Hello and welcome back to In The Frame! The format for all card art enthusiasts!
It's been a while, huh? The last time we looked at some official artwork, we went through concept art for LoR's Empire of the Ascended. Since then, a bit of time has passed, and HS has had a couple of updates, with among them Forged in the Barrens and its Mini-Set. By now, we're well into this expansion's lifetime, and we've already seen and done a lot. But, we hope you are still willing to explore the Barrens a bit more, by going through some official concept art!
In case you need a reminder: The Barrens are a vast region, known for its hostile environment. Its geography is made of hot plains, rocky deserts, and rugged mountains, and it's full of vicious beasts and dangerous tribes. But, despite because all of this, the Barrens are also a hot-spot for young adventurers, who seek to test their strength, and find their place in this world.
If you want to know more about what awaits you out there, come and join us as we look at the many dangers, as well as some of the bold travelers, that you'll come across here in the Barrens!
Let's get started!
The Barrens are tough and relentless, but so are the warriors of the Horde! Through their strength and willpower, they turned this uninviting land into a crossroads for all races, where new heroes can prove their courage and skill, and join their ranks.
Here are some Horde members, which you might encounter along your journey.
Hamuul Runetotem, the wise and highly respected archdruid from Thunder Bluff.
Many young adventurers have been sent here by him already, so that they may find their true strength.
Taught by Malfurion himself, Hamuul proves that night elves and tauren can get along well if they are both good natured.
A simple man from the Crossroads.
He seems kinda worried, I wonder if he's looking for something?
Relives his nightmare every day a new Horde player is created.
An Orc agent sneaking around in the shadows.
Maybe she's at an Alliance outpost, trying to steal some secret plans.
"We all have our secrets. I mean, your secrets."
Here's a little process video, check it out on Adam Byrne's YT channel!
One challenge you'll have to face in the Barrens, are of course its many savage beasts! Ready to tear you apart with claws and fangs, the untamed fauna of this region poses a constant threat to anyone who dares to venture into the wilds.
But how do these ferocious creatures look like? Well...
Toad of the Wilds
... Maybe like this!
Look at the smugness and determination on this little guy's face. It's almost like he's taunting us!
Do you see the fireflies dancing around the pond? Even they seem to respect him!
"Someday we'll find it. The Oasis Connection. The peons, the caravans, and me."
Ok, jokes aside, here are some really wild beasts!
Equipped with huge claws, deadly poison, and even the power of lightning, these are some of the most fearsome creatures out there!
A giant crustacean that made its way into the Barrens.
Don't get caught between its mighty pincers!
Stalking through the rocky deserts,
this vicious predator waits for the perfect moment to strike its prey with its highly venomous sting.
Tamed Thunder Lizard
With its powerful electric attacks, this tanky giant dominates the Barren's plains and canyons.
Only a madman would dare to pick up a fight with one of those walking powerhouses.
Druid of the Plains
And if you can't fight them... join them!
By taking a walk on the wild side of life, this druid found a way to survive in these unforgiving lands.
Versatility is a druid's strength.
If sharp claws and teeth won't solve the problem, mighty hooves and horns will.
Not to be confused with the aeronautically advanced Druid of the Planes.
Life out here demands some thick skin.
Where there are wild beasts, there's a daring hunter out to tame them!
With a focused mind, this hunter picks up the tracks of his next prey, completely unfazed by the monstrous task that lays before him.
"Hurry up, laddie, we're getting overrun! Serpents everywhere! They may look cute, but do ye see the fury in their eyes?!" —Tavish Stormpike
There's more than just the wildlife you have to be aware of. Besides the Horde, there are also a lot of others who've made this harsh place their home. Studying them might become helpful, but watch out! One wrong step might turn you from curious onlooker into unwelcome intruder.
Anyway, dare to have a closer look?
Here we have a wild elemental, roaming around in one of the few oases of this region.
I wonder if this gem's glowing energy led it to this place.
They say true value is the cards you find along the way.
A murloc jumping into a river to get some delicious fish.
Although most murlocs appear to be feral, it seems like some tribes managed to develop a kind of hunter-gatherer culture.
Putting food on the table requires persistence, enthusiasm, and the finest murloc Gloves of Foraging.
Looks like there are even more dangers out there! Lately, there have been reports of strange mud-like beings, causing trouble and attacking adventurers everywhere. Why are they doing that? What, or who, could cause this?
Here's what we know about them:
Do you see these sparks coming from their bodies?
Although they are made of mud and herbs, these golems are somehow imbued with arcane energy.
Whatever gives them their power, it seems like it got here via these boxes.
I wonder where they came from... Maybe some big city?
These things can come in all shapes and sizes!
Just look how puny some soldiers are compared to this one!
Ughh, what a mess!
Surviving The Barrens
Wild creatures, hostile tribes, golems, ... those are quite some odds that adventurers have to put up with! If you want to make it out there, you better have some tricks up your sleeve.
Luckily for you, there are some techniques and skills that might help you survive the dangers of these lands.
Sigil of Flame
One thing you should consider learning before heading into the Barrens is how to cast spells.
Trust me, a few simple words and runes alone are enough to engulf the landscape in flames!
"Huh, it reads F-I-R-E. Wonder what that means?"
Sigil of Silence
Burning everything down is pretty blunt and straightforward,
but there's also other, subtler ways to use spells.
A little heard of spell.
Savory Deviate Delight
You should also learn how to prep your food, so you can get the best out of your resources.
Let nothing go to waste... Not even that funny-looking fish!
"Savory" is a creative way to put it.
If all the above is not really your thing, how about some good ol' lying, stealing, and cheating?
Remember: doesn't matter what you do, as long as it gives you an advantage.
Saying the spell’s name makes it work better.
In case that nothing works, and your back is to the wall, do not shy away from sending out one last prayer.
Who knows? Maybe someone will answer your call?
Woah, we're halfway there, woah oh...
Well, I didn't say your call would be answered right away.
Should you meet your timely end, although fate has some more plans for you,
these Spirit Healers are more than happy to help you reclaim your mortal shell.
"You again? What did I tell you about trying to fight ALL the quilboars."
Alright, now that you're familiar with some useful skills, it's time to master them. As you might know, practice makes perfect!
But, in case you're unsure about how to improve, here's some advice.
Think about how to approach a challenge.
When going in for an ambush, try out different angles and positions, and see what works best in any situation.
Always go for the glowing weak point.
If placed well enough, a single stab alone can mean the end for your opponent.
Although that's a bit more than just a stab.
Alright, fine then.
Slice 'n Dice, brother!
Keep your composure when taking on a large enemy.
That way, you can overcome any obstacle, even if you only have your bare hands.
"Trust me laddie, I never eat seafood!"
Having a cool head will help you analyze the situation.
So don't lose it!
By the way, don't get too attached to your clothes, if you're planning on wrangling with beasts.
These are the artists that were featured in this article. Check out their ArtStation to see even more from them!
- Paul Mafayon - Hamuul Runetotem
- Dmitry Bolotov - Mankrik
- Adam Byrne - Horde Operative
- Grace Liu - Toad of the Wilds, Savory Deviate Delight
- Jim Nelson - Tamed Beasts, Tavish Stormpike, Tame Beast
- Patrik Björkström - Druid of the Plains
- Maria Trepalina - Arcane Luminary, Desperate Prayer
- Hao Cheng - Spawnpool Forager, Superior Golem
- Gagaya. - Lesser Golem
- Botos Vlad - Sigil of Flame, Sigil of Silence
- Ivan Fomin - Yoink!, Wicked Stab
- yoha Xu - Spirit Healer
And that's about it! Thank you for joining us on this brief trip through one of Azeroth's most dangerous regions! We also hope you enjoyed seeing some of the artwork, that brought these inhabitable lands to life!
What's your favorite? What do you think about the art? Tell us in the comments!