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Deadmines lore and history - Field Photographer Friday

Updated 6 years, 1 month ago by Preston in Field Photographer Friday, Lore, Warcraft. View the change log.

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 The Deadmines!

Prales inside The Deadmines Thumbnail
Prales inside The Deadmines

The Deadmines are located under the Westfall zone and entered through the town of Moonbrook. Once the human kingdom's largest gold producing mine, it was abandoned during the First War, long before World of Warcraft's time. It's unclear exactly why the mines were abandoned, but it's likely the cost in manpower to defend them against the ogres and elementals that came to live there was too much while a larger war was being waged elsewhere. Unfortunately for the humans, they would never fully gain control of the mines again.

At the height of the First War, Turok and the ogres from the Deadmines stole an important Paladin book called the Tome of Divinity. Anduin Lothar led an expedition into the mines to reclaim the tome, but they were all captured or killed. Nearly two years later, King Llane lead a second force into the mines, successfully freeing Anduin Lothar and recovering the tome, however, Turok and many of the ogres still survived.

Towards the end of the First War, the ogres would be all but purged from the mines after the Orc Griselda Blackhand eloped with Turok and came to reside in the Deadmines. Furious at his daughter's disobedience and betrayal of the Old Horde, Blackhand sent Orgrim Doomhammer and his men into the mines to kill Turok, his daughter, and all of the ogres.

The Deadmines stayed mostly empty until the release of World of Warcraft when a group consisting of former laborers and craftsmen, called the Defias Brotherhood, moved into the mines.
They sought to overthrow Stormwind Kingdom after not receiving payment for their role in rebuilding the city after the First War. Deep inside the mines, their leader, Edwin VanCleef, worked on building a giant Juggernaut destroyer with help from goblins and ogres. Alliance heroes were eventually sent into the Deadmines instance to kill Edwin and his followers. With the Defias Brotherhood almost completed killed or imprisoned, the Deadmines were once again empty.

The original Defias Juggernaut from classic Warcraft (Wowpedia) Thumbnail
The original Defias Juggernaut from classic Warcraft (Wowpedia)

Despite the Defias Brotherhood's complete annihilation years before, they made a resurgence during the Cataclysm expansion. Led by Edwin's daughter, Vanessa VanCleef, the group's numbers swelled as poverty among citizens of Westfall and resentment towards the leadership grew. Following in her father's footsteps, Vanessa moved operation into the Deadmines and restarted construction on the Juggernaut, all with plans to overthrow Stormwind. Once again, Alliance heroes were sent into the Deadmines instance to clear out the Defias Brotherhood. In a final bid to control her own destiny, Vanessa detonated large bombs on the Juggernaut, apparently killing herself and destroying most of the ship (we learn in Legion that she isn't actually dead, she appears as a follower in the Rogue Order Hall). As before, the mines are now mostly empty again. However, if you visit the Deadmines instance in game you will still find Vanessa VanCleef and her Defias Brotherhood there for gameplay purposes.

With the Deadmines emptied of their treasure and purged of vigilantes, only slimes and the occasional kobold reside there. It's unlikely the mines will ever see official use again, nor would I expect to see another resurgence of the Defias Brotherhood anytime soon. With little strategic or resource value, the mines stand to remain empty for the foreseeable future.

Additional Lore Resources for The Deadmines

Anduin Lothar - +

Known as the Lion of Azeroth, he served as a commander for the Kingdom of Stormwind, and later, the Alliance of Lordaeron.

Llane Wrynn - +

Former leader of the Kingdom of Stormwind, father of Varian Wrynn.

Blackhand the Destroyer - +

Former chieftain of the Blackrock clan, and first Warchief of the Horde.

Orgrim Doomhammer - +

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

Edwin VanCleef - +

Former leader of the Stonemasons Guild and the Defias Brotherhood.


Vanessa VanCleef - +

Daughter of Edwin VanCleef and former leader of the Defias Brotherhood.


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 @PrestonDvorak. Bonus points if the selfie is somewhere you shouldn’t be (such as an Alliance player in Orgrimmar)!

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