Baradin Hold Preview
Baradin Hold is the new PvP Raid Instance in Tol Barad. Just like the Vault of Archavon in Wintergrasp, the instance will only be available to the faction controlling the zone and according to the current layout of the map, Blizzard will most likely add more wings over time.

Cataclysm Zone Q&A: Azshara
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Delve into the mysteries of Azshara with game designers Craig Amai and Dave Kosak, who talked with us about the Horde's northward expansion and the rise of the Bilgewater Cartel as part of our ongoing coverage of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Adventure, conflict, and, of course, profit await those who enter the newly re-imagined Azshara!

Q. What was the original concept for the zone?

A. Azshara has always been somewhat barren in terms of content, so our original plan was simply to fill in most of the unused space and then take some of the quests that spanned multiple zones and move them completely over to Azshara. The zone itself was a bit of a blank slate, so this approach seemed obvious from the very beginning.

While discussing our goals for the overall flow for Kalimdor, we started to heavily consider when, where, and how goblins would be introduced to questing on the continent. We realized that we were in sort of a dilemma because, at that point, four out of six Horde races were being routed through the same 10–20 leveling experience in the Northern Barrens. It was only then that we decided to retrofit Azshara as an alternative zone for level 10 through 20 Horde characters and make it a goblin hub.

Naturally, once goblins got involved, things sort of exploded.

Q. Who will be using this zone (what levels/factions)?

A. Azshara is designed for level 10 through 20 Horde characters. Goblins will be encouraged to level in this particular zone because it expands on their story and sheds some additional light on already established characters. Orcs, trolls, and tauren will be able to choose between Azshara and the Northern Barrens, based on their personal preference. (Hint: Pick Azshara!)

Q. Without giving up any spoilers, what's the general storyline for this zone? How has it changed from the original design?

A. Having recently gained the mantle of warchief, Garrosh Hellscream is preparing for war to claim all of Kalimdor for the Horde. The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, headquartered in Bilgewater Harbor, are playing their part by building war machines, constructing weapons, and establishing a massive naval harbor within sight of Orgrimmar. Meanwhile, the night elves aren't content to sit idly by; they fully intend to challenge this unwelcome occupation in Azshara and hopefully stymie a conflict that would otherwise be carried deep into their forests.

Amid all this tension, the Bilgewater Cartel is also out to make a name for itself in true goblin fashion. What is the best way to show solidarity? Reshape the Bay of Storms into a giant Horde symbol! From there, a secret lab, an extensive rocketway, and a "pleasure palace" with its own golf course are just natural leaps in goblin logic.

Overall, players will find that very little remains of the Azshara of old. The Hydraxian Warlords have departed. Azuregos is missing. Xylem's tower still stands, but Xylem himself seems to have stumbled upon something that has quickly driven him insane. And while clumsy explorers continue to be eaten by the local giant-life, the goblins have developed a method to make such an unfortunate circumstance practical and, yes, profitable.

Q. How has Orgrimmar's relentless expansion altered the lands of Azshara?

A. Orgrimmar now has a massive gate leading north into Azshara, and the canyon that winds into this gate will give players a brief look at the war machines being wrought from goblin ingenuity and technology. The rest of the zone expands further on this promise of destruction. The middle of Azshara includes the new Bilgewater Harbor, which acts as a naval port for the entire Orgrimmar fleet, launching boats and zeppelins to carry out Garrosh's vision for the future of Kalimdor and beyond.

Q. What have the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, now aligned with the Horde, done to reshape Azshara in their (or Trade Prince Gallywix's) image?

A. A quick glance at recent cartographical surveys of the region will show that the goblin commitment to the Horde cause is strong. Azshara is now the largest terraforming project on Azeroth! Whether it's sculpting the terrain to promote Horde propaganda, moving an entire mountain to pillage the minerals underneath, or slapping the face of the trade prince on a nearby crag, there's no question who wears the pants in Azshara these days.

Q. What do you think is the most exciting new addition to the zone?

A. Well, there are super-intelligent raptors, a haunted bulldozer, a crack squad of goblin commandos, a hunt for Azuregos, an insane mage with countless apprentices, rat riding, parachuting from an exploding tower...

What if we just say that the most exciting new addition to Azshara is the entire zone?

Q. You mentioned earlier that Azuregos is missing, but now he's being hunted. What's going on there?

A. Strangely, Azuregos has disappeared, and no one seems to know where he flew off to. After that last group of bloodthirsty adventurers came through on some sort of quest to make a now-useless quiver, he's just been... well, he's gone, and there have been whisperings of someone in Bilgewater Harbor who will pay handsomely for information on his whereabouts.

Q. What goes into redesigning a zone like this?

A. We wanted to maintain the original color palette and fall-foliage theme for Azshara, but beyond that, it was a complete rework from the ground up. Artists began the process by creating some incredible landmarks, including a giant cannon centerpiece for the new city and an entire "pleasure palace" complete with the goblin equivalent of Mount Rushmore, which just oozed goblin flavor. Level designers then reshaped the environment, literally moving mountains, parting waters, and erecting a colossal, zone-encompassing rocket freeway. We then worked to complement the new scenery by adding a bizarre array of quests befitting the unique and crazy capitalistic culture of the Bilgewater Cartel.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect about implementing all of these changes?

A. Not using our new terrain phasing technology to blow up everything. Self-restraint doesn't come easy.

Q. What should players do or go see first?

A. Players should ideally start at the beginning, near the rear gate of Orgrimmar, and then follow the quest series from there; it'll lead you on a nice, smooth ride of awesome. Or, if you're the impatient type, head straight to Bilgewater Harbor, take a stroll through town, and grab some lunch at the local crustacean shack.

Q. So, last question. Bilgewater Harbor: great port town or the greatest port town?

A. From its roots as a humble "city-in-a-box" to the bustling metropolis it is today, Bilgewater Harbor straddles the line between myth and legend. At least, that's what the brochure says.

The orc commanders might argue differently, though. It isn't exactly easy to maintain discipline in an otherwise lawless city where every vice you can imagine is available for just a handful of silver and debauchery is half off.

Thank you, Craig and Dave, for taking the time to sit down and speak with us about the work you've done to revitalize Azshara as an epic leveling zone in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!
As usual, here is a bunch of screenshots from the current build of the beta!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Baradin Hold, Azshara Q&A started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 88 Comments
  1. Cernunnos's Avatar
    I hated doing VOA with with a full group of 10, or 25 PVE'ers who only do PVE, we'd down Toravon, only to have 2 exact copies of the shaman PVP gloves drop.

    Having a combined PVE/PVP loot table made VOA suck.

    It should have a UI setting like Heroic/non heroic, but for PVP/PVE.

    That or have a regular boss encounter than drops PVE loot in one wing, and an encounter that is PVP and it drops PVP loot in another wing.

    I do PVE to get PVE loot. I don't want PVP loot sucking up my loot table. VOA was bad enough with dropping all 10 class's tiers. Now I gotta sit there while another 4 or so sets of tier can drop.
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AlarStormbringer View Post
    And sadly, no mention as to why the Alliance did not get another 10-20 zone. I don't even care of they give us the raw truth of, "We like the Horde better"(paranoia!), but I would just like some kind of response.

    I primarily leveled up Horde characters through the Ghostlands, so the whole '4 of 6 races use the Barrens' didn't fly by me. The Ghostlands has better loot and a more collected leveling experience. Almost everyone I see leveling Hordies these days tend to go... yep, you guessed it, for the Ghostlands.
    Alliance: Westfall (human), Loch Modan (dwarf + gnome), Darkshore (night elf), Azuremyst Isle (draenei)

    Horde: The Barrens (orc + troll + tauren), Silverpine Forest (Forsaken), the Ghostlands (blood elf)

    Yeah, it was totally unfair that the Horde got a new 10-20 zone and the Alliance didn't. Goblins should totally have been directed out of Orgrimmar into the Barrens, just like the other three races that are already directed there.

  1. Panoramixe's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Bibi
    Important - We will be migrating the site to new servers today and everything goes as planned, the site should be under maintenance between 05:00PM and 07:00PM CST.
    Why the American timezones all the time? I really don't get why people don't simply use GMT
    (or at least let me be lazy and indicate CST means GMT-6 and that they must make sure to take DST into consideration, so -8 for proper civilized Europeans.)

    Oh and new servers. Yay.
  1. Keristrasza's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pope View Post
    Wow, these game designers clearly need an "RP-off"-switch
    MMO-RPG nuff said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pope View Post
    I just hope that baradin hold will not drop tier and pvp items again.
    Maybe some special loot. But please no VOA-loot-drama again.

    - Hunter tier dropping 3 times while no hunter is present
    - Pve-scrubs winning S8-pants

    and so on.
    I doubt that will ever happen, as they put it in there just for that reason. To make certain gear easier to get instead of using all badges, honor etc. I agree with only one part though, the Tier gear dropping when that class is not present. As for the PVP part, QQ moar? It might be a PVP Raid but its still a raid so unless you are raiding in PVP gear like some kind of scrub yourself, you have nothing to say.

    PVP'rs roll on the PVE gear so its only right that it go to other way too. I'm certain raiders wouldn't want a PVP noob rolling on their pants but unlike crybaby pvp'rs they don't nerd rage over it.

    The only thing I find annoying about it, is running for tier gear and seeing pvp trash drop. I still wish Blizzard would separate the two styles of play. I hate how they are trying to merge to the two and force a style of play down someones throat who does not enjoy it. I only pvp occasionally but with the introduction of Resil gear its made it impossible to randomly join a BG and enjoy it without hearing a mass of QQ because "Someones in PVE gear" :\
  1. implicationmmo's Avatar
    Azshara and the new raid look really nice, can't wait.

    I am interrested to see if there is going to be a new system for the new VOA, loots or anything else
  1. Howard Moon's Avatar
    What about this idea:

    Only players who recently (a week for example) participated in the Tol Barad battlaground are allowed into the Baradin Hold raid.

    That way you know that people will benefit from PvP loot (since they actually do pvp at least occasionally), and will also benefit from PvE loot (since they obviously like to raid aswell).

    Oppinions? Flames? Cheese?
  1. ghepip's Avatar
    Whats the new RSS feed with this new server? or is it the same just not working anymore?
  1. zarbus's Avatar
    vault of scaryvon

    also lol @ bitching about free loot and emblems raid

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