Broken Isles

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For the The Frozen Throne mission, see The Broken Isles (WC3 NightElf).
NeutralBroken Isles
Level: 10 - 45
Legion Broken Isles loading screen.jpg
Capital(s) Horde Suramar City
Horde Thunder Totem
Neutral Halls of Valor
Neutral Dalaran
Races VrykulVrykul Vrykul
NightborneNightborne Nightborne
Night elfNight elf Night elf
Highmountain taurenHighmountain tauren Highmountain tauren
IconSmall Drogbar.gif Drogbar
Satyr Satyr
Keeper of the grove Keeper of the grove
Dryad Dryad
DemonDemonDemonDemon Demon
NagaNaga Naga
Makrura Makrura
IconSmall Harpy2.gif Harpy
OrcOrc Orc
IconSmall Skrog.gif Sea giant
IconSmall Skeleton.gif Skeleton
IconSmall Murloc.gif Mur'gul
Ruler(s) Horde  Thalyssra
Horde  Mayla Highmountain
Neutral  Odyn
Neutral  Sigryn
Neutral  Navarrogg
Neutral  Cenarius
Neutral  Prince Farondis
Neutral  Khadgar
Affiliation Kingdom of Suramar, Highmountain Tribe, Valarjar, Helarjar, Tideskorn, Drogbar tribes, Court of Farondis, Kirin Tor, Cenarion Circle, Burning Legion
Location Great Sea[1] (northeast of the Maelstrom)
The Broken Isles are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Their jagged coasts, lush forests, and colossal mountains are home to ancient ruins and cultures not seen by outsiders for thousands of years. Every stone has a story to tell; every cavern holds the promise of a new discovery.
The Art of World of Warcraft: Legion, pg. 44

The Broken Isles are a chain of islands located northeast of the raging Maelstrom. Littered with ancient elven ruins, they contain notably the mighty nightborne city of Suramar as well as the long-lost Tomb of Sargeras. The third invasion of the Burning Legion commenced when the sealed portal inside the Tomb was opened again by Gul'dan from the alternate universe.

History

The Felstorm erupts from the Tomb, and the third invasion of the Burning Legion commences.
The Felstorm and the Broken Isles.

Before the Great Sundering, the region that would become the Broken Isles was a part of the Kaldorei Empire on Ancient Kalimdor.

It was here that the ancient forest of Val'sharah, home of Cenarius, and birthplace of druidism and its first mortal druid Malfurion Stormrage, was located, as well as the city of Suramar, where Tyrande Whisperwind was born. Tyrande, Malfurion and his brother Illidan Stormrage also grew up there, along with Jarod Shadowsong, Captain of Suramar's Guard, and Maiev Shadowsong, a high-ranking priestess of the Sisterhood of Elune, also centered in Suramar.

During the War of the Ancients, the Highborne night elves of Suramar, led by Elisande, used the Pillars of Creation to seal a gateway the Legion prepared to open in an attempt to overwhelm the Kaldorei Resistance on two fronts, but with the exception of the Eye of Aman'Thul (which they used to create the Nightwell within Suramar City) apparently scattered most of them throughout the other regions of the Broken Isles, just before the Great Sundering.

The Sundering blasted a part of Suramar underwater, though the majority of the city was saved by the future nightborne thanks to a magical shield that shielded the city.[2]

Aegwynn, the Guardian of Tirisfal, came to the island of Thal'dranath seeking a safe place to entomb the corpse of the avatar of Sargeras, knowing it still held power. She thus placed his body in a titan facility underneath the sunken Temple of Elune, which would eventually become known as the Tomb of Sargeras.[3][4]

Second War

WC2BnE-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.

During the Second War, Gul'dan abandoned the Horde and led his Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer followers to the Broken Isles, seeking the power of the Tomb for himself. The warlock and his men raised Thal'dranath,[5][6] from the bottom of the sea. As he opened the Tomb, he was torn to shreds by the demons inside. Doomhammer loyalists of the Blackrock and Black Tooth Grin clans then finished Gul'dan's troops,[7] though the Hammer and Cho'gall managed to survive and escape.[8]

Third War

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

During the Third War, Maiev Shadowsong chased escaped prisoner Illidan Stormrage to the Isles, who searched for the Eye of Sargeras. She discovered the remains of the ancient night elf city of Suramar, as well as a never-ending battle between the undead remnants of the Twilight's Hammer, Blackrock, and Stormreaver clans.[9] Maiev pursued Illidan into the Tomb of Sargeras, but Illidan found the Eye first and used it to collapse a section of the tomb onto Maiev's forces.[10] Maiev sent a runner to return to Kalimdor and get help from Malfurion Stormrage,[11] who rescued her forces and pursued Illidan.[12]

Legion

Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

The Broken Isles are a new continent introduced in World of Warcraft: Legion and are the main setting of the expansion. The Tomb of Sargeras has been reopened and demons have began to pour into the isles.

Geography

Map of the Broken Isles.

Zones

Lore locations

Dungeons

Main article: Instances by continent

Arenas

Main article: Arena

Playable allied races

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

The Broken Isles include about four large (relatively speaking) islands and about three small islands. They were underwater until a scant few decades ago, when the orc warlock Gul'dan raised them from the ocean floor. Gul'dan was searching for the tomb of the fallen Titan Sargeras, and indeed he found it: The ancient Kaldorei structure stands on the largest isle. Other Kaldorei ruins, remnants of their culture from 10,000 years ago, stand on the other islands. For having been underwater for the better part of ten millennia, they look pretty good.

The Broken Isles are an unpleasant and dangerous place. The Death Hiss tribe of naga dominates the region, led by Tide Priest Harash. Other threats are abundant as well: giant turtles, hydras, wendigo and a host of other dangers occupy the areas the naga are not. Also, a few goblin merchants have managed to carve out some spaces for themselves with the help of hired mercenaries.

The Maelstrom is just northwest of the Broken Isles. It's close. It's too close. The Maelstrom's magical storms lash the Broken Isles, making for near constant winds and rainfall and, occasionally, something stranger. The Maelstrom's proximity makes the Broken Isles unstable. Soon, the storm will prove too much and the islands will sink back into the sea.[13]

History

Five hundred years ago, Magna Aegwynn, Guardian of Tirisfal, slew the demon Sargeras, though just his physical form as his spirit inhabited her body and later possessed her child, Medivh. Knowing that the demon-Titan's corpse still had power, she sought a safe place to entomb it. She discovered a Kaldorei ruin deep beneath the sea, near the Maelstrom, and placed the body within, believing it to be secure. Time proved her incorrect.

Centuries later, Medivh, possessed by Sargeras, convinced the orc shaman Gul'dan to lead his people through the Dark Portal to wage war on Azeroth. Medivh–Sargeras offered Gul'dan a powerful artifact called the Eye of Sargeras as incentive. Gul'dan grew impatient, though, and through magic and research divined the location of the Tomb of Sargeras. He raised the Broken Isles and entered the tomb. Gul'dan encountered many trials within the tomb. He kept a record of his experiences — a sort of diary — by painting Orcish runes onto the tomb's walls. Orc forces loyal to Doomhammer attacked Gul'dan's Stormreavers, and the shaman desperately sought the Eye. In the end, he failed, and the tomb's demonic guardians tore him asunder.

Many years later, some time after the Third War, Illidan Stormrage, the Betrayer, traveled to the Tomb of Sargeras. Like Gul'dan, he too sought the Eye of Sargeras, supposedly intending to use it in a ritual to destabilize and destroy the Frozen Throne. The night elf warden Maiev Shadowsong tracked Illidan to the tomb. While there, she crossed paths with Drak'thul, and the warlock convinced her to help put some of the undead orcs to rest. She did so, though after she discovered that Drak'thul was part of Gul'dan's original coven and partly responsible for raising the Broken Isles and thus bringing dangerous artifacts like the Eye of Sargeras back into the world. She regretted her decision. Also within the tomb, Maiev discovered pieces of an artifact called the Orb of Shadow, and when she collected the entirety of the object it gave her great power. Maiev and her forces confronted Illidan deep within the tomb and interrupted his ritual. Illidan used the Eye to flood the tomb and escaped. Out of all the night elves, only Maiev had the power to escape death, and the loss of her forces embittered her. Since that time, naga and murlocs have emerged to claim the Broken Isles, and undead orcs continue to fight the Second War.[14]

The Maelstrom's proximity finally proved too much for the Broken Isles, and they began to sink back into the sea. Before they did, however, several factions — including Theramore's mages and Ironforge's Explorers' Guild — wanted to save the library of Izal-Shurah. They sent expeditions to treat with (or destroy) the library's makrura defenders. Complicating things were the naga, who were out in force, believing that the sinking of the isles was a time for celebration and a good omen for their culture. Moreover, the few orc survivors from the Second War and several roving bands of mercenaries attempted to storm the Alliance's ships in a desperate attempt to save themselves.[15]

People and culture

People aren't particularly prevalent in the Broken Isles, but cultures certainly are. The dominant force is the Death Hiss naga tribe. They have several bases throughout the region, and their forces are strong. Naga myrmidons, sirens and royal guard are out in force, posing a threat to all sensible races. The terrain favors the naga as well; if you're forced to flee the creatures, you can run only to the shore, and then they've got you. The naga live in Kaldorei ruins and have constructed some of their own buildings as well. The architecture is frighteningly similar. The Death Hiss naga have a distinctive warcry: the hiss, from which they take their name, which sounds like rain striking the ocean.

The Lostfin tribe of murlocs is also strong in the Broken Isles. They, a few other murloc tribes, and some mur'gul tribes live in stilted huts on the shores. You can also ran across sea giants and makrura. These two races aren't quite as bad as the others. Constant fighting against the naga, murlocs and other threats can do poor things to anyone's disposition, and makrura tend to attack intruders on sight.

A few enterprising goblins manage to set themselves up on the islands as well, hiring out boats to make travel among the islands easier. They cater solely to adventurers. They brought mercenaries with them, to carve out locations for their shops and to protect them, and now the mercenaries hire themselves out to adventurers as well. The mercenaries myself seem to focus their efforts against the naga and murlocs and other native creatures.

One other culture exists on these islands: orcs. These aren't orcs from Thrall's Horde, either, and many of them aren't even alive. During Gul'dan's betrayal, forces from the Blackrock, Twilight's Hammer, and Stormreaver clans clashed on the newly-summoned Broken Isles. The demons that guarded Sargeras's Tomb slaughtered the survivors, and now these skeletal and ghostly orc warriors battle each other for eternity. A few orcs, however, are not dead. These are mostly leftover warlocks from Gul'dan's clan, the Stormreavers, who were canny or lucky enough to escape destruction. They are scattered across the islands and have been living as hermits, probably eating crabs ever since the Second War. It is possible that a few more warlocks used to abide here, but they were voted off the islands. The oldest and sanest of these Stormreavers is a warlock named Drak'thul.[16]

Geography

The Broken Isles in Lands of Mystery.

Rain-lashed islands with ancient ruins and palm trees. That pretty much sums up the Broken Isles. The four large islands are arranged in a bit of a circle, with one large island at each point on the compass. All sorts of nasty beasts live here.

Since the islands haven't been islands for very long, natural life hasn't had much a chance to get a foothold here, but palm trees, tropical fronds, and a few flowering plants push through the ruins. Coral is prevalent, and there are at least a dozen albatrosses. The coasts boast hermit crabs and colorful fish. Purple, black and orange urchins inhabit tide pools and the shores around the coral reefs.

Stormreaver Bay is natural bay between the southwestern islands which boasts a bit of history. Gul'dan anchored his ships here when he was exploring the isles. The ships are long smashed, but their remains still drift in the aptly-named Stormreaver Bay.[17] The Broken Isles are being pulled toward the Maelstrom, and they will likely be destroyed at some point by the magical forces of the storm.[18]

RPG notes

Notes and trivia

  • In Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, the islands were shown to be halfway between Balor and Kul Tiras.[20] Still in Warcraft II, only Aegwynn and Medivh knew the true location of the Tomb of Sargeras, and they did not share that information with anybody.
  • It was originally established that Gul'dan had raised the Broken Isles entirely, which where described as volcanic, from the bottom of the ocean.[7] However, it has since been retconned so that he raised only the island of Thal'dranath, also known as the Broken Shore,[21] the rest having survived the Great Sundering.[22]
    • Malfurion Stormrage also knew about their existence,[23] confirming the retcon.
    • After the Third War, Maiev's runner announced Illidan's presence on the Broken Isles, and they were not surprised by the location.[24] However, she was not aware that the Tomb of Sargeras or Suramar had remained.[25]
  • The Broken Isles were represented by the Sunken Ruins melee tileset in The Frozen Throne, but none of the Legion areas perfectly match with the tileset.
  • Before being added in Legion, the Broken Isles were lorewise far smaller, with the ruins of Suramar seemingly occupying all of the isles as seen in the maps.
  • Under the water around the Broken Isles you can find several ruins, shipwrecks, bones and other interesting hidden things, such as a jinyu building near the Veiled Isles,[70, 76] a semi-sunken vrykul statue north of Shield's Rest,[68.5, 18] a Forsaken ship northeast of the Cove of Nashal,[59, 18] a gigantic sea-creature skeleton found west from Val'sharah's northwestern coast,[21, 21] or multiple night elven ruins and skeletons (including a big horned one)[64, 56] east of Suramar City and Azuregale Bay.[64, 50]

Speculation

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Location discrepancy

The northern islands may have been meant to represent the Broken Isles, but were seemingly too far north at the time. In Legion, the Broken Isles are located close to where the northern islands were on the Vanilla map, indicating that they may be in fact the same. However, the northern islands and the island that the RPG called the Broken Isles have been seemingly on the map at the same time since Warcraft III.

Contact with Kalimdor

Icon-search-48x48.png This section contains information that needs to be cleaned up. Reason: Lots of facts, move concrete ones into History / Notes section, trim rest to describe the point of the speculation.

Exactly how much contact the night elves of Kalimdor retained with the people of the Broken Isles since the Great Sundering remains unclear, although some of the kaldorei would have limited contact with the Eastern Kingdoms and Quel'Thalas, including Emmarel Shadewarden, and possibly Shandris Feathermoon, who cooperated with Ranger Captain Areiel two or three thousand years ago. Fandral Staghelm also planted three World Trees in Northrend and the Eastern Kingdoms in ancient times, indicating that some night elves did go to the other continents. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3 is also vague regarding the kaldorei's involvement in affairs beyond Kalimdor, only mentioning that Tyrande and her night elves were "partially" aware of events happening in the Eastern Kingdoms, but only rarely and very subtly intervening; it is possible that the Kalimdor night elves were indeed vaguely aware of the Broken Isles and its surviving groups, but nevertheless focused most of their efforts on protecting Nordrassil and the Well of Eternity, their greatest and most sacred responsibility. Some night elf hunters left Mount Hyjal after the Sundering and returned to Highmountain, where they would form the Unseen Path with the Highmountain tauren, although their numbers would gradually dwindle over the millennia,[26] and some of these hunters, including the Path's founder Namuria Gladesong, would return to Kalimdor to fight in conflicts such as the War of the Shifting Sands. Indeed, Emmarel Shadewarden herself was a young Sentinel when the Unseen Path was founded millennia ago, indicating a possible connection with Shandris Feathermoon, the leader of the Sentinels (although she only joined the order herself recently), and her order was all but wiped out in the War of the Shifting Sands.[27]

Tyrande Whisperwind mentioned it was ten millennia since she last stepped foot in the land of Suramar since the War of the Ancients,[28] and Malfurion Stormrage notes that he has not stepped foot in Val'sharah in "an age", mentioning that though the forest has aged, its spirits still remember him.[29] Elders from Moonglade "regularly" sent their most promising disciples to Archdruid Glaidalis, implied to be a native to Val'sharah,[30] for instruction, implying some older link between the Dreamweavers and the Cenarion Circle, especially as there were very few kaldorei druids by the time of the War of the Ancients. In addition, Hamuul mentions Cenarius training druids in Val'sharah after the Sundering,[31] and Nyandra Springbloom confirms that the Archdruids have studied under Cenarius for thousands of years. The ethereal nature of the Emerald Dream, combined with the fact that the druids would spend centuries or millennia wandering its vast and ever-shifting expanses, could also mean that Malfurion, Cenarius and the Cenarion Circle did not need to physically travel to Val'sharah, but rather simply met the other druids in the Dream to tutor them. Nevertheless, Malfurion has not returned to Val'sharah, the region of his birth, for a considerable period, as Koda Steelclaw has not heard his name for "centuries".[32]

The Temple of Elune in Val'sharah has existed since before the Sundering, and remains in relatively well-kept condition, implying that some night elves either traveled to the Broken Isles, or never left to begin with. Lyanis Moonfall apparently kept the Tears of Elune in a vault at the eastern edge of the temple grounds, stating that her "order" has protected them for thousands of years.[33] Tyrande apparently recognizes the priestesses of the Temple as belonging to her "order", the Sisterhood of Elune, and Val'sharah as one of Elune's ancient territories, going as far as leaving her husband Malfurion to defend the Temple, although it remains unclear whether Tyrande herself personally visited the Temple in the millennia after the War of the Ancients.[34] Tyrande recognizes Elothir, although this might have been before the Sundering,[35] and a Temple Priestess has heard of the Scythe of Elune, presumably acknowledging its ancient history in Kalimdor.

Maiev Shadowsong and her Wardens maintained a Vault of the Wardens off the coast of Azsuna, built after the War of the Ancients[36] and stated to have kept Kalimdor's greatest threats such as Ash'Golm imprisoned within its chambers over the millennia; as Maiev became a Warden only after Illidan's imprisonment, this implies she and her Wardens returned to the Broken Isles not long after imprisoning Illidan in the Barrow Deeps. The  [Ceremonial Warden Glaive] is a weapon of formality from "an age when a posting to the Vault of the Wardens was considered prestigious", and Warden Towers exist throughout the Isles, indicating their familiarity with the other regions. Maiev seemed genuinely surprised by the Broken Isles during her hunt for Illidan, and required calling for reinforcements from Malfurion in Kalimdor, despite the Broken Shore geographically being only a short distance away from the Isle of the Watchers.

Some of the Kalimdor night elves, such as Kallistia Starlance and Olothil Starlance, presumably from the Shen'dralar or trained as their students, have reunited with some of their long-lost kin in Azsuna,[37] and Namha Moonwater appears to be astonished by the tales of the night elves in Azsuna, implying that the Court of Farondis at least has had almost no contact with their brethren until very recently.

Why the Kalimdor night elves did not re-establish, make contact with, or at least acknowledge the Court of Farondis, the Dreamweavers, the Moon Guard, Valewalker Farodin, or even their former kin in Suramar City (despite their shielding of the city), where many of their people lived for ages, remains unclear. For example, Tyrande and Malfurion, with their wariness of the arcane, might have been concerned or at least been curious as to the presence of a large arcane shield covering the city where they grew up in, something not easily ignored by anyone passing through the region over the past ten millennia, let alone any of the night elves. Why Elisande and the rest of the elves in Suramar, with their tremendous arcane powers over time and space, seemed unwilling to lift their shield and reconnect with their surviving kin in Kalimdor, or at least their kin in the rest of the Broken Isles, such as the neighboring Moon Guard, even while continuing to exile Nightfallen from the city, is also confusing; the Moon Guard apparently still thought the nightborne their friends despite their "long separation".[38] Maiev and her Wardens apparently moved there after their estrangement from Tyrande and Malfurion in Wolfheart, and were aware of the Nightfallen who were banished from Suramar.[39] The Moon Guard in turn is aware of the Wardens' presence in Azsuna and their secret prison facility underneath its mountains, as well as their usage of powerful containment crystals to hold their myriad prisoners, although it is unclear whether or not the two groups have ever directly interacted.[40]

Following Suramar's liberation, Malfurion and Tyrande apparently remained in Val'sharah until after the end of the Burning Crusade, the Archdruid at his native village in Lorlathil and the High Priestess at the Temple, apparently emphasizing their renewed affinity for the region and its ties with their ancient orders.[41] Some Nar'thalas magi travel to Stormwind's Portal Room during the Fourth War, affiliating themselves with Darnassus and the Alliance, opening a portal to the Crumbled Palace, and there is a continued presence of Kalimdor night elves in Val'sharah such as Mevris Ghostdancer, who helps his wife Daniss Ghostdancer create Drums of Primal Might against the Horde, in addition to the presence of Gilnean villagers at Bradensbrook (who were openly aided by Jarod Shadowsong). In addition, Maiev Shadowsong, her brother Jarod, and her Wardens have all left the Broken Isles and rejoined their kaldorei kin in the Alliance (presumably making the Isle of the Watchers an Alliance or Alliance-leaning territory), actively assisting their efforts in the Battle for Darkshore. All of this makes it possible that at least some inhabitants of Azsuna and Val'sharah have aligned themselves with Tyrande and Malfurion's night elves, possibly after the Burning of Teldrassil, helping to counterbalance the Horde-aligned Highmountain tauren and nightborne of Highmountain and Suramar.

Gallery

In-game maps
Other maps
BlizzCon 2015 zone images
Fan art

Patch changes

References

 
  1. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide: Aegwynn slew Sargeras' avatar with disconcerting ease, and hid the body in a Tomb beneath the Great Sea.
  2. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. ??
  3. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. ??
  4. ^  [Aegwynn and the Dragon Hunt]
  5. ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
  6. ^ Blizzcon 2015 | Alex Afrasiabi Legion behind the scenes!!
  7. ^ a b The Tomb of Sargeras (WC2 Orc)
  8. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 291 - 294
  9. ^ The Broken Isles
  10. ^ The Tomb of Sargeras (WC3 NightElf)
  11. ^ Wrath of the Betrayer (WC3 NightElf)
  12. ^ Balancing the Scales (WC3 NightElf)
  13. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 67 - 68
  14. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 69 - 70
  15. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 70
  16. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 68
  17. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 68 - 69
  18. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 67 - 68
  19. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 166
  20. ^ File:Warcraft II - Map of Eastern Kingdoms.jpg
  21. ^ The Tomb of Sargeras
  22. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2
  23. ^ N [100] Dark Waters
  24. ^ Unfinished Business - "Even now, my mistress battles him on the broken isles!"
  25. ^ The Broken Isles, "The ruins all around us, Naisha... I recognize them. This was once the great city of Suramar, built before our civilization was blasted beneath the sea ten thousand years ago."
  26. ^ N Hunter [98 - 110] The Unseen Path
  27. ^  [Champion: Emmarel Shadewarden]
  28. ^ A [110] Take Me To Your Leader
  29. ^ N [100 - 110] Cenarius, Keeper of the Grove
  30. ^ N Enchanting [104D] Darkheart Thicket: The Glamour Has Faded
  31. ^ N Druid [98 - 110] The Dreamway
  32. ^ N [100 - 110] Out of the Dream
  33. ^ N [100 - 110] Tears for Fears
  34. ^ N [100 - 110] The Fate of Val'sharah
  35. ^ B [100 - 110] Heart of the Nightmare
  36. ^ Illysanna Ravencrest (tactics)
  37. ^ N [100 - 110] Children of Nar'thalas
  38. ^ N [110] Fate of the Guard
  39. ^ The Tomb of Sargeras
  40. ^ N [110D] Vault of the Wardens: Borrowing Without Asking
  41. ^ N [110] Moments of Reflection