Gamespot had a sneak peek of Zul’Aman at this year’s E3 Media & Business Summit. Zul’Aman in Warcraft lore is the stronghold region of the Forest Trolls. Prior to the release of Zul’Aman, Blizzard intends small patches to introduce Voice Chat(VOIP) and Guild Bank. Shortly after, Zul’Aman will be released. Back in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Blizzard introduced the new race of Trolls, led by Zul’jin.
During the Second War, the Old Horde – led by Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer – had established an outpost in Zul’Dare, and orcish spies had located a Human settlement near the southern shores of Hillsbrad Foothills. The spies reported to the Warchief to have sought a band of trolls held prisoners by the Alliance. The Old Horde rescued Zul’jin and his trolls, seeking to gain an ally to secure the war.
Zul’Aman became a strong ally of the Horde, out of vengeance against the High Elves who had stolen their lands, thousands of years ago. Zul’Aman is an outdoor dungeon in World of Warcraft. According to Gamespot, it will be a 10-man raid dungeon. The next 10-man after Karazhan.
A powerful Witch Doctor troll has found a new source of power that has allowed him to capture the essences of four troll animal gods (Primal gods): bear, lynx, dragonhawk and an evil spirit(non-disclosed). He has transfered their essence into four warrior trolls as avatars, who are the first bosses in Zul’Aman dungeon. They will take different forms throughout the battle and might summon more mobs to help.
Zul’Aman will not require keys or attunements, making it accessible to any guild raid. Guilds will have to crowd control and beat trash mobs effectively. It seems there is a mechanic in which troll mobs will sound an alert by reaching nearby drums. This will trigger the spawn of incoming trolls to help and most likely a sure raid wipe.
As predicted, there will be NPCs outside Zul’Aman dungeon, giving out quests to players which range from hunting treasures to freeing four hostages. Each hostage is held by each of the four avatar bosses. The hardest part of the rescue missions is the timer. If you do not complete it in time, the quest fails and resets. The earlier you fulfill the mission, the better the rewards. After the battle against the four Primal god avatars (warriors), there will be two more bosses: the witch doctor that captured the essences of the primal gods, and Zul’Jin as the final boss.
Zul’jin has a lot of fans among the Lore community. We will have to find out the reasons for Zul’jin to return to Zul’Aman and why players have to battle him for. Thrall and the Horde recently gained a new ally, the Raventusk, located in the southeastern coast of The Hinterlands. Zul’jin’s wife and some of the Raventusk troll NPCs claim Zul’jin will return to them one day.
It seems some of the recent lore in RPG books has been retconed. If the Arthaus / White Wolf Publishing RPG books, licensed by Blizzard and supervised by Chris Metzen (Blizzard VP of Creative Design), are to be taken as canon, Zul’jin is no longer reigning Zul’Aman. According to Warcraft RPG: Lands of Conflict – page 115-118, Zul’Aman is reigned by Warlord Jin’zakk – a massive aged grey-furred Troll who practices voodoo.
I interviewed Luke Johnson, developer of the World of Warcraft RPG Books (White Wolf) some time ago. The RPG books are read and approved by Chris Metzen. However, when I asked Luke Johnson whether the RPG books are canon, he limited to say Chris Metzen has to approve the material before it goes to print. And basically, it is canon until Blizzard retcons, adapts or adds new material.
There are three notable locations within Zul’Aman described in Warcraft RPG: Lands of Conflict: Lake Abassi, Maisara Hills and the Shrine of Ula-Tek. Maisara Hills to the northeast is sacred to the trolls and hold dark rituals and dances by the moonlight before their totems. Shrine of Ula-Tek is a massive ziggurat temple dedicated to their serpent goddess Ula-Tek.
Zul’jin was captured by the Alliance during the Second War and put into orc internment camps. His fate is unclear afterwards. Few years ago, Blizzard cancelled the game titled Warcraft Adventures prior to the release of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. That game had some of the content later released as a novel, Warcraft: Lord of the Clans. But most of the game’s story was changed or not included such as Deathwing, Gazlowe and Zul’jin. Rumor was that Zul’jin became a merchant exiling himself probably for the shame of losing the war. Mostly rumors.
The logic would be that Zul’jin would return to take his place as Warlord, dethroning Jin’zakk. However, we have seen Warcraft lore take drastic turnarounds such as Kargath Bladefist leading the Fel orcs in Hellfire Citadel, and serving Illidan. Time will tell what Zul’jin’s fate will be. The Warcraft Lore Fans community will be waiting and watching.
NOTE: Reload the Gamespot link a few times. With E3 2007 being broadcasted live by Gamespot, they are having massive audiences tuning in causing connection issues.