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Looking to the Future: Sunken City of Vashj’ir

April 29, 2010

This is the second in the Looking to the Future posts, and this time I thought I’d study Cataclysm’s new underwater zone – the Sunken City of Vashj’ir.

The lore of Sunken City of Vashj’ir:

This city is to be found to the south of the Maelstrom, assuming they don’t move it closer to a continent for easy access. It was commanded by Lady Vashj before the Sundering. The official Cataclysm site describes it thusly:

Once a great Highborne city housing some of the most revered night elves of Kalimdor, Vashj’ir was swallowed by the Great Sea in the Sundering and thought to be lost forever. Queen Azshara, formerly a beloved leader of the Highborne, escaped death in the depths of the sea when the Well of Eternity imploded. Such salvation came at a great cost, as the queen and many of her fellow Highborne were forever transformed into the monstrous naga, doomed to wander the seas for thousands of years. Their existence mostly remains a mystery to the peoples of modern Azeroth, though the Earthen Ring has learned of Azshara’s naga seizing Vashj’ir for an unknown purpose as the cries of the elements echo across Azeroth from the Abyss.

And more recently we’ve received an update on that page, in the form of a note in a bottle!

Need your help. Time is short. I’m held captive in what I hope to be a nightmare.

Enjoying the ocean air just days ago. We were determined to control key trade routes through victory at sea over the Horde. Their fleet came into our scopes. Our world became the deafening sound of battle, the smell of gunpowder, and the feeling of fear. Looking back now, though, that wasn’t real fear.

We weren’t alone in those waters. Our naval warfare attracted attention and rendered us prey. With our vessel already torn apart and taking on water, we saw a tremendous creature rise from the depths and shatter the hull, sucking us down to the sea floor. It all happened so fast. I was quick to tread the waters, hoping to regroup with any survivors I could find through a dense garden of kelp, constantly gasping for a chance breath. That’s when the onslaught began. From all directions swarms of brutal naga swept through and captured a great many of us. Beaten near to death, I awoke in agony, bound in chains.

And here I still sit. I can only describe our prison as very big and somehow very much alive. We’re in the hands of the naga now. Surviving crewmates in better condition than me are driven into slave labor.

One escaped. Thomas. He didn’t make it far before I saw him dragged back. Before being forced into labor, he spoke in a panic about some large shell protecting this living prison, expansive night elf ruins in the distance, strange naga rituals underway, and sea vrykul battling our captors. He made little sense. Could be mad. Or I could be mad to hope vrykul are fighting to free us.

Prison patrols out again. Send word to Stormwind. Sunken city far from extinct. Naga plotting something horrific. Please help.

The Blizzcon mock up map of the zone can be found here, as ever it is not finalised, just a rough guide to how the zone will be organised.

What we know about it as part of Cataclysm:

As the first truly underwater zone in World of Warcraft, players will be able to swim by jumping, but otherwise will interact normally when touching the ground. For speed, there will be special underwater mounts to navigate the zone. It is suitable for players from 78-82. In the centre of the city is a gateway to the Abyssal Maw, which will contain two 5-man dungeons. Blizzard have also said that this zone would feature all new Water combat mechanics, Horde and Alliance quest hubs in the form of Naval Ships and Submarines. (However, they did promise brand new gamechanging aerial combat for Wrath, and that didn’t happen, so don’t hold your breath.)

Dungeon name Level range Group size
Abyssal Maw 81-83 5
Throne of the Tides 82-84 5

This zone has a lot of potential, and I hope we see it realised! They have to make fighting all those damn Naga worth it…
Watch this space for the twin ‘Looking back to the Past: Sunken City of Vashj’ir’ post.

-Zal

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