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?
Hallow's End is once more upon us. Last year, the Archivist uncovered WoW's most terrifying secrets. But much of what's terrifying in WoW is right in your face, trying to eat you, or stomp you, or shatter your mind with madness. Let's take a look at the scariest bad guys from every era.
Mrrglrlrlrmgrrr: Monsters of classic WoW
To some, they're adorable, misunderstood frog people. To others, they are the amphibious stuff of nightmares. In vanilla WoW, it was nearly impossible to fight a lone murloc. Their tight-knit societies and tendency to flee meant fighting one murloc often evolved into fighting two -- or twenty. A good many early players found themselves torn to pieces by slobbering murloc hordes. Some still shudder when they hear that distinctive battle-cry.
Sons of Arugal
I'm not sure how Arugal managed to father so many sons while tucked away in the tower of Shadowfang Keep, but the guy certainly got around. Horde players questing in Silverpine Forest lived in dread of these elite worgen, who always seemed to aggro at the worst possible time.
That damn Lurker in the water leading up to the Wailing Caverns entrance
For me, this one is personal. In vanilla, fighting your way to the Wailing Caverns entrance was like a mini dungeon run all by itself. One of the caves had a small but deceptively deep pool of water. During my first trip there, I decided the water was a safe place to fire from while our tank scooped up the locals. (It was a habit I picked up.) Then something large and unknown rose up from the darkness and bit me. I've never gone for a swim there since.
Barrens chat was terrifying enough all by itself, but on top of that, Horde players had to skirt around a large pack of mounted, elite Alliance NPCs who patrolled the main road. Killing them gave you a quest to turn in, but most who blundered across their path earned nothing more than a ghost run. But they're not monsters, you say? Tell that to the orphans in Orgrimmar.
Early Alliance players had their own nightmares to face, and chief among them was Stitches. Just when players began to learn that traveling on roads was safer than going cross-country, this abomination taught them that not all roads are alike. Stitches spawned after a player completed the quest Traslation to Ello. He would stomp down the road and attack Darkshire while terrified citizens fled. Most players wisely followed them.
Duskwood held multiple dangers for level-appropriate players. Another came in the form of this elite skeleton warrior. Once Morgan Ladimore, a knight in the service to Uther, the atrocities he witnessed during the fall of Lordaeron and the loss of his family drove him to madness and suicide. Mor'Ladim patrolled near Raven Hill and murdered lower-level players will ruthless efficiency.
How can a two-ton lizard manage to sneak up on you? Players to this day ask themselves that question when they find themselves running for their lives from these T-rex-esque monstrosities. Those questing in Un'Goro soon learned to keep their camera mobile. Few mobs in classic WoW were responsible for so many moments of terror as the cunning and well-named devilsaur.
Walt Disney rolls in his grave every time someone refers to this stone horror as a princess. Theradras has three faces on one head, four arms, and not nearly enough clothing. She also had a nasty habit of knocking adventurers off of her platform into water far below, taking them out of the fight. She also gave birth to the annoying race of centaurs, so ... thanks for that, Therry. A beefed-up version of the princess became part of the Elemental Unrest event prior to Cataclysm.
Until the Shattering, the Plaguelands had gathering nodes called Blood of Heroes that anyone could loot. The blood was an ingredient in several recipes and also an objective for certain quests. Curious players could loot the blood, but they were in for a nasty surprise. As soon as the loot window popped up, so did one or two elite Fallen Heroes. The heroes hit hard and had large health pools. They also placed a movement speed debuff on you, which made running away impossible without some way to shake it off.
These towering obsidian guardians serve as the front-line shock troops for the Qiraji. Once your realm opened the gates to their kingdom, the gigantic and intimidating Anubisath poured out in numbers. They quickly overwhelmed the unprepared and sent even seasoned raiders fleeing for their lives.
Why is my screen shaking?: The Burning Crusade
This Horde version of Stitches patrols the Ghostlands. Unlike his counterpart Luzran, Knucklerot isn't content to stick to the Dead Scar with the other undead. He wanders as far as Goldenmist Village in search of unsuspecting blood elves.
Players zoning through the Dark Portal for the first time beheld a terrifying full-scale assault by the Burning Legion. Once they got into questing areas, everything in the zone seemed much safer. Then the ground began to shake, and a strange noise echoed across the orange plains. Players merrily slaughtering felboars had no idea what they'd truly face in Hellfire Peninsula. Between their large aggro radius, inhuman cries, and imposing form, Fel Reavers remain one of WoW's all-time scariest monsters.
A quest sends you to southeastern Terrokar to dispose of this giant spider. If you are just exploring in the area, however, what you think is just a big colorful hill turns out to be a spider the size of a house. Terokkarantula was originally an elite. Her crippling poison ability made it tough to escape if you were unlucky enough to draw her attention.
When daily quests were a new thing, players hoping to build rep with the Sha'tari Skyguard lived in dread of the original angry birds. Monstrous kaliris attacked you on your flying mount and could dismount you. If you were high enough, you'd plummet to your death. Surviving the fall often landed you in close proximity to other mobs who wanted you dead, too. They seemed to be everywhere, and the 3D environment of flight made it tough keep track of them all.
In his heyday, Supremus wasn't the toughest boss in Black Temple -- far from it. But the first time you saw him, his sheer size made you doubt you could ever vanquish something so appallingly big. Supremus never said a word. He pursued you with a silent and implacable need to destroy.
A thousand maws: Wrath of the Lich King
The Lich King
Yeah, we probably ran into Arthas one too many times while questing. However, that first time you were just cashing in a quest and he showed up, you didn't know what he was going to do. Admit it: you were shaking in your sabatons.
Oacha'noa, Goddess of the Depths
She's not even our enemy, but when she pops out of the ocean, she's so massive I think everyone pees themselves a little bit. Then she asks you to jump off a cliff into the water with her "and thereby display your submission." Is it worth it just for a cool epic fishing rod? Probably not, but at least you can wash off the pee.
Anything connected to the Old Gods is twice as scary by default. The Nerubians awakened these ancient and powerful servants while trying to tunnel away from the Scourge. That must have been a really bad week. I kind of feel sorry for those bugs. Let's also not forget that the Faceless Ones have no face. They can also whisper their ravings to you telepathically.
Yes, he was also a vanilla raid boss, but most players' first encounter with Thaddius was in Wrath, and he was just as horrible. Almost any of the Naxxramas bosses could be candidates for this list. However, the fact that Thaddius is made of the corpses of women and children makes him the standout. Even worse, you can hear these victims screaming for help as you clear to him.
The Lucid Dream, The Beast with a Thousand Maws, The Fiend of a Thousand Faces, The God of Death, That Which Must Not Be Named -- to me, Yogg-Saron is the most terrifying raid boss of all time. Even while imprisoned and neutralized, he has managed to turn the history of Azeroth toward destruction again and again merely with his malevolent influence. While facing him, his special brand of insanity whittles away at your mind and (in hard modes) you can never recover it until he is dead. It makes his attacks far more frightening than mere physical wounds that can be healed.
Buried at sea: Cataclysm
Virtually everything in Vashj'ir
It's not enough that we are trapped thousands of feet under the ocean -- a prospect that many people can't face even in a video game. Then Blizzard throws in
- Whale Sharks, the fel reavers of the sea
- Velskar, an enormous and elite fanged sea snake with glowing purple eyes and a stun debuff
- Kolorath, who is basically Oacha'noa's aggressive big brother
- The titanic demigods Nespirah and L'ghorek, utterly horrifying on the outside, and even worse on the inside. We seem to spend half the zone in those things, messing around with their organs.
They're bears with large, gruesome spider eggs growing out of their backs. Don't eat while questing in Hillsbrad these days.
The scariest worgen since the sons of Arugal, Ripsnarl really wants to murder you and everything about the fight helps you to feel that. The thick fog, his vanishing act, his random stun attacks from stealth, and his growing Thirst for Blood that makes him more and more dangerous as the battle progresses all combine to create a genuinely disturbing encounter. I also have to give credit to Taliesin Jaffe for voicing Ripsnarl with such fury and malice.
You think you know just where she is, according to your quest log. She's not there though. You think maybe you just have to wait for her to respawn. You absently swipe at an egg, and then a shadow falls across the light behind you... The matriarch hangs from the ceiling of the cave, and she's given many adventures a good fright when they stalked into her lair so very certain of themselves.
And now you're snail food: Mists of Pandaria
Much like Arthas, overexposure has rendered the sha ho hum after more than a year in Pandaria. But these living incarnations of bad feels were bizarre and unexpected, and our first encounter with them is memorable. The idea that your own negative emotions can take form and physically attack you is a frightening one. The sha's connection with the Old God Y'shaarj only enhances their creepiness.
Local children believe that this nice old pandaren lady is actually a witch who turns her visitors into jade statues. But that's just the kids' overactive imaginations, right? Nope -- she's all that and more. The house of the Jade Witch is surrounded by statues of her victims, procured to keep her deceased husband company. During the quest line, you find out she's kidnapped a pandaren child and plans to turn him into her next lawn ornament. Brina Palencia plays the widow with just the right mixture of sweetness and insanity.
The most infamous trash mobs in the Mists expansion, Gastropods move slow. But like the psychotic killers in slasher movies, it's not their speed but their persistence that makes these giant snails terrifying. If they catch you, they kill you. They also had a habit of turning around and eating you just when you thought you were safe. And yes, they do indeed eat you.
What monster in WoW scares you most?
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.