Scepter of the Shifting Sands

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.

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.

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.

May 2006 – Taking a closer look

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.

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?

Author: Cymre

Disc priest and relic hunter who loves collecting achievements, silver dragon shots and all things pets. You may know me as Cymre Brightblade. Catch all the pet battle strategies on my YouTube channel - CymreJones

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  1. I actually was in the much larger pool of those who missed out on it.

    A former guildmate worked on it and I helped when it was needed, but otherwise she did most of the work herself I believe.

    This is just part of the bigger picture that was the AQ event and I just wish Blizzard would do something like it again.

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  2. Great post and gave me a huge sense of “wish I was there!” :( I also wish more of these things would happen,but not require as many players. Too much of herding turkeys IMO, or in my real life. These are some of my favorite posts, where you explain things do clearly.

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    • @JD – Yep, I can relate to doing most of it myself. Although some of it, like summoning the shark I asked Coolidge to come, just in case I lost the buoy – the materials were a pain to get. But apparently you could just go and ask for another one if you lost it, I just didn’t want to have to bother. Also, I thought he’d just like to see that part as it was something we visited so many years ago *see pic) but when I actually summoned him he was so easy I could have soloed him. Come to think of it, I’m sure I took pics of that… must be on a different HD =/

      @Matty – Thx so much :D I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now but I knew I would have to put in the effort to make it decent. Unfortunately for me I had a fall down the stairs last night (at my brother’s house), so put myself to bed when I came home. One side of my rear end is very painful as I hit about 6 steps coming down – I expect a huge bruise from it.

      I actually wish they would add another event like this. Too many things these days just focus on Guild accomplishments. There’s nothing better than bringing a whole realm together for an huge event like this imo, maybe just once every 5 or 6 years :)

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  3. My vanilla guild opened the gates on our server. I have that Agent thingie still sitting in my bags on both my original priest and druid. It reinforced my hatred of all things bug related. In fact I’ve avoided Silthius ever since :p

    I love’d these long quest chains and would to see some more being added.

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