We begin our adventure in Darkshore, a night elf zone that was strongly affected by the Cataclysm. When you arrive at Lor’danel, one of the few remaining settlements in the land, the devastation is brought to your awareness immediately – the entire town is busy aiding refugees from the destruction of Auberdine, the previous centre of population in the zone. The survivors you rescue will eventually give you quests, and their stories will stick with you for a long time.
Favourite quests and moments
The Ritual Bond
Whilst searching for one of the survivor’s companions, a bear named Grimclaw, you will come across a Keeper who had been tending to his wounds. In order to save him, he needs you to gather materials, a fairly routine task one would think, however he wants you to gather them peacefully. This involves waiting for bears to be distracted by fish so you can pluck some fur from them, stealing a few whiskers from sleeping moonstalkers and some hair from the peaceful doe. Once you’ve done that, a ritual is set up and you can choose a blessing from one of the three animal spirits of the land. The bear offers you protection, the cat offers you offense, and the stag offers you speed. Whichever blessing you pick will stay with you for the entirety of your journey through Darkshore.
A New Home
There are several fun quests in the zone involving murlocs (including one where you use a robot to blow them up underwater!), but this has to be my favourite. The Greymist murlocs were displaced from their homes on the shore when the Cataclysm happened, and have become a pest for the local archaeologists after they moved into their digsite. Whilst the chain begins with killing them off, one of the dwarves has a better idea – building them a new home. It’s a short quest chain, but when you’re finally done you get to see all the murlocs moving into the house. The thing that really made me smile were their names – ‘Happy Greymist Murlocs’. It’s not often you see that.
The Devourer of Darkshore
This quest chain was one of my favourites because of the NPC that gives you them – Kathrena Winterwisp. When reading up about her after I found she actually came from the webcomic Flintlocke’s Guide to Azeroth (which I definitely have to read now!). I think it’s great that Blizzard put in content inspired by works of fans, and Kathrena herself is a wonderful character. In this quest chain you aid her in curing the animals of the forest from the Old One’s corruption, and even get to fly around with her on a hippogryph throwing the cure to the creatures below.
Remembrance of Auberdine
After you help all the survivors from Auberdine in their respective quest chains, Cerellan will offer you this quest to thank you for all your work. You don’t have to do anything extra, but you get gifted with a battle pet treant named Withers, and it makes you feel like you genuinely helped the NPCs in the area. I won’t spoil the endings to their stories, but I plan on keeping Withers around as a companion for a while to remember them.
Easily Missed Quests
The Loremaster achievement for this zone has a relatively high requirement for quests (90) and you may find yourselves stuck on the last few after completing the zone like I did. That’s because there are quite a few quests you can easily miss picking up – so here’s a quick reference for them.
One Shot. One Kill.
This quest is quite a simple one – defend an NPC whilst she heals herself of her wounds. Unfortunately it’s very out of the way (coordinates – 45,90) in the hills south of Darkshore, and unless you go there specifically for the quest, you might miss it completely.
Reason to Worry
Early on in the story of the zone you will be sent to the Ruins of Mathystra to deal with the Shatterspear trolls. If you follow the quests in the area closely, you may miss this short quest chain. When killing Shatterspear Laborers for the initial quest, make sure you kill one of the Overseers roaming the area. They’ll drop an item called Overseer’s Orders which starts this quest chain. Remember to unlock the cage later on in the chain for another quest too!
Writings of the Void
This quest is so out of the way that it even has an achievement related to it – Ghosts in the Dark. South of Lor’danel you will find a waterfall with a whirlpool at the bottom called the Maw of the Void. To get this quest you need to jump into this whirlpool (preferably from a height, as getting the cutscene to trigger otherwise can be a bit fiddly) and then explore the cave below. Make sure to kill the demon hunter inside as he drops the item to begin this quest!
Since the achievement is called loremaster, I thought it worth highlighting some of the key pieces of lore we learn from this zone. This is coming from and aimed at those who are still learning the lore of Warcraft and haven’t done extensive reading on the subject, as a little taster to find out more.
The Old Ones
One of the key story elements of this zone is the return of the Old Ones, brought about by the Twilight Hammer cultists. Our characters, along with the NPCs of the zone, know relatively little about these entities. Kathrena tells you what she has heard from Onu, an Ancient of Lore: that these creatures existed long before the Titans, before Azeroth even existed. In this time they ruled over the elements and, in her words, ‘corrupted creation to serve their own malignant ends’. Ultimately the Titans defeated the Old Ones, imprisoning them under the earth. As we find out as the quests progress however, is that these creatures aren’t really ‘defeated’, but rather just slumbering in their prisons. The Twilight Hammer worship these beings, and work to usher them back into our world.
The Naga and Queen Azshara
Whilst we don’t find out much about the queen herself in this zone, she does make a brief appearance at the ruins of Nazj’vel, and we get to see her conversation with Malfurion. It’s hear we learn that she and her naga forces are working in tandem with the Twilight Hammer, and therefore presumably also with the Old Ones themselves. We also find out from the NPCs of the zone that she and her naga forces were once night elves before she betrayed them and was defeated by Malfurion (with help from his brother Illidan and Tyrande, the priestess of Elune). We learn more about her story in higher level zones, so I shall leave it at that, but it’s safe to say that’s not the last time we run into her and the naga.
The Adventure Continues
I loved Darkshore. It’s a long zone (I was level 24 when I was done, and it’s only a 10-20 zone), but the story is interesting and there are many memorable quests. Ashenvale is the follow-up zone to Darkshore, you get sent there from Lor’danel to help fight against Garrosh and his Horde forces (who you encounter a few times in Darkshore itself). However since I still have lower level zones left to complete, that fight will have to wait a little longer. The choice now is between Loch Modan and Westfall, and since Naraashi encountered quite a few dwarves in Darkshore who told her interesting stories about the Titans, I think she’ll be headed to Loch Modan next!