WoW Archivist: Classic’s Paladin mount quests
Legion has brought back many of the class-specific content ideas that Blizzard implemented into classic WoW. Back then, these ideas were never fully fleshed out — they were given to some classes and not others. Both Paladins and Warlocks, for example, had quests to earn mounts during the classic era.
They have since been removed, but in Legion we have the opportunity to embark on a new series of quests — this time, for every class. It’s certainly an improvement in that way.
Let’s look back at the Paladin mount quests and how they influenced Legion’s versions.
Paladins had a single quest at level 40 and a full-on quest line at 60 to obtain their mounts. The level-40 quest simply involved talking to an NPC in Stormwind, who taught you the Summon Warhorse spell. Paladins were thrilled about this. Everyone else, not so much.
In the first year of classic WoW, there was a lot of griping on the forums about Paladins. Their bubble-hearth was a big topic, their burst damage, and also the fact that Paladins got their mount for free while everyone else (except Warlocks) had to shell out 100g.
To put this in perspective, my Hunter couldn’t even afford the 100g when he hit level 40 back then. I had to save up, farm, and play the Auction House while I walked around on my own two hooves like a jackass. What made it all worse was that only the Alliance had Paladins in classic, so it added fuel to the “Blizzard hates Horde” mentality in the game’s early years.
However, the complainers didn’t realize how expensive the level-60 Paladin mount was. The materials to complete the quest line cost far more than the 1000g to straight-up buy an “epic” (swift) ground mount. A Pristine Black Diamond alone cost more than 1000g on the Auction House during classic. It was a rare drop, and it also overlapped as a requirement for Warlocks’ mount quest.
Shaking down the righteous
The Paladin chain started with two branches. The two different questgivers made you fork out 150g. One literally told you, “You must first show due sacrifice and judgment… with an emphasis on sacrifice,” and then asked for cash. He gave you an Exorcism Censer. The other asked for the money as a “fee” to create the barding for the horse. Of course, you had to provide all of the materials for the barding also: 5 Stratholme Holy Water, 6 Arcanite Bars, 10 Arthas’ Tears, and 40 Runecloth. These were endgame materials and not cheap when a good portion of the playerbase hadn’t even reached 60 yet.
With the censor and the barding in hand, you had to go about making things ready for your fabulous future warhorse and generally being Paladin-y. For the first branch, you had to exorcise spirits in Terrordale. For the second, you had to obtain special and outrageously expensive horse food. You can’t summon a magical charger and expect it to eat non-magical oats, can you? Actually, the food wasn’t for your own horse, but another magical horse. Yes, it’s confusing.
First, you had to purchase Enriched Manna Biscuits from the Argent Dawn, which required friendly reputation. Then, for the price of 50g, you could turn those biscuits into Manna-Enriched Horse Feed. This is all because your barding is disappointingly mundane and must be enchanted.
For this part, you had to travel to Dire Maul West and defeat Tendris Warpwood. (You also needed the Crescent Key to “attune” to this part of the instance, which added its own level of difficulty.) After Warpwood fell, an Ancient Equine Spirit would appear. You fed him the magical biscuits and he agreed to bless your lame Arcanite Barding — thus creating Blessed Arcanite Barding.
Now you were almost ready for the hard part. You needed the Pristine Black Diamond mentioned above and an Azerothian Diamond to turn your Exorcism Censor into a Divination Scryer (Vanilla quests were all about fancy quest items).
With the Scryer in hand, you had to convince four other players to venture with you to Scholomance to help you with a quest that had no benefit for them and could leave you all locked in a room with no option but to hearth out if you failed. It wasn’t an easy ask. Most Paladins found it best to enlist other Paladins who were on the quest or hoped you’d return the favor someday. This actually made the quest easier to complete, as we’ll see in a moment.
The showdown for the mount took place in Rattlegore’s room. (To get there you needed the Skeleton Key to “attune” to Scholomance, from another difficult classic-era quest chain.) Once you cleared the room and killed Rattlegore, you used the Scryer to begin the event. Waves of spirits spawned. Each one was weak to a specific Paladin seal.
In classic WoW and for a long time after, Paladins had different Seal spells that changed the effect of their Judgment spell. So if you judged the spirits with the correct Seal that they had a weakness to, you would get a bonus, such as extra damage or an AOE stun. Having multiple Paladins made this part of the encounter easier, since they could each make use of the same Seal/Judgment bonus. You had to memorize which Seal to use versus which group.
Every few waves you would face an “Aspect.” If you had a Priest along, they could shackle the Aspect to give your party a break and restore mana.
After eight waves, the boss spawned, with no time to recover: a Death Knight riding a charger! Death Knights wouldn’t be added to the game as a class for many years, so this was an exciting appearance back then. The Death Knight had a mind control ability that had to be dispelled quickly, but otherwise he wasn’t too difficult once you got to him. Using Shadow Resistance Aura and bringing Greater Shadow Protection Potions helped as well.
Once you put the DK in his place, you could loot the Charger’s Lost Soul. His mount stood there, waiting and anxious for a new owner. Once you restored the horse’s soul and placed the enchanted barding on it, it became your faithful steed.
If you failed, your group lost the Scryer and were locked in Scholo forever. At first, players weren’t sure if this was intended or just a bug. Blizzard said this was intentional, as a way of punishing failure. You had to hearth out, obtain another Scryer from Stormwind, go back to Scholo, reset it, re-clear up to and including Rattlegore, and try again.
Yup, WoW was certainly a lot more hardcore back in 2005.
Even assuming you succeeded on the first try, the insane costs of this quest line more than made up for the “free” mount at level 40. Paladins could still, of course, bubble-hearth.
Legacy of the Light
When The Burning Crusade introduced Horde-side Blood Elf Paladins, they got their own quest line. Alliance players complained that it was far easier and less expensive than the original Alliance version. In point of fact, it was. You still ultimately had to enter a dungeon and beat a somewhat difficult group encounter, but there was a lot less running around in the Horde version. However, that is just the direction that the game — and the MMO industry in general — has gone.
Draenei Paladins still had to go through the Alliance quest line. They also had to settle for a horse while this quest line existed. There was no Great Exarch’s Elekk until Cataclysm.
The new Paladin mount quest line in Legion hits on many of the themes of the original. Without going too heavy into spoilers, you still have to assemble a barding and get it blessed. You still take a corrupted horse and turn it into your own holy steed. Instead of requiring a full party to complete the quest line, however, you enter a solo scenario along with some helpful (or not-so-helpful) NPC Paladin friends.
I’m glad Blizzard brought back class mounts. I did the Horde-side Paladin quest in TBC and it was a highly memorable experience. I remember wishing at the time that every class had such a cool series of quests with such a great class-specific reward. Now they do!
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