Author: Chris Wickham
What once was a huge canyon shaped by ancient running water and populated by towering mesas and is now completely flooded and extremely difficult to navigate for adventurers. While the popular goblin race course of The Shimmering Flats has been replaced with a 'speedbarge' run, many the notable locations prior to cataclysm have either been decimated or submerged by the great flood. The horde encampment of Freewind Post has now fallen to the Grimtoten Tauren, while Westreach Summit serves as a replacement encampment for the lost Camp E'thok. The atmosphere is desolate and the terrain arduous; many adventurers now make a point of avoiding The Thousand Needles.
The soundscape of this foreboding region is shared with many other desolate regions throughout Azeroth. Veteran players may recognise the Plains musical cues, which feature a soaring lone trumpet accompanied by a subdued brass harmony and a sparse string arrangement. These three features perfectly capture the essence of a bleak, inhospitable environment. Despite the flooding from the cataclysm, the vast emptiness that adventurers feel in The Thousand Needles remains unchanged. In other cues, tremolo strings, insidious rattles and growling brass pedals can be heard in several cues, and are intelligently distributed across the registers of their instrument families to create a vast sonic gap which mirrors the emptiness of the landscape. The descending string motif heard from 3.19 and repeated at various points throughout the cue is almost synonymous with the bleak landscapes of the original incarnation of Azeroth and still remain poignant after its reshaping. They too are orchestrated in such a way to create a sense of unfilled space, providing the perfect accompaniment to a region that many players have chosen to abandon.