This post has been in the making for quite some time.
It became rather long, too. So save it for when you have time, cuddle up on the couch with your favorite drink, and dive in, if you want to take a trip down memory lane with me 🙂
Originally I had intended for it to be a top 10, but there were simply too many great caves, that I felt it was unfair to leave out. So 15 it is! It could have been 37, just so you know…
Yep. That one. I can get lost, even in that one.
I get…Frustrated when getting lost in a cave. That happens. A lot. And it normally ends with me ragequitting, or using my hearthstone to get out.
Every time, despite the frustrating, I am also thinking back, fondly, to my times when WoW was new. When I was new to the game.
Such fond memories of not knowing my way around…
Did you know, that caves used to be refered to as Mini Dungeons? I recently read that in my old book, the World of Warcraft Official Strategy Guide.
That puts it into perspective, does it not? All the hours one spent inside; no wonder you felt it was difficult, you were doing a Dungeon all by yourself!
Anyway. That’s enough talk, is it not? Too many words. Not enough screenshots.
So, to honor all my memories, thank you for joining me on a trip down memory lane, as I bring forth my top 15 caves in World of Warcraft. (From an Alliance point of view, as that is all I have ever played) – coupled with some screenshots of how they all look in game today.
These are listed, not as the worst, or best, but simply in the order I came across them while levelling.
But I am certain that, the tougher they were, the stronger the memory.
A list such as this, without at least one cave from Teldrassil; the starting area of almost every single character, I have ever played, would not be complete. So!
Shadowthread Cave was my very first cave to enter. The mobs were hostile and it were spiders. Fantastic combination. However, they did not heal, nor flee, so I am sorry, Shadowthread Cave, you did not make the cut!
Neither did you, Fel Rock, oh, you cave, with all the Grells and the satyrn that hit far too hard. (To be fair though, I did want to take his head.)
No, the price goes to…
Ban’ethil Barrow Den is a small barrow den in Teldrassil that was once one of the sacred places built by night elves to hold sleeping druids of the talon. However, control over it has recently been taken over by the corrupted furbolg Gnarlpine tribe, and is now a dangerous place to venture for a lone night elf.
For all the Shamans that healed, when I had no interrupts…For all the Furbolgs that ran away on low health…For every corpserun I ever did…For all the times I got lost and had to use my hearthstone to get out (Remember the 1 hour cooldown)…For all the time my bags got full, because running back and forth to town would literally take half an hour…
Thank you, Ban’ethil Barrow Den.
For teaching me patience. And for teaching me, it can be a dangerous world out there, where one has to put their best strategy forward. Thank you for helping me discover, which class I was meant to play (during aiding Oben Rageclaw) And thank you for teaching me, how to find my way, when ever my world looked like this!
It’s a big world out there. I thought Teldrassil was enormous. Imagine my surprise when i landed in Darkshore.
Here, amongst many other things, you had to go fetch some mushrooms.
In a cave.
Cave Mushrooms , the quests was called, how creative! (Take a look at the comments on the quest. So old school, hah.)
The cave was behind Cliffspring Falls in the northern part of Darkshore.
For me, this was my first time to come across a Naga. They were tougher than the Furbolgs in the last cave. And closer packed together. I died, over and over. Got lost. And died some more.
Pulling more than one mob resulted in me fleeing away. I tried and tried. Even grouped up with someone who helped their friend, and thought, great, we totally have this now, since he was “high level” (as in, level 30). Turns out, a level 30 player can get killed by a level 18 mob :p
It did not help that the quest was available at like level 12, when the mobs were several levels higher!
I visited this cave a few days ago as well, but sadly it has been taken over by Grells and Satyrs, capturing innocent animals.
On a positive note though, a very old friend of mine suddenly appeared out of nowhere, when I was heading to the cave! There I was, hanging about (slightly afk sorting laundry..) and when I arrived back at the keyboard, I discovered him right infront of me!
How he tracked me down, I do not know, but he is a Hunter, and know my where abouts, I imagine..? 😉
It was a very pleasant suprise, and such a coinsidence, considering he and I go way, way back to Vanilla together. So to run into him during this journey was fantastic.
Revisiting things together with friends is such a joy 🙂
As a true Night Elf, I moved onto Ashenvale from here. The cave that really stands out here for me, is the one with the unfortunate souls of Druids.
The Dor’Danil Barrow Den[75, 75] is located in Ashenvale, south of Splintertree Post, and southwest of Felfire Hill. Although it has traditionally been the site of rest for night elven druids, the incursion of the Horde put the Barrow Den behind enemy lines. Although the orcs had little interest in a bunch of sleeping elves, the Forsaken who later joined the faction were not so disinterested.
They experimented with severing the sleeping druids from their spirits, driving the night elves insane. The Barrow Den was filled with skulking Forsaken assassins during that time. The Forsaken have since departed both the Barrow and the outside area, but they leave behind the enraged souls of the severed druids, and three particularly powerful spirits — those of Uthil Mooncall, Mavoris Cloudsbreak, and Taneel Darkwood.
Despite the design being similar to the cave in Teldrassil, I still had not memorized it, and inside, there were tough mobs, you had to go quite deep inside, get lost, go out, aaand then back again, get lost, and back later on for another quest in the chain. (I apologize for the lack of details on the quest, my memory is beginning to fail. But…Druids…!)
It involved a lot of travelling through the dangerous forests – and Ashenvale will always be the place, where I really felt as if I was up against one of the harder bosses in the game; Mountains…
That brought me to Eastern Kingdom.
From Ashenvale and on, I bounced back and forth between Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdom, when I was levelling.
Well, as much back and forth as it was possible, with the boat, tram and hearthstone off cooldown.
So, around level 16, I arrived in…
Ah, you guessed it already, I imagine?
Yes, this was my very first time coming across these funny little creatures, known as Kobolds. Is that a candle…On their head? ..What? Yet another being, who would flee in terror at low health. Another packed cave, where one kobold would become four, if you were not very careful, used Line of Sight pulling, and pulling them way back (watch the respawns!)
I am not embarrased to admit, that despite being level 16, I still managed to die, and get lost, several times, in this mine!
Then I went to…
Right, in Loch Modan, there were several caves that come to mind. Not because they were particularly hard, but finding them, that was the hard part. See, you got asked to find countless of troggs throughout the zone.
Vague descriptions as to where they would be. And the quest went on, and on.
Stonesplinter Valley[33, 75] is a valley carved among the mountains in southwestern Loch Modan. Once a pristine setting, the valley is now crawling with hostile Stonesplinter troggs. Adventurers wishing to befriend the local dwarves will find plenty of work hunting the foul humanoids, and the most ambitious heroes strike deep into the heart of the valley in attempts to rid the region of the trogg leader, Grawmug.
So you travelled back and forth, and back and forth, aaand back and forth, desperately searching for the right kind of troggs.
This was a test of patience and endurance. So yeah, on to the list with the caves in Loch Modan. Some of them were extremely tough to navigate for me as well, since it were of designs, I had never seen before.
It still looks somewhat similar in game today, though a lot less Troggs, and I am fairly certain the quest line has changed entirely too. And those “complete quests without being at an NPC and get the next part in the quest chain” certainly changed the difficulty as well.
My journey now took me to
(yeah, sorry, it rained when I flew by, but that has its charm too, right 🙂 Actually I kind of like this screenshot a lot, now I look at it again… )
Oh, which cave I am going to mention? I think you know. Do you not?
If I say Blackrock Orcs and escorting Corporal Keeshan, what say you?
You are so right. It’s…
6. Render’s Rock
Render’s Rock is a large cave in the northwestern Redridge Mountains near the entrance to the Burning Steppes. The cave, much like Render’s Valley and Render’s Camp, is named after Rend Blackhand and contains a number of powerful Blackrock orcs.
While this cave perhaps did not cause me that much difficulty finding my way out and in off, this was two tough things combined; cave and escort.
Escorting NPCs back in the good ol’ days, remember? You could not even heal them! They would run off, across the entire map, pulling every mob in sight, last for two seconds, die, splat, and there you would be; all alone, with a failed quest and another visit to the Spirit Healer, not to mention, the long walk back.
Oh, and respawns thrown into the mix too, obviously!
And should you succed in getting Keeshan safely to the road? Oh, do not think, that you are safe! He might just bug up on the long walk back to Lakeshire!
Fantastic times indeed 🙂 /Thank you rosetinted goggles.
Today, the zone has changed massively. But, Josh J. Keeshan can still be found there. And as far as I can recall, the quest line after Cataclysm is very captivating (wont spoil things here)
Now, this zone. Oh, this zone. Captivating…So filled with danger that lurks around every corner, and packed with great quest lines. (And Twillight Grove, in Vanilla, where you could wander about and suddenly be face to face with an enormous dragon..)
Right, we were talking about caves!
No doubt that the catacombs in Duskwood has to be on this list.
Something as spooky as this…Words cannot describe it. You must just see it yourself. Or read the very immersive piece Eom at WoW-Stories wrote on it.
Did you know, that when you enter these Catacombs, you can hear your own heartbeat? (Seriously, turn up the ambient sound, it’s there.)
(Thank you to a very good friend of mine, who made it possible for me to enter. I could not have done this alone.)
It was beyond scary. Back then, and now. Not much has changed, except fewer mobs, it appears 🙂
Let’s just look at a few screenshots and move on!
Arriving at Stranglethorn Vale, after spending 10 levels in Duskwood, was a welcome change of scenery, despite how much I like Duskwood.
If you could pick one cave in the Vale, which would it be?
Oh, I think many of us can agree on…
The Stockpile[59.4, 18.9] is a cave system located at the northeastern edge of Kurzen’s Compound where Colonel Kurzen and his fighters keep their war-waging equipment. It also served as Kurzen’s base of operations before he was killed by his own soldiers during the Cataclysm.
Just the area in itself…Kurzen’s Compound. As if the mobs surrounding it were not tough enough as it was; adventuring into a cave, packed with them; with their healers – their medicine men (remember, they sometimes would heal WHILE running away?!), and in the end, be face to face with the leader, only to realize, you were trapped, with respawns behind you, and the leader infront of you (Elite mob). And no where to go…
That has changed too, since Cataclysm, but bits of it is still around, luckily.
Running out of doable quests in Stranglethorn Vale led me to continue in Arathi from time to time.
No doubt on this one,
deserves a spot on the list!
Drywhisker Gorge is a gorge cutting through the mountains in the eastern section the Arathi Highlands, northeast of Hammerfall. At the end of the gorge lies a cave, the only known source of . It is currently inhabited by the Drywhisker kobolds. Deep within the cave, a mysterious stone shard can be found in which a piece of the essence of Princess Myzrael was trapped.
More Kobolds indeed…Fleeing at low health, closely packed together, and you had to go inside several times for various quests, including the one called The Princess Trapped.
Didn’t there also exist a quest linked to Stranglethorn Vale, was it…? Ah, my memory fails me on this one. The cave itself was also not that easy to find, it was up on a hill behind Hammerfall.
But see now, this! When I visited this cave earlier this week, look what I found…
Poor Worgen. He fought ever so bravely, I am certain.
So even today, these caves still cause trouble, apparently.
It’s times like these, I am very glad to be a healer, and capable of bringing others back to life. The kind worgen questioned my presence there too, and when he was informed of the reason, his response was…
🙂 So nice to still be able to run into friendly players in the world.
Today, the cave appears less crowded than before; the kobolds have a little more space in beween each other, but the cave design remains the same, so out I go, before I get lost again.
Let’s move onto
– to go into, by far, the largest “cave” on the list;
The Slag Pit lies deep within the Cauldron excavation site in Searing Gorge. It is run by cruel Dark Iron Dwarves and worked by their slave laborers. Within the depths of the Slag Pit there is another danger, ravenous incendosaurs. The Dark Irons are extremely hostile to any who would interfere with their mining operations.
I spent days in Searing Gorge, trying to get everything done down in that giant pit!
Elite mobs, countless of quests having you go back and forth, and not only was it a maze inside, it also involved various elevators, going up and down. It all equals a hearthstone on cooldown, constantly, one huge repair bill, and filled up bags.
And the final quest down there ambushed me, when, was it delivering or accepting a quest, it suddenly turned into an Elite giant right in front of you, meant to be taken on by a full 5 man group.
Yes. Great times!
Actually, visiting it this week, I was amazed; it looks almost lifelike in some places, notice the walls? Quite impressive 🙂
Very much how I remember it, but more beatiful this time around.
Right, so I mentioned
earlier in the post. But no, it is not the cave with the crystals in them, all though I got lost in that too. Instead, it is
Oh, can you remember?
All those apes, enormous gorillas, with fierce attacks, often standing together in packs, all to prevent you from entering, finding A-Me 01, only to discover, that the next part of the quest asks you for a Mithril Casing. Oh, and let us not forget the rare spawn Gorilla in there, that would 3 shot you if it got the chance…
Ah, and did I mention, you had to escort A-Me 01 out of the cave too? It does not get any better than this!
I found it amusing, that A-Me 01 actually has been moved to be located outside these days instead of inside the cave. Other than that, the cave looked very much like back then.
By far, one of the hardest caves I can recall, is the one located in Felwood, located near Jaedenar, called
Even at level 60, I had it difficult here. It was a very crowded cave, and quests chains kept sending you back and forth (Hmmm, I see a pattern…).
Captivating quests lines though! And an escort quest as well. (Joy…)
As I visited the cave this week, I was very happy to see, that the design and enemies there are much the same, as they were back then. They are lower level, easier, and so forth, but in general, it still is similar to Vanilla.
In Winterspring, I spent my last levels.
I can still recall the exact spot, where I dinged 60 (yet I cannot always remember what I did yesterday, what is up with that?)
This zone was such a mix of things. Quests took you here, that were somewhat hidden in game, and the connection Winterspring had to the end game things, such as the dragons, made it a mystery to me. Not to mention, the Winterspring Frostsabers.
That is why the cave
made it to the list.
Mazthoril is a huge and deep icy cavern – populated by the Cobalt Brood. Within these caverns lies the true stronghold of the blue dragons, the forces of General Colbatann. Guarding this stronghold is an entire legion of dragonspawn sworn to protect Mazthoril. Night elf forces – including those rare few wintersaber riders who can tame the feral frostsaber cats – often clash with the dragonspawn legion, using blade and fang in an attempt to rid themselves of the malevolent dragons.
It was filled with blue dragons, creatures that I had not come across often before, and in much larger groups and scale. I found them so fascinating. Sadly, this cave too, has changed a lot since Cataclysm, where the blue dragons were removed.
The cave is now home, mostly, to Altered Beasts.
…One of the zone I thought was so intimidating back then. The lightning in the skies, the sounds from it surrounding you, it all just added to it. Despite being able to do quests there around 50, this zone also had some quests, that were meant for players at end game. Tough ones, long quest chains ended there.
This was also a plac,e where I found some of the first repeatable quests; the ones that had you grind meat from various creatures, and upon delivering it, you would be granted an item, that would give you a buff to certain stats, lasting for one hour; making it suitable for those that raided, looking to maximise.
I’m sorry. We were talking about caves, were we not!
Serpent’s Coil is a winding cave system that had been occupied by evil cultists worshipping Kirith the Damned. It is located in the eastern area of the Blasted Lands, in sight of Nethergarde Keep. Several burnt-out orcish structures stand here, remnants from the Second War. Archmage Allistarj operates his Shadowsworn forces from within this small labyrinth. Many high elven cult members can be found here.
This cave was part of the entire quest chain end in Blasted Lands. My memory sadly is failing me on this one, especially since it is no longer around, but Serpent’s Coil stands out for me, and makes it to this list, because of the epic feel it had.
So I guess, that we established, that I can remember them feelings, and not so much them details…
While not technically a cave, this list would not be complete without a trip to Silithus…
…and a mentioning of the hives there.
This zone always gave me shivers. The bugs. The sound. The wind. The sand. The quests. The bugs. Did I mention bugs? All the corners inside the hives, making it difficult to spot what was behind it, and in how large a pack they would attack. The music…Oh, the music too.
For old times sake…And perhaps a little due to getting lost too…
That ends my list 🙂
I was going to include a few Dungeon entrances, though technically they are not caves like the others, still a pain to navigate, filled with Elite mobs.
But I ended up realizing, that pretty much every single Dungeon entrance would have been on the list then :p Though, I think the winner would have been…
How big of a maze that was, with so many entrances to it. Finding a group, mastering the Dungeon, defeating the bosses…None of that was as challenging as actually finding my way inside!
For this list and adventure, I came across a fantastic map, that I want to share here.
It really gave me a sense, of how large a world it used to be. Today it feels smaller somehow.
I guess, because we know it so well.
And a neat overview of caves here.
I hope you enjoyed it all, despite the length of the post. It took me all across Azeroth, and it made me rediscover a lot of things, I have not visited in years.
There were several caves that did not make the cut; it was surprisingly difficult to narrow down.
Now, I do wonder, what was your favorite/best/worst cave?
Did you read through the list thinking “How could she forget this one!?” ? – Then let me know 🙂
Happy Orca is happy and wishes you a happy night, and thanks you very much for visiting! 🙂