Know Your Lore: Where do we go from here on Azeroth?
With the coming of Kul Tiras and Zandalar in Battle for Azeroth we’re going to see two of the most discussed yet absent places in Azeroth for the first time in game. And that means a lot of the mysterious, yet to be seen areas from back in Vanilla are now in game. We can travel to Tol Barad, Gilneas, Uldum, the Tomb of Sargeras, and Suramar. We’ve been to Draenor twice. Even locations we once considered mythical, like Pandaria, are now places we can travel to and see for ourselves.
We’ve even been to dreadful Argus, home of the Eredar and stronghold of the Burning Legion. So it may feel like there’s nothing left to explore on Azeroth or beyond it. But there are still a few places we haven’t gone to yet, or if we did, we didn’t stop and explore them as well as we could have — places that we could well see in the future.
We’ll be going back to Kezan in Battle for Azeroth, at least as part of a five player dungeon called The MOTHERLODE!! That said, Kezan and the Undermine are very much still mostly unexplored since Cataclysm. It’s really not a bad idea to get to see more of them.
We’ve yet to actually see Undermine and in general, Goblins haven’t gotten as much feature time as they could have. They’ve been important in both Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor, and they’re playing a role in dealing with Azerite. But a bit of content about Goblins and their society instead of just using them as the MacGuffins for how something is being done would be interesting.
Undermine itself is a vast subterranean city and we’ve barely even heard much about it. It’s time we get to see what the Goblins have going on down there. And if it turned out to be a sprawling underground metropolis in a stylish noir vein, I would not take it amiss.
The Spider Kingdom
We saw Azjol-Nerub briefly in Wrath of the Lich King. We stopped the Scourge from utterly conquering the place while also killing servants of the Old Gods in the bargain. However, when last we left Ahn’kahet its future was uncertain to say the least. The Upper Kingdom of Azjol-Nerub was infested with Scourge, including Anub’arak himself. But the Old Kingdom was divided between attacking Scourge on the top levels and maddened servants of the Old Gods on the lower. With Sargeras’ sword strike on Silithus imperiling the world, who knows what’s happening in the fallen kingdom of the Nerubians?
Nerubians, like Qiraji and Mantid, were once part of the Black Empire of the Old Gods. It definitely feels like we could stand to head back in there and see if there are any secrets about our most tenacious foes we could discover in the ancient fastnesses of the Nerubian lords. Remember, there are outposts of the Nerubian Empire across Northrend, from Dragonblight to Icecrown just below the Argent Tournament grounds. That’s a lot of potential zones for us to explore.
The Emerald Dream
We’ve been to the Twisting Nether, to Argus, and to Outland. But one realm lies side by side with our own, and we’ve only visited it sporadically. The Emerald Dream is like a blueprint for Azeroth as imagined by the Titan-Forged. It’s a wild, untamed, primordial world where Azeroth as we know it exists minus all the travails and chaos of the past millennia of wars and strife that have infested it. Yet not all is peaceful there. Not only is the natural world one of conflict and kill or be killed savagery, but the taint of the Old Gods reached out in the form of the Emerald Nightmare to ensnare those it could, and despoil what it touched.
The Emerald Nightmare was explored in a Legion raid, but after we defeated the Nightmare Lord Xavius we left. In doing so, we left the great majority of the Dream unexplored. With Ysera dead, the Eye of Ysera, former center of Green Dragonflight power in the Emerald Dream, is now left unguarded. The entire plain of existence is at risk. Furthermore, the opposite could also be true. Without the Green Dragons, threats could arise from within the Dream and freely voyage to our world.
The Dream is essentially what Azeroth would be like without mortals mucking everything up. Imagine a prehistoric Kalimdor without the Sundering. It’s a landmass far larger than the entire World of Warcraft map of Azeroth including every current zone. If you put current Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend, Pandaria, the Broken Isles, Kul Tiras, and Zandalar together, it would all fit inside the land of the Emerald Dream with room to spare. If anything, it might be too big to fully explore in one expansion.
Just as the Dream is a primordial realm of ancient life and wildness from before Azeroth was shaped, the Shadowlands are a realm of death and decay. If you played the Death Knight starting area, you visited them briefly. But we have no idea what they ultimately look like. Are they just a twisted reflection of the mortal realm, a land where all the dying go for a time? Is it the nothingness that Arthas saw when he died, the darkness that was all he could perceive? The Shadowlands are so unexplored by us that they defy even our most casual assumptions.
A visit to the Shadowlands sounds like a very daunting prospect, but it should be possible to travel there. It might take strong necromancy but the trip has been managed before. Odyn traded his eye to an entity of the Shadowlands in exchange for the power to create Val’kyr such as Helya. The Val’kyr then traveled back and forth between the realm of the living and that of the dead to find the souls of worthy champions. Helya’s realm, which we visited in Legion, is one example of a pocket reality within the Shadowlands. There could be others for us to explore, and face the same dark powers that Odyn once bargained with.
We don’t know what else might live on Azeroth. There are oceans surrounding the Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Northrend and Pandaria that aren’t part of the Great Sea. That ocean was only created when ancient Kalimdor shook apart during the Sundering. Much of the ancient landmass fell into the waters. Even today, the people of Azeroth prefer to navigate across the Great Sea despite the threat of the Maelstrom at its heart. There’s not much in game explaining why. If Azeroth is a globe, then why don’t people ever sail east from the Eastern Kingdoms to go to Kalimdor? Is it simply a much greater distance? Are there threats and obstacles along the way, or have there simply not been any efforts to explore?
There may still be places to find on Azeroth. There could be entire continents of comparable size to old Kalimdor, or island chains similar to the Broken Isles, or smaller continents dotting the ocean. The actual size of Azeroth is as yet not explained. There could be nothing to find, or there could be a vast new setting to explore, just waiting for us.
And there could well be other underwater realms, such as dread Ny’alotha, waiting for us as well. The Old God N’Zoth is said to lie dreaming in this watery realm, but we know almost nothing about it. We aren’t even sure that it’s underwater, or whether if it’s a home or a prison to an Old God. It might exist in the Emerald Dream or on some as yet lost island. All we know is that we’ve never been there… at least, not yet.
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