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BlizzCon 2015: Val’sharah Preview, the Emerald Nightmare, and More

by - 3 years ago

Val’sharah, toted as a “paradise of the druids,” represents the western coast of the Broken Isles in World of Warcraft: Legion. This post breaks down the different sub zones, points of interest, lore, and models that bring the zone to life.

Known as the hidden heart of ancient Druidism on Azeroth, Val’sharah represents the forests where the Night Elf Malfurion met the demigod Cenarius, who trained the Elf to become the first Druid and, eventually, Archdruid.

Throughout the zone, players will meet some of the most powerful druids in existence, including three key Archdruids. Below is the Archdruid Elathir (unsure on spelling), a Grand Master Treant Druid.

Grand Master Treant Archdruid Elathir Model

Threats

As in the War of the Ancients trilogy, this zone will feature the invasion of the demon Xavius–one an advisor to Queen Azshara and, for his failure, twisted into his current form by Sargeras, himself. Xavius brings with him his Satyr legions.

More pressingly, the zone is being quickly consumed by the spread of the Emerald Nightmare, likely the work of Lord Xavius, from the ancient world tree Shaladrassil.

The tree, once a gateway into the Emerald Dream, has since been twisted into its current darkened form. At it’s base, it’s the setting for the new dungeon Darkheart Thicket, and at its top players will travel into the Emerald Nightmare for a new raid.

Design

Val’sharah introduces many new models for older bestiary, as well as a couple powerful and interesting focal points.

The most immediate icon in the zone is the world tree Shaladrassil. Shown below, the team struggled creating an iconic–and massive–tree that could be seen from an entire zone away and still maintain a distinct artistic look.

Black Rook Hold, which played a pivotal role in the defense of Azeroth in the first war with the Burning Legion, is a haunting, grim contrast to the vitality of the wilds of Val’sharah.

Surrounded by haunted ancient forests and overshadowing a small town, the fortress was carved from the very rock on which it stands. It is the entry for the new Black Rook Hold dungeon.

The zone called for new models for Mookin, Treants, Dryads, Satyrs, Keepers, and Hippogryphs, as well as a new species of dragons called Nightmare Dragons. Nightmare Dragons are twisted perversions of Emerald Dragons that once guarded the Emerald Dream.

Much of the rest of Val’sharah is a fully realized, verdant fantasy forest. Structures throughout the zone are often indistinguishable from trees, a feat that required extensive collaboration between the zone art and design teams.

That wraps up Val’sharah. Check out all the zones below:


Seth Harkins

PC gamer and lover of (most) things Blizzard. In his off time, he writes bad fan fiction, tends to his growing number of house plants, and enjoys a love-hate relationship with two cats.