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Overview

Elwynn Forest is a zone in the massively-multyplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. It is the starting zone of the Humans, and, like other starting areas, serves as a sheltered area that is designed to help new players learn the game's basics in a low-risk environment. Until roughly level 12, players can expect to find quests that will familiarize them with the game's quest structure, enemy behaviour, and the use of some of their character's basic abilities. Elwynn sprawls at the foot of Stormwind City, and is therefore deep within Alliance territory, affording the low-level players there protection from potential Horde attackers, even when playing on a PVP server; in an Alliance zone, Alliance players must initiate combat before they can be attacked themselves. 

Geography and Wildlife
In-game map of Elwynn Forest.

Elwynn is a lush, green forest that lies to the south of Stormwind City, and is home to the small village of Goldshire. It is bordered by the Burning Steppes to the north, the Redridge Mountains to the east, Duskwood to the south, and Westfall to the west. Its terrain is densely populated with trees and other assorted plant life, and features two lakes: Stone Cairn Lake, and Crystal Lake. The wildlife population consists mainly of boars, spiders, bears, and wolves, all of which serve as low-level enemies for new players. Notably, Elwynn also contains two abandoned mines, the Fargodeep Mine and the Jasperlode Mine, both of which have become overrun by kobolds, which must be killed by the player to fulfill the requirements of certain quests.

Goldshire

Goldshire is the small village in Elwynn Forest, and serves as a gathering place, quest hub, and source of various services for beginning players. It contains an inn, a blacksmith, and a selection of assorted goods available from vendors. Goldshire very much fits the archetype for medieval fantasy villages, and was featured prominently in the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft."

History
Goldshire.

Elwynn Forest has changed hands twice in the history of the conflict between the Alliance and Horde. During the events of the First War, the Orcs took hold of Elwynn as they besieged and eventually captured Stormwind, and razed the forest for its resources. It was not until the Humans struck back during the Second War that Elwynn was re-forested and populated once more. Elwynn is also a staging ground for the Defias Brotherhood, a group of disgruntled workers-turned-bandits who seek vengeance for their exploitation during the rebuilding of Stormwind after the Humans recaptured it from the Orcs.


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