We’re back with part two of my fan concept for a new 1-50 leveling experience set in Lordaeron and Northern Kalimdor. Last time we talked about Lordaeron, now it’s time for the opposite leveling path. I already went into the reasoning behind and the hypothetical mechanics of the concept in part one, so let’s dive straight in!
I briefly considered waiting until Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor comes out so I could use its details about the state of the continent post-Fourth War the same way I did for Lordaeron. Then I realized the book isn’t due out until October, and that’s far too long a gap between part one and two. So I’ll have to be a little more speculative this time. The only zones that have been touched on are Darkshore and Mount Hyjal, both in the control of the night elves and thus the Alliance as per BlizzCon 2019 and Shadows Rising.
On choosing to level in Northern Kalimdor for your newly created character, if you’re playing Horde you’ll level from 1 to 20 in The Lost Isles and Azshara, with your faction hub being Bilgewater Harbor. If you’re playing Alliance, your starting zones are Mount Hyjal and Darkshore, with the faction hub being Nordrassil. The remaining zones from 20 to 50 are neutral, with towns and quest lines for each faction.
As with Lordaeron, I wanted there to be a central theme that unites the Kalimdor zones, even if they don’t have as much of an continuous narrative with reoccurring villains. Can you guess what it is?
The Lost Isles: The last veins of Kaja’mite on Kezan have run dry! Oh the goblinity! Luckily, Trade Prince Gazlowe believes that the volcanic activity on the Lost Isles has quieted enough to resume mining operations. But the goblins dug too deep and angered the elemental spirits slumbering beneath the earth. As a fresh recruit of the Horde, it falls to you to quiet the elementals so that the goblins can resume their work.
Notes: It bugs me that the Lost Isles is the only starting zone that is completely inaccessible after after finishing its quests. Gilneas was always still explorable, the Wandering Isle came back for monks in Legion, and Kezan technically has THE MOTHERLODE!!! even if it’s a different part of the island from Bilgewater Port. This is especially annoying since the Lost Isles is still the goblin character select screen background despite how little it has to do with the race now.
This new version of the Lost Isles would be based more on the early concepts for the zone from Cataclysm‘s development. Namely, that instead of just being shipwrecked survivors trying to escape, the Bilgewater Cartel had actually built a civilization on the isles, complete with a unique architectural style shown in these pieces of Cataclysm concept art:
Also, the Lost Isles would be added to the Kalimdor continent map instead of being instanced in the “Maestrom continent” area. This appears to have been the initial plan, as an unfinished version of the Lost Isles has actually been part of Kalimdor’s mini map since the start of Cataclysm, before finally being removed in Battle for Azeroth‘s patch 8.2.0.
Azshara: Your triumph at the Lost Isles has earned you an audience with the Trade Prince himself in Bilgewater Harbor. However congratulations aren’t the real reason the Gazlowe wants to see you. A rash of accidents and machinery malfunctions are happening in Azshara and Gazlowe suspects sabotage. It’s driving pollution levels off the charts, and that can’t be allowed to continue; it would kill the tourism industry! You’ve been entrusted with catching the culprit.
Notes: I thought the idea of an entire zone storyline about your character solving a mystery would be fun. Kind of like Westfall without the CSI references, or the Brawler’s Guild murder mystery but on a whole zone’s scale. Who could the shadowy mastermind bent on ruining the Cartel’s home and reputation be? You have two guesses and the first one doesn’t count.
Mount Hyjal: While the scars left by the Burning Legion and Ragnaros the Firelord have at last healed, Mount Hyjal is not yet free of threats. While the night elves rebuild their civilization beneath the roots of Nordrassil, remnants of the Twilight’s Hammer have taken up an abandoned plot from the days of the Cataclysm. They seek to create their own pantheon of “Dark Ancients” and reshape the natural order. You, a promising new soldier of the Alliance, have been sent to quell the Twilight’s plans and put an end to these animalistic abominations.
Notes: The plot line in Cataclysm where the Twilight’s Hammer were creating evil versions of various Wild Gods was really cool but super underutilized. We encountered only two of these “Dark Ancients,” Lycanthoth and Nemesis, killed them and then the whole idea was dropped to focus on Ragnaros. So this time they’re the whole focus of the zone. Lycanthoth and Nemesis could come back, but we’d also get brand new ones for other Wild Gods like Aviana and even Cenarius, whose dark counterpart would be the final threat in Hyjal’s storyline.
Darkshore: The forests have yet to recover from the Fourth War. Entire groves have been lost to the Forsaken’s blight, and a truce with the Shatterspear trolls has curdled into an uneasy peace that threatens to erupt into full-scale conflict at a moment’s notice. After your heroics against the Dark Ancients in Hyjal, you’ve been hand picked to travel to Auberdine and help establish a more permanent peace. But something else is amiss in the woods. Satyr descend from the cliffs from Felwood to take advantage of the chaos and advance their own plans for Darkshore.
Notes: Darkshore was a little tricky since so many plotlines were already addressed in the warfront version. I didn’t want to just do repeats of Soggoth the Slitherer or naga stuff that had just been featured so I decided to focus on two areas: the idea of the night elves and Shatterspear trolls attempting to coexist rather than fight, and a greater role for the satyr. That latter part is also a setup for the storyline in Felwood.
Ashenvale: After years of conflict to either preserve or deforest this ancient land, the Horde and Alliance now must work together to save it. Whether due to the Horde’s over-harvesting, lingering corruption from the Burning Legion, or a new threat altogether, Ashenvale is disappearing. Each day more and more the greenery dies off to be replaced by the expanding savannas of the Barrens. Alliance druids and Horde shaman work separately to stop the desertification but saving Ashenvale will require heroes like you to unite them.
Notes: The story here is inspired by the real life desertification crisis. On a less serious note, it also came about because the Warsong Gulch revamp gave us HD art assets for Ashenvale and the Barrens, so I wanted to give the Barrens art a chance to be used even if the actual zone is outside the scale of this fan concept.
Felwood: After the Burning Legion’s defeat, many demons left on Azeroth retreated to Felwood. While they were able to drive out the Emerald Circle and fortify their position, now the demons find themselves without direction or goal. Altruis the Sufferer sees the demon’s lack of organization as an opportunity to drive them from Felwood once and for all, and has assembled an elite task force of demon hunters for this purpose. However there’s been no word from them in weeks. Promising adventurers like yourself must head into Felwood and see what’s become of the expedition.
Notes: Demon hunters in Legion were given the choice of who to make the second-in-command for the Illidari, new character Kayn Sunfury or Altruis the Sufferer from The Burning Crusade. In places where Altruis shows up for demon hunter players who chose him, other classes see Kayn, implying he’s the canon choice. I wanted to do a story about what happened to Altruis in that case, and it ultimately evolved into making Felwood a sort of epilogue for the Legion expansion. It would basically be just you joining a crack squad of demon hunters and carving your way through the Legion’s remnants so that Felwood might finally heal.
Moonglade: It is a joyous time few mortals are privy to witness. Ashamane, the great panther Ancient, is about to be reborn after ten thousand years slumbering in Ardenweald. Everything at Nighthaven must be made perfect for the celebration, and surely you can spare a few moments from your adventures to help welcome a Wild God back to Azeroth?
Notes: Moonglade is in an odd spot, being so tiny. So I decided to make it an optional zone that covers only five levels you can do concurrent with Winterspring. Consider it palate cleanser from all that demon hunting action. For that reason I thought it would be fun to have a zone that didn’t have a story about a major threat or chaos, just you helping with minor issues to get ready for a party.
Winterspring: You face Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion! Driven from Felwood, the leader of the Burning Legion remnants has reached Winterspring, where he plots to drain power from the exposed roots of Nordarssil. With Altruis’ forces depleted, you’ll have to unite the goblins of Everlook, the night elves at Starfall Village, the tauren in at Camp Icehorn (I added a Horde town to compliment Starfall), the Winterfall furbolgs, and the blue dragons of Mazthoril to stand a chance against the Jaraxxus and his armies.
Notes: Winterspring gave me trouble initially, until I had the thought of making it and Felwood a two part story. Felwood would end with the revelation that the Legion remnants were commanded by a notable demon (and Jaraxxus’ whereabouts after his cameo on the Broken Shore are completely unknown) who would go on to terrorize Winterspring! Also the parallels of an eredar attacking Nordrassil (or the roots you of it you can see in Winterspring in this case) and a coalition of disparate races coming together to stop him to Warcraft III are not a coincidence.
And so we’ve reached the end of this latest fan concept. I hope you liked reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. On a final note, the theme for Kalimdor was environmental catastrophe and healing the land and its peoples. Also demons in the latter half. Until next time!