Tag Archives: Urban Legends in Games

Myths and Urban Legends in WoW – “Don’t Talk to the Students”

  • Don’t talk to any of the students in Scholomance – they will aggro the entire room!

Since Scholomance has undergone a complete revamp with patch 5.0.4, I thought this old myth would be a good one to pull up next. It’s important to note that most of the information in this article will therefore not correspond to what you can find in the game currently.

In the part of Scholomance called The Viewing Room there were several groups of students standing in groups of about 3-5 around a small campfire. They came in different races, even the old high elf model, as seen to the right, which I’m not even sure exists in the game anymore. They were elite and had substantial health pools for their level, but they were all neutral to you.

Near the entrance to the room, an elevated scene was situated. Here stood two bosses. One of them, Marduk Blackpool, was an undead death knight. The other a skeletal necromancy trainer named Vectus. These two were also neutral to you.

So what happened if you spoke to the students, or for that matter the teachers? Did the entire room turn against you? – actually not.

  • If you spoke to Marduk, he would be brief and say something like: “Your future is clouded. Concentrate, and ask again.” and “You don’t look like a student…“.
  • If you spoke to Vectus, he would also note your lack of proper clothing and say “What, may I ask, are you doing here? Put on your student’s attire, and study!” and “Be silent! Do you think our plagued dragons will hatch and train themselves?”.
  • And finally, if you spoke to any of the students, they would say things like: “Did you forget your student’s attire? Do you think fashion is more vital than the Scourge’s domination?” and ““Be silent! I cannot afford to miss even a moment of this lecture!”. Or you might run into one of the less obsessive students:Did you finish yesterday’s assignment? If so, then sit by me!.

    An actual screenshot of a student from old Scholomance. Image is from Wowhead.

Even though some of them would try and correct your fashion style (hey, the high elf robe up above does look pretty good!), or that Marduk can sense that something is wrong, you’re free to walk around and chat all day if you want. You can, for example, listen in on Vectus’ lecture:

When preparing the dragon’s meal, be sure to torture the prisoner in view of the dragon. It responds well to pre-meal entertainment.” and “From yesterday’s field trip, Marduk showed us that the dragons will tolerate the meat of recently killed humanoids, but only if they died slowly and painfully.

But if you can talk to everyone and no one will attack because of it, how did this myth come to be then?

Well, the encounter was unusual in that everyone was neutral and if you did attack either Marduk or Vectus, all the students would come to their rescue. So it was possible to aggro the entire room, just not by being a chatterbox. However, there are some conflicting stories on Wowhead about turning Vectus hostile from talking to him three times. Someone else said that three times didn’t cut it, but if you kept at it eventually he would become hostile. The Wowpedia article on The Viewing Room claims that all these versions are false.

The reason everyone was so careful not pull the entire room, was because the students were quite hard, people reported they were capable of killing a lvl 80 as a group. It was possible to clear the room a few students at a time in order to then kill the bosses, but it would take a while.

You could also clear the room in an alternative way. It involved a consumable item called Alexi’s Gambit, which you gained access to after completing a long quest-line (did I mention this was Vanilla content?). This item allowed you to turn all the students into weaker non-elite skeletons that made clearing the room a lot easier as people could just AoE them down. When the gambit was activated, everyone would also turn hostile to you. Here’s a short Xfire video by nobodymk2 showing the effect of the gambit on the students.

The myth may have arisen over confusion about how to tackle this encounter, or it may have been dungeons masters who didn’t want to risk anyone pulling the bosses prematurely, and so instructed the party to not click any mobs. For whatever reason this must have turned into a dogma no one wanted to challenge, because testing it was at the risk of wiping the group.

With the change to Scholomance, the viewing room was also implemented in the new version, but it now looks substantially different. The students are now being lectured in alchemy by Professor Slate, the Potions Master, in a new and fancy auditorium. Despite the better surroundings for learning, the students are not as excited about Slate as they were about Marduk and Vectus – here all of them are bored.

This time around, they are not foolish enough to mistake any of us as one of them, so they are all hostile right off the bat. They are still standing around in study groups and will attack together, however, initiating one of them does not aggro the whole room.

Also, Contrary to old Scholomance, these students do not care if you kill Professor Slate. Whether that’s because they are half asleep and not paying attention or because they secretly wish he was dead, we will not know.

Neither the bored students nor their teacher Professor Slate will talk to you, so this old myth has become history with the old version of this dungeon.

Finally to commemorate old Scholomance, I found this nice video by which gives a short glimpse of how it used to be.

Myths and Urban Legends in WoW – The Bengal Tiger Cave

  • In Stranglethorn Vale near Zul’Gurub hidden in the mountains, there’s a secret cave with an even more secret mount vendor. She sells a cat mount, supposedly a bengal tiger, but she only spawns once a month for 30 minutes.

This is sweet music to the ears of WoW players – a rare mount, only known by the few and initiated. Imagine the woosh of characters turning as you toggle on walk and sashay through the streets of the capital cities, reclined on a spotted leopard… “leopard?” you might say, and I understand your confusion.

This mount was only available during the alpha testing of WoW, it has never been available on live.

It doesn’t help when pictures like the one above are linked to the Stranglethorn Vale mount vendor myth as evidence. It’s not bengal, but it’s nice looking and nothing anyone has ever seen as a mount in the game, so I guess for some it counts. We all know the saying “screenshot or it didn’t happen”, and with this in the bag, no wonder this rumour lived on for a long time.

Added to this, if you search around the Zul’Gurub mountain chain, you can indeed find a small cave, and numerous videos on Youtube will gladly show you how to get to the empty spot (in a pre-shattered world), where this vendor is supposed to appear like a lunar clock.

If you listen to the Warcraft Less Traveled #12, you can hear expert explorer Skolnick seek out this specific location back pre-shattering, before Deathwing reshaped Azeroth. Back then we couldn’t just fly around like we can now, so it took some skilled wall climbing to get there, a fact that made the place very inaccessible and served to intensify the myth as not everyone was able to check for themselves.

The cave is still there and there’s a whole area around it, largely undeveloped but oh so promising when you first arrive.

The yellow circle on this map marks the cave and area around it. From the lake there’s a lit path leading up to the cave. The orange line denotes another pathway that leads towards the lower corner of the Blasted Land, I marked it on the map because it looked so purposeful, but there really isn’t much to it.

Several boxes and what looks to be dried hides are scattered around, the cave itself is not very deep but illuminated with an intense orange light.

The impression of the atmosphere, the emptiness of the area and all the objects strewn around did however leave me chilled, maybe I should have visited during day light.

The Bengal Tiger myth has all the ingredients for a really sturdy long-lived legend – Old alpha pictures, suggestive features in the game, the cave is actually there! A one month spawn timer, of course, makes this stealthy vendor a bit tricky to track down, it’s harder to prove her nonexistence.

On Wowhead you can still find the item “Reins of the Bengal Tiger“. Notice that tauren is missing in the races listing, which suggests that this item is a very old alpha curiosity.

This mount also required its own special “Tiger Riding Skill 1″, which suggested that maybe in early testing you needed riding skill for every type of mount.

Underneath you can also see what the actual Bengal Tiger looked like (although a real life bengal is still striped), but I have not been able to find any pictures of characters mounting it.

The Bengal Tiger story is so classic in it’s features, someone lined the facts up and the community started brewing about the connections. Somewhere along the line, someone must have added the mysterious spawn-time, which is the part of the legend that differs the most, from once a month for 5-30 mins, to once a week for 1 hour. One part of the story is about how people have asked game masters who have replied that the mount exists, but the vendor is hidden – how ambiguous!

Some people have also added extra spice by saying that the game crashed when they clicked the vendor. Others have suggested that only one person gets it per realm (like the AQ mount), and then the vendor would never spawn again.

The one but crucial thing I have not been able to find much evidence on, is the vendor herself. Yes, the rumors surrounding the vendor usually denotes her as female, but no race was established and the name of this NPC never surfaced either. Unlike the various cat mounts, the vendor never existed.

When reading all the various forum threads, several people point to Allakhazam as a source of what they know about the mount, so it’s possible the rumor originated there. It’s also likely that it spread from a private server and when people investigated further, they would find suggestive pictures and mistake it for existing in the live game as well.

But despite the hard “evidence”, sometimes featuring a leopard or cheetah instead of a tiger, an actual bengal tiger could be acquired by players, just not by hunting down an invisible vendor.

This one, however, was available to players, and on top of it all, it’s a bengal tiger!

The “real” bengal was called Swift Zulian Tiger and dropped within old Zul’Gurub, not outside it! I think most players are familiar with this kitty, if not by owning it themselves (lucky bastards), then by admiring the players whose grinds were eventually rewarded by lady RNG.

Another feature related to this myth was added with patch 4.1.0 (April 2011): The questline where the final part involves you traveling to this exact cave to pick up your very own panther cub. Again not a bengal tiger, and not handed over by a vendor, but nevertheless I interpret this as a nod to this old myth, which probably is amongst the most famous and persistent myths in WoW.

Panther Cub

Other sources:

Myths and Urban Legends in WoW – The Secret Cellar

  • Myth: There’s a secret wine cellar at the Gallywix Pleasure Palace

The reason I came up with writing this post is due to this one phrase that has kept appearing as a search term. People out there wants to know about “secret wine cellar Gallywix Pleasure Palace” and search engines lead them to me. It drives me crazy, I’ve read and read and everything has led to a dead-end. I have gone to the Pleasure Palace every time I saw the search term, thinking I must have overlooked something, I just needed to look for hidden doors or gaps, it had to be there!

If I google this myself, I would find a link to Wowpedia saying this:

“The palace has an ocean view, grenade golf course, a secret booze cellar, a luxury pool, and a sauna. The booze cellar is not seen in the game.”

This information comes from a short story called “Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince” written by Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, where the palace is described as having a booze cellar, but of course the online WoW doesn’t always correspond. So there’s basis for assuming it would be there when all the other cool pleasure features are. (I must say though, that short story does sound awfully relevant to any self employed auction house mogul!)

This inspired me to go look for more myths and urban legends in WoW, and there are many of varying themes from how to acquire certain items, to misunderstandings on how fx resting and healing works.

Generally I get the impression that the majority of these stories arose in original WoW (aka “vanilla”) in a time where players were learning and building the vast amount of knowledge about the inner workings of this world, that we now have come to take for granted.

I intend to expand upon this collection of myths and urban legends as I go along and manage to find them scattered around the web.

They’ll all be added on the overview page.