Screenshot credit: Ormazd.
Some secrets stay hidden for years. Others stay hidden for a couple weeks, but only because people collectively poured hundreds of hours into solving them.
As part of World of Warcraft's most recent major update, Tomb of Sargeras, Blizzard added a secret so deviously obtuse that no single player had much hope of solving it. So players banded together via WoW's Secret Finding Discord Community and started sleuthing.
What they uncovered was a series of pages scattered across Azeroth, each marked with an infuriatingly vague clue. Some, like "the first of lords to fall" — which points to Ragnaros' lair — weren't all that bad, but others, like "in snow, sand, and stone" could've applied to just about anything. They had to be collected by individual players in a specific order that was inspired, oddly enough, by the cosmology chart from real-life book World of Warcraft Chronicle Volume 1.
In this wonderless year of 2017, it's rare that secrets stay secrets for long, often thanks to dark arts like datamining. This secret hunt was particularly clever in that it couldn't be datamined. Apparently, pages only appeared in the game's database after players interacted with them. I'm not 100 per cent sure how Blizzard achieved that, but it's damn cool.
As members of the Secret Finding Discord Community sleuthed themselves into oblivion, WoW senior game designer and riddle master Jeremy 'Muffinus' Feasel lurked — secretly, of course — in the Discord channel, taunting players via Twitter and occasionally dropping hints.
— Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) April 7, 2017
— Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) March 31, 2017
Props to the discord poster that suggested Emerald Dream/the cosmology chart for p9 - at 2:30am on the first day, who was ignored XD
— Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) April 10, 2017
Two weeks after the Tomb of Sargeras update dropped, players finally solved the puzzle. For their troubles, they were rewarded with a special mount, Riddler's Mind-Worm. It might not seem like much given all the trouble people went through, but something something the journey not the destination or whatever. Also, some WoW players just go fucking batty for special mounts. It's a whole thing!
Once it was clear that the puzzle was solved, Blizzard's Feasel signed off with one last tweet:
Until next time pic.twitter.com/jwgXrhSd8W
— Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) April 12, 2017