The Warlords of Dreanor Shattrath City is one of the strangest places in the history of World of Warcraft. Many players may recall it as being a max level zone in Warlords that was swarming with demons. The home of an eternal war with the Sha'tari Defense faction with its dreanei and blood knights versus the Legion's summoned monsters. Others may recall rumors that it was planned as a raid and then abandoned as so much of WoD was. The strangest thing about it though is that there is a phase of the city that exists only for characters below level 100. It's a phase of the city that is strangely and startlingly alive. It seems to exist after an Iron Horde attack, but before the demons took over the city. It's well populated with friendly NPCs, including vendors and named characters we never encounter elsewhere. There is a named commander giving a speech to his forces that then teleport away at the end. There are children playing tag in the streets. There is a battle cleric weeping over bodies saying "I couldn't save them." Oddly, there is a guard in the residential district blocking the way into a building full of corpses. If you go in, it triggers him warning you off, that the area is off limits.
This strange phase of Shattrath, one no quest sends you into, is more interactive and alive than most other places in Warcraft. Looming over the place is the central dome of Shattrath, which if you land on sends you flying away at speed with a warning that an unknown force repelled you. Later, the faction that is supposedly trying to retake the city after it is mysteriously lost to demons is notable for being one of the only faction grinds in Warcraft that has absolutely no quests attached to it.
Why did Blizzard build, with great care and effort, a populated, interactive, and beautiful city that exists only in a single phase? What plans for this city and its rep grind were made and abandoned? What sat in the city's heart?
Perhaps if Yrel's Army of Lightbound ever becomes a big bad in Warcraft we'll get some closure to this. Perhaps the forgotten raid on Shattrath will return, not against demons but against zealous paladins and whatever secrets they harbored those many years ago. Until then, the Shattrath City of WoD remains perhaps the least explained and yet heavily detailed place in all of Warcraft.
If you haven't seen its busy streets for yourself, go ahead and give it a look.
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