Azshara, home for many centuries to a dreadful dynasty of scaly, serpentine naga: the Naga of Azshara. Legend has it that these former high elves can be destroyed by a sword through the heart, or exposure to Moonfire. This does not suffice, however, for they may be brought back to life by means of a secret rite that can be performed once every few minutes, when the game code is in the right mood for respawning…
The latest reincarnations are still annoying for players. (Apologies to Cosgrove Hall for paraphrasing the introduction to ‘Count Duckula’.)
Before the Event that is now known as the Shattering, Azshara was a rather picturesque zone north of the Orcish capital of Orgrimmar. Apparently existing in an eternal autumn, the plantlife abounded with greens, oranges and reds. It was not a place for completely peaceful contemplation, however. The area was awash with ghosts and spirits, naga, satyr and dangerous wildlife — much like it is today, in fact.
Azshara was girt by sea on its northern and eastern edges, with Durotar (and the Horde capital of Orgrimmar) forming the southern border, the Southfury River the western, and the sheer cliffs of Winterspring (later part of Mount Hyjal) at the northwest.
There are a number of large differences between Azshara as it was, and Azshara as it is now. The most obvious, if one looks at a map, is that the Bay of Storms lacked the diamond-shaped island constructed by the Bilgewater goblins, which coincidentally forms the centre of the Horde symbol, if you turn your head sideways to the left. Another is that the western border is devoid of the monstrosity later built by the Trade Prince Gallywix as his ‘Pleasure Palace’.
There were two settlements at the western side of Azshara: Valormok, a Horde outpost, and Talrendis Point for the Alliance. The great Azshara Crater lies between them, intended to be a battleground but never implemented. Instead, it became a quarry in Cataclysm.
Many important characters existed in this bygone land to help adventurers, some of which still exist today, although in other areas. The sea giant Lord Arkkoroc provided quests from his temple, a furbolg named Ogtinc helped hunters and priests, and the great water elemental Duke Hydraxis entreated players to descend into the Molten Core raid. Archmage Xylem gave tuition to mages and rogues, and Loramus Thalipedes tasked adventurers with a long 19-quest chain that took them to the Blasted Lands to fight the demon Rakh’likh. Only Hydraxis, Xylem and Loramus still exist now, although Hydraxis is now only a shaman champion in Legion, but he did get promoted to Lord.
Azshara used to be a high-level zone, and as such had high-level herb and ore nodes, especially thorium, which was great for gold farmers. It’s now a low-level questing zone, and as such has copper and tin nodes, and peacebloom and silverleaf nodes.
The great blue dragon Azuregos used to reside here as well, guarding the Blue fragment of the Scepter of Shifting Sands, which would be used to open the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj some five hundred years later. He is now a shadow (almost literally) of his former self, and part of a quest late in the zone’s questing.
The zone also featured in a TV commercial for the Toyota Tacoma: