Every Tuesday, we chortle in sadistic glee as Varialyta attempts to compress a complex story into 500 words or less for the consumption of the Ritalin generation. This week’s topic: Zandalar & Zul’Gurub
With The Shattering upon us (perhaps even today!), a beloved part of World of Warcraft will disappear: Zul’Gurub will no longer be a raid instance, and players will no longer be able to make friends with the Zandalar faction. So, quick before these are lost and gone forever, I thought I’d try to tell a little about what these all once were.
While many who play trolls will know their home is the Echo Isles, these Isles are the home specifically of the Darkspear Tribe–the only playable troll tribe in the game. But there is another island that is the true ancestral home of all troll-kind–Zandalar. This is the large island you may see on your maps in the big ocean south of The Maelstrom.
Well, long before The Shattering we are about to experience, there was another Azeroth-shattering event, commonly referred to as The Sundering. This earlier catastrophe was caused by the dismantling of the Well of Eternity, and led to enormous geographic changes in the world. The Maelstrom is the aftermath of its destruction, and it took nearly every bit of magic the Zandalar trolls knew in order to preserve their island from the quakes and tidal waves that ensued.
As you can probably imagine, all races everywhere were desperate for territory and resources in this upturned world. But trolls outside of Zandalar were perhaps the hardest hit. Prior to The Sundering, they had already suffered generations of invasion by elves of all kinds, and had become increasingly scattered. After this event, they were reduced to near vagabond status, wandering in small tribes and taking whatever lands others either hadn’t reached or had passed over without taking.
Trolls have always relied on their animal-gods for protection, and turned to them with even greater fervor in this time of need. One creature–Hakkar, a powerful winged serpent, who might even have been one of the Old Gods–answered the call of a particular group of priests among the Gurubashi, trolls centered in Stranglethorn Vale. At first, things went well–these trolls built an empire that grew quickly. But there was a terrible price for this empire: this Hakkar demanded blood sacrifice.
The Zandalar trolls banded together with other troll tribes and overthrew the insane and evil priest cult. But some fanatics remained (something about promises of immortality often seem involved with these kinds of folks), and began slowly re-building in the ruins of the Gurubashi Empire, planning to try once again to give Hakkar a way into the physical plane of mortals. The Zandalar heard rumors of the cult’s comeback, and returned to Stranglethorn Vale to found an outpost on Yojamba Isle, just off the northwest coast, where they recruit those of any race who are brave (fool-hardy?) enough to put a stop to the blood rituals and destroy Hakkar’s avatar.
As is so often the case with earthquakes, I imagine these coastal areas will experience the greatest transformations in the wake of the coming Cataclysm, and Yojamba, Stranglethorn, and the remnants of the Gurubashi will never be the same. I just hope my troll compatriots exercise greater caution in their choice of deity from whom they elicit aid in the challenging days ahead!