- Not to be confused with Taranis.
- For how Tanaris was prior to Cataclysm, see Tanaris (Classic).
Tanaris, or the Tanaris Desert, (pronounced Tuh-NAYR-ihs or Tuh-NUHR-ihs) is a desert located in Southern Kalimdor, east of Un’Goro Crater and south of Thousand Needles. It is an arid land, covered in sand dunes and frequently exposed to dangerous sandstorms. The Steamwheedle Cartel goblins have established Steamwheedle Port and Gadgetzan as their main centers of operation. The dock in Steamwheedle Port was presumably used for transport to the outer islands of the Undermine, the goblin capital, but it was destroyed in the Cataclysm, which also brought the ocean to Gadgetzan, where the goblins built a new dock for their shipping needs.
- 1 History
- 2 Getting there
- 3 Geography
- 4 Notable characters
- 5 Quests
- 6 Resources
- 7 Wild creatures
- 8 In the RPG
- 9 Notes and trivia
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Patch changes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Tanaris used to be a jungle and territory of the Gurubashi Empire. When the Great Sundering shattered the ancient landmass, the area swiftly became the desert of Tanaris. The Farraki tribe of trolls were stranded here and eventually adapted to their harsh new environment, becoming sand trolls.
Tanaris is the ancestral home of the bronze dragonflight based out of the Caverns of Time. The titans also have a holding here in the form of an entrance to the ancient land of Uldum, found in the southern parts of the desert. It was here that Anachronos first discovered the full threat of the silithid, who had been making hives in the remote regions of Tanaris. The War of the Shifting Sands was consequently unleashed upon the western land of Silithus.
During the Ahn’Qiraj War, the area was invaded by the armies of C’Thun.
Approximately four years after the end of the Second War, Cho’gall and his Twilight’s Hammer clan followers arrived to Tanaris and entered its cave complex where they made a base. Not soon after, several of the members went missing or were found dead, killed by Garona Halforcen. The cultists thus left the cave complex. In the same year, the human brothers Greydon Thorne and Silverlaine visited Gadgetzan.
The area was invaded twice by the Scourge in the years leading to the war against the Lich King.
With the Cataclysm, Steamwheedle Port and many parts of Tanaris were flooded, making Gadgetzan a port. Some Tanaris goblins wisely invested in desert real estate and reaped the benefits when it became beach-front property.
At some point, Grizzek Fizzwrench claimed a deserted beach in Tanaris where he constructed a small domicile and laboratory. Over the next years he built a defense system using various robots and devices.
The Burning Legion targeted Tanaris as one of their invasion points. It was successfully defended by the Alliance, Horde, and Illidari.
While questing through Thousand Needles players will be sent from the Fizzle and Pozzik’s Speedbarge south through the Shimmering Deep and through the mountain pass to the south. Gadgetzan will be soon after entering.
There are also portals in Dalaran (The Violet Citadel) and Shattrath (World’s End Tavern, by talking to Zephyr – requires Revered with Keepers of Time) which take you to the entry of the Caverns of Time.
Tanaris covers a vast expanse of Southern Kalimdor, just south of Thousand Needles. It is a blazing hot expanse of rolling sand dunes under a cloudless sky. The southern region is more mountainous, with large cavern networks, with some extending deep beneath the surface. A vast realm, Tanaris holds many secrets. The land is mostly desert, and below ground are gigantic tunnel networks. They remain largely unexplored, for few have the fortitude to venture into such a harsh landscape. Still, rumors tell of all manner of creatures that hide within the tunnels and slaughter trespassers without hesitation. Although the sea of dunes does not look as if it would support a variety of wildlife, humans, Sandfury trolls, hyenas, scorpids, basilisks, and silithid bugs are quite common. Occasionally, drakes are also seen soaring on the thermals that swirl over the great desert.
Tanaris contains quite a few instances, including all the Caverns of Time instances, as well as Zul’Farrak.
Maps and subregions
Regions adjacent to Tanaris
- Main article: Tanaris NPCs
Tanaris is home to several characters of note such as Narain Soothfancy and Marin Noggenfogger.
- Main article: Tanaris storyline
For pre-cataclysm story line see Tanaris quests.
In the RPG
Tanaris is a desert located south of the Shimmering Flats. It is all shifting sands and rocky wasteland. In Tanaris, water is a precious commodity, even more than gold. You can buy water bottles in Gadgetzan as there are no easily attainable sources of water anywhere in the desert, and bringing it in by ship or trade route is more expensive than sinking wells. For that reason, goblins and gnomes build wells across the desert to farm fresh water. The Gadgetzan Waterworks Company, or GWC, runs the whole operation, without which just about everybody in Tanaris would die of thirst. Almost everybody leaves the wells alone, except for the Wastewander Bandits. Furthermore, if you get too close to the coast in the wrong place, sea giants come out and make a meal of you. Wandering the desert alone is risky but you may be able to travel with a GWC patrol if they agree to be your guides.
It is said that Tanaris once housed a Titan city, a place known as Uldum. The city seems to be lost as no one has been able to find it. Perhaps the sands cover it, or maybe Uldum is just another name for the Caverns of Time.
Tanaris was also once part of the Gurubashi Empire, a troll nation that existed long before the Sundering and once covered a great part of the world. The Sundering smashed this empire, separating the trolls into tiny fragments of their former greatness. Zul’Farrak may not be a ruin of the Gurubashi, as it is too recent, although it may have been built atop such a ruin.
Little is known about the Caverns of Time. It seems it has always been there, a permanent landmark — surviving even changes as violent as the Sundering. Perhaps it exists outside of time itself, as a sage suggests.
Tanaris has been an endless sea of sand for aeons. Nozdormu, the great dragon of time, was said to make this land his home since time immemorial, thriving in the solitude of oppressive heat and miles of sand.
Explorers that venture into the desert are warned that it has little to no cover at all. If the bandits see you, and is highly probable they will even from a distance, they will be waiting over in the next sand dune. As there are almost never any clouds at night, the moonlight makes you stand out so moving only at night is as dangerous as in the day. The worst creatures come out at night, too, like scorpids and silithid. Moreover, it gets downright cold at night.
People and culture
The two towns of Tanaris, Gadgetzan and Steamwheedle Port, were built and are manned mostly by goblins, with some gnomes helping out here and there. Almost all of them work for the Gadgetzan Waterworks Company. Outside the cities, the need for water is still key, but the means to get it differ. The Wastewander Bandits steal it, while the Dunemaul ogres and Sandfury trolls control the only natural wells in the region. The Southsea Pirates get theirs by raiding, or simply sailing further up the coast to resupply.
About twice a year rain falls on Tanaris. When this happens, it’s not just a drizzle, but an intense downpour that lasts for hours. The few scraggly plants that survive in the desert do so chiefly because of this tiny bit of moisture, but for the residents of Gadgetzan, it’s a cause for celebration.
Like Thousand Needles, Tanaris is a desert; but unlike the barren rocks to the northwest, this desert is made up of sand dunes. From a distance it resembles an ocean, except the waves are brown and don’t move. When the wind kicks up, though, intense storms result, causing the dunes to change position and shape. If you visit Tanaris one month, you might come back the next and find that everything has moved around.
Gadgetzan and Steamwheedle Port, as well as the troll city of Zul’Farrak, are located up near the edge of the northern mountains. Because the winds blow out in the plains, theses settlements are usually spared the shifting sands treatment. Still, everywhere you go there’s going to be sand. Although there isn’t a lot of life in the desert, what you find there is hardy as it is their only way to survive. You can find scorpids, buzzards, elementals and hyenas, all of which are masters at finding water. If they couldn’t get it from a well, they would simply catch and kill something for its blood.
The northern edge of Tanaris is blocked by steep hills, running all the way to the edge of Un’Goro Crater to the west and the ocean to the east. A few scattered hills and mountains litter the landscape, but mostly it’s just open dunes everywhere you look. In the southwest, near the Thistleshrub Valley, there is a sloping path into Un’Goro.
Notes and trivia
- According to the Gordunni ogres, Tanaris is covered in Dunemaul ogre poo.
- World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3 describes a cave complex beneath Tanaris. Previously, Gadgetzan Gazette from Hearthstone canon mentioned underground ruins upon which a Gadgetzan manor was built and which predate the city of Gadgetzan.
- Before patch 4.0.1, Alliance players didn’t have any travel hubs in Thousand Needles, so Gadgetzan made a great alternative to get to Shimmering Flats since it was just a short run over the hill to get there. Even Horde players could benefit from this shortcut as it was even faster than running from Freewind Post.
- There is an alternative route to get to Tanaris that is much quicker for players in Dustwallow Marsh. By traveling to the Theramore Docks, on the eastern coast of Dustwallow, and swimming south around the mountains that surround the Shimmering Flats, you can easily get to Steamweedle Port, so long as you hug the shoreline; failure to do so will result in death by fatigue. This is made much easier using a Swim Speed Potion, a druid’s Aquatic Form, a shaman’s Water Walking or a similar ability.
- Currently, Tanaris has the largest amount of dungeons in the game.
- One of the names for oil is “Tanaris Tea”.
Gadgetzan as seen in Cataclysm.
The surrounding devastation – roaming sea giants.
The surrounding devastation – pirate ships in the distance.
Steamwheedle Port in Cataclysm (from the official site).
- ^ World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded, pg. 17
- ^ Patch 4.1.0 trailer
- ^ Troll Compendium/Sand Troll Tribes
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 26
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, chapter 38
- ^ Argent Emissary#Quotes
- ^ 
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 6
- ^ a b Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 210
- ^ a b Lands of Mystery, pg. 57
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 59
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 59 – 60
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 57 – 58
- ^ Gordunni ogres flavor text