|Major settlements||The Crossroads
|Minor settlements||Mor'shan Rampart
Northern Barrens is the northern half of what was once the Barrens. Before being divided it extended into Southern Barrens without break; the two areas are now separated by the Great Divide. It serves as a proving ground for young Horde warriors, ready to seek glory in the name of their people.
The Northern Barrens was once part of a thriving forest under the protection of the night elves and their allies. Several kaldorei settlements dotted the land, and there was no ocean for miles. Then came the Burning Legion and the Great Sundering, which shook ancient Kalimdor to the bedrock. The forested landscape transformed into a scorched plain now battered each day by the sun's rays. It became known as the Barrens.
The Barrens was a sprawling and arid savanna stretching between the Stonetalon Mountains to the west, Durotar to the east, Ashenvale to the north and Thousand Needles to the south. Mountains to the west held in heated air, creating the swirling winds that raged across the plains. These windstorms stirred up dust devils and tore apart anything larger than the small, tenacious scrub trees. Water was more valuable than gold in the Barrens, and the locations of hidden watering holes were the residents' most closely held secrets. Dry riverbeds and a never-ending spider web of canyons made any journey across the Barrens a dangerous and winding trek. The few brave adventurers willing to scrape out a life on the arid plains inevitably ran afoul of centaur warbands or quilboar raiding parties. Despite its often uninviting terrain and hostile inhabitants, the Barrens received a good deal of interest from Alliance and Horde alike, as well as races native to Kalimdor. Trade routes crisscrossed the landscape leading to and from more inviting regions.
When Thrall became the Warchief, it saw civilization anew. The Horde built settlements among the dry grasses and arid hills, placing the Barrens solidly into the heart of Horde territory. The largest of the Horde's outposts was the Crossroads, located at the intersection of two major roads. The Barrens also became dotted with numerous farms populated by orcs and their families, as well as guard towers manned by orcish and tauren guards.
During the Shattering Deathwing tore through the Barrens, carving a steep, magma-filled gorge across its center, from Stonetalon Mountains to the Merchant Coast. The areas north and south of the divide became near inaccessible to each other. Following this, what was once the Barrens became more commonly referred to as Northern Barrens and Southern Barrens. The Horde kept its hold on Northern Barrens, desperate to keep trade routes to Orgrimmar open.
The Northern Barrens is the northern half of what used to be the Barrens. It is bordered on the north by Ashenvale forest, east by the Great Sea and Durotar (across the Southfury River), west by Stonetalon Mountains, and south by the Great Divide, a steep, magma-filled canyon.
The territory is a large grassland, or veld-type area, dotted with trees and hills and containing three oases. To the east the plateau ends in a short cliff, separating off a small amount of land just above the neighboring Southfury River and coastline of the Great Sea. Savanna covers much of the northwest, with trees most dense near the border to Ashenvale.
Maps and subregions
|Zone Name||Faction||Level Range||Direction||Access|
|Durotar||1-12||East||On foot across the Southfury River, or by flight path from Crossroads or Ratchet to Orgrimmar|
|Ashenvale||20-25||North||On foot or by flight path from Crossroads to Splintertree Post or Zoram'gar Outpost|
|Southern Barrens||30-35||South||On foot or by flight path from Crossroads to Desolation Hold or Ratchet to Desolation Hold, Fort Triumph, or Northwatch Hold|
|Cape of Stranglethorn||30-35||By boat from Ratchet|
- Main article: Northern Barrens NPCs
- Main article: Northern Barrens quests
Patches and hotfixes
- Hotfix (2013-09-12): "Kor'kron related NPCs and creatures in Northern Barrens should be neutral to players below level 85 once more."
- Patch 5.3.0 (2013-05-21): New orcish fortifications and high-level content added to build up the storyline's advancement towards the Siege of Orgrimmar. Northern Barrens is contested territory for characters between level 85 and 90.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Result of splitting The Barrens. While the Southern Barrens became a Contested zone, the Northern Barrens remains Horde territory.