It’s been a long, nearly eight months since we first learned that Mount Hyjal would become a playable zone back at BlizzCon 2009, and now we’re finally starting to hear some of the juicy details. Today, Blizzard released a new informational page on the zone detailing some of the zone’s lore, areas within the level 78-82 phased zone, and a teaser on Firelands, an “all-new level-85 raid dungeon” in the zone.
Here’s the basics:
For years, Mount Hyjal and the wounded World Tree, Nordrassil, have remained cut off from the rest of Azeroth. Sealed away within a protective field of dense foliage by Malfurion Stormrage, Nordrassil has been slowly recovering from the devastation of the Third War, when Malfurion called upon the tree’s power to destroy the archdemon Archimonde and repel the forces of the Burning Legion and Scourge. Now, with the impending cataclysm, the World Tree’s well-being is threatened once more. From the Firelands within the Elemental Plane, Ragnaros and his minions prepare to burst into Hyjal and set Nordrassil ablaze — and the conflagration would endanger all life on Azeroth.
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, players will have the opportunity to explore the newly reopened Mount Hyjal as Azeroth’s heroes, with the help of Ysera, Malfurion Stormrage and Hamuul Runetotem, are called upon to push back the armies of the Firelord, banish Ragnaros to the Elemental Plane and lay waste to the twilight dragon stronghold in nearby Darkwhisper Gorge. This all-new level 78-82 zone will feature multiple quest hubs, phased terrain and quest lines, portals to micro-zones within the Firelands, an all-new raid dungeon, and much more.
Read on for the full details, a brief analysis and another screenshot.
The World Tree
Players will be able to enter Hyjal by way of Moonglade, to take on a series of high-stakes quests in a historic location alongside some of Azeroth’s most renowned heroes. With a longstanding rivalry among the night elf leadership threatening to undermine the campaign against Deathwing, players will quickly discover the task of defending Nordrassil is more daunting than they had anticipated. In order to succeed, they must seek out the help of extremely powerful allies: the Ancients.
To protect Nordrassil and heal the devastation the invading fire elementals are causing across Mount Hyjal, players must first recapture the shrine of the wolf god Goldrinn. The ogres surrounding the shrine will not leave peacefully, but seizing the shrine will allow players their first opportunity to infiltrate the Firelands and shut down a key Twilight portal, slowing the advance of the nearby Twilight’s Hammer in Hyjal.
With the first portal dismantled, players will soon be sought by the wilderness spirit Aessina to assist in cleansing and healing the nearby forest, ultimately returning the land to its former splendor. This small victory, however, isn’t enough to deter the Twilight Remnants from attempting to scorch the forest once more. As you struggle to keep these foes at bay, you’ll also need to help the Guardians of Hyjal — a new neutral faction of druids and worshippers of the Ancients — repopulate the forest with animal life. It’s even rumored that Malorne has been spotted in the wilderness. Perhaps further investigation is necessary….
Amid the chaos, the Druids of the Talon will need players’ assistance to resurrect the goddess of winged creatures. Players begin the process by helping to slay a group of black dragons and closing a second Firelands portal from within. Just when you think things might be heating up, you’ll need to fight through a burning night elf town to shut down the third and final portal with the assistance of the turtle god Tortollus.
Your successes in Hyjal will ultimately lead you to the assembly of the Ancients, who have set a plan in motion to bring a powerful ally and demigod back into this realm. Before that can happen, however, you will need to infiltrate Darkwhisper Gorge disguised as a follower of the Twilight’s Hammer, acting quickly to sow discord within the entrenched faction, weakening it for the coming struggle. Only time will tell if the Ancients’ plan is a success — but you’ll need to do your part if there’s any hope of saving Mount Hyjal from the twilight dragons, Ragnaros, and his minions of the Elemental Plane.
More information on this all-new level-85 raid dungeon is coming soon.
Wow, that’s a lot of information. Granted, I would love to hear more about the Firelands, but I suppose Blizzard has to draw out their information release a little bit to keep the buzz going.
We knew phasing would play a large role in Cataclysm, but after this information, it sounds like it may be even more substantial than I had expected. It also sounds like the quest lines will delve into a good bit of lore that helps explain both Mount Hyjal’s past and the Cataclysm event itself. With Ancients, dragons, elves, elementals, new factions and Ragnaros thrown into the mix, it sounds at least from here that it should make for a very interesting story.
Plus, we’ll get to infiltrate the enemy forces once again, which is something I’ve always enjoyed while questing in the past. It helps, I think, with getting more entrenched in the storyline. One would hope this will continue in Cataclysm.
It also should be interesting to see how the level 80+ content mixes up with the level 1-60 content in the Old World. I’ll be happy to (perhaps) see the Old World of Azeroth gain a little bit of repopulation. And, since we’ll get to fly over all of this on our flying mounts, hopefully we’ll get to take in the full range of beauty and dismay that the screenshots show will be portrayed in the Hyjal zone.
There’s so much more to talk about with all this information, but I’ll bring this post to an end and leave that for another time. We’d love to hear what our readers think of these new insights — does it make you that much more excited for Cataclysm‘s release?