Vashj’ir Rewind: The Water Zone in Words and Pictures

BE WARNED – The following descriptions and gallery may contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t completed questing in Vashj’ir.

Dizzyness aside, the depths of Vashj’ir and its sub-zones left a lasting impression on my idea of questing in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.The 3-D zone packed a punch with some great stories, fun quests and different gameplay experiences. Oh, and a new breed of murlocs. That can’t be left unsaid, either.

Though mysteries still abound regarding Queen Azshara herself, the reappearance of the Naga as central lore keepers of the zone played a huge role in keeping me involved in the story. Not only do you fight against the Naga, but you also get to experience, in several different series of quests, what it is that the Naga are and have been fighting against (other than you). And I have to admit that playing as a Naga made me appreciate some of their quirks.

Sea monsters are, of course, also a hugely fun part of this zone. From the giant tentacles that first bring down your ship and her crew; a shark that you have to harpoon down like the menace he is; to a new water mount in the form of a huge seahorse; to another shark who helps you chomp up some Naga chum while you ride on his back; to finding a way to communicate with the demigod Nespirah (who, sidenote, reminds me of Ohmu in Hayao Miyazaki’s classic manga and anime film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind); to even seeing the Elemental Lord Neptulon himself from the comfort of one of many beautifully crafted cut scenes.

Not to mention a huge boss-of-a-whale shark that awards its own achievement just for being brave enough to strike against him — and win.

Plus, nothing could go wrong from putting something called a “merciless one” on top of your head. Right? RIGHT?! (Who else had to put their character through that crazyness more than once to get the cut scene again?)

If all that wasn’t enough, the scenery is gorgeous. From the bright colors of corals and fishies to the blues that deepened as you ventured deeper, it certainly wasn’t a drab or lifeless zone, as the gallery below shows. It also wasn’t lacking in things to do — with three sub-zones within Vashj’ir, plus a fair number of quests to complete, I was able to take the time to get my fill before moving on.

Looking back, what was your favorite part of the zone?

Click through for a screenshot gallery of more blues and greens than I realized Azeroth could hold.


  1. If you think Vash (naseua aside, of course!) is great…wait till Uldum. Not to spoil things but there are TWO distinct questing ‘paths’ to fritter your time away on though you’ll have to come back to the other to finish the zone.

    IMO, Uldum is the penultimate in Cataclysm questing; Choice, story, adventure, not too difficult, not too easy, sprawling vistas….just wonderful.

  2. @Highwayman

    Uldum was my favorite, as shown here. The whole sad story about Uldum, is that there’s only 1 (I’m told 2, that it’s obscure to find, but I’ve yet to) dailies for Ramkahen rep, and besides fishing (and some herbing) there’s no reason to be in Uldum really. There’s no portals (to anywhere [-_-] you have to use your Hearthstone to get home) and after you’re done questing + rep, you’re just there to chill really.

    Uldum, Vashj’ir, and Mount Hyjal all have great environment development. Uldum remains my favorite overall in quest design and atmosphere, while Vashj’ir is an innovative (I think) way to use the Z-Axis with a large amount of “fluff” that ties everything together. At BlizzCon ’10, they had mentioned this from the World Design team of how many schools of fish they came up with to swim around.

    Mount Hyjal… was pretty. I didn’t mind the quests too much, but as Amatera said in his post, some things were just instantaneous with phasing, rather than going in steps like I’d prefer to see progress as I save one section of the zone, slowly, at a time.

    Wow, I think I found a topic for a blogpost….

    At any rate, grats to you, Pixie for finishing Vashj’ir.

  3. @Mordril

    I absolutely agree with Vash being innovative and absolutely stunning visually. Sadly (and this is what kills the zone for me, personally) is that while the number of quests and lore and variety of quests (loved LOVED the ‘play as a naga” chain!) are immense, again, it fell prey to the linerality (again, my trademarked word! :P) that Hyjal did. Hyjal compounded the issue with massive phasing that really wasn’t nessacary except in some places such as Goldrin’s shrine and the recovered firezone.

    Plus, Uldum has Gnomebliteration which still never fails to get me rockin n’ jockin’.

    I’m hoping that the new firelands daily hub follows the Quel Danas method. I know Blizzard has stated that they’re going to phase it on an individual basis but that really kills all the fun. I’d phase the area on a realm wide basis and let the dailies require rep to acquire sort of like the Argent Tournament did.

  4. @Highwayman

    “Fire From the Sky” is the one I believe your looking for. The one from the quest line to help Harrison destroy 100 guards.

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