Stonetalon Mountains is among the regions of Kalimdor with several changes across the board not only environment-wise, but quests have been deeply affected by the redesign of the land.
For example, the Horde might remember the entrance of Stonetalon mountain from the Barrens, just west of the Crossroads. There used to be two Horde towers and roadblock. Not far from there, down that hill was a small tent with a Tauren and a female orc. From one you got the quests to avenge his tribe by killing the Grimtotem Tribesmen. The other one sent you to kill the Venture Co. deforesting the area.
The tent is still there in Cataclysm, but the Alliance dominated the Horde in this front and built a huge wall guarded by ballistas. These are led by Commander Singleton at Honor’s Stand which has two Alliance towers, and another one in construction.
The Stonetalon Pass is a war scene between the Honor’s Stand Sharpshooters and Guards versus the Horde’s Hunter Hill Scouts composed of Tauren and Orcs as seen here.
Malaka’jin looks untouched, except the Witch Doctor Jin’Zil is no longer in the cave. He’s dancing a few yards outside the cave. Thus, that quest where you are sent to gather some ingredients at Stonetalon Peak to poison the Night Elf prisoners in his cave is no more.
Find out more after the break and look out for tons of spoilers and the 78 screenshots (identifying each zone with title).
There is a Horde force in Malaka’jin known as the Krom’gar. These are composed of Orcs, Trolls and Tauren. Some of these Krom’gar Marauders can be seen all around Camp Aparaje and the Grimtotem Post really beating up the Grimtotem there, where you used to kill the Grimtotem Ruffians and Mercenaries before. Thus the quest to rescue the female Tauren Kaya from Chieftain Grundig Darkcloud’s tent is also gone in Cataclysm. She’s nowhere to be found in that area.
Chieftain Grundig Darkcloud seems to have been upgraded to Elite, and he’s surrounded by six Grimtotem aligned in a star-shape, with him inside the circle walking within it. Does seem like a group quest. Curiously, there is a random event where several Horde NPCs ambush him, and die miserably to him and his six-pack bodyguards and his thunderclap spammage.
Krom’gar Assassin: FOR HELLSCREAM! FOR THE HORDE!
Warchief Grundig Darkcloud: Hellscream’s armies march upon us, brothers and sisters! The Horde sends assassins! Kill them all!
Warchief Grundig Darkcloud: I have seen the future, brothers and sisters, and in it the Horde are no more! Fight on! Magatha commands it! Do not despair! All is not lost! Yet.
Northwatch Expedition Base Camp
Behind the Grimtotem Post, high in the mountain can be accessed an alliance base with a flightmaster: the Northwatch Expedition Base Camp. Curiously the stable has an Innkeeper. Next to the base is a mine.
Deep Reaches Mine
The Deep Reaches mine is one of those huge labyrinths with rails. Within are several frightened miners, and Raging Earth Elementals. If you are Alliance, you should beware that everywhere you will find Horde Krom’gar assassins in stealth-mode every few steps. There are three NPCs at the entrance, so this is likely a level 28 quest. Horde players level 25-36 should stay clear from the Northwatch Expedition Base Camp because the guards here are level 40.
Not far from the Alliance base to the east, and behind the Grimtotem Post can be found an ex-Explorer’s League excavation only known as the Unearthed Grounds. On the west entrance to this excavation site is a large group of Alliance Footmen standing guard.
There are several dwarf corpses across the excavation site, now occupied by Goblin Stripminers who are protected by Krom’gar Blood Guards. In short, the Alliance was owned and lost the Unearthed Grounds.
Boulderslide Ravine and Boulderslide Cavern look unchanged. By the way, there are several Stonetalon Rams added to the region, on high grounds.
Remember that secluded area with the Deepmoss Venomspiter spiders where you could complete the Arachnophobia quest by killing the big spider? That area unexplicably is no longer secluded, it is now a big valley named Webwinder Hollow, fully accessible from the Webwinder Path. The spider boss to kill in Cataclysm is named Queen Silith (lvl 27). It’s twice as big as my Violet Proto-Drake. Now that’s scary.
The Windshear Valley was once annoying to traverse due to the several spiders and Storm Lizards you encountered to access the Windshear Crag, or to do the Goblin quest or the deepmoss egg quest. Now it is full of small tents with Alliance Northwatch Footmen.
The Windshear Crag is no longer occupied by the Venture Co. It’s now a battleground between the Horde and the Alliance. On the east side is the Horde’s Krom’Gar Fortress with a Hot Air Baloon, an Inn, mailbox, flightmaster, and a couple vendors. A Quartermaster is found there, with no loot table at this time in beta.
Some goblin cannons may be seen on the edge of the mountain, which suggest a special quest to bombard Alliance below. There’s a Big Daddy sawmachine robot for a quest, and a counterpart at the Windshear Hold, the Alliance base.
Overlord Krom’gar: Grunts, ATTENTION! How has our revered Warchief failed you? Your families no longer starve. Your loved ones live with shelter over their heads. You may walk through the streets of Orgrimmar with pride! We are the new Horde, and under Warchief Hellscream, we are masters of our own destinies. WHY THEN, have we failed to take Stonetalon Mountains? How have the Alliance been able to halt the great Horde war machine?
The Deep Reaches Mine mentioned before ends as an exit right beneath Krom’Gar Fortress, which contains Horde peons within.
The Windshear Crag changed radically. Instead of Venture Co. Deforesters, now we have an all-out-war between many Goblin Harvesters (the robots) versus Gnomebot Pounders, and Goblin Technicians versus Gnome Engineers. It’s a dynamite palooza from both ends. These are found all across the southern side of the Blackwolf River.
On the upper side of the Blackwolf River are the Krom’Gar Infantry across the land, and several cages filled with Captured Huntress NPCs. Obviously, an Alliance quest to free the prisoners.
Just northeast of the Windshear Crag used to be the path full of spiders leading to the Talondeep Pass, a cave tunnel that connected Stonetalon Mountains with Ashenvale. That’s no more. The Goblins used dynamite and drilling machines to demolish the mountain. It’s now a path instead of a tunnel.
High above this path is an Alliance post named the Trueshot Point, led by the night elf Kalen Trueshot and his crew of female Stardust Archers. There is some gnome Sniper Cannons here to help him shoot down Hellscream War Riders atop wyverns. Very likely an Alliance quest.
On the southeast side of the Talondeep Path is a Horde camp named The Fold. Here you might find some quests from the Incinerator, and two vendors: an engineer who can repair, and a Trader for profession materials.
That huge water wheel gizmo at the Windshear Crag’s Cragpool Lake is still there, and it continues to be operated by the Venture Co. The only property they still control. Curiously Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle is still there. Didn’t the Tinker’s Union goblin Sputtervalve in Ratchet ordered his lackey Ziz Fizziks to kill Gerenzo and to get his mechanical arm as proof? Hmm.
The Sunrock Retreat looks exactly the same, except for two things. The Blood Elf female Braelyn Firehand is no longer there by the flightmaster. She was one of the very few blood elves available in World of Warcraft classic, before Burning Crusade introduced them as a playable race. To remind you, she gave the quest titled Cenarius’ Legacy where you had to go to Stonetalon Peak to kill Son of Cenarius x 4, Daughter of Cenarius x 4 and Cenarion Botanist x 4. She also asks you to kill the keeper of the grove Ordanus at the Raynewood Retreat in Ashenvale, and to infiltrate the Talon Den in Stonetalon Peak to retrieve an item that would be your reward for the deeds.
The other NPC that disappeared was the orc Mor’rogal and his water elemental Tsunaman from the high ground above Sunrock Retreat. Mor’rogal used to give you the quest titled Earthen Arise sending you to infiltrate the Boulderslide Cavern to kill the Earthen NPC Goggeroc.
Tsunaman used to give you the quest titled Elemental War sending you to kill Fire Elementals at the Charred Vale to obtain 10 Incendrites. Neptulon the Tidehunter wanted these extinguished. Your job was to make Tsunaman the water elemental gain the Tribunal’s favor.
Both of these NPCs are gone, and the quests along with them it seems.
Ruins of Eldre’Thar
Remember how annoying it was to go all around north of the Sunrock Retreat to reach the Charred Vale, in order to reach Desolace? No worries now. Just above the Webwinder Hollow is a new path named Sishir Canyon which goes straight across the mountain into the Charred Vale. The Sishir Canyon, however, crosses through a new area known as Ruins of Eldre’Thar.
There are several Highborne marked as Undead. They seem to be ghosts who talk about Xavius, Queen Azshara and Sargeras. It’s not clear to me from their dialogue if this is a replay or echoe of what happened 10,000 years ago, or if this is part of the Nightmare. As these Highborne ghosts talk among each other, there are Emerald Spirits in the shape of owls flying around, which definitely seem to entail this is part of the Nightmare. Considering that Lord Xavius is directly behind the Nightmare as revealed in Richard A. Knaak’s World of WarCraft: Stormrage, one has to wonder if Xavius is somehow back in action in Cataclysm.
The dialogue below mentions Malfurion and his dirt-loving brothers. This in particular contradicts the notion that this is a ten milennia memory replay, because in the War of the Ancients trilogy there weren’t any night elf druids helping Malfurion. Only priestesses of the moon, militia and arcane spellcasters assisted Malfurion. Twitch, twitch!
Lady Benel’derath: I heard Lord Xavius left today for his tower in Ashenvale.
Lord Ro’minate: Oh? Do you think his promise of an even greater source of power will come true?
Lady Bene’derath: As one of the greatest of the Highborne, he will succeed where others have failed.
Lord Ro’minate: I’m still wary of the risks. While I agree that Malfurion and his dirt-loving brothers are quite mad, this Lord Sargeras must have another agenda …
Lady Benel’derath: Shush! Quiet … before the others hear you.
Councilman Stark I’ylar: My friends, my colleagues. Put yourselves at ease. The recent decrease in our magical powers is being reviewed as we speak. Even Lord Xavius has said that the ebb and flow of magic is normal. However, our new allies, formed from within the Twisting Nether promise new sources of power, and untold mastery of our magic. Keep faith in Lady Azshara, as she keeps her faith in you.
Is this a past echoe of what happened during the War of the Ancients? Or is this a present dialogue?
I can’t ignore when Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson told me during the video interview at New York Comic Con (Feb 2009) there were big plans for Sargeras.
The Charred Vale
The Charred Vale was definitely regrown by the Tauren Druid Tammra Windfield, who gave you the quest titled New Life. You can still see green land and pine trees there, but the Charred Vale is now Charred worser than before after its rebirth. A black drake flies the area that is now scorched and devastated by a volcano and lava channels which pour all across the Charred Vale and into the ocean where you can see steam and bubbles in the water.
The interior and surroundings of the Charred Vale’s mini-volcano has fire elementals, Black whelps, and black dragon eggs.
Remember that large canyon leading to the Charred Vale where you could fight Fire Elementals and Basilisks? I even remember there were quests for these, specially the Basilisks. In Cataclysm, forget about that narrow canyon. It is now a huge valley named Battlescar Valley, and it is currently an all-out-war between the Alliance and the Horde. A lot of Krom’gar NPCs are fighting Night Elves here mano-a-mano and several catapults and glaive throwers shooting ammo left and right.
I doubt you have seen in World of Warcraft such a battlefield before with so many NPC vs NPC interaction.
There are several villages here in the midst of this huge war. The Alliance has the Tal’Darah Overlook and the Tal’Darah Grove. A bit farther southwest, is the Farwatcher’s Glen, an Alliance village with an Inn. It’s mostly inhabited by Worgen. The first image below is the Tal’Darah Grove. The second is Tal’Darah Overlook. The last three images are from the Worgen village Farwatcher’s Glen, not far to the southwest of Tal’Darah Grove.
On the other side of the Battlescar Valley is the Horde’s Tauren village named Cliffwalker Post, with an elevator. This village is high above the entrance to Stonetalon Peak.
All those quests to kill wild wyverns, gather gaea seeds, and all the stuff around Mirkfallon Lake is no more. The Mirkfallon Lake is now known as the Sludgewerks — a Horde goblin town on the north side of the lake, and an Oil Refinery at the Mirkfallon Lake.
The Pridewing Wyverns were relocated to the southeast side of the Sludgewerks. There’s a path uphill to reach them. Any ooze or other bestiary of the area was removed. Now goblins and hobgoblins wander all the area around the contaminated lake. It is now an oil refinery.
Last and not the least, Stonetalon Peak. It’s awesome. As you climb the hill that leads to this place, you will see several Krom’gar grunts, witch doctors and shamans battling Ancients of War who are protecting the entrance to Stonetalon Peak.
And believe me when I say you have never seen something quite like this. The shamans hurl fiery tornados at the Ancients of War. And in return, the Ancients of War roll giant boulders downhill to crush everyone that crosses on their path. I mean it. Literally. I was on my flying mount, and a boulder went past me beneath me. I felt a short knockback. Even at level 80 my character was killed by three boulders while I hovered near the ground. Each boulder causes over 7000 damage — pretty lethal for a level 30 Horde or Alliance character who will have to go frogger through this canyon to reach Stonetalon Peak either by dodging the flaming tornadoes or the rolling boulders.
Going past this annoyance, you reach the Stonetalon Peak. Last you visited the place as a Horde player, you were sent here by the blood elf in Sunrock Retreat to kill some Sons and daughters of Cenarius, and Cenarion Botanists. They are still there, but something has gone horribly wrong.
The first sight you will see is an invasion of tendrils coming off the ground. They will grab NPCs, and even the beasts and toss them back and forth endlessly. These also cast shadowbolts if they can’t reach you.
At the center of the Stonetalon Peak is a big Faceless One named Harbinger Aph’lass. The Storm Peak Inn is completely destroyed and ablaze, so don’t count on that flightmaster anymore. Some of the Cenarion Druids that used to live there are now corrupted and fighting the other unaffected Cenarion druids, and dryads.
The Talon Den seems unaffected by the Horde visit last time the blood elf female sent us there. The only difference here is the invasion of tendrils and the faceless one. Looks like the Nightmare is hitting this place pretty good.
The Cataclysm seriously changed Stonetalon Mountains. It’s a sight to travel through this entire place and to see all the work the developers put into reshaping the region and making it far more interesting. I look forward to leveling a Worgen and Goblin in here to find out what’s the new lore behind all these new contemporary changes based post-Cataclysm.
View all 78 Screenshots of Stonetalon Mountains.