World of Warcraft's greatest world event ever, the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj, will return in Classic

When World of Warcraft Classic launches in the summer of 2019, it will be as close of an authentic recreation as possible to Warcraft as it existed in 2006 when patch 1.12 was released. But, the good news, is that doesn't mean World of Warcraft Classic will be a game forever stuck in stasis. Revealed at a panel during Blizzcon this weekend, game director Ion Hazzikostas took the stage to reveal Classic's post-launch update plans, which include all of the major raids and events from vanilla World of Warcraft. Yup, we're going to be getting the Opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj 2.0.

"We understand that World of Warcraft, especially back then, was about a journey," Hazzikostas said before announcing that Classic would have "staged content unlocks" that would mimic much the same tempo of a regular MMO. That means that, every few months after launch, Classic players can look forward to new raids, dungeons, and events.

The first stage of those new activities will include the raids of Molten Core, Onyxia, and the Dire Maul dungeon as well as the world bosses of Kazzak and Azuregos. After that, "when folks are ready," World of Warcraft Classic will add Blackwing Lair, battlegrounds and the PvP reward system, and Zul'Gurub. Following that release will come Ahn'Qiraj, Silithus world content, and the green dragons.

But it's Silithus world content that I'm really excited for because Hazzikostas elaborated that, yes, it means that Classic will relive World of Warcraft's greatest world event ever: The Opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj.

For those who didn't play World of Warcraft back then, the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj was one of WoW's most ambitious events ever—still towering over everything since. Both factions, across all of WoW's servers, raced to stockpile resources while top raiders rushed to complete an epic questline to forge the Scepter of the Shifting Sands. That scepter is used to ring a gong that opens the Gates, unleashing hell across all of Azeroth as the insectoid Qiraji invade.

What's awesome, though, is that only one person per server gets to own the scepter, ring the gong, and earn the honorific of Scarab Lord. One of those people was Destiny 2 game director Luke Smith, who fondly told me his tale a few months ago.

After Ahn'Qiraj, Classic will still get more content in the form of the Naxxramas raid and accompanying Scourge invasion. Hazzikostas said that all of this is still a work in progress, though, and Blizzard would work closely with fans to figure out how to stage and time all of these updates. Still, however it falls into place, it's good to know that World of Warcraft Classic won't be a static MMO with a limited endgame.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.