First thing first. To unlock some of the NPCs, you must first complete several questlines in Suramar to bring them to your Shal’Aran base. You start in Suramar when you reach level 110. Then open the Adventure Guide (SHIFT + J) to start the first quest in Suramar.
Ancient Mana is a new currency collected in Suramar in World of Warcraft: Legion. Ancient Mana is used for a few things. One of the basic needs for it is to sate the Nightfallen NPCs in your Shal’Aran base: First Arcanist Thalyssra, Arcanist Valtrois, and Chief Telemancer Oculeth.
Feeding these mana addict junkies isn’t an easy feat. Each of them require 100 Ancient Mana to be sated. They have a bar at the top of the quest window that alerts you which state they are in: Sated, Stable or Withered. In the first 2-3 times you feed them, they will give you a new quest that starts a questline.
Once they are done giving quests, they will now offer a special buff for Ancient Mana which lasts 1 hour. These are the 3 buffs:
The biggest Ancient Mana requirements are given by this NPC:
How to collect Ancient Mana
There are a few ways to collect Ancient Mana:
1. Mobs drop 1 Ancient Mana when killed and looted.
2. The Arcway dungeon mobs drop mana crystals that grant various amounts. Somewhere between 1-12 mana.
3. Throughout Suramar you will find (via exploration) ancient mana crystals. Some give 10 ancient mana (Crystalline Mana Shard), 30 ancient mana, 50 ancient mana (Crystalline Mana Chunk), and the biggest crystal (Brilliant Crystalline Mana Cluster) gives 300 ancient mana.
All of these options are too slow, and time-consuming. It’s difficult to obtain 500 ancient mana with the first two options. The third one above, sometimes yields about 500 ancient mana in 1-hour of exploration, especially if you find the Brilliant Crystalline Mana Cluster (300 ancient mana).
How to quickly Collect Ancient Mana
The quickest way to collect max ancient mana is by paying 100 ancient mana to Arcanist Valtrois to get him sated, then 70 ancient mana to buy his Leyline Mastery buff, and below you can see why it is a good trade off to spend 170 ancient mana (total) on him:
To put that in context, every time you hit a mob, a new leyline rift appears. Stand on it, and while it exists you will gain 2 ancient mana per second. I put together a video to demonstrate how this works, and the graphics look awesome. I collected a total of 800 ancient mana in 18 minutes. Beats exploring all Suramar for an hour to only get 500 or so.
I have to praise the World of Warcraft developers for this genious game mechanic. I would normally skip killing mobs for the sake of it. Boring. However, this buff gives you an incentive to want to kill mobs to gain ancient mana, and (cherry on top) adds an AOE damage over time.