Inspired by Telwyn’s post at GamingSF, our Horde group decided to try and acquire the mysterious Hivemind mount. This is the only five-person mount in the game, and was hidden for a long time before the savants in the Warcraft Secret Finding Discord discovered how to unlock it.
Reading through the Wowhead Guide, it’s incredible it was ever solved – some of the puzzles combine a deep knowledge of game lore, out of game meta info found in patch notes, and a crazy commitment to trial and error. Which makes the name of the mount entirely appropriate – it took a Hivemind to solve, and it takes five people working in a Hivemind to obtain.
Even with the extensive notes, steps, and add-ons, it’s a challenge. But we all agreed it was one of the most entertaining experiences we’d had in the game, and very different to most content.
The first step is to obtain four monocles, of different colours, from various sources in the game. To do that you need to don a usually worthless Talisman of True Treasure Tracking, which reveals various hidden items and NPCs in the world as you continue on the quests.
The Blue Monocle is gained by finding lore letters scattered around Azeroth. Most are simple travel quests, but one requires you to visit OG Karazhan which opened the memory floodgates for many in our group. We even had to solve Chess, which proved a challenge due to those same floodgates being pretty rusty.
As we set about collecting the Blue Monocle we realised just how complicated this must have been to solve. For example, the letter that leads to Karazhan has this cryptic message:
Of all of Gai’s cures for Nature, the most liberating is Death.
The secret-finders determined that if you took the words with capital letters (Of, Gai, Nature, Death), an anagram could be made which solves to:
Seat of the Guardian
The most well-known Guardian in WoW is Medivh, the Last Guardian. As such, the third letter is located in Karazhan, by Medivh’s Chambers, located after the Chess Event.
Multiply this by seven letters and the magnitude of solving the full puzzle starts to become clear. Thankfully we just need to follow the guides to collect the first reward.
Next we thought we’d do an easier one and collect the Red Monocle. How wrong we were.
The monocle is obtained from Sir Finley Mrrgglton. He makes what seems like a simple request for a few undersea goods, which must be obtained from various fish vendors that float around Vashj’ir. As we soon discovered, the trouble is a) the fish are spread far apart; b) they’re swimming so move about; and c) there is an rapidly decreasing time limit on the items once they’re sold to you.
This was by far the most stressful monocle to obtain, as the combination of undersea travel and time pressure meant we lost one player after another as the timers expired, until I was the only one still in play – and only just, having beat a timer by seconds.
This was where the five-person hivemind started to shine though, as we devised an on-the-fly strategy to send the out-of-the-race party members to hover over the vendors so that I just had to look at the map and head toward the relevant character. Even that proved tricky when I called out the wrong co-ords for a vendor, and almost messed up the entire thing on a fish that wouldn’t stop long enough for me to complete the trade. But by some miracle we got it done.
The Green Monocle was a doddle in comparison, merely requiring a visit to Skyreach to type in a simple pattern. So simple I forgot to take a screenshot.
I’d read the Yellow Monocle was the killer, and when first approached it seemed impossible. It’s a gem-solve puzzle, where you need to turn an entire room of gems to a single colour using three different rotational crystals.
I would never have been able to solve it, and had to use the non-obvious Hivemind HoO Puzzle Helper add-on to work it out (which took me 45 minutes to key in and pray it would work), but several of our party figured out how it worked once we got half way across the room. I was suitably impressed.
At this point we had all four monocles, and at least one on four different characters, so could move on.
The next stage took us to Suramar, where we needed to get past a barrier that was blocked by coloured beams that matched the monocle colours.
To do this, four players need to venture out and find named Withered, whose eyes glowed with a matching colour. This was another example of the complexity of the solution. To work this out, players had decipher codes inscribed on each monocle by using alphabet logic-tricks, which revealed the phrase ‘Wild Withered’. They then needed to pore over the Legion patch-notes to discover four named Withered that were added in patch 8.1, then find them scattered in Suramar.
Four of us ventured out to the Withered, while the fifth stood in front of the beams. We had to all attack and ‘kill’ our target at the same time, which forced them to cast a Draw Energy spell that drained the barrier allowing our fifth player to step through.
Once inside, the insanity of the solution went to the next level. He had to click on a lost cat toy that was inside the room, and when he did, he was teleported back out of the room and took a small amount of random damage. That damage total – 8140 for us – then become a five digit code (08140) that we needed to use to pat five named cats in the Court of Stars dungeon. How on earth anyone worked out that link – the damage taken mapping to pats on some kittens – is beyond our ken.
We dutifully patted our kittens, and were rewarded with a transport to the penultimate stage: the dreaded jumping puzzle.
We had assumed this would be where we failed, as 91 co-ordinated jumps awaited a group not known for our mad mouse & keyboard skills. But we were thrilled to find out the ‘jumps’ were actually just clicks, like jumping on a mount. Hallelujah! So we just needed to follow the sequence laid out in the guide and we were through.
Once again our smarter party members had solved this by half way across, though the step where someone had to leap to their death was surely insoluble except by trial and error.
Which led us to the final challenge, which was a variation on the fox-chicken-farmer river crossing puzzle. It flummoxed us for a while, but our Professor eventually sorted it out and we made it across. I was the poison, whilst our newest recruit was the farmer, which was a happy confluence.
And with that we were done. We entered the room with the Hivemind, which in a nice final touch required all five players to stand in summoning circles to unlock.
Naturally we all then returned to Orgrimmar to flounce around showing off our new mounts.
And best of all, we discovered a secret of our own! Once we all mounted a single Hivemind, our host worked out he could eject us…Special Air Horde!
Thanks to the Secrets Discord for making the solution available to all, and solving it in the first place. And kudos to Blizzard for creating five-person content of such a different flavour.