The Scepter of the Shifting Sands was the item used to open the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj after completing an extremely long quest chain. Banging the gong meant the entire server could access both the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj and the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj raids. The epic questline was added in Patch 1.9 but by Patch 4.0.3, you could no longer obtain it due to world changes and missing quests.
The chain began in Cenarion Hold and required you to kill certain bosses in various raids meaning a full raid of 40 individuals were needed to coordinate and collect materials. The war effort was so involved it required the participation from the entire realm and massive time commitments if an individual wanted to complete the scepter 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. That meant thousands of fragments and one of the most boring grinds I have ever done in-game. In fact, I’d have to say the 500 eggs for Noblegarden was a piece of cake compared to this.
At neutral reputation, you were asked to locate the crystalline red tear outside the gates of AQ. So if you ever wondered about that red crystal sticking out of the ground, there’s your answer. Completing the quest triggers the following cutscene.
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 with Narain Soothfancy who gives you his turban allowing you to transform into him. These days, you won’t find Narain in his hut but his twisted reflection.
Due to the effort involved, I didn’t actually start the chain until Wrath came out but had always loved the event. Opening the gates was one of the best, most memorable events for me in-game. The huge emissary which spawned 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 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’d arrived. The last time I’d felt that nervous was kiting 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. Sadly, we were two pulls away from the first boss when I had to leave. Even today it’s one of my all-time highlights but then it sure helps when you know the raid leader. :)
One quest I absolutely hated was on The Isle of Dread in Feralas. Lord Lakmaeran required you to farm 20 Chimaerok Tenderloins from the surrounding Chimaeroks but the drop rate was horrible. I did like the reward though – Recipe: Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops.
These days the Isle of Dread no longer exists, but there’s a rare chimera in Silithus called Prince Lakma who still drops Chimaerok Tenderloins for the recipe.
Another annoying part was obtaining [Chapter I] from Dr. Weavil on Alcaz Island in Dustwallow Marsh. His mind control left a lot to be desired and required Coolidge’s help to complete. I found kiting him up and down the stairs worked a treat though.
I always wondered what this swirling maelstrom was for and even tried fishing from it but couldn’t stand on top of the crates to try.
After completing the components of the blue shard, Narain offered the quest to make an [Arcanite Buoy]. You’re 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. The Band of Icy Depths was one of the cooler rewards for completing this blue chain and an item still useful for exploring underwater caverns.
Although the Black Qiraji Resonating Crystal was only awarded to the first person who banged the gong on each server, 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?