|Level: 25 - 60|
Battle Pet Level: 9 - 10
Southern Central Kalimdor
Contested territory (PvP realms only)
Southern Barrens is the southern half of what was once the Barrens. Before being divided it extended into Northern Barrens without break; the two areas are now separated by the Great Divide. This region is not only one of the hardest hit by the Cataclysm, but also one of the biggest war zones in the escalating conflict between the Alliance and Horde. In the wake of the Cataclysm, the Alliance has been aggressively expanding into the heart of the continent from the east coast.
The Northern Barrens was once part of a thriving forest under the protection of the night elves and their allies. Several kaldorei settlements dotted the land, and there was no ocean for miles. Then came the Burning Legion and the Great Sundering, which shook ancient Kalimdor to the bedrock. The forested landscape transformed into a scorched plain now battered each day by the sun's rays. It became known as the Barrens.
The Barrens was a sprawling and arid savanna stretching between the Stonetalon Mountains to the west, Durotar to the east, Ashenvale to the north and Thousand Needles to the south. Mountains to the west held in heated air, creating the swirling winds that raged across the plains. These windstorms stirred up dust devils and tore apart anything larger than the small, tenacious scrub trees. Water was more valuable than gold in the Barrens, and the locations of hidden watering holes were the residents' most closely held secrets. Dry riverbeds and a never-ending spider web of canyons made any journey across the Barrens a dangerous and winding trek. The few brave adventurers willing to scrape out a life on the arid plains inevitably ran afoul of centaur warbands or quilboar raiding parties. Despite its often uninviting terrain and hostile inhabitants, the Barrens received a good deal of interest from Alliance and Horde alike, as well as races native to Kalimdor. Trade routes crisscrossed the landscape leading to and from more inviting regions.
When became the Warchief, it saw civilization anew. The Horde built settlements among the dry grasses and arid hills, placing the Barrens solidly into the heart of Horde territory. The largest of the Horde's outposts was the Crossroads, located at the intersection of two major roads. The Barrens also became dotted with numerous farms populated by orcs and their families, as well as watch towers manned by orcish and tauren guards.
During the Shattering tore through the Barrens, carving a steep, magma-filled gorge across its center, from Stonetalon Mountains to the Merchant Coast. The areas north and south of the divide became near inaccessible to each other. Following this, what was once the Barrens became more commonly referred to as Northern Barrens and Southern Barrens. Much of Southern Barrens was also affected by ground ruptures.
Southern Barrens immediately became an area of devastation. Horde settlements such as Camp Taurajo were destroyed, the tauren of Thunder Bluff building the Great Gate to protect Mulgore from hostile outsiders. To the south, the quilboar continued to menace other races and spread their territory. To the north, a druid's experiment gone-wrong resulted in the Overgrowth, where even the plants are murderous. Horde and Alliance each built up new outposts for the purpose of war, centering on the Battlescar, which sits in the middle of a narrow pass, a natural bottleneck. The Alliance plans to blast its way through in order to maintain an overland link between Theramore and Northwatch Hold, not to mention a route into the Stonetalon Mountains, where the Alliance can lend aid to its allies. The Horde intends to seal off this pass, isolating Theramore.
Tides of WarThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.
As part of Warchief Hellscream's plan to destroy Theramore attention is first turned to the Alliance presence outside of Dustwallow Marsh. As such Hellscream ordered for the destruction of Northwatch Hold, who had received word of the joint Tauren-Troll attack coming there way from a scout. At the same time also received word of blood elf, forsaken, and goblin ships coming from the sea, and quickly realized that the orcs would be coming from the North. Despite the Admiral's best attempts Northwatch Hold was ultimately razed to the ground, though a few of the Alliance forces present were able to escape and regroup at Theramore under Admiral Aubrey.
After waiting for several Hellscream ordered for the army to move to continue it's mission. However while en route the forces of Fort Triumph, launched an attack that they hoped would cripple the Horde army advancing towards Theramore. Instead Fort Triumph itself fell, with its own siege weapons being added to the Horde war machine. With the both Northwatch Hold and Fort Triumph beaten the Horde's control of the region was uncontested, until the Alliance launched a counter-attack that regained control of Northwatch.
A pit of lava known as the Great Divide has split the Barrens in two and separates this zone from the Northern Barrens. It cannot be crossed directly without a flying mount. However, there is an area on the border between the Northern Barrens and Stonetalon Mountains that splits off and leads here. This is the normal method of getting here since the questing experience has been designed to segue from Stonetalon to the Southern Barrens. Low level Horde players can also reach the Southern Barrens through the Great Gate at the Mulgore border, but should be advised that this zone is a much higher level. Alliance players can run through Dustwallow Marsh (a series of bridges have been constructed and lead here directly from Theramore) or head down the coast from Ratchet to Northwatch Hold.
The Southern Barrens is the southern half of what used to be the Barrens. It is bordered on the south by Thousand Needles, west by Mulgore, east by Dustwallow Marsh, and north by the Great Divide, a steep, magma-filled canyon.
The landscape here is predominately plains, the exception being the unnaturally thick jungle of the Overgrowth in the northern part of the region. Mountains to the east and west create a natural bottleneck in the middle of the region. In the southern half, a break in the eastern mountains leads to the marshes of Dustwallow. The quilboar have completely claimed the southern end, expanding their thorny settlements past the narrow canyon leading to Thousand Needles.
Maps and subregions
Regions adjacent to Southern Barrens
|Zone Name||Faction||Level Range||Direction||Access subzone||Access method|
|Mulgore||1 - 20||West||Great Gate||By foot or byflightpath|
|Northern Barrens||10 - 60||North||Great Divide||By foot or byflightpath|
|Stonetalon Mountains||25 - 60||Northwest||Stonetalon Pass||By foot or flight path|
|Dustwallow Marsh||35 - 60||East||N/A||By foot or byflight path|
|Thousand Needles||40 - 60||South||N/A||By foot or byflight path|
- Main article: Southern Barrens NPCs
Perhaps the most notable character in the history of the Barrens, , can be found here exacting revenge on the quilboars for killing his wife. Other well known faces include the druid , who has recently awakened from his slumber in the Wailing Caverns. Of the recent arrivals, one of the more famous (or infamous) is the human , known to the Horde as the 'Butcher of Taurajo'.
- Main article: Southern Barrens storyline
- Bog beast
- Earth elemental
- Thunder lizard
- Wind serpent
Shattering of the Southern Barrens
I was in the Southern Barrens when the world broke.
Azeroth wrenched. Jagged maws of stone and dirt opened all around me. I turned in horror to see that my elder brother, Kor'ak, was falling into one of the gaping fissures. With all my might I struggled to pull him free, but in that moment, when he needed me most... I failed him. The screaming rift snapped shut, rending Kor'ak flesh and bone with a sickening ease. Terrified, I fled to the Great Lift, only to watch as the sea raged through the red canyons of Thousand Needles, consuming all in its path. I then went north until I came upon a fiery chasm that sliced the Barrens in two as if some monstrous demon had cleaved Azeroth's belly with his tainted axe. Despite the chaos, I could not shake Kor'ak's death from my mind...A brother...friend...proud orcish warrior...crushed like an insect under the foot of a traveler.
Many suns have passed since that day, but I fear that the whole of Kalimdor, and even the distant Eastern Kingdoms, will never be the same again. More and more I hear tales of how these lands have suffered from the upheaval's wrath: fire spewing from the heart of Ashenvale, flooding in the formerly parched lands of Tanaris and Durotar, and coastal settlements in Darkshore and the Wetlands claimed by hungry seas. Azeroth is changing, but I must endure to see that Kor'ak received an honorable burial. If it takes a lifetime to find my brother's broken body entombed beneath the scarred earth...then so be it.
- Patch 7.3.5 (2018-01-16): Level scaling implemented, previous zone level: 30 - 35.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Created by splitting The Barrens.