The Barrens is a large zone in central Kalimdor controlled (mostly) by the Horde. It is a massive desert, with a few oases in the north-central region near 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 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 Barrens and beyond. Rumors suggest that precious minerals and treasure-filled ruins await those with the courage to investigate.
The Barrens 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 and is battered now each day by the sun's rays. The Barrens is a sprawling and arid savanna that stretches between the Stonetalon Mountains to the west and Durotar to the east. The grasslands and mesas of Mulgore rise to the southwest, while the wetlands of Dustwallow Marsh lie to the southeast.
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 but tenacious scrub trees. Water is more valuable than gold in the 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 across the Barrens a dangerous and winding trek. The few brave adventurers 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 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, most notably the Gold Road that runs north-to-south through the Barrens and beyond, and rumors suggest that precious minerals and ruins await those with the courage to investigate.
Centaur warbands are most often seen in the Barrens' 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 Barrens. From there, they strike out across the river to raid settlements or deeper into the 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. The quilboar have also erected a fortress called Razorfen Downs in the southeastern Barrens. Razorfen is a sprawling mass of giant, twisting thorns and crude mud huts. It serves as the center of quilboar society. Other dangers include harpies who watch from perches atop mesas in the northern Barrens and large beasts such as lions and thunder lizards - though these creatures tend to avoid the Gold Road. Native dangers have not stopped the Ironforge dwarves from establishing a stronghold near the titan excavation site of Bael Modan. The centaur have made forays against it, but are repelled decisively each time. Scouts claim that the centaur are amassing other tribes to launch a major attack, but the dwarves are unconcerned. Each day that passes sees Bael Modan grow stronger as the inhabitants build up its defenses.
When the orcs under the new Warchief Thrall had landed on the Barrens, 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 has set up numerous outposts in this barren land, the largest being the Crossroads at the intersection of two major roads, and Camp Taurajo, a tauren outpost near the border to Mulgore. The Barrens are also dotted with numerous farms populated by orcs and their families, and guard towers manned by orcish and tauren guards.
- From Mulgore, follow the main road east out of the zone, then continue though Camp Taurajo (there is a Wind Rider Master in Camp Taurajo) and turn north through the Gold Road to get to the Crossroads. Get the flight path there too.
- If you are an orc or troll, go to Razor Hill (The small orc town south of Orgrimmar in Durotar and go through the road west, then continue south through the Gold Road.
- If you are a Forsaken or blood elf, take the goblin zeppelin to Orgrimmar, the Zeppelin Tower is just north of the Undercity, then go down to Razor Hill and use the same route as orcs and trolls.
- An alternative method is to travel to Darkshore, then to Ashenvale. Walk all the way to the Mor'Shan Rampart without getting close to the guards. To the east there is a small entrance, free of Horde guards, that Alliance can go through.
The Barrens are huge, one of the largest zones in the game. The land is mostly flat, with a few hills scattered throughout. The climate is harsh and hot, but survivable due to several lush oasis. With a stretch of coastline to the east, mountains to the northwest, plains to the west, forest to the north, marsh to the east, and the desert conditions to the south and northeast, the Barrens is surrounded by extremely varied landscapes.
The Barrens contain three instanced dungeons, the Wailing Caverns, Razorfen Kraul, and Razorfen Downs. The Horde entrance to Warsong Gulch is located to the north. There are two Horde aligned travel hubs in this zone: the Crossroads and Camp Taurajo, in addition to the flight path and boat in Ratchet available to both factions. There are no raid dungeons in the Barrens.
Maps and subregions
|Dungeon Name||Level Range||Group Size||Approximate Run Time|
|The Wailing Caverns||15-23||5-man||1-3 Hours|
|Razorfen Kraul||24-33||5-man||1-3 Hours|
|Razorfen Downs||34-41||5-man||2-4 Hours|
- Warsong Gulch (Horde Entrance)
The Crossroads is likely the biggest travel hub for Horde characters, with a total of 13 flight paths. Camp Taurajo, a secondary hub in the southern Barrens, is very useful for travel from one end of the zone to the other. Ratchet has both a Horde and Alliance flight master, and a boat which sails to Booty Bay in Stranglethorn Vale.
- Bloodvenom Post, Felwood
- Brackenwall Village, Dustwallow Marsh
- Camp Mojache, Feralas
- Camp Taurajo, The Barrens
- Freewind Post, Thousand Needles
- Orgrimmar, Durotar
- Splintertree Post, Ashenvale
- Sun Rock Retreat, Stonetalon Mountains
- Thunder Bluff, Mulgore
- Valormok, Azshara
- Zoram'gar Outpost, Ashenvale
- Gadgetzan, Tanaris
- Ratchet, The Barrens
- Astranaar, Ashenvale
- Talrendis Point, Azshara
- Theramore, Dustwallow Marsh
- Orgrimmar, Durotar
- The Crossroads, The Barrens
- Booty Bay, Stranglethorn Vale (Boat)
- Gadgetzan, Tanaris
|Zone Name||Faction||Level Range||Direction||Access|
|Durotar||1-12||Northeast||By foot across the river or by flightpath from Crossroads to Orgrimmar|
|Mulgore||1-12||West||By foot or flightpath from Crossroads or Camp Taurajo to Thunder Bluff|
|Stonetalon Mountains||15-27||Northwest||By foot or flightpath from Crossroads to Sun Rock Retreat|
|Ashenvale||18-30||North||By foot or flightpath from Crossroads to Splintertree Post or Zoram'gar Outpost|
|Thousand Needles||25-35||South||By elevator or flightpath from Crossroads or Camp Taurajo to Freewind Post|
|Stranglethorn Vale||32-45||East across the sea||By boat from Ratchet to Booty Bay|
|Dustwallow Marsh||35-45||Southeast||By foot or flightpath from Crossroads or Ratchet to Brackenwall Village|
- Main article: Barrens NPCs
The Barrens are home to several characters of note. At the Crossroads, Sergra Darkthorn sends promising young adventurers to prove their worth to the Horde by hunting local wild creatures. She is assisted in her efforts by Jorn Skyseer in Camp Taurajo, who also refers them to continue their quests in Thunder Bluff. 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.
- Main article: The Barrens quests
- See also: The Barrens questing guide
Being such a huge zone, the Barrens has a wealth of quests for Horde characters between level 10 and level 20. 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.
- Thunder lizard
- Wind Serpent
- The Barrens is decisively one of the largest zones in World of Warcraft, and running from Mor'shan Rampart near Ashenvale to the Great Lift near Thousand Needles can be daunting even for players with mounts.
- Currently, the Barrens has the widest level range of any single zone spanning 15 levels.
- The Barrens is home to arguably the most immature general chat channel in the game. Experiencing Barrens chat can be harmful to one's IQ. Unfortunately, it has become common for the juveniles who typically inhabit the zone to actually use this bad reputation as justification for their idiotic behavior, even going so far as to actively try to change the topic from something serious to Chuck Norris jokes.
- Since time spent in the Barrens is relatively low in the lifetime of a character, many people use the opportunity to craft their questionable humor skills. This chat is at least expected in the Barrens, and sometimes more tolerated than in other zones. It isn't uncommon for someone to state "take it to Barrens chat" on a city channel in response to such topics, which can range from Chuck Norris to Bad Cow Puns. While the Chuck Norris jokes in particular are silly and tend to portray a wildly exaggerated view of Norris' abilities, it should be noted that in all seriousness, he genuinely is a highly accomplished and somewhat decorated individual.
- The Barrens is infamous as a very busy secondary zone shared by tauren, orcs and trolls. Undead players also often come here between levels 10 to 25. With three instances and multiple travel hubs, it is a busy "in-between" area traversed by higher-level characters as well. This is a major contributing factor to the immaturity and high volume of the chat in this region.
- Mankrik's Wife is located in one of the huts west of the bridge that divides the southern from the northern barrens. Now that you know, don't post about her on the Barrens chat. Ever. Thank you.
- There is also a band of Alliance to the south near Camp Taurajo. There is a level 24 human mage and 3 night elves level 25, all elite. In addition to attacking you on sight, they drop a scroll that starts a quest. Note that they are all mounted and ride in a group, and enable PvP when attacked.
- The Crossroads is also a popular destination for Alliance raids as it is a good meeting point to raid Orgrimmar.
Avoiding the Barrens
Following the release of The Burning Crusade expansion, Horde players now have the option to completely bypass the Barrens by questing in Ghostlands and then moving onto Silverpine Forest and Tarren Mill.
There are a number of reasons that player might chose to do so:
- To avoid the dreaded Barrens Chat.
- It seems to be generally quicker to level, partially due to the decreased distance between key areas.
- Quests are much easier.
- For players generally focused on solo play rather than grouping up.
- Completing quests to get items with Tranquillien Reputation and quest rewards.
World of Warcraft: CataclysmThis section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
After the third expansion, the zone will be split in two with a lava river separating the north and south. A fortified gate and high wall now separates the southern Barrens from Mulgore. The zone has been discribed as being split into Northern and Southern Barrens, but it is unknown if this will constitute an actual devision of the zone. Camp Taurajo will be burnt to the ground by the Alliance, who begin to move into the southern Barrens (no doubt from Northwatch), constructing guard towers throughout.