Blizzard just casually gave players the key to one of WoW's classic dungeons—the original four-wing Scarlet Monastery—in a Halloween event

Loading screen art of the Scarlet Monestary from Vanilla World of Warcraft - a knight stands over a hostile-looking cathedreal, behind which rises a pale sun.
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

World of Warcraft's shaken up its dungeons a lot over the years. One such victim to the wheels of time is the Scarlet Monastery. This dungeon (or these dungeons, I should say, each is their own separate instance) consists of the Armory, the Library, the Cathedral, and the Graveyard. 

In patch 5.0.4, these dungeons got rolled into two new revamped dungeons—the Halls and the confusingly-named Monastery. They were forever consigned to the annals of history (at least until World of Warcraft Classic came along). Well, it turns out you can get back to all four of these Classic dungeons right now.

All you have to do is queue up for the Hallow's End fight, the Headless Horseman, in the dungeon finder. Beating up this rhyming Scooby-Doo tier schmuck will let you snag a pumpkin with some goodies in it. One of these can be the Scarlet Key. 

Hoof it to the Monastery itself in Tirisfal Glades, and you'll be able to turn in the key, creating a clickable item that gives you a buff. The description reads "Retracing the steps of those who came before." This gives you access to all four dungeons from the game's halcyon days. 

Now, granted, you could just hop on Classic if you want to experience them as they were—but there are transmog opportunities therein. As we all know, that's the real endgame of any MMO. It's also just nice to have multiple ways to access old content—whether rolling up a new character on a Classic server, or blitzing it on your retail main.

Honestly, one of my biggest problems with WoW's past attitude to expansions is just how much of the world gets scrapped or forgotten about. This game's been out for 19 whole years, but a mix of revamps and irrelevance leaves miles of it neglected. Letting players access areas like this is a good first step to walking that back.

The downside—there's a bit of FOMO involved. The chance to get a free key vanishes like so many ghosts November 1. However, as confirmed by community manager Kaivax, you'll still be able to get a key via Arcanist Doan in the vanilla Scarlet Library. However, it's been pointed out by another player that you can only loot that key once.

It's not been confirmed whether that'll be changing after the event, since those keys'll become a nonrenewable resource come November, but here's hoping it does. I understand not making this stuff part of the core experience, but there's really no reason it shouldn't be available to players who want to seek it out.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.