Before the Flood: Exploring the Original Thousand Needles on Retail WoW

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An ancient wonder of Azeroth, the Thousand Needles once towered above a vast desert, dazzling all who braved its maze-like stone spires.

original thousand needles
Not a particularly difficult maze, but still…

Sadly, this natural wonder wouldn’t last. When Deathwing shattered the world in the Cataclysm the original Thousand Needles were flooded by the Great Sea, toppling the stones and forever changing one of the most iconic zones in WoW.

And for 10 years, this is how the Thousand Needles has sat. Broken and flooded, an echo of its former glory.

Thousand Needles current
Okay, to be fair this is still pretty freaking cool.

Until now…

razorfern kraul portalBecause for those of you who long to see the ancient majesty of the Thousand Needles for yourself (and don’t want to just play Classic) I have good news. Inside of Razorfern Kraul, you are just a few careful jumps and a growth potion away from an Azeroth untouched by time!

Razorfern kraulThe escape itself is really simple. All you need to do is head into Razorfern Kraul, jump up onto the cliff face where I’m standing in the picture to the right as soon as you exit the entrance tunnel, and use a growth potion/vrykrul horn to clip through the invisible ceiling. If you need a more detailed demonstration, the first minute of the video above provides one!

Once outside the dungeon, you’ll find that much of the original Thousand Needles/Barrens has been included in the dungeon, sitting unchanged for almost 20 years.

Original Barrens
Some say you can still hear the distant cries of “LF Mankrik’s Wife”

To the south we come across the Great Lift. Although it may have been destroyed in the live version of the game, the massive elevator still operates in this echo of the past.

Great Lift thousand needles
Maybe it’s for the best. I don’t think those elevator cars are up to OSHA standards anyway.
Great Lift
It’s a looooooong way down.

Before flying was enabled on Azeroth in Cataclysm, the Great Lift was the primary way players would travel to and from the original Thousand Needles.

The elevator was guarded by two elite Horde guards, but stepping into an elevator car would cause them to drop aggro.

Thousand Needles Dead dwarfIn the canyon below we come across the corpse of a dwarf who likely fell from the elevator. Interestingly, he still uses the far lower-poly original dwarf model rather than the updated one that was added in Warlords of Draenor. His corpse can still be found on live, but it is submerged underwater.

Camp E'Thok Thousand Needles
Long ago the four centaur tribes lived in harmony. Then everything changed when the water nation attacked.

Traveling through the canyon we come upon the Centaur village of Camp E’thok. The NPC’s are missing, but we can see how the campsite looked before its destruction in the Catacylsm. The torn remnants of the camp can be found floating in the current version of the zone.

original Feralas
Take at look at that seamless zone transition.

feralas roadReaching the edge of the Thousand Needles, we find that a small part of the original version of Feralas has also been included in the dungeon. There are two notable discoveries in this Mini-Feralas. The first is a stretch of the road that once led players to the Thousand Needles. It can still been seen submerged in the live version of the zone. The second is the outermost section of the town of Thalanaar, which was destroyed by falling rocks in the Cataclysm.

Original Thalanaar
Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t be standing here…

Razorfern Kraul proves that you can’t always judge a dungeon by the area you visit. While on the surface it may appear to simply be a series of boring boar-infested tunnels, in reality it serves as a time capsule that allows us to explore three of the original wow zones in all of their former glory.

So whether you’re an avid explorer, or you just want to take a few more rides on The Great Lift, the original Thousand Needles are well worth the visit.

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