Author: Chris Wickham
Outland is the name given to the shattered remnants of the orcs’ former home planet of Draenor, which float within the Twisting Nether. It is the largest known fragment of the red planet, destroyed when the orc shaman Ner’zhul opened multiple dimensional portals to other planets to allow the orcs to escape the Alliance invasion of the Second War. However, the sheer amount of portals shattered the planet and wiped out most of its inhabitants, leaving Outland as the only habitable fragment. The floating landmass is controlled by Illidan Stormrage, who fled to Outland and overthrew the pit lord Magtheridon with the aid of his naga and blood elf followers. Druids have restored foliage and fauna to parts of the previously desolate land, but its strategic place within the Twisting Nether has led to unwelcome interest from the Burning Legion, who continue to attempt to secure the world from themselves.
Outland was introduced as a playable area in the Burning Crusade and has an extremely diverse geography due to the druid’s rehabilitation efforts. This is reflected in its soundtrack, which adds an incredible 6-8 hours of original soundscapes and tracks to the original game, including some more iconic pieces such as ‘Lament of the Highbourne’. Russell Brower, Senior Director of Audio at Blizzard Entertainment, comments that the Burning Crusade soundtrack was one of their first attempts to create an album of continuous music that could exist in its own right outside the game. The result is a musical narrative that ‘materialises out of ambience and recedes back into it’. A great deal of said ambience is the product of Derek Duke, the principal composer of the Draenei tracks. These tracks use exotic instrumentation such as breathy Japanese shakuhachi, which create a pastoral, spiritual aura for the shimmering crystals that sustain the Draenei civilisation on the Azuremyst Isles. Not all these ambient soundscapes make it onto the release – they are largely derived from the principal tracks and act as segues between them within the game. Despite this simple purpose, Brower believes it’s the ambient music cues that players become more accustomed to, as they are omnipresent not only in Outland but throughout the Warcraft universe.
The Music of Mists: an Interview with Russell Brower – 6th April 2013 (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/9762739)