Do you think a giant eagle would be the ideal mount for a 400lb bovine warrior in full plate armour? Yes? Then you may be a member of the Skyhorn tribe! They’re one of four clans within Highmountain who I’m trying to unite against The Burning Legion. The Highmountain tribe are dominant, having built a budget Thunder Bluff in the area and claiming lineage from the legendary Huln Highmountain.
The Rivermanes are a more peaceful sort, focusing on fishing, agriculture and shamanism. They were the first inhabitants of Highmountain I bumped into during an attack on their river village by Drogbar – a new, kobold-esque cave-dwelling race.
The final piece of the horned puzzle is the proud, martial Bloodtotem tribe, and a little investigation reveals they may have already felt the touch of demonic influence.
Being of the Tauren persuasion myself, Highmountain had a certain allure that I could not pass up. Something about the rolling mesas, sloping hills and carved totems that littered the roadsides remind me of home. I’ve only played my current main for 8 days and 17 hours but that spans several real life years. It’s been a long time since he visited Mulgore, home of his people, but Highmountain is a warm reminder. It’s graceful, beautiful and above all, full of cow-folk just like me. The Highmountain is also Azeroth’s tallest peak, which begs the question of ‘how have we only just found this place?’
The zone’s main questline concerns the previously mentioned Drogbar. Thousands of years have passed since The War of The Ancients, in which the tribes and inhabitants of Highmountain fought together against the destructive Old Gods. They lived together in peace and harmony in their shared mountain home, until the Burning Legion decided they wanted a piece of Azeroth yet again. The arrival of the demons has gotten the Drogbar all worked up, and under their corrupted Underking, they stole a legendary relic of the Tauren. With demons and Drogbar working together, the old tribes are all suffering and are under threat of destruction or enslavement. What they need is a hero, a Tauren just like them who has already saved Azeroth about five times over.
I like that the zone has a clear and unified end goal. Trying to get to the bottom of Highmountain’s imminent chaos leads you to Thunder Totem (a copyright suit waiting to happen) and the chief of the Highmountain tribe while flashbacks and visions reveal the region’s history and provide a solution to its modern day predicament.
You need to solve the current plights of the Skyhorns, Rivermanes and Bloodtotems and unite them all under the Highmountain banner to throw back the demonic invasion and restore the status quo. It’s a noble quest that Abalo, holder of many titles, can’t wait to undertake.
Everyone’s favourite hunter – and the only dwarf I’ll not kill on sight – Hemet Nesingwary also makes an appearance. Whenever there’s a new land to explore, you can bet your best pet that he’ll be there with a grin. The usual Nesingwary format is applied to the various beasties that roam the valleys. Within half an hour I’ve killed enough mountain lions to make a blanket for each day of the week. On the Northern coast of Highmountain, there’s a shipwreck area with a bunch of murlocs causing havoc as they are wont to do. These smaller questlines are all over the region, in case being the saviour of a nation gets on top of you from time to time.
All of your efforts to stabilise the region culminate in the dramatic Battle of Snowblind Mesa. With the Bloodtotem tribe beyond saving, their spot is taken by the Stonedarks (A splinter faction of the Drogbar) and thus you’ve assembled your army to take on the warmongering Dargrul the Underking. Fortunately, he has left the network of caves he calls home and has been caught off guard. It’s off up the peak to stage the final battle and halt the Legion-inspired conquest of Highmountain. Three or four small quest chains later, and I’m watching the final cinematic. I also happen to hit level 110, perfectly on time.
To summarise; it’s easily my favourite of Legion’s quest zones. The land itself is high and mighty, with cascading waterfalls round every turn. The notions of unity and friendship are very saturday-morning cartoon-esque, albeit much more deep and meaningful. For a cherry on the top, completing quests and grinding reputation here means that I’ll unlock a new player race. Now, my next character can be a Tauren with slightly different horns and some facial paint. Oh, Blizzard, how you do spoil me.
I treasure this noble pocket of the world, fully aware that it’s all about to change. With WoW’s current marketing being all about the Horde / Alliance beef, it’s refreshing. I needed to just sit in one corner of the map and grind out a decent quest-line. That, for me, is what the game’s all about. Plus, knowing the chaos that’s ahead makes me cherish Highmountain even more.