Northwatch Hold

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Not to be confused with Northwatch Foothold.
AllianceNorthwatch Hold
Northwatch Hold in Cataclysm.jpg
Type Fortress
Leader(s) Unknown
  Formerly IconSmall Human Male.gif Admiral Aubrey †
IconSmall Human Male.gif Major Davin
IconSmall Human Female.gif Captain Fairmount
Race(s) HumanHuman Human
High elfHigh elf High elf
DwarfDwarf Dwarf
GnomeGnome Gnome
WorgenWorgen Worgen
Faith(s) Holy Light
Affiliation(s) Northwatch Expeditionary Unit, Alliance
  Formerly Theramore Guard, Admirality of Kul Tiras
Location Northeastern Southern Barrens
Status Active

Done Inn          Undone.gif Mailbox

Done Stables

Done Anvil & Forge

Undone.gif Bank       Undone.gif Auctions
Travel Done Flight Master(s)
Undone.gif Mass-transit
Undone.gif Portal(s)
Northwatch Hold before the Cataclysm.

Northwatch Hold (or Northwatch Keep)[1] is a massive Alliance fortress located between the Merchant Coast in the Southern Barrens and Dustwallow Marsh. Following years of destructive warfare, it is one of the most important Alliance bases left in Kalimdor.

Northwatch's location is strategic, blocking the coastal approaches to Dustwallow from the north, forcing any Horde assault to travel south and navigate the marshes if they wanted to reach Theramore Isle before its destruction. Nowadays, Northwatch is still important as a human foothold inside Horde territory. The large naval base is known for its massive walls, gates and its various facilities, such as an archery range, stables, a mage tower, a blacksmith, tents, and two scout towers at the top of the mountain which the fort is located upon. The Hold had its own scrying stone for quick communication with Theramore.[2]


Third War

Northwatch Hold was built right after the Battle of Mount Hyjal by Alliance survivors. Because of its position inside what was then considered neutral territory,[3] it turned into a source of mistrust between orcs and humans, despite the temporary peace after Hyjal. That distrust turned to bloodshed soon enough, when Grand Admiral Daelin Proudmoore arrived to Kalimdor and used the keep as his stronghold[4] to further his mission to root out the Horde.[5] The orcs fought and defeated his Kul Tiran forces there.[3][6]

After Daelin's death in Theramore Isle, Northwatch Hold was retaken by the Theramore Guard and became once again an essential part of their defenses. Jaina Proudmoore wasn't pleased by the Hold's continued presence but was under considerable pressure to keep it manned despite her stance on war and her personal friendship with Warchief Thrall.[7]

Cycle of Hatred

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Northwatch soldier fighting an orc grunt.

For the next three years, the Hold stayed under command of Major Davin. It harbored a convoy ship helmed by Captain Avinal and who patrolled the waters between there and Ratchet.[8] Tensions were then still running high with the orcs about Northwatch being so close to the borders of Durotar. The Burning Blade cult's manipulations worsened things even further, and at some point Northwatch footmen started escorting even civilian ships such as the Passion's Reward. Captain Joq's arrest by the bruisers of Ratchet led Major Davin to think an orcish invasion was imminent and to request more reinforcements.[2] His request was heard by Chamberlain Kristoff, who sent him more than twenty boats and than four hundred soldiers,[4] including Theramore's Elite Guard, all under the command of Colonel Lorena and her senior staff.[9] The Horde, on its side, sent more than six hundred footsoldiers and a fleet of dozens of boats carrying more orcs and trolls to battle.[10]

This all led to Burx's orcs and Davin's human armies clashing here after Burx tried to force the humans out. Thrall ended the battle by revealing Burx's secret allegiance to the Burning Blade and then ending his life.[11] Shortly after that, Major Davin handed his letter of resignation, ending his tenure as commandant of Northwatch Hold.[12]

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

The inhabitants of Northwatch were friendly towards the Alliance but the area had no civilian amenities there, featuring no vendors, trainers, or quests for adventurers.

The eastern scout tower was then home of Cannoneer Smythe while Cannoneer Whessan resided in the western scout tower. At the top of the central mage tower resided Captain Fairmount, new leader of Northwatch Hold.

Captain Thalo'thas Brightsun hired Horde adventurers to kill Fairmount and some of her crew for attacking his fleet in what he perceived as overzealous paranoia.[13] There was also a captured sailor, Gilthares Firebough, chained to an iron ball in the central tower, seeking help and rescue from his crew. Despite only transporting moonshine, the Northwatch guards had deemed him an enemy and threat to the Alliance.[14]


Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

The ravaged land in front of Northwatch.
Horde artillery above Northwatch Hold.

The day before the Cataclysm, Alliance forces streamed out of Northwatch and marched up the Gold Road, besieging Crossroads as dusk fell. Then, in the heart of the night, they force-marched southward, leaving their campfires burning behind in order to surprise attack Honor's Stand at dawn's first light.[15] After the Cataclysm, Northwatch expeditionary forces reached as far as Durotar and the Stonetalon Mountains, but eventually the Horde forces of the Rageroar clan attacked back and besieged the hold itself.

Despite now boasting a variety of facilities to be used by Alliance adventurers, including vendors, an inn, and other such aids, the hold itself has actually been hit rather hard. The lower reaches of the base have been destroyed and are contested by the orcs, who have set up their own base not too far away, and are attacking from the sea as well. The central tower has been damaged heavily, with Captain Fairmount gone missing and leaving command under Admiral Aubrey's hands.

In addition to the danger posed by Karga Rageroar's forces, the supply lines of the fort are not safe as its couriers and caravans are also attacked by the local wildlife.[16] Despite this, Ambassador Gaines briefly stopped at Northwatch after his unfortunate experience in the Overgrowth,[17] and Taurajo Looters were sent to the Northwatch brig by General Hawthorne.[18]

Tides of War

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

During the Alliance-Horde war, Northwatch Hold was utterly destroyed in a surprise attack by the Horde and their subjugated molten giants.[19] The event came to be known as the "Razing of Northwatch Hold".[20] Kalecgos observed the orcs building up their armies there for a push on Theramore Isle; Jaina Proudmoore noted that any human survivors would likely have fled to Fort Triumph.[21] Later on the Alliance fleet, under the command of Varian Wrynn, attacked the Horde presence in the area. After their victory, the King of Stormwind announced that the standard of the Alliance would fly once more over Northwatch Hold.[22]

Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.

During the Darkspear Rebellion, some Northwatch Caravan Leaders were seen exporting supplies from the Northern Barrens.

Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

Horde ships near Northwatch Hold.

Having now been rebuilt, Northwatch came under attack once again by the Rageroar clan during the Fourth War, this time using battleships. Consequently, Northwatch Hold turned their cannons against them to remove the blockade.[23] In order to counter the Northwatch Hold's firepower, the Horde installed goblin Azerite cannons on the northern shore of the Great Divide.[24]

Travel connections

Flight paths

Neutral Ratchet, Northern Barrens
Alliance Fort Triumph, Southern Barrens
Alliance Honor's Stand, Southern Barrens
Alliance Theramore Isle, Dustwallow Marsh


In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Northwatch Hold is one of two Alliance positions held in the Barrens, the other being Bael Modan. Grim forces — soldiers loyal to Jaina Proudmoore's father Admiral Daelin Proudmoore — man the Hold, much like Tiragarde Keep in Durotar. Due to the events following the Third War and Jaina's decision to forge an alliance with the orcs, which eventually resulted in Admiral Proudmoore's death, the soldiers here harbor a hatred of the Horde and attack its people and outposts often. It is important to note that Jaina Proudmoore openly opposes their actions, which causes strife in the area's Alliance politics.[25]


  • Gilthares Firebough, the high elven prisoner who gave the quest to Horde players to free him from the Hold, was commonly thought to have been removed from the Hold as of Cataclysm. In actuality, pathing errors had caused him to appear under the now-damaged central tower he was once imprisoned in. At some point, this was fixed, as Gilthares now sits in the center of the tower, but doesn't do anything anymore.
  • In Cycle of Hatred, the Hold was described to contain a small watch office and an infirmary.
  • This area was planned to be available in the Southern Barrens warfront.
  • In the Founding of Durotar chapter Old Hatreds, Admiral Proudmoore's castle was said to be located on Tidefury Cove, threatening Orgrimmar and Durotar with a full-scale ground assault. However, World of Warcraft changed the Barrens/Dustwallow Marsh geography and Cycle of Hatred later retconned that the orcs fought Daelin in Northwatch Hold instead.[3][4]
  • Jaina's mentioned pressure about having to keep Nortwhatch manned could either have come from her own military, or from the main Eastern Kingdoms Alliance, seeing as her Chamberlain Kristoff told her that their allies would launch a major invasion if she failed to keep the orcs in check.[1]


Warcraft III

Patch changes


  1. ^ a b Cycle of Hatred, chapter 3
  2. ^ a b Cycle of Hatred, chapter 11
  3. ^ a b c Cycle of Hatred, chapter 1: "We should leave Northwatch," the merchant said. "The Barrens are neutral territory, that was agreed to from the beginning." The soldier stiffened. "You're crazy if you think we're givin' that up." Margoz said, "That is where the orcs fought Admiral Proudmoore."
  4. ^ a b c Cycle of Hatred, chapter 17
  5. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor, pg. 138
  6. ^ Old Hatreds Tidefury Cove events
  7. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 2
  8. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 4
  9. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 13
  10. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 19
  11. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 23
  12. ^ Cycle of Hatred, epilogue
  13. ^ H [20] The Guns of Northwatch
  14. ^ H [20] Free From the Hold
  15. ^ Kilrok Gorehammer#Quotes
  16. ^ A [10-30] Scavenged
  17. ^ A [10-30] A Failure to Communicate
  18. ^ A [10-30] Clap 'Em In Irons
  19. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 9
  20. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 11
  21. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 10
  22. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 27
  23. ^ War Campaign Generic The Defense of Northwatch Hold
  24. ^ War Campaign Generic Blockade of Northwatch
  25. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 29

External links

Classic Cataclysm Warfront