The southern coast of Arathi Highlands is mountainous and all but impassable. Most players leveling through the zone in vanilla never bothered to explore beyond the steep ridges. Yet if you were curious, you might have discovered a tucked-away area known as Faldir's Cove. To find it, you either had to swim along the coast or discover a small cave tucked away in the hills southeast of Stromgarde. The area wasn't labeled on the map, and no NPC sent you there. Explorers were rewarded with perhaps the least-known quest chain in vanilla.
Other secret quests such as Message in a Bottle were "hidden" in plain sight in high-traffic areas. You were bound to notice The Matron Protectorate if you ran Blackrock Spire enough -- or someone would helpfully point it out to you while you were grouped. The only one that might be more obscure was Sully Balloo's Letter, but that wasn't really a line of quests, and you didn't do anything but talk to some NPCs. Therefore, I give the title of most hidden quest line to Faldir's Cove.
The beginning quest was Land Ho! Part of what made this quest line so hidden was that the first quest was flagged as level 35. The rest of the line was, strangely, level 40. So if you were level 40 at the time (or higher) when you found this area, the exclamation point would not appear. Unless you started clicking on NPCs, you would think the ship was an intriguing bit of scenery and nothing more. If you did see the exclamation point, you might not have been leveled enough to accept the level 40 follow-up, so you might have forgotten all about it and never returned.
Land Ho! came from an unusual NPC, an ogre named Lolo the Lookout. Lolo was born with only one head, but he's smarter than he looks. He tells you that their other two ships were lost off the coast while treasure-hunting and urges you to speak to the captain.
This quest was no easy task. He wasn't kidding when he said "deep" -- and in vanilla, breath timers were very short for non-Forsaken. The objects were scattered among the wrecks, and keep in mind that vanilla offered no golden sparkles indicating objectives. Not only did you have to find the objects, you had to contend with naga who could aggro through the walls of the ships. They also respawned very quickly, which was frustrating when you had to return to the surface for air so often.
Here was also the domain of Prince Nazjak, a level 41 rare spawn who dropped one of vanilla's most useful trinkets: the Tidal Charm. (The prince can still be found there, incidentally, but he was reduced to level 28 and no longer drops the trinket.)
While you were down there, you could also complete two other quests from NPCs in the cove: Drowned Sorrows, a quest to kill naga, and Sunken Treasure, a quest to collect gems from the sea floor. (Fun fact: This part of the Sunken Treasure quest line is quest #666.)
Sunken Treasure is actually a five-parter constituting the bulk of the cove quest line. It begins with a quest to help Professor Phizzlethorpe create a pair of goggles that will reveal the scattered gems. Of course, the only way to make said goggles is to use the energy from an enchanted stone inside a cave filled with water elementals. Honestly, how else would you do it? The elementals spawned in pairs while the professor worked, and you had to protect him.
Once you'd received the goggles and gathered the gems, the captain sent you to Fleetmaster Seahorn in Booty Bay. Booty Bay is ... not very close to Arathi Highlands, for another example of vanilla's obsession with sending you across continents and/or oceans, even for shorter quest lines. (But that's what made them epic, right?) Seahorn then cheerfully sends you right back to the cove with a letter.
The finale of the quest line was Death From Below. Once you delivered Seahorn's letter, the captain warned you of an impending attack and asked you to help him repel it by manning the ship's cannons. If you ignored the part about the cannons, you likely stood right in the way of the attacking naga and had a rough go of it. If you instead fired the cannon at them, you'd kill an entire wave in one hit. Three waves later and the attack was over. It's interesting to wonder if mechanics like this usable cannon inspired the vehicle-based quests of Wrath.
The rewards, unfortunately, were not so exciting. You had your choice of two poorly itemized rings from the grateful captain.
Post-Cataclysm, the quest line still exists, but it has been abbreviated (and no longer requires a trip to Booty Bay). Faldir's Cove is also marked in giant letters on the new map, so even if you had no other information, you'd figure something had to be down there.
WoW today rewards exploration far less than many other MMOs. I'd like to see hidden quest lines like this make a comeback. Sure, with all the resources at players' disposal nowadays, such quests would not remain hidden for long. Still, it makes the world feel more alive when not every interesting location is highlighted on the map.
After months of surveying, WoW Archivist has been dug back up! Discover lore and artifacts of WoW's past, including the Corrupted Blood plague, the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, and the mysterious Emerald Dream.
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