This article is a copy of "The World of Warcraft World Map", an official article by Blizzard Entertainment. It presented the world map and several locations to be implemented in the game. The original article did not survive the overhaul of the World of Warcraft Official Website, but can still be viewed through online archives (see below).
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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.
We will be revealing more information about the nuances of cities and the purposes they serve in the future. Check the news for updates.
- 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 more grand-scheme 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adventure areas - Despite all the utilitarian purposes of cities, there are still many treacherous places within their darker, more confined districts. 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.
- Lots of shopping - Cities abound with merchants and shops that will cater to your every need. Weaponsmiths, armorers, alchemists, and master trainers-these are just a few of the many tradesmen you'll encounter within each city's fortified walls.
- 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?
- Class headquarters - Many of the character classes make their bases of operations in cities. These HQ locations are good places to go to train your character and to occasionally pick up new quests or missions.
- 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.
- 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.
City Residents: Humans
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.
City Residents: Dwarves, Gnomes
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 marvel to the Dwarves' expertise of 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.
City Residents: Night Elves
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.
City Residents: Orcs, Trolls
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.
City Residents: Tauren
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.
City Residents: Undead
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.
Off Kalimdor's northern coast lies the island of Teldrassil, the new home of the reclusive Night Elves and a stunning testament to the power of their magic and their connection with nature. After the cataclysmic events that followed the invasion of the Burning Legion, the Circle of Ancients and powerful druids combined their powers to grow an immense new world tree on Teldrassil. They called the tree Teldrassil, meaning "crown of the earth" in their native tongue. The night elves made their new home in the boughs of Teldrassil, creating a forest of mighty trees and flowing rivers, bathed in the endless night that fell over the lands of the elves from the dawn of time. However, the calm of the enchanted forest has slowly fallen into the shadow of a sinister presence. Crazed furbolgs and fouler beasts have appeared in Teldrassil, and it occupies all the attention of the vigilant Sentinels and the wise druids to ensure the safety of their new home.
A sprawling city of moonstone and wood, the night elf capital of Darnassus stands as a shining beacon atop Teldrassil. Within its mighty walls are housed countless druids, hunters, and warriors, led by the priestess of Elune, Tyrande Whisperwind. A stunning marvel to the ability of night elven craftsmen, the ethereal Temple of the Moon rises above the tree line, balanced by the druids' meticulously cultivated meditative grove. Trade from the main continent bustles through the city's trade quarter, where night elves, dwarves and humans alike haggle for wares and services. Delicate bridges and pathways crisscross the serene waterways of the city, the pristine waters reflecting the glowing light from the moons above.
Originally, this location was named Kalidar and had almost the same text, with only the word Kalidar in place of the word Teldrassil in the text shown above, excluding one place where the word Teldrassil was also used.
The jagged, snowy peaks of Dun Morogh provide the Ironforge Dwarves with a limitless supply of ore and stone for their ambitious engineering endeavors. From the city of Ironforge, dug deep into the mountains, to Anvilmar in the Coldridge Valley, the marvels of Dwarven ingenuity mark the land. Not all is at peace in Dun Morogh, however. The Dwarves' insatiable digging at the Gol'Bolar Quarry unleashed a menacing tribe of Rockjaw Troggs from their subterranean den. While the massing Trogg invasion looms over the lands of King Magni Bronzebeard, the Frostmane Trolls have taken advantage of the distraction to attempt to reclaim their ancestral home. Life is harsh in the white-powdered mountains of Dun Morogh, but what the Dwarven people lack in height they make up for in heart and valor.
Elwynn Forest is a vast woodland that cradles the Human civilization of Azeroth. Though much of the area was burned or destroyed during the First War - when the Orcs laid siege to Stormwind - the giant trees and lush glades have grown anew. Heavily patrolled by the mighty Stormwind Garrison, Elwynn has remained a peaceful land since the war's end. Several farms stretch across the fertile fields, and the Garrison Guard Towers stand vigilant every few miles, helping to keep the forest safe from the rampaging forces of the Horde. The tranquil forest is also inhabited by wild Boars and Wolves that hunt throughout the woodlands in hope of finding easy prey. Scraggly Gnolls and grimy Kobolds wander the forest's outlying regions, but seldom do these timorous creatures attack property in Elwynn or Stormwind directly. For the most part, Elwynn exudes a feeling of comfort and serenity. However, if travelers wander too far off the main roads they may still encounter hidden dangers lurking within the shadows.
Once the lush southern belt of Elwynn Forest, the land of Duskwood has transformed into a dark and mysterious land. Many speculate that its proximity to the mysterious Deadwind Pass brings monstrous horrors out at night. Others wonder if an ancient curse has been cast upon the land. No matter the reason, Duskwood has become a land of terror and superstition. The Human farmers who once toiled over the rich land have become dark and brooding - unwilling to leave their ancestral home but unable to lift the terrible cloud that has settled over their lives. Bordered by the fallow fields of Westfall to the west and the dark, treacherous Deadwind Pass to the east, Duskwood has become a tainted realm where shadows and evil permeate the atmosphere even during the brightest hours of day.
Once the breadbasket of the kingdom of Stormwind, the land of Westfall has now grown fallow from years of conflict and neglect. Crops are no longer cultivated in the fields, and the once abundant mines have been deserted. Even the former defenders, the Stormwind Garrisons, pulled stake and abandoned the lonely realm when the cost of upkeep became too great. Due to this lack of military protection, Westfall has been all but destroyed by the rebel Defias Brotherhood and its demi-human minions. The Brotherhood, composed of thieves and bandits, have made Westfall their refuge. Employing everything from local superstitions to mechanical Harvest Golems, the Brotherhood will stop at nothing to scare away trespassers and protect their malicious schemes from being unraveled.
Stranglethorn is a vast jungle south of Duskwood. Once the extended homeland of the mysterious Jungle Trolls, Stranglethorn is now dotted with ancient ruins and crumbling Troll cities. In recent years, the Humans of Stormwind attempted to forge trade routes through this savage jungle. Though they did manage to establish the small port town of Blackwater Cove, they were quickly overwhelmed by a crazed pack of Trolls and driven back to their homeland. In the wake of the Humans' departure, the crafty Goblin Trade Princes arrived on the jungle's shores and quickly set up their mining and deforesting operations. The Goblins have maintained a tenuous hold over these remote facilities, but they remain threatened by the Jungle Trolls' growing obsession with purging their ancient lands of any and all foreign invaders.