The Scepter of the Shifting Sands was an item created from an extremely long quest chain used to open the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Being the first to bang the gong would allow the entire server access to both the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj and the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj. In Patch 1.9 this epic chain was added but in Patch 4.0.3, it became unobtainable due to world changes and missing quests.

The chain began in Cenarion Hold and required you to go into different raid locations and kill certain bosses meaning you needed 40 individuals to coordinate and collect materials for the end result. It was such an epic chain that it required participation from the entire realm in terms of hand-ins for the War Effort and massive time commitments from the individual if they were determined to complete the scepter for themselves.

Remember the [Agent of Nozdormu] badge which enabled you to loot [Silithid Carapace Fragments]? Each turn-in required 200 fragments rewarding 500 reputation with the Brood of Nozdormu. However, it required handing in thousands of fragments to get the required rep and I have to say that this was one of the most boring grinds I have ever done in-game. In fact, I’d have to say the 500 eggs for Noblegarden were a piece of cake compared to this.

After getting neutral reputation with the Brood of Nozdormu, you were offered the quest to locate the¬†crystalline red tear outside the gates of AQ. So if you ever wondered what that red crystal was sticking out of the ground, there’s your answer. Once you had completed the quest, the following cut scene started.

After that, Anachronos asked you to locate the 3 dragon shards located somewhere in Azeroth, specifically the [Green], [Red] and [Blue] shards with Eranikus, Vaelastrasz and Azuregos respectively holding the secrets to these shards.

The chain eventually led you to Tanaris to talk to a gnome named Narain Soothfancy. One of my favourite items from this part was the turban he gave you which transformed you into his likeness. These days, you won’t find Narain in his hut but his twisted reflection.

narain Scepter of the Shifting Sands

I actually didn’t start the chain until Wrath came out due to the effort involved but had always loved the whole event. The opening of AQ was one of the best, most memorable events for me in-game. The Emissary outside Cenarion Hold was so exciting to see and try to kill. When the Gates of AQ finally opened, the lag was pretty intense but I was anxious to try the raid. As soon as I entered AQ20, the RL asked me to continue the pulls on my Hunter. I was nervous but excited at the same time as they were only a couple of pulls into the place when I had arrived. The last time I felt that nervous was when I had to kite Drekk in UBRS. Back then, a bad pull or kite could mean wiping the other 9 players.

Here we had double the people so the pressure was even higher not to wipe. Sadly, we were two pulls away from the first boss when I had to leave. Even today it’s one of my all-time game highlights but then it helps when you know the raid leader :)

One quest I absolutely hated was the one requiring me to go to The Isle of Dread in Feralas to find Lord Lakmaeran, a large chimera. Killing the surrounding Chimaeroks for the 20 [Chimaerok Tenderloin]s were the annoying part as the drop rate was horrible. But I did like the reward – Recipe: Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops.

Since the Isle of Dread no longer exists, there’s a rare chimera in Silithus with a very similar name, Prince Lakma. Interestingly enough he still drops the Chimaerok Tenderloins for the recipe.

Prince Lakma Cool Scepter of the Shifting Sands

Prince Lakma strike Scepter of the Shifting Sands

chops Scepter of the Shifting Sands

Another annoying part of the chain (at least for me) was obtaining [Chapter I] from Dr. Weavil who resided on Alcaz Island in Dustwallow Marsh. His mind control mechanic left a lot to be desired and required Coolidge’s help to complete. I found that kiting him up and down the stairs worked a treat though.

Swirling Maelstrom Scepter of the Shifting Sands

May 2006 – Taking a closer look

Swirling Maelstrom underwater Scepter of the Shifting Sands

Underwater view

I always wondered what this swirling maelstrom was for and even tried fishing in it but couldn’t stand on top of the crates to try =/

After the components of the blue shard were completed, Narain offered the quest to supply the items for an [Arcanite Buoy]. You’re then asked to take the buoy deep off the coast of Azshara and spawn Maws, the “minnow” carrying the shard. When you kill the shark the blue shard drops. One of the rewards for completing this blue chain was the [Band of Icy Depths], an item I still find useful today for things like exploring underwater caverns.

AQ gong Scepter of the Shifting Sands

August 2006

Even though the [Black Qiraji Resonating Crystal] could no longer be obtained once the gates were opened, it was still possible to get the feat of strength – Veteran of the Shifting Sands if you had the scepter prior to 4.0.3. All I can say is, I’m so glad I did it before it was too late. A big thanks to everyone who helped along the way, particularly Coolidge :D

So how about you guys?

Was there any part of the chain that you loved or hated or are you just glad you completed it?