World of Warcraft: Comparing All The Different Expansion Hub Cities
World of Warcraft: Comparing All The Different Expansion Hub Cities
Almost every new World of Warcraft expansion introduces a new hub city where players will spend their time, and Dragonflight is no different. After players spent years in the rounded hallways of Oribos, many of them were looking for a change. They were clamoring for a return to classic World of Warcraft lore and an actual city, and that is what Blizzard delivered with the new city of Valdrakken. It is a breath of fresh air after years of controversy, and it is already being heralded as one of the best hub cities so far.
There have been many capital cities in World of Warcraft’s tenure, but not all of them were created equally. Players fondly remember their adventures through Dalaran and the aesthetic of Bolarus, but they have desperately tried to forget the bland walls of Oribos and the lonely garrisons. Each hub city has its benefits and drawbacks, and each one will be a part of World of Warcraft history for years to come.
Shattrath City was introduced in The Burning Crusade as the first capital city that Horde and Alliance could be in together. The city was separated into four different sections that each served different purposes, and it had almost everything a player would need. They were able to join one of two factions that controlled the city, and that gave them access to that faction’s part of the city and bank. It also had Auction Houses for both factions, and that has made it very useful to this day. The major downsides of it were that it was not located in a very convenient location in Outland, and it was not very aesthetically pleasing.
Dalaran has the privilege of being the only central hub that has appeared in multiple expansions. This flying magical city was first introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. It flew above Crystalsong Forest in Northrend, and is considered by many players to be the best hub city that World of Warcraft has to offer. It serves as neutral ground for the Horde and Alliance, but each faction also has its own enclave that only members of that faction can enter. It has almost all the trainers and vendors that players need, but the Auction House was locked behind the engineering profession.
Dalaran was brought back as the central hub city in Legion, and it feels pretty much the same. It is no longer in Northrend, and instead, it flies near the Broken Isles to assist in the fight against the Burning Legion. It received a bit of an overhaul that helped modernize it and expand its offerings so that players could find almost everything they needed. The center of the city also became a portal hub so that players could quickly get to other parts of Azeroth, and every single class order hall was accessible from it. This version of Dalaran improved upon an already fantastic hub city, and players have been clamoring for it to return ever since.
The Pandaren Shrines
Instead of having both groups coexist in a neutral city, Mists of Pandaria separated the factions into two different virtually identical shrines in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The Alliance operated out of the Shrine of Seven Stars while the Horde claimed the Shrine of Two Moons. They sat on opposite sides of the Mogu’shan Palace, and both offered the same services. They were split up into multiple floors with each floor housing different useful features including vendors, banks, and portals to other parts of Azeroth. The biggest downfalls of these shrines were that the only professions’ trainer was for first aid, things were spread out, and they were not actual cities.
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The Player Garrison
Warlords of Draenor featured two different faction hubs for players to go to, but the real hubs were the player garrisons. These garrisons were customizable bases that sat in Frostfire Ridge or Shadowmoon Valley. They were a major focus of the leveling journey and the max level grind, and they garnered a lot of criticism for making the MMO feel like a singleplayer game. Players had little reason to leave these garrisons as they could place pretty much everything they would need within. They could have buildings for almost every single profession, all sorts of vendors, their own personal bank, and they could even have access to the Auction House. While this was very useful, it also led to an empty and lonely world as everyone hid inside their own instanced garrison.
Bolarus and Dazar’alor
Battle for Azeroth brought the faction conflict back to the forefront of the story, and that meant that a neutral city was out of the question. Instead, each faction had its own city on the new continents of Kul’Tiras and Zandalar. The Horde spent much of their time in the giant troll city of Dazar’alor while the Alliance worked out of the port city of Boralus. Each city was massive and felt like a real city, but that was not always a good thing.
While Bolarus was easy to navigate and is loved by many Alliance players, the same cannot be said for Dazar’alor. While the bank and the portals of Dazar’alor were in the Great Seal, Horde players had to fly across the entire city to access other features like the Mission table and Warfronts. Everything was so spread out across this city, and it could take a couple of minutes for players to get where they wanted. It was aesthetically pleasing to look at, but it was not as pleasing to traverse.
Oribos is not well-liked by the World of Warcraft community, and neither is the expansion in which it was introduced. Oribos served as the central hub for Shadowlands and was a neutral hub for both factions. It had everything that players needed, but it was not clear where things were. The city was a round two-floor building with different vendors in each room, but each room looked the same. It could be slow to navigate, and the only way to leave was by using a flight master. Many players felt like the city was boring, bland, and just a badly designed capital city.
Valdrakken is the newest hub city, and it seems to be well-liked by the community so far. It serves as the seat of power for the Dragon Aspects in Dragonflight, and it is very easy to navigate. Everything that players need is close together, and an entire area is dedicated to the revamped professions. It is also the second expansion city that features an Auction House for non-Engineer players. While the expansion is still in its honeymoon phase and players’ opinion of it may change as the months go by, Valdrakken is currently shaping up to be one of the best expansion hubs to date.
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