The Lament for Theramore

Thee Theramore! O sadly lost!
Alliance lament frae coast to coast.
Now war grips, the barking host
May kill us a';
For noble Jaina's fabl'd post,
Is ta'en awa'.
Dwarvish Lament for Theramore *

It is the worst kept secret in the World of Warcraft that Theramore is going to be destroyed in the pre-expansion event leading up to the release of the Mists of Pandaria expansion. The details are still unknown, but the destruction of the city will change the Alliance's position in Kalimdor drastically. At this point it's unclear as to whether Theramore will be in Alliance or Horde hands, whether it will remain a quest hub or become an instanced scenario of some kind, or just be left as a smoking, purple glowing crater in the ground.

And while others (ahem, Rades) have speculated on what the destruction of will mean to the Alliance from a lore perspective, I want to talk about what it's going to mean from my perspective as a life-long Alliance player.

What brought this topic to mind is that I was watching this video of what Theramore will look like after the Horde have their way with it. It broke my heart a little bit.


Even the name isn't really evocative of a place you'd choose to go willingly, and certainly Dustwallow Marsh isn't exactly a vacation spot. It's not pretty or scenic. In fact, it's downright dreary and just plain creepy; the sort of place you'd expect a spider to drop down out of the trees at any moment as you're walking through it. As a player, I get an ominous feeling when adventuring in Dustwallow, particularly in places like the Wyrmbog with it's wandering Dragonkin, Witch Hill and the spirits that eternally haunt it, and Darkmist Cavern with it's endless supply of eight-legged beasties.

In stark contrast to the impenetrable depths of the Swamp stands proud Theramore, a small but gleaming (relative to the rest of the marsh, at least) Alliance city perched precariously on an island. Compared to the rest of Dustwallow and Southern Kalimdor, to the Alliance player Theramore seemed like a bright shining beacon of civilization jutting out of the literal middle of nowhere. It was the essential travel hub for an Alliance player looking to get anywhere on Kalimdor since the only other town with connections to the Eastern Kingdoms was in Auberdine (now Lor'danel) and trying to get to some of the more far-flung areas (I'm looking at you, Gadgetzan) could result in a half-hour long hippogriff ride and a good chance to catch up on some reading.

Theramore was also the main quest hub for Dustwallow, and for a lot of players like myself it was the first time setting foot on the Kalimdor continent after following a breadcrumb quest from a bloke eternally standing on the Menethil dock asking whomever walks by to deliver something to the Inn there.

Now, I can't really speak to how other people level their characters, but I always made a point to go through Dustwallow with my characters. It just seemed a more natural and interesting place to go after the Wetlands than Arathi Highlands or the Badlands. I always liked the stories that were told in Dustwallow during it's first iteration. The Shady Rest Inn storyline was particularly moving, with a great emotional pay-off at the end. I've always liked the chain of quests at Swamplight Manor to cleanse "Swamp Eye" Jarl. And of course who can forget setting the raptors loose on the unsuspecting Grimtotem?

It's a zone that reminds me a lot of one of my other other favourite zones, Duskwood. It has the same kind of creepy, foreboding atmosphere to it that I like so much. And both zones had an insane amount of running back and forth before they were mercifully streamlined in Cataclysm. And all of those great memories started in poor, doomed Theramore.


With the impending destruction of Theramore there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of Dustwallow as it continues it's transition from sleepy, moody swamp that felt very insignificant in the grand scheme of the world to the front lines of an all-out war with the Horde. What will become of the small stories? Who's going to take the time to cleanse Jarl of his demonic possession in the middle of a battlefield? Is someone going to walk "Stinky" Ignatz home with Horde siege engines laying waste to the landscape?

But all that having been said, why do a lot of Alliance players lament the loss of this town so much?

Well, it's been talked about to death, but during the early stages of the War (represented by the Cataclysm expansion) the Alliance has been getting the hell kicked out of it. Southshore lost, massive horde incursions into the Night Elf homelands of Ashenvale and minor ones in Darkshore, the loss of Andorhol after the Scourge were finally defeated, and our new allies in Gilneas turned to homeless refugees forced to live in a tree by the Forsaken war machine. To the Alliance player, Cataclysm has been one iron-booted kick in the nuts after another.

Now we're losing Theramore. Whump. That's gonna sting the ol' Dwarf Potatoes.

I think that for me, at least, losing Theramore is going to make Kalimdor feel a lot less friendly and much more foreign. It's hostile enemy territory now, with no real safe havens worth mentioning for the Alliance. Go away, Dwarves, you are not welcome here.

But in all honesty, the real reason that people are complaining about the loss of Theramore has nothing to do with the game and everything to do with human psychology: People embrace the familiar and fear the unknown. Things that we know are comforting. And in this terrifying new world of conflict, destruction and all-out factional war that MoP is bringing with it people are naturally going to cling to those things that remind us of a simpler, better time of relative peace.

You know, when all we had to worry about was an innumerable, unstoppable undead army that was going to take over the entire world and suck out our brains. The good ol' days.

* Adapted from Robert Burns' poem Old Scotch Drink.


  1. I think we're going to see Alliance establish a replacement "mid-Kalimdor" base of operations, not necessarily for lore reasons so much as for mechanical ones - losing that central city REALLY hurts Alliance Kalimdor-wise. I relate it to EK and Horde - strong Northern presence, with a few camps as you go south, tapering off to one major one (Grom'gol, which has the Zeppelin back to Org.)

    I don't know where this city will be for Alliance, mind you. Being ship-based, where else other than Dustwallow makes sense? It's definitely troubling. Or maybe they'll still have Theramore as a base, but it'll be destroyed? :|

    It'll definitely be a new era for Alliance players questing in the west, that's for sure.

  2. It is a certainty that there will be some kind of Alliance presence in Dustwallow since it is a questing zone for Alliance players. How they implement that will depend on what ultimately happens with Theramore.

    If the city remains in Alliance hands then I could see the survivors move into the undamaged western parts of the city. It remains a quest hub and very little actually changes other than players have to be careful to avoid the giant smoking crater.

    It's possible that they will create a situation where the city is destroyed but the battle itself is still raging on (similar to Andorhol before the end of WPL). In which case the quest givers would be on the outskirts of the town, directing the battle.

    If the city falls into Horde hands, then all bets are off. I suspect an Alliance camp would be created somewhere along the coast similar to the Refuge Point in Arathi.

    Either way, the entire zone is going to be different.

  3. Frankly, I have always found Blizz treatment of Theramore a bit odd, as imo it had so much untapped potential. You could Teleport and make Portals to it at a lower level than the other cities, yet there weren't any trainers etc. in the city. With Cata they added trainers and a bank, but forgot to add an AH. And now, because Southshore etc. wasn't enough, they're going to blow up Theramore 'to give the Alliance a reason to be mad at the Horde, for reals this time!'

    As far as 'where will the Ally hub be?', my Spider-Sense tells me it will be on Alcaz Isle. So far it is the last remaining bastion of Vanilla World content to have survived the cataclysmic and unnecessary Shattering, and it would be just like GC to destroy this last bit of Vanilla as well.

    But hopefully I'm wrong for once in my predictions.

  4. I had tears in my eyes during the Camp Taurajo questline... I wonder if it will be the same for you Alliance with Theramore. I personally will miss the fishing dude there.

  5. Theramore is one of my favorite cities in Kalimdor...:( This is Sad..

  6. Hi :), the video bought tears to my eyes this morning. I have happy memories of taking my first ever character to Theramore, and have always gone there when levelling rather than the other areas. I have recently been doing the Cata levelling quests for the achievements and was so pleased to see the Shady Rest Inn quest line still there. Such a sad story. I'm pleased I've done it again now as its probably the last time I'll get the chance. As a mage, I hope there is somewhere else in Kalimdor that can be portalled/teleported to, that has always been so useful for getting about. Thanks for the article. :) (Ahh, don't understand the comment as things at all, so will be anonymous if that works, sorry).

    1. Thanks for the comment! I think Dustwallow Marsh is an under-appreciated zone. It is nice that it is going to be getting a revamp, but I'm fearful as to what it's going to be. I *like* that zone.

      When you comment in the future, just use the little pull-down box and choose Name/URL and type in whatever you want.