Above the Dunes: Uncovering the secrets of the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj

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Somewhere deep beneath the deserts of Silithus, an Old God waits…

c'thun ahn'qiraj
A slightly off-center Old God.

Lying at the end of the sprawling silithid hive, the Old God C’Thun has sat and waited for 14 years; first waiting for hapless adventurers to stumble into his clutches, then waiting for hapless transmog hunters to beat him to death for pants.

Luckily for C’Thun he’s safe from aspiring pants hunters this week, because we’re seeking far more rewarding loot… adventure!

exploring ahn'qiraj
*non-copyrighted adventure music plays*

Ahn'qiraj windowThis exploration is extremely simple. All you have to do is take a Demon Hunter all the way through AQ40, get close enough to C’Thun to give him pants-related flashbacks, then back up and use double jump and vengeful retreat to flip backwards out of the window behind him.

Ahn'Qiraj exploration
“I don’t even drop pants!”

ahn'qiraj entranceFrom here, simply back away from C’Thun and you’ll drop out of the temple and into an outside world never meant to be explored by players! Heading past the one-way invisible wall and over the sand dunes to our left leads us to the opposite side of the entrance portal of the instance. Unlike in AQ20, only the stairwell visible from within the entry hallway to the raid is present here, with the terrain shifting to a flat untextured landscape just out of view of the front archway.

ahn'qiraj pillar exploration
Truly we may never understand the complexity of the Titan’s creations.

Leaving the stairwell and heading out onto the untextured plane, the most notable object on the horizon is a large gray cylinder that rises from the ground. Circling around it causes your camera to experience various glitches, like having shadows cast from the cylinder cover your entire screen, and having the shadow and light effects begin to flash wildly as you turn towards the sun. The effect is so rapid I would avoid this area if you’re prone to seizures.

silithid hiveNearby, sections of the massive tunnel system below us poke through the ground; positioning yourself against the walls of these outcroppings causes your camera to display only the tunnels, granting a view into the deep pits from above.

 

ahn'qiraj exploration
The great Quiraji Empire is looking a little smaller than I remember.

ahn'qiraj terrainHeading back towards the city, we can see that the terrain directly outside the city is abruptly leveled to one height, most likely to ensure that no section of the ground clips into the tunnel system that runs beneath it.

 

ahn'qiraj tunnels
I don’t have a funny comment for this one, this is just interesting.

Looping towards a hole in the terrain, we can get a better look at how the Quiraji hive where the raid takes place looks. The tunnels hover below the flat grey landscape with holes cut out where the developers needed to create the illusion of sunlight streaming in from above.

In reality the raid was never a sprawling tunnel system dug into the sand dunes, but a series of standalone tubes hovering in midair.

ahn'qiraj tunnel

The Temple of Ahn’Qiraj provides an interesting look at the use of illusions to create an environment that appears far different than it really is.

So whether you’re an avid explorer, or just want to give C’Thun a week off from his endless cycle of death, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj is well worth the visit.

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