Everything you need to know about the updated Headless Horseman event, now live!
Hallow’s End, World of Warcraft’s Halloween-themed seasonal event, is now live with new changes as part of an overall holiday event refresh previously outlined in the Dragonflight 2023 roadmap, and will run this year from October 18 through November 1.
The main draw of Hallow’s End is the Headless Horseman dungeon — most players queue up for the dungeon because Hallow’s End is the only chance they can earn the rare Horseman’s Reins mount. It’s not the only thing, however, as this year’s Hallow’s End introduces a new narrative questline surrounding the Headless Horseman, has revamped the dungeon’s fight mechanics, and streamlining some of the open-world rewards in process. There are some spoilers here, so if you don’t want to know about any of the changes, turn back now!
The origin of the Headless Horseman questline
Beginning this year, a new questline dives in to the origin of the Headless Horseman will be available to all players participating in Hallow’s End. This questline provides new players an introduction to the Headless Horseman, why he exists and attacks certain areas, and why he has his own dungeon. It also gives veteran players who are already familiar with the story of the Headless Horseman more in-game lore and story they can interact with and be a part of.
You can begin by picking up the opening quest, A Ghostly Message, from Matron Seacole outside of the Stormwind City Gates if you’re an Alliance player while Horde players will receive the quest from Calia Menethil near Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar.
After getting the introduction quest, you’ll need to travel to Tirisfal Glades to complete the rest of the questline. I won’t spoil it for you but if you enjoy Halloween-themed events and stories like I do, this is one you’ll want to check out.
The revamped Headless Horseman dungeon encounters
Like questlines in other World of Warcraft zones, when you complete the story portion of the Headless Horseman’s origin quest you’ll receive a final quest objective to queue up for the dungeon to fight Headless Horseman himself. As of patch 10.1.7, the Headless Horseman’s standard encounter appears as the default option and remains largely the same with a few mechanical changes.
The normal mode Headless Horseman encounter can still be queued up for in the dungeon finder and takes place in the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard. You still begin the fight by summoning him through interacting with the Jack O’Lantern in the graveyard. He has had some changes made during the fight itself — his head no longer flies around after you drop his health and he has a few new abilities:
- Pumpkin Breath — An AOE fire attack erupts from the Horseman.
- Vine March — The Horseman summons additional mobs to fight you.
- Insidious Cackle — A circle appears around you character that, after a few seconds, causes a flee effect if it overlaps with another player when it goes off.
- Hot Head — The Horseman throws a flaming pumpkin projectile at someone.
New to this year’s Hallow’s End is a hard mode that enhances the Headless Horseman’s fight mechanics.
If you want to access hard mode you’ll need to interact with the 4 Wicker Men at the beginning of the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard. Each Wicker Man offers a curse. Choosing one enhances an ability of the Horseman with extra mechanics and can inflict another stackable debuff called Wicker Man’s Shadow that reduces your health by 10%:
- Ember Curse — Enemies emit Shadowflame bursts that apply Wicker Man’s Shadow.
- Cursed Hot Head — Players suffer hallucinations they have to move towards and dispel. Failing to do so applies two stacks of Wicker Man’s Shadow.
- Shadow Curse — Players must destroy the shackles on soul-copies of themselves before they reach a burning flame or else they receive two stacks of Wicker Man’s Shadow.
- Thorny Surprise — Thorns from Vines erupt, enemies hit suffer from two stacks Wicker Man’s Shadow.
Choosing to enable the hard mode version is entirely individual — you can choose to activate one, some, all or none of the curses and those choices will only affect you and not the rest of the party. Everyone needs to individually opt-in to hard mode.
Players successfully complete the dungeon under hard mode if no one dies during the fight, and the goal of both normal and hard mode versions is deplete the Horseman’s health to zero. When you defeat the Headless Horseman on normal mode, you can earn the following rewards starting at ilvl 385, though if you’re higher it’ll scale to your level:
- The Horseman’s Reins
- Seal of Ghoulish Glee
- Band of the Petrified Pumpkin
- Wicked Witch’s Signet
- Loot-Filled Pumpkin
The Loot-Filled Pumpkins also have a chance to drop the Hallow’s End Velocidrake Armor from the Headless Horseman, with the first kill completed by a level 60+ character having a higher chance once each day. Blizzard has also confirmed the first Headless Horseman kill each day also has a higher chance to drop the Horseman’s Reins mount, with that chance increasing for each curse you applied to yourself if you choose to opt-in to hard mode.
Originally published August 21, 2023. Updated October 18, 2023.
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