Author: Chris Wickham
Elwynn Forest is a tranquil woodland and heart of the human Kingdom of Stormwind, situated in the southern region of the Eastern Kingdoms. While the land is largely safe, several dangerous and territorial creatures lurk amongst the trees and Blackrock Orcs have harassed the Northshire Vineyards since the cataclysm. However, the once prominent criminal gang, the Defias Brotherhood, has been reduced to a mere smattering of unorganised rebels thanks to the Westfall Brigade. The forest enjoys temperate weather with just enough rainfall to support the verdant woodland. Hardy farmers, loggers and fishers are the backbone of the Stormwind’s thriving economy, and are protected from wild creatures by the local militia.
For some reason, Elwynn Forest always gives me this sense of a perpetual dawn; the sun rays peering over the horizon and casting the day’s first shadows through the trees onto the forest floor. Both the music of the original release and the Cataclysm revamp reflect this perfectly through the use warm woodwind textures expanding into the choir and string combination players have come to expect from human kingdoms. However, the general consensus is that the music from the original game has a far more homely and warm feeling to it.
The original release of World of Warcraft uses Jason Hayes' multipurpose composition Forest, which can also be heard at Redridge Mountains. A soft cymbal crash signals daybreak, and a sustained string pedal lingers while the oboe enters with a folky melody. The music later softens and the clarinet and flute exchange melodic material, slowly weaving between each other over sweeping string arrangements. This combination is very common in evocative music to portray a calm, serene environment. However, occasional clashes in the string harmony, coupled with melodic harp fragments on the harmonic minor scale, add a slight enigmatic feel to the warm woodwind and string interplay. The foreboding bassoon and horn melodies which follow the opening of the piece contrast the more calming woodwind and harp interplay, creating a delicate yet perfect balance between the sense of danger within the forest and the beauty of the surrounding verdant foliage.