We're thrilled to announce the return of GamesBeat Next, hosted in San Francisco this October, where we will explore the theme of "Playing the Edge." Apply to speak here and learn more about sponsorship opportunities here. At the event, we will also announce 25 top game startups as the 2024 Game Changers. Apply or nominate today!

Many of these quest descriptions contain spoilers –Ed.

For 10 million World of Warcraft players, Sunday marked 10 years of epic stories.

Quests rank among the main reasons why players keep coming back to the massively multiplayer online role-playing game for a decade: the missions that tell the story of the game and its characters while helping players figure out their place in the virtual world.

To mark World of Warcraft’s 10th anniversary, I asked players and Luis Barriga, lead game designer at Blizzard Entertainment, to name their favorite adventures of all time. Find them, along with my own picks, below. With only a few exceptions, the quests below are still around, and players of any class and both factions can experience them.


GamesBeat Next 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in San Francisco this October 24-25. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry on latest developments and their take on the future of gaming.

Learn More

While most of these quests are from earlier expansions, two are from the new Warlords of Draenor release. We’ll warn you accordingly.

(Don’t forget to read our story on the anniversary events going on in game.)

World of Warcraft Maximillian

Above: Maximillian of Northshire, the white knight of comedy.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

10. Maximillian of Northshire

When Blizzard designers create a knight errant, they make sure he’s … errant. This series of missions in the Land of the Lost-style jungle zone of Un’goro puts you in the service of Maximillian of Northshire as his new squire. You probably don’t want to know what happened to the last one.

You’re in charge of helping Max save damsels in distress throughout the zone through unusual means, including throwing a woman standing peacefully on a hill to her death to “save” her from the height, helping a “damsel” (who turns out to be a male Blood Elf) retrieve a crate that is literally a single step away, and endlessly killing dinosaurs he calls dragons.

You can see the series, read in Monty Python-style voices, here.

The series ends with you riding on the back of Max’s horse as he gallops away from a tyrannosaur, helping him to throw pieces of his armor at the beast. (“This is quickly becoming humiliating … and drafty.”)

“When Max calls the Blood Elf a damsel in distress it cracks me up. And when Max kills the hunter’s pet to ‘save’ her … I about choked on my own spit on that quest line,” said player Mystwhisper, a shaman, one of the many who offered her favorites when asked in-game.

World of Warcraft Gunpowder Plot

Above: Players completing the Gunpowder Plot objective can use the gunpowder to create smiley faces… and other pictures.

Image Credit: Cate Stuart Fagan

9. The Gunpowder Plot

This quest from the starting area of the Warlords of Draenor expansion (which released last week) is notable not because of its dialog and content, which are fairly typical. Rather, it’s what the mechanics allow you to do.

The NPC asks you to fetch a barrel of gunpowder from a building being guarded by a bad guy. You kill the guy, grab the gunpowder, and that’s when the fun starts.

The objective of the mission is to get the leaky barrel of gunpowder back to a detonator, then hit the plunger and watch the fire trace your path of gunpowder back to the enemy HQ. Thing is … that supply of powder appears to be infinite, so you can draw whatever you like.

Blizzard undoubtedly knows this. Even the NPC comments that the player wouldn’t be out doing anything else with that gunpowder (or would you) when you click on him. Players take no time at all to catch on.

“We’ve all had fun on these starting quests in [Warlords of Draenor], where you get a barrel of gunpowder on your head and then run back to base,” Leslie Fatlin said. “We’ve all tried to write our names as we run, then light [the powder] on fire. The kids have had a blast with that, practicing cursive.”

8. The Drakkensryd

Blizzard lead game designer Barriga chose this as one of his top two. As part of helping the titanic watcher Thorim regain his memories and fight his evil brother Loken, you compete in the Hyldsmeet, a kind of valkyrie contest against Norse-style warriors.

The Drakkensryd is the culmination of that battle, as you make your way in flight around a towering spire, leaping from winged drake to drake as you defeat your rivals before harpooning your way to the next fight.

“The epic feeling of flying up the mountain on a proto-drake and then sending other combatants down to their death was amazing,” Barriga said.

World of Warcraft Light's Hope Chapel

Above: Light’s Hope Chapel, after you help to nearly destroy — and save — it in the Battle for Light’s Hope Chapel.

7. The Battle for Light’s Hope Chapel

This is the first of the “battle” quests on this list. Designed to be the epic conclusions of lengthy storylines, most “battle” missions are large set pieces with cinematics, large-scale conflicts, and frequent chances to interact with some of WoW’s most famous NPCs.

The Battle of Light’s Hope is the climactic conclusion of the Death Knight starting area, available to anyone within a few hours after creating a new Death Knight character. As a player, you spend several hours performing terrible deeds, wiping out entire cities as one of the heartless undead Scourge under the control of evil boss Arthas, the Lich King. In this battle, you are redeemed.

You attack Light’s Hope Chapel as part of an epic 10,000-creature army of undead Scourge invaders, fighting against 300 Argent Dawn crusaders. You soon discover that you are fighting on holy ground, the final resting place of many of Warcraft’s epic heroes of the Light, and are doomed to fail.