A little while ago, we did a "Top ten most beautiful spots in WoW" post, and many commenters had an interesting request: a companion post of the ten most desolate places in WoW. We thought it was a great idea, so we're taking the suggestion to heart. This was an interesting topic to think about, because the desolate spots in WoW are the ones I tend to avoid. For the most part, I don't want to spend my fun WoW time in virtual wastelands! Then again, sometimes those deserted, eerie places have a haunting beauty all their own. Check out our list, and tell us your own favorite desolate places in World of Warcraft!
1. Blasted Lands - Red Reaches
There are several "red deserts" in WoW - the other candidates for this spot were the Badlands and Hellfire Peninsula. I ultimately went with this one mainly for lore reasons. The Red Reaches are at the very southern end of the Blasted Lands, which earned their name because after the Dark Portal was opened, the taint from Hellfire Peninsula seeped through and eventually blasted all life from the area around it. This whole area actually used to be a part of the Swamp of Sorrows - a zone that is undeniably lush despite its unfortunate name. Within the Blasted Lands the Red Reaches are especially depressing both for their remoteness, the hostile naga colony, and the agonizingly huge fossil archaeology site that spawns there.
2. Borean Tundra - Bloodspore Plains
At first glance, this area actually has an eerie sort of beauty - the colorful landscape, the pristine blue sky above. But don't let looks alone fool you, the Borean Tundra is canonically huge, a sprawling arctic plain inhabited only by shambling undead, vicious monsters, D.E.H.T.A., and those hapless adventurers that dare travel there. Even the stoic Taunka were ultimately forced to abandon their homes on the Borean Tundra.
I still remember questing through the Borean Tundra when it first opened in Wrath of the Lich King, and the Bloodspore Plains were my most hated subzone. Should have picked Howling Fjord as my intro to Northrend, oh well.
3. Burning Steppes - Ruins of Thaurissan
Destroyed by Ragnaros when the mad sorcerer Thaurissan accidentally summoned him to the earthly plain, the Burning Steppes were once a rather lovely portion of the Redridge Mountains. Alas, those days are gone. If the charred trees, smoldering ruins, and ashy red sky don't get to you, that lonely statue in the background will. Erected to commemorate both the death of Anduin Lothar and Alliance victory over the old Horde in the First War, it now stands as a bittersweet reminder of a mightier time. The only creatures that currently make the Burning Steppes their permanent home are ogres, Dark Iron dwarves, Blackrock orcs, nasty imps, sinister black dragons, and a few brave souls from the Alliance and Horde.
4. Deadwind Pass - Deadwind Ravine
Deadwind Pass is an aptly named, spooky, and dangerous part of Azeroth. Patrolled by vicious carrion birds, marauding ogres, and even some wandering undead, Deadwind Pass is home to Medivh's haunted fortress of Karazhan. It's also one of the few zones in WoW that lacks a single flight point, reminding us adventurers that we remain most unwelcome.
There's no way this zone could not make the list, considering that "desolate" is basically its name. Desolace got a much-anticipated makeover for Cataclysm, which has made much of the zone far more inviting than it used to be. That being said, this area at the very western reaches of Kalimdor remains one of the most eerily deserted places in the game. In bygone times the only regular travelers other than the resident, fearsome centaur tribes were a lonely goblin merchant caravan and the famously reclusive Rexxar, bane of many a would-be classic era Horde Onyxia raider.
6. Dragonblight - Dragon Wastes
Western Dragonblight may be home to some stunningly beautiful boreal forests, but eastern Dragonblight is another story entirely. A snowy wasteland whose landscape is broken only by rocky outcroppings and bleached dragon skeletons, this barren zone is home to all manner of nasties including undead, frostwyrms, and magnautar. Wyrmrest Temple and the various dragonflights' personal shrines offer some relief from the monotony of the snow, but not much.
7. Eastern Plaguelands - Northdale
In the far northeast of the Eastern Plaguelands, this ruin of a village is a testament to the ravages of the Plague. Northdale is the place where the doomed Taelan Fordring, Tirion's son, formally renounced his ties to the Order of the Silver Hand and joined the Scarlet Crusade instead. Though other townships such as Darrowshire or even Stratholme are either the focus of cleansing attempts or at the very least actively mourned, poor Northdale remains haunted and forgotten, roamed only by the restless ghosts who once called it their home. To the south, the mad crypt lord Ix'lar plots the revitalization of the Scourge, while Northdale still awaits its own liberation.
8. Netherstorm - Voidwind Plateau/Manaforge Ultris
Netherstorm was once a rolling, windy plain known as the Fields of Farahlon. It was also home to Kirin'Var Village - the Kirin Tor settlement erected after Khadgar sealed the Dark Portal following the Second War. Alas, Netherstorm fell victim to the machinations of a brutal Kael'thas Sunstrider who sized control of the Naruu fortress Tempest Keep and used its manaforges to drain magical energy from the land. The result? A barren, dangerous wasteland slowly disintegrating into the Twisting Nether. Manaforge Ultris itself was pushed beyond its capacity to the point of catastrophic failure. The resulting explosion rent a hole in the very fabric of reality, and these days the manaforge is haunted by terrifying creatures of the void.
Sand, rocks, and bugs - lots and lots of bugs - is essentially how you can describe the entirety of Silithus. The site of the brutal War of the Shifting Sands against the Qiraji empire, now only the most dedicated of the Cenarion Circle maintain an eternal vigil over this infested desert. There is nothing even remotely welcoming in any part of Silithus. It is a festering, smoldering hole. Bleakity bleak.
10. Thousand Needles
Once a majestic, if lonely, desert canyon, the Shattering tore an opening in the mountains east of Thousand Needles and the sea came pouring in. The salt flats of the Shimmering Flats would have easily made this list in a pre-Cataclysm version, but in post-Deathwing Azeroth, it's the flooded canyon that I chose. Only the tips of the towering rock pillars now poke above the waterline, and from their tops the only views to be seen are the thorny overgrowth of Razorfen Downs to the north or the Twilight Withering to the south. Visitors to Thousand Needles will find only lonely wind serpents atop the rocks for company, though the reckless and morally flexible may find some entertainment aboard Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge to the east.