Cataclysm: The New Blasted Lands
The World of WarCraft team recently revealed during the Twitter Dev Chat there are big plans for Blasted Lands in World of WarCraft: Cataclysm. There will be a big opening in the eastern mountains of Blasted Lands giving access to its border coastline with a new play area around the coastline, and who knows, maybe even an island like Hrothgar in northern Icecrown Glacier.
Some fans who never played a WarCraft game before WarCraft III might yell foul play with opening the mountains to have a sea access. In fact, it is the other way around. Blasted Lands was formerly known as Black Morass in WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness (1996,RTS game) and you can see that by going to Caverns of Time: Black Morass. That’s where Medivh the Last Guardian opened the Dark Portal to allow Gul’dan’s Horde to enter Azeroth.
If you haven’t played WarCraft II, the in-game map for Black Morass was surrounded by lots of water. The image to the right is how the mini-map looked like. In the center of the round isle was the Dark Portal. It required the construction of transport boats and battleships to cross from one side to the other.
It was somewhat odd to find there was no bodies of water in Badlands and Blasted Lands when World of Warcraft launched in 2004, but that’s how the developers designed it. Blasted Lands had the excuse that the demonic magics used by the warlocks setting camp around the Dark Portal and some of Draenor’s itself drained the life out of the Black Morass, even the demons who reside in the Tainted Scar. The only body of water respected was that around Caer Darrow (Scholomance), except for two smaller islands missing in World of Warcraft where the Caer Darrow lake exists. (as shown to the left)
Blasted Lands will likely have new life if the Cataclysm caused the mountains to crack allowing water to run into the inner-land. We have not seen any concept art or previews of this place yet. There’s a possibility this and other areas might get a new name, however. It won’t make much sense to call it Blasted Lands anymore if nature has crawled back to this arid zone.
The developers mentioned in the Dev Chat there is going to be a big area in the Tainted Scar for the Worgen race. That’s enigmatic in many ways. Why would the Worgen wish to be in a place formerly inhabited by demons, and why so close to the Dark Portal and Karazhan?
The Worgen found in Duskwood were pure breed summoned accidentally there by the Defias deserter nicknamed Jitters who found the Scythe of Elune within the Roland’s Doom mine. While the Worgen race are cursed Gilnean humans. One thing does sound good with the revamping of the old world. The Scythe of Elune story arc might return in earnest. And where there is the Scythe of Elune and Worgen, the Dark Riders of Karazhan aren’t too far.
Remember that crypt near Karazhan, Morgan’s Plot? It was never opened to the players, but back in the day (before Blizzard fixed it) players could die by the gate, and resurrect inside the crypt. It was pretty big — suggesting it might be a 5-players dungeon someday. I have gone a bit far from Blasted Lands here, but it’s still good to mention the proximity of the Worgen area in the Tainted Scar with Karazhan. There’s where the Dark Riders were reported to be residing, but the only Dark Rider we ever met in the Karazhan dungeon was Attumen the Huntsman. Could the other Dark Riders be hiding within Morgan’s Plot?
Maybe. Maybe not. I would like to describe what’s inside Morgan’s Plot, but that would be breaking some rules as it is not an accessible place in the game. One thing to note about Morgan’s Plot is that Aegwynn chose that place to be buried at — as seen in the last issues of World of WarCraft comic book. She died in Ahn’Qiraj Temple, sacrifcing in order to save her grandson Med’an and all of Azeroth.
Will we fight a risen Aegwynn there if this dungeon ever opens? One can dream, right? I would like to see Aegwynn back. We never got to see her in the game. She only appeared in World of WarCraft: Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido and joined Lady Jaina Proudmoore as a counselor, friend and mentor. Aegwynn appeared in World of WarCraft: Rise of the Lich King, by Christie Golden, still in Theramore, and in the Wildstorm Comics book. Seeing as she resurrected Medivh, before WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos, would be fitting if she’s brought back by her son or grandson — of course, after players dispense some beating to her sorrowing spirit within Morgan’s Plot. Ya’know, like Thorim and the other Watchers who don’t really die in Ulduar, and come to their senses and join us instead against Yogg-Saron.
Maybe after this Morgan’s Plot encounter, we can permanently see her — via phase technology — back at Jaina’s side in Theramore, unlocking a new NPC with a myriad of quests. Ok, that’s a bit too much theorycraft.