WoW Archivist: 11 moments from WoW's history that should become scenarios

Scott Andrews
S. Andrews|03.15.13

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WoW Archivist: 11 moments from WoW's history that should become scenarios
The Qiraji invasion
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Next year is WoW's tenth anniversary. It's hard to believe, but it's true! If the typical timeline holds, the next expansion will release a few months prior to that anniversary. You have to believe Blizzard wants to pull out all the stops for this milestone.

What better way to celebrate ten years of WoW than by crafting scenarios to relive the best moments? It's possible that Blizzard is planning a time-based expansion centered around the Bronze Dragonflight. The Keepers of Time could send us on missions, much like the Caverns of Time dungeons of expansions past. Only instead of lore moments from the distant past, they could be moments from WoW's own history, including events driven by the community and removed content that players may not have been able to experience.

Here are 11 examples that I would love to see.

1. The Blood Plague
What: The Alliance seizes a rare opportunity
Where: Original Orgrimmar
When: Patch 1.7

As WoW Archivist previously covered, the Corrupted Blood plague began when players used "creative game mechanics" to export a boss ability into the general population. The unstoppable and highly contagious plague debuff devastated cities around the world as thousands of players and NPCs alike succumbed to it. The resulting chaos became an excellent model for how real-world diseases could spread.

This scenario would take place at the height of the plague and have different versions for Alliance and Horde. Alliance players would accompany NPCs on a strike into Orgrimmar. They would take advantage of the deadly outbreak to make an attempt on Thrall's life. Horde players would defend the city and their Warchief while trying to contain the plague.

Why Orgrimmar? Due to the time frame, Blizzard could reintroduce the original version of the city.

2. The Great Masquerade
What: The Black Dragonflight attacks after Onyxia's unmasking
Where: Original Stormwind
When: Patch 1.1

The quest line for Onyxia's Lair is often cited as the most painful single attunement of all time. However, at least for Alliance players, it ended in an amazing moment when Lady Prestor is unmasked as the Broodmother herself and the Black Dragonflight reveals its presence in the city.

Since this quest is no longer in the game, players can't experience it for themselves. Horde-only players have also never had a chance to participate. As one of the best moments of vanilla WoW, this quest is ripe for a scenario remake.

It could begin with players fighting confused Alliance guards, continue with a battle against dragonkin, and finally task players with driving Onyxia out of the cathedral. Horde players would have to "masquerade" as Alliance for this scenario. As an added bonus, players would get to see the original version of Stormwind.

3. The Mak'gora
What: A new Opera event telling the story of Cairne's death
Where: Karazhan
When: Pre-Shattering just prior to patch 4.0

Players never got to see Cairne's fatal mak'gora duel with Garrosh play out in-game.

Karazhan's long-suffering audience hasn't had a new show to watch in years.

Why not make everyone happy and create a new Opera event for this impactful lore moment? The first stage could feature players fighting alongside both heroes in the Scourge campaign. During the second and third stages, we could help the champions practice for the duel by sparring with them. Finally, after Cairne's death, we would confront Magatha Grimtotem after her attempted takeover of Thunder Bluff.

Since the scenario would take place in different places and times, the Opera House is the perfect setting. Stagehands can bring in new scenery for each act of the "play."
Karazhan's Opera House
4. Strat 4.5
What: Players have 4.5 minutes to rescue the prisoners of Baron Rivendare
Where: Original Stratholme's undead wing
When: Patch 1.10

The 45-minute Strat run was a classic vanilla quest -- part of the dungeon set upgrade quest line. It was a challenging test of strategy, skill, and endurance. Beating it for the first time was quite a rush.

A scenario could recreate this run with a much shorter timer. Players would still get valor points and a chest for killing the Baron, but they would get better loot -- and a chance at the Baron's mount -- by beating the timer.

As a bonus, this scenario could bring back the original Baron Rivendare.

5. Battle for the Undercity
What: Reintroducing the incredible Wrath-era quest
Where: Undercity
When: Patch 3.0

Like the Ahn'qiraj event, many newer players have never gotten to experience this incredible pair of quests. Both were removed from the game after the Shattering. In one, you help Sylvanas and Thrall cleanse the Undercity of traitors, ultimately confronting Varimathras. In the other, you help Varian and Jaina as they seek to reclaim the city and bring Grand Apothecary Putress to justice.

A scenario would allow you to play through the other faction's version of the battle, too, so it would actually provide new content for most players.

6. He Just Ran In
What: Players must save Leeroy and his party
Where: Blackrock Spire
When: Patch 1.1

Leeroy is determined to prove himself a man of bold action. The Bronze Dragonflight knows that he is destined for great things, and only your intervention can prevent his grisly whelpfire-blackened fate.

This scenario would probably work best as a normal run at first. You could fight alongside Leeroy's PALS FOR LIFE as they clear trash, strategize, and defeat Pyroguard Emberseer. Dialogue throughout would show us how Leeroy isn't quite right in the head. The whelp room aggro-insanity would then serve as the next stage. Then, for the final stage, you would complete the Father Flame event so Leeroy can get his Devout Shoulders and heal better -- becoming the greatest cloth-shouldered paladin of all time.

I'll give Blizzard extra awesome points if they can get the guy who voiced Leeroy in the original video to voice the character here, too.
Whelps everywhere
7. Halls of Attunement
What: Players endure a gauntlet of Burning Crusade attunements
Where: A magical hallway linking all of Burning Crusade's dungeons and raids
When: Patch 2.1

The Burning Crusade represented the "golden age" of attunement (or what some would call the "dark age"). Modern players who missed out on the insanity may not be able to grasp the complexity and hard work that went into accessing all of the expansion's content.

A scenario could recreate the entire process in an encapsulated form. Players would fight a gauntlet of every boss required for every attunement, interspersed with swarms of mobs that represent every rep grind. This would be a long scenario, obviously, and not suitable for the dungeon finder. It would have to be one for a dedicated guild group with an hour to kill, with appropriate rewards.

8. Gates of Ahn'Qiraj
What: Players battle the Qiraji hordes from the one-time event
Where: Silithus
When: Patch 1.9

Though this one-time event is remembered fondly, it is remembered by only a few. Millions of WoW players never got to experience it, even those who played during vanilla. The invasion of the Qiraji lasted only ten hours and could never be repeated. Not only that, but the timing of the opening was entirely in one guild's hands per realm. Anyone who had plans at that time, or happened to be asleep, missed the entire thing forever.

A scenario could never match the epic continent-wide battle (or the horrible lag it caused). However, with scenarios, Blizzard can at least show us what it looked like.

9. War Before Honor
What: Horde and Alliance battle for ultimate supremacy over some level 20 farms or something
Where: Hillsbrad Foothills
When: Patch 1.1

Look, Alliance players. We fought over these towns for a long time before the honor system even existed. They were well-fought battles, but the Horde won in the end. I know it hurts. You should probably just accept it.

Or you could go back in time and try to change the outcome. This scenario could have a different version for Horde and Alliance. Horde would defend Tarren Mill, then attack and raze Southshore. Alliance would do the opposite.

If Blizzard could recreate the actual tactics of these fights, this scenario would be amazing. You'd have two zergs facing off. While ranged DPS exchanged salvos, stealthed rogues and druids would try to pick off healers in the back. Finally, a few melee would charge forward and the real engagement would begin. At some point, a whole squad of paladin NPCs could find themselves overwhelmed and bubble hearth right the heck out of there.

The final stage of the scenario would of course be camping the defeated players who are trying to rez.

10. Serpent's Heart
What: Players participate in this disappointingly cutscene-only battle
Where: The Jade Forest
When: Patch 5.0

The Battle of Serpent's Heart is the climactic finish to the Jade Forest quest lines. While the cutscene is one of the best that Blizzard has ever done, players miss out on all the actual fighting. Instead, we find ourselves in art history class with Lorewalker Cho.

Who wouldn't want to charge into the fray alongside our hozen or jinyu buddies, not to mention commanders Taylor or Nazgrim? Blizzard can make this happen with a scenario. I also really want to see that statue topple over while I'm actually fighting there -- and it should kill me if I move too slow.
Aftermath of Serpent's Heart
11. 50 DKP Minus
What: Recreating the famous meme -- for Azeroth!
Where: Onyxia's Lair
When: Patch 1.1

The Bronze Dragonflight has decided that a certain group of adventurers must be wiped out to the man, lest their rage summon the sha to Kalimdor. As an undercover operative, your job is to cause as much mayhem and damage as possible.

Every mistake you make will lower your DKP meter: pulling aggro from the tank, standing in Deep Breaths, getting Tail Swiped into the whelp caves, not running to the center, using direct damage spells instead of DOTs on Onyxia during her air phase, etc. Once you bottom out the meter, the raid will wipe -- and Azeroth will be safe from the rage of Dives forever.

Are they possible?

Would Blizzard ever create scenarios like this? Recently, Blizzard has given us some insights. In Anne Stickney's patch 5.2 interview of Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, she asked him whether old events would ever become scenarios. His answer was not encouraging:

It's kind of a bang for the buck thing. Like say we redid Battle for the Undercity -- we could do it now with much better tech, right? That's a lot of work, and who would want to go back and play the Battle for the Undercity -- we'd almost have to create a heroic so you'd revisit it again. Maybe if we could make a really cool compelling gameplay scenario it might be worth it, to do it as a fun little Caverns of Time thing, but I'd rather spend that time -- it's the same resources -- doing a current, modern-day scenario that tells you what happened with Sylvanas. I think that's probably more exciting than revisiting old content. We're committed to having these patches come out faster, so we have to be really picky and choosy about where we spend our time, so we can get content to people as fast as possible.

Dave cites two major negatives about the possibility. The first is that the old content is old content. It doesn't move the storyline forward. It's less exciting.

I'm not convinced. For one thing, if Blizzard does in fact give us a Caverns of Time themed expansion, we could revisit these historical events while still advancing WoW's story. Even if the story is not advanced, many of these scenarios would be brand new content to a lot of players. For veterans, bringing back something we love can actually generate more excitement than a new story.

The second drawback Kosak cites is that they have to use the same resources to create an entirely new scenario as they do to transform old content into one. Thus, it doesn't actually save them time.

I don't really buy this, either. Yes, programming the stages would take the same amount of time and effort. However, many of the creative assets such as models, animations, locations, and voice work are already in place. Blizzard often cites the time it takes to create character models and animations as one of the major limiting factors when releasing new content. (It's part of the reason why they haven't yet updated the models for the original eight races.) Using existing models and animations for historical scenarios, then, must be a time saver.

Blizzard has been hinting about an upcoming and unannounced new feature. First Ghostcrawler tweeted about it. Then, in an interview with Blizzplanet, Tom Chilton gave a hint that the feature would allow us to "revisit old content." Could that mean new tech that allows Blizzard to churn out historical scenarios? It's possible. It seems more likely that we'll instead get a system that scales our stats for older raids and dungeons, making them playable as intended (just as Challenge Mode dungeons normalize our ilevel). We simply don't know yet.

Would you like to see scenarios like this? What parts of WoW's history would you like to revisit?

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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