Ashran

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For the version in the main universe, see Deathwing's Lair.
CombatAshran
Level: 100
Battle Pet Level: 25
Ashran 1.jpg
Capital
Races
Rulers
Languages
Affiliation
Location

Eastern Draenor

PvP status
Sources: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Ashran is a level 100 instanced[1] cross-realm[2] "end game" world PvP zone found in eastern Draenor.[3] The name also refers to the greater Ashran zone, including the Alliance and Horde capitals, which are set outside of the PvP zone itself.

The zone has a cap of 40 players per side, with multiple Ashran instances for each server.[4] When a player enters the zone, they will either be invited to join the battle, or if all instances of the zone are already at the cap for their faction, placed in a queue to join. Players who are not currently part of the battle will be teleported back to their faction staging area after a few seconds. Queued players will be invited to join the battle through a summons which will teleport them into an instance of the zone. Entering Ashran will automatically flag players for PvP combat, regardless of server type, and players will remain PvP flagged as long they are in the zone.[5]

Found off the north east coast of Draenor's Tanaan Jungle, Ashran is the same island that held Deathwing's Lair shortly after the Second War in the main universe.[6]

History

The island of Ashran was once home to a mighty ogre empire,[7] apparently ruled at some point by Kor'lok. While apparently now in ruin, the island features signs of a once great settlement, including towers, arenas and extensive mines. In the aftermath of the Second War, Deathwing built a lair on the island,[6] but this was later razed, forcing the dragon to return to Azeroth.

Given the dominant presence of the Ashmaul ogre clan, it may be inferred that the Ashmaul were either the controlling ogre power on the island prior to its fall into dilapidation, or else have descended from that power. Alternatively the Ashmaul may have conquered the island more recently, with earlier empires having ruled before the clan's rise to power. Ashmaul culture appears to revolve around fire magic, with the clan's ranks including pyromancers, flamespeakers and magma casters, as well as the support of a host of summoned fire elementals.

The smaller Gor'vosh ogre clan, found only in the southeast of the island, appear to be the less dominant clan. Making their home in the Ashmaul Burial Grounds, these ogres practice necromantic arts, and have raised a number of undead ogres from the remains in the area, presumably belonging to ogres from the Ashmaul clan, given the area's title. The two clans appear to be locked in a bitter rivalry.[8]

The island is of great importance to both the Alliance and the Horde due to the presence of ancient artifacts which hold great power. The fragments of artifacts found scattered across the isle are valued by both factions, as well as by the Highmaul ogre clan,[9] while organizations such as The Reliquary keenly seek larger and more intact specimens from which to gain understanding and power, with the remarkable effects witnessed in the intact Ancient Artifacts occasionally found on the island demanding further investigation. The Alliance's investigations are headed up by Harrison Jones, while Belloc Brightblade leads the Horde's efforts.[10][11][12]

The Alliance are seeking a specific, large artifact,[10][13][14] theorised by Harrison Jones to have powers rivalling that of titan technology.[11] The artifact appears to have military applications, with the possibility of using it or the knowledge gained from it against the Horde.[15] The Horde are aware of the Alliance's search,[10][16] and are attempting to find it first.[10] Both factions claim to seek control of the artifact in order to defend themselves against the other.[10][17]

The Reliquary claim to wish to study the artifacts in order to give the Horde the upper hand in the war, in which pursuit they have come into conflict with the Steamwheedle Cartel, who have taken possession of quantities of the artifacts for their own commercial interests, and have a very different idea of the true meaning of the word "priceless".[18] Apparently the goblins have begun selling Ashran "souvenirs", stringing together [Artifact Fragment] and selling them as jewelry.[10]

Since arriving on the island, each faction has established control of an entrance to the main mines beneath the island, subsequently blocking access even to revered adventurers due to "work" going on inside, and posting guards at the barricaded entrances. Harrison Jones believes the artifact sought by both factions to be located in the mines,[14] and according to Horde spies the Alliance is currently building machinery used to drill through rocks.[12] Not to be outdone, the blood elves had already discovered "something big" in the mines, supposedly a part of the artifact for which the Alliance have been searching.[16]

Getting there

Access to Ashran is achieved primarily through flightmasters, who will fly Alliance and Horde players into their respective faction capitals of Stormshield and Warspear, respectively, found somewhat outside the PvP zone. There are no flightpaths within the PvP zone itself, but it can accessed easily by ground from the capitals.

The ocean surrounding the island is not deep enough to incur fatigue, and as such it is completely possible to reach Ashran from mainland Draenor and vice-versa.

Geography

Maps and subregions

Ashran map
The mines beneath Ashran

Adjacent regions

Zone name Faction Level range Direction Access
Frostfire Ridge Horde 90-92, 100 Northwest Flight path
Shadowmoon Valley Alliance 90-92, 100 South Flight path

PvP zone overview

  • Large-scale battle with a huge number of players.
  • Features numerous battle NPCs and summonable creatures.
  • Features a balance of PvP and PvE elements, from world PvP-style skirmishes and huge zergs, to raid boss-style PvE challenges and mob-farming similar to daily quests.
  • Features resources to gather, which may be used in several ways.
  • Features multiple objectives, as well as special time-limited events.
  • There is a fortress for each faction, as well as five capture points along the zone's main lane.
  • The zone features a large central battle pushing toward the opposing faction's base.
  • The outer edges of the zone feature rares and activities similar to the Timeless Isle.[19]
  • Ashran is a cross-realm zone, drawing players from a consistent selection of realms.[2]
  • Once there are more than 5 players in Ashran, the zone uses faction balancing to prevent either faction from gaining a larger population. Players are unable to enter the zone unless balanced by another player of the opposite faction.[20]
  • Each realm will point to a single Ashran instance, but multiples realms may point to any given Ashran instance.[21] The aim is to match realms within the same data center as much as possible.[22]
  • Because it is a real world zone, Ashran does not feature the limitations found in other PvP areas such as battlegrounds or arenas. Consequently, almost any item that works in the wider world will work in Ashran. This includes special Garrison items, such as siege vehicles.[23]
  • As with other zones, players are able to bring friends from other realms to their own Ashran instance by inviting them to their party.[24]
  • Inspired by "those early Alterac Valley battles",[25] Ashran is "designed to be an epic tug-of-war style battle, where you can either take direct part of the battle on the front lines, or work towards various other objectives that will support your faction in the main push."[3]
  • An instanced area, using "some new tech" with no loading screen, such that players "won't feel the transition".[1]
  • Ashran is larger than Alterac Valley, with comparable length but greater width.[26]
  • Ashran has its own Battle Standards.[27]

Future developments

Following the addition of the Ashran Excavation in Patch 6.2, it is possible the developers will add further areas to the zone with future patches.

Gameplay

Ashran is a large-scale world PvP zone which combines hectic 200-strong PvP combat with strategic elements such as capturable bases and recruitable NPCs, and PvE elements involving gathering resources from mobs, slaying enemy captains and fighting massive raid boss-style faction guardians and generals. As a result, the zone features PvP and PvE experiences from across both spectrums, ranging from fringe world PvP to battleground style zerging, and from raid-style PvE encounters to mob farming similar to the completion of dailies. Through diverse mechanisms all of these elements contribute toward a single driving goal: the defeat of the enemy faction.

Battle in Ashran takes place in regular "stages" or mini-battles. After each stage is completed - with either the Alliance or the Horde the victors - there is a short intermission, usually 30–60 seconds, before the next battle begins. At this time capture points and certain other features are reset, allowing for a fresh attempt in the next battle. However, features such as the Ogre King, [Artifact Fragment] stores and the players themselves are not reset in any way, allowing success in one battle to roll over into the next to some degree.

While ultimately a PvP-oriented zone, Ashran represents a substantial amount of PvE, including the gathering of [Artifact Fragment] from mobs in secondary areas; constant engagement with lesser faction NPCs; frequent engagement with challenging above-player level NPCS; and regular engagement with raid boss-level NPCs such as faction guardians and generals. Fighting to recruit Kor'lok or defeating rare elites in the secondary areas requires a small group similar to a dungeon instance. Artifact Fragment gathering provides a more similar experience to questing or the completion of dailies, while also providing the potential for world PvP-style encounters.

The regular engagement with not only players but NPCs provides reward for tanking specialization players, with their damage absorption and taunting abilities extremely useful for preventing these NPCs from one-shotting other players.

The diverse range of potential activities in the zone provides the opportunity for substantial strategy, but also allows players to take their own approach to involvement in the battle. Some may prefer to fuel the war effort through farming NPCs and summoning guardians, while others may want to simply dive straight into the central zerg, with little concern for overarching strategies. The most strategic players will be willing to switch their role to respond to the needs of the situation, one moment fighting in the central lane to seize control of the next Tower, the next riding out to the secondary areas to farm Fragments in order summon the faction guardian before the opponent's can drive the players all the way back to their own gates. Versatile players will be ready to switch from dealing DPS to push forward the assault and defeat enemy players, to tanking a boss-level general before it can wipe out the player's team, to a healing spec to keep an ailing guardian alive. True mastery of the strategic options of the zone require players assuming each of these roles, with the need for each varying as the battle surges and sways.

Objectives

Unlike battlegrounds or PvP zones, Ashran has no time limit or ultimate conclusion, and no singular objective or way to permanently "win" the battle. While victory in the current battle is achieved by reducing the enemy's reinforcements to zero, each completed battle is followed shortly by the beginning of the next, allowing the enemy to rally and wreak vengeance upon their opponents.

Instead, Ashran features a wide range of personal and faction objectives, including both PvP and PvE activities. Each player is free to decide for themselves where they will dedicate their actions, and combine different types of play as they see fit.

While many objectives can be achieved within a single battle, some, such as the invasion of the enemy base, require consistent effort over several battles, as well as the concerted effort of the team.

Towers and the Road of Glory
  • Players can seek to gain control of enemy Towers and push forward along the central lane
Base invasion
  • Each faction base can be assaulted by players and their allies, slaying vital NPCs and enemy generals
Faction leaders
  • Arguably the ultimate objective, players can assault the enemy base in order to slay the enemy faction leader, granting special rewards and reseting the zone.
Mage Towers
  • Each faction's Tower Guardian offers a special challenge and bonus loot
World PvP
  • Players in outlying areas can be tackled in a very different type of encounter to the main melee found on the Road of Glory
Honor, Conquest and reputation farming
Collecting [Artifact Fragment]
  • Players can loot Artifact Fragments from various mobs in the zone, as well as other players
Summoning faction NPCs/opening Mage Portals and Warlock Gateways
  • Players can spend Artifact Fragments to summon powerful NPCs and useful transportation for their faction within the zone
Summoning Kor'lok
  • Players can battle the Ogre King's bodyguards to gain his aid in battle
Summoning Captains
  • Filling the current Enemies Slain quota will summon a random Captain to aid the faction in battle
Rares, vignettes and events
  • Throughout the zone are found dozens of rares, events and vignettes to be discovered, conquered and competed in
Gaining powerful new abilities
  • Special drops can provide players with unique class abilities, or temporary new powers such as the ability to soar across the landscape
Looting supply chests and freeing faction prisoners
  • Found around enemy Towers and caged in enemy dungeons, supply chests can be looted and faction prisoners set free - once you've found the right key
Quests
  • A number of quests offer rewards for completing various activities within Ashran

Faction leaders

Perhaps the ultimate goal of the zone, each faction's leader - Grand Marshal Tremblade for the Alliance, High Warlord Volrath for the Horde - awaits enemy players at the heart of their stronghold. Defeating them requires invading the enemy base, and either slaying or at least surviving the onslaught of the dozens of surrounding guards and NPCs.

As invading the base is only feasible once all other Towers have been conquered, this represents the culmination of a complete domination of the zone. Fittingly, defeating the enemy faction leader will therefore reset the zone. Once the enemy faction leader has been defeated, there is a short interval to allow for looting, finishing off skirmishes, and freeing prisoners. A temporary flightmaster NPC will spawn at the base for the conquering faction to allow players to fly back to their own base before the reset. After 10 minutes, the zone will be reset.[28]

Faction leaders drop substantial rewards, in the form of the  [Gleaming Ashmaul Strongbox], which always contains a piece of Combatant or Gladiator gear.[29] However, they do not drop Conquest Points - for these players should seek out the secondary area events.

The faction leaders also serve as elite conquest gear vendors, as well as providing Enchant Illusion – Glorious Tyranny and Enchant Illusion – Primal Victory to players with a rating of 2400 or higher in Rated Battlegrounds, and 3v3 or 5v5 Arenas.[28]

Enemies Slain

A captured Alliance base burning

In addition to the main thrust of PvP combat itself, during the main battle each faction has an Enemies Slain quota. The quota can be filled through slaying enemy players and NPCs, with larger targets providing a larger gain. Filling the current quota will cause the faction to spawn a random faction Captain (see below).

The quotas required by each faction vary, depending on various factors. If a faction loses a Tower on their own side of the Road of Glory, their quota will be reset to 50. Each time a faction successfully meets their quote and summons a Captain, their total will be reset, and their current quota will be doubled.[30] The current quota is displayed at the top of the screen while within the Road of Glory or currently contested base.

Captains

Captain are elite faction-specific NPCs which spawn to fight for their faction, in response to filling the current Enemies Slain quota. Each faction has a number of possible Captains, with each paying tribute to a well-known personality from World of Warcraft culture, such as John Swifty for the Alliance, and Mindbender Talbadar for the Horde.

Each Captain has a class and specialization, and uses an appropriate set of abilities. Captains have large amounts of health and hit fairly hard.

For a list of possible captains, see below.

Artifact Fragments

[Artifact Fragment] is a form of currency obtainable while in Ashran, gained primarily from looting mobs and the corpses of enemy players who possessed them. Fragments can be turned in through special NPCs at the faction base in order to activate special features for the player's faction, such as sending powerful NPCs to attack the enemy, or activating special warlock gateways to instantly transport players between areas of Ashran.

Turning in Artifact Fragments for these purposes is the aim of a number of repeatable quests, rewarding 3 [Honor Points] and 5 reputation with the respective faction for each 1 Artifact Fragment turned in.[31] However, the main goal is to further the faction's progress within the current battle.

While Artifact Fragments stack to 100,000, it may not be wise to hold onto them for too long. If the player dies they will lose half of all their current Artifact Fragments, with enemy players able to loot the lost Fragments from their corpses. This deters players from hoarding Fragements, and forces them to balance time wasted running from secondary areas to their faction base while farming with the ever-present risk of being slain by the enemy.

Sources
  • Slain enemy players can be looted to collect half the Fragments they possessed before death
  • Rare creatures and NPCs drop 40-50 Artifact Fragments[28]
  • Guards in Ring of Conquest drop 6-8 Artifact Fragments[28]
  • Various objects can be found and looted for a few Fragments each

Events

In each secondary area, a special event plays out, at random intervals. Competing in these events requires the faction to achieve a specific task before the opposite faction, and offer rewards to participating players. The faction that loses an event will gain a stacking buff, increasing their damage and healing. For more information, see Secondary area events.

Special items and buffs

Ashran features a variety of special items for use within the zone. These come from several sources. Many can be purchased from quartermasters in each faction's base, while others can be acquired through looting certain mobs or even interacting with special objects found in the zone. Different secondary areas offer their own special buffs and items, for those who know where to look. Others are random drops, such as the class-specific tomes which grant players special abilities for 1 hour.

Quartermaster items

These items can be purchased from Dazzerian (Horde) or Crafticus Mindbender (Alliance) in their respective faction bases. Some items require reaching certain reputations with Wrynn's Vanguard or Vol'jin's Spear.

Alchemist items

Players can turn in 10 [Artifact Fragment] to their faction alchemist - Gimlet Ginfizz for Alliance, Tyra Silverblood for Horde - in exchange for the below potions:

Class tomes

Class tomes are class specific consumables which modify existing abilities or in some cases grant entirely new ones. Class tomes have a chance to drop from the rare elite mobs found in the zone's secondary areas.

Scrolls and wands

These items can be obtained as random zone drops. Some are single-use, while others have 3 charges each. Players can usually carry up to 5 of each single-use item at the same time, but only one of each charge-bearing item. Scrolls take several seconds to use, while wands tend to be instant.

Of special note is  [Scroll of Invoke Yu'lon, the Jade Serpent], used to summon the Jade Serpent Yu'lon. Similar to  [Frost Wyrm Egg] and  [Nesingwary's Lost Horn], this summons Yu'lon to fly along the Road of Glory, healing all friendly targets to full health and removing all Magical, Poison, and Disease effects from them. Yu'lon travels from the friendly base along the road in the direction of the enemy base.

Secondary area buffs and items

Each of these buffs and items can be obtained through objects or mobs found in a specific secondary area.

  • Power Geode buff (Molten Quarry) - Increases damage and healing output by 100% for 20 sec
  • Leaping Gorger Residue buff (Molten Quarry) - Regular procs grant the ability to triple-jump high into the air, 20 min duration
  • Slippery Slime buff - Regular procs grant a temporary 150% speed increase, 20 min duration
  •  [Song Flower] (The Dark Woods) - 15% buff to all stats, persists through death, 1 hour duration
  •  [Star Root Tuber] (Gorian Falls) - Restores health and reduces damage taken by 40% for 10 sec

Ancient Artifact

A player possessing the Ancient Artifact
Main article: Ancient Artifact

Ancient Artifact is a 30-minute buff obtained in Ashran through interacting with the Ancient Artifact object, which appears sporadically at a variety of locations throughout the zone. It is easily the most powerful buff in the zone, granting the player a remarkable 200% increased damage or healing, and an extra 100% maximum health. The possessing player is indicated with with a striking visual effect, highlighting them to other players, often from across the zone.

Interacting with the object takes several seconds, and despawns the object, granting the player the buff. Dying loses the buff and after a set period respawns the object, allowing another player to claim the buff for the remaining duration.

Following hotfixes on July 20, the Ancient Artifact only appears when each team has more than 20 players, and now has a respawn timer.

Frost Wyrm Egg

 [Frost Wyrm Egg] is a usable item obtained as a random zone drop in Ashran. It summons a large Frostwyrm, who will fly down the Road of Glory toward the enemy base, using its Deep Breath ability to freeze all enemies as it passes, stunning targets for 8 seconds.

Nesingwary's Lost Horn

 [Nesingwary's Lost Horn] is a usable item obtained through defeating rares in the zone's secondary areas. Using it summons a herd of Hemet Nesingwary's 'pets', which will stampede from the friendly faction base across the zone before running directly into the enemy faction base. These stampeding creatures will deal a small amount of damage to nearby hostile players and punt them high up into the air. Their punting range is quite large, and will affect any hostile player in the nearby area. Abilities like [Levitate] and [Slow Fall] can be used to prevent damage from the fall back to earth, although this is less than would normally be experienced.

Special objects and loot

An Alliance Supply Chest.

A number of special objects can be looted during Ashran faction combat, including a number of keys. These objects have a chance of being looted from enemy player corpses.

Prison keys

Prison keys can be used to unlock the cages of prisoners in the enemy base.

Supply chest keys

Supply chest keys can be used to open faction supply chests, found at faction-controlled capture nodes along the Road of Glory.

Layout

The zone centers around the Road of Glory, the main lane between the Alliance and Horde bases - Stormshield Stronghold and Warspear Outpost - found at the south and north of the zone, respectively. Between the two bases lie five Towers, which can be claimed by each faction to push the battle toward the enemy gates. Around the central lane are four unique secondary areas, each with its own selection of elite and non-elite mobs. The central Market Graveyard can also be captured for 15 minutes at a time.

Defensive buffs

Players closer to their faction base gain buffs to their damage dealing and healing done, making it a little tougher to push across the zone. These buffs are only gained while within the local area of the base or Tower.

  • Faction base: 30% buff to damage dealing and healing done
  • Tower closest to faction base: 20% buff to damage dealing and healing done
  • Tower second closest to faction: 10% buff to damage dealing and healing done.

Towers

Five Towers line the Road of Glory, each defended by an ever-replenishing pool of faction NPCs. At the start of each battle, the two closest to each base belong to that faction, while the central Tower is immediately contested. The term "Tower" is a reference to "tower defense games", the MOBA subgenre upon which Ashran is widely considered to be based - Ashran's "Towers" are in fact small clusters of buildings through which the Road of Glory passes. Each Tower is marked on the map, along with an indication of which faction currently controls them.

Each Tower can belong to either the Allliance or Horde, or can be contested. Only one Tower can be contested at a time. In order to advance across the zone, players can capture the contested Tower for their faction. After a moment, the next most advanced Tower will become contested, with players able to progress to capture that Tower in turn. Battle NPCs such as guards and the far larger Fangraal, Kronus and Kor'lok will also advance (or retreat) automatically to the currently contested Tower.

Only the currently contested Tower can be wrested from the enemy - those belonging to either faction cannot be directly captured, without first capturing the contested Tower and in turn making the next Tower along contested. The current conflict point is listed at the top of the screen while within the zone.

Once all Towers have been claimed by a given faction, after a short interval the enemy faction base itself will become contested. In addition, the dominant faction's Sentinels or Headhunters will eliminate the enemy Gladiators, rendering the enemy base vulnerable. Attacking players then have a 10 minute window in which to assault the base and defeat the enemy faction leader, after which the base's NPCs will respawn, and the previous Tower will revert to neutral; attacking players will then need to capture it again in order to get another shot at assaulting the enemy base. Should the attacking faction succeed in slaying the enemy faction leader, the battle will be won, and after a moderate interval for looting, the zone will be reset, with control of the Towers reverting to the initial configuration. A special NPC also spawns to allow attacking players to fly back to their own base before the guards respawn.

Players can gain control of a Tower through a tug-of-war player presence mechanism similar to that seen in bases in Eye of the Storm. Once a Tower is seized, NPCs of the controlling faction will begin to spawn there, and enemy NPCs will despawn, strengthening the faction's push toward the enemy base. In addition Kor'lok, Fangraal and Kronus automatically center around the currently contested Tower.

Capture of Towers is important for providing the opportunity to assault the enemy base; to protect your own base from attack; and to open up areas of the map for your faction to travel in relative safety. Because players must remain at a Tower for a period of time in order to capture it, it is often necessary to fall back to a Tower in order to capture it, allowing for the next to be opened up to assault. This is especially important when the faction guardians or Kor'lok are active, as leaving the last Tower uncaptured will cause their presence to be wasted, with the titans left far behind the front lines.

The Towers from north to south:

Mage Towers

Jeron Emberfall summoning a phoenix to bombard invading Alliance forces

Situated overlooking the zone's second and fourth Towers, the Horde and Alliance Mage Towers house special Tower Guardian NPCs, powerful "mini-bosses" which act as additional barriers to progress across the zone. Currently, the Guardians act to bombard enemy players in the nearby Towers with their magics, but are not required to be defeated in order advance in the zone. However, their aerial attacks hit extremely hard, and can target players a significant distance in any direction from the Tower, reaching almost to The Crossroads. Players can seek shelter by staying very close to the Tower itself, or else must move well outside the area to avoid suffering damage.

The Guardians themselves are situated atop the physical towers of the first and fifth Tower areas - the Horde Emberfall Watch and the Alliance Crestfall Rise - and can be accessed by ascending those towers, although combating them is not something which should be engaged in lightly. Special secondary objectives and rewards are offered for defeating the opposing faction's Tower Guardian.

Guardians can also be spoken to by friendly players, to whom they will provide an unending supply of  [Conjured Mana Fritter].

  • Jeron Emberfall <Warspear Tower Guardian>
    • A blood elf who summons brilliant phoenixes to explode upon the heads of enemies assaulting the Tower below. Two Lava Furies serve as his guardians.
  • Rylai Crestfall <Stormshield Tower Guardian>
    • A human mage who takes pleasure in freezing Horde invaders with her frost magic.

Faction bases

The bridge leading into the Horde base of Warspear

At the north and south of the zone lie the faction bases: the Horde's Warspear Outpost, and the Alliance's Stormshield Stronghold. Separated from the main island by a small bridge, each base features a graveyard and a variety of NPCs, including some well-defended Generals and several special NPCs which can assist the player in activating features within the battle. Each base is well-defended by level 100 Elite guards. Behind each faction base lies entry to that faction's Staging Area and capital city, outside the PvP zone itself. Entering the Staging Area will cause the player to leave the battle.

Generals

Each base contains three Marshals or Warlords, serving as Honor, Conquest and Elite Conquest Quartermasters. These can be slain by the enemy, depriving players of the ability to acquire PvP gear. The Generals are found inside the main faction building, surrounded by guards.

Battle NPCs

Each base features four NPCs who in exchange for [Artifact Fragment] will provide special features to aid the faction in battle. Each requires a certain amount of Fragments in order to activate their special feature. However, this total can be provided cumulatively over time and by multiple players, with each NPC informing the player of the number gathered so far.

There are four types of battle NPCs:

  • Patrols (Alliance: Valant Brightsworn, Horde: Kalgan): Summons Stormshield Knight/Wolf Rider NPCs to patrol Ashran. Patrols spawn with one rider and two escort Stormshield Vanguard/Warspear Blood Guard NPCs, and wander occupied sections of the central lane, combating characters of the opposite faction whenever they encounter them. Several Patrols can be active at any time. Requires 600 Artifact Fragments.
  • Mage Portals (Alliance: Ecilam, Horde: Fura): Opens a Mage Portal near the center of Ashran, which players of the controlling faction can use to teleport back to their faction base. The Portal has a guardian NPC, and is one-way only. The Alliance Mage Portal appears just northwest of the center, while the Horde Mage Portal appears just southwest, in both cases slightly nearer to the enemy base. Active Mage Portals are marked on the map. Requires 400 Artifact Fragments.
  • Warlock Gateways (Alliance: Marketa, Horde: Nisstyr): Opens Warlock Gateways in Ashran, teleporting players of the controlling faction between Amphitheater of Annihilation (North-west) and Molten Quarry (South-east). Each faction has its own pair of gateways, and each gateway has its own guardian NPC, which can be defeated in order to destroy the gateway. The gateways can only be used while both are active. Active Warlock Gateways are marked on the map. Requires 400 Artifact Fragments.
  • Faction guardians (Alliance: Anenga, Horde: Atomik): Summons a single boss-like level 102 Elite NPC to guard the faction base. The Alliance summon Fangraal, an Ancient of War, while the Horde summon Kronus, an Earth Fury. Requires 3000 Artifact Fragments.
A Horde Wolf Rider patrol, escorted by two Warspear Blood Guard
Shaman Leaders
  • (Alliance: Farseer Kylanda, Horde: Mare Wildrunner): Each faction features a Shaman Leader who allows players to view each of Ashran's secondary areas from within their faction base. Players must first complete a quest requiring them to visit each main area, before the Shaman Leaders will provide their services to the player.
Vendors
  • Flares (Alliance: Bixxie Rocketsocket, Horde: Frizzo Sparkrocket): Each base features a single Flare vendor, selling  [S.O.S Relief Flare] for 50g. This flare can be used to alert the faction to the presence of an intruder, announcing the location via a /yell and a temporary marker on the map of all players of that faction.
Commander Jobby Shortsight waits in the Horde prison to be freed by adventurers
  • Ashran Quartmasters (Alliance: Crafticus Mindbender, Horde: Dazzerian): Located near the Generals, each faction's Quartermaster offers a range of unique Ashran-only items in exchange for a small number of [Artifact Fragment]. Some items require Honored or Revered with the Alliance or Horde Ashran faction. Items include invisibility effects, anti-invisibility effects, putting enemy players to sleep, reducing mob aggro range, instant mounting, and viewing players' collections of Artifact Fragment and other special items.
  • Standard repair and mining vendors.

Prisoners

Each base features a number of prisoners from the opposite faction. Trapped within cages, these can be released using  [Stormshield Prison Key] or  [Warspear Prison Key], which have a chance to be looted from enemy players' corpses. Not yet implemented, releasing prisoners will provide players with special rewards.

Prisoners can be found in specific locations within Warspear Outpost and Stormshield Stronghold. The main location for prisoners is the opposing faction's prison, an underground chamber defended by a Prison Guard. Each base has three freeable prisoners situated in the main chamber, as well as one or two who appear slightly less concerned about their incarceration, located inside freely openable cells.

The prisons also serve as target destinations for paladins wielding  [The Jailer's Libram].

Warspear Outpost

The Horde Prisoners are mostly found in the Warspear Outpost prison, located beneath the relief hut on the left as you enter the base. A lone Prison Guard will need to be tackled to reach the cages themselves. Field Marshal Kerwin and Commander Jobby Shortsight can be freed from cages here, while Mya Springbloom and Helda Thunderbraids can be found pacing up and down inside cells, apparently happy to remain in place for the time being. Marshal Andrea DeSousa can be found above ground, just to the right of the entrance to the relief hut.

Stormshield Stronghold

The Alliance Prisoners are all found in the Stormshield Stronghold prison, found beneath the central chamber that houses the Alliance generals. A Prison Guard guards the prison, where the freeable Warlord Jugan, Marshal Lyrdrea Daybreaker and General Lizzie Heartbane can be found. Ezhwnakw Sharphorn stands in a separate cell, apparently resigned to this fate.

Accessing prisoners generally happens under one of two circumstances: while the enemy base is populated by its defenders; or while the enemy base is under attack, with its defenders either engaged in battle or slain. In the latter case, players can access the prisoners relatively easily, although the Prison Guard may still be alive. In the former case, players will need to find a way past the numerous elite and rare elite NPCs that stand between the opposing faction and their prisoners.

Two main options for this exist: combat, or evasion. The first requires defeating or engaging dozens of elite NPCs, and usually coincides with the overrunning of the base as a whole. The second is an option only possible for classes with stealth abilities, or players with access to special items such as  [Phantom Potion].

The Jailor's Law Book can also be found and read here.

Hallowed Ground

Each faction's graveyard grants the Hallowed Ground buff to all characters of that faction that stand within the designated area. The buff makes the player immune to all damage.

The purpose of the buff is to provide a safe haven for players resurrecting during the invasion of their base. It also serves as a convenient safe spot for players wishing to take a minute away from the computer without fear of attack. However, while intended for defence, players with the Hallowed Ground buff are free to attack, apply buffs and debuffs and otherwise make use of their abilities. Any player of the correct faction can also enter and reenter the area as often as they like, each time becoming immune to all damage. Because of this, players may choose to enter the area to avoid attack; or to remain within the area while attacking nearby enemies. Players cannot gain the buff through occupying the enemy graveyard.

Throne of the Ogre King

The Throne of the Ogre King awaits

East of the zone's center waits Kor'lok the Ogre King, along with his two bodyguards. Apparently the spirit of a mighty ogre, this NPC is willing to enter the fray as a powerful ally for the faction who wins his grudging respect - and a fearsome enemy for the other.

The Ogre King's assistance must be won through defeating one of his bodyguards in combat. Gaul Dun Firok and Muk'Mar Raz are the Alliance and Horde champions, respectively, and the opposite faction champion must be defeated in order to recruit him. Once recruited Kor'lok will /yell his approval of the faction's efforts, and leaps into the fray as a boss-like level 102 NPC that will fight for that faction.

Upon being recruited Kor'lok will leap high into the sky, crashing down at the furthest capture point the faction has advanced to, where he will begin to attack any hostile characters, including NPCs. However, by default he is stationary and with a relatively small aggro radius can be circumnavigated by players not wishing to engage him in battle. Once attacked he will follow his foe, and can be easily pulled away his capture point spawn if desired. However, if pulled too far he will evade and return to his spawn point, although his health does not appear to reset.

Kor'lok deals melee damage and uses warrior-type attacks, including Bladestorm, Shockwave and a kind of damage-oriented Heroic Leap with a long cast time. A number of his abilities appear to be designed to deal area of effect damage, although his single-target damage is formidable.

Kor'lok is targetable, buffable and healable by friendly players. Keeping him alive is likely worthwhile, given his potential for substantial damage-dealing. The longer the Ogre King goes undefeated, the more susceptible to damage he becomes, through the stacking Curse of Kor'lok debuff.

Defeating Kor'lok causes a zone wide /yell announcing that the Ogre King slumbers once more. After a short while, another /yell will announce that he has awakened, reflecting that he is once again available for recruitment.

Muk'Mar Raz, the Ogre King's Horde Champion
Gaul Dun Firok, the Ogre King's Alliance Champion

Bodyguards

Gaul Dun Firok and Muk'Mar Raz are the Alliance and Horde champions respectively, with only the opposite faction champion attackable by players. The champions wield the same abilities used by Kor'lok, namely Bladestorm, Shockwave and a kind of damage-oriented Heroic Leap with a long cast time. However, they also possess special abilities resembling [Frost Nova], [Death Grip] and [Psychic Scream], making it harder for ranged classes to kite them. If all attacking characters die, the champion will evade and return to his original position, although his health will not be reset.

Defeating either faction champion will cause the other to despawn, preventing the other faction from quickly re-recruiting the Ogre King. Upon Kor'lok's defeat and subsequent reawakening, both champions will respawn with full health.

With around 3.3 million health and formidable abilities, the champions usually require a party of players to bring down under the best of circumstances, but when players of both factions are involved, things can become a little more complex. Whichever faction defeats their bodyguard first will gain the favour of Kor'lok, while the other bodyguard will despawn, preventing the opposition from reclaiming control. The result is a race between the factions, with each aiming to defeat their bodyguard before the enemy faction is able to do the same. While this can be achieved simply by defeating their own bodyguard first, players can take a more underhanded approach. Each bodyguard is healable by the friendly faction, making them excellent targets for heals and useful buffs, undermining the enemy faction's efforts. Crowd control can also be usefully employed upon parties of enemy players, either to simply slow their assault on their bodyguard, or, with good timing, to prevent players from escaping their bodyguard's high-damage area of effect attacks.

Secondary areas

Around the central lane are scattered several unique secondary areas, featuring elite and non-elite mobs and special interactable features, such as boulders to throw at enemies and grappling hooks to scale down to the beach below. These are the main gathering places for [Artifact Fragment], gained from slaying mobs in the area. Each area also plays host to a special secondary event (see below) and challenging unique rare mobs, which drop extra rewards with a chance of class tomes.

Upon initially entering a secondary area, the player will be presented with a list of bonus objectives, chiefly involving slaying various mobs in the area. Completing these objectives will earn the player Artifact Fragments and other bonus rewards, including 150 [Honor Points].[32] Players can complete these objectives over the course of several visits to the area without losing progress. Players can complete bonus objectives once a day.[32]

In addition to serving to provide Artifact Fragments, each secondary area features a unique collectable item, buff or other special opportunity. These effects are usually quite powerful, and once acquired can be used to boost the player's abilities while back in the main battle. This encourages players to gather these resources in order to bolster their power on the battlefield, rewarding preparation and the exploration of the secondary areas.

Clockwise from north, the secondary areas are:

  • Brute's Rise (northeast) - Event: Ogre Fires!
    • Inhabited by the flame-speaking Ashmaul ogres, this area features fire elementals and elite gronnlings, as well as throwable boulders and grappling hooks to scale down to the beach below, where Ashmaul Pearls can be looted.
  • The Dark Woods (east-northeast)
    • A shady area populated by a tribe of outcast arakkoa and some voracious ravagers, the Woods are the only part of Ashran where the coveted  [Song Flower] grows.
  • Gorian Falls (east-southeast)
    • A damp, winding zone featuring marauding saberon, swarms of podlings, and some very large flying insects, as well as a series of caves. The  [Star Root Tuber] can be looted here.
  • Molten Quarry (southeast) - Event: Collect Empowered Ore
    • A lava-filled area populated by iron-eating goren and gronnlings, featuring an extensive Ogre Mine. The Leaping Gorger Residue and Power Geode buffs can be obtained here. The inhabitants of this area are known as "the Destructors".[33]
  • Ashmaul Burial Grounds (southwest) - Event: Risen Spirits
    • Home to the Gor'vosh ogres and the spirits and risen dead produced by their dark magics. Web-wrapped Soldiers can be found here, and freed to aid the player in battle.
  • Ring of Conquest (west) - Event: Orb of Power!
    • A heavily controlled high-difficulty area filled with toughened elite ogres, some of whom wield stone-based elemental powers. Not for the faint hearted, this area has been signposted by Harrison Jones as "too dangerous for casual explorers. Proceed with extreme caution."
  • Kings' Rest (west)
    • Just west of the center of the zone lies Kings' Rest, a small area with links to nearby secondary areas. The area is notable for holding the Marketplace Graveyard, a capturable graveyard and the only resurrection point outside of the faction bases. The Graveyard can be captured similarly to bases in Eye of the Storm, allowing a faction to seize control of it for 15 minutes, after which it will revert to a neutral state. While captured, players of the controlling faction will be able to respawn there. To capture the Graveyard, the capture bar must be moved all the way to the far end.
  • Amphitheater of Annihilation (northwest) - Event: The Race!
  • Ashran Excavation (underground, access north and south) - Event: Apexis Marks
    • Opened with Patch 6.2, these ancient ogre mines are home to the spirits of fallen arakkoa.

As a result of long-standing feuds between the inhabitants of the zones in the northwest (Amphitheater of Annihilation) and southeast (Molten Quarry), and in the northeast (Brute's Rise) and southwest (Ashmaul Burial Grounds) areas, slaying Fragment-yielding mobs in each of these areas will grant a 30-minute stacking buff that increases damage done to mobs in the opposite area, as well as increasing the amount of Fragments gained from them. The buffs improve both figures by 20% per stack, and can stack at least 5 times.

While these buffs offer bonuses for swapping from base to base, the position of these zones means that one of each pair will be close to the enemy faction base, making farming Fragments there a particularly risky proposition.

Farming in these areas while they are behind the enemy front lines grants the Fortune Favors the Bold buff, increasing the amount of Fragments gathered by 100%.

Secondary area events

Set in the outlying areas of Ashran are seven unique events. These are special time-limited events which take place at random intervals, offering rewards in the form of reputation, PvP gear, 100 [Conquest Points],[28] and possibly [Honor Points] for the first faction to complete a specific secondary objective. Rewards are provided in the form of Strongboxes, with varying contents.

Events can be completed by any player in the area. Events can take place during the main battle, or in-between battles. At regular intervals, an event is selected at random to occur, and the coming event is announced zone-wide. Events are displayed on the map similarly to vignettes with a crossed swords icon, and can only be completed while active.

Clockwise from north, the events are:

  • Ogre Fires! (Brute's Rise)
    • Players must rush to claim Ogre Fires in the north-east of the zone. During the event, one of the numerous ogres in the area will become marked as the Ogre Fire, becoming claimable by a tug-of-war bar similar to bases in Eye of the Storm. Once a faction has fully claimed the fire, their score is increased by 1, and a new Ogre Fire is nominated. The first faction to claim 3 fires wins the event.
  • Collect Empowered Ore (Molten Quarry)
    • Scattered around the Molten Quarry are chunks of ore. Players can click on a chunk to pick it up, and can then travel to their faction's mine card to deposit it. The first faction to collect 10 pieces of ore wins the event. Players can only carry one chunk of ore at a time, and their movement speed is reduced while doing so.
  • Risen Spirits (Ashmaul Burial Grounds)
    • Capture 10 spectral Risen Spirits haunting the Ashmaul Burial Grounds. The first faction to capture 10 wins.
  • Orb of Power! (Ring of Conquest)
  • The Race (Amphitheater of Annihilation)
    • Around the center of the area trawl two mighty riders - the Horde rider atop a giant clefthoof, the Alliance rider atop a mighty elekk - slowly doing laps of the Amphitheater. The riders move very slowly, but for each player of their faction within their vicinity their speed is increased by 30%, allowing them to outstrip their competitor. The first faction to complete 3 laps wins the event. The escorting of the riders is complexified by the presence of the mobs in the area, causing racing players to frequently incur the wrath of the local inhabitants. The riders cannot be attacked.
  • Apexis Marks (Ashran Excavation)
    • "At certain times, spirits of fallen arakkoa haunt the Ashran Excavation. Defeat them and bring proof of their demise to Rukmaz, the ghostly caretaker of the Apexis vault. First team to show Rukmaz 50 marks wins."

Event loss buffs

With Patch 6.2, if a faction repeatedly loses at an Ashran event, they will receive a buff that increases their damage, healing, and damage absorption by 5% per stack, stacking up to 10 times. A stack of the buff will be removed each time the losing faction wins an event. Defeating the opposite faction's leader also counts as winning an event.

The buff is currently invisible, but a visible buff effect may be added with a future patch.[35]

Faction NPCs

A Warspear Gladiator, standing ready to challenge any attackers

Each faction has a range of NPCs which appear in various areas of the zone, providing both offensive and defensive benefits. Defeating them will contribute to the Enemies Slain quota.

In addition to specific combat NPCs, all base NPCs including vendors and Artifact Fragment NPCs will also join the battle if provoked.

The presence of so many NPCs in the battle adds a substantial PvE element to proceedings. Tanks are highly useful for combating the more powerful NPCs; these are often capable of one-shotting lighter-armored players and will respond to threat generation from healers as well as their actual attackers. Tanks can therefore greatly improve the odds against these NPCs and accelerate progression across the zone. Other specs can and should make use of taunt abilities to prevent healers from being annihilated.

Faction guardians

The Horde Guardian Kronus, prior to his empowerment
The Alliance Guardian Fangraal, being empowered by druids to fight in Ashran

Fangraal and Kronus are the Alliance and Horde Guardians, powerful boss-like NPCs summoned through spending [Artifact Fragment] at appropriate battle NPCs. Once summoned they will who spawn at the currently contested Tower or base, attacking any hostile characters they encounter. When the currently contested Tower or base changes, these NPCs will immediately transfer to that location, even if there are no friendly players yet in that area.

These NPCs are substantial opponents, with the health of raid bosses and powerful melee attacks. They also have some special abilities, such as Kronus' "Stone Empowerment" debuff, granted to all nearby enemies, which causes slain enemies to grant him a 3% damage reduction buff, stacking up to 30 times. Fangraal roots nearby attackers.

While these NPCs are not necessary in order to assault the enemy base, their presence is a massive advantage in countering both enemy players and enemy NPCs. In the current build, it is generally recommended to keep the faction guardian active at all times. Once one faction has their guardian active, it is generally extremely hard for the opposing faction to regain control of the zone without summoning their own. Summoning the guardian can easily turn the tide of battle, even if the enemy was about to storm the base. Fangraal or Kronus can easily single-handedly fight back whole raids of players, especially with the help of players and other NPCs.

When both guardians are active, they can and will fight each other. However, their massive health pools mean that this is usually a long, slow war of attrition. Even with forty players, it may take several minutes of continuous and concerted damage-dealing to bring down a guardian.

Critically, guardians can be healed and buffed. Any healer should make an effort to ensure the guardian stays at high health, and dispel any powerful debuffs. Through regular healing, a guardian can become almost unbeatable. The opponents then have to deal with the healers first, while trying to avoid being swatted by the guardian. In this case, the only good option is to summon their own guardian.

While active, the current position of the player's faction guardian is marked on the map.

Factions

Rewards

Players participating in Ashran will be able to earn:

Ashran features an additional 200 Conquest Point cap, allowing players to earn an additional 200 points per week from Ashran on top of what they are able to earn from other sources. Players are able to earn the full cap solely through Ashran if they choose.[36]

Notable NPCs

For a list of mobs found in secondary areas, see individual pages.

A Stormshield Gladiator, prepared to repel any invaders
Stormshield Marines and Warspear Grunts engaged in combat
Tower Guardians
Captains
Generals
Class leaders
Kamatari Whisperwind patrolling Stormshield Stronghold with her riverbeasts
Quest givers
Vendors
Temporary flight masters
Others (Alliance)
Tina Fang in Stormshield Stronghold's stables
Others (Horde)
Prisons
Mine entrances
Neutral
Main area mobs

Achievements

Development

An early map of the zone, showing a slightly different layout

For a list of developments and changes to Ashran over the course of the Warlords of Draenor beta, see Warlords of Draenor beta timeline.

One reason for the lack of a zone similar to Ashran prior to Warlords of Draenor was technological constraints, while another was the lack of the design resources required to make it.[37]

The battle NPCs such as Fangraal, Kronus, Kor'lok and the Captains were partly introduced to add variety to the central lane battle of the zone, breaking up the purely player on player zerg otherwise common in that area of Ashran.[30]

Until almost 2 months after the zone's release, Ashran did not feature any form of faction balancing. Players were able to enter regardless of faction, until that faction's population cap was reached.[38] Below the cap, faction balance was intended to be achieved through specifically matching servers with opposite faction ratios.[39] However, due in part to prolonged problems with server matching, and bugs preventing players from entering the zone, 'forced' faction balancing was eventually introduced.[20]

Some of the siege vehicles originally planned for the zone

The design for Ashran presented at BlizzCon 2013 stated that players would be able to "build and commandeer siege vehicles", some of which might be constructed over the course of multiple days.[40] Players would be able to build these through gathering materials, and when the vehicle was finished would be able to take it into battle to "rampage".[40] They were also designed to interact with the zone's planned destructible buildings, with vehicles able to "reduce the enemy base to rubble".[40] A range of vehicles were planned to be available, and players would also be able to gain control of Iron Horde vehicles in the area.[40] Vehicles included the "Incinerator", and the "Blade Mortar", which would rain down "old weapons" and other deadly shrapnel.

The zone itself underwent substantial iteration and development over the course of the alpha and beta. The Kor'lok's Throne, originally named the Throne of the Ogre King, was once housed beneath the enormous skeleton of a giant, while the Amphitheater of Annihilation, originally named The Stadium, was once home to what appears to have been an ogre mound. The player cities also underwent substantial development.

For promotional images from the zone's initial presentation and iterative changes to its layout during alpha, see the Gallery, below. For screenshots of the zone during its beta and later development, see Warlords of Draenor beta timeline.

Conflict avoidance

An early visualisation of Stormshield, complete with cannons and airship
"Ashran is not a place for truces. Ashran is a place for killing." - Brian Holinka[29]

In the weeks following the introduction of Ashran, a pattern emerged in the players tackling the zone: rather than seeking out conflict with the opposing faction, and struggling for control of the central lane, an "implicit truce" emerged which allowed players to maximise their Conquest Point and gear gains, while avoiding any encounters with other players.[29] The convention led to all Alliance players gathering to push the central lane and repeatedly defeat the opposing faction leader; while all Horde players would gather in a roving party, visiting each secondary area in turn to win the events that took place there.[41] While this was successful in allowing players to gain Conquest Points and upgrade their gear as quickly as possible, it also avoided most of the gameplay potential in the zone, and prevented players who wished to genuinely experience the zone from doing so; since each faction stayed gathered in a single group, seeking conflict with the opposite faction meant venturing off solo or in a small group to tackle the entire opposite faction at once, generally leading to almost instant death.

In late January the developers sought to address this through increasing the length of time after a faction leader kill before the zone reset to 30 minutes. Zarhym explained that the intention behind this change was to encourage the faction which had defeated the faction leader (by convention, the Alliance) to venture into the zone's other areas during those 30 minutes. As a result, Alliance players may vie for the secondary area events, which may in turn lead to Horde players returning to the central lane. Thus, it was hoped that more direct PvP encounters would result, with the consequence that faction presence in the zone was evened out.[41]

However, by late February it was clear this change had not achieved the desired results. In a post on the forums, Brian Holinka explained that the zone's problems were due in part to the design of the reward system; players were able to obtain equal rewards through two primary and quite separate means: faction leaders and secondary area events. As a result, players quickly found that they could earn their rewards far more easily and reliably through avoiding conflict than through seeking it. Holinka cited this as a design failure, stating "This setup does not encourage competition. It encourages collusion."

In order to dissolve this truce and encourage the occupants of the zone to return to less peaceful relations, in Patch 6.1.0 Conquest Points were removed from the faction leaders. As a result, the designers hope that in order to acquire Conquest Points, Alliance players will once again seek out success in the secondary area events; in turn driving the Horde to return to the central lane, where they would have a chance to even the score for the event rewards stolen from them by the returning Alliance players. The interim period of 30 minutes was also reduced to 10 minutes, encouraging central lane participation.

Less critically, the patch brought refinements and a number of simplifications to the zone. Several scrolls and wands were removed from the game, as were the  [Ashmaul Pearl] and Ghost Truffles which were previously found in certain areas of the zone, the alchemist potions once awarded in exchange for their collection now made available for Artifact Fragments. More importantly, 6.1 also saw changes to the queueing problems which had plagued the zone since its launch on live servers, with the aim of substantially reducing waiting times.

New area, new buffs, new quests

Patch 6.2 saw substantial developments to the zone, most obviously in the form of the first expansion to the zone, with the addition of the Ashran Excavation secondary area. Prior to this, each faction's mine entrance had been boarded up "while work goes on inside", with guard NPCs posted outside. NPC discussions has also hinted at expansion in the mines.[12]

The patch also saw some more fundamental adjustments: the capacity of the zone was reduced to 40, with additional instances added to compensate; and new buffs were added, granting increasing benefits whenever a faction repeatedly loses at an event. In addition, players were for the first time automatically placed in a raid group upon joining the area. This was a notable change, following the repeated intentions of the developers since the expansion's beta to have players experience the zone in a freer, less structured way, and without the pressure to engage in a common goal they felt would result from an automatic raid group. Prior to this patch, players would commonly request invitations in /1, with a substantial amount of communication and distraction necessary in order to manage the group's membership, and many players engaged in battle without being part of a group. The zone also frequently saw multiple groups for each faction.

Other changes came in the form of related quests, as part of a continued effort to encourage more direct engagement between the two factions within the zone. In a forum post, Brian Holinka admitted that "there hasn't been enough fighting in Ashran", explaining that the availability of the same rewards through various means, in combination with the tendency to find the quickest and easiest route to a reward, had led players to engage in PvE activities instead of the more challenging PvP alternatives. To counter this, Conquest Points were made available only through two new quests - one for killing the enemy faction leader and completing four events, the other for killing 200 players - both activities forcing players into fairly direct conflict with the opposite faction.

The new buffs were also aimed to encourage engagement, specifically aiming to counter the tendency of a faction following defeat to give up on the battle and "go their separate ways", avoiding engaging the opposite faction. The buffs were intended to help rebuild confidence following repeated losses, as well as the numbers necessary to compete in the larger battles.

In reference to a common perception by Horde players of being outnumbered, Holinka pointed out that the zone was strictly faction balanced, with precisely matching numbers of players from each faction in the zone at all times, but noted that as of June 2015, there were "a lot more" Alliance players queuing to enter Ashran.

July 2015 saw the Ancient Artifact hotfixed to only appear when there are more than 20 players on each team. It was also given a respawn timer, instead of immediately reappearing. The former change specifically tackled the disproportionate importance of the Artifact in small groups, with possession of it often considered to determine control of the zone, especially in instances with as few as 5 players on each side.

Removed features

Zone drops

The following zone drops were removed with Patch 6.1.0.

Alchemists' ingredients

Until Patch 6.1.0, players could not directly purchase the  [Vintage Free Action Potion] and  [Phantom Potion], but instead had to gather special ingredients from around Ashran, which could then be traded with each faction's alchemist - Gimlet Ginfizz for Alliance, Tyra Silverblood for Horde - in exchange for the potions.

 [Ashmaul Pearl] - found on the beaches north of Brute's Rise
 [Ghost Truffle] - found singly in a variety of locations throughout the zone

Trivia

  • Each faction base features several "class leaders", NPCs representing their class in the zone. Both factions' warlock and mage class leaders are found serving to open gateways and portals respectively, while the Alliance Paladin Leader and the Horde Warrior Leader serve to summon Patrol NPCs. Shaman and druid leaders serve to empower the boss NPCs for the Horde and Alliance, respectively. Other class leaders are to be found patrolling the base with pets or enchanted blades at their side. All class leaders are represented for both factions, except for the Alliance Warrior Leader and Rogue Leader, who are missing. The exception are the monk leaders, who while present during beta appear to have been removed from the live game. Situated near the faction graveyards, these NPCs served to teleport players to their party leaders.
  • Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has stated that following the Warlords of Draenor expansion, he expects Ashran's relevance to diminish, much like with old raids. However, if the zone is a success, the developers will likely incorporate lessons learned from the zone into future features.[42]

Gallery

Patches and hotfixes

  • Hotfix (2016-10-28): "Fixed a bug where several items from Ashran, Tol Barad, and battlegrounds were not usable."
  • Hotfix (2016-07-28): "Guardians for Warlock Gateways can no longer be Mind Controlled."
  • Hotfix (2016-07-25): "Ashran raid leaders can no longer queue for dungeons or raids."
  • Hotfix (2016-07-21): "Level 100 characters should be able to queue for Ashran via Group Finder."
  • Hotfix (2016-07-19): "(Work in progress) Players should again be able to access Ashran and Ashran quests at level 100."
  • Hotfix (2016-03-03): "Fixed an issue that could cause credit for winning an Ashran event to be tracked incorrectly."
  • Hotfix (2015-12-14): "Gear above item level 725 is no longer scaled down within Ashran."
  • Hotfix (2015-11-20): "Players entering Ashran on a flying mount should no longer cause a Fel Reaver sound to play."
  • WoD Patch 6.2.2 (2015-09-01): Ashran now has a deserter mechanic. Upon entering, players receive a 10-minute buff called Ashran Tour of Duty. If the player leaves an Ashran match before this buff expires, a 15-minute debuff called Recreant will be applied that prevents entry into another Ashran match.
  • Hotfix (2015-07-22): "Winning events in Ashran should now always award a Dented Ashmaul Strongbox."
  • Hotfix (2015-07-16): "Increased the area in which players can receive credit for completing Bonus Objective: Ashmaul Burial Grounds."
  • Hotfix (2015-07-20): "Ancient Artifact should now only appear when there are more than 20 players per team in the battle, and the item now has a respawn timer."
  • Hotfix (2015-07-06): "
    • Ashmaul Burial Grounds event: Increased the spawn rate of Risen Spirits.
    • The Ashmaul Strongbox that drops upon defeating Grand Marshal Tremblade or High Warlord Volrath is now rare (blue) quality to avoid confusion as to the qualify of its contents. There's been no change to the contents of the strongbox itself.
    • The progressive buff implemented from June 25 now also counts defeating Grand Marshal Tremblade or High Warlord Volrath as winning an event.
    • Grand Marshal Tremblade and High Warlord Volrath now only awards an Ashmaul Strongbox if they're defeated while their base is under attack."
  • Hotfix (2015-06-25): "
    • Decreased the maximum number of players on each faction to 40. To compensate for this change, we've also increased the number of Ashran instances.
    • If a faction repeatedly loses at an Ashran event, they will now receive an invisible progressive buff that increases their damage, healing, and damage absorption by 5% per stack. This effect can stack up to 10 times. A stack of the buff will be removed each time the losing faction wins an event."
  • WoD Patch 6.2.0 (2015-06-23):
    • New Area: Ashran Excavation and New Event: Apexis Marks
      • At certain times, spirits of fallen arakkoa haunt the Ashran Excavation. Defeat them and bring proof of their demise to Rukmaz, the ghostly caretaker of the Apexis vault. First team to show Rulmaz 50 marks wins.
    • Reward Changes
      • Winning an event now awards Honor instead of Conquest.
      • Defeating Grand Marshal Tremblade or High Warlord Volrath no longer awards a  [Gleaming Ashmaul Strongbox].
      • New Weekly Quest: Slay them All!
        • Defeat 200 enemy players. Awards Conquest.
      • New Weekly Quest: Ashran Dominance
        • Win each event in Ashran and defeat the enemy faction leader. Awards Conquest and a Gleaming Ashmaul Strongbox.
      • New Repeatable Quest: Continue the Dominance
        • Win each event in Ashran and defeat the enemy faction leader. Awards Conquest.
    • General Ashran Changes
      • Players are now automatically placed in a raid when entering Ashran.
      • Events now occur more frequently.
      • Event: Collect Empowered Ore now requires 20 ore to win (up from 10).
      • Event: Risen Spirits now requires 20 captured spirits to win (up from 10).
      • Event: Stadium Racing now requires 5 laps to win the race (up from 3) and the maximum speed a racer can reach is 300% (down from 500%).
  • Hotfix (2015-03-19): "Events in Ashran are no longer on individual timers. Events are now selected at random at regular intervals."
  • Hotfix (2015-02-25): "Gleaming Ashmaul Strongbox no longer contains Primal Aspirant's gear (item level 600). Gleaming Ashmaul Strongbox now contains only Primal Combatant's gear (item level 620) with a small chance for Primal Gladiator's gear (item level 660) and Flask of Conquest."
  • WoD Patch 6.1.0 (2015-02-24):
  • Hotfix (2015-01-27): "
    • There's now a 30 minute delay between battles after Grand Marshal Tremblade or High Warlord Volrath has been defeated.
    • Stormshield Gladiators and Warspear Gladiators now respawn 3 minutes after Grand Marshal Tremblade or High Warlord Volrath has been defeated."
  • Hotfix (2015-01-21): "Players leaving Ashran via mini-map are now teleported to a location just outside of Ashran instead of back to the bound Hearthstone location."
  • Hotfix (2015-01-13): "Amphitheater of Annihilation: Mandragoraster's Fertile Spit ability now caps out at 6 nearby targets."
  • Hotfix (2015-01-09): "Grand Marshal Tremblade and High Warlord Volrath should no longer be able to be pulled through the side gates."
  • Hotfix (2015-01-08): "Bonus Objectives in Ashran now restart every 30-40 minutes after completion (up from 20-30 minutes)."
  • Hotfix (2015-01-07): "
    • Fangraal no longer uses the Soul of the Forest ability.
    • Alliance PvP vendors Bregg Coppercast and Ingrid Blackingot now have collision boxes.
    • Horde PvP vendors Lieutenant Axelash and Lieutenant Brokefist have moved closer to the road leading into Ashran, and now have collision boxes."
  • Hotfix (2015-01-06): "Players now have 60 seconds to accept the prompt to enter Ashran (up from 20 seconds)."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-19): "Fangraal and Kronus now costs 3000 Artifact Fragments to summon (up from 1000)."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-15): "
    • Players are now removed from a Dungeon Finder or Raid Finder group upon accepting the queue to enter Ashran.
    • Events in Ashran should now be occurring more frequently."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-11): "Fangraal and Kronus no longer scales their health based the number of players they're fighting. Each faction guardian's health now scales based on the number of enemy players active at the time when they're summoned."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-10): "
    • Bonus objectives in Ashran now have a daily reset timer.
    • Fortune Favors the Bold no longer provides a bonus to Honor Point gains."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-08): "
    • Honor and reputation increases for turning in Artifact Fragments first noted on December 3, are now out of testing and have been implemented.
    • Disabled health regeneration for Kronus, Fangraal, Grand Marshal Tremblade, and High Warlord Volrath when they leash or drop out of combat."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-05): "To address a potential pathing issue, Fangraal, Kronus, and faction Captains now continuously push towards the enemy faction's base."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-03): "
    • Faction balancing is now in effect if there are more than 5 players from each faction in Ashran.
    • Fortune Favors the Bold has been increased to 100% additional Honor Points and Artifact Fragments (up from 25%).
    • Artifact Fragment rewards from Ring of Conquest Ogre guards, or Ashran rares should no longer decrease based on the number of players engaging them.
    • Turning in an Artifact Fragment now awards 3 Honor Points per fragment (up from 1 Honor Point).
    • Increased reputation gains with Wrynn's Vanguard and Vol'jin's Spear.
      • Turning in an Artifact Fragment now awards 5 reputation points per fragment (up from 1 reputation point).
      • Turning in tokens recovered from a defeated player now awards 2500 reputation points when turned in (up from 350 reputation points).
      • Completing a bonus objective now awards 500 reputation points.
      • Defeating Grand Marshal Tremblade or High Warlord Volrath now awards 2500 reputation points."
  • Hotfix (2014-12-02): "Cross-realm groups are now able to enter Ashran together."
  • Hotfix (2014-11-25): "
    • Fangraal and Kronus now have 25% less health.
    • Grand Marshal Tremblade and High Warlord Volrath now scales their health based on the number of players in the zone."
  • Hotfix (2014-11-21): "Increased the amount of players that can be in Ashran to 150."
  • Hotfix (2014-11-17): "Honor Quartermasters have been added to Ashran. Austin Feeney (Alliance) and Shadow Hunter Gar'ant (Horde) now sell Honor gear."
  • WoD Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14): Added.

References

  1. ^ a b Brian Holinka on Twitter - "It will use some new tech. It is instanced but you won't feel the transition (no load screen)." (2014-03-05)
  2. ^ a b Ashran Preview: Prepare to Engage. Blizzard Entertainment (2014-07-17).
  3. ^ a b MMO-Champion - Warlords of Draenor Dev Interviews, Proving Grounds Requirement in WoD, Blue Tweets (2014-02-23).
  4. ^ Hotfix, 2015-06-25: Decreased the maximum number of players on each faction to 40. To compensate for this change, we've also increased the number of Ashran instances.
  5. ^ Brian Holinka 2014-05-12. Brian Holinka on Twitter.
  6. ^ a b BlizzCon 2013 "What's Next" Panel - video
  7. ^ Kor'lok - Submit, peasants, to the might of the great Ogre Empire! - The empire... will rise again!
  8. ^ Ashmaul Vengeance, Gor'vosh Vengeance
  9. ^ [Artifact Fragment]
  10. ^ a b c d e f Illandria Belore
  11. ^ a b Misirin Stouttoe
  12. ^ a b c Legionnaire Hellaxe
  13. ^ Stormshield Guard - I hear that Harrison Jones still isn't any closer to finding that artifact.
  14. ^ a b Officer Rumsfeld
  15. ^ Stormshield Guard - I think they fear that if we do find the artifact, we'll end up using it against them.
  16. ^ a b Warspear Grunt - You hear what happened? The blood elves say they found something big in the mines. ... They say it's part of the big artifact the Alliance is looking for.
  17. ^ Stormshield Guard - If they keep attacking our soldiers the way they have been, they may just drive us to it.
  18. ^ Examiner Remy Starminder
  19. ^ chaud 2014-04-15. Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews, April 14 Hotfixes, Blue Tweets, Wowcraft. MMO-Champion.
  20. ^ a b Holinka on Twitter (2015-01-03).
  21. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-02).
  22. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-08).
  23. ^ Warlords of Draenor: Ashran Developer Livestream (2014-10-29).
  24. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-02).
  25. ^ Official Forums - Remeber when AV was an all day event? (2014-02-24).
  26. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-01-06). "From base to base is similar to AV but it's wider."
  27. ^ Brian Holinka 2014-03-28. Twitter / holinka.
  28. ^ a b c d e Patch 6.1.0
  29. ^ a b c Brian Holinka (Desvin) 2015-02-25. From 350 CP to ZERO..
  30. ^ a b Brian Holinka on http://www.twitch.tv/wowhead - 2014-12-11
  31. ^ WarcraftDevs on Twitter (2014-12-09).
  32. ^ a b WarcraftDevs on Twitter (2014-12-10).
  33. ^ http://wod.wowhead.com/spell=168595
  34. ^ http://wod.wowhead.com/spell=168596
  35. ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/18194814924#1
  36. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-12).
  37. ^ Brian Holinka (2014-08-23).
  38. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-10-08).
  39. ^ Hoalink on Twitter (2014-07-31).
  40. ^ a b c d ASHRAN New World PVP Zone Warlords of Draenor World of Warcraft - Blizzcon 2013
  41. ^ a b Zarhym 2015-01-27. 2nd Blizzard Hotfix without warning. Archived from the original on 2015-03-31.
  42. ^ Brian Holinka on Twitter (2014-08-23).

External links