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The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj

Time for another infrequent bout of epeening, as I take a moment to crow about our virtual victories in the fictional (yet small-country-sized*) World of Warcraft.

Resolve downs Nefarian

Resolve downs Nefarian

I participated in a rare Sunday raid last night, since our Friday night raid had left us this close to defeating Nefarian, brother of Onyxia, leader of the Black Dragonflight. No more will he and his sister manipulate the Alliance! Well, until tomorrow, when the instance resets and everyone gets on the ride again.

The "end game" 40-man content in WoW goes like this: Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, and Naxxramas. It's fair to say that the 40-man organizational requirement keeps most folks out of Molten Core, so even that part of the progression has a certain mystical awe to many WoW players. Nefarian is the end boss of Blackwing Lair, the second dungeon, and the first one to feature really interestingly designed boss fights that require a good deal of coordination and adaptability. We'd been stuck about halfway through the dungeon for several months, but in the past month and a half we got past our roadblock and have been making steady progress through the rest. This was our second serious try at Nefarian, and I'm proud to say we pulled it together and downed him after a handful of attempts.

This is a pretty big achievement -- yes, there are some pretty kickass hardcore guilds that are well into the most cutting edge of content, but completing the second major dungeon puts us in a pretty small class of folks. It was a pretty cool feeling, made all the sweeter by the discovery of a Stormrage Chestguard among the vile dragon's effects -- an armor upgrade I'd been extremely covetous of for my druid. (I'd already had the matching moose hat, so one more piece, and I'll be an extremely happy camper.)

Bug mount from AQ40

Cynne, decked out in fancy new Stormrage armor and a bug mount

Since we downed Nefarian with some time left in our scheduled 3 hour raid, we decided to proceed to the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, or "AQ40," as it is affectionately known amongst the "we hate to type things out" set. AQ40's mythology revolves around a mishmash of bug-monsters and Egyptian iconography (giant Anubis critters feature prominently). In the picture above, you see my druid about to descend into the mysterious temple of these creatures. But what, you say, is that mysterious mount she rides on? It turns out that -- once you enter the temple -- you can't ride your normal mount. (In Cynne's case, a giant blue panther. Just roll with it.) Maybe it can't take the confined spaces -- who knows. But, as you work your way towards the first boss, new bug mounts (which you can only use inside of AQ40, and which look nothing at all like Starship Troopers bug things) drop. I think they look pretty cool -- a Starcraft zergling you can ride around. I finally got mine last night.

So... yeah. I play because it's fun, and to see new stuff, and to see what we can do. But I won't pretend I don't enjoy nights full of delicious and delightful loot. Woot for loot!

* At 7 million active subscribers, the game currently ranks as being in the top 40 population centers of the world, and among the top 100 countries in 2006. That's freaky, man. Freaky.


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