The ultimate goal is to open the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj so that we can go and confront the enemy directly at home. But to do this, you'll have to work hard, and every player will be called upon!
The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj was Blizzard's first attempt at a large-scale event that required effort on the part of the entire server.
When Patch 1.9 was released on January 3, 2006, the two raiding instances that made up Ahn'Qiraj, Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj and Ahn'Qiraj, were not immediately available to the general population. Players had to undertake a massive war effort to help open the instance, which consisted of two segments: the collection of hundreds of thousands of supplies, and the completion of an epic quest sequel that took the server's most trained characters on an adventure to help the Dragon Flights. The event culminated in a 10-hour server event that took place in many areas of Kalimdor.
The speed at which Ahn'Qiraj opened depended solely on the dedication of the entire server.
There hasn't been an event like this since AQ - Blizzard has created server-wide events since then, such as pre-expansion events, but these weren't as involved or as challenging for players as the war effort at Ahn'Qiraj was. Although epic, the QA event was marked by server crashes, significant delays, and even bizarre bugs. Translated with
At this massive event, the most dedicated players gathered the Sceptre of Quicksand, while the rest of the server gathered material to help the war effort. As the Beetle Wall opened, a myriad of qiraji creatures rushed at players, so the entire population of Azeroth had to prepare for the attack.
One of the steps required to open Ahn'Qiraj was to collect supplies. Both the Horde and the Alliance had to gather hundreds of thousands of supplies to contribute to the war effort. You could deliver them to the bases of the war effort (located in the military district in Ironforge for the Alliance, and in the Valley of Spirits in Orgrimmar for the Horde).
Each delivery gave you a War Effort Supply from Ahn'Qiraj, containing a green item equivalent to the level of the item you delivered, and a number of bookmarks (Alliance Merit Knight / Horde Merit Knight), which were given to Special Mention Officers for the reputation of the capital city of your choice. This was actually a good way to cultivate reputation with capitals, as the only other option at the time was the return of the sheets (like A Gift of Rune Cloth).
A stack of each item resulted in a record, and the first record of each item always gave 10 signs. Subsequent submissions gave you the number of stamps indicated above.
Both factions must collect a total of:
WARNING: Its information may change depending on the population of the servers.
A stack of each item gave you a discount, and the first discount for each item always gave you 10 knights. The following discounts gave you the number of knights shown above.
As you can see, this was not an easy task. The entire server had to get together and help, after all, this is war we're talking about. There were shortages for each of the above, and you had to decide which was more important: you or the server?
There hasn't been a more important event on the WoW servers since. The sense of urgency and the threat of qiraji didn't just affect the high level characters, everyone felt it. The event also fostered massive cooperation between the two factions, who exchanged materials more easily acquired on the other side for their own. Rival guilds worked together and players made new friendships.
After the server managed to collect all the necessary items, there was a five-day delay before the doors could be opened by the scepter holder, while the supplies were transported to Silithus. Although this could not be seen in real time, players noticed that the boxes of supplies in Ironforge and Orgrimmar were slowly disappearing and accumulating in Silithus.
Once all necessary war supplies have been gathered, the combined forces of the Alliance and Horde will begin transporting NPCs, equipment and supplies to Silithus.
Five days must pass before the supplies are sent by zeppelin (we can't see what's really happening). As the days pass, the stock of supplies that had accumulated slowly diminishes until everything is in place, at which point the sceptre holder can ring the powerful gong to cause the Beetle Wall to open. A ten-hour continent-wide event will then begin, preceded by a global message to all users of the server indicating: "Player". Bronze Dragon Flying Champion, rang the Beetle Gong. The ancient gates of Ahn'Qiraj open, revealing the horrors of a forgotten war .
The first person who has completed the quest will receive the Cristal de résonance qiraji noir and the title "Scarab Lord" as a reward. All those who had the Sceptre des Sables and banged the gong within the 10 hours of the war would also receive the mount and title.
The most immediate effect, of course, is that the gates of Ahn'Qiraj will open and powerful monsters and bosses will begin to spread. General Rajaxx appears, along with a number of very large epic monsters from Anubisath and Qiraji that the combined armies of players and NPCs must defeat. Once this is done, the raiding guilds can go to the 20 and 40 man instances as they wish. In addition, anyone with a full Quicksand Scepter that rings the gong again during this event will receive a Black Qiraji Resonance Crystal.
While the melee at the Gates is underway, large floating obelisks called Resonant Crystal Formations will appear in the Silithus, Tanaris, Feralas, Barrens, Thousand Needles and Un'Goro Crater. These obelisks will alternately control the minds of nearby players and spawn high level monsters such as Colossal Anubisath Warriors and various Silithids.
At the end of the Ten Hour War, all Obelisks and Silithid/Anubisath NPCs disappeared, leaving the gates of Ahn'Qiraj open for the foreseeable future. Players who banged the gong gained access to the final quest, Le trésor de l'Intemporel, which would reward them with a choice of a powerful weapon for their efforts (Croc de Korialstrasz, Douleur de Shadowsong, Epée runique du Rouge or Héritage de Ravencrest). Players who didn't bang the gong during the war only had access to this final quest, never to obtain the mount or title.
Thanks to every contributor and the following sources for helping to create this guide: Gossusha, site contributor, Wowhead.