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. alt-ithist's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Duridi View Post
    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.
    Think the weird part is that it's night elves building things instead of a couple NE in a human camp model. We all know the other alliance races aren't allowed to be relevant.

    That said, WTF... I wanna trade with the alliance. That zone is amazing so there's no way it should go to those dirty humans and their token elves.
  1. Asthreon's Avatar
    The fact garrisons are my #1 feature in WoD and Shadowmoon Valley is my favourite looking zone in WoD, means I can't get any more hyped than I already am for this expansion.

    It is going to be videogame Bliss.
  1. Toiran's Avatar
    Lol Blizzard, adding vignette, might as well use Instagram.

    Looks pretty nice beside that, but WoW is feeling dated to me personally now.
  1. Der Murloc's Avatar
    Chris G. Robinson just tweeted that there was no Artcraft because he severed a tendon in his hand with a sculpture knife and that next Artcraft will be human male
  1. Brewhan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Asthreon View Post
    The fact garrisons are my #1 feature in WoD and Shadowmoon Valley is my favourite looking zone in WoD, means I can't get any more hyped than I already am for this expansion.

    It is going to be videogame Bliss.
    living in that bubble must be nice
  1. Asthreon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Brewhan View Post
    living in that bubble must be nice
    Better than being a pathetic person who feels the need to frequent a website dedicated to some he hates.

    Then again you seem to champion Wildstar, which shows just how bad your taste actually is.
  1. Goretex's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Calamari View Post
    Kind of feel bad for horde players, Shadowmoon Valley looks stunningly beautiful and personally can't wait to plant my hovel there, something I couldn't say with a straight face about Frostfire Ridge. : / Would be pretty cool if both zones were accessible for both factions, but faction segregation is probably gonna stay a thing.
    Pretty places is for pretty faces(the Alliance). I can pretty much guarantee Frostfire Ridge will be my favorite zone

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rorcanna View Post
    No need to feel sorry for me, I detest constant darkness. I can't even stay in Valley of the Four Winds when it starts to rain there because the zone gets so dark. I much prefer the Frostfire Ridge zone with fire, snow, skulls and monsters.

    No doubt Shadowmoon Valley is pretty, but yeah...I prefer zones with a proper cycle of daytime and nighttime.
    Darkness doesn't bug me, but going to Silvermoon soemtimes just frickin messes with my eyes it's so bright sometimes. I'm glad they made that daytime/nighttime change. Still Silvermoon is my most hated city I just don't like it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahdiss View Post
    Don't feel sorry for us Horde - SMV is indeed amazing but personally, I prefer snow zones, and what they have done in FFR is stunning from the mood to the music and I love that our Garrison really feels like it's out in the savage wilds. All the zones in this are looking amazing and getting back to decent fantasy roots - can't wait to see Tanann!
    I feel 100% the same way

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mellrod View Post
    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.
    These people lack imagination.
  1. Duridi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mellrod View Post
    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.
    The Draenor we're seeing now, is a different timeline than the one we are used to, so it has a different backstory.

    Now, I don't know the backstory of this new timeline much, so correct me if nobody from their timeline's Azeroth has actually visited Outlands before we are coming now. I just haven't seen anything written about this. Or I just don't remember.

    Either way, this is why I don't find these architectures strange.
  1. lnaie's Avatar
    Sorry, but the song doesn't come even close to the harmonious tune used in Ashenvale.
  1. SteveZombie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Duridi View Post
    The Draenor we're seeing now, is a different timeline than the one we are used to, so it has a different backstory.
    It's a snapshot of Draenor as it was in that point in time (as of Garrosh's arrival, which if I'm not mistaken is a couple of years back by the time they portal over); its history is exactly the same up to that point as the Draenor that became Outland.
    I think that's what's been said anyway.
  1. ihyln's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Asthreon View Post
    Better than being a pathetic person who feels the need to frequent a website dedicated to some he hates.

    Then again you seem to champion Wildstar, which shows just how bad your taste actually is.
    That's some Mythic level irony right there
  1. thilicen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Duridi View Post
    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.
    Well you know.. Gotta complain about something, might as well be something that's not new in any way.
  1. Epsi's Avatar
    I think that I'm not the first one to say that this Artcraft-bullshit is the worst time-stretching thing I've ever seen. Wow, they could not release this part and we'd be at the same point of knowledge we were back then in January.

    They didnt even try to show us content... quests, rares, or whatever avaible in this zone they are working on since or even before SoO released, which was 10 months ago.
  1. Mellrod's Avatar
    living in that bubble must be nice
    Ah yes, because when someone enjoys a game and is excited for something you are not, they are OBVIOUSLY lying to themselves and living in a bubble of ignorance, all because their preferences and opinions differ from their own -- All because they like a game that you don't.

    Do you know how childish that sounds? Get a fucking life, you're the one sitting here on a website and commenting on coverage for an expansion/game you don't even like. Geez, self-entitled, narrow-minded people like you are why this community is bad.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I think that I'm not the first one to say that this Artcraft-bullshit is the worst time-stretching thing I've ever seen. Wow, they could not release this part and we'd be at the same point of knowledge we were back then in January.

    They didnt even try to show us content... quests, rares, or whatever avaible in this zone they are working on since or even before SoO released, which was 10 months ago.
    When have they ever showed us quests, rares, etc in a zone before? That's something dataminers and streamers do, and besides -- This is alpha and that sort of stuff is still in development, so showing an unfinished version of something in an article about stuff we can expect to see upon launch would be an ironic and unprofessional contradiction.

    Also, this isn't Artcraft, it's a zone preview. Artcraft isn't a waste of time, they actually tell us how they go about creating zones, character models, etc and show us their train of thought during the process, let alone just showing us new models and zones. If that doesn't bring new knowledge to the table i don't know what does. The only thing that's really time-stretching here is the development progress for the expansion this year taking longer than any other atm.
  1. Asthreon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ihyln View Post
    That's some Mythic level irony right there
    Not really any irony, since it wasn't posted on a Wildstar Forum.
  1. ihyln's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Asthreon View Post
    Not really any irony, since it wasn't posted on a Wildstar Forum.
    Funny because this is MMO-champ not wow-champ.com
  1. Asthreon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ihyln View Post
    Funny because this is MMO-champ not wow-champ.com
    Funny because the OWNER of the site has always said it is a primary Blizzard Fansite and that the MMO-Champion name does not denote it as being for EVERY MMO.

    I think I will care more about what Boub has to say than a random.

    Also the fact that he was commenting on a News post completely about WoW is another reason.

    But yes, keep grasping at those straws bro.
  1. ihyln's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Asthreon View Post
    Funny because the OWNER of the site has always said it is a primary Blizzard Fansite and that the MMO-Champion name does not denote it as being for EVERY MMO.

    I think I will care more about what Boub has to say than a random.

    Also the fact that he was commenting on a News post completely about WoW is another reason.

    But yes, keep grasping at those straws bro.
    Well the site owner has poor vision with what to do so instead of expanding to cover all MMOs he chose to be lazy and cater to the mouthbreathers that like wow and then sold out to curse... wait maybe he isn't an idiot after all.

    you should accept criticism about your favorite game, anything less makes you look like a baby.
  1. finskee's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ihyln View Post
    Well the site owner has poor vision with what to do so instead of expanding to cover all MMOs he chose to be lazy and cater to the mouthbreathers that like wow and then sold out to curse... wait maybe he isn't an idiot after all.

    you should accept criticism about your favorite game, anything less makes you look like a baby.
    I seriously can't believe I just witnessed this post. What kind of deranged weirdo is this guy? No one has to accept criticism from a critic. Anyone who's doing anything right has critics. Anyone with any sense of self-worth does not listen to critics. You guys really just made fun of someone for liking WOD and then told them they should accept it or they are a baby!!!! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!? Do you feel any better now that you did that? It's pathetic! Infantile! Childish! Juvenile! You're acting like a little baby! Did someone forget to change your diaper? Do you need a spanking? Should we tickle your feet and try to make you happy? Or just let you cry? What is it that you want little baby? Why not just say it? Are you too scared to just say it? Are you a scared little baby? Come on, don't be shy... just tell us what it is that is making you so unhappy? We will pretend to care, and then we'll laugh at baby. So just say it. Just tell your mommy. What is it???
  1. ihyln's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by finskee View Post
    I seriously can't believe I just witnessed this post. What kind of deranged weirdo is this guy? No one has to accept criticism from a critic. Anyone who's doing anything right has critics. Anyone with any sense of self-worth does not listen to critics. You guys really just made fun of someone for liking WOD and then told them they should accept it or they are a baby!!!! WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!? Do you feel any better now that you did that? It's pathetic! Infantile! Childish! Juvenile! You're acting like a little baby! Did someone forget to change your diaper? Do you need a spanking? Should we tickle your feet and try to make you happy? Or just let you cry? What is it that you want little baby? Why not just say it? Are you too scared to just say it? Are you a scared little baby? Come on, don't be shy... just tell us what it is that is making you so unhappy? We will pretend to care, and then we'll laugh at baby. So just say it. Just tell your mommy. What is it???
    haha, she mad. someone made fun of wod and you went full retard. never go full retard.

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