massive cooperation between both factions, trading materials that were more easily acquired on the other side for theirs. Guilds that were rivals were working together and players forging new friendships.
After the server managed to collect all necessary items, there was a five day delay before the gates could be opened by the Scepter-holder, as the supplies were being transported to Silithus. Although this couldn't be seen happening in real-time, players would notice that boxes of supplies in Ironforge and Orgrimmar would slowly disappear and accumulate in Silithus.
The Scepter of the Shifting Sands
Together with the server-wide item collection, players had to rebuild
, and use it to bang the gong located in southern
Obtaining the Scepter was no mere task, though. To this day, this is the longest questline to ever exist in the history of World of Warcraft, and involved a massive rep grind, multiple trips to raid instances (and no LFR to help you!), and collecting materials that were incredibly expensive to the average player.
The quest began in Cenarion Hold and was accessible for all level 60 players the day patch 1.9 went live.
What Tomorrow Brings
sends you to
to discover the
rests sleeping right in front of the sealed entrance to what would become the Caverns of Time. Just approach him and this quest will complete. There are plenty of elite dragons roaming the area, so dodge them to approach the Aspect of Time.
The first difficult step for the quest is here: you need to kill
to Baristolth. Lashlayer is the third boss in
and, as the quest's title states,
only one head dropped for your entire 40-man group
. This was later changed so Lashlayer's head became party loot, but during the War Effort, you had to choose carefully whom to entrust with this.
The Path of the Righteous
After returning to Baristolth, you're tasked with quite a tall order: become Neutral with the
. This reputation is a breeze to farm in
, but we're trying to open the raid here, so this becomes a bit more difficult.
Accepting the quest gives you
, which allows you to farm
, the objective of this quest. You then had to grind silithid mobs in Silithus, and turn these in to Baristolth, and only you, as an
, can see the fragments. 200 carapaces will give you 500 reputation with Brood of Nozdormu, so you need to farm quite a lot of Silithid Carapaces. Luckily, this is where the chain starts becoming more involved: each turn in gives you a
, allowing you to deputize someone else to become an Agent of Nozdormu. The carapaces themselves don't bind, so you could eventually have your guild help you get you to neutral.
Baristolth offers you the next quest once you reach Neutral with the Brood of Nozdormu.
Now you can finally communicate with
and the Bronze Dragonflight! Go to Tanaris and talk with him. Baristolth also gives you
, an item that describes what happened in the war and how Ahn'Qiraj became a prison.
Anachronos charges you with finding the
in Silithus, next to the Scarab Gong. It's a small red crystal, but easily noticeable among the sandy floor. Interacting with the tear will start a cinematic, showing how the Dragonflights, together with Fandral Staghelm, created the Scarab Wall, as well as Fandral destroying the Scepter. You can watch the cinematic with the video below:
After learning all that you can about the past, Anachronos will tell you that he holds the first shard, the Bronze Scepter Shard. The other 3 shards are held by mighty dragons around the world. Anachronos will offer you no quests, having you figure out on your own who has which shard.
This shard was entrusted to the green dragon
, who has been known to sleep in the
. Head to the dungeon and make your way to the
will appear, and get you started on the hunt for the green shard.
Eranikus, Tyrant of the Dream
Malfurion tells you that Eranikus was corrupted while slumbering in the Emerald Dream, and to get the shard back, we need to save him. Find a
just outside the gates of , and communicate with him.
Tyrande and Remulos
The wisp will simply tell you that
awaits you in
Remulos instructs you to obtain 4
, one for each zone which contains a portal to the Emerald Dream. Those can be found by the portals in
In Ashenvale, Feralas and Hinterlands, the respective fragments drop from the elite dragonkin around the portal. These can be farmed with a 5-man group.
In Duskwood, a
will spawn next to the Moonwell to the right of the portal, as soon as you zone in the portal area. He has a punt and a mind control ability and requires a full 40-man raid to defeat. Only one fragment will drop from it, in case you have more than one person with the quest.
You will need at least a 20-man raid to be able to complete this quest. After arriving in Moonglade with the fragments and accepting the quest,
will arrive! Your objective here is to keep Eranikus alive till
arrives! A lot of
will appear and start wailing at your raid and the guards and can be safely killed.
Remulos will be tanking Eranikus and needs to be healed. Guards and other NPCs can't receive heals so they should be able to be used as a meat shield. Tyrande will appear after Eranikus reaches 20% health.
You can check out a video of the event below!
After cleansing Eranikus, you will turn in this quest and receive the
from him. The quest also has
Return to Anachronos in Tanaris with the good news. He will be holding the shard for you till you retrieve all 3 of them.
This shard was entrusted to the red dragon
, who is being held captive in
Before you start this fight, talk to
, who will offer you the only quest for this part. It is still a very hard quest.
Vaelastraz warns you that the shard was stolen by
, and Nefarian immediately taunts your raid after accepting the quest. Your raid has
has 5 hours
to get through all of Blackwing Lair and kill Nefarian. Blackwing Lair was the hardest raid back when this chain first started, so it was quite the adventure.
If you kill Nefarian within the 5 hours of the quest, the
will be lootable off his corpse. As with many items from the scepter quest chain, only one person can loot the shard off Nefarian.
If you fail the timer, Nefarian will instead have
on his corpse, which is basically a very polite way of mocking your entire raid team.
To Whom It May Concern,
How I love these games that we play.
I can only assume that if you are reading this letter, you have somehow, through miracle or divine intervention, managed to vanquish me. Preposterous, I know, but stranger things have happened in the history of this world.
As with all things in life, there is a glorious, silver lining of tragedy, chaos, and evil to this sorrowful tale. While you have slain me, you have done so in such a slow and disorderly fashion that I have had time enough to write this letter AFTER I destroyed your only hope of saving this world. The crushed red crystal powder is all that is left of your scepter shard.
Enjoy the Nemesis and Stormrage armaments that you may find in my treasure trove. Believe me when I tell you this: I take great pleasure in knowing that I did what my father could not...
Lord Victor Nefarius
Anachronos will hold the shard and wait for all 3 to be together. This quest also gives
as quest rewards.
This shard was entrusted to the blue dragon
, who was a world boss in southern
. If Azuregos is currently dead, you can talk to the
at his usual spawn location instead.
Azuregos's Magical Ledger
After a LOT of explaining, Azuregos (or his spirit) tells you that after being sick of attracting the wrong kind of attention because of the blue shard, he gave it... to a fish. Genius idea, right? There are tens of millions of fish in the seas between Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. But now we need to get that shard back, and we need to build a bait to get that very specific minnow. Azuregos gives you a
and tells you to deliver it to his old friend
Translating the Ledger
Narain explains to you that the ledger is written in draconic, and he can't really read draconic. Luckily, all we need to do so is
, a copy of
, and a
. You then engage in 3 questlines to obtain these items.
Narain explains that his scrying goggles were actually stolen by his now ex-Best Friend Forever! Fortunately, Narain is a psychic gnome, and manage to locate
hidden in a box next to the Greymane Wall in
After learning that he won't need to go back to working for Narain, Stewvul tells you he actually lost the scrying goggles while poking around in
. The goggles have a chance to drop off all mobs in Molten Core, so go there with your raid or form a 10-man group to farm trash till it drops.
After bringing his goggles back, Narain gives you 3
s for your efforts.
Draconic for Dummies
Narain has a copy of Draconic for Dummies hidden away in an isle far south of Tanaris. In fact, it's so far south, you can't get there by conventional means.
After arriving at the Land's End Beach in southern Tanaris, you will find
, who will have the quest
. She's in love with Narain! Sadly, it is fated to not work out... Only if she wasn't a fish, right little gnome? After turning in this quest, you can return to Meredith and she will show her thanks by giving you
, allowing you to swim super fast and reach the island where the book is.
Once you finally arrive at the island, you'll learn that the book has been stolen! Return to Narain with the
Narain decides to attempt to fool those responsible for stealing the book,
. Go to
at the marked spot, drop the bag of fake gold, then wear
to look just like him. You will need a full 5-man group, as Doctor Weavil won't be fooled by your disguise, and will send
to kill you. Once Number Two is dealt with, return to Narain.
We learn that after the events in Winterspring, Doctor Weavil has ripped the book into 8 pages, and scattered them through the wind. Narain uses his soothsaying powers to find out that
is hiding out at Alcaz Island, in
. You will need at least a 20-man group to kill him, a full 40-man is advised. Doctor Weavil has a nasty mind control that can get tanks and make things ugly very fast.
Weavil drops the first chapter of
, as well as his diary (
), and he conveniently wrote there where he flew through while ripping off the pages of the magical book! Reading through the diary, you can figure out where to go for each chapter.
Doctor Weavil only drops one item per kill!
Here's where the rest of the book is located:
(Chapter II) - Demons at the Tainted Scar in
. Although it can be farmed solo, it's recommended to bring a 5-man for maximum safety. It's a random drop and only 1 copy can drop per kill.
(Chapter III) - Demons at Darkwhisper Gorge in
. Same as the Blasted Lands chapter.
(Chapter IV) - In
, on a table next to
, the Book Vendor by the Magic Quarter. Everyone on the quest can loot this chapter.
(Chapter V) - In
, on the floor at the library located inside Stormwind Keep. Same as the Undercity chapter.
(Chapter VI) - Drops off
. Only one copy drops per kill.
(Chapter VII) - In
, on a table near where
patrols. Everyone on the quest can loot this chapter.
(Chapter VIII) - Drops off
. Only one copy drops per kill.
After collecting all 8 chapters, Narain awards you his turban,
, for your efforts.
Never Ask Me About My Business
We need to find a 500 pound chicken, and only one person knows where we can find such a specimen. Head to the butcher
, located in Gadgetzan.
The Isle of Dread!
Dirge mentions the existence of a massive chimaerok located at the Isle of Dread, in
. The king of the chimaeroks there,
, can be disguised to look exactly like a 500-pound chicken! You will need at least a 10-man group to safely kill this boss for the
. The smaller chimaeras, that drop
, can be killed with a 3-man group, and even solo'd by some classes with good gear. Return to Dirge with the carcass and the meat.
Now, to disguise the carcass! We will need 20
. The Rocket Fuel can be created by engineers specialized in Goblin Engineering, and the Deeprock Salt can be farmed off high-level earth elementals.
Turning in this quest will give you the ultra-rare
Now, all you have to is deliver the "chicken" to Narain.
After gathering all 3 items for Narain, he will start crafting the buoy. Except...
The Good News and The Bad News
The Arcanite Buoy is
expensive to make. You will need to gather 20
s and 10
The Arcanite Bars can be transmuted by alchemists (remember that there is a daily cooldown!), the Elementium Ingots are rare drops from
, a trash mob in
, and the gemstones are rare drops from Thorium veins.
The Wrath of Neptulon
finally in your hands, it's time to bait the minnow! Gather at least 20 people (much easier with a full 40-man raid) and head to the Bay of Storms in
. Locate a giant Swirling Maelstrom and use your Arcanite Buoy there, and kill the beast! The
will drop off it. Return to Anachronos with the shard.
This quest gives you
as rewards. A day after turning in this quest, Narain will send you an in-game mail, with 100 gold and the following message:
The Blue Dragonflight believes that you are fated for greater things than even I could predict.
Despite what some would have you believe, our world needs heroes. In your darkest hour, when you face the blight of Kalimdor, recall the epic journies, trials, and tribulations that you undertook for an old gnome and let those memories lift your spirits.
P.S. Sorry about the repair costs.
After combining all scepter shards, Anachronos is finally able to recreate
. The person with the scepter in hand had to wait for at least 5 days to be able to open Ahn'Qiraj, or even longer if the server did not finish their war effort.
The Ten Hour War
After all the supplies have been gathered in Silithus, and the server has a scepter-holder, they can go to the Scarab Gong and
. Immediately after the first scepter-bearer bangs the gong, a few server-wide messages will appear, marking the start of the Ten Hour War:
<name>, Champion of the Bronze Dragonflight has rung the Scarab Gong. The ancient gates of Ahn'Qiraj open, revealing the horrors of a forgotten war...
Massive Qiraji resonating crystals break through the earthen crust of Kalimdor. Colossal creatures made of obsidian stone breach the freshly broken land...
Colossus of Zora casts its massive shadow upon the whole of Silithus.
Colossus of Ashi breaks free of its cocoon beneath Hive'Ashi.
Colossus of Regal hears the call to battle and rises to serve its master.
General Rajaxx yells: Soon you will know the price of your meddling, mortals... The master is nearly whole... And when he rises, your world will cease.
The person who first completed the quest then received the
and the title as rewards. Everyone else who had
and banged the gong within the 10 hours of the war would also receive the mount and title.
The first stage of the war is the opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj opening. A horde of Silithid and Anubisath mobs, led by
, poured out of the instances to attack players by the Scarab Wall. Meanwhile, Qiraji Resonating Crystals spawned in several Kalimdor zones like
. These massive obelisks randomly mind controlled nearby players and spawned high-level Anubisath and Silithid mobs.
Gigantic silithid colossi also appeared at the main silithid hives in Silithus, requiring at least a full raid group. Killing them would give the participants the quest for the specific hive (
), and you could turn these in at Cenarion Hold for supplies and a green or blue quality item.
You can check the video below for a sneak peek of the Ten Hour War!
At the end of the Ten Hour War, all Obelisks and Silithid/Anubisath NPCs disappeared, leaving the gates of Ahn'Qiraj open for the foreseeable future. Players who banged the gong gained access to the final quest,
, which would reward them with a choice of a powerful weapon for their efforts (
). Players who didn't bang the gong during the war only had access to this final quest, never to obtain the mount or title.
Fun Facts and Trivia
Although the quests for the Scepter of the Shifting Sands were removed from quest logs, the quests for the material gathering part of the War Effort weren't, and those quests can be shared.
People have been keeping these quests in their questlog as a running gag to this day
. As the NPCs for the War Effort were removed, these quests can no longer be completed.
At the end of the quest
Never Ask Me About My Business
mentions a "Black Chicken of Death". This chicken is
, and Warlocks on the quest
accidentally summoned this massive chicken.
Several places where the Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline happened are no longer accessible due to the events of Cataclysm.
Places like the Isle of Dread in Feralas and Steamwheedle Port in Gadgetzan were completely destroyed. The Isle of Dread is still barely visible on
, to the south of the Ruins of Feathermoon, but the area is now a fatigue zone.
The chimaerok chimaeras are almost extinct, but you can still obtain
from the rare mob
With the Goblins' remodeling of Azshara, the Bay of Storms became Bilgewater Bay, and now host Bilgewater Harbor, the Goblins' capital city.
was incredibly valuable as the best Stamina food during Vanilla times. The recipe is no longer obtainable but doesn't bind to anything, so you might be sitting on a goldmine! This recipe is also the only epic-quality Cooking recipe in the game.
The first server to open Ahn'Qiraj was
, on January 23rd, 2006. The person who first banged the gong was a dwarf warrior named Kalahad, the Guild Master of <Fury>.
The Ahn'Qiraj opening event usually resulted in massive lag and glitches, due to the sheer amount of people gathering in Silithus to witness the event.
Dark Legacy Comics created a comic accurately describing what happened during these days
The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj have glitched on a few occasions and closed off:
During the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch, in 3.0.2, all servers had their gates closed due to a bug, and all characters of the same race and class as the original scepter holder learned the ability to speak Draconic. If you had completed the Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline, all you had to do was go to the Scarab Gong and the quest for the
would be there. This also triggered a second 10 Hour war.
Some of the new servers that were released on Wrath of the Lich King, such as Borean Tundra and Nesingwary-US, had their gates closed on launch. People who completed the scepter quest but did not receive the mount planned a massive server transfer so that everyone would obtain their mounts and titles on these servers.
Since then, all servers released automatically had their gates open, and the commendation NPCs were removed for good.
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