As you explore the wonderful world of WoW Dragonflight, World of Warcraft‘s latest expansion, there are a whole plethora of quests to pick up. While most players go straight for the shiny new campaign quests, one of the MMORPG‘s side-missions has become one of this expansion’s most popular quests, but it didn’t always play out the way it does now.
Of course, I’m referring ‘Stay a While,’ a quest that players can pick up as soon as they reach the Ruby Lifeshrine in the Waking Shores. Sitting right next to the plateau where you first earn your Dragonriding wings is Veritistrasz, a dragon whose visage is an old dwarf who sits silently staring off into the horizon, effectively ignoring your presence.
Eventually, Veritistrasz begins to talk to you, regaling you with a tragic tale about a former friend who was twisted and corrupted by Blackwing and the black dragonflight. It’s a heartbreaking story of loss, framed by a spectacular vista that you quickly realise could be reduced to ash unless the Primals are stopped in their tracks.
It’s easily one of my favourite quests in WoW Dragonflight, so much so that I screenshotted it immediately for my WoW Dragonflight review. I spent a few long minutes perfectly positioning my Evoker to sit by Veritistrasz’s side, attempting to capture the essence what was easily one of the most moving moments of my WoW adventure so.
It turns out, however, that Blizzard’s original design for this quest was very, very different from the version that was finally released. Initially, the devs imagined an instance chain that saw the “player explore the area with an old red dragon who grew up in the Ruby Lifeshrine. The red dragon would tell the player about it from notes they had written to help them recall many things they may have forgotten over time.”
However, this quickly clashed with the general Lifeshrine tour – which I ironically completed after my Stay a While musings. Instead, they chose to go down the route of simply asking the player to slow down and sit, really pushing for a “conversational approach” instead of the constant interruptions caused by running around collecting items.
The goal of the quest changed too, as the dev team quickly decided they didn’t want players to “fix” Veritistrasz as “that is not how emotional, mental, or mood disorders work.
“Instead, the team wanted to just tip the scales a bit, so instead of having Veritistrasz slide further downwards, maybe this conversation with the player character could be a catalyst to help him start to climb upwards.” This, as well as the teasing comment that “there’s no backstory (yet) on [Veritistrasz]” may imply that we get to check in on his progress later – something I would love to see in the next major update.
The fact that you can’t mend Veritistrasz’s broken heart is what makes this quest so magical. Sure, you can soar through the azure skies and collect some of the WoW Dragonflight dragon glyphs by talking to the nearby NPCs, but there’s something so moving about knowing that, in a virtual world so far removed from reality, there’s still time to just… be sad. As someone who has suffered from mental illness, that silent recognition means a lot, and it reminds me why WoW holds such a special place in my heart.
If you haven’t ventured across to the Dragon Isles yet, be sure to peruse our WoW Dragonflight tier list to ensure that you pick the best class/race combo you can. You can also get up to speed with all of the best WoW addons; after all, you’ll need a lot more than just weapons to take down the Primals.