Brought your bug repellant, adventurers? World Of Warcraft Classic is going back to Silithus to revisit the game's most notorious bug hunt. Today's update for the throwback MMO is preparing to re-open the lost Silithid empire of Ahn'Qiraj - which is to say that the long and arduous task of funding an army, piecing together an ancient staff worthy of a Scarab Lord, and knocking down that stubborn door at the bottom of the world has once again begun in earnest.
Collectively two raids (the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj), today's update brings back one of WoW's earliest and biggest world events. Forcing entire realms to come together under one goal, the Ahn'Qiraj War Effort was a landmark moment in World Of Warcraft's early life. Now, locking new raids behind lengthy, complex quest chains was something Blizzard were quite keen on early in WoW's life, but Ahn'Qiraj took the cake.
As described by WoWHead, the process of opening the gates is a truly herculean effort, requiring both sides to gather hundreds of thousands of resources to aid their forces in Silithus. There's more, though. Players were also tasked with constructing of The Scepter of the Shifting Sands, a very special stick wot was needed to bang a gong to open up the fallen kingdom. This involved a massively convoluted quest chain that took players around the world, making friends with dragons through previous dungeons and raids.
Once constructed, the bearer has to wait at least five days before thwacking the gong, kicking off a ten-hour war and awarding them with an incredibly rare mount and the title of Scarab Lord for their realm. For their trouble, everyone else gained access to two brutally tough raids that'd take them through bug-infested tunnels to face off against a whopping great tentacled eyeball.
It's a kind of massive community event that WoW hasn't really attempted since, and bringing it back is a rare chance for folk who missed out that first time 'round to see what all the fuss was about. While this process carries over untouched in WoW Classic, the culture around the game has changed dramatically. It's easy to imagine Twitch streamers and large communities absolutely bombing through the process, ensuring that their fave becomes Scarab Lord. Still, Blizzard reckon it'll still take "just over a week" for even the speediest realms to bash open the gates.
The opening of Ahn'Qiraj also marks something of a closing act for Classic, mind. Slowly, but surely, the big bads of WoW Classic are meeting their demise - and once Ahn'Qiraj falls, there's only Naxxramas left to topple. After that, it's a matter of seeing how far Blizzard want to take this experiment in nostalgia.