Field Photographer Friday is a weekly look at the lore and history behind locations around World of Warcraft. This week, we're taking a look at Blackrock Mountain!
Blackrock Mountain is located between the Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge on the Eastern Kingdoms continent. The mountain first formed as a volcano during the War of the Three Hammers when the Dark Iron clan of dwarves summoned the Firelord Ragnaros from his prison beneath Azeroth. Ragnaros bursting through the earth decimated what was once part of the Redridge Mountains, turning it into the fiery zones we know today and giving way to the large spire of Blackrock Mountain in the center.
During the First War, Gul’dan and his Shadow Council warlocks sought to take over Blackrock Mountain as their base of operations but were met with resistance from Ragnaros and his Dark Iron minions. Using their shared connection of servitude to the Old Gods, Cho’gall, a high-ranking member of the Shadow Council, convinced Ragnaros to let them occupy the upper area of Blackrock Mountain (known as Blackrock Spire) while Ragnaros and his minions stayed in the lower area (known as Blackrock Depths). This was soon revealed as a setup when Orgrim Doomhammer and the Blackrock orc clan killed the Shadow Council members and captured Gul’dan.
With the Blackrock Clan settled in Blackrock Mountain, it became the base of operations for the Horde during the Second War. It went on to be the site of one of the fiercest battles in Azeroth’s history as the Alliance armies of Lordaeron pushed the Horde back to the Dark Portal. Following the war, and with the orcs all but defeated, they joined forces with Nefarian, Deathwing’s oldest son, and formed the Dark Horde. Nefarian and Ragnaros raged war over control of the Mountain for years to follow.
This brings us to how Blackrock Mountain first appeared in World of Warcraft. With both Ragnaros and Nefarian set on taking over Azeroth, Horde and Alliance heroes entered Blackrock Mountain to put a stop to their armies through the Molten Core and Blackwing Lair raids. The heroes were successful and Ragnaros was banished back to the Firelands, Nefarian was killed, and the war over Blackrock Mountain ended.
Blackrock Mountain would see activity again during the Cataclysm expansion with the return of Deathwing. He sought the help of Ragnaros to bring about Azeroth’s end, as well as resurrected Nefarian to help him create an army of twisted monstrosities. Nefarian once again resided inside Blackrock Mountain, this time in an area known as Blackrock Descent, which starts where his previous Lair ended. Horde and Alliance heroes were called upon to stop the trio, and as you can guess, they were successful. Ragnaros was defeated in his elemental plane, the Firelands, meaning he was actually killed, rather than just banished. Nefarian was once again killed as part of the Blackrock Descent raid, and Deathwing was also killed in the Maelstrom as part of the Dragon Soul raid.
Since the Cataclysm expansion, Blackrock Mountain has remained mostly empty. It was briefly used by Garrosh Hellscream and the Iron Horde during the events before the Warlords of Draenor expansion to house a weapon setup to destroy Stormwind City, but the plans were stopped by Horde and Alliance heroes.
Blackrock Mountain is a landmark as old as modern Azeroth, and while it has no innate power of its own, its relative proximity to the Alliance cities of Ironforge and Stormwind, as well as the Dark Portal, make it a strategic point for anyone seeking to harm or harness those locations.
Firelord and former ruler of the Firelands, the Elemental Plane of fire.
Gul'dan was the first orcish Warlock and de facto founder of the Orcish Horde. He betrayed his people for personal gain and lead to their enslavement by the Burning Legion.
Orgrim Doomhammer was the Warchief of the Orcish Horde and Chieftain of the Blackrock clan during the end of the First War and the entirety of the Second War. -Wowpedia
Deathwing the Destroyer, formerly known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, was one of the five Dragon Aspects and leader of the black dragonflight. -Wowpedia
Garrosh Hellscream, former Warchief of the Horde, is a living testament to the dangers of unchecked aggression.
Join me every Friday as I work to expand my lore knowledge while completing the Field Photographer achievement. Read lore summaries for each location and follow up with resources where you can go more indepth! I encourage you to share your own selfies and any additional lore resources you know of in the comments below, or tweet me @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points* if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!
*Points are meaningless and have no monetary value, but they’ll never give you up or let you down.