Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Azeroth's Landmasses (A Geographical Post)

   I had originally started this post in response to the globe Wrathion conjured at the beginning of the legendary questline, but while searching for an image of it for this very post, I had discovered that a globe in Ulduar (somewhere I've not yet been) didn't even depict Pandaria. I've realised that you clearly can't trust every aspect of the game, because this globe, likely created by the Titans, should have shown Pandaria's landmass. Yes, land changes over time, we know this, but there was little change between Azeroth now and the Titan's globe.
   I was going to go on and say that Wrathion, being a Black Dragon, would surely know what the world was like, and that, at the very least, the other Aspects would, too. It's unlikely that Nozdormu, who polices the Timeways, would never have seen hint of lands or creatures as yet unknown to us mortal creatures, be they in the past, present or future, and that Alexstrasza, the Aspect of Life, wouldn't know of their existance, especially given the age of the Aspects (whether they are technically Aspects anymore, or not). The same goes to Ysera - the Emerald Dream is supposedly an alternative Azeroth, I believe (I may be wrong) which she was charged with watching over as well as nature. She, too, would know of all living land. So I had believed that Wrathion was either wrong, which is a pretty big deal for a dragon of the Black Dragonflight, or he was hiding everything else from us to keep us focused on the task at hand, which is more likely.

   The purpose of me blathering on like this was originally to say that there was no room on Azeroth for a new continent, but the globe in Ulduar has thrown that theory right down the toilet.

   But I have other thoughts considering new land masses. There were a few empty zones in Azeroth before Cata, which Cata filled in - Uldum, Hyjal and the Twilight Highlands - and that leaves only one - the burning city-region of Stratholme. Given that it is only one small zone by zone standards, it's unlikely to be opened up in any expansion other than, perhaps, with the sole purpose of completion, and to give us the ability to fly over and land in it like you can through Zul'Farrak, Zul'Gurub and Ahn'Qiraj. Which would be nice, whether it burns still or not.
   So the probability of Cata Round-2 is unlikely. Instead, however, there is the consideration of the planet's poles.
   Northrend is probably as far north as we'll go, and is the hospitable equivalent to the North Pole, though likely not the pole itself. The tops of both the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor are fairly calmer, with a lot less snow. Winterspring is fairly high in altitude which explains its cold temperatures, and Hyjal is filled with enough life and magic thanks to the Night Elves to avoid the snow.

   Head to the southern edges of both continents, however and you'll find climates drastically different to the north which are similar in both continents. The southern regions of the Eastern Kingdoms are marshy and tropical. The Blasted Lands were part of the Swamp of Sorrows, known on the whole as the Black Morass, and was humid and muggy. Stranglethorn is quite tropical but less moist, given its lack of swamps. Then the southern regions of Kalimdor are dry deserts - Silithus, Uldum, Tanaris - with moister areas just north with Un'Goro Crater and Feralas.
   Pandaria, equally, seems far more comfortable than Northrend, even slightly tropical aside from the corruption of the Sha, and I would say that it matched the southern-mid regions of both original continents, being as far south from the warm equator as the southern-mid regions are north. What I'm getting at is simply that there is likely a lot of room towards the south of Pandaria at least, and I'm not talking about the South Pole. That's not to mention that there may well be more room beside Kalimdor or something. If there was a Titan globe which didn't display Pandaria despite the fact that there was a Pandaren in Warcraft 3 (Pandaren = Pandaria exists, meaning that Warcraft's creators would have put it on a Titan globe, since, in a way, Warcraft's creators are the Titans), and the Titans created the world's population and would jolly well know about its formation, then it suggests that Wrathion's globe could also mean little, especially since it was conjured for the player's sake rather than created millennia ago for reference and documentation.

   Then there's Outland. Not once does it say in any official lore that Draenor was obliterated. Sure, NPCs might say it, but that's because it's probably a common belief. But that doesn't make it true. All lore simply states that it was torn apart. I like to think about it in the same way as Sargeras during the War of the Ancients. He tried to come through the portal to Azeroth which the Highborne had opened for him while it was closing, and it closed on him. He didn't die, however, he simply 'ceased to be'. He didn't die, but he was gone, and the wording was done very, very carefully. And so I go on to also believe that Draenor wasn't obliterated, just torn apart.
   The only reason that we can access the part of Outland that we can is because the Dark Portal still stands there, but only just. The reason Draenor was broken was because Ner'zhul opened lots of portals to lots of different worlds, but the presence of so many worlds and their strength caused Draenor to crumble (and perhaps destroyed a little of each of the other worlds, too). These portals were opened near the Black Temple, so the damage was likely focused around the Outland we know now. There's definitely the possibility that there are other large fragments of the world floating out in space - possibly even bigger since they were further away from the destructive force - which have also maintained an atmosphere and are hospitable, if not already populated. It is extremely unlikely that all of the planet's population were focused around the Dark Portal at the time of the planet's destruction.
   Common sense says that if something awful was happening - such as war breaking out - that people would flee, be they involved or of the same race or not. They would want to get away from the place if they were nearby, and if they had few enough belongings to enable them to up and leave, they could. So there's a good chance of a population, and given the likely size of the planet, there's a good justification for loads of new races to pop up, too, including, perhaps, playable. Afterall, the Draenai kind of came out of nowhere.

   And it's not like we couldn't get to any of the other floating fragments, either. The Gnomes and Goblins are fairly good tinkers, even if they are unreliable, but the Draenai have to be kept in mind. As much as I dislike them, they are probably the most superior race. They fled from Argus on a ship that was created, I think, by the Naruu (Oshugan), but they built their own ship and left Draenor themselves, crash-landing on Azeroth. So clearly they're not great pilots, but though the ships crashed, they also took off. Goodness only knows how far Argus is from Draenor, and Draenor is from Azeroth, but there's a good chance that the other fragments of Draenor are closer to Outland than the other two worlds are. Or, are and were.
   My point is that if the Draenei were able to build a new ship, with help, perhaps, and learned from past mistakes, and launched from the Outland we know, then I don't think it's at all impossible for new land to be found. If they can establish a portal there (but how AWESOME would it be to travel there for the first time on one of the initial expiditionary ships? If not the initial ship?) then there's easy coming and going. Not the same sort of portal as the Dark Portal, however.

   These are the only two options I can come up with. It wouldn't make much sense for us to discover another world. Draenor is linked to Azeroth because of the Orcs, so it has been a big part of Warcraft since the beginning, and though with each new expansion and all the new content the already established story progresses, adding another world to the game would cheapen Azeroth a little, and make it a little too sci-fi than fantasy. And as big a fan as I am for sci-fi, I don't think the two should be mixed too much. Not when something is already established as being fantasy. If it had been a mix of fantasy and sci-fi from the very beginning then that is a completely different and far more acceptable matter.
   But yup, these are just my opinions based on what I already know about WoW. Personally, I'd love to see another Outland, but at the same time, I really hate the whole broken and destructed look the whole place has. I understand the reason for it, of course, but it keeps me on edge a little the whole time I'm there. I'd love it if the next fragment would be larger and a lot further from the destruction site, because it might be a little more whole, and would perhaps have a lot more of the planet's outer core, so it could also be a little healthier. I also hate the huge, huge differences between the zones, it's a little too rainbowy, which, given the state of the whole place, it seems a little lurid and disturbing. The thing is, of course, that Draenor has been conquered by the Burning Legion, so it's unlikely that any such fragment would exist.

   Still, like I said, these are just my opinions. Don't be hatin'.

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