As far as Gnomeregan is concerned, I’m falling in line with the thought that a staged, phased reclamation a la Isle of Quel’danas is the most likely scenario.

Which, let’s face it, sounds pretty cool. :)

But I keep thinking of Ironforge.

Cataclysm is supposed to bring flight to old world Azeroth.

That means things are being changed to accomodate that, changes to zone edges and such, things that never had to be worried about before, because players could never actually reach there.

I remember one time, at band camp… no, wait, just kidding.

I remember one time, when the game was brand new, hopping up hills at the perimeter around the Hunting Lodge in Loch Modan, and I made it up and onto the top of the ridge on the northern edge… only to find that the terrain became a featureless wireframe of orange flatness.

I ran and ran for a long time, to the north as I recall, wondering where I would end up. After a while, I turned around and headed back to resume what I was doing; leveling my first ever character, Windshadow.

The urge to explore was strong, to see what was over the next rise, maps being rare and hard to find on the internet, and to be honest, I never imagined back then that the desire to explore would ever be frowned on by Blizzard.

It was a huge game world, and it never crossed my mind that I’d get in trouble for wanting to see more of it. Instead, I assumed that if I could get somewhere, I would be rewarded for my ingenuity with something neat. Finding the quest bear way up high in the mountains of Loch Modan NE of the flight master only reinforced that idea. 

It was shortly around this time, looking on the forums for the suggestions of others on places to explore, that I found the official forums ringing to claims of people being banned for finding ways to reach areas that were not meant to be reached… and sharing the techniques.

There but for the grace of WoW go I. That could easily have been me, in my innocence, posting about something neat I’d found and wanting to share it. If I hadn’t seen that others were being banned for doing that, I certainly would have posted my own experiences.

I remember it well, the main claim was that someone on the official forums was banned from the game specifically for figuring out how to reach the little dwarf airport/landing strip with the cool planes way up above the mountains over Ironforge, using a technique of climbing and gliding with the Engineering-crafted Parachute Cloak. I believe the statement from a Blue poster was along the lines of saying that the Airstrip, and other in-game places like that, were meant to be visual points of interest, and not actual locations to ever be visited.

Ah, the mystique of that little Dwarven landing strip. The hours I spent exploring the mountain chain from both Dun Morogh and Wetlands, trying to scout out the hidden path that assuredly must exist to allow me to visit that place. The drive to climb that mountain, to plant my flag, to be able to say, if only to myself, “Vini, vidi, vici” and take a screenshot.

It was the first little blow to my love affair with World of Warcraft, when I read the claims that players could and had been banned for exploring where Blizzard did not want them to go… when there was nothing I had ever heard of, no warning I had ever read to that time, that said “It’s okay to explore, as long as you only try to explore where we think it’s okay for you to explore… and we won’t tell you, you have to guess. But if it seems hard to get there, don’t try.”

Now this isn’t a bashing on Blizzard, although I’m sure it could be taken that way. For all I know, it was all total BS on the part of players, and nobody ever got banned or suspended for exploring, ever. It’s the official forums, you know what it’s like there. Tons of helpful people, hidden amongst the loud crazy idiots.

The point is, since the very first time I flew over the dwarven airstrip when taking the Griffon from Ironforge to Wetlands, I wanted to get up there, to visit that airstrip, to hop in the planes, to run around like a goofball and see if there was a super-secret quest giver there.

When I think about Cataclysm letting us fly in Eastern Kingdoms, I think immediately about visiting that airstrip.

But more than that, I want the airstrip to become a place where flying players can find new quests to perform. I want it to become that dwarven center of aerial adventure about which I’d long dreamed.

So carrying over from my previous post about the fall of Ironforge, I would be hoping to see something in Cataclysm that would indeed cause the Dwarves to flee, to abandon Ironforge, to take up as refugees in the capital of Gnomeregan… and let adventurers have a new raid, the Retaking of Ironforge, where you cannot enter via the massive front gate.

Oh no, not the front gate for you! The mighty climb to the gates of Ironforge would be shattered, the gates themselves sealed shut, and players would have to fly to that landing strip high up in the mountains, there to enter as a group and fight their way down into the mountain itself.

If you think about it, we’ve long seen signs that we’re supposed to believe there is far more to Ironforge than what we’ve already seen in the game. Towers jutting out from the side of mountains high in the sky, clearly meant to be reached from within.

Perhaps flame elementals, perhaps dragonkin, perhaps the deep down dark iron dwarves, striking a blow for revenge.

Perhaps all three… dark iron dwarves in league with the risen dragon forces to strike at Ironforge from within, aided by elementals erupting from the lava around the great forge, sundering the home of the dwarves. 

Of course, I don’t think it would really happen. I think it’d be super cool, but realistically, we’ve got far too many underground dwarf/dragonkin based raids in the game already for Blizzard to be spending design time making another one, no matter how cool the concept.

Blackrock Depths, Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, Blackwing Lair… from a game raid design standpoint, I doubt they’ll add Ironforge to the mix.

Sigh.

I still think it would be really darn cool, though.

19 Responses to “The Retaking of Ironforge”
  1. Bhal says:

    That would be so cool. I have always wanted to visit that little lake above the human starting area, the last place you fly over from IF to SW before you enter Elwyn forest. I have spent hours trying to get up there.

    Another cool place is on the Horde continent if you swim all they way around to the bottom of the land. you will come across a little village with no one in it and a huge cave with nothing in it, just waiting for a new dungeon.

  2. Kattrinsaa says:

    I would just be happy if gnomerpain went away totally… that instance is the bane of my existance, I would willingly run any and all instances (including occulus) in perpetuity rather than set paw in that titan forsaken place again. I know it’s all in my head, but it’s as if I could really smell the noxious fumes and feel the radiation melting my feathers.

    @Bhal, just remember, flight is coming to the mainlands of azeroth, assuming that little like still exists after the cataclysm, you CAN fly over to it.

    I hope they do create a new hero class, the dk’s were supposed to be the first, not the only.. right? I am glad of two new playable races, and the thought of a worgen druid is just plain cool. I’ve always thought that humans should have been able to be hunters.

    I hope that the world events leading up to the expansion are as cool as the ones were for LK and BC. tho i was only vaugely aware of ingame world events for bc, i was still working on leveling my first toon to 60 at that point.

    They need more world events like the AQ war effort, and the sunwell offensive. (katt got that title and was proud of it.) The ghoul invasion.. meh.. some liked it some hated it.. I was more of the hate camp myself. Spent most of the whole time in flight form hovering over shatt so that i couldn’t get infected. Some people made it their mission to be as annoying as they could be during that event.

    Come to think of it, gnomer could be retaken in stages, perhaps even opening new instances there, you have the classic PITA gnomer instance, perhaps some rock tunnels leading ever downward deeper among the troggs and stones. who knows what might be found there. The stages of retaking it as a capital could be like the sunwell event was, but perhaps geared toward the lowbies for once, i mean seriously, when was the last time a new instance was added that wasn’t for the ever expanding level cap? new lowbie instances would be some incentive to level toons again and see the new sights.

    I hope they are adding more than the two advertised heroic lowbie instances too. tho i’m happy about heroic deadmines. that’ll be great. and I can certainly understand heroic SFK, right by the worgen starting area? natch..
    .-= Kattrinsaa´s last blog ..so, UI addon pack review =-.

  3. Phelps says:

    Blackrock Depths, Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, Blackwing Lair… from a game raid design standpoint, I doubt they’ll add Ironforge to the mix.

    … except that All four of those are in Blackrock Mountain, which will soon be known as Blackrock Crater and presumably no longer instances.
    .-= Phelps´s last blog ..Quote of the Day =-.

  4. Nelish says:

    @ Bhal

    You can get to that lake. A friend found it and took a group of us there one afternoon.

    We spent a couple of hours just fishing and waving at the gryphons flying over head.

    I wish I could remember how we got there…but all I remember is that you start in the area north of Elwyn

  5. Elsi says:

    I heard there is supposed to be an instance in Blackrock Mountain in Cataclysm..Blackrock catacombs or something. I dunno. But I did read it somewhere.

  6. Sougent says:

    Not only can you get to the little lake, you can get to the dwarve’s and help them kill that blasted dragon. If Blizzard bans people for exploring those areas, then they might as well delete my account because I’ve been to the airport, I’ve been to the lake, I’ve been up there and killed the dragon with the little dwarve mountaineers and I’m not at all sorry, it’s one of the best parts of the game.

    In regards to an instance to reclaim Ironforge, we don’t need it, there is an entire city that the Wildhammers built that’s sitting there unused for anything, with lore already associated with it, Grim Batol.

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Grim_Batol

    Now *that* would be something if they used Grim Batol for an instance or two.

  7. Nokin says:

    I have been to the lake, and the airstrip, and the top of IF and the secret old IF under IF, under SW and a few other places. (once found a cave that I jumped out of and fell all the way through the map… have screen shots of me in an abyss of .. well, nothing…fell from Wetlands past STV and finally died from exhaustion after I “fell” south of STV into the ocean.

    A buddy and I were both on our mages and stood across the lake from each other and made blizzards and fires storms as the gryphons flew through there lol.

    All were cool and worth the trek.

    :)

  8. Helban says:

    What a wonderful idea of using Ironforge as a new raid! It would be even more amazing if somehow they could include that secret tunnel from ‘Old Ironforge’ which leads directly to the throne room!

    I always thought the area under Karazhan was amazing and something which would be worth opening up, it was rather ‘dark’ for warcraft. The HUGE pile of bones under an area called ‘Deadmans Drop’ or something to that effect… and a lake with people attached to large chains running through it. Spooky stuff!

    I must say that when I originally heard they would rip the old world apart to make room for a new expansion, it did not make me a happy bear! Vanilla wow has and will always be the best part of the game for me, so many great memories of the first year in that vast area (including the meeting of my girlfriend of the last four years). However, the more and more one reads about the possibilities which Cataclysm could bring, does spark an entire new interest, just to have a reason to be in the old world again, with a mass of new things to discover, is kick starting my imagination.

  9. Sass says:

    I’d like for them to open up Old Iron Forge. I remember when it was found and tons of bans were handed out for people even trying to get down there.
    And the Airstrip is still one of my favorite places to visit.
    .-= Sass´s last blog ..Is this thing on? =-.

  10. Kayeri says:

    For me, it was spending hours in Wintergrasp and Felwood trying to find SOME way to Hyjal! After all, my main is an NE druid, she SHOULD be able to visit Nordrassil if she wants! There is even a SIGN in Felwood indicating the way to Hyjal… I could get right to the edge, where I could see a few vague map features, one of which that much to my excitement matched the place given as Nordrassil’s spot according the the War of the Ancients Books…. but alas, I could never REACH that spot… Later, I learned some have gotten ‘off the map’ and been ported out, but I never reached that spot…

    Now, Hyjal will become a zone that we will play through and protect the World Tree. I’m a druid before anything else in this game… it works for me! :)

    ::going to to re-read Stormrage for about the 8th time since I got it last Tuesday::

  11. David says:

    I must admit, having Ironforge as a raid would be pretty awesome really, I’ve always liked the Blackrock depths instance, due to its immense size. It’s a good idea but alas I doubt they would do something like that for Cataclysm. :(
    .-= David´s last blog ..Two’s Company – levelling a hunter alt =-.

  12. jealouspirate says:

    While that sounds really cool, I love Ironforge too much to desire its destruction. Here are two suggestions I would make though, which you might find satisfactory:

    1) We know that there was an “Old Ironforge”. How about the dwarves try to expand, not outwards, but downwards? Driving deeper into the earth, perhaps for more resources or to fight forgotten evils in the bowels of the world. Instances, quests, etc.. all in the deep of the mountain.

    2) I don’t want to neglect the airstrip! So, we know that the Wetlands will suffer some serious damage and the Twilight Cult will have a major base of operations nearby with the Grim Batol raid, home of Deathwing himself. With that area being so close to Ironforge, the airstrip could be a kind of staging ground for an assault on Grim Batol and the surrounding area. There could be bombing dailies using the planes that we’ve seen for so long, or perhaps quests to fly in supplies to ground troops in the area. The whole place could be bustling with activity, a launching pad for a major Alliance offensive.

    I’d be surprised if either of those actually happened, but it sure would make me happy!

  13. Kethup says:

    The risk of getting banned makes it more fun imo, i loved exploring under stormwind on my mage, going up the the mountains and slowfalling to other places, i got to the lake in elwynn, and ive been to the airstrip. Sorry for exploring?

  14. Kauket says:

    jealouspirate says:

    1) We know that there was an “Old Ironforge”. How about the dwarves try to expand, not outwards, but downwards? Driving deeper into the earth, perhaps for more resources or to fight forgotten evils in the bowels of the world. Instances, quests, etc.. all in the deep of the mountain.

    Dwarves, delving too deep? As dwarves are wont to do?

    OMG Balrog!

  15. Hierakles says:

    Quoted from the Ironforge page on Wowwiki: “Ironforge is structurally a giant circle of sections, it also contains several “depth” levels (at least eight, though they are not accessible in game). The accessible portions of Ironforge appear to be located on the 5th level, the “fifth depth” of the city.”
    Re the loss of Ironforge, I can’t see it feasibly happening, either in game or by some theoretical assault. The only entrances are either through the Tram, guarded by the whole city of Stormwind, the front gates, MASSIVe slabs of stone. If someone manages to somehow come up through the lava or through the walls, there are 8 different levels, probably all with ways to seal off each in case of emergency. Of course, this is ignoring the fact that there are ~20,000 inhabitants in Ironforge, and your average dwarf is usually quite handy with an axe/pick. In the dires case, Stormwind is only a tram-ride away.
    But of course everyone can ignore me, since I’m a rather rabid dwarf fanboy =D

  16. Akkivvitt says:

    Stand by the grey stone as the thrush knocks, and the last light of the setting sun will shine upon the keyhole…

  17. Marodo says:

    Dancing troll village!

  18. Marodo says:

    How and btw, you can still get to the air strip with some noggenfogger and a 100% mount. Just did it.

  19. Katlina says:

    Great post. I felt exactly the same way about the airstrip and all sorts of seemingly inaccesible areas of WOW. I wanted to find a way to get there and explore it, which was what the whole game is also about. So its very bizarre idea that people would get banned for fully exploiting the abilities of their toons to explore, which after all, is one of the goals of the game. I enjoy end game raiding but I still say nothing beat the excitement when I first started the game and every area was new and I wasn’t sure what monsters were ahead and what the new locations would look like. Now the geography is so familiar I am ready for a change.

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