The hits just keep on coming! Blizzard released a preliminary preview of their second high-level Cataclysm zone today: the sunken city of Vashj’ir (and the rest, I presume, can’t be very far behind). Once counted amongst the most beautiful Night Elf cities, it was long ago dragged underneath the waves by the violent churning of the Maelstrom. Now its illustrious ruins hide dark secrets and serve as the breeding ground of a fearful new Naga plot.
So what else makes this new zone unique? Well, first of all, it’s the game’s very first completely underwater zone (though there will be areas of pocketed air to romp around in). And considering how much we all hate the snail’s pace of existing underwater quests, Blizzard is giving us a few new means of transportation. Exact details are light, but we can expect faction naval vessels and submarines — of the Gnomish and Goblin variety, no doubt — to help us get around.
Vashj’ir will provide questing opportunities for Level 78-82 characters, as well as two 5-man dungeons: Throne of the Tides and the Abyssal Maw, the latter of which has already had a small preview.
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.
The rest of the preview, including a short piece of lore detailing the account of a captured Alliance soldier and several new screenshots follows the break. Read more…