WoW Factor: For Khaz Algar!


This is not really a column about Khaz Algar in World of Warcraft, or at least not in the sense that you might expect it to be. That’s because there’s not much to know about Khaz Algar at this point. We know it exists solely from a bit of lore text in the revamped Uldaman, which mentions that a group of Earthen developed a distinct physiology from the Dwarves we’re all very familiar with and called the area where they were turning into not-Dwarves “Khaz Algar.” It’s brought up as a curiosity, a question as to why this disconnected group would not only develop similarly but even use similar language.

What’s more curious is that we don’t know where Khaz Algar is, but we do know that it’s being pretty strongly referenced by the little things that we’ve already learned about the next expansion, which we will no doubt hear about in a little under a month. But that’s not the same as having nothing to say about it, so let’s talk a little bit about Khaz Algar, which is a place we’ve never been or seen and have no idea about but can still unpack a bit.

First and foremost, it’s worth noting that there is in fact a reason to speculate that Khaz Algar upends literally everything we’ve ever learned about the nature of Azeroth as a planet. And it all comes down to the fact that the records we have about Khaz Algar don’t just imply that it’s a place Dwarves didn’t previously occupy, but a place that Dwarves have literally had no contact with whatsoever.

The entry discussing Khaz Algar notes that it is within a distinct region (which appears to be wholly separate from Avaloren, referred to not by sector but by name), and it states that many cultural elements emerged that were similar if not identical to Dwarven behaviors despite a vast gulf of time and distance. The implication is remarkably clear. The residents of Khaz Algar were not in contact with the Earthen that would later become Dwarves, and the only way for that to be entirely certain is if the residents of Khaz Algar didn’t have any contact with the Dwarves.

It’d be hard for this to happen on pre-Sundering Azeroth, of course, as we now know it. If there’s just one gigantic continent, you’d think that there would be some sort of contact at some point. But it becomes a lot more plausible if you assume that there is another continent out there, something separate from the Sundering altogether, which might imply that Avaloren itself is also out there somewhere within Azeroth.

Now, the obvious question is why we’re only just now finding this continent. But I have a potential theory about that. Maybe a bad one, but it’s an inversion of how the game has pulled its prior “land masses that were there but we just never noticed before” routine. What if they aren’t sealed off from our continents?


There are a lot of Titan facilities and artifacts and such all located across the Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend, Kalimdor, and Pandaria. Tons of them, even. The place is lousy with Titan stuff. And as I’ve noted before, it’s kind of hard to explain that there’s another continent out there just never noticed before. But the usual explanation is that the continent over there just wasn’t accessible before because it was hidden somehow.

What if this chunk of Azeroth is the part that’s hidden?

Obviously you couldn’t hide it from orbit or something, but with the right pressures and guidance, it all makes a certain amount of sense. Imagine that the Titans have specifically sheltered this region as being unusually important. It would explain why so many threats have tried to attack this specific area, and with the right mechanics it would also explain why no one has ever explored beyond it. If something is as far west from Kalimdor as the Eastern Kingdoms but you run into horrible storms that break ships as soon as you go that way, you stop exploring that way. Besides, everything that ever happens is concentrated in this spot, anyhow.

If this area is important to the Titans, it’s where Sargeras would want to attack (and has). It’d kind of attract anything else relevant, to boot. Sure, there’s a whole other planet where the Old Gods could attack the nascent world soul, but maybe those aren’t viable vectors for attack for whatever reason. It’s magic, you can make up a reason.

Not to mention that this would, at least, give the slightest hint of credibility to the ongoing nonsense about how the Titans aren’t necessarily the good guys or at least have a dark side. The implication of a collective forgetting about the Dragon Isles implies that it could work on a similar scale. Sure, you can understand why it might be done, but it gives anti-Titan factions a reason to exist beyond “for the evulz.”

Plus it gives space for some additional expansions. It’s still going to rely a fair bit on execution and handwaving, but it would at least be some novel handwaving.

Seamless. Very convincing.

Of course, none of this is written in stone, and since there’s nothing explicitly time-stamping the lore found in Uldaman, it’s possible that Khaz Algar is itself somewhere on Avaloren or connected to it, that the sector later got a proper name. But to me, at least, it reads like hints that these are two distinct locations with different challenges. And the cultural similarities raise some odd questions, as well.

The implication seems to be that whatever form the residents of Khaz Algar take, they have mirrored Dwarven culture in various ways and were subject to the curse of flesh. This raises questions about why… and the obvious implication is that the curse of flesh is not in fact what we have previously been led to believe. Most of the knowledge of it came from the records within Uldaman, and it is entirely possible that those records were partial or incorrect. Could it be that there’s something else going on here?

Something else going on here would, of course, make mashed potatoes out of years of understood facts, motives, and rules about the game’s universe. But then… so what? WoW has done that regularly, pretty much since day one. (Remember, at one point Azeroth was the name of the kingdom of Stormwind, then it was the name of the continent.) At this point either you accept that this is not a game with any sort of consistent approach beyond what will make a neat story today or you live in a river in Egypt. Neither one is a great approach.

It does seem pretty likely that Khaz Algar ties into the next expansion. And while I can’t say “new flavor of Dwarf” exactly lights me on fire, well, we’ve gotten so many flavors of Elf over the years that I got an entire column out of it. Some new Dwarves would be a nice change, and it at least indicates that if nothing else the game is willing to crash around and be a little sloppy again. That’s hopeful.

War never changes, but World of Warcraft does, with almost two decades of history and a huge footprint in the MMORPG industry. Join Eliot Lefebvre each week for a new installment of WoW Factor as he examines the enormous MMO, how it interacts with the larger world of online gaming, and what’s new in the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor.
Previous articleTen-year-old Camelot Unchained gets all technical and mechanical with this month’s newsletter
Next articleStar Citizen shares a new sprint report and kicks off Halloween events

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments