Bel’ameth is an area that is currently a work in progress. Things found in the PTR are not final, and are subject to change!
Bel'ameth - A New Home, Not a New Capital CityI'd like to preface by stating that thus far, Bel'ameth is beautifully set beneath the roots of Amirdrassil, an homage to the classic settlement beneath the roots and boughs of Nordrassil on Mount Hyjal. The new architectural and doodad (misc. item) assets are reflective of early concept art of the night elf settlements and culture, which I am profoundly happy to see. The addition of portals that carry night elves to their far-flung territories (i.e. Darkshore, Feralas, Val'sharah, Mt. Hyjal - and more) is wise and beneficial for the night elf RP community and fanbase. Further to that, it is very good to see non-player characters (NPCs) both familiar and new as denizens of this new settlement.
For this post, I want to discuss elements and improvements that I feel would be essential additions to Bel'ameth, to make it truly feel like a "new home" for the night elves.
- City Scale
- Environmental Storytelling (Use of Assets)
- Architectural Variance
- Location & Faction Concerns
- Important Figures/NPCs
I. City ScaleSimply put, Bel'ameth is currently a small settlement in comparison to the large district-city that Darnassus was/is on Teldrassil. Compared to true cities in-game, Bel'ameth does not meet Capital city standards or expectations in its current form. Where Darnassus had six (6) unique districts with neighborhood-esque environmental buildings in each:
- Warrior’s Terrace;
- Craftsmen’s Terrace;
- Tradesmen’s Terrace;
- Temple of the Moon;
- Temple Gardens; and
- Cenarion Enclave
Bel’ameth has unique buildings and structures in lieu of established city-esque quarters:
- Arlithrien Lodge;
- The Silver Feather Inn;
- Twilight Watchtower;
- Evenfall Watchtower;
- Belanaar Harbor; and
- Random small buildings/tents
[10.2.5 Update]: In the recent build, two subregions were added to areas around Bel’ameth, which imply the development of quarters. However, the quarters in their current form are still small in scale, and typically include 2-3 small structures at most. The subregions are listed as follows:
- Crafter’s Gallery
- Terrace of the Moon
To improve this further, I would suggest transforming a small, flat area outside Belanaar, between the harbor inn and the watchtower, into a Trader’s Market. Specifically in this area below:
In this location, outdoor auctioneers could be placed for players to access the trade market. Additional NPCs that vendor Darnassian “goods of old” could also be placed there, where they can sell Darnassian-inspired goods like Steamed Mandu, Darnassian Bleu, Moonberry Juice - etc. The addition of Gilnean and Draenei merchants and NPCs could add to the aesthetic of an active and thriving harbor outside of Belanaar.
Where past expansions were able to offer incredible and fully updated Capital Cities like Suramar, Boralus and Dazar’alor; Bel’ameth simply seems to fall flat - even in comparison with Classic Darnassus.
I strongly believe that Bel’ameth could only benefit from the addition of more organized quarters and buildings in closer proximity, to provide the zone with a truly lived-in vibe for the night elf people.
II. Environmental Storytelling (Use of Assets)Not only are the buildings sparse for a "city", but the buildings are currently devoid of environmental storytelling assets that are essential to building lived-in areas. As we've seen in Suramar City, Boralus and Dazar'alor, adding appropritely night elf themed assets (beds, tables, pillows, shelving, food stuffs, potted plants - etc) help provide a more authentic feel for a settlement.
Fanmade examples of environmental storytelling featuring a communal laundry room, shop, and two variations of an inn
I hope to see some recycled night elf assets from Warlords of Draenor, Legion, Battle for Azeroth and new assets applied to the buildings and surrounding areas in Bel'ameth, to provide the zone with a truly lived-in feeling. Assets that help with environmental storytelling, such as objects a particular NPC might have in their residence or simply around them as supplies goes a long way to help in this matter.
One other suggestion to make the environmental storytelling more diverse would be to change some of the portals into boats, such as the portal to Feathermoon Stronghold in Feralas. A boat ride from the Bel'ameth Harbor to Feathermoon Stronghold would be a nice addition; but a small dock would need to be added at Feathermoon Stronghold for that to be possible - fortunately there is space for that.
The smaller druidhouse models from the Legion and BFA expansions are beautiful additions to the zone, but they currently all appear to be the same cookie-cutter house model. I strongly encourage altering the interior doodads in some of the smaller houses, to turn some into homes or small shops. One of these small buildings could make for a fine barbershop with a transmog station at the tents outside of it.
The other buildings in the zone have received some HGTV glow ups and now feature pillows, recycled nightborne assets (namely wine bottles). I hope to see this continue, because some of the buildings still seem relatively blank, when compared to other city details in newer cities from prior expansions (Legion to present).
III. Architectural VarianceOne thing Bel'ameth lacks in comparison to Darnassus is architectual diversity. What I mean by that is the fact that kaldorei make use of both stone/marble architecture, fully man-made wooden structures, and tree-shaping architecture.
A great way to improve the city scaling and lived-in vibe of the zone would be to add other night elf building assets, such as retextured and unbroken 7ne stone buildings from the Legion expansion, specifically from zones like Azsuna and Suramar. The banner image at the very top of this post by Aobo Wang is a phenomenal example of this, and his artwork features Blender-made renditions of pre-existing in-game assets from the Legion expansion.
Presently, each new building assets in Bel'ameth has some specific theme surrounding it such as the Twilight Watchtower, which seems to house the "misfits" of night elf society (death knights, demon hunters, dark rangers, Shen'dralar highborne - etc). It might make more sense to place stone buildings in new locations, to add themes of the Sisterhood of Elune (which seem to be lacking as of the current build), and the Shen'dralar highborne could be included in that area as they once were in Darnassus.
The lack of a place of worship for a theocratic capital is also concerning. Not only do the night elves worship Elune, but many practice druidism and honor the wild gods too. Adding small shrines dedicated to wild gods so close to the portal to the Emerald Dream would be ideal. And it would be strange for a night elf capital to lack a theatre of worship for their Goddess, Elune.
The Terrace of the Moon appears like it is set to become a grand outdoor house of worship. I believe that could be a fitting alternative to a proper temple. However, the space would be amplified by the addition of stone structures, the Legion (7ne_nightelf) stone building assets such as the towers and gazebos, or even the incomplete temple models that only need some texture-work could make fine additions to this subregion, and give it a more authentic and complete feel.
Further to that, the Bank in Darnassus was located in the Temple Gardens and known as the Bough of the Eternals. It was a tree-shaped bank and vault. Given that the Sisterhood of Elune is the governing body of the night elf people, I think it would be effective to add a stone building to house a bank in or near the Terrace of the Moon.
IV. Location & Faction ConcernsThe night elf fan community has raised a few concerns regarding the location of this new Capital, in relation to the cultural norms of the night elf people. The specific concern I have seen recurring is the fact that taking the night elf capital away from Kalimdor seems antithetical to classic and traditional night elf themes. If the Long Vigil of the Night Elf people was to protect their lands and sacred groves in Kalimdor, how can they do that if so many are now residing on the Dragon Isles at Bel'ameth?
Expanding on the environmental storytelling with NPC gossip and flavor text would be a good place to start. This project is already underway, and the Dev team has committed to it, so now it's important for the storytelling to line up with old and current lore. I would strongly suggest adding gossip text to some of the NPCs in Bel'ameth, asking the night elf people what they think about rebuilding a home outside of Kalimdor. Let the opinions be as diverse and troubled as the community, or use it for more foreshadowing of the night elf story for future projects.
The latest update has yielded a bevy of NPCs from the far-flung territories of the night elves, but not only settlers. Instead of majority of the NPCs being settlers of Bel’ameth, there are new visitor NPCs as pictured above. Further to that, a prominent NPC figure, Jarod Shadowsong, offers additional gossip text that solidifies the fact that the night elves are not exclusively in Bel’ameth: “Seeing this place with so many kaldorei – visitors and settlers alike…”
Sharing space with Jarod Shadowsong at the Dawning Watchtower is Mirana Starlight, who further supports the notion that the kaldorei are still tending to their territories back on Kalimdor, stating “Maiev Shadowsong to be assigned to mere guard duty? She has far more important duties to tend to on Kalimdor and beyond.”
To follow up on some other important developments; there are owls and treants all over Amirdrassil isle and Bel’ameth. There are also two known faerie dragons on the isles, which may not necessarily be enough. However, faerie dragons are known for phase shifting. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, we might see some surprise faerie dragon rings appear in Amirdrassil as we once saw in Tirisfal Glades.
It would also be ideal to link the portals from Bel’ameth to other night elf strongholds and settlements back to Bel’ameth, so that ease-of-access to ancient/sacred groves on the far side of the planet makes a little more sense.
Addendum suggestion: I would place the portals to Darkshore, Hyjal and Val’sharah should be placed in a larger space. I would forego the small druidic house in exchange for a larger stone night elf house from the Legion expansion, because presently the three aforementioned portals are so close together that players run the risk of misclicking on the wrong portal.
Bel’ameth Faction Loyalties
As of the current build, it does appear that Amirdrassil is faction neutral, and it is intentionally so. See the following gossip text provided by Portergauge:
This dialogue text is Horde specific in the current PTR build.
In addition to this there is a buff placed on all members of the Horde who walk into the Bel’ameth Sanctuary. See below:
Presently, there are a number of other bugs associated with faction loyalty in the PTR. Buffs running rampant toggle friendly/neutral loyalty for members of the Horde in the Bel’ameth region.
Unless a major NPC such as Tyrande explicitly states, in quest text or gossip text, that Bel’ameth will not become the new Darnassian capital, I do not foresee faction neutrality having a place here. It seems like an unwise choice, unless it is explicitly for play testing.
V. Important Figures/NPCsIt was not exclusively Darnassus that was impacted by the events of Battle for Azeroth. Other night elf settlements were hit hard by Sylvanas' march on Teldrassil throughout Ashenvale and Darkshore.
- Astranaar, Ashenvale
- Grove of the Ancients, Darkshore
- Lor’danel, Darkshore
- Shadowglen, Teldrassil
- Oracle Glade, Teldrassil
- Dolanaar, Teldrassil
- Rut’theran Village, Teldrassil
For this section of the discussion, I’ll be listing some NPCs that are still missing-in-action (MIA) from the War of the Thorns and Warfront storylines of Battle for Azeroth. I share this list of names, in hopes that we might see some of these NPCs come home to Bel’ameth, presumably from Stormwind City.
Night Elf MIA List
This is incomplete, and will feature primarily Questgivers, Class Trainers, and misc/notable NPCs.
Some of the above mentioned NPCs have made a reappearance in the Bel’ameth PTR, such as Erelas Ambersky < Hippogryph Master >, who was a well-known questgiver in Classic WoW. Very excited to see this region develop further, and carry on the stories of MIA night elves.
In addition to seeing some old Darnassus NPCs returning to Bel’ameth, it would be nice to see the return of some of the above figures as well. Many where questgivers or class trainers in Ashenvale, Darkshore or Teldrassil. Some notable figures that would be great to see or learn the story of: Whitemoon Family (Pelturas and his daughter Relara), Raene Wolfrunner (former leader of Astranaar), Moon Priestess Maestra, Foriel Broadleaf, Serendia Oakwhisper, Erelas Ambersky, and Moon Priestess Amara.
Missing persons aside, the addition of owls, and wisps in the wilds around Bel’ameth would be ideal. And it would be great to see Moonclaw Sentinels training, other Gilnean persons, and Draenei ambassadors/emissaries returned to the night elf capital as they are close allies that were very present in Darnassus.
Shandris Feathermoon also deserves a magnificent glow up, if not a unique model update. That’s the general of the Sentinel Army, who we’ve quested with throughout BFA and Shadowlands.
VI. ConclusionBel'ameth is a good start, but needs additions, refinement and polishing to become great. I'd like to know what the community thinks, especially fellow night elf fans. For those who are not the biggest fans of night elves, but who are interested in joining the discussion, please consider the elements and features you'd like to see in your favorite player-character's city.
Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.
Seeds of Renewal PTR Development Notes
Wowhead Amirdrassil Preview 10.2.5
Night elves new home
Amirdrassil Zone Feedback
New night elf capital
10.2.5: Amazing new elf capital
Forsaken retake Undercity, Gilneans retake Gilneas, and Night Elves… get exiled from their homeland
Amirdrassil: The Final Form
Bel’Ameth should not be neutral - please don’t