Perhaps the most well-received feature to come out of Battle for Azeroth is the addition of Warfronts – simulations of epic battles that capture the spirit of BfA while hearkening back to the classic atmosphere that made World of Warcraft so epic in years past. With Arathi Highlands serving as the first Warfront featured in the expansion, and Darkshore set to make its debut as the second in Patch 8.1, the question of which zone could serve as a potential Warfront in the future is beginning to rise.
And now, as we move forward into the most pivotal months of the expansion, we’ve yet to scratch the surface on the most major content that Battle for Azeroth has to offer. However, one thing is for certain: more Warfronts will probably come to fruition before all is said and done. And if there’s any one zone that could most definitely serve as one at some time during the expansion, it’s absolutely the Jade Forest.
For years, the Jade Forest has lied in a state of stasis. Ever since the destructive battle at the Serpent’s Heart all the way back in Mists of Pandaria, the zone has been untouched. For nearly five years, the game hasn’t gotten the Jade Forest, let alone Pandaria, involved in the story at all. With Battle for Azeroth Warfronts bringing old world zones back into the mix, even if just for a little while, now would be the perfect time to reintroduce Pandaria into the story. A zone as lush, vibrant, and resourceful as the Jade Forest could certainly serve to be the most important area on the continent.
The Jade Forest is historically one of the most important zones in the history of World of Warcraft’s story, as it played host to the aforementioned Battle at Serpent’s Heart, while additionally serving as the initial landing spot for the Alliance and Horde when both factions first arrived on Pandaria. The battle for resources and dominion over this new land was a major focal point of the initial storytelling arc of Mists of Pandaria, but once our attention was turned to the looming threats of the Iron Horde and the return of the Burning Legion, our occupancy of the Pandaren homeland quickly faded away.
And now, with the conflict between the Alliance and Horde reaching a new apex in Battle for Azeroth, it’s becoming obvious that either side would do anything in order to win the war that has been plaguing the world for ages, now. If Sylvanas Windrunner and Anduin Wrynn were to truly turn their focus to Pandaria yet again, six years after the first campaign on the continent, perhaps the newest age of war on Azeroth could have major implications for one of the game’s most beloved continents.
Luckily for the players who have been dying for a chance to get back to Pandaria, Warfronts could be the gateway back to one of Azeroth’s most beautiful continents – and the Jade Forest could play host to them. Keep in mind that although the Serpent’s Heart was ravaged by the Sha at the end of the zone’s questline, there’s still an immense surplus of jade that can be found in the area. While it’s obvious that Azerite totally outweighs the power of jade when it comes to what one can do with it, there’s still plenty of value to be found in the mineral that has defined Pandaria for centuries.
If we were to return to the Jade Forest, both factions could potentially set up their bases in their old respective questing hubs, with Honeydew Village playing host to the Horde, and Pearlfin Village serving as the Alliance base. Additionally, when it comes to resources, perhaps Nectarbreeze Orchard and The Arboretum could serve as options for wood, while areas like the Greenstone Quarry and the Ruins of the Jade Serpent could be hubs for a new resource: jade. Effectively replacing iron, jade would serve exactly as iron does in Arathi, with differences being potentially found in types of troops that could be recruited and buildings that could be built. Also, when it comes to areas that would need to be captured on the way to the enemy base, it seems almost obvious that Dawn’s Blossom, Grookin Hill, and the Tian Monastery should be involved.
And now, as the Alliance and Horde will inevitably spread their conflict beyond the reaches of Kul Tiras and Zandalar, it only makes geographical sense for the war to make its way towards Pandaria. For the sake of the story, there can be certain advantages to returning to the Jade Forest, and for the sake of the player, Warfronts could finally provide us with a reason to revisit a zone that has certainly played host to some of the most incredible moments in the history of WoW.
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft, J. Kunz Art Studio