“Gimme Six!” – A Tourist Guide to WoW pt. 1 – Spectacular Nature

Vaneeesa has asked the iRez authors to “share 6 of their favorite, must see, places in virtual space.

This is the World of Warcraft version.

One of the biggest differences between WoW and non-gamified environments, is that the world of Azeroth is largely a hostile place based on conflict, you can die in WoW and if you live here, you will die a lot. Players will have to choose between two factions – the Horde and the Alliance, featuring different races for each. Horde and Alliance are in opposition and continuously fight each other, but have been known to cooperate against greater evil.

Also keep in mind that WoW very much closes around its own universe. When visiting it’s like stepping into a new country, people say weird abbreviated things, the language and norms can be different from other virtual worlds, but if you’ve visited one MMORPG, you’ll have an easier time managing in the others.

Before you consider traveling to any WoW destinations, check your wallet, it could be a costly affair. Second, check your time schedule, it could also take a while.

People travel for different reasons, so here are six locations that might appeal to a broad range of virtual tourists.

  1. Spectacular Nature – Howling Fjord
  2. City Break
  3. Leisure and Spa
  4. Horror and Mystery
  5. Humanitarian Aid Work
  6. History Tour

They will be posted in a series of six parts.

1. Spectacular Nature – Howling Fjord

  • Recommended level: 68
  • Expansion pack: Wrath of the Lich King

Howling Fjord is a zone in Northrend, the upper most Nortern part of Azeroth. The zone is known as one of the starting areas for players leveling through 70-80. Alliance players would arrive here from Menethil Harbor, sailing through the Fjord for the first time in early November 2008. Horde players fly by zeppelin from Undercity to Vengeance Landing on the East Coast, through a less scenic route.

Howling fjord has a distinct old Nordic style with a subarctic forest climate with snowy areas to the north. The terrain is very hilly and it’s a great place to go hunting. The zone also has frequent displays of the northern lights.

You can visit the Valgarde Inn for accommodation.

Be wary in particular of the local Vrykul, the viking warrior clan, who reside at the Utgarde Keep. They are hostile to both members of the Horde and Alliance.

Visit the location to see beautiful nature scenery and listen to the background music, which sounds like instrumental folk, like uilleann pipe. It’s very atmospheric and it embodied the medieval setting of WoW for many players at the time. Howling Fjord was also specifically designed to impress and inspire these newly arriving players whose first entry into the new continent, Northrend, started here.

Author: Ironyca Lee
I am a WoW blogger and game analysis student.

14 thoughts on ““Gimme Six!” – A Tourist Guide to WoW pt. 1 – Spectacular Nature

  1. Reblogged this on Ironyca Stood in the Fire and commented:

    I’ve written this first part of a WoW tourist guide trying to convey WoW as a travel destination for non-players. This was actually quite a challenge to write and needed a few edits before I was happy with it. A good exercise though, both in coming up with suitable destinations, but also trying to explain why they are interesting, both lore-wise and within the 7 year gaming history of WoW.

  2. That first shot is stunning. When I saw Howling Fjord in your tweet I thought it was an interesting choice but looking at your pics you’ve really captured the best parts of the zone.

    Well done!

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t sure if Grizzly Hills was better. I was pretty sure I wanted somewhere in Northrend though, it has several “classic nature” zones, if you will.

    2. Hey Cymre! Thanks for visiting!

      Yesss, I agree, that first shot is amazing. I know for you it’s a place you’ve actually been, and for me it’s a place I’ll likely never have the chance to visit, so we know it in pretty different ways, but can both, on some level, appreciate the splendor of it.

      I also love the second image, the snow scene, wow, amazing!

  3. Fantastic Ironyca! Yes, you were right to break it up into 6 parts! This is plenty for one post!! haha 6 times this would be really long and you’d get lost, so it’s nice to let Howling Fjord shine it its own right.

    And wow, this is really working! Like a TV or YouTube Travel guide. When you watch those things it might be a place you’d like to go someday… or it might be a place you may never have the opportunity to visit… but either way you know a little more about the incredible diversity of this world (or virtual worlds) we live in.

    It’s funny, if you’ve seen Kathleen’s posts this week, she’s interested in “Virtual Museum Learning” — but by “Museum” she doesn’t mean, like, big building with paintings, she means like, full splendor of immersive virtual environment. So by visiting, or viewing we’re actually doing the kind of learning Kathleen’s interested in.

    HAHAHA — You thought you were playing an MMO Game… and it turns out you’re giving virtual geography lessons! Gamification+1!

    And also the ideas you talked about with the difference between being AT WoW Factor, vs VIEWING the stream, also figure in here.

    1. Yeah, I have a tendency to start somewhere and keeeeep on going.

      Anyways, the viewing/being-at dichotomy is what travel brochures want to accentuate, I imagine.
      The idea of such a post is to inspire you enough with the viewing, that you’d want to be there. I guess there’s an implied undervaluing of viewing vs being there, maybe that’s universal, maybe not, but it begs the question if any of it is really “being there”, and could you even argue there is a “there” to begin with?
      From here it just gets really complex, and I don’t know enough to say clever things about it, but you probably end up in the whole immersion/virtual reality discussion that I guess could be relevant to Kathleen’s work (although I don’t know -that- much about her work).

      I had a two-fold intention with these posts
      – I wanted to present the place from inside the magic circle, imagining the reader as fx a dwarf in Ironforge.

      – The other is written to the player outside the magic circle (including people not “native” to WoW), trying to explain what these places means to actual players and what history they carry -as- part of an actual MMO with a history.

      Example: “a great place to go hunting” – to a WoW player they’d think, “you mean, it’s a good place to farm or level?”, but to the character-persona, it’s hunting. This will be more pronounced in later posts, than this one though.

      So I guess the dichotomy is part of my post and what I want it to do, although I’m not sure if it’s possible to successfully weave both in, without them distracting from one another.

      1. I think I would have chosen Howling Fjord too, it is incredibly beautiful and every time I pass through it I get that excited new expansion feeling still. Great choice to send visiting tourist to!

        1. “I get that excited new expansion feeling still”
          – exactly, so do I. I visited to take pictures and was instantly itching to take Elford there to level. You get a rush from just taking the boat in.

      2. I think there are just many, many ways of experiencing a place. If you watch a travel show on Paris, you know more about Paris than if you didn’t.

        If you go to Paris for a week and take tourist tours all week, you know more than if you didn’t.

        If you live and work there for a year, you know way more than the above scenarios, but you still have your own unique perspective. Are you a rich French person living in the city? Are you a marginalized Arab living outside the city?

        Some years ago I took a movement workshop with a famous choreographer. At the end of the workshop we formed a circle and held hands and said a few words as you tend to do at these things. The person holding my right hand wept. Given the fame of the choreographer I actually hadn’t thought it was that extraordinary a day. So we two people were in the same place at the same time doing, nominally, the same things, yet had quite different experiences.

        A few years later I was reflecting on what had brought all that together and I had a very different perspective than I’d had earlier. If the later me had had the experience back then, there might have been tears in my eyes as well.


        So amazing your idea of describing a place to An Outsider, a “Player,” and a “Character Persona”

  4. I always thought the characters in WoW looked a bit bulky (no no, now don’t stare angrily at me like that!), but these landscapes you posted look amazing!

    1. I know what you mean, generally WoW can be quite chunky and low poly. Parts of the game, including many of the characters, are from when the game came out – 2005 (2004 if you include beta testing), this is really old in the gaming world, so a lot of it is quite outdated in terms of graphics and so on.

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