While testing for the Ruby Sanctum dungeon doesn’t start until 7 EDT/4PDT (7:30 CEST in Euroland) tomorrow, the Patch Test Realm itself is currently up. I decided to hop on and poke around a little bit, searching for hints of any other potential changes or events leading up to what occurs in the expansion. After all, we know scenarios such as the retaking of the Echo Isles and Gnomeregan are coming, we just don’t know when.
At a glance, I didn’t find anything relating to those two objectives or the coming apocalypse, but I did see something I hadn’t noticed before when I took my freshly-created Troll Mage to Orgrimmar (my main hasn’t transferred yet): a number of floating containers tucked in various corners (and some of them really are hidden in odd nooks) around the Horde capital city. Each one seems to consist of a glass orb containing a bright, orange essence, capped on either end by a stone block containing an emblem that looks a lot like the sun.
Now, I didn’t check the other Horde cities, but I did take a low-level toon to Stormwind on the Alliance side and saw nothing of the sort, leading me to believe that this is only related to one faction.
After putting on my thinking cap, I came to one conclusion based on the current evidence at hand — there’s a high likelihood that these artifacts are related to the creation of Tauren Paladins, reported to be known as Sunwalkers. Not that you would be able to create them until the expansion, but possibly an advancement in the storyline that leads the shamanic, bovine race on the path of righteousness. Though, I’m puzzled as to why they’re in Orgrimmar, when you’d expect them to be found solely in Thunder Bluff.
Of course, I could be wrong, but nothing about these mysterious artifacts has been mentioned in the patch notes so far, or by Blizzard themselves. With more people logging onto the PTR later in the day for raid testing, and as more players notice these things, perhaps more information will “come to light.” In the meantime, feel free to toss out your own theories.
Update: Apparently my deductive skills are terrible. Though I still can’t confirm what these objects are, I’ve come across a few other tidbits. First, these could, in fact, be bombs. If my memory serves correctly, there was a quest of that sort data-mined out of the files a few patches back (that had to do with the storyline in the lead-up to the expansion), in which you have to run around and defuse explosives. I figured there would be an equivalent quest for the Alliance, hence my confusion when I found nothing in Stormwind.
Second, and perhaps more important, I’ve heard that you’ll be seeing this model more often in Cataclysm, which means that it may actually have something to do with the baddies (and not Sunwalkers) after all. Only time will tell…