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 Shaper's Terrace!
Vashj'ir was once home to a great Highborne elf city and its leader, Lady Vashj. The zone and the city sank to the bottom of the Great Sea following the Well of Eternity's implosion, which caused the Great Sundering that tore Azeroth's ancient landmass apart. The city and most of its inhabitants were believed to be lost forever, but unbeknownst to those on the surface, many of the high elves, including Lady Vashj, were turned into naga. This transformation came after their queen, Azshara, entered into a pact with the Old God N'zoth, pledging her people's service to him in exchange for their survival underwater.
Vashj'ir and its naga inhabitants would stay undiscovered for thousands of years, until the time of the Cataclysm expansion. During this time, the Earthen Ring shaman were communing with the elements of Azeroth, and while attempting to quell the Elemental Unrest they heard many elementals calling out from the previously undiscovered Vashj'ir. Horde and Alliance heroes were dispatched to Vashj'ir, the first and only underwater zone in World of Warcraft. They quickly discovered the naga had imprisoned the Elemental Lord Neptulon at the behest of Queen Azshara and Deathwing because he chose not to ally himself with them. The kraken patriarch Ozumat was found to be holding Neptulon inside his own stronghold, the Throne of Tides. Heroes eventually defeat Ozumat, who flees with Neptulon to an unknown location. While we never see what happens after that, Neptulon eventually returns to the Abyssal Maw - the elemental plane of water.
Not content with just imprisoning an Elemental Lord, the naga also went to work mining powerful magic pearls from two demigod's located in Vashj'ir. The demigods, L'ghorek and Nespirah, appear turtle-like, but are so large you can walk around inside them, presumably without causing them much harm. Unfortunately, their massive size made it difficult for them to defend themselves against their parasitic attackers that were killing them from the inside out. At the direction of Earthen Ring members, Horde and Alliance heroes worked to save these ancient demigods. After successfully "curing" Nespirah of her naga infection, it was discovered that L'ghorek was in much worse shape. Instead of being mined by naga, he was being suppressed by members of the Twilight Hammer who sought to connect him with a powerful being deep under the ocean floor - the being is believed to be N'zoth, although no proof of this is ever found. Despite the best efforts of the Horde and Alliance, L'ghorek's injuries are too much to recover from, but he dies at peace knowing he won't be use as a conduit for evil.
Vashj'ir being almost completely underwater means it has many unique quest hubs and modes of transportation compared to traditional zones. This includes the introduction of the first underwater-only mount, the Vashj'ir Seahorse, alongside more traditional underwater vehicles like submarines. Many of the quest hubs in the zone are located inside caves that aren't filled with water, offering heroes a short break from swimming, and taking a "flight path" between these hubs puts you on the back of a seahorse rather than something with wings.
Given all of the powerful beings and locations that Vashj'ir holds, it would be foolish to think it wouldn't be targeted by anyone wishing to harm Azeroth again. However, for the time being it seems to be in a relatively peaceful state, especially as long as Neptulon and his elementals are able to defend it.
Additional lore resources for Vashj'ir
Recommended Reading related to Vashj’ir
Lady Vashj - +
N'zoth - +
Queen Azshara - +
Neptulon the Tidehunter - +
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)!