The four green dragon world bosses, Emeriss, Lethon, Ysondre, and Taerar, were all added together in patch 1.8. World bosses were still a big thing back in classic WoW, and these four were hardly the first. They joined the ranks of Lord Kazzak in the Blasted Lands and Azuregos in Azshara.
The green dragons had four possible spawn zones at the portals to the Emerald Dream in Duskwood, the Hinterlands, Feralas, and Ashenvale. The trick was that only two of them spawned per week, and which portals they spawned at was entirely random. You might get Lethon in Ashenvale one week, no Lethon at all the week after that, and on the third week, Lethon might spawn in the Hinterlands.
All of the green dragon encounters were designed with one major factor in mind: You were fighting the bosses outdoors, and there might be interference. These things were meant to be fought over, brutally and viciously. Deaths often caused disastrous chain reactions. If you died while fighting Emeriss, a mushroom spawned on your corpse that dealt significant AOE damage every second to everybody around that mushroom. If your raid wanted to kill Emeriss but another raid was already fighting him, it was perfectly valid -- and encouraged -- to kill members of the opposing raid to spawn mushrooms and wipe the raid. If you weren't on a PVP server, something else occurred: While you were fighting Emeriss, a gaggle of low-level characters would bum rush the boss and die intentionally, slathering your raid in mushrooms. Because of these brutal tactics, most world bosses were generally dominated by one or two raid groups, week in and week out.
On PVP realms, they called it part of the game. On PVE realms, we called it horrible griefing, you irritating jackasses! Just let us kill the dragon! There's a reason Blizzard stopped making world bosses, even if we miss them sometimes.
These green dragons had a curious story significance, too. The Emerald Nightmare was a subplot of World of Warcraft for years. Ever since the beginning, there were hints and teases of the Nightmare. Killing these dragons gave us a tiny little glimpse into what was tying Malfurion in the Dream for so many years. Unfortunately, after nearly seven years, the closest we've come to a true resolution to the Nightmare story took place within the Stormrage novel and not the game itself.
When World of Warcraft launched, there was one glaring piece of unfinished content staring everybody in the face: Silithus. That zone was mostly barren for nearly an entire year after the game's release. There were a few mobs here and there in the zone, but they didn't drop anything at all and (if I remember correctly) didn't even grant XP. There were no quests. No towns. Nothing. It was as if the whole thing existed exclusively as a place to battle Thunderaan when you completed Thunderfury.
Patch 1.8 changed that up. Proper mobs were placed and itemized. Quests and quest hubs were implemented. The whole zone came to life, preparing players for what would come next. In patch 1.9, the world event leading up to the opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj would take place. We've already done an Archivist (which I highly recommend checking out) on that event.
Most Alliance players don't seem to remember it, but Silithus and the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj introduced us to some of our faction's coolest characters: the 7th Legion. Those badasses manning the gates of Wintergarde Keep in the Dragonblight throughout Wrath of the Lich King were actually the Alliance "heroes" at Cenarion Hold back in classic WoW. Unfortunately, they're mostly forgotten in Cataclysm -- that is, unless you play Horde. In addition to seeing the resolution of Gilneas as a Forsaken player, you also get to rip members of the 7th Legion to shreds. The Alliance misses out on both the Gilneas material and a look at their 7th Legion this expansion. It is a good expansion to be a member of the Horde, that's for sure. (Well, that or it's just really, really bad to be a member of the Alliance.)
I actually don't have much to say about this one, but I thought it was an interesting time for us to come upon the foundation of this holiday. After all, the devs at Blizzard are right in the middle of revamping that holiday for 2011.
Next week on the Archivist
What lies beneath I'm being cryptic, so you know it'll be good. Get excited, people.
The WoW Archivist examines the WoW of old. Follow along while we discuss the lost legendary, the opening of Ahn'Qiraj, and hidden locations such as the crypts of Karazhan.