The Argent Crusade
|Sources: Wrath of the Lich King|
Formerly the only established Alliance settlement in Northrend, Valgarde is the obvious arrival point for anyone traveling to Northrend. It is a rough seaport and you can find all races, occupations and characters floating through here. Valgarde is an excellent place to find information about Northrend in general, and to hire guides or buy equipment before setting out. It is also the only place in Northrend where you can hire passage off this ice-coated land, back to warmer and more civilized continents. Of course, Drakkari trolls, furbolgs and occasional monsters attack the town frequently, but its strong walls never fail and the watchtowers provide ample warning.
- Valgarde already appears in very early World of Warcraft maps, being notably linked by boat lanes to Ratchet and Undermine. It is interesting to note that the original concept arts for Valgarde depict the town much like it was in the RPG, with strong walls separating the liveable areas from the dangers of Northrend, and it is possible the area was originally meant to have the same background as in the RPG (see Speculation below).
Valgarde appears to be similar to a Viking town from the concept art, this would make sense due to the fact Northrend's climate is similar to northern Scandinavia. It is most likely a reference to the Swedish town of Valsgärde, the site of a large number of Viking archaeological sites dating from the 6th - 8th centuries.
The exact location of Arthas' original landing zone seems to have undergone a retcon from Warcraft III to World of Warcraft. In Warcraft III, it is on the border of Daggercap Bay, which lies in the Howling Fjord. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King keeps this view. In World of Warcraft however, it has been moved to the southeastern Dragonblight, at the Forgotten Shore. Due to the presence of Baelgun's Excavation Site in the Fjord, it is probable that the original concept for Valgarde in World of Warcraft was still meant to be Arthas' original landing zone but that it was eventually retconned so that the questlines of the Forgotten Shore could happen. It is also possible that at some point Westguard Keep was Muradin Bronzebeard's base and that the Forgotten Shore was the former Scourge base that Arthas took over for at least two missions.
Valgarde Hall concept art in The Art of World of Warcraft.