Before the Culling: Exploring the Uncorrupted Plaguelands in the Culling of Stratholme


The Culling of Stratholme was Lordaeron’s first major loss in the invasion of the Scourge. Tainted by plagued grain, the residents of Stratholme were doomed to turn into mindless undead in a matter of hours. Prince Arthas Menethil, faced with a difficult task, chose to purge the city of still-living residents in an attempt to save the kingdom of Lordaeron.

Culling of Stratholme
I’m sure Stratholme will continue to look this peaceful for a long time.

Players are sent back by the Bronze Dragonflight to assist Prince Arthas and protect him from Infinite Dragonflight assassins, but curious explorers can shirk their responsibilities as royal guard and take a trip outside of the invisible boundaries of the dungeon by using the method showcased in the video above.

Culling of stratholme Terrordale
This is the kingdom of Lordaeron at its peak, huh?

plaguewood tower culling of stratholme The first area we come across is the Town of Terrordale. Up until Legion, a heavy fog covered the boundaries of the dungeon; because of this, many of the locations you can now explore wouldn’t have been visible to players. So places like Terrordale and Plaguewood tower weren’t repaired before being added to the dungeon.

house culling of stratholme
No wonder Stratholme was having to import grain.

This small farm sits in ruins at the base of a Necropolis Spire on live. Interestingly, the house has been repaired, but the grain silo is still destroyed. It’s unclear why the developers chose to repair the house, as it lies far behind the invisible walls of the area players are supposed to be able to explore, and would have been enveloped by fog.

Northdale Culling of Stratholme
Hope they got earthquake insurance.

terrordale houseContinuing to the rendered edge of the map, we come across a small section of the town of Northdale. The majority of the village is missing, but two structures are still present. The burned out foundations of a house jutting from a section of raised terrain, and a small cottage extending into the unmapped portion of the dungeon.

Thalassian Pass
Doorway to nowhere: Portal edition

Travelling north we follow the road to Thalassian Pass, the large portal that leads to the Ghostlands. Passing through the portal won’t do anything, but there’s an invisible wall a few feet behind it which you can’t pass through.

Eastwall Gate culling of stratholme
Honestly it looks like Stratholme infrastructure was already crumbling.

stratholme service enteranceHeading back towards the front gate where we first escaped the invisible boundaries, we pass by Eastwall Gate, the entrance to the Stratholme Service Entrance dungeon. The portcullis was previously shrouded by fog, and therefore hasn’t been updated to appear undamaged: but the gate is still interactable and can be passed through. While there is an invisible wall behind the instance portal which prevents us from continuing through to Elders Square, you can climb a nearby mountain and jump into the square from above.

Culling of Stratholme Elders Square
Even with the closed doors, it looks a lot more welcoming than usual.

culling of strathome wagonsGliding in from above, we can explore the normally unreachable version of Elders Square as it appears in its unruined state. The square is visible from the main dungeon, but cannot be explored because it is blocked by a barricade of wagons. Because of this, all of the external walls have no physics collision, and you’ll fall through the map if you get too close.

elders square gate
Definitely not up to code…

Heading to the gate which normally connects to the service entrance portcullis shows that the two areas aren’t really connected, and that the actual exit floats in an unreachable void.

The Culling of Stratholme is one of my favorite events in Warcraft history, and it’s incredible to be able to step back in time and explore how Blizzard changed the Plaguelands to appear as they would have before falling to the scourge.

So whether you’re an avid explorer, or you’re not sure whether you can stomach the slaughter of innocent (albeit infected) city-goers, the uncorrupted Plaguelands in the Culling of Stratholme are well worth the visit.

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Ever since I started playing World of Warcraft back in 2009, I've loved hunting for hidden items, secret areas, and unanswered mysteries in the game. The goal of Hidden Azeroth is to combine all the things I've found into one place so that other players can learn about and explore them as well. I hope you enjoy!


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