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The Opening of Ahn’Qiraj

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World of WarCraft: The Opening of Ahn'Quiraj

An editorial by Shawn Hawkens

Not too long ago Blizzard released a new preview to their Burning Crusade expansion, but this does not mean they are done updating the content in World of Warcraft yet, not by a long shot. Recently the long awaited 1.9 patch was released to the public. This patch brought the usual updates such as minor changes to combat, player classes being re-vamped, and new user interface improvements. But none of these changes were what the community was waiting for. Incredible Tier 2 item artwork, linked Auction Houses, multiple Battle Ground queues, new raiding calendars, and how could we possibly forget… Soul Shard Bags! However amazing these updates are, they all pale in comparison to the introduction of the newest raiding instance: Ahn’Qiraj. But one should not get their hopes up too high as the instance can not be accessed as easily as its predecessors, which is the most interesting part.

Previously when Blackwing Lair was released it would take one about 3-4 hours to be able to zone into it, all that was required was a small quest that involved clearing Upper Blackrock Spire. After this came the first 20-man instance Zul’Gurub, which did not require any quests to access it. Well times have changed and Blizzard intends to make sure we earn this next instance by making the entire server pitch in and open the gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Once opened, the entire server will be able to access not one but two separate instances, AQ 20-man and AQ 40-man, the latter being much more difficult for raid groups to complete. Unfortunately this server-wide quest is not merely completed in a quick 4 days, but closer to 4 weeks. Along with this one-time epic server quest there is an incredibly long and challenging quest line for high-end guilds to complete in unison with the server wide war effort. Once both have been completed it takes 5 days for the gates of AQ to open, finishing off with an epic battle held at the gates of AQ before they are opened.

To complete the server-wide AQ war effort a server must turn in a total of 3,850,000 items… That’s right, over three and a half million. Nearly any profession can turn in items because they cover all the bases; bandages, food, herbs, leather, and minerals. This is the first part of opening AQ that brings together the horde and alliance, because until both sides have turned in their share of the resources, the quest is not complete. But what would motivate the casual non-60 players to turn in these items if they will never raid AQ? Items in return would be a great idea, and is precisely what Blizzard did. For each turn in an individual completes they receive 1 green item, possibly even a rare or epic item if they are lucky, and random scrolls such as protection, spirit, and stamina. Some servers even have individual guilds that put forth raffles where prizes can be won for helping the server by turning in items to them, and this provides even more motivation for everyone to complete it quickly. With this motivating the casual players, and the hard-core players wanting to access the new instance, this brings the server together as they all help the AQ war effort.

Although one might think turning in nearly four million items would be enough to make a sever go insane, Blizzard also made hard-core guilds complete a lengthy series of quests for the other half of the AQ quest. Although only one person per raid group may loot Broodlord’s Head to start this epic quest line, with many guilds killing Broodlord on any given server, there may be many individuals trying to complete this quest line. The next part may not sound like much compared to the turn-in quest, but once the head is obtained the individual who looted it must collect approximately 41,000 carapaces from elite bug mobs in Silithus. No matter how one looks at it, killing over 25,000 of one mob is not the most exciting thing in the world of Azeroth. But I digress, this is only the first step in this quest sequence. From random drops in Molten Core, to clearing Blackwing Lair in under 5 hours, then grinding even more elite dragons in various zones, even to the point of exploring through the opposing factions major cities for pages of a book. How can you not love a quest where you get to spawn a giant shark named Maws, fight an epic boss in the Druid town of Moonglade, and fighting world bosses right in the back yard of the opposing faction hoping they do not spot you??

This provides for very exciting times to come on many servers. To get this quest done quicker some servers may put forth all their support to one guild, whether it be on the opposite faction or not, to help them complete this quest so the whole server benefits. However, as we are all familiar with competition, this is not the case on all servers. Regardless of the actions of a server, to be competitive or to be helpful, the server as a whole becomes more of a community. At the end of the day, opening of AQ is great no matter what the result between the opposing factions. If the opening of AQ brings Alliance and Horde closer together then the server as a whole is friendlier and everyone gets to know each other better. However if the guilds compete with each other over the opening of AQ fighting to do it first, then the server becomes more competitive and a great environment for PvP.

As many of our readers fit into either the casual and hard-core gamer profiles, what do you think about the opening of AQ? Have you been turning in your Runecloth Bandages or selling the cloth on the auction house? Do you happen to be one of the lucky few who are opening the gates of AQ as we speak?

You can respond to Garrett's article here.


Guest Writer