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The Northern Barrens encompass all the lands north of the Great Divide, created when the Barrens were split in two by the Cataclysm. It is a massive savanna, with a few oases in the south region around the Crossroads. Before the upheaval, several large kaldorei cities stood here. Now, those brave few willing to scrape out a life on the arid plains inevitably run afoul of centaur warbands or quilboar raiding parties. Despite its often uninviting terrain and hostile inhabitants, the Northern Barrens receive a good deal of interest from Alliance and Horde alike, as well as races native to Kalimdor. Trade routes crisscross the landscape leading to and from more inviting regions, and the most notable route is the Gold Road that runs north-to-south through the Northern Barrens and beyond. Rumors suggest that precious minerals and treasure-filled ruins await those with the courage to investigate.

Aesthetically, the Northern Barrens bear a close resemblance to an African savannah, including the beasts residing there. There are also three small Oasis; the Forgotten Pools, the Wailing Caverns and the Stagnant Oasis.


Though the Northern Barrens in and of itself is a new zone due to the devastating Cataclysm, the areas within contain a rich history[1]:

The Barrens, both north and south, was once a thriving forest under the protection of the night elves and their kind. 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. This forested landscape transformed into a scorched plain, battered each day by the sun's rays. The Northern Barrens remains a sprawling and arid savanna to this day that stretches between Stonetalon Mountains to the west and Durotar to the east. When the orcs under the Warchief Thrall landed on the Barrens many years ago, it saw civilization anew. The Horde built new settlements among the dry grasses and arid hills, and placed the Barrens solidly into the heart of Horde territory. The Horde set up numerous outposts in this barren land, the largest being the Crossroads at the intersection of two major roads. The area is also dotted with numerous farms populated by orcs and their families, and guard towers manned by orcish and tauren guards.

Centaur warbands are most often seen in the canyons, though they roam as far as the river that forms its eastern border with Durotar. Fearlessly aggressive, the centaur are known for their savagery, especially against tauren and night elves. They are not above attacking trade caravans also, for the goods or just for the sake of violence. Travelers who survive the centaur’s battle lust are used as slave labor in the hardscrabble mines the centaur carve into the hard-baked earth. Displaced from Durotar by orcs, quilboar have built crude villages along the river that separates the orc nation from the Northern Barrens. From there, they strike out across the river to raid settlements or deeper into the Northern Barrens to attack caravans along the Gold Road. The caravan raids have hurt the goblin trade princes’ profits, so they have started negotiations to pay the quilboar gold and goods to protect caravans against centaur warbands. Other dangers include harpies who watch from perches atop mesas in the north and large beasts such as lions and thunder lizards - though these creatures tend to avoid the Gold Road.[2]

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

The Cataclysm ripped the Barrens asunder, resulting in the Great Divide. The majority of the northern region remains firmly in the hands of the Horde, though the Alliance currently hold much of the Merchant Coast and wage constant attacks against the Mor'shan Rampart in the north on the Ashenvale side. Quilboar, a constant enemy, have burrowed out a deep cave up in the hills near the Southfury River and burned down the buildings close to the Horde outpost of Far Watch Post. Emboldened by that minor success, they have also sent waves of warriors against Grol'dom Farm, but to no avail.


The majority of the region consists of vast plains. Mountains to the west hold in heated air, creating the swirling winds that rage across the plains. These windstorms stir up dust devils and tear apart anything larger than the small, tenacious scrub trees. Water is more valuable than gold in the Northern Barrens, and the locations of hidden watering holes are the residents' most closely held secrets. Dry riverbeds and a never-ending spider web of canyons make any journey a dangerous and winding trek.

The Great Divide has ripped the Lushwater Oasis in two. Additionally, strange happenings have caught the attention of Jerrik Highmountain near the Stagnant Oasis, flora and fauna both affected by unusual energies, and not all for the better, as the turtles within have become quite hostile.


Getting there


Alliance Alliance: From Forest Song in Ashenvale, take the road south to the Mor'shan Rampart. Be sure to enter through the unoccupied section, then step into the Northern Barrens.

Horde Horde: Horde players have a host of areas they can come from, including traveling across the Southfury River from Durotar, or by walking from Splintertree Post in Ashenvale and south through the Mor'shan Rampart.

Flight Master locations

Neutral Ratchet
Horde Crossroads
Horde Mor'shan Rampart World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Horde Nozzlepot's Outpost World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Boat locations

Neutral Ratchet to Booty Bay, Cape of Stranglethorn

Adjacent regions

Zone Name Faction Level Range Direction Alliance Access Horde Access
Ashenvale Horde Alliance 20-25 North By foot north; MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Ratchet to Astranaar By foot north; MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Crossroads or Mor'shan Rampart to Splintertree Post; also MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Crossroads to Zoram'gar Outpost; also MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Mor'shan Rampart to either Silverwind Refuge or Hellscream's Watch
Durotar Horde 1-10 East By foot east across the Southfury River By foot east across the Southfury River bridge; MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Crossroads, Mor'shan Rampart, or Ratchet to Orgrimmar
Southern Barrens Horde Alliance 30-35 South By foot south; MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Ratchet to Honor's Stand By foot south; MiniIcon FlightMaster.png from Crossroads to Hunter's Hill


Classification Type
Beast Carrion Birds
Humanoid Centaurs


Trade mining.png
Trade herbalism.png
Inv misc pelt wolf 01.png
Trade fishing.png
Source Item Skill Level
Herbalism Inv misc flower 02.png [Peacebloom] 1
Inv misc herb 10.png [Silverleaf] 1
Inv misc herb 07.png [Earthroot] 15
Inv jewelry talisman 03.png [Mageroyal] 50
Inv misc root 01.png [Briarthorn] 70
Mining Inv ore copper 01.png [Copper Ore] from Copper Veins 1
Inv ore tin 01.png [Tin Ore] from Tin Veins 65
Inv stone 16.png [Silver Ore] from Silver Veins 75
Source Item
Cloth (Drop) Inv fabric linen 01.png [Linen Cloth]
Inv fabric wool 01.png [Wool Cloth]
Skinning Inv misc leatherscrap 03.png [Light Leather]
Inv misc leatherscrap 05.png [Medium Leather]
Inv misc leatherscrap 07.png [Heavy Leather]
Fishing (Pools) Inv misc monsterhead 01.png [Firefin Snapper]
Inv misc monsterhead 04.png [Oily Blackmouth]
Inv misc fish 20.png [Raw Sagefish]
Inv misc monsterhead 01.png [Deviate Fish]
APB Skill Fishing.pngFloating Debris

Notable characters

At the Crossroads, Sergra Darkthorn sends promising young adventurers to prove their worth to the Horde by hunting local wild creatures. And at his fortified camp west of the Crossroads, the beleaguered Regthar Deathgate fights a one-man battle to keep the savage centaur from breaking through the Horde defenses.


Quest point.png

Of particular note are the hunting quests given by Sergra Darkthorn at the Crossroads, which lead to similar quests in other zones. Many quests in the Barrens deal with fighting back the centaur and the quilboars. In addition, the Venture Company has taken a foothold in the northern Barrens and several quests involve investigating and causing trouble for them.

Areas of interest

Inv misc idol 05.png



Dungeon Name Level Range Group Size Approximate Run Time
Instance (original dungeon) portal Wailing Caverns 15-25 5-man 1-3 Hours


World of Warcraft In-game






Patch changes

See also

External links