MMO-Champion - Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Frostfire Ridge
Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Frostfire Ridge
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In Warlords of Draenor, Frostfire Ridge serves as the starting zone for Horde 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 Frostfire’s snow-covered wastes and towering volcanoes, we cornered* Associate Game Designer/self-appointed Grand Cheese Taster Zachariah Owens and Game Designer/ Champion of Sarcasm Ryan Shwayder and “convinced” them to divulge some of the zone’s secrets.

Zone Music Piece: Magnificent Desolation


What’s the story in Frostfire Ridge?

Zachariah Owens: In a nutshell? Survive.
After a daring escape from the clutches of the Iron Horde in Tanaan Jungle, you, Thrall, and a handful of survivors run ashore on the southern banks of Frostfire Ridge.

This landing is well-timed. Soon after the crash, you are met by Durotan, youngest son of Garrad and acting chieftain of the Frostwolf clan. Unlike the other clans, the Frostwolves chose to defy the Iron Horde and refused to join their ranks. This has put them in a dangerous position, with the ogre slavers of Bladespire Fortress on one side and the beastmasters of the Thunderlord clan on the other. The Thunderlord are eager to prove themselves to the Iron Horde and will stop at nothing to eradicate the Frostwolf clan from existence.

Outnumbered and surrounded by enemies, Durotan and his Frostwolves will need all the help they can get to survive. It falls to you to quickly establish a Garrison and raise an army using whatever means necessary to aid the Frostwolves and secure a foothold in Draenor.

Oh, and of course, what Durotan doesn’t know is that Thrall is his son, not yet born in this timeline. Thrall also has a personal stake in the plight of the Frostwolves. This is a chance to meet his parents and his clan when they were in their prime: Powerful heroes bound by honor and loyalty. For Horde players, this is a chance to ride alongside some of the greatest and most iconic heroes of the Horde.

Ryan Shwayder: Beneath all of the strife and survival is an undertone of family. Thrall meeting his parents, the interaction between Durotan and Draka, and brothers who have fallen out of touch. There's a certain humanity—orc-manity?—about the Frostwolves and others within Frostfire Ridge that really resonates throughout the story.


What is the zone like?

Zachariah Owens: Cold, merciless, and beautiful. The snow-covered landscape is broken by violent volcanoes and lakes of ice—not to mention the mountains made of spires of volcanic rock warped by years of wind and cold. Looking closely, one can see echoes of what would eventually become the Blade’s Edge Mountains in Outland.

Here we get to see what two orc clans were like before they joined the Horde. Both were shaped by this hard land, and you can see that reflected in their tactics, clothing, lifestyles, and demeanor. But you also get to see just how different two clans of orcs can be from each other despite having a shared background.

In the west stand the proud orcs of the Frostwolf clan. Led by their young chieftain, Durotan, these orcs have chosen to defy the Iron Horde and keep to their ancestral homeland. Threatened on all sides by enemies and the environment, they hold true to their bonds of clan and family.

This is also the home of the Thunderlord clan. Greatest of hunters and known for their mastery of beasts, this clan uses numbers and tactics to conquer animals of all types, from the flying rylaks to the defiant gronn. Their homes are the bones of the great colossi, ancient giants lost to the ravages of time. It’s even rumored that the mysterious Iron Wolf, Warlord of the Thunderlord, seems to have a very personal vendetta against the Frostwolves.

We also get a chance to meet the ogres when they were still organized and holding on to the last vestiges of their once-great empire.

In the west, the ogres of Bladespire Fortress have long sought to enslave and subjugate any orcs that dare defy them. Meanwhile, in the north, the ogres of Bloodmaul have begun to enter into negotiations with the Iron Horde, exchanging slaves and services to some dark end.

And of course, we can’t have Draenor without the infamous gronn. They and their magnaron masters control the eastern part of the zone. Part of an ancient breed, the magnaron practice dark, primal magics, and act according to an agenda they have never shared with anyone. Some claim that if the magnaron win, all of Draenor will be cast into a frozen wasteland like Frostfire Ridge.

Ryan Shwayder: The zone likes death, bloodshed, and long walks off short cliffs. It's interested in zones with a harsh climate—a land that isn't afraid to be itself. Its brutally honesty, or perhaps just brutal. Actually, I might have misheard the question. . . .


What are three of your favorite locations players should check out on their journey through the zone?

Zachariah Owens: Thunder’s Fall and Colossal’s Fall. These two cities are home to the Thunderlord clan and are formed in the bones of dead colossi. We wanted to show the Thunderlord as legendary hunters, and these are the places we really got to go all out with depicting that fantasy. Here you get to see them raising rylaks for air support; wrangling clefthoof for pack animals; and taming boars, birds, and even gronn—all being hunted, shackled, subjugated under the will of the Thunderlord beastmasters.

As far as other favorite locations, I have to say Bladespire Citadel is a place not to miss. This citadel is a massive structure that dominates the landscape and is one of the last remnants of the sort of power the ogre empire once wielded. This was a chance for us to really show some of the cultural differences between the ogres of the past and the lumbering oafs we know today. Everything from their fighting style to their architecture is reminiscent of their dying culture. Early in the questing experience you will get to lay siege to this fortress with an army of elite Frostwolves at your back and Thrall at your side.

But hands down one of my favorite locations is the Crackling Plains in the east. This great frozen lake is bordered by giants and beasts of every sort, often venturing their way onto the ice in search of food or worse. Here, gronn can be seen marching across the ice, hunting clefthoof or frost wolves, in turn being hunted by Thunderlord giant stalkers. Great magnaron stride out into the open slaying anything in sight, their loyal goren scavengers not far behind them to eat up what remains. Meanwhile, in many places cracks in the ice begin to form as things that were birthed in the dark deeps begin to scuttle to the surface on many, many legs. This is the place that is sure to remind you of the savagery of Draenor and the many types of giants that can be found there.


Ryan Shwayder: Let's be honest, my co-conspirator took at a minimum four favorite locations, which leaves me only capable of listing two locations to balance things out. I saw what you did there, Zachariah!

First is Icescar Boneyard in the northwestern reaches of Frostfire Ridge. Demonic summoning circles, bones, and necromantic orcs really get the nostalgia going and highlight a cool multi-zone story arc in Warlords of Draenor.

I also really like Wor'gol because I've always wanted to get to know where the Frostwolves came from better. It does a great job of showing their Spartan existence in a territory harsh even by Draenor standards. I like wandering the area through the eyes of Thrall, seeing the home of his ancestors as he would.

I'm stealing back a third location. More than anything ever, I love the crap out of Ogre Hut 01 in Grimfrost Hill for its welcoming atmosphere—not unlike that of a quaint bed-and-breakfast—save for the lack of beds, breakfasts, and any real comforts of survivable living.


Tell us more about the Horde Garrison.

Zachariah Owens: In addition to providing a lot of resources for crafting or portals to capitals, the Garrison you establish at Frostwall serves as a hangout for the many followers and visitors you find in your journey. There are many nooks and crannies to explore, some of which might have a treasure or two stashed away from some unscrupulous members of your Garrison.

As you level up you get a chance to choose different buildings that best suit your needs. Each choice has weight to it, as what you decide to build will augment your abilities within the Garrison and without, altering which quest lines might be available as well as what resources you have access to in certain zones. For Frostfire, you get a Barracks that will allow you to conduct patrol missions with your Followers. On top of that, you also get the zone ability Call to Arms, which allows you to call in reinforcements from your Garrison every so often to help you take down a particularly rough group of enemies or an elite monster.

As you continue your journey through Draenor, more and more of your discoveries will find their way back to your Garrison. Rescue someone from a cage during your adventuring, and they may appear later in your Garrison expressing their gratitude in the form of unique vendor items. In some cases, they’ll offer to become a Follower. We want the Garrison to feel alive, and it’s the staging point for many of your experiences throughout the expansion. Don’t be surprised if special quest-givers or vendors appear based on activities you’ve done in the world.

Of course, not everyone who comes to your Garrison is friendly. It’s important to remember that you are building an army, one capable of rivaling the Iron Horde. As you continue to foil their plans or lead attacks against certain factions, expect retaliation. Be prepared to defend your Garrison against invasions from foes of all sorts, calling upon your Followers or reinforcements that you’ve summoned in from Azeroth. This is your Garrison, and you are the commander.

Next, our perilous journey through Draenor will take us to the treacherous jungles and unforgiving canyons of Gorgrond, where opposing primeval forces are locked in an eternal battle. Stay tuned for more!

*No designers were harmed during the making of this interview.

Poll - Favorite Starting Zone
Now that you have seen the official Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon valley previews, along with our additional screenshots of Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon Valley, which zone is your favorite?

This article was originally published in forum thread: Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview: Frostfire Ridge started by chaud View original post
Comments 46 Comments
  1. rauta's Avatar
    Boub, is there any chance you will revert no Karabor and Bladespire as capital hubs?
  1. Buran's Avatar
    No contest. I'm a draenei through and through -- Shadowmoon Valley.

    And I actually prefer the capital hub change. Karabor is our Holy of Holies; it's not a place to AFK in.
  1. Ostrich's Avatar
    I really like both zones from what I've seen, and I like Frostfire's music better but Shadowmoon's looks better. I voted for Shadowmoon though, as much as I like Frostfire Shadowmoon just seems more enjoyable and it's about damn time the Draenei got some recognition, they are my favorite race and I'm so glad they won't be forgotten like in other expansions. I'm also happy that we will get to see them at their prime, I really hope they don't do something terrible to Karabor later in the expansion, can we please just let the Draenei be happy for once
  1. Ludafrank's Avatar
    I wonder how they are going to deal with having a second Thrall. It's an alternate timeline and nothing that happens on Draenor has any affect on Azeroth, but Thrall will still be born on Draenor unless something happens. So how do they deal with having 2 Thralls?

    They can't really close the portal to Draenor cause we have to be able to go back in the future, but they could kill off Durotan or Thrall's mom (idk her name) to keep him from being born (yes our Thrall would still exist). Or they could kill off our Thrall and give us the new Thrall, maybe even making him warchief again (fingers crossed). Or they could keep 2 Thralls so we could Thrall while we Thrall, maybe even keeping our Thrall as the tree hugger and the new Thrall as the future warchief (fingers still crossed).

    /cough Thrall for warchief
  1. Zeror's Avatar
    I'm in BETA, so i've seen the zones already ingame. With Shadowmoon Valley, no matter how beautiful it is, i had the feeling i've been there before. It's too much like a zone i already know. With Frostfire Ridge my experience was stunning. This is a zone we haven't seen yet before. So Frostfire Ridge wins according to me.
  1. stealthymatsuda's Avatar
    The music sounds very Zelda to me
  1. LFPO8k's Avatar
    This is a zone we haven't seen yet before.
    Yes!!! we definitely NEVER saw a snowy zone like... ever! totally not an entire continent worth of it... because northrend is blazing hot, and we have seen many places like the new Shadowmoon I can't even describe!
  1. SteveZombie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LFPO8k View Post
    Yes!!! we definitely NEVER saw a snowy zone like... ever! totally not an entire continent worth of it... because northrend is blazing hot, and we have seen many places like the new Shadowmoon I can't even describe!
    So you're saying you have seen Frostfire Ridge before?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludafrank View Post
    I wonder how they are going to deal with having a second Thrall. It's an alternate timeline and nothing that happens on Draenor has any affect on Azeroth, but Thrall will still be born on Draenor unless something happens. So how do they deal with having 2 Thralls?
    Real-world math and physics dictate it's almost certain Thrall won't be born under these circumstances.
  1. Nythiz's Avatar
    IMO the soundtrack of Frostfire is AMAZING. One of the better soundtracks i've heard in a long long time. (My favorite will probably always be the Terokkar Forest music when the organ and violins set in; shivers any day every day).

    That said though. I find Shadowmoon to be the better looking zone. It looks really diverse and flat out beautiful. The swampy area's with the showers of willow branches cascading down. The lush dark green / purple grasslands remind me of striding across mulgore for the first time and seeing the cliffs of thunderbluff show up in the distance. The diversity is also in the details. The small purple flower fields and the small fences, the pathways and the trees really break up the land. Making it seem vibrant and alive. The architecture that is applied here also adds to that, it blends in yet still stands out.

    Frostfire ridge is more rigid. There is only so much you can do with a rocky snowy landscape; but I feel from the screenshots that the zone simply lacks some appeal and diversity.
    We've had snowy landscapes before and a lot of them always seem to have a hard way of setting themselves apart (although some zones really do, like Stormpeaks). And FFR seems to be little different; they tried to use the rocks to break things up, but in the end they make it seem even more dull.

    It basically comes down to this:
    When I see Shadowmoon I really want to go there and run around, check out the small parts on the map.
    With Frostfire I feel like I'll have seen most of the zone after I spend 5 minutes in there. Although I guess at least the soundtrack will keep me entertained for a while ^^
  1. Baiyn's Avatar
    Shadowmoon is beautiful, mystical and rich in lore history. Frostfire just feels, to me, like a rehashed Borean Tundra. As a Horde-main player, I am gutted that I will have to spend much of my WoD-playing time in that frozen, uninviting hole (having to build my garrison there) while Alliance players will be wandering through the enchanting gardens of Karabor. -_-
  1. Aerofluff's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baiyn View Post
    Shadowmoon is beautiful, mystical and rich in lore history. Frostfire just feels, to me, like a rehashed Borean Tundra. As a Horde-main player, I am gutted that I will have to spend much of my WoD-playing time in that frozen, uninviting hole (having to build my garrison there) while Alliance players will be wandering through the enchanting gardens of Karabor. -_-
    Pretty much exactly how I feel. Stuck with more orc and ogre huts, in a crappy wasteland. I was much more enthused back when we all thought you could place your Garrison in any zone you wanted, I was particularly fond of the one which reminded me of Eversong, it would've been a perfect garrison spot for a Blood Elf.
    At any rate, Shadowmoon blows Frostfire right out of the water. I'm concerned this whole expansion for Horde is just going to be "Hey look, original Horde, more typical orc stuff"...
  1. CasCrow's Avatar
    Considering my hatred of draenei and my love of snow. Frostfire Ridge.
  1. Lemons's Avatar
    I watched some Tanaan Jungle questing on WowCrendor's channel and honestly the whole "we must survive!" thing was getting old pretty quick. Pretty much every single quest text he read had some form of "we need to keep moving!" in it. It's like...yeah...that's fun I guess for maybe 20 quests...but if the whole zone is going to be like that I think it's a big mistake. One of the greatest things about MoP was that you could choose your own path...if they're going to railroad me through an entire zone I'm not really down for that, especially when the pretense is so thin. I mean...you've got Thrall, Khadgar, and a bunch of other notable characters with you...something tells me it's all going to work out in the end.
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lemons View Post
    I watched some Tanaan Jungle questing on WowCrendor's channel and honestly the whole "we must survive!" thing was getting old pretty quick. Pretty much every single quest text he read had some form of "we need to keep moving!" in it. It's like...yeah...that's fun I guess for maybe 20 quests...but if the whole zone is going to be like that I think it's a big mistake. One of the greatest things about MoP was that you could choose your own path...if they're going to railroad me through an entire zone I'm not really down for that, especially when the pretense is so thin. I mean...you've got Thrall, Khadgar, and a bunch of other notable characters with you...something tells me it's all going to work out in the end.
    That's just the intro experience, similar to the DK starting zone. It introduces you to the Warlords and other key characters (and if freshly boosted, introduces skills and talents every few quests) before you go to Frostfire/Shadowmoon, which are more traditional leveling zones.
  1. Anarch Son of Gods's Avatar
    Is this supposed to be the thing we were invited for at "10 AM" or is this another thing?
  1. Teebone's Avatar
    Shadowmoon is beautiful, but its a bitch and a half to navigate. I voted Frostfire.
  1. thottstation's Avatar
    I look forward to visiting Frostfire... once. After the quests are done, afk in capital. No doubt the zone designers know this. After all... Vash'jir, anyone?
  1. Goretex's Avatar
    I'm a sucker for snowy places, Frostfire Ridge and Bladespire look absolutely amazing!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Nythiz View Post
    IMO the soundtrack of Frostfire is AMAZING. One of the better soundtracks i've heard in a long long time. (My favorite will probably always be the Terokkar Forest music when the organ and violins set in; shivers any day every day).

    That said though. I find Shadowmoon to be the better looking zone. It looks really diverse and flat out beautiful. The swampy area's with the showers of willow branches cascading down. The lush dark green / purple grasslands remind me of striding across mulgore for the first time and seeing the cliffs of thunderbluff show up in the distance. The diversity is also in the details. The small purple flower fields and the small fences, the pathways and the trees really break up the land. Making it seem vibrant and alive. The architecture that is applied here also adds to that, it blends in yet still stands out.

    Frostfire ridge is more rigid. There is only so much you can do with a rocky snowy landscape; but I feel from the screenshots that the zone simply lacks some appeal and diversity.
    We've had snowy landscapes before and a lot of them always seem to have a hard way of setting themselves apart (although some zones really do, like Stormpeaks). And FFR seems to be little different; they tried to use the rocks to break things up, but in the end they make it seem even more dull.

    It basically comes down to this:
    When I see Shadowmoon I really want to go there and run around, check out the small parts on the map.
    With Frostfire I feel like I'll have seen most of the zone after I spend 5 minutes in there. Although I guess at least the soundtrack will keep me entertained for a while ^^
    I feel the totally opposite, SMV looks ok yeah but I wouldn't want to spend most my time there. I love snowy places with mountains and harsh environments, and primative and barbaric buildings.
  1. Rayaleith's Avatar
    I am horde but SMV and the ally garrison are so much prettier, that it is not even funny. I understand that horde structures were always more "rough" style but this is too much. Anyway, we'll see as we move on. For the time being I've made a lock in both ally and horde to see both. And to be fair, I was not able to see level 2 town hall in horde, since with the Alchemy lab bug I cannot make any progress.
  1. Army Dreamer's Avatar
    What starting zone is your favorite?
    Ehmm, we didn't play it yet.

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