Although I love to quest, no matter what game, one thing I have always found frustrating as I play World of Warcraft and other RPGs are the quests that you shouldn’t have done. You’ve blindly trusted this NPC because they have a yellow exclamation point over their head, the universal sign of trustworthiness. You’ve fetched them the items they want, and you want your reward. Your character has leveled, progressed through many quests and dungeons, and attained new skills, stats and gear for their hard work… but apparently, they’ve never learned to question who they’re working for. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve accidentally summoned evil beings or assisted old gods in rebirthing themselves. While we all want to do the right thing, of course, I’m going to give a quick run-down of some of the more memorable times you can do the wrong thing.
Probably the first tricksy quest you can encounter in the game (if you happen to roll a night elf!) is a quest in Teldrassil. I remember when I made my first night elf, I encountered the demon Zenn Foulhoof along the road to Dolanaar. He wants you to collect him some items from spiders, panthers and owls, but after you’ve turned it in, the night elves in Teldrassil are angry that you have defiled the forest by killing the creatures, ordering you to ‘Seek Redemption!’ I was very new to the game when I completed this, and I thought, “Oh shit! I fucked up! Gotta make amends to the night elves!”, fearing it would be bad for my character if I didn’t. The Zenn Foulhoof quest is great because it’s one of the only ‘Ooooops’ quests with a follow-up- where you get to trick him back, feeding him a delicious snack that turns him into a frog.
Alliance definitely aren’t the only ones who get to carry out quests for traitors and evil beings. Several Ragefire Chasm quests are handed out by Neeru Fireblade, whom Thrall himself has you interrogate about his evil affiliations as the true leader of the Burning Blade in exchange for some phat level 12 weapons. Later on, a none-too-scrupulous troll witch doctor in Feralas sends you back to Orgrimmar to exchange a shrunken dwarf head for Neeru’s assistance.
Several low-level dungeon quests are also handed out by some not-so-well-intentioned individuals. Sometimes you realize what you’ve done, sometimes you don’t. A cute female undead NPC in Desolace wants you to get her some carvings to “…study…” from Mauradon. When you turn them in, she cackles evilly, laughing about how you will do anything for the right price. Hey now, 5 str 13 stam plate shoulders are hard to come by! At this point in the game, you probably don’t know that her faction, <Twilight’s Hammer>, are some pretty bad dudes you’re going to be seeing a whole lot of in Silithus- and there’s no follow-up, so you definitely don’t care that you’ve once again aided the enemy.
A quest line that starts in Tanaris leads you into Sunken Temple to aid another troll witch doctor, Yeh’Kinya, to contain the essence of the evil old god Hakkar and (supposedly) save the world from what could happen if he were unleashed upon it. A nearby dwarf prospector sends you to Eastern Plaguelands and into Lower Blackrock Spire to collect prophecies that, when translated, reveal that the egg you collected earlier could be used to once again release Hakkar upon the world! When you confront Yeh’Kinya, he ‘fesses up, turns into a huge green soulflayer and flies off across the ocean laughing about your foolishness. I stood there with a thoroughly confused level 40 mage watching him fly away and couldn’t help but think…. ” Ooooops? My bad?”
Another quest you complete for a very bad dude is probably the one that first springs to your mind: the Torch of Retribution chain in Searing Gorge. Kalaran Windblade and his extremely recalcitrant Squire Maltrake have you fetch them a few items and set the sentry towers around the Cauldron on fire. When you finish the chain, Windblade basically calls you an idiot, turns into a huge black drake, and gives you the Hoard of the Black Dragonflight (greens, low level mats and lowbie food/water. Sheeeesh. Some hoard) and thanks you for allowing him to unleash the legions of Blackrock upon Searing Gorge.
Don’t think for a second that only in classic WoW can you quest for the evil powers that be. In Shadowmoon Valley you had to do quests for the Ancient Shadowmoon Spirit. Eventually, he confesses that he’s been telling you a ‘fairy story’ about Teron Gorefiend’s life, and he’s really him, and is quite the bad character. Since you gathered all his items for him, he’ll thank you by posessing you to defeat his ancient watcher, who holds him prisoner at the Altar of Shadows. Oh and by the way, now thanks to you he’s free to do very evil things from inside the Black Temple. Goddamnit, why does this always happen to me?!
These quests, however, aren’t particularly important. There is no follow-up; there is no consequence. No one urgently requires us to help defeat the enemy that we’ve unleashed, and we’re not involved in it, really. Twilight’s Hammer cultists, the Burning Blade, even Hakkar aren’t really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, nor were they when the quests for them were likely to be the same level as you. This is why the two quest lines involving Drak’uru in Northrend are easily the best of all the ‘Ooops’ quest lines in the game, and why I highly recommend doing Grizzly Hills before Zul’drak.
You find Drakuru in a cage at Granite Springs. For very little reason, he offers to make a blood pact with you, and then wants you to kill Drakkari trolls all over Grizzly Hills, summoning his image to several spots as you progress through the zone. When you summon Drakuru at the final brazier inside Drak’Tharon Keep, he offers you as a reward – “Revelation!”- The revelation that all along, you’ve been aiding him to defeat the Drakkari Empire in order to provide the Lich King with a new army to take over Zul’Drak. Oh shit! That’s bad! This quest is the best because you really get to see how Drakuru got his power, and work to defeat him with the guilty feeling of knowing that you helped him become so powerful. I really liked Drakuru as I did the Grizzly Hills quests, and when I found out that I’d been betrayed I was prettty pissed! Luckily, you get to get your revenge in a quest line in Zul’Drak.
I’ve played both Alliance and Horde and completed well over 4000 quests between my characters, but I still find it frustrating when I finish a quest and find out that I was aiding the enemy. I like that, though- it gives a sense of involvement. I wish there were more quests, though, that provided a consequence. Even a slap on the wrist from a higher-up NPC would instill the proper sense of shame one should rightfully feel upon unleashing ancient evil spirits, old gods, armies of undead trolls and legions of fel orcs upon the unsuspecting masses. For once, I’d like to be called an idiot by someone I didn’t just aid in their plan to destroy the world as we know it.