I haven’t explored too much of BfA yet, so the locations I’ve chosen exist as they do before this current expansion! No idea of any changes to them, really except for Tirisfal Glades.
Part of what makes World of Warcraft such a fun game to play is the variety of zones the player can visit. From mystical and magical, to dark and spooky, there is something for every mood. WoW draws inspiration from plenty of stories and myth.
An atmosphere and mood that WoW does well is that of horror. Not only is horror present in the lore, it is vividly demonstrated through design and music. The horror is never superficial, but it is always there for the sake of WoW‘s often profound and layered storytelling.
As it’s almost Halloween, I thought it appropriate to discuss my favourite scary zones from World of Warcraft. My sister and I travelled all around Azeroth and beyond to take photos of these marvellous places.
10. Dustwallow Marsh
A bleak, marshy area that is way too beige for anyone’s benefit. This is where a chainsaw murder would probably take place by some hick, with the murder holing up in his broken down shack. If you died here, you’d probably never be found.
There are two Stratholme dungeons in the game, including The Culling of Stratholme. The city is not a regular zone to go and freely walk around, but I wanted to include it on this list because I find it so haunting.
In the lore, Stratholme was a human city on the verge of becoming riddled with a plague. At the time, Arthas and his team of Paladins found that there was already infected grain distributed into the city. Arthas, thinking it was only a matter of time before all the citizens would become zombies, decided to purge the city. Here is where he took his first steps into his dark descent, as he culled the city and was abandoned by the people closest to him who could not support his decision.
In game, Stratholme is permanently set ablaze, with its skies reddened and smoke everywhere. It is packed with undead, namely members of The Scourge.
Green can be such a creepy colour.
Felwood is a corrupted woodland, infested with demons and all kinds of nasty things that the Druids are attempting to purge. Ironically, this wood is now a shade of unnatural, fel green.
7. Western Plaguelands
I always enjoy questing in the Plaguelands, especially the Western Plaguelands. Entering this region feels as if shit just got really real. It really seems as though you are joining something far bigger than you in order to rid the world of taint — the taint being The Scourge, one of the most powerful undead factions WoW has known.
The Western Plaguelands may appear in some parts like a regular forest, but there is clearly something wrong in the air. Once you venture deeper, you find clearly corrupted parts of the land overtaken by undead.
6. Eastern Plaguelands
Whether it be the yellow-beige hills of the Western Plaguelands, or the orange ones of the Eastern Plaguelands, it seems as if the horrors taken place here have almost seeped into the earth. The very land you walk on feels subdued and yet hostile.
The Eastern Plaguelands are seeped in orangey redness, making it difficult to pretend it’s just a normal wood, something you might still be able to do in the Western Plaguelands.
Both East & West Plaguelands are creepy and foreboding as hell.
5. Deadwind Pass
An unsettling and sad place that genuinely feels haunted given its history. This is just a short pass leading from one state to another, but it is not a welcoming path to take.
Seemingly abandoned, Deadwind Pass is a gray, pale, and lonely piece of land. It is home to Karazhan, a mage tower belonging once to the corrupted wizard and guardian Medivh. Medivh is one of the causes for the destruction The Burning Legion has wrought, as his actions lead to the opening of the Dark Portal, giving the Legion access to Azeroth. Despite Deadwind Pass’s silence, it seems to echo with this history and these truths, making it an extremely unnerving place to be.
4. Shadowmoon Valley (TBC)
Shadowmoon Valley introduced in The Burning Crusade is one of the most wretched and threatening places in WoW. Shadowmoon Valley used to be a beautiful land full of lush greenery, and filled with purple, green and blue hues — the colours of choice for any fantastical land. We see this original terrain in the later expansion Warlords of Draenor in which the player is sent back in time before The Burning Legion decimated it. Compared to the initially designed Shadowmoon Valley, it is an alarmingly stark contrast.
TBC’s Shadowmoon Valley is only shades of gray, black and fel green. The once soft grassy terrain are hard dirt and rock. The landscape is jagged, splintered and smokey.
The forlorn, haunting music of the zone adds to the the unease. Check out my analysis of that track and more here.
The first time I discovered Duskwood, I was low-level and questing in Elwynn Forest. There is a river separating Elwynn from Duskwood, and I got a little too curious and ventured onto the other side where my surroundings instantly became darker and foggier. Then a Level ?? wolf ran at me at I was done for. (When you’re at a low level and you see an enemy charging for you with a “Level ??” nameplate, it is one of the most exciting and terrifying things).
Duskwood is your classic, foggy haunted forest. I would always look forward to reaching levels 18-20 because it meant I could go to this zone (now with level scaling, I guess it’s probably less restrictive?).
There is the small town of Darkshire in the east, making you wonder how anyone could live there.
Duskwood looks permanently dark turquoise and blue thanks to the everlasting night that has settled over this place.
The Twilight Grove, Duskwood
What is most mysterious of all is the glade in the middle of Duskwood — The Twilight Grove. Hidden by a circle high hills, this place looks like it was transplanted from a Night Elven forest. It’s full of rich greens, violets and blues — the opposite of Duskwood. It makes you wonder why and how it is here in human lands, and how it has remained free of Duskwood’s gloom.
Clearly, there is some druidic magic responsible, protecting this enigmatic, round area (I’m not sure if this makes the place feel safer, or even more eerie). Indeed, there is now a portal leading to the Emerald Dreamway.
2. Tirisfal Glades
An historic location with one of the best atmospheres in the game, Tirisfal Glades is certainly one of the darkest places in WoW. The shadow of Lordaeron — now Undercity — lies not too far, reminding one of all the horrors that lead up to the present.
Now Tirisfal Glades is home to the Undead. Tirisfal Glades’ ambience is created by a few things: the creeping, at times sharp music, the ultra strange shade of blue-green that is the sky, and the gray that has come over everything like a veil. Tirisfal feels like a real Halloween town.
The Whispering Forest, Tirisfal Glades
For those who do not know, there is a small grove deep in the nearby mountains of Tirisfal. It is not marked on the map, and indeed, looking at the map, it appears to be in a region where nothing would be as it is all mountainous area. Players cannot travel there on foot, and as Tirisfal Glades is a low-level region, beginner players here cannot access it. The player must come back much later on when the ability to fly has been made available to them.
Flying over to the mountains and reaching the grove, one will find high-level killable animals, and a large fairy ring. Strange.
Players have found that every six hours or so, something magical and mysterious happens here. Bright, glowing streams of magic energy and light coaelsce and fey-drunk darters (a fairy dragon sort of creature) approach one by one, taking their places around the circle. This goes on for a short while, before the lights go out and the darters leave.
There is no official explanation for this, and although it is far from the default Tirisfal wood region, it still adds to Tirisfal’s overall spookiness.
The first time I flew into Icecrown and “Angrathar’s Shadow” began playing, I knew I was somewhere I simply should not be. It makes sense, given that this is now the home of arguably WoW’s most tragic character — the once-human prince Arthas, now known as The Lich King.
Icecrown is home to Icecrown Citadel, The Lich King’s fortress. What is amazing and terrifying about the citadel is that the metal it is made from is saronite — the blood of the Old God Yogg-Saron.
The Lich King himself is terrfiying, but considering now that his armour and entire fortress are made up with the blood of an Old God makes this entire place seem all the more dangerous.
Any I missed? Let me know if there are particularly eerie zones in WoW that you enjoy!
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