This article is a copy of "Major Cities," an official article from the World of Warcraft Community Site. This article overviewed the major cities and capitals in World of Warcraft prior to Cataclysm. The original article is no longer available, but it can still be viewed through online archives (see below).
|Do NOT change this article or section. It needs to be an accurate copy of the source.|
In addition to small towns, forts, and outposts there are 6 major cities in the world of Azeroth. Each of the major cities represents the capital and a major hub for the races that inhabit them. The cities are all radically different from each other in themes and appearances. More than just a collection of buildings with NPCs standing around, the cities will serve as a place for adventuring, shopping, training, socializing, and much more.
- Many quests to be found - Some quests can be completed in the city, while others will send you outside into the world. Minor quests can involve assisting local shop owners or working to stabilize the lands around the city, and grander quests can involve political treachery or even helping to quell an uprising. Much of your time could be spent unfolding the twisted tales that run through each race's capital city.
- Banking - Banks provide places to store the hard-earned relics and treasures that you gain throughout your adventures in World of Warcraft. Each city features a banking center that links to many of the other banks located around the world, so you'll never be too far from your valuables.
- Adventure areas - Despite all the utilitarian purposes of cities, there are still many treacherous places within their darker, more-confined districts. While exploring these areas, you could very likely come across long-lost family catacombs, ancient sewers, or perhaps a secret society bent on rekindling arcane, malevolent powers.
- Player-vs.-player combat areas - Players thirsty for a bit of friendly competition can try out their swords and spells on each other in the combat arenas located in the cities. What better way to hone one's skills than against a fellow player?
- Themed districts - Cities are divided into sections that are based on the NPCs, buildings, and shops found in those sections. For example, in Stormwind players can find the Mage's District, Trade District, Warrior District, Religious District, and many more. Each district is distinct from the others, so after some exploration, you will begin to know which district you're in just by your immediate surroundings.
- Auction Houses - Sell your items or search for items for sale via the automated auction house. Auctioneer NPCs can be found in in Orgrimmar, Undercity, and Thunder Bluff for Horde player-created auctions and are a part of the same Auction House. Alliance players will find Auction Houses in Ironforge, Stormwind City, and Darnassus. Some non-faction based Auction Houses are located in Tanaris, Everlook, and Booty Bay.
- Mail - Players can send and receive in-game mail through World of Warcraft's postal system. Every inn has a mailbox that players can right click on in order to access mailbox functionality. 
- Transportation hubs - Thanks to their easy accessibility, cities also serve as central transportation hubs. Once you have located the appropriate merchant in each city and at various outposts in the region, you will be able to travel to and from cities on the backs of winged beasts such as Gryphons and Windriders, for a small fee of course. Intercontinental travel, such as aboard a Zeppelin, is also available in and around some of the major cities.
- Taverns - Discuss and celebrate your conquests with your tavernmates! Or, relax with friends over a mug of ale and some good gossip. Taverns are great places to find folks looking for work, as well. Sometimes bounties are posted outside of taverns for those brave enough to undertake such deeds.
- Meet famous and powerful people - Cities are also home to some of the more famous characters in the world of Azeroth. For instance, players familiar with the Warcraft series will immediately recognize Tauren chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof, who can be found presiding over the Tauren city of Thunder Bluff.
- Lots of shopping - Cities abound with merchants and shops that will cater to your every need. Weaponsmiths, armorers, alchemists, and master trainers are just a few of the many tradesmen you'll encounter within each city's fortified walls.
- Class headquarters - Many of the character classes make their bases of operations in cities. These central locations are good places to go to train your character and to occasionally pick up new quests or missions.
- Battlemasters - Battlemasters are usually the fastest and easiest way to enter battlegrounds. Located in major cities, battlemasters for each of the battlegrounds will be found conveniently standing near one another, which also allows you to easily switch between battlegrounds.
The city of Stormwind stands as the last bastion of Human power in Azeroth. Rebuilt after the Second War, Stormwind is a marvel of Human design and engineering. Stormwind's guards keep the peace within the city's walls, while the young king, Anduin Wrynn, rules from his mighty keep. The Bazaar District bustles with trade from across the continent and beyond, while Warriors of every sort can be found wandering the streets of Old Town. Unaffected by the ravages of the Scourge in the north, Stormwind still faces its own threats, both from without and from within.
While many Dwarven strongholds fell during the Second War, the mighty city of Ironforge--nestled in the wintry peaks of Dun Morogh--was never breached by the invading Horde. A monument to the Dwarves' expertise in shaping rock and stone, Ironforge was constructed in the heart of the mountain itself: an expansive underground city of craftsmen, explorers, miners and Warriors. Although the Alliance has been weakened by recent events, the Dwarves of Ironforge, led by King Magni Bronzebeard, are forging a new future in the world.
High atop the boughs of the great tree Teldrassil lies the wondrous city of Darnassus, the new refuge of the reclusive Night Elves. Druids, Hunters, and Warriors alike make their homes among the rows of woodcrafted lodges and delicately tended groves. The Temple of the Moon rises like a shining beacon above the trees, flanked by the colonnaded Hall of Justice, where the vigilant Sentinels gather to safeguard the land. Ruled by the high Priestess, Tyrande Whisperwind, Darnassus stands as a tranquil testament to all that the Night Elves hold sacred. A city in tune with the rush and flow of nature, Darnassus was built along the shores of a large lake, with elegant bridges spanning its crystalline waters. Elsewhere, the falling leaves of the forest carpet the soft pathways of the city.
The massive dimensional vessel known as the Exodar houses the draenei on Azeroth, the result of a reclamation effort after its crash landing on the shores of the Azuremyst Isles. After seizing the vessel in a daring escape from the modular fortress of dimensional vessels now known as Tempest Keep, the Exodar appeared in the skies of Kalimdor one fateful night - where it made its dramatic plunge to the islands below. Now, the noble draenei have established their new base of operations in the remains of the fortress-like craft.
Named in honor of the legendary Orgrim Doomhammer, Orgrimmar was founded to be the capital city of the Orcs' new homeland. Built within a huge, winding canyon in the harsh land of Durotar, Orgrimmar stands as one of the mightiest Warrior cities in the world. Behind Orgrimmar's immense walls, elderly Shamans patiently share their knowledge with the Horde's newest generation of leaders, while Warriors spar in the gladiatorial arena, honing their skills in preparation for the trials that await them in this dangerous land.
The great city of Thunder Bluff lies atop a series of mesas that overlook the verdant grasslands of Mulgore. The once nomadic Tauren recently established the city as a center for trade caravans, traveling craftsmen and artisans of every kind. The proud city also stands as a refuge for the brave Hunters who stalk their dangerous prey through the plains of Mulgore and its surrounding areas. Long bridges of rope and wood span the chasms between the mesas, topped with tents, longhouses, colorfully painted totems, and spirit lodges. The mighty chief, Cairne Bloodhoof, watches over the bustling city, ensuring that the united Tauren tribes live in peace and security.
Far beneath the ruined capital city of Lordaeron, the royal crypts have been turned into a bastion of evil and undeath. Originally intended by Prince Arthas to be the Scourge's seat of power, the budding "Undercity" was abandoned when Arthas was recalled to aid the Lich King in distant Northrend. In Arthas's absence, the Dark Lady, Sylvanas Windrunner, led the rebel Forsaken to the Undercity, and claimed it for her own. Since taking up residence, the Forsaken have worked to complete the Undercity's construction by dredging the twisted maze of catacombs, tombs, and dungeons that Arthas began.
The crown jewel of the blood elves is their capital of Silvermoon City, nestled in the Eversong Woods in their ancestral lands of Quel'Thalas. The beauty of the spires and thoroughfares of Silvermoon stand in stark contrast to the Dead Scar, the tainted path that Arthas tore through the city in his quest for power. Though nearly destroyed by Arthas' attack on the Sunwell, Silvermoon is once again a thriving city - although the permanent devastation to their capital serves as a grim reminder of an uncertain future for the blood elves.
After falling to the Burning Legion in a fierce battle, the rebuilt city of Shattrath stands as a beacon of light and sanctuary to all. Under the watchful protection and guidance of the naaru known as the Sha'tar, the two formerly warring factions of the city, the Aldor and the Scryers, have declared an uneasy truce. Together, and bolstered by the heroes of the Alliance and the Horde, they are preparing to take the fight to the driving forces behind the Burning Legion - Illidan Stormrage and Kael'thas Sunstrider.
Despite its turbulent past and uncertain future, the historic city-state of Dalaran remains the world's most renowned institution for the study of arcane magic. It is home to the some of the most powerful magi in the world.
Nearly three thousand years ago during the Troll Wars, one hundred humans from the nation of Arathor were trained in magic by the secretive high elves of Quel'Thalas. In exchange, Arathor aided the elves in battle against the marauding troll armies, which were ultimately decimated.
In the following years, the original hundred wizards shared their skills with a newer generation, and the use of magic spread. When the nation of Dalaran was founded to the south of Arathor's capital city, Strom, many fledgling wizards traveled to Dalaran, hoping to use their powers with greater freedom. Dalaran quickly became a thriving center of arcane knowledge and study. However, as more and more magicians practiced arcane magic, their use of it soon weakened the fabric of reality and attracted the attention of the demonic Burning Legion.
The high elves once again allied with humans to form the Order of Tirisfal, a secret organization of elite magi who would select and empower a single champion to quell demonic interference caused by the use of magic. This single champion would be called the Guardian.
Guardians served as protectors of the world for many generations, and in time the Magocrats who governed Dalaran developed into a ruling council known as the Kirin Tor. Continuing to shoulder the responsibility of leadership, the wizards of the Kirin Tor also saw it as their duty to catalog and research every spell, artifact, and magic item known to mankind.
Tragically a Guardian named Medivh became possessed by the corrupt titan Sargeras, leader of the Burning Legion. Working in league with the orc warlock Gul'dan, Medivh then opened the Dark Portal. This act of betrayal set the stage for the Horde's invasion of Azeroth and the outbreak of the First War. Medivh was slain for his crimes, and after his death the Guardians of Tirisfal disbanded.
The nation of Dalaran continued to forge ahead under the watchful eye of the Kirin Tor. The fortunes of the city-state took a dire turn during the Third War and the full-scale invasion of the Burning Legion, when the demon lord Archimonde the Defiler laid waste to the city through powerful sorcery. In the aftermath of the war the magi regrouped and rebuilt beneath a magical protective barrier that encompassed the entire nation.
In recent times, the Dragon Aspect Malygos, guardian of arcane magic on Azeroth, has emerged from his long isolation to declare war on the world's magic users. At his command, many blue dragons are siphoning Azeroth's ley lines and draining the world's magical powers.
With their very existence threatened, the magi of Dalaran directed their waning powers into relocating the nation to Northrend, where the city-state currently floats above Crystalsong Forest. Now these wizards find themselves waging a desperate two-pronged battle against not only the Lich King and his undead minions, but Malygos' blue dragonflight as well.
There is no doubt that Dalaran has entered its darkest hour, but if history is any indication, this pinnacle of mankind's arcane pursuits will weather the storm.
- The city highlights were revised in July or August 2006 to remove the Taverns and PvP sections, and add a section on the Auction House.
- The city highlights were revised again in November 2008 where it was moved to it's own subpage and added sections on Mail, and Battlemasters.
- The Exodar, Silvermoon City, and Shattrath City were added in November 2008.
- Dalaran City was added in December 2008