This article is about the Forsaken-human conflict in Hillsbrad. For the similarly-named battle of the Second War, see Battle of Hillsbrad Foothills. For the book, see  [The Battle for Hillsbrad]. For the quest, see H [7-30] The Battle for Hillsbrad.
Battle for Hillsbrad
Tarren Mill.jpg
Location Hillsbrad Foothills
Begin Four years after the Third War
End Shortly after the War against the Lich King
Result Forsaken victory; destruction of Southshore, destruction of Hillsbrad Fields, Azurelode Mine captured, Dun Garok purged
Commanders and leaders




Casualties and losses


  • Heavy


  • Moderate

The Battle for Hillsbrad (or the Battle of Hillsbrad)[1][2] was a long-standing grudge war in the Hillsbrad Foothills between the Horde (based out of Tarren Mill) and the Alliance (based out of Hillsbrad Fields and Southshore).


Ironically, prior to the Scourging of Lordaeron, the towns of Tarren Mill and Southshore were known for their close friendship. A tower was erected at the crossroads halfway between the two to symbolize their bond,[3] and rivalry between the towns was considered unthinkable.[4]

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

Arch Lord Varimathras had sent his agents to spy on the humans of Hillsbrad for some time.[5] When the time was right, Varimathras had High Executor Darthalia wage war on the humans of Hillsbrad so that they could quell humanity and buy their apothecaries enough time to develop the new plague. Darthalia began her offensive by targeting the northernmost farms of Hillsbrad Fields, especially the farmers, farmhands, and landowners.[6] After the attack shook up the humans, the Forsaken began murdering the Hillsbrad peasants.[7] With the Hillsbrad humans reeling from these assaults, the Hillsbrad townspeople began to organize themselves into a militia. Darthalia had Horde agents slay the Hillsbrad blacksmiths, and steal their  [Shipment of Iron] to hinder their proliferation of weapons.[8] She also put a bounty on prominent Hillsbrad humans who have proven themselves formidable enemies of the Forsaken.[9] Afterwards, the Horde began to attack the Hillsbrad leadership[10] and their mining operations in Azurelode Mine.[11] With Hillsbrad crippled, the Horde then purged Dun Garok of their dwarven forces.[12]

The Battle for Hillsbrad eventually escalated into a battleground between Southshore and Tarren Mill. Alliance adventurers from Southshore and Horde adventurers from Tarren Mill frequently clashed in full-blown skirmishes in this notorious conflict.[13] This can be seen with Novice Thaivand who directs adventurers to resurrect Helcular, who proceeds to battle the inhabitants of Southshore before either being driven off or fleeing from the town.


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

The battle finally reaches its blighted end.

The Forsaken forces later marched onto the town of Southshore and annihilated most Alliance life with in the region by deploying a potent strain of the New Plague.[14][15] Magistrate Henry Maleb led the ones who managed to escape Southshore and fled to Fenris Keep.[16] The Ruins of Southshore is left inhospitable, and will be so for several decades. The ramifications of the Forsaken Blight forced the high echelons of the Horde to reconsider the free use of such a potent weapon. Instead, the Horde has issued a diluted version of the Forsaken Blight for the Forsaken to use.[17] Some Hillsbrad humans fled either to the Arathi Highlands — in which they ended up slaughtered before reaching Thoradin's Wall — or north into the Silverpine Forest — where they found sanctuary in Fenris Keep and eventually joined up with the worgen.[15][16]

The town of Hillsbrad Fields was later finally destroyed by the Forsaken, concluding the Hillsbrad Foothills campaign initiated by Varimathras years ago. A few Hillsbrad residents and Magistrate Burnside stayed behind and led a resistance but were eventually defeated and imprisoned by the Forsaken war machine. Those who stayed to defend Hillsbrad eventually became prisoners in what is now known as the Sludge Fields, a Forsaken prison where the mad Warden Stillwater cruelly experiments on his prisoners and even fellow Forsaken.[15]

After years of battle, ranging from player-guerilla warfare, to all-out raids, to simply individual murders, the Tarren Mill-Southshore conflict finally reached its conclusion. The Forsaken would see Southsore drenched in blight and rendered annihilated - for all intents and purposes, uninhabitable for a long while to come.[14] With that, the legendary battles in Hillsbrad came to a complete end.

Several of Southshore's inhabitants were able to flee, including its leader Magistrate Henry Maleb, though many were killed. All that remains of Southshore is a blighted wreck; Helcular himself stands victorious near its ruins.

Tarren Mill itself has been fortified, and the presence of the powerful High Warlord Cromush serves as a deterrent for the hit-and-run killings once witnessed in the region.

Despite the Forsaken eliminating the human presence in the region and claiming former Alliance towns, there is frequent guerrilla warfare with the Bloodfang Worgen of the Bloodfang pack and their leader.



It is unique in that, while legendary by player standards, the two towns had minimal interaction with each other outside of mutual Hallow's End shenanigans. It was the source of server-wide battles, and heroes of the Horde and the Alliance would often throw themselves into the fray on behalf of their faction and town. It was also one of the most common causes of server crashes.

The conflict was perhaps one of the most notable examples of world PvP, and was the primary [Honor] income for many players prior to the addition of battlegrounds.


Prior to the introduction of battlegrounds, players were forced to be creative in how to gain [Honor] points via player versus player combat. Raid groups assaulting either Tarren Mill or Southshore were thus commonplace, and this long-standing conflict would become perhaps the most trademark reference to world PvP. The heroes of the noble Alliance and the mighty Horde would find no peace in the fields of Hillsbrad, as the conflict would often envelop the entire zone in a brutal war.

Aside from the hostile takeover of either Tarren Mill or Southshore, the war would be fought from the shadows - rogues and druids often sneaking into the towns and taking out unsuspecting victims via their assassination abilities from the relative safety of stealth. With high player traffic at almost all times, the hills of Hillsbrad were a dangerous place to be at best, and a suicidal one at worst.

World of Warcraft

Alliance heroes begin assaulting Tarren Mill.

The battles raged on for a long while; heroes of both factions earning fame, honor and fear among the ranks of their enemy. Ultimately, with patch 1.5.0, two battlegrounds were added - Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley. This did not put an end to the Tarren Mill-Southshore conflict, however, and the fighting would also be taken to the Frostwolf and Stormpike base camps in the region. Though the war had been regulated to a less efficient method of grinding honor points than playing the battlegrounds, the battle between Hillsbrad's players raged on.

The Burning Crusade

Bc icon.gif This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

With the coming of The Burning Crusade expansion, specifically, the world of Outland to explore, the fierce battles in Hillsbrad began to calm. Though still not a particularly advisable place to idle from your keyboard for too long within, at the very least, the conflict was a shadow of its former self. Rarely now would the mountains of player skeletons be seen piling around Tarren Mill and Southshore. Flying mounts for easy travel around Outland, and an extra battleground further contributed to the decline of the Hillsbrad war.

Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

Like the previous expansion, Wrath of the Lich King introduced another new continent to explore - Northrend. The addition of heirlooms for quick leveling began to ensure that many players would not be forced to spend too long toiling in Hillsbrad's fields, and the once-bloody setting of Hillsbrad continued to quiet down.

Similar conflicts were witnessed in areas such as AstranaarCrossroads, and later the Isle of Quel'Danas, though generally not of the scale nostalgic vanilla Warcraft players associate with the battles of Hillsbrad.

Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.

The experience is turned into a battleground for 40 vs 40 players: Tarren Mill vs Southshore.