Why I would love to see Heroic Scarlet Monastery

This post contains quest spoilers for Tirisfal Glades (Horde), Scarlet Monastery (Alliance),
and Eastern Plaguelands (both factions).

New Horde Order had an interesting idea in a recent post - Heroic Scarlet Monastery.

I think this is a FANTASTIC idea. First of all, when you consider classic WoW instances, Scarlet Monastery is right up there with Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep. In this alone, it would be the perfect candidate for a Cataclysm/Heroic makeover.

Secondly, the Scarlet Crusade has undergone significant changes since Scarlet Monastery first came out, and there are many great, updated stories that are just begging to be told! No longer are the Scarlets this feared, dominating force terrorizing the land - now they are broken, leaderless and directionless. They've lost various holdings in the Plaguelands, their commanders are either dead or were actually Dreadlords in disguise(!), and many of their number have been turned into undead. They made their push, they gambled, and they LOST, big time.

New Hearthglen in Dragonblight, the Scarlet Onslaught's primary Northrend base of operations.

In Wrath of the Lich King, we saw the Scarlet Crusade splinter. High General Brigitte Abbendis and Grand Admiral Barean Westwind decided to abandon the Plaguelands as a lost cause, and relocate to Northrend, renaming their army the Scarlet Onslaught. The Onslaught were a major storyline element in Dragonblight, where players assaulted their new settlement, New Hearthglen, killed countless Scarlet Onslaught crusaders, and eventually slew Abbendis herself. We also learned that Westwind was something much more than what he seemed. Later on we re-encountered him in Icecrown, where he revealed himself to be the Dreadlord Mal'Ganis in disguise.

With their Northrend contingent defeated and lost, what about the Scarlets still remaining on Azeroth? Well, things haven't gone much better for them. Virtually every leadership figure in their ranks is now dead, and they have lost much in terms of territory and manpower. Tirion Fordring has retaken Hearthglen from the Scarlets, and the Crusade is slowly succumbing to their most hated foe: the touch of undeath.

Undead Scarlet Crusaders at Tyr's Hand in the Eastern Plaguelands.

Have you quested through the new Eastern Plaguelands yet? Brotherhood of the Light quest givers send you to Tyr's Hand, a Scarlet Crusade town, to mop up the remaining Scarlets who refuse to leave/give up. However, you then find out that not only are they refusing to yield, they're actually now undead! This includes some named NPCs that were formerly quest givers at Light's Hope Chapel, such as Rohan the Assassin and Scarlet Commander Marjhan.

This is actually quite sad, if you think back to what they would say to you when they were alive. For example, Marjhan used to say this to players at Light's Hope Chapel:

"I have been sent here as an emissary of the Scarlet Crusade. An ambassador, if you will... It is doubtful that we could even dent the armies of Kel'Thuzad - united or not - but we might be able to contain them long enough for some sort of miracle to happen.

As for me? I'll die in battle..."

(Marjhan shrugs.)

Well, Marjhan...you were wrong.

Her old quote and "She has nothing left to lose" is...actually pretty sad and depressing. :(

I cannot imagine a crueler twist of fate - being corrupted and risen as undead is basically the worst thing that could ever happen to a Scarlet Crusader. I mean, being turned into an undead monster would be pretty bad for anyone, but when your entire life was dedicated to hating and eradicating said undead...well, it'd be pretty awful.

This Cleric looks happy, but I'm sure she's actually pretty upset about the whole undead thing.

It's not just Tyr's Hand, either. Remember Strathholme, where the Scarlet Crusade had their own fortified wing, all highly-defended and impregnable? Not anymore. Now, the Dreadlord Balnazzar has cast off his disguise - that of Grand Crusader Dathrohan - and has slaughtered all the Scarlets under his command, raising them as undead minions.

So yeah, things are pretty bad for this once-mighty faction. But what about the new blood? Are there any young up-and-comers who are prepared to take up the mantle of leadership and revitalize the Crusade?

Well, there was one promising young woman, who from birth(!) was raised and trained as a weapon to be used against the undead. A master of stealth, sorcery, martial arts and basically everything under the sun, and wholly dedicated to the Crusade's goals, Lilian Voss would have been a perfect leader.

Of course, that was before she died, was resurrected by Sylvanas' Val'kyr, and after fleeing the Forsaken ranks and seeking out her trusted Scarlet Crusade allies, was disowned and rejected by her father Benedictus.

Oh Gebler, if only you knew what would happen next...

Of course, Lilian - now possessing bizarre and insanely powerful stealth and magical abilities - responded to her father's betrayal by brutally slaughtering dozens of Scarlet Crusaders as she cut a swath of vengeance across Tirisfal. Interestingly, the corpses of the Crusaders she killed all burned with strange purple flames. Her killing spree culminates when she confronts Benedictus, chokes him and RUNS UP THE FREAKING WALL, strangling him to death. Additionally, later on in the Western Plaguelands you find the bodies of many dead Scarlet Crusaders, engulfed in purple fire.

Uh oh, my deranged daughter. Well, she's only one girl, how much trouble can she-

(Lilian turns the other two Crusaders to ash)


In retrospect, Benedictus probably wishes he could take that one back.

There is also a fascinating new storyline (sadly, Alliance-only) involving a pure-hearted Scarlet Crusade idealist that hinted at a possible redemption for the organization. Joseph the Awakened tells you that he is disgusted that his Scarlet brothers are not only attacking the undead, but also other humans and innocents. Joseph tasks you to kill the leaders of the Scarlet Monastery, as "their holy rage blinds them from their own darkness."

Note that they torture not only undead prisoners, but also "new recruits." More on this later.

However, this questline quickly takes a sharp, dark turn. After completing The Dark Side of the Light, Joseph is horrified to learn that Bloodmage Thalnos was actually undead all along, and is deeply disturbed and troubled by this revelation and its implications. He starts becoming more and more fanatical and unhinged as you proceed through the other Monastery quests, perhaps due to the guilt and realization that by killing his corrupted human allies, he is becoming the exact thing that he so loathes and hates.

He's a little odd in the Library, but when you run into him in the Armory his name has actually changed to Joseph the Crazed, and he is erratic and nervously stammering. He seems wild and fairly off his rocker, and he accuses Herod of taking what was rightfully his (the title of Scarlet Champion).

By the time you meet him in the Cathedral wing, he has become Joseph the Insane, and is dancing in the fountain while people are fighting and dying all around him. As funny as his quest dialogue is, it's slightly disturbing (and a little sad) to see the one sane, bright light in the Scarlet ranks completely lose his mind and succumb to madness.

Let's face it, the Scarlet Crusade is on its deathbed. There's nothing left but tattered remnants, they have no brave young heroes to rebuild around, and they're hopelessly overwhelmed on multiple fronts. It's just a matter of time before Tirion, the Brotherhood of the Light, or even the Forsaken decide they've had enough of their crap and just step in to finish them off.

That being said, I think a Cataclysm/Heroic re-making of Scarlet Monastery would be a great way to tie up some loose ends, revisit some amazing storylines dating back to Vanilla WoW, and put a definitive close to the Scarlet Crusade legacy. Of course, with new bosses and a dungeon makeover, we'd need new quests!

Here are the quests I'd implement in Scarlet Monastery 2.0.

The Prodigal Daughter Returns
(Graveyard Wing)

Contrary to initial impressions, I don't think Lilian Voss would be a Horde-only character. Granted, Horde players are the only ones who would have witnessed her origin, but this could easily be explained in a short quest dialogue summary. And she really has no love for the Forsaken, despite her undead state - in fact, she was raised her entire life to hate and loathe them. No, I think her entire existence right now revolves around one thing and one thing only: revenge upon the Scarlet Crusade. I think she'd work with ANYONE to accomplish this goal.

(Plus, introducing her to Alliance players now would inform them of her existence for when she invariably moves on to bigger and more important things...)

Lilian could confront players as soon as they entered the Graveyard wing, basically offering them a straight-up mercenary deal of mutual benefit. She's here for revenge, and if you help her achieve her goals, she's fine working with you.

Why does she want revenge? Easy. Her entire upbringing was one of training and grueling hardship at the hands of her father, and likely other Scarlet Crusade higher-ups. If there was one person in the Crusade who could ruthlessly mold a young girl into a hardened, merciless killer, it would be Interrogator Vishas. And Vishas would probably have loved every moment of his cruel work, instilling within the young Lilian a vicious streak, a high tolerance of pain and torture, and an utter hatred of the undead.

It's horrible to imagine, but I think it's absolutely something her father would have done to her...he clearly saw her as a weapon to be used in his "holy" mission, not a daughter to be loved.

Furthermore, I think Lilian's true objective would lie further into the Graveyard. After killing Vishas, she could tell players that Bloodmage Thalnos (or really, any necromancer who decided to take advantage of a fully stocked graveyard) lies ahead, and has been raising former Scarlet Crusade champions to do his bidding...including one particular Crusader, High Priest Benedictus Voss.

Much like how previous Shadowfang Keep bosses that were removed still show up in the Baron Silverlaine fight (Odo the Blindwatcher, Wolf Master Nandos, Razorclaw the Butcher, etc.) this would be a nice opportunity to let former Scarlet Monastery foes make cameo appearances, such as Houndmaster Loksey (complete with undead hounds??) and High Inquisitor Whitemane. We could also see dead Scarlets like Grand Inquisitor Isillien and the original High General Abbendis (Brigitte's father).

After slaying Thalnos and his undead lackeys, and relishing the opportunity to kill her father AGAIN, Voss would give players a curt farewell, handing over the quest rewards (something gruesome and bitter, maybe something bloody belonging to her father) before vanishing into the crypt's shadows. Or maybe she'd display more frightening power and simply teleport everyone out to the graveyard, where all the graves would be burning with her now-trademark purple flames...

Knowledge is Power
(Library Wing)

Many years ago, Alexandros Mograine met with other high-ranking members of the Silver Hand in Southshore to discuss a mysterious artifact he had discovered, a powerful crystal which would later be forged into the Ashbringer. Of those in attendance, only two remain alive today - Tirion Fordring and Arcanist Doan.

Doan always struck me as the odd man out of all the Scarlet Monastery bosses. He's clearly a Mage, not a Priest or Paladin, which in a religious organization is curious in itself. Additionally, nothing he says when you battle him indicates the fanatical, religious obsession so common among many of his peers. I wonder if perhaps he really is just a scholar who had the misfortune of hanging out with a bad crowd? Or maybe he's just sticking around because he's got a little crush on someone?

Perhaps Tirion needs to call upon his old friend and ask him for help. Maybe he needs more information about the Ashbringer and what occurred when it was there at the Monastery. Or maybe he's noticed a flicker of darkness within its purity. Regardless, Doan is the only other person who witnessed the Ashbringer's birth, so if Tirion had pressing questions about the sword, it's really Doan or no one.

Clockwise: Fairbanks, Alexandros Mograine, Doan, Isillien, Tirion Fordring, Brigitte Abbendis.

Also, the knowledge stored and archived in the Monastery Library should not be underestimated. Remember, the Scarlet Monastery is the last surviving remnant of Lordaeron that remains intact. It likely contains the region's only original records and documents from before the Scourge outbreak. The (formerly) nearby Dalaran would have been a great source of information, but it too was besieged and destroyed - I doubt every tome and sheaf of history survived Archimonde's assault.

Alternately, perhaps it's not Tirion seeking Doan and the Library's archives, but someone else? As the only surviving, undamaged font of history in the area (Brill fell, Lordaeron was destroyed, Southshore is gone, Scholomance fell), the Monastery's records may contain important information about Tirisfal Glades itself. It's a very important region, historically - I mean, the extremely powerful New Council of Tirisfal isn't just called that for fun.

And remember that when the Highborne originally settled in the Eastern Kingdoms, it was in Tirisfal Glades...but then they packed up and headed north after many of them began to go mad, circumstances which many theorize indicate the presence of a tremendously evil presence sleeping beneath the area. That's a little unresolved hook that's been floating about for a while now, just like the mysterious alien corpse in Darkshore.

Where would concerned New Council members - say, High Priest Rohan and Hamuul Runetotem - go to try to find more information about this odd phenomenon? I guess they could go to Silvermoon, where their records of the Elves' time in Tirisfal are no doubt intact and complete and OH WAIT, that's right, Silvermoon was ALSO partially destroyed.

The Monastery might literally be the only source of detailed, accurate information concerning this ominous presence left on Azeroth.

In any case, if it's Tirion, perhaps the dying Doan directs his old friend to the books containing the knowledge he seeks before expiring. If it's the New Council of Tirisfal, only after Doan is dead can they can settle in to begin researching Tirisfal's history and trying to locate the information they seek.

Legacy of the Crusade
(Armory Wing)

Much like how the Graveyard quests made a little more sense to Horde, I think the new Armory quests would cater a bit more to Alliance players who were privy to the downfall of Joseph the Awakened/Crazed/Insane. Obsessed with becoming the new Scarlet Champion and now completely mad from killing his former comrades, along with the realization that the noble organization he had believed in had actually been an evil, terrible blight, Joseph is beyond redemption and must be put down.

Perhaps it would be Tirion Fordring that asks players to kill him, or a member of the Brotherhood of Light who knew Joseph previously, or even a desperate, surrendering Scarlet Crusader who reveals Joseph's insanity. The quest dialogue could even explain how Joseph now spends every waking hours in the Hall of Champions, "talking" to the statues of his long-dead Scarlet Crusade heroes.

This would be a mercy killing rather than one of justice. Leaving a madman in charge of such a volatile group of killers would be simply too great a risk, especially given the vast recent improvements in the neighboring Plaguelands and steps towards recovery the zone has undergone.

But the Armory would be a vastly different place, now. Instead of the disciplined, meticulous military environment we remembered, the new Armory would be a chaotic mess of rubble, shattered pillars and walls, and madmen. The pristine walls would be smeared with blood, rotting corpses from Joseph's coup would still litter the ground, perhaps wild beasts would be roaming the halls...it would be a place of nightmares.

Finally, when players finally found Joseph in the Hall of Champions, he would be dressed like Herod, perhaps even believing himself to BE Herod, shouting Herod's trademark lines as you engaged him. Bonus sinister/creepy points for changing his name once again, only this time to Joseph the All-Seeing, or Joseph the Herald, or something ominous and eyebrow-raising.

For a twist, maybe his unstable mind even shifts during the battle, suddenly believing himself to be different Scarlet Crusade heroes and changing his battle style completely. Suddenly, he might grab a bow from the wall and unleash ranged attacks in the style of Fellari Swiftarrow, or grab a spear from Herod's weapon rack and start fighting like Yana Bloodspear. It would be a bit like the Forgemaster Throngus fight in Grim Batol, only there would be more possible fighting styles, which would be chosen from at random.

After Joseph was slain, everyone would turn and await the traditional rush of Scarlet Crusade trainees. On Regular, players would kill the trainees and then be done, but on Heroic difficulty, none would enter. Instead, after a few seconds, one of the statues would shift aside (perhaps the statue of Barean Westwind?), revealing a never before-seen staircase leading down.

Westwind's statue is on the right.There could totally be a secret door beneath it...

After descending deep into the earth, below the polished cobblestone floors of the Monastery, the players would encounter one final boss - a Faceless One.

Suddenly, Joseph's abrupt madness takes on a whole new light. The presence of a Faceless one would also explain much about the Crusade's fanaticism and penchant for extreme measures, and could tie in with the possibility of an Old God sleeping beneath Tirisfal as mentioned above. There are also many additional, subtle clues that be present in the Faceless One's chamber - Blood Elf furnishings or decorations, trappings from Lordaeron, articles with the symbols of Alterac, Gilneas, etc. With no explanation, the mere inclusion of suspicious items such as this would drive tinfoil-hat speculators (such as myself) into a frenzy for months. And we'd love every minute of it.

Wayward Sons
(Cathedral Wing)

One of the most classic fights in Scarlet Monastery is the final battle with Scarlet Commander Renault Mograine and High Inquisitor Whitemane. Renault is the son of Alexandros Mograine and the older brother of Darion Mograine, and was the reason Darion is who he is today (for bad reasons).

Long story short, way back in the day Renault betrayed and murdered Alexandros, which led to Alexandros being raised by Kel'thuzad as an undead minion. Darion and a small group of Argent Dawn soldiers invaded Naxxramas, destroyed the undead Alexandros, and reclaimed the Ashbringer, Alexandros' legendary sword. Darion took the sword back to Renault, who attacked Darion, but was interrupted when Alexandros' spirit popped out of the sword. The vengeful ghost confronted Renault, who cowered and begged his father for forgiveness. Alexandros' response was swift and decisive.

From World of Warcraft - Ashbringer (Issue #3)

Darion would take Ashbringer and later kill himself with it, in an ultimate act of love and sacrifice, to free his father's spirit from Kel'Thuzad's grasp, even though it meant taking Alexandros' place as the lich's slave.

By betraying Alexandros, Renault screwed over not only his father, but also himself AND his younger brother. What a guy. There is a LOT of history in the Mograine family, and a quest where you help Darion finally confront his murderous older brother is long overdue. Plus, it would be awesome.

Back when Alexandros' ghost killed Renault, Darion was much younger, much more optimistic, and hadn't yet been cursed with undeath. I imagine the new, cranky Darion might have a few things to say to his traitorous kin.

Now granted, Renault is dead...but since when has that stopped him before?

Someone, maybe a new zealous Scarlet Crusade priest, maybe a Dreadlord, maybe even someone who simply wants to torment Darion, brings him back in familiar fashion...

Arise, my champion!

After defeating Renault's master and the undead Mograine himself, I picture a little in-game scene where the undead Renault is down on one knee, defeated but still "alive", and Darion walks up. In a scene similar to and yet very different from the past, Renault could apologize to Darion for his evil deeds, for murdering their father, and for the pain he has caused them all, emphasized with horror at seeing Darion's cold, undead visage.

Scarlet Commander Renault Mograine: Forgive me, Darion. Please...
(Highlord Darion Mograine embraces Renault, plunging his sword into Renault's chest, who gasps and dies)
Highlord Darion Mograine: You are forgiven...brother.

What more do I have to say? Scarlet Monastery is a classic instance, full of great lore, plot hooks and unfinished stories. Blizzard, it's time to revisit the Monastery and reveal the final fate of this amazing faction that everyone loves to hate.

Plus, three words to seal the deal:


Really, enough said.

17 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    This would be AWESOME! So much possibility..hermmm, I wonder if someone will ask at Blizzcon? :)

    April 19, 2011 at 11:29 PM

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    Why do you not work for Blizz as a quest/lore dev? WHY WHY WHY?

    April 19, 2011 at 11:48 PM

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    Awesome post as always :) I usually read them out loud for my boyfriend, because they're damn well written and fascinating. Knowing more about the lore really makes the game more fun to play, and I've started doing quest lines just for the lore, after being inspired by your posts! Keep up the good work!
    And I would love heroic SM, they were always my favorite set of instances in Vanilla. But I'd probably love a remake of any Vanilla instance ^^

    April 20, 2011 at 3:44 AM

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    I always considered Scarlet Monastery to be a Horde series of instances by design, with the Alliance questline sending you to the Monastery tacked on as an afterthought. The current quest chain does a better job of integrating the Alliance into the SM lore, but not by much.

    Instead of Blizz using Joseph the Nutcase, I'd have sent Thassarian (and Koltira, Hordeside) before you meet up with them again in Western Plaguelands. That would be great continuity between Wrath and Cata, and also developed their stories a bit further.

    However, I really like your ideas with a Heroic SM.

    Now, have you thought about updating the BC starting zones lately? ;-)

    April 20, 2011 at 6:13 AM

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    That would be fantastic.

    I just hope they would keep the old ones if they ever make new ones. I like that they did it with deadmines and SFK.

    I hate when they delete content to make new content. While ZG was old, it wasn't hurting anyone being there for the level 60s that might want to run it. There was no reason for them to remove it.

    Losing the old dungeons and raids and with Cataclysm the old quests lost a lot of lore that new players will never see.

    Thanks to people like you that know the old lore and are willing to share they (we) can relive it however.

    Your ideas are awesome and that would surely be fantastic. I wish the blizz people would pop over here and take some notes from your book so to speak.

    Personally I would say step it up a notch. Put all 4 into 1 and make it a raid with an ulduar design of hard modes, not the stupid switch a setting hard modes and not just 4 dungeons we will get bored on in a matter of 2 or 3 runs.

    Something as grand as you described so well would need something bigger then just dungeons.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:55 AM

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    This is some of your best work, and that is saying something.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:17 AM

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    And with 4 wings, it would be enough content to suffice for an entire patch's 5-man quota!

    Definitely would love the heroic whitemane's chapeau.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:19 AM

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    What about High Inquisitor Fairbanks?

    April 20, 2011 at 8:49 AM

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    Brilliant, Rades, as usual. I'm not sure if you edited it down from the 3000 words that you mentioned on Twitter, but after getting to the end I wanted more.

    Scarlet Monastery has always been one of the best instances in the game, and the Scarlet Crusade has always been one of my favourite group of baddies, so I would absolutely love to see their story get concluded in epic fashion.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM

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    @Zinn - if you read this one out loud, I feel sorry for your vocal cords, it's SO LONG, haha. ;)

    @Redbeard - Using the DK Bros WOULD be a nice touch! ...but I actually wouldn't use them there, because there's already so much lore built into Scarlet Monastery, and Thassarian/Koltira, as cool as they are, really have no connection, you know? You could really plop them into any instance to spice things up, so it would seem almost a waste to use them on SM when there are many other Scarlet Crusade stories that would work instead. The connection to the Western Plaguelands WOULD be nice, though...

    @GrumpyElf - Truly, the 4-winged setup IS a little annoying. Even as a regular dungeon, I always felt like they should make them into two instances, maybe Graveyard/Cathedral and Library/Armory. A raid version would feel very grand and epic, but I wonder if it wouldn't also make it inaccessible to many players? Then again, maybe the level 30 versions are two instances, and the raid version is one huge level 85 raid?? :O The possibilities! Maybe the raid version could also really amp up the mystery and underlying story to reveal new things about the Scarlets...

    @Button - I actually considered having Fairbanks be one of the quests, a "Free him from his torment" sort of idea. The problem is, he's...in a very weird place, continuity-wise. Technically, he HAS been freed and is no longer undead! In the Corrupted Ashbringer event, when you brought the cursed blade to Scarlet Monastery and Alexandros' ghost kills Renault, afterwards Fairbanks turns back into a human and gives you an extensive story about the Mograines. I think, until the recent Ashbringer comic, it was the primary source of information about Renault's betrayal. It's also muddy because when you free Fairbanks, he tells you of Mograine's OTHER son (who we now know is Darion) who is in the Outland. This got retconned, as he was on Azeroth the whole time, and it breaks even worse when you realize that according to the comic continuity it was actually Darion who went through the Corrupted Ashbringer event and witnessed Renault's death. It's really all very confusing and mixed up, haha.

    April 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

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    At first I thought "Damnit Rades, why did you have to make me want heroic SM?" Then I read TheGrumpyElf's comment and now I think that an SM raid would be freaking AWESOME! Why must you tempt me with these things?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

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    this is so much WIN it hurts... I seriously hope someone at Blizz sees this and is inspired!

    April 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM

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    Lues Jenkins

    Holy shit bro! way to take a concept and run with it!

    April 20, 2011 at 6:07 PM

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    Absolutely fantastic! I strongly, strongly recommend posting this or a link to it on the Blizz suggestion forums.


    April 25, 2011 at 6:06 PM

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    Mograine's chapeau has always been one of the most epic looking hats before you get into raids and end game dungeons at 60.

    April 25, 2011 at 11:02 PM

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    I want to go to there.

    April 26, 2011 at 7:43 AM

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    Congratulations for the Piggie for this post Rades :)

    January 24, 2012 at 2:50 AM