We have moved to Warcraft Wiki. Click here for information and the new URL.


Level: 10 - 30
Cataclysm Northrend loading screen
Loading screen as of patch 4.0.3a

ScourgeScourgeScourgeScourge Scourge
Blue dragon Blue dragon
Red dragon Red dragon
Bronze dragon Bronze dragon
Green dragon Green dragon
Black dragon Black dragon
NerubianNerubianNerubianNerubian Nerubian
N'raqiN'raqiN'raqiN'raqi N'raqi
VrykulVrykul Vrykul
Ice trollIce troll Ice troll
Furbolg Furbolg
Tuskarr Tuskarr
TaunkaTaunka Taunka
HumanHuman Human
OrcOrc Orc
ForsakenForsaken Forsaken
GnomeGnome Gnome
DwarfDwarf Dwarf
TaurenTauren Tauren
WorgenWorgen Worgen
High elfHigh elf High elf
Blood elfBlood elf Blood elf
Night elfNight elf Night elf
Jungle trollJungle troll Jungle troll
GoblinGoblin Goblin
DraeneiDraenei Draenei
EarthenEarthen Earthen
Frost dwarfFrost dwarf Frost dwarf
Iron dwarf Iron dwarf
IconSmall Wolvar Wolvar
IconSmall Gorloc Gorloc
MurlocMurloc Murloc
Magnataur Magnataur
IconSmall Snobold Snobold
IconSmall NorthrendYeti Yeti

Other races...
Former ruler(s) IconSmall LichKing IconSmall NewLichKing The Lich King
Location Northern Azeroth

Northrend is the northern, icy continent of the world of Azeroth. Northrend is the source of the evil undead Scourge, with the former seat of the malevolent Lich King, the Frozen Throne at the top of Icecrown Citadel. The continent's mountains, tundras, and forests are rife with history, home to civilizations like the nerubians of Azjol-Nerub and the ice trolls of the Drakkari Empire, as well as ancient structures of the world-shaping titans and their servants.

Northrend was originally featured in Warcraft III, and serves as the theater of the World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King.


Ancient history[]

Sometimes poetically called "the crown of the world",[1] "the roof of the world",[2][3][4][5] or "the crown of Azeroth",[6] Northrend is a frozen wasteland that lies far to the north. It is one of the most infamous locations in all of Azeroth.[7] As with the other continents, it was once part of the original Kalimdor landmass that was broken apart during the Sundering.[8] The area was the birthplace of numerous would-be empires, though not all managed to survive to the modern day, and even fewer in the forms they originally took.

Foremost among all other civilizations were that of the titanic watchers and their servants. The massive titan city of Ulduar laid within the region that would come to be known as the Storm Peaks, ruled over by several titanic watchers chosen by the titans themselves. These Keepers, as they would come to be known as, were led by one known as Odyn, who took command of the titan-forged armies against the forces of the Old Gods. He was imbued with the powers of Aman'Thul and together with Tyr, he battled and defeated Ragnaros the Firelord. They ultimately devised and succeeded in the final plan to bring down Yogg-Saron.[9] For his leadership, determination and courage, he was granted the title of Prime Designate, leader of the titan-forged on Azeroth, and was tasked with watching Yogg-Saron's prison and maintaining the Forge of Wills. Under these watchers were other titan-forged and their nascent civilizations, the mighty Earthen, who tunneled within the deep places of the earth. The iron vrykul, who served as defenders of the various titan-forged locations. The mechagnomes, who managed and constructed the great wonders of the titanic civilizations. The tol'vir who acted as watchers and servitors of the keepers. And the giants, who were given tasks ranging from battle to craftsmanship.

When the other Keepers decided to ask the Pantheon to empower the Dragon Aspects for their heroism against Galakrond, Odyn was vehemently against it, stating that only titan-forged could be trusted to defend Azeroth. The Aspects were empowered despite his objections, and so Odyn took a section of Ulduar and raised it into the sky, creating the Halls of Valor, and in doing so relinquished his position of Prime Designate.[10]

The keeper Mimiron had discovered kaja'mite and, attempting to determinate its properties, he experimented on various races. He found that the ore was extremely potent and that it increased the intellect of his subjects. One of these subjects was a small primitive life race that roamed around the forests near Ulduar. By consuming kaja'mite, they were transformed into a new, highly intelligent race known as the goblins.[11]

Loken's betrayal[]

One of the mighty keepers and son of Odyn, Loken, had an affair with Sif, the wife of his brother Thorim. Yogg-Saron, from his prison within Ulduar, muddled Loken's thoughts and made him lash out at Sif, scared at the thought of losing her, and he killed her by accident. Horrified at what he had done but too scared to tell Thorim the truth, Loken tricked Thorim into believing that it had been the work of Arngrim, the king of the frost giants, turning Thorim against his allies. Loken would stop the war between Thorim's and Arngrim's forces with an army he had created with the Forge of Wills, but unknown to Loken Yogg-Saron had planted the curse of flesh inside the forge, which would slowly convert titan-forged into flesh and could also spread to those forged before the curse was created.[11]

After Thorim retreated to the Temple of Storms in despair, Loken was desperate to cover his actions, even if it meant using Yogg-Saron's power to do so, for if Algalon or the Pantheon ever found out his life would be forfeit. He arranged the death of Mimiron, making it look like a lab accident, though Mimiron's mechagnome followers would create a new mechagnome body to house the Keeper's soul. Loken subdued Hodir and Freya, corrupting them into complacency with Yogg-Saron. He convinced the titan-forged Helya to imprison Odyn, the Prime Designate, within his Halls of Valor, claiming the title of Prime Designate that Odyn had abandoned in the process. Loken expected Ra to come up from the south and investigate what was going on, but Ra never arrived. This is because he had discovered that the Pantheon was dead, killed by Sargeras, and had locked himself up in the Mogu'shan Vaults in despair. Afterward, Loken exiled all titan-forged from Ulduar and retreated into the depths of the complex.[11]

After Loken subdued most of the Keepers and banished the titan-forged from Ulduar, the fire giants Volkhan and Ignis sought to conquer the Storm Peaks. They armed the Winterskorn vrykul to attack other titan-forged across the Storm Peaks, thus beginning the Winterskorn War. They caught the attention of Tyr when they attacked the earthen. Tyr asked the Dragon Aspects for aid, and the war ended with Ysera and Nozdormu putting the Winterskorn into a timeless sleep beneath northern Kalimdor.[12]

Tyr and his allies Keeper Archaedas and Watcher Ironaya gathered great numbers of titan-forged who dwelled around Ulduar and whom they saw as innocent victims of Loken's treachery. A large group of peaceful vrykul afflicted by the curse of flesh, most of the surviving earthen, and many of the mechagnomes agreed to flee with them, spiriting away the Discs of Norgannon to prevent them from falling into Loken's hands. They traveled for weeks until they reached what would one day become known as the Tirisfal Glades. It is here that Tyr sacrificed himself fighting off the C'Thrax, Kith'ix and Zakajz the Corruptor, who had been sent by the corrupted Loken to retrieve the Discs. In a mighty battle, Tyr unleashed a massive explosion of energy that killed him and the Corruptor, though Kith'ix managed to escape, albeit heavily wounded. This was done in order to allow the rest of the titan-forged to flee further south with the discs and to survive. The vrykul were so moved by the keeper's deeds that they decided to settle at the battle site and stand vigil over his grave until the end of days, forming the Tyr's Guard.

Archaedas, Ironaya and the earthen and mechagnomes continued south until they reached the easternmost titan-forged vault on Kalimdor, Uldaman. The keeper and the giantess expanded the site, carving out new chambers, and as years passed, some of the earthen exhibited signs of the Curse of Flesh. Fearing that the effects would only worsen, they asked to be placed in hibernation until a cure could one day be found. Archaedas agreed, promising to rouse them at some time in the future. He sealed his followers within the vast subterranean vaults. The mechagnomes, however, remained awake. Even though they knew the curse would one day overtake them as well, they heroically vowed to watch over the facility and maintain its wondrous machineries. A small number of the earthen had chosen not to be placed in stasis as well, deciding that they would watch over and maintain the facility alongside their mechagnomes companions.[11]


Kalimdor Chronicle

The troll empires at the end of the Aqir and Troll War, with the Drakkari territory in blue.

Following his defeat at the hands of Tyr, Kith'ix laid dormant under the ground and healing in the area that would eventually become Zandalar. Awakened by mystics of the trolls who incorrectly believed Kith'ix to be one of the mighty Loa that they worshipped; a massive world-spanning war began between the trolls and Kith'ix's servants known as the aqir. Determined to stop these foes, the trolls struck out against their insectoid enemies. The first to rush into battle was the tribe known as the Drakkari tribe, heading into the frozen wastes. There, they found the corrupted tol'vir watchers had reinforced the Aqir's ranks, brought over from the city of Ulduar which laid in Loken's hands. These tol'vir, known as obsidian destroyers, wreaked havoc on the Drakkari lines; though with ingenuity and cunning they discovered methods of toppling their stone wrought foes. In the conflict that would follow, the tribes united into the Empire of Zul, from which the Drakkari ruled in the north. The trolls ultimately succeeded in their venture against the Aqir, causing the insectoid race to splinter, and the Drakkari laid the seeds that would eventually evolve into the ice troll Drakkari Empire within Zul'Drak.[11]

During these times, creatures known as the yaungol would eventually migrate north, searching for a new home away from the wars of the south against the renegade titan-forged followers of Ra known as the mogu. Their proximity to the titan-forged facilities would cause them to eventually evolve into creatures known as the taunka. [11] The Highborne had also managed to settle in this area, forming a city known as Shandaral within the forest of Moonsong.

With the disappearance of Winterskorn clan, the remaining iron vrykul clans continued to dominate the north, fighting a local race of bear-men known as the jalgar.[11] The Curse of Flesh ran rampant through the clans, turning their iron skin soft and into flesh, causing the clans to look for solutions for this issue.

One clan, in particular, struggled against the curse of flesh. After exhausting all natural attempts, the tribe sought the aid of its priestesses. These women plumbed the world of spirits for answers, but they found the malevolent Helya, lying in wait. Their ritual went horribly wrong, as Helya further corrupted those that sought freedom from their curse. These eternally vengeful beings would swell the ranks of Helya's kvaldir.[13]

On the other hand, a powerful clan, the Dragonflayer clan, arose. Becoming weaker because of the curse, they balanced their diminishing strength by taming proto-dragons. Oktel Dragonblood was among one of the first to ride these dragons.[14] Unlike the Winterskorn clan, they didn't see them as mere beasts of war. They used the dragons as hunting companions and rode them during the battle. Over time, the proto-dragons became an inseparable part of the clan's culture and powerful allies against their mortal enemy, the jalgar, driving a large swath of their race south where they would evolve into the Furbolgs.[11]


After the sundering, the Highborne of Shandaral had seen the blue dragonflight crystallizing creatures and drawing magic out of them. Desperate for a replacement for the Well of Eternity, the Highborne infiltrated the Nexus and stole artifacts of the flight, earning the dragons' ire. When the dragons confronted them in the forest the elves attempted to crystallize part of the area and draw magic from the crystals to fight the dragons off, but the spell was much more powerful than anticipated and transformed the entire region as well as twisting the elves' spirits.[15] All that remains now of them are ghosts, the crystal satyrs, and crystal dryads and the ruins of their proud civilization.

By the time of the Sundering, the iron vrykul had fully succumbed to the Curse of Flesh. Under King Ymiron's reign, the curse caused vrykul children to be born in a disfigured state, which was considered "weak and ugly" by vrykul standards. These infants were dubbed "aberrations" and "runts", and vrykul society was deeply divided on how to deal with them. Some vrykul were disgusted by these "aberrations" and beseeched their ruler, Ymiron, to have them all killed, citing a need to keep the vrykul race pure; others pleaded with him to show them mercy, protesting that despite their weakness, these infants were still their children. Ymiron meditated on the issue for some time before reaching a dangerous conclusion: that because the titans had not come to aid them in their hour of need, and because the vrykul knew of no other beings with power on the same level as their gods, the curse must have been created by the titans. Although this was not the case, the vrykul believed it, and at Ymiron's bidding they forsook their gods and titan worship was outlawed. Ymiron then took the side of those calling for the death of their malformed infants, and decreed that all parents with so-afflicted children must kill their young or be taken to Gjalerbron for execution.[16][11]

Hand of Tyr

Tyr's silver hand and its vrykul caretakers.

However, not all vrykul could bear to kill their own flesh and blood. Despite their king's harsh decree, they sheltered their children and took them away to a land far away from Northrend, the modern Tirisfal Glades. They had heard stories of the vrykul clan that had followed Tyr and had settled in that area and decided it was a safe haven for their children. There they nursed and raised their children in secret, and taught them the stories and values of ancient vrykul society[11] as well as the ways of foraging, masonry, smithing, and warfare.[17] Finally, with heavy hearts, they left them in the care of the vrykul that inhabited Tirisfal, before returning to Northrend. These outcast vrykul "runts" would later form their own cultures and kingdoms, and became known as humans.[11] It is unclear what happened to all of those parents who did not kill their children, but many if not most of them would come to no good end; a vicious vrykul warrior, Skadi, relentlessly hunted them down and killed any of them he came across. For this, he was judged to have committed a true act of depravity and was thereafter known as Skadi the Ruthless.[18] In an effort to stave off the curse of flesh, the Dragonflayers went to sleep beneath northern Kalimdor in facilities such as Gjalerbron.[19] The Tribunal of Ages, a record of false history created by Loken,[20] erroneously claims that he ordered this hibernation. The vrykul left their homes, villages, and keeps vacant as they slept. There they would remain undisturbed for thousands of years, even by the Great Sundering of the world.

After the Great Sundering, many vrykul groups took the seas and left Northrend. Some of them settled on Kul Tiras and became known as the Drust.[21] At an unknown point, humanity would eventually return to their birth place. Colonies were made on the continent, in areas such as the Dragonblight[22] and Grizzly Hills, even forming cities.[23] Many of them became trappers, distinct and self-reliant.

Remnants of the aqir had survived the near destruction of the world and their ancient war with the trolls, having burrowed underground. After thousands of years of evolution, the aqir became the nerubians: a sinister, shadowy race of spider-men. They cast off their overlords, the Old Gods, becoming their own people that built a subterranean empire that spanned the continent, Azjol-Nerub.

Northrend also contained the Dragonblight: an enormous ice plain covered with the bones of thousands of dragons. As they near death, the great beasts flew to Northrend so that they may die with their ancestors. The blue dragonflight, led by the enigmatic Malygos, watched over the Dragonblight to ensure that the remains are undisturbed. The blue dragons were successful in their task for many thousands of years, until the coming of the Lich King.

500 years ago, Mina Stormsmith the Dun Morogh dwarf reached Northrend. The Frostborn found her, and she learned their ways.[24]

Some orcs and elves reached the continent during the Second War, eventually dying frozen in the Nexus.[25]

The coming of the Lich King[]


Northrend concept art

After Ner'zhul the shaman was captured and tortured by Kil'jaeden, the demonlord transformed the ancient orc into a dark being of immense power. Now called the Lich King, Ner'zhul was imprisoned within a block of ice and cast back into Azeroth. Ner'zhul's prison landed at the base of the mighty Icecrown Glacier, by far the largest glacier in Azeroth. From this secret location, the Lich King used his telepathic powers to enslave many of the native life forms, including ice trolls and wendigo. With these servants, Ner'zhul created a small army for himself. The nerubians, aware of the Lich King's threat to themselves and the world at large, launched an attack on Ner'zhul's forces. Thus began the War of the Spider.

The nerubians were eventually defeated by the Lich King's endless supply of undead warriors and aid from the Legion's nathrezim. Most of the nerubians were slain and reanimated as soldiers in the Undead army, while those who remained alive continued a guerrilla war against the lord of the dead. Satisfied that Northrend was his, Ner'zhul began consolidating his forces for the corruption of Lordaeron. To this end, the Scourge stole many sets of remains from the Dragonblight, which were then reborn as lethal frost wyrms.

Eventually, the Dalaran mage Kel'Thuzad heard the call of the Lich King and traveled to Northrend in order to meet his new master, becoming his first necromancer after long months of trekking through the harsh arctic wastelands.[26] The Lich King eventually tested his Plague upon some of the humans of Northrend, killing them and turning them into the undead; proving the effectiveness of his disease.[27]

At the beginning of the Third War, Northrend had seen the corruption of Prince Arthas Menethil, who had followed the nathrezim Mal'Ganis to the cold north in an attempt to stop the Scourge.During the Third War, a small band of paladins of the Knights of the Silver Hand traveled to Northrend. When they finally reached Ner'zhul's icy fortress, embittered by the trials they had to suffer through, they had become dark and brooding. The Lich King offered them untold power in exchange for their services and loyalty, and they accepted to become death knights to his service.[28] Overtime, rumor reached the south, where it was said that Northrend was lost and their cities destroyed.[29]

Following the Battle of Mount Hyjal, the northern continent was targeted by an attempted destruction from Illidan Stormrage. The renegade night elf used the Eye of Sargeras in order to weave a spell intended to rend the continent apart and split it asunder.[2][3] The goal of the spell was to melt the polar ice caps, to make Icecrown vulnerable, and to destroy the Frozen Throne[30] but the attempt failed. Illidan's naga and blood elf forces later attacked the continent to destroy the Lich King, as tremors still shook the continent.[31] However, this invasion was thwarted by Arthas and Anub'arak, and Ner'zhul successfully merged with his champion to free the Lich King from the Frozen Throne.[32]

While the mortals fought on the surface of Northrend, they ignored that Illidan's quakes and tremors had awakened ancient, horrid things.[33]

After the Third War[]

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

The Lich King now holds complete domination over Northrend, and the living dare not tread on the frozen continent—especially after a disastrous invasion attempt of the Scarlet Crusade which ended in the expeditionary force being decimated. Even though the Crusaders reached as far as Icecrown Glacier, the heavy losses suffered from this defeat marked an end to the counteroffensive and forced the Crusade into a defensive stance, consolidating their powers in the Plaguelands. Scattered remains of Admiral Barean Westwind's fleet are likely to be found amongst the Frozen Coast, the skeletal shipwrecks a warning to any vessel navigating too close to the shores of Northrend.[citation needed] 

Invar One-Arm and Orman of Stromgarde were also lost by the Crusade there.




Map of Northrend.

Other areas[]

Dungeons and Raids[]

Northrend glacier artwork

Northrend glacier artwork.

Main article: Instances by continent


Grizzly Hills[]



Wintergrasp (PvP)[]

Howling Fjord[]

Borean Tundra[]



Main article: Battleground


Main article: Arena

Getting to Northrend[]

Ships and zeppelins departing from Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Menethil Harbor and the Undercity provide access to Northrend from Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.


Eastern Kingdoms ↔ Northrend


Kalimdor ↔ Northrend
Eastern Kingdoms ↔ Northrend

See the Cataclysm travel guide for more information on the ship and zeppelin routes to Northrend, and maps of intercontinental mass transit routes.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King[]


Northrend's position on Azeroth

Main article: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Northrend is the setting of the second expansion.

In terms of size, the Northrend expansion is similar in scope to the Burning Crusade expansion: Northrend has been shown to contain ten zone-like areas, compared with the seven zones of Outland plus four zones of draenei and blood elf starting areas featured in Burning Crusade.

As for the sizes of the zones themselves, a few (especially the Borean Tundra and Dragonblight) are huge, making them similar to the larger-than-average zones in Outland. At the same time, however, Northrend also include a few rather small zones (namely Sholazar Basin and Wintergrasp). Northrend is bigger than Outland by a couple of zones, and some of the zones themselves are larger than Outland's largest zones.[34]

Unlike Outland, there is no minimum-level requirement to enter Northrend.[35]

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm[]

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Questions have been raised about the continuity of the Wrath of the Lich King storyline following the Cataclysm, and blue-poster Bornakk has addressed this issue:

You have to consider the changes with some form of leniency, while technically you could say that if the story progresses then we need to remove a bunch of the content from Outland and Northrend as those are over - but for numerous reasons, you can probably see why that would be a bad idea. This is the same type of thing that happens by just having a persistent world, just because one quest was completed where something was killed doesn't mean it vanishes from your sight forever. While a level 80 doesn't need to return to the locations of Outland and Northrend and can focus on the new stories - a new character hasn't helped defeat the villains in those areas so they still need to answer the call and fight them off (or in the terms people are tossing around, they need to level). [1]

A day before the launch of Cataclysm during an interview, a Blizzard Employee stated changing Outland and Northrend in a future patch.[citation needed] 

World of Warcraft: Legion[]

Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

Following Patch 7.3.5, level scaling was implemented in Northrend, with its entry level requirement lowered to 58 (originally 68).

Native races and species[]



Notes and trivia[]


In-game maps
Fan art


  1. ^ Inv misc book 05 [The Path of Redemption]
  2. ^ a b Malfurion's Vision
  3. ^ a b The Ruins of Dalaran
  4. ^ Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Features: Borean Tundra: "The sprawling Borean Tundra lies at the far southwestern tip of Northrend, the icy continent also known as the roof of the world."
  5. ^ The Story So Far: Northrend: The Roof of the World
  6. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, official description
  7. ^ YouTube 2022-07-01. Northrend.
  8. ^ Troll Compendium/Ice Troll Tribes
  9. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 31, 37
  10. ^ N Warrior [45] Ulduar's Oath
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
  12. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 60 - 61
  13. ^ Ask CDev - Round 4 Answers
  14. ^ Class Hall Mission: Generic Dragonblood
  15. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 121 - 122
  16. ^ A [10-30] The Echo of Ymiron
  17. ^ Saga of the Valarjar: Strom'kar, the Warbreaker
  18. ^ Skadi the Ruthless#Dungeon Journal
  19. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 65 - 66
  20. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 65
  21. ^ The Lost Codex 2018-11-03. Blizzcon 2018 Interview: Alex Afrasiabi & Patrick Dawson - Story and Systems | The Lost Codex. YouTube. Retrieved on 2018-11-03.
  22. ^ A [15-30] A Righteous Sermon
  23. ^ Old Hillsbrad Ashbringer event
  24. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 160
  25. ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 12
  26. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 97-98
  27. ^ The Undead Plague
  28. ^ Warcraft III - Undead -> Units -> Death Knight.
  29. ^ Old Hillsbrad Ashbringer event
  30. ^ Illidan's Task (WC3 BloodElf)
  31. ^ The Return to Northrend (WC3 Undead)
  32. ^ A Symphony of Frost and Flame (WC3 Undead)
  33. ^ Into the Shadow Web Caverns (WC3 Undead)
  34. ^ WotLK Report May 2008.
  35. ^ World of Warcraft FAQ question 1.12.
  36. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 222 - 223
  37. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual, Undead History, Icecrown and the Frozen Throne
  38. ^ Old Hillsbrad Ashbringer event
  39. ^ A [15-30] A Righteous Sermon
  40. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg 87
  41. ^ File:ABE - Lordaeron and Khaz Modan map.jpg
  42. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 84
  43. ^ Yahoo Games coverage of BlizzCon '07.

External links[]