World of Warcraft secret hunters have finally found a mysterious void cat pet after a year of searching.
Back in September 2019, Blizzard added a void cat pet called Jenafur to the game as part of the Battle for Azeroth expansion. Since then, players have tried to find her, but hit a stumbling block until just a couple of days ago, when a fresh official hint paved the way for a solution.
In the end, a non-World of Warcraft player called Paul put the final piece of the puzzle in its right place, taking this fresh hint and using it to work out it applied to in-game music.
Let's start at the beginning. Players had worked out the first step of this puzzle quest: talk to an elf named Amara Lunastar in Ashenvale to start the hunt for her missing cat (tell her you'll keep an eye out). Players had worked out the second step (after looking all over the virtual world to find it): visit Crazy Cat Lady Donni Anthania's house in Elwynn Forest (sounds simple when you think about it!). Inside her house is an empty food bowl and two "kibbles" next to it. Players linked the two pieces of kibble using a straight line, extended it beyond the kibble and used it to find the location of the next step: the dungeon, Karazhan in Deadwind Pass, the Eastern Kingdoms
Inside the dungeon are 20 different items of food that can be picked up. Players had suspected the solution involved music of some kind after finding a Karazhan NPC called Sebastian the Organist had different dialogue if they'd previously interacted with Amara and the empty food bowl: "Music is truly the key to happiness."
But it was inside Karazhan that players hit a brick wall. Secret Hunters on Discord spent a great amount of time - eight months, it turns out - gathering data, coming up with theories, testing them out and, up until yesterday, failing to spawn Jenafur. That pesky cat!
More official hints followed, perhaps in the hope of nudging the community in the right direction. They failed. And then this latest hint, which ended up doing the trick:
- Two piles of treats
- Set the 4/4 beat
- The rest of the stanza
- Is lined up neat
- Upon the tiles
- You place your notes
- Eight morsels make the music
- That our musician wrote
This new hint confirmed that the solution involved eight food items, and players had already suspected they would have to be meat food items. But it was Paul who worked out the exact way these eight items had to be placed on the floor of the Opera Hall room to spawn Jenafur: according to the time signature of a piece of music.
That piece of music, Paul theorised, was Amara's Wish, an in-game soundbite that was datamined back in September 2019. Players had thought Amara's Wish would turn out to be part of the reward for completing the quest, that is, it would play upon finally finding Jenafur, but Paul realised it was in fact key to the solution itself.
"'That our musician wrote' - I couldn't see this being anything other than Amara's Wish," Paul explained in a Google Doc showing his working out.
"I figured this was an important tool that people were ignoring because it's part of the 'reward,' but just because it's not intended to be reverse engineered, doesn't mean we can't. It does mean that if true, there must be a method to finding it in game."
Paul used an image of the Amara's Wish sheet music - posted to the internet last year but discounted as a clue - to solve the puzzle. "While the song is all chords, the melody clearly sticks out. It moves cleanly across a single staff. And it's eight notes," Paul explains.
Paul then mapped out the food placement across the tiles of the floor in the Opera Hall room according to the shape of the melody as it appears on the sheet music. A few experiments later, and there Jenafur was. And yes, the Amara's Wish soundbite plays when you find her.
The solution has been met with joy by the World of Warcraft community, although some have questioned the need to use sheet music of a datamined soundbite instead of something accessible in-game to work it all out. And it looks like the hunt for Jenafur really wasn't going anywhere until the latest hint was released two days ago. Without this hint, perhaps Jenafur would never have been found.
Still, the puzzle's creator, principal game designer Jeremy Feasel, acknowledged the effort in a short and simple tweet:
Nice job :)— Muffinus (@Muffinus) September 13, 2020
Now, of course, there are guides to getting hold of Jenafur for yourself all over YouTube, and there's a good written guide on Warcraft Secrets. I imagine there will be loads of players who want the void cat - she makes some... interesting noises when you click on her. And apparently she's fond of "consuming" your other pets, too.
As an aside, one of the things I love about this WoW puzzle (apart from how wild the solution turned out to be), is a comment on the Amara's Wish YouTube video embedded above. This comment, dated four months ago from a user called Kaminari's Dumb Glasses, predicted what would happen at the end of the puzzle:
"This sounds like what might be played once the Jenafur secret's finally solved.
"IF WE EVER SOLVE IT."
Pretty sure that comment is about to blow up.