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 Onyxia’s Lair!
Onyxia’s Lair is the former home of the black dragon Onyxia, the most manipulative and cunning of the black dragons. While she can still be found in her Lair for gameplay purposes, she was killed by Horde and Alliance heroes during Classic World of Warcraft in the Onyxia’s Lair raid.
Onyxia took great pleasure in manipulating mortals and influencing their politics. It is believed she almost succeeded in undoing the political structure of Stormwind under the guise of Katrana Prestor. After being uncovered by Marshal Windsor, she kidnapped King Varian Wrynn’s son, Anduin, and fled with him to her Lair in Dustwallow Marsh.
Varian proceeded to lead an assault on Onyxia’s Lair with the assistance of Alliance heroes. This is the setup for the Onyxia’s Lair raid in Classic World of Warcraft. It was unclear in my research why the Horde and its heroes chose to assault Onyxia’s Lair as well. Perhaps they feared the Alliance uncovering powerful items or it could simply be a gameplay element with no lore backing. With Onyxia slain, her head was brought back to Stormwind to be hung from the gates, presumably as a reminder to those who would meddle with Stormwind’s affairs.
After the assault, a druid named Broll Bearmantle called upon massive roots to seal the entrance to the Lair. This ensured the death of the black dragon underlings who lived there and that no one would access the Lair again.
Onyxia’s Lair has remained largely unchanged over the course of the game. It was revamped during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft’s 5th Anniversary celebration. The layout and size of the Lair remained unchanged, with only higher resolution textures being added alongside the new Onyxia model. Even with these revamps, Onyxia’s Lair remains the smallest raid instance in the game as far as overall area covered.
The lore behind Onyxia’s Lair is short and sweet, much like the raid itself. While Onyxia was resurrected during the Cataclysm expansion and appeared in Blackwing Descent, her Lair in Dustwallow Marsh is sure to remain untouched for decades to come.
Additional Lore Resources for Onyxia's Lair
Onyxia - +
Katrana Prestor - +
Varian Wrynn - +
Anduin Wrynn - +
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 @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!