Author: Chris Wickham
The Badlands is the name given to a barren desert region situated within Khaz Modan. Once firmly controlled by the Orcish Horde, the events of the Second War scattered their remaining forces into a smattering of smaller settlements which they continue to defend. The rest of landscape remains barren, sparsely populated by sweeping canyons, Dustbelcher ogre camps and the decaying remains of creatures long past, which nourish the resilient wildlife of the region. To the far north lies the partially excavated ancient Titan vault of Uldaman, which may herald secrets regarding the origins of the dwarven race. The Badlands were irreparably reshaped during the cataclysm, as Deathwing's arrival cut a huge swath between the region and its northern neighbour Loch Modan, as well as decimating several settlements including Kargath, which the Horde have since rebuilt.
The Badlands are not inherently evil region, and the foul history that has befallen them can be described as unfortunate. Whilst entering certain settlements will trigger more heroic and uplifting compositions from the Blizzard audio team, the sonic landscape of the rest of this barren wasteland possesses a sombre, tragic quality. Following the cataclysm, The Badlands' principal track is the same as the Stonetalon Mountains variations, another region that has experienced strife in recent times. In an interview with Music of Warcraft, composer David Arkenstone describes his desire to 'capture a mix of the beauty of the landscape and lurking danger' with this particular piece. A brooding brass harmony homogeneously blends with a dark and delicate string texture, desperately seeking a resolution, while a lingering 'cello motif and a decorative harp discreetly rears their heads to instil an essence of beauty into the otherwise foreboding track. While some adventurers may shudder at the very sound of its name, the beautiful red and gold hues of The Badlands give the wasteland a certain sense of wonder.