Category Archives: Exploration Finds

Pandaria Secrets and Hidden Locations – The Secret Aerie

Pandaria has a lot to offer when it comes to secrets and hidden locations. One of them, “Riches of Pandaria“, I interpret as a recognition of exploration as a play style by Blizzard. Some of these treasures are placed slightly off track – finding The Hammer of Folly near the Black Market Auction House, for example, will also reward you with a great view over Western Jade Forest.

Last night I found a great hidden location. I had noticed when traveling through the Ancient Passage to Kun-Lai Summit, that the tunnel had several offbeat tracks. So I came back later on a level 90 character to see where they lead.

The Secrat Aerie pandaria map

And it leads to The Secret Aerie! You can see the tunnel symbols on the map of The Veiled Stair below showing the Ancient Passage entry and the Secret Aerie exit.

The Veiled Stair

When you come out of the tunnel, you’ll stand in front of a small shallow lake. There’s a boat and a small shrine, but not much to see otherwise, except the strong pink hue of the area.

Secret Aerie Tunnel

From the lake, you’ll see bamboo bridges leading upwards. This means it is theoretically possible to get there by land mount, but this path and the surrounding mountain pillars are populated with quite a few hostile level 90 sprites.

At the top, there’s two village houses and a Hawk Trainer working on a boat with his hawk supervising.

building a boat people in the sky

Why on earth this guy, being a “People of the Sky”, is building a boat at this location, is a riddle to me!

Another peculiarity of this place, is what you’ll find inside one of the houses.

people in the sky dog

Two hawkmasters, a gryphon hatchling flying in a circle and Hoggle, the pug and its prize-sized poo! I mean, I assume it’s the dog who did it, although it is a rather large poo for such a small dog…

So for your own sake, run out of there! Proceed to the area behind the house. Here you’ll find another unnamed hawk trainer, perhaps practicing a special trick with his hawk circling him.

balancing hawk trainer

Continue on to the cave that you can see to the right in the picture above. This is where you’ll find Hawk Master Liu standing in the center of the cave with a flock of hawks flying above him.

Hawkmaster Liu

This guy will actually talk to you! When I spoke to him he just said “Welcome Ironyca. We have been watching you for some time. You are a gust of wind that heralds the storm of change.” Another one of those stalky NPC’s…

On Wowhead you can read that if you have finished the quests in Townlong Steppes and thus met Hawkmaster Nurong, he will instead say: “Word reaches me you served with my brother in Townlong Steppes. How is the young fellow? Did he ever tell you how he lost his eye?

There’s one more thing to discover here and again you have to look around a little to find it. Instead if describing it here, I’ll just tell you to go and explore a little on your own (if you haven’t been here before) and follow the narrow path behind the hawk trainer balancing on a barrel.

I don’t know what the purpose of the place is, on Wowhead commenters are not sure either, but one of them noted that Hawkmaster Liu has unique voice acting, so he is probably going to be significant at some point. It’s also possible that they are connected to Shado-Pan.

The Auschwitz of Azeroth

I wanted Joy go to Hillsbrad Foothills for one reason only. I wanted to know what was up with the Sludge Fields and I knew this could only be done by someone of the Horde faction.

I’ve marked the place that I would call an Azerothian Auschwitz on the map below.

I had passed by this point a few months earlier on my draenei shaman and what I saw truly freaked me out. I’m sure we all remember this place as a Horde quest area in the old world, but the town, a human settlement previously known as Hillbrad Fields, has now been turned into an internment camp for the captured human prisoners.

It’s not just that, it’s also a horrific experimental lab for … I don’t know – judge for yourself.

The journal of Clerk Horrace Whitesteed, a prisoner of war held at this camp, can be read here and it gives a chilling picture of what happened to this place. I’ve included some of the passages below:

Whitesteed before Hillsbrad Fields was taken over

Day 20
The Hillsbrad Fields are no more. Those that did not flee were captured. The Forsaken have declared us as prisoners of war. We are to be laborers at their new plantation.

Day 25
They incinerated our farms and made us watch. Construction begins tomorrow.

Day 40
Construction of their plantation is nearly complete. This place resembles no farm or plantation that I’ve ever seen.

Day 45
We’ve started laboring in the sludge fields. They grow poisonous mushrooms in fetid water and muck.

Day 50
I hear screams coming from the Warden’s manor. People are starting to disappear.

Day 52
I overheard that some guards talking about the farmers, Ray, Getz and Kalaba. Something terrible has happened to them – of this I am certain.

Day 60
Those of us that remain are scared for our lives. Some of the farmers claim to have seen ghouls running amok at night.

I wrote my article on what I thought were the 10 most creepy things in WoW before Cataclysm was released. Had I written it today, I would have put this place at the same level of creepyness as Thaddius or even Karazhan Crypt. If the Crypt didn’t have the Upside Downs Sinners, which admittedly is the main reason the crypt is so nightmarish, this place could easily have topped it.

Speaking of Upside Down Sinners, the Sludge Fields did in fact have one more sample for the horror hungering: hanging corpses of the same model as the ones in Karazhan Crypt.

Poor Joy, she didn’t enJoy this place although it had moments of sillyness too. What she did like was the opportunity to “do the right thing”.

The quest is given by a shovel – the shovel of mercy. Notice how save is wrapped in inverted commas … fishy. It turns out this quest can be solved in two different ways.

Use the shovel to smash in the human seedling’s heads.
OR
[Right Click] the human seedlings to free them from the dirt.
Do the right thing.

Aha! Interresting. How often do you as a Horde figure get to act on your own accord and not as a tool of the Horde war machine? (this goes for Alliance too) When I made Joy I imagined she was barely loyal to the Horde, rather she’d go her own way, but of course this is not something I often got the chance to see relfected in her questing, except now.

I didn’t know about this choice when I completed the quest, but I’m happy that Joy at the time saved the human seedlings instead of “saving” them and so Joy did do the right thing, at least what was right for her.

The Tree Trunk Skeleton

When I was out leveling Joy my nerfed hunter, I randomly ran into this hollow tree trunk in Hillsbrad Foothills.

This is not a particularly noteworthy event, but if you click the above picture larger, you can see more clearly a skeleton sitting on the inside.

Given the vast amount of skeletons you can find around Azeroth and Outland, they are not exactly rare either, but this one had a doll sitting next to it, something which I find a little creepy. I couldn’t see if it was an adult or a child, but after pondering it, it’s not so much the skeleton, but rather the doll which is sitting on its lap, that makes it look eerie to me.

I would probably have been equally spooked if it had just been this voodoo-like doll with crossed eyes sitting alone in the tree trunk, staring at me as I passed by on the road.

The location is not far above Tarren Mill. It’s a little East of the path going North towards the Ruins of Alterac.

I leveled through the zone and never got a quest linking to this site, so perhaps we are dealing with another small and hidden detail, all of which makes the world seem less uniform and more random.

In case you get the thrills like me over both large and small exploration discoveries, you may enjoy the below articles.