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The Golden Fleet is the name given to the collective naval force of the Zandalari Empire. Based from their home island of Zandalar, the Zandalari fleet is one of the most powerful on Azeroth, despite recent hardships for the nation. Though the Zandalari civilization is ancient, its legendary fleet has only come into existence since it became an island nation following the Great Sundering.
Since the Sundering, the Golden Fleet has been integral to most of Zandalar's operations in the wider world. Shortly after the opening of Pandaria, the fleet set sail under the Prophet Zul to wage a campaign in the north of the continent, centered around the Isle of Thunder. More recently during the Blood War, the Zandalari Empire has joined the Horde, bringing its massive fleet with it.
This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.
Zandalar would be damaged by the Cataclysm to such an extent that many ventured out into Azeroth in search of a new future. Leading this faction was the Prophet Zul, who directed the Golden Fleet to the northern coasts of Pandaria. Only recently rediscovered, Pandaria held the remains of the legendary mogu ruler Lei Shen, the Thunder King, who the Zandalari intended to resurrect. The fleet made landfall on the shores of Kun-Lai Summit, as well as the Isle of Giants and the Isle of Thunder, beginning a full-scale invasion.
Particularly on the Isle of Thunder, the Zandalari invasion force clashed with expeditions sent by the Alliance and Horde, and were eventually defeated along with the Thunder King himself. Having met with failure, Zul and the Golden Fleet returned to Zandalar.
This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.
By the time the Blood War erupted between the Horde and Alliance, the Zandalari had rebuilt much of their civilization, and their fleet was once more a powerful force. Princess Talanji would travel on Rezan's Wake to open negotiations with the Horde, but her ship was captured en route and impounded in Stormwind Harbor. When the Princess escaped, she was pursued to the coast of Zandalar itself, where the Golden Fleet lay waiting. Guided by the loa Rezan, Talanji parted the mists surrounding the her ship, revealing the assembled fleet which unleashed a devastating volley on the following Alliance battleships. Only a single vessel survived the bombardment, and the event would convince Alliance leadership of the Golden Fleet's potency.
The Horde would recruit the Zandalari Empire to their cause, with a motivating factor being the strength of their fleet. In particular, this was to counter the potential of the Kul Tiran fleet, which the Alliance simultaneously sought. During the war in Zandalar, mutineers loyal to Prophet Zul joined with a force of mogu to seize much of the Golden Fleet while it sat in the Bay of Kings. This was part of a wider coup engineered by the Prophet, and saw Warport Rastari, Tusk Isle, and the Isle of Fangs fall under the traitors' control. It was only with the help of Horde champions that the Zandalari were able to reclaim their ships and drive back Zul's followers.
As part of the Alliance's war campaign on Zandalar, a major focus was placed on crippling the Golden Fleet. A plan devised by High Commander Halford Wyrmbane saw Alliance agents infiltrate the various sections of the fleet stationed in the Bay of Kings. In addition to recovering important intelligence and carrying out other acts of espionage, they covertly planted special explosives on almost all of the major Zandalari vessels. These remotely-detonated bombs would be used in preparation for a planned attack on Zuldazar itself by an Alliance invasion force. After the success of the mission, the Alliance forces also boarded and destroyed the flagship Gral's Call to prevent their cover being blown.
By the end of the war in Zandalar, the Zandalari Empire would officially ally itself with the Horde. In doing so, it added the strength of the Golden Fleet to that of the Horde's naval forces. This was welcomed at a time when the Blood War against the Alliance continued to reach new heights of tension, especially at sea.
Tides of Vengeance
After receiving reports of the Alliance invading Nazmir and conquering the Blood Gate, the Zandalari and the Horde decided to combine their forces and drive them out with a counteroffensive. With the Kul Tiran fleet said to be just off the coast of Nazmir, Princess Talanji sent the Speaker of the Horde to get the Golden Fleet to attack them. Captain Rez'okun however, could not mobilize the entire fleet and could only redirect the ships that were already not docked at the Port of Zandalar. Once a majority of the Horde's forces were lured to Nazmir, the Alliance navy revealed that the assault on Nazmir was a ruse and began their true objective: the assault on Dazar'alor. The Golden Fleet sought to impede the Alliance navy's path and harried them with ballistaes, but the Alliance had secretly planted explosives on their ships beforehand. Just as Gelbin was about to remotely detonate the explosives with his remote detonator machine, Gelbin's floor collapsed from the impact of one of the Golden Fleet's ballistae missiles. Gelbin fell below deck of Jaina's ship and pulled himself out of the rubble so he could rush to re-position his remote detonator. Once the remote detonator was upright again, Gelbin pushed the detonator button and blew up the entirety of the Golden Fleet stationed there, allowing the Alliance navy to invade Dazar'alor with little resistance.
- Gral's Call — Flagship that likely served in Pandaria. Boarded and destroyed on its return to Zandalar by Alliance forces.
- Rastakhan's Might — Personal flagship of King Rastakhan. Taken over by mutineers loyal to Prophet Zul.
- Breath of Pa'ku — One of the fleet's most powerful ships, docked at the Isle of Fangs. Briefly taken over by Zulian loyalists and their mogu allies, but eventually liberated. Infiltrated and sabotaged by Alliance forces during the war in Zandalar.
- Rezan's Claw — Major battleship located at Tusk Isle. Briefly taken over by Zulian loyalists and their mogu allies, but eventually liberated by Horde and Zandalari forces.
- Rezan's Wake — Personal battleship of Princess Talanji. Damaged during the Princess's escape from Stormwind City.
|Captain Grez'ko||Captain of the fleet stationed in the Bay of Kings. Lost control of his ships during the Zulian mutiny, and later worked with Horde champions to reclaim them.||Alive|
|Bo'tzun Maset||Officer in the fleet stationed in the Bay of Kings. Worked to successfully quell the Zulian mutiny.||Alive|
|Wavemaster Lanfa||Wavemaster of the Golden Fleet in the Bay of Kings. Taken prisoner during the Zulian mutiny, but later freed by Horde agents.||Alive|
|Windcaller Ula'jan||Mutineer who took control of Rastakhan's Might under the orders of Zul.||Deceased|
|Dockmaster Cobo||Dockmaster of the Port of Zandalar in charge of all shipping to and from the city.||Alive|
|Captain Zalkran||Captain of Gral's Call. Captured by the Alliance when his ship was boarded and scuttled off the coast of Zuldazar.||Captured|
|Advisor Ko'jan||Advisor to the captain of Gral's Call. Killed by Alliance forces when the ship was attacked.||Deceased|
|Quartermaster Garza||Zulian mutineer leader. Killed in the Bay of Kings by Zandalari loyalists.||Deceased|
|Captain Rez'okun||Ship captain in charge of Island Expeditions.||Alive|
Notes and trivia
- A naming convention for ships of the fleet seems to revolve around venerated loa. The only known exception to this is Rastakhan's Might.
- Its position and role during the Blood War places it in mirrored opposition to the fleet of Kul Tiras, allied with the Alliance.
- The term 'Golden Fleet' was first mentioned in the patch 5.2.0 PTR in a Lorewalker Cho dialog that was eventually cut before release:
- Zul came to Rastakhan to warn him that he had visions of a armored dragon causing a Cataclysm. Months later he once again came to Rastakhan with more grim news that he saw a legion of serpents pouring forth from a fissure in the ocean. Still Rastakhan dismissed Zul. Months later he had another vision of earthquakes and tidal waves assaulting Zandalar the golden capital sinking beneath the ocean it's once proud people drowning. Rastakhan tiring of his Prophet granted Zul his largest ships so his followers could find a new land if the visions came to pass. And these visions DID come to pass. When Deathwing arose from the Maelstrom dark angry waves crashed into the capital. The people turned to the King for help but had nothing to offer them but to turn to Zul. The Prophet had his mighty warfleet assembled while his King sat idle. Now what's left of the Zandalari sail on the Golden Fleet.
- The first canonical use of the name in-game came in Battle for Azeroth.
A style of ship fielded by the Zandalari in Pandaria.