MMO-Champion - Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Shadowmoon Valley
Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Shadowmoon Valley
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hidden under a shroud of perpetual night broken only by bright starlight, the lush idyllic forests of Shadowmoon Valley are home to a majestic draenei tomb and sanctuary: Karabor. While many of Shadowmoon’s denizens study prophecy among Karabor’s ancient stone circles, plotters with darker ambitions lurk in the valley’s vast underground cave network, gazing greedily at the sacred temple.


In Warlords of Draenor, Shadowmoon Valley serves as the starting zone for Alliance players once they’ve endured the initial rigors of Tanaan Jungle and survived their first encounter with the Iron Horde. To take you on a journey through Shadowmoon’s forests, temples, and secrets, we’ve tapped one of the creative minds behind the zone, Senior Designer Helen Cheng.


What’s the story in Shadowmoon Valley?

Helen Cheng: After a daring escape from the Iron Horde in Tanaan Jungle, Alliance players crash land on the northern shores of Shadowmoon Valley.

The valley is tranquil and serene. Rolling green hills give way to lush, violet forests. Draenei temples stand proudly beneath a star-studded sky. Here, the draenei have built wonders of their civilization—the town of Elodor with its majestic Altar of Sha’tar serves as the proud home of the great Exarchs, while the shining Temple of Karabor acts as the font of all holy learning. Under Prophet Velen and Exarch Akama’s watch, all is well.

But times are changing. The Iron Horde have called the native orc clans to join their ranks. The Shadowmoon Clan, led by Warlord Ner’zhul, yearns to prove itself worthy to Grommash Hellscream. Beneath the valley’s bright moon, a dark star hangs in the sky. For centuries, the Shadowmoon have been forbidden to tap its void-touched energy . . . until now. Will Warlord Ner’zhul succeed in harnessing the star’s power to destroy the draenei and the Temple of Karabor? Or will Prophet Velen, aided by his disciple Yrel—and a few fearless heroes—be able to stop him?


Meanwhile, trouble brews amongst the Exarchs, the most powerful and influential draenei heroes. Even as they debate the future of the draenei on their adopted homeworld, there is growing evidence of a traitor among their ranks. Who can be trusted?

The night elf Wardens sense a demonic presence in the northern woods of Shadowmoon Valley. As they hunt for the source of the fel energy, a sinister truth is revealed: Gul’dan, the Destroyer of Dreams, has returned.

Most importantly, as a proven champion of the Alliance, you are charged with establishing the Alliance foothold on Draenor. The land is harsh and unforgiving, and the Iron Horde has amassed an enormous army without equal. Before you can hope to defeat them, you must build a stronghold—your Garrison—from the ground up and gather allies to face this indomitable foe.

What are some of your favorite places within the zone?

Helen Cheng: Shadowmoon Valley is one of the most beautiful places on Draenor, with a breathtaking variety of stunning areas. I would say that the two most striking aspects of Shadowmoon Valley are the draenei and Shadowmoon orc areas.

The draenei architecture in Shadowmoon is really impressive. You get everything from a merchant town in Embaari Village to the valorous training grounds of the Exarchs in the north to the crystalline dome that is Teluuna Observatory. The draenei are cultured and sophisticated. Theirs is the pinnacle of an advanced society, and their towns and cities reflect a perfect balance of beauty and function. I really love all of the draenei locations—and there are more in other zones—but the Temple of Karabor has to be one of my favorites. The sheer size and scale of the place is incredible, and it’s remarkable to see it in its glory before the events of The Burning Crusade, which turned it into the Black Temple under Illidan’s control.


The Shadowmoon clan structures are impressive as well. The Shadowmoon were once a wise people, with a deep respect for the elements and a natural curiosity about the stars. They are natural-born leaders with a strong affinity for magic. However, since they joined the Iron Horde, Ner’zhul has strayed from the ancient ways. You can see this gradual decay reflected in their way of life. The Burial Fields is a place where the Shadowmoon traditionally bury and honor their dead. That place has become defiled and corrupted with void magic. Their ancestors, whom they once revered, are now being brutally tormented. Ner’zhul’s stronghold, Anguish Fortress, is an open-air ziggurat with a sacrificial pit in its center. In a nearby dungeon, players will see that there are more dark secrets hidden beneath this compound.

Tell us more about the Alliance garrison!

Helen Cheng: Nestled near the northern shores and with a commanding view of the main road, the Alliance Garrison location is of immense strategic importance. Prophet Velen will give the land to players as a thank-you for their deeds in the jungles of Tanaan, the intro zone. But there isn’t much time to rest—as great as the Prophet is, he needs your help. Your Garrison is awfully close to Shadowmoon territory, so be prepared to defend it.

Your Garrison will start as little more than an outpost, and your laborers will quickly run into trouble as they discover that even the forests of Draenor can be their enemy. But before long, you should have a comfortable Town Hall to call home and a Barracks that you can use to train new recruits. One of the perks of having your home base here is the ability to sound a “call to arms” anywhere in Shadowmoon, and Alliance troops will rush to your aid.

Kick your feet up – after all, the Garrison is all yours.

Could you name three of your favorite locations players should check out on their journey through the zone?

Helen Cheng: Once you’ve settled in, you should take a quick jaunt over to the town of Elodor, home of the revered Altar of Sha’tar with its stunning view of Karabor and the surrounding ocean. There you can meet the five Exarchs who act as the hand of the Prophet, guiding draenei society, and you can witness their own internal conflicts as they argue about their place in this savage land. Don’t miss the nearby Rangari Enclave, where the elite scouts of the draenei train—you won’t see mushrooms that size for another 30 years!

If you're the adventurous type, try spelunking in Bloodthorn Cave. Don’t mind the flesh-eating pale orcs—they only kill you when provoked. Also, don’t eat the local mushrooms. They can be rather . . . potent.


We’ve heard mixed reviews about Gloomshade Grove. Some folks rave about the pristine beaches, while others are just never heard from again. If you see anything that looks like a flower, makes a sound like “mawarwaawa,” and has very sharp teeth, run away! Though it’s probably too late for you, so oh well. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

You’re probably wondering if there are any creatures on Draenor that won’t bite your head off. Try heading over to the Shimmering Mor. This enchanted forest glade is home to wild faerie dragons. Awww, they’re just so cute! No, you can’t take one home . . . oh, who are we kidding? You’ll probably find an egg or some-such to raise eventually.

Finally, don’t forget to stop by Embaari Village. This draenei merchant town is known for its delicious food and exotic wares. No trip to Shadowmoon is complete without a tasty meal and a mug of honey mead.

As with all places on Draenor, Shadowmoon Valley is filled with sights to see, adventures to be had, and savage enemies to destroy. Enjoy your journey!

Next, our voyage will take us north into the Horde starting zone of Frostfire Ridge. Stay tuned for more!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Shadowmoon Valley started by chaud View original post
Comments 85 Comments
  1. Rorixis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindoriel View Post
    Night Elf architecture on Draenor?
    I agree like what the hell?
  1. Zaien's Avatar
    That orc on the photo is like "hey I´m taking this shield to Illidan so he can drop it in the future"
  1. OneSent's Avatar
    That music is irritatingly off-putting for the Warcraft universe. It sounds like something from a Disney movie. There's too much "look at me, I'm a live orchestra!" in-your-face vibe.

    The music hasn't been right in this game since Wrath of the Lich King. They are trying to hard to make it feel epic when all they're doing is pulling me out of the moment. This track does absolutely nothing in the way of capturing what I feel when I see the new Shadowmoon Valley.
  1. thilicen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindoriel View Post
    Night Elf architecture on Draenor?
    What's weird about it? On pandaria the horde had established an entire base before the alliance even managed to land. Not to mention horde and alliance presence in Krasarang. That screenshot of shadowmoon has what, 3 sticks and a few carved objects of NE origin?
  1. Doxshund's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deuse View Post
    Does this entire expansion take place at night? Seriously.
    This person is in your LFR
  1. Duridi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindoriel View Post
    Night Elf architecture on Draenor?
    You've forgot about Outlands already?
  1. bison91's Avatar
    like this graphic...(atleast not ashenvale 9.0)...but this song sounds banal to me..
    clans join...that i reallly liked...hearing it many month's now
  1. Duridi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by thilicen View Post
    What's weird about it? On pandaria the horde had established an entire base before the alliance even managed to land. Not to mention horde and alliance presence in Krasarang. That screenshot of shadowmoon has what, 3 sticks and a few carved objects of NE origin?
    Outlands also had plenty of nightelven architecture, and I don't really understand why nightelven is any more weird than for example human in this case.
  1. Sesto's Avatar
    Why the hell would Ner'zhul care about proving himself to Grom?
  1. Azahel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sesto View Post
    Why the hell would Ner'zhul care about proving himself to Grom?
    Other than him being the leader of the iron horde?
  1. Rorcanna's Avatar
    I have to say I'm really glad that we'll have divided leveling zones tho. SO annoying when there's only one initial zone to a new continent, like Jade Forest or Hellfire Peninsula. Too bad we can't do what we could in WOTLK with both zones having content for both factions to make it a bit more diverse.
  1. vandam's Avatar
    bleah , rehashed Outland

    Laziness.
  1. ryanmahaffe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by vandam View Post
    bleah , rehashed Outland

    Laziness.
    ugh...people like you should be in kindergarden...
  1. Granda's Avatar
    When I saw the youtube link, I was hoping for like a 3d fly through of the zone, I am disappointed. Otherwise I'm liking smv generally. Wish it was my starting area.
  1. WarpKnight's Avatar
    glad i'm playing alliance now!
  1. Kulle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ryanmahaffe View Post
    ugh...people like you should be in kindergarden...
    You say that, but I bet he knows how to spell kindergarten properly. Lol.
  1. Mellrod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rorixis View Post
    I agree like what the hell?
    What's wrong with it?
    1. This is the Alliance starting zone and on top of that, shadowmoon valley is perfect Night Elf environment. not sure why settling in and building structures on a homely landscape in foreign lands is an inconceivable thing to do. Especially on a war front where footholds are necessary to succeed.

    2. It could be a placeholder for a similar structure. this is alpha after all.

    3. Could be part of a phase, or just a quest linked to night elves somehow. There are alot of night elves involved in SMV from what i hear.

    Does this entire expansion take place at night? Seriously.
    You serious right now? I take it you haven't seen any other zone, because this is literally the ONLY place in draenor that is always night time, and it's stunningly beautiful. I honestly don't see the issue, especially in a fantasy game. Not to mention how we already have zones which are always in the autumn season, on fire, dark and gloomy, etc.

    Outlands also had plenty of Night Elven architecture, and I don't really understand why Night Elven is any more weird than for example human in this case.
    Not exactly, keep in mind Outlands is after the events of draenor. That's when races from Azeroth came through the dark portal when fight the orcs on their territory. Honor Hold and other Azerothian architecture were built there, there weren't night elves and humans existing on the planet since Draenor, they were just strongholds built to support the war effort against orcs on their homeworld.
  1. Tybudd33's Avatar
    I'm here staying tooned for more!!!
  1. The Great Chalupa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rorixis View Post
    I agree like what the hell?
    Gotta LOVE how they're just pulling stuff out of their armpits now
  1. Mellrod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Chalupa View Post
    Gotta LOVE how they're just pulling stuff out of their armpits now
    How are they making up stuff? It's literally 3 wooden pillars. I think you people are just too quick to jump the gun. SMV is a very night elf friendly zone, is it really THAT impossible for people to settle in to a new frontier, and build structures in a war-front? I guess with that logic, it also makes Garrisons another rabbit out of the hat then along with every alliance or horde structure you see in each zone that wasn't originally there, and that's not even counting previous expansions where foreign structures were built in new lands. But anyways, this zone isn't even out yet on alpha for crying out loud, so chill out.

Site Navigation