Field Photographer Friday is a weekly look at the lore and history behind locations around World of Warcraft. This week, we're taking a look at Naxxramas!
Once an unnamed nerubian ziggurat, Naxxramas went on to be forged into one of the most powerful and feared Scourge structures. The necropolis was involved in two of the most prominent Scourge offensives on the Eastern Kingdoms and Northrend, both times with the feared lich Kel'Thuzad at the helm.
The humble ziggurat was first uncovered by Anub'arak and his Scourge army, and they quickly overran it and claimed it for the Lich King. The Lich King immediately set out converting the ziggurat into a powerful necropolis to aid in his war efforts against Lordaeron. Lead by the skeletal architect Obrahiim, the Scourge's dark magic tore the structure from ground as it began to grow in size and power.
Naxxramas laid dormant behind a veil of clouds until sometime near the end of classic World of Warcraft. With the necropolis at full power, the lich Kel'Thuzad released it upon Azeroth, targeting the Argent Dawn's base of operations in Eastern Plaguelands. Heroes of Azeroth were called upon to push the Scourge out of the Plaguelands. With the enemy forces weakened and unable to fully guard the necropolis, the heroes entered Naxxramas itself and put an end to the offensive as part of World of Warcraft's final 40-man raid. With its inhabitants presumed dead or contained, the necropolis remained empty above the Plaguelands for several years.
Kel'thuzad's phylactery, the vessel which contained his soul, was supposed to be delivered to the Argent Dawn for safe-keeping. However, it was never delivered and was instead kept by Father Montoy. With his phylactery safe, Kel'Thuzad guaranteed his return to the physical world.
With the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Naxxramas was moved to Northrend by Kel'Thuzad. How exactly he made it back into Naxxramas is unknown, but it seems not much was done to secure or destroy the massive necropolis after it was cleared the first time. Now, the necropolis was set loose on the Alliance town of Wintergarde Keep in Dragonblight. It would serve as the second front of battle for the Lich King until it was once again cleared by the heroes of Azeroth. Most notable this time is the fact Kel'Thuzad did not end up in a phylactery, and his current status remains unknown. Also unknown is what exactly is being done to secure Naxxramas. Presumably, the Argent Dawn and other factions learned their lesson the first time. For gameplay purposes, Naxxramas is still home to Kel'Thuzad and his underlings if you visit it in game.
With the Lich King's offensive crushed all the way through Icecrown Citadel, it's unlikely Naxxramas will be unleashed upon Azeroth again any time soon. Nothing in lore indicates that it's been destroyed, or even if it can be destroyed safely, so it's always possible it could be retaken by the Scourge or another evil entity again.
The last king of the Azjol-Nerub empire, and was later raised as an undead by the Lich King.
Kel'Thuzad was once a human mage of the Kirin Tor. He went on to become the founder of the Cult of the Damned and one of the principal agents of the Lich King. -Wowpedia
Arthas Menethil, Crown Prince of Lordaeron and Knight of the Silver Hand, was the son of King Terenas Menethil II and heir to the throne; before losing his soul to Mal'Ganis.
Join me every Friday as I work to expand my lore knowledge while completing the Field Photographer achievement. Read lore summaries for each location and follow up with resources where you can go more indepth! I encourage you to share your own selfies and any additional lore resources you know of in the comments below, or tweet me @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points* if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!
*Points are meaningless and have no monetary value, but they’ll never give you up or let you down.