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Worlds Yet to Conquer: Ideas for new content in old places

There is a ton of lore in the Warcraft setting, from the first RTS game to the current MMO, four expansions down and counting. And one of the things I love about the setting is just how much we haven't seen yet, for all that we've been to Outland and fought the Scourge in Northrend and are now battling the effects of the Sha while dealing with old Titan repositories and mogu armies in Pandaria.

When Cataclysm came out, one of the better revamped quest areas was in Winterspring, where the remnants of the Blue Dragonflight after the death of Malygos were trying to combat an incursion by forces from outside Azeroth. I was thrilled to see satyrs from Xoroth and new etherals, because it got me excited about all the places in the Warcraft setting I haven't been yet. So I started thinking about places in that setting, both on Azeroth and beyond, where I would love to see a dungeon or a raid to get us to go back and explore them, or even to introduce those places to the game for the first time. And because this just happens to be a website that talks about WoW, I have a ready-made place to discuss these things with you.
The Ruins of Eldarath

For a place that Azuregos once defended (due to its magical treasures buried beneath the surface following the Sundering) and which is currently being fought over post-Shattering by the Horde's new goblin allies and the naga of Queen Azshara, one thing that's always amazed me is how little we've actually seen of this place. A few ruined buildings and a few old roads. Where, exactly, are the treasures Azuregos didn't want anyone to find? You could easily do a two part complex here, one consisting of the ruins themselves (expanded in the same manner that Blackfathom Deeps are, going underground into sunken grottoes and half-submerged caverns) and another taking part in some sort of treasury or vault left behind by the Blue Dragonflight, perhaps being fought over by naga and goblin forces (Horde players being there to help the goblins, Alliance to seize the powerful magics before either side can, or destroy them if seizure isn't an option).

As an old school player who once spent three levels grinding in Azshara because my wife had complained about all the plate drops in the zone only to discover that it had almost no content, I understand why Azshara was updated in Cataclysm, but I'd love to see a dungeon or raid set here to homage some of the old quirkiness of the place. Perhaps Azuregos, now that the Blue Dragonflight is dispersed and each dragon is set to its own interests, could return to try and reclaim his old haunts, and enlist some greedy adventurers to help him in exchange for some treasure. Mortals like shiny baubles, after all.

Gilneas City

One of my favorite starting zones in the game is the one for new worgen players. Moody and evocative, with a really amazing aesthetic, I'm often saddened that aside from the battleground most players (aside from rogues doing the Cataclysm legendary quests) will never see any of it again. Sure, you can fly over the zone's deserted streets, but that's not very satisfying. If Gilneas is a battle zone between the Horde and Alliance, then the still, empty place we have in game is wholly unsatisfying.

World PvP zones like Tol Barad and Wintergrasp have been controversial since Wrath of the Lich King, and we didn't see one in Mists at all. But I think Gilneas would be a fantastic place for one, with Horde and Alliance conflict that actually makes some solid story sense. Instead of trying to raid a defunct prison, you'd actually be fighting over territory both sides want (the Horde for a staging ground for new conquests and because Sylvanas is a genocidal maniac, the Alliance as a staging ground for further assaults north and because Genn Greymane and his people want their country back) and the questing we saw implemented in both Wintergrasp and Tol Barad could be expanded upon and merged with the PvE/PvP variant questing implemented on the Isle of Thunder.

You could also have a solid five man dungeon and/or a scenario dealing with the original, uncontrolled worgen curse and the original night elf worgen trapped in the Emerald Dream beneath Daral'nir, whose Azerothian manifestation is Tal'doren the Forest Home. Are the forsaken still trying to make use of these original worgen as they were when they tried to capture the Scythe of Elune? Does any remnant of Alpha Prime's Wolf Cult still lurk in Gilneas' forests, and if so, are they friend or foe to either faction? Not every worgen was given the balance of the rite...

Stormwind Vault

Those guards have been standing attention for years now. It's time to see what's in that vault.

The basic principle is easy enough: Stormwind has a magical prison where it keeps the things it considers too dangerous or too difficult to kill. Let's break that bad boy open and see what's in there. The great thing about the Vault is, much like Tol Barad it could contain pretty much whatever horrors the Alliance has encountered ever since Stormwind was rebuilt, but it's right in the middle of the biggest city left to humanity, meaning that any escape attempt or breach in the prison could be absolutely catastrophic for the kingdom... which means that Horde players might absolutely love to get into the place and wreak some havoc, which could well lead to Alliance players having to head into the most secure magical prison ever built to put down things that Khadgar couldn't. And remember, that guy killed Medivh. (Well, okay, Lothar helped.)

I love this idea because there could be literally anything down there. A powerful lost chaos orc blademaster too crazed to surrender and too cursed with fel magics to safely dispose of, a Defias revolutionary warlock, demons, undead horrors, you name it and it could be in the Vault. A mighty dragonspawn servant of Onyxia, defeated by Bolvar and a hero of Stormwind during Onyxia's exposure and flight from the city, perhaps? Some experiments of Nielas Aran, left behind when he died? And if some popular character with a grudge against Stormwind were to come back, you could do worse for her next revenge scheme than to have her breach the Vault either with an eye towards releasing its contents upon Stormwind, or as a distraction to cover whatever her real aims are.

The Titan Vaults of Terramok

We're told that beneath Maraudon, the Crystal Caves of Terramok were a Titan vault. Well, I've seen plenty of Titan vaults, I've seen the Titan structures in Deepholm, Uldaman, Uldum, Ulduar, the Titanic structures of the mogu and one thing Terramok completely lacks when you get down to face Theradras in Maraudon is anything like those places. It's got plenty of giants standing around, which as we know is a hallmark of the Titans (they do love their giants, and we know Loken once engineered a war between giants in order to justify his own evil actions) so what I'm thinking is, there's got to be a door somewhere in that place, perhaps directly underneath where we find Theradras wandering around grieving for Zaetar.

Frankly, Princess, he isn't worth it. Dude asks me to kill you.

Still, the idea of a Titan vault buried beneath Uldaman has always intrigued me. What's down there? We know other Titan complexes had purposes - Uldaman was all about making the earthen, for instance - so what was Terramok created for? Is it a research facility like Uldaman, a prison like Uldum, a repository like the Mogu'shan Vaults? Was Theradras bound there originally to hold her or was it in fact intended for her to serve the Titans by protecting this place? It comes to mind that Terramok might in fact be the place where the Titans bound the Elemental Lords who fought for the Old Gods originally, the place where Therazane, Ragnaros, Al'Akir and Neptulon were first held before the Elemental Planes were crafted to imprison them. But whatever the place was, it'd be nice to get down there and find out.

Zandalar Isle

It is seriously long past time to head to this place.

In fact, we may not have much time left to get there - the Cataclysm has apparently started the place sinking, and the Prophet Zul has been making alliances between troll nations and even with the fearful mogu Thunder King in an attempt to save his people, while King Rastakhan sat on his golden throne and ignored the signs of the Cataclysm that would rend the place asunder. Still, following the Thunder King's defeat (and the destruction of the Council of Elders, a body of powerful trolls from the various Azerothian tribes) Rastakhan seems to have stirred himself to action, attempting to motivate the Frostmane tribe to attack Ironforge for some unknown purpose.

Frankly, it's time to take the battle to the source, take on Zul and Rastakhan once and for all and find out exactly what the Zandalari endgame is, if they have one beyond simple desperation. With Vol'jin likely to come out of the Darkspear Rebellion in a position of power and influence among the Horde (if not actually the Warchief outright) then it's fair to imagine that the Horde might take an interest in Zandalar, perhaps even offering to help them survive their drowning island in exchange for an alliance of some kind. A Horde weakened by internal rebellion could well use powerful Zandalri magics in its defense. And just as clearly, the Alliance wouldn't want to see that happen.

However, they wouldn't necessarily need to attack the Zandalari to scuttle a prospective deal between Vol'jin and Rastakhan. Zul probably resents Vol'jin for his role in stopping the Zandalar alliance with Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub - even the Alliance adventurers who went into those places did so at Vol'jin's command, after all. The Zandalari see themselves as a superior breed of troll, the keepers of their people's lore and custom, and Rastakhan would bridle at being beneath a simple Darkspear chieftain - but allied to a king? We saw with the mogu that the Zandalari are nothing if not pragmatic. Could Varian and the Alliance make a counter offer and actually try and bring the Zandalar into the Alliance, and what would that mean for trolls across Azeroth?

Anyway, that's five (out of dozens more) places I'd like to see in the game. Remember the days when patches would just plop us in a new zone like Blackwing Lair, Ahn'Qiraj or Naxxramas? Let's see some of that in the future. Let's explore those forgotten bastions of antiquity. I really love that phrase.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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