Every race in World of Warcraft that begins at level 1 has their own, unique starting areas. These areas usually only cover levels 1-5, though many still go into areas that are unique to their race.
This post covers the storyline of the starting area of Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, and Draenei. (Goblins, along with Pandaren and Worgen, will each get their own, unique post, as have the Horde races.)
* * *
Northshire – Human starting area
Emboldened by the return of their king Varian Wrynn, (boy, are you in for an emotional rollercoaster) the Humans have won great victories in Northrend. But now they prepare for a new conflict – against the Horde. However, the Cataclysm has just happened, bringing some familiar threats back closer to home.
As a new recruit from Stormwind, you’ve been sent to speak with Marshal McBride, who tells you of a threat of Blackrock Orcs. You’re sent to kill their worgs, (Murdering puppies. Your first job as an Alliance human is murdering puppies!) and their spies, (… well, fair enough) and then you’re sent to help out Sergeant Willem, who’s been having trouble with Goblin assassins. You sort them out, then return to Marshall McBride, who, surprise surprise, sends you to kill more Blackrock Orcs. The Orcs have started setting fire to the place and Milly Osworth asks you to save her vineyard. (And I was surprised to find the enemies here are still aggressive, unlike most enemies in Horde starting areas, which have long since been changed to only attack if you attack first.)
One task remains. You have to kill the leader of the local Blackrock Orcs, Kurtok the Slayer. That done, you’re ready to go to Goldshire.
I suppose they figured once you’ve murdered puppies you can handle anything.
(In case you don’t know, Goldshire is infamous. So infamous, even I, a Horde player, have heard about it. In the same way that Barrens chat became known for unusual amounts of trolling, Goldshire is known for ERP – or Erotic Roleplay. No judgement from me, but one forum post from 2013 describes it as a ‘cesspool of filth‘. Whether or not it’s even like that anymore, I wouldn’t know – Barrens chat has been about as boring and uneventful as any other chat for years – I guess we’ll find out.)
You’re sent to deliver Marshall McBride’s report to Marshal Dughan in Goldshire. The report states that the activity of Kobolds has decreased but that Blackrock Orcs are invading, and Magistrate Solomon of Lakeshire should be warned. Oh, and that the carrier of the report should be made a Deputy in the Stormwind Army. No funny business at all. Unless, you know, it’s all code.
On your way, you meet Falkhaan Isenstrider, who suggests you visit Lion’s Pride Inn, and tells you Innkeeper Farley will give you a discount if you mention him. Random men hanging about offering young adventurers freebies to visit this Inn in Goldshire is certainly not dodgy at all, no sir.
You deliver the report, are made acting deputy (the report said you should be made deputy, not acting deputy, but OK) and you visit the Inn (which, when I was playing at lunchtime on a Monday, was surprisingly full – and of people talking about how nice their hair smelled – vanilla shampoo, apparently) and are told to make yourself at home.
And that’s the end of the Human starting area.
* * *
Coldridge Valley – Dwarf Starting Area
The Cataclysm has happened. Activating a Titan Tablet the Dwarves found in Ulduar turned Magni Bronzebeard into diamond, and he’s still frozen solid. Moira Thaurissan, Bronzebeard‘s daughter, has arrived with her infant Dark Iron son, claiming the throne. To avoid war, the Council of Three Hammers rule Ironforge together. The future of Ironforge falls to Dwarves like you etc etc.
(The Council of Three Hammers is made of Muradin Bronzebeard, who represents the Bronzebeards, Moira Thaurissan who represents the Dark Iron Dwarves, and Falstad Wildhammer, who represents the Wildhammers.)
An earthquake has just happened (on account of the Cataclysm) and Troggs are invading. Joren Ironstock has you killing the invaders, who seem to blame the destruction of their home on you Dwarves, (I mean, it’s not an unfair assumption) and Sten Stoutarm has you bandaging up wounded Dwarves. Joren sends you to report to his wife Jona Ironstock in Anvilmar, which is being put on lockdown because of the earthquake.
Jona Ironstock needs supplies – namely beer, boar meat, and wolf pelts – and Grundel Harkin notices the earthquake has unearthed a bunch of artifacts – both Dwarven and Trogg. Naturally, you’re sent to collect the lot.
Grelin Whitebeard has been asking for reinforcements, so you’re sent to his camp, where you discover he’s having some trouble with the local Frostmane Trolls. You’re told to thin their ranks and to get back some stuff they stole from a Gnome named Felix Whindlebolt. Apprentice Soren also wants you to investigate what’s causing the Trolls to act so strangely, so you eavesdrop on their soothsayers to discover the Trolls believe the spirits have abandoned them, but they’re not worried, because a fire elemental has arrived and it’s on their side.
Obviously, this is bad news, so you’re sent to kill Grik’nir the Cold, the leader of the Frostmane Trolls, and his fire elemental with him.
Once that’s done, it’s clearly time to submit a report to Ironforge – a fire elemental in Coldridge is not a good sign – so you’re told to talk to Hands Springsprocket who’s near the tunnel that leads out of the Valley. As you reach Hands, the tunnel caves in, and you’re told to report to Milo Geartwinge instead, who has a Gyro-Copter and can fly you. You fetch your share of the supplies you got for Jona Ironstock earlier, pick up a quest from her to speak to let Tharek Blackstone in Kharanos know they could use some help in Coldridge, and you’re flown out.
You arrive in Kharanos, where Tharek is distracted by his own troubles, yet still sympathetic. He’ll see what he can do.
And that’s the end of the Dwarf Starting Area.
* * *
Shadowglen – Night Elf Starting Area
Malfurion Stormrage has finally escaped the Emerald Nightmare and is reunited with his love, Tryanade Whisperwind. He now has plans to heal the corrupted World Tree, Teldrassil. (Yeah, good luck with that.) Of course, the Cataclysm poses a threat, and it falls to Night Elves like you to stand strong and protect the legacy of your people.
Ilthalaine wants you to restore the balance in Shadowglen by culling the number of Nightsabers. (First puppies, now kittens. I see how things are here, Alliance.) Some corruption also seems to linger, causing trouble with the local creatures. You’re tasked with sorting out some grelkin, getting Melithar Staghelm‘s stolen bags back from them while also collecting fel moss for Ilthalaine to study. The fel moss confirms Ilthalaine‘s concerns – something sinister continues to lurk within Teldrassil. Ilthalaine rather ominously hopes the Gnarlpine Furbolgs haven’t been corrupted. He sends you to Dentaria Silverglade, Priestess of Elune, who’s offered to help.
Dentaria‘s friend, Iverron, has been poisoned by the local spiders. Once you help with an antidote, she tells you that a dryad, Tarindrella, has made a rare appearance, and you need to go find out why. You find the dryad in Shadowthread Cave, where she tells you the local spiders have been severely corrupted and you need to thin their numbers. You also need to find the source of their corruption. It turns out they were born corrupted, so you have to kill their spider-mama, Githyiss the Vile. Githyiss is hanging out near a Furbolg totem which has been corrupting the eggs. I’m sure you’re super surprised to find out this means the Gnarlpine Furbolgs have been corrupted after all.
After mentioning Athridas Bearmantle, who you’ll meet in Dolanaar, Tarindrella is off, though she does take you back to Dentaria first. You need to learn about the Night Elves‘ recent history, so you’re sent to a moonwell to collect some water. As weird as that seems, it makes sense once you’re there, as you meet a ghost Night Elf that tells you how Nordrassil was all but destroyed in the fight against Archimonde and the Burning Legion, (during the events of Warcraft III) causing the Night Elves to lose their immortality. The ghost also mentions that Illidan was freed and Malfurion disappeared into the Emerald Dream, and concludes that all in all, it was not a good time for the Night Elves.
Dentaria tells you to take the water from the moonwell to Tenaron Stormgrip at the top of Aldrassil to complete your training. On your way up the ramp, you’ll hear Doranel Amberleaf talking about being happy that Malfurion is back, but also a little suspicious, wondering in particular where Fandral Staghelm‘s gotten to. Moriana Dawnlight will notice your presence and tell Doranel to be quiet.
Tenaron tells you that the moonwells hold waters from the Well of Eternity, then mentions you have a lot more to learn. He asks you to take the water you collected to Corithras Moonrage, who’ll be expecting you in Dolanaar. On your way to Dolanaar, you meet Porthannius, who asks you to deliver a package of herbs for him to Innkeeper Keldamyr. You deliver the herbs and find Corithras standing next to another moonwell, where, once you’ve delivered the water, another ghost tells you of some history.
Once Malfurion was gone, the druids needed a new leader. Fandral Staghelm took his place, and he and the druids, hoping to regain immortality for the Night Elves, grew Teldrassil with the help of the Circle of Ancients in Darkshore. It didn’t work, but Teldrassil is a pretty decent home. (You know, for now.)
And that’s the end of the Night Elf starting area.
* * *
New Tinkertown – Gnome Starting Area
With the recent political upheaval in Ironforge (that would be the whole Magni turning into diamond, Moira trying to organise a coup, then the Council of Three Hammers finally taking over thing) the Gnomes have found themselves a little more in the way than usual, so, under the leadership of High Tinker Mekkatorque, they’ve decided to finally have a go at retaking their home, Gnomeregan, from the invading Troggs that drove them from it so long ago.
You start out in Gnomeregan, and Nevin Twistwrench from S.A.F.E. (Survivor Assistance Facilitation Expedition) doesn’t know how you’re not dead, (turns out you’ve been trapped in Gnomeregan, which is full of harmful radiation) but he needs your help killing those Gnomes who aren’t as lucky and have lost their minds – the Leper Gnomes. Once done, you need to help prepare to leave. You’re sent to find Carvo Blastbolt, who immediately puts you to work rescuing other survivors by using a beacon on them that will teleport them out.
Once that’s sorted, you’re sent to the Loading Room, where you meet up with Gaffer Coilspring. Before she can send you to the surface, you need to be decontaminated, (and they keep mentioning how impressed they are that you’ve lasted this long) which means boarding something called the Sanitron 500. It shouldn’t hurt… much.
The Sanitron 500 turns out to be a carwash-type-area, where you’re shot with ‘clean cannons’ and, it seems, electrocuted, before it packs up. Technician Braggle tells you you’re good to go to the surface and that Nevin Twistwrench will meet you there. (Apparently it’s not necessary for Nevin to go through the now broken Sanitron 500.) Torben Zapblast arranges a teleport for you, which is a bit weird because there’s a perfectly good, working lift, but I guess the Gnomes will never waste an opportunity to use a fun (read: dangerous) invention.
You get to New Tinkertown, and Nevin is glad to see you and super excited that they’ve managed to rescue another Gnome from Gnomeregan. He sends you to Muffinus Chromebrew to begin your adjustment to life on the surface. Chromebrew is impressed with how fit you seem and reminds you about Mekkatorque, just in case the radiation has caused memory loss. Apparently, Mekkatorque makes a point of greeting every survivor personally, because he’s a sweety-pie and of course he does. You’re sent to introduce yourself to him.
Mekkatorque is not just polite, but he takes the time to tell you a bit about Operation: Gnomeregan, complete with a hologram about it, and also why the Gnomes left Ironforge, giving you a slightly more diplomatic version than “the Dwarves were all fighting and it left us feeling pretty unwelcome”.
When Troggs and radiation (caused by the traitor Thermaplugg) invaded the Gnome home long ago, the Dwarves of Ironforge were kind enough to take the homeless Gnomes in. While they had sanctuary, it couldn’t stop homesickness, and the Gnomes have been longing for home ever since. Mekkatorque eventually organized Operation: Gnomeregan to take back their home.
They had Thermaplug all but cornered when he activated something called the Ultimate Atomic Protection System. The Gnomes were forced to retreat. Thermaplug hides behind the radiation, and he’s sent Razlo Crushcog to deal with you on the surface.
You’re gonna need all the weapons, inventions and soldiers you can get, so you’re sent to help Engineer Grindspark first, who’s creating a ‘Multi-Bot’ and is super flattered that Mekkatorque himself has heard of his project. You’re put to work collecting spare parts for the bot, and then you take it to test its cleaning skills out on some toxic geysers. You swing by Tock Sprysprocket, who tells you how the Leper Gnomes eventually devolve into mindless puddles of toxic sludge (I didn’t know that – that’s horrifying wow) and that he thinks he might be able to restore them from this state. You promise to subdue some of them and bring him back their old possessions. It’s a weird request, but OK.
On your way to the Toxic Airfield, you meet Corporal Fizzwhistle, who tells you that, because Tock Sprysprocket thinks the sludges used to be Gnomes, his men won’t kill them, but they do need help killing some of the contaminated elementals that are running about.
You kill the sludges. You’re told they used to be Gnomes, that there might even be a way to reverse the horrifying transformation that turned them into sludges in the first place, that the other Gnomes aren’t killing them for that reason, that they still carry around their old possessions as if there’s some part of them still clinging to their former lives, and then you kill them. You also kill some of the living contaminations for Fizzwhistle, and you use the Multi-Bot to clean up the geysers for Grindspark.
When you return to Tock Sprysprocket, he uses the recovered possessions to restore a Gnome (but you just killed the toxic sludge that the Gnome was turned into, and now he’s brought the Gnome back? I’m so confused) but he’s definitely reversed the effects and has turned a Leper Gnome back into a Gnome and it’s a bit undersized (even for a Gnome) but everything seems to be going pretty well until it runs away and explodes.
I am traumatized.
Captain Tread Sparknozzle tells you that there’s some Troggs to deal with, and after what you’ve just witnessed, you’ll probably take Trogg invader over Gnome inventor any day. You report to the Dwarf Jessup McCree who seems to have a plan to collapse Frostmane Hold, the cave, previously filled with Trolls, that the Troggs seem to have taken over and are tunnelling through. Unfortunately, the same Troggs have stolen his supplies and kidnapped his men. He sends you to recover kegs of gunpowder and demolitionists, and then all that’s left is to kill the Trogg leader, Boss Bruggor, and activate the detonator that’ll blow up the cave. It’s super safe and you’re only nearly crushed to death a little bit.
Jessup gives you a report to deliver to Mekkatorque, who’s about ready to deal with Razlo Crushcog, who’s taken over an old arsenal nearby. The arsenal is filled with old mechano-tanks and you’re sent to kill Crushcog‘s technicians before they can repair them. Hinkles Fastblast asks you to blow the tanks up for good measure. (It’s a pity you can’t steal them – they’re frankly far more impressive than the Multi-Bot you worked with before.)
While Mekkatorque and his crew finalize their plans for the attack on Crushcog, Kelsey Steelspark wants you to go offer your assistance to Jarvi Shadowstep in Brewnall, where a cadre of mountaineers from Ironforge has been sent to help in the fight. Jarvi tells you that Crushcog is on an island in the middle of Iceflow Lake, surrounded by sentry-bots. You need to use a device called the ‘Paintinator’ to blind those bots. Then you’re sent to meet up with the leader of the Dwarf mountaineers, Mountaineer Stonegrind, along with Mekkatorque. It’s finally time to begin the attack on Crushcog.
With your modest help, Crushcog is defeated and Mekkatorque is elated. He gives a pretty impressive, feel-good speech about the inevitability of Thermaplugg‘s defeat, and there is much rejoicing. (Out of all the starting areas, this one ends on the highest note. I love it.)
Jarvi Shadowstep pulls you aside and tells you of some news the Dwarf mountaineers brought. Apparently, those Trolls that the Troggs drove out of Frostmane Hold have been harassing Kharanos instead. You should go find out if Captain Tharran needs help.
On your way, you meet Ciara Deepstone from Brewnall Village, who tells you she’s supposed to be delivering ale to Innkeeper Belm in Kharanos, but her wagon needs repairing after being attacked by Frostmane Trolls. She knows you can’t exactly take the kegs, but asks if you can take some sample casks with you.
In Kharanos, Tharran is happy to accept your help, and Belm is excited to try the ale.
And that’s the end of the Gnome starting area, which felt unusually long, and must be, as you hit 100 quests around this point.
* * *
Ammen Vale – Draenei starting area
The events of the Burning Crusade are over. The Draenei have done what they originally set out to do. Some have returned to Outland, but others, like you, have stayed to make good on your promises to the Alliance. Velen believes that a war between the Void and the Light, which will be fought on Azeroth, is approaching. You need to make sure your people are ready.
That said, you’ve just arrived, the Exodar has just crashed. So you’ve immediately jumped back in time already to the beginning of the Burning Crusade.
(This all happened shortly after the Blood Elves seized control of the Naaru spaceship, Tempest Keep, on Draenor. The Exodar was a wing of that keep which Velen and other Draenei used to escape Draenor. Thanks to Blood Elf sabotage, The Exodar was damaged and it crashed into Azeroth. Enter you.)
You’ve just regained consciousness. Megalon tells you The Exodar has crashed and many have died. Proenitus has been asking after you. He doesn’t know why The Exodar crashed, (The Exodar itself isn’t here, it seems like a small part of it broke off and landed you here in Ammen Vale) but you need to act quickly. He needs you to gather blood from the local vale moths to replenish their healing crystals. You collect the blood and Megalon waxes eloquent a bit about how sad it is that the moths had to die before sending you to deliver the blood to Zalduun, their priest. Zalduun thanks you, then asks you to use your Gift of the Naaru to save one of the crash survivors.
Proenitus, meanwhile, lets you know Botanist Taerix is looking for you. She’s worried about the effects the crash is having on the local creatures – mutations everywhere. She might be able to do something about it, but, naturally, only after you kill some. You kill and you heal, and then you kill some more as Taerix needs you to gather samples if you’re going to do something about all these mutations. You also pick some flowers for Apprentice Vishael, who wants to see what she can do about the corrupted plantlife. You return with the samples and Botanist Taerix is able to give you a neutralizing agent to pour into Silverline Lake, which should help with the corruption.
On your way, you pass by Technician Zhanaa, who needs you to collect spare parts to help fix a holographic emitter, which could be used to help find other survivors. The parts were carried off by some local Owlkin, and Vindicator Aldar wants you to use a crystal provided by Taerix to innoculate those of the Nestlewood Owlkin who haven’t mutated yet. You sort out the lake, innoculate the Owlkin, and grab the parts.
Taerix is thrilled the neutralizing agent works and gets her Apprentice Tedon to try it out on one of the local mutated creatures. To her delight, it turns back into a bunny. Zhanaa believes she can use the parts you’ve gathered to fix the emitter – she’ll let you know when she’s done. Aldar is concerned about Tolaan, a missing scout, and wants you to go check on him over at Shadow Ridge.
You find Tolaan, who says he was ambushed by Blood Elves. (He also claims to be dying, but unlike all the other Draenei survivors littered around, his health is at 100% and using the Gift of the Naaru on him doesn’t help, so I’m suspicious.) You kill Blood Elf scouts, (no doubt cursing your bad luck – of all the planets in all the Universe, you just landed on the one with the same horrible creatures that drove you off your last one) and their leader, Surveyor Candress, who, it turns out, is carrying invasion plans. You report back to Vindicator Aldaar who reads the Blood Elf plans and realises they’ve followed you here. He loses his cool completely, calling them “evil to the core” and says they should be “wiped from existence”, then calms himself and apologises. He tells you Zhanaa has something to say about the emitter.
The emitter is fixed, and it shows an image of Technician Dyvuun, who is excited to see other survivors and tells you about Azure Watch. Zhanaa immediately wants you to go to Azure Watch to speak with him and find out if he can send any aid and supplies. (Weirdly, you don’t seem to be expected to let Dyvuun know about the invading Blood Elves or their plans. Perhaps Aldaar intends to make good on his promise to wipe them from existence while you’re away.)
On your way, you meet Aeun, a scout sent from Azure Watch at the same time you were sent from Ammen Vale. He’s been injured and needs you to carry the information he was supposed to gather (how many Draenei must be expected in Azure Watch) to Caregiver Chellan for him. Chellan thanks you and promises to send someone to help Aeun. Dyvuun is glad to see you, and wants you to go introduce yourself to the others.
And that’s the end of the Draenei starting area, and of this post!
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Lok’tar ogar, and Zandalar Forever x