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5 creepy Kalimdor lairs for roleplaying villains

Anne Stickney

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

One of the common themes in Warcraft is that if you're a villain, you've gotta have a hangout. Whether it's Illidan's retreat in The Black Temple, the Lich King's frozen Icecrown Citadel, or even places like The Deadmines where Vanessa VanCleef works on her diabolical schemes, every villain in Warcraft has some kind of lair to call home. Usually these lairs are either dungeons or instances that we as players must clear out in the name of good, but sometimes they can be as simple as the cave that the Gneech calls home.

If you're roleplaying a villain, no doubt you have plenty of evil schemes under your hat. But does your villain have a suitably villainous lair to call home? If you're roleplaying a villain who's trying to blend in to the scenery, perhaps you don't need a sanctuary to call your own. Maybe hiding in plain sight is working better for you. But if you're the leader of an evil organization or simply looking for someplace to roost while pondering how exactly you're going to conquer the rest of the world, perhaps one of these five Kalimdor locations will work for you.

5. Desolace den

Hidden in the southeastern border of Desolace is this bizarre hangout for a variety of Burning Blade cultists. The tower pictured above is completely empty and ripe for the taking -- a perfect hideout for any villain looking for a place to call home. Though the tower itself is empty, the area immediately surrounding it does have several level 34-to-40 mobs, all associated with the Burning Blade. For a level 85 roleplayer, this won't really be an issue; heck, you could even call the mobs your minions if you so wished. But lower-level players may want to stay away from this zone unless they've got a few bodyguards along.

Located at coordinates 79,80 in Desolace, it was once thought that this area may have been intended for a warlock steed quest, given the presence of Burning Blade Nightmares in the stables that look suspiciously like the level 20 version of the warlock mount. But there were never any quests implemented, leaving this area's ultimate purpose a mystery -- and a perfect place for your villain to step in and rule. This area is accessible by land mount as well as by air -- simply follow the path to the southeast of Shok'thokar to find your way into this creepy little clearing.

4. Stormrage Barrow Dens

Who expects a villain's lair in the heart of the druid community? Nobody, that's who -- which is why the twisting caverns of the Stormrage Barrow Dens make for a perfect and unexpected lair for a villain, druid or no. Ever since the fall of Fandral Staghelm in patch 4.2, it's clear that even druids can be corrupted, after all. Though the main den in this area is populated by mobs, the side dens are not; they simply have a couple of guards posted outside. It's easy enough to write the guards off as working for your villain character, or even as being bribed. Inside, there's a collection of twisting caverns perfect for bouts of evil plotting.

Located at coordinates 69,54 in Moonglade, the Stormrage Barrow Dens are easily accessible by mount. Moonglade itself is another story; if you aren't a druid, you're going to have to quest all the way through Felwood to gain access to this druid sanctuary via the Timbermaw tunnels in the northeast corner of Felwood. Or if you happen to have a warlock friend or someone who has a two-seater mount, you can simply ask for a lift to the location and pick up the flight path in the zone so you can get to it later. If you're a low-level character, make sure you don't tread near the center den, as it's populated with several hostile level 70 mobs that might decide you make a better snack than evil overlord.

3. Bloodmyst ruins

The oddly reddish hue of both the sky and the ground in Bloodmyst Isle already gives the place a pretty creepy look -- why not make it the home of your villain as well? Bloodmyst Isle is part of the draenei starting zone, and as such, there are very, very few people wandering around in it these days. Because this is Alliance territory (and a zoned territory, at that), it may be a little harder to reach for Horde players, especially the low-level variety. But level 85 Horde players can simply hop a boat in Rut'theran Village over to Azuremyst Isle and head north to Bloodmyst with little to worry about -- just be sure to stay clear of the Exodar and its guards while you're traveling.

This little set of ruins is located at coordinates 73,34 in Bloodmyst Isle, over on Wyrmscar Island to the northeast. There is one non-hostile NPC wandering around that has a quest for Alliance players and absolutely nothing for Horde players; other than that, the little outcropping is pretty deserted. Elven ruins make a great place for villainous activity. They've got kind of a creepy look to them already, and the blood-red sky just offers an even more diabolical feel. Though there are whelps and other mobs on Wyrmscar, they're all pretty low-level, and none of them skirt close enough to the ruins to worry about.

2. Emberstrife's cavern

Once upon a time in vanilla, the black dragons were all anyone was worried about -- particularly those that seemed to be swarming in Dustwallow Marsh. For Horde players, the NPC Emberstrife wasn't just an elite black dragon; he was also the start of the Test of Skulls, part of the chain required to get into Onyxia's Lair. These days, he serves no purpose whatsoever and simply hangs out in this otherwise empty cavern. It's not only empty, but spacious -- and though villains may want to avoid tangling with Emberstrife himself, there's no reason they can't claim part of the cavern system as their own evil den.

Located at coordinates 55,87 in Dustwallow Marsh, this den is in the Wyrmbog, just south of the entrance to Onyxia's Lair. Low-level characters might not like this location, as the entrance is surrounded by a heck of a lot of dragonkin of varying levels. For level 85 villains, the dragonkin poses little threat, and neither does Emberstrife, for that matter. If your villain is somehow working in cahoots with the Black Dragonflight, this place is right up your alley -- and if not, well, hey ... What better place to disguise your devious activities than from the middle of a dragon-infested area that most adventurers would probably rather avoid?

1. The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj

Hey, if you're going to have your character go all-out insanely evil, why not give them a lair of suitable size and scope for their reign of terror? The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj were once a 20-man raid instance back in vanilla; they've since been reduced to a 10-man raid. However, we aren't really talking about the raid here -- we're talking about the zone itself. Much like Zul'Gurub, if you simply fly over the wall to Ahn'Qiraj from the front or from neighboring Uldum, you'll find an entire instance completely devoid of any kind of hostile mob or boss.

Instead, you've got the deserted ruins of the Qiraji Empire to use as your villain's personal playground. And since the husk of C'thun is right next door, this place is absolutely perfect for any Twilight-corrupted or Old-God-addled villains seeking global domination ... or the end of the world altogether. If you're looking for space, AQ has it in spades. Since this place is so massive, you could easily fit an entire supervillain organization, along with any minions you happen to nab along the way, within the walls and still have room to spare.

This area is its own zone. It's located to the south of Silithus, or the west of Uldum, whichever is most convenient for you to fly from. Did I mention flying? You're going to have to fly to get here, regardless of which location you fly from. Lower-level characters can wander around this fortress without worry of hostile mobs, but they will need a summon or a ride to get inside. With its crumbling walls and utterly foreign architecture, the alien landscape of the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj offers a truly unique hideout for any diabolical schemer.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

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