Prior to the Cataclysm, Thousand Needles (aka The Thousand Needles) was a huge canyon in Southern Kalimdor, filled with towering mesas. In the east, the canyon opened up to the Shimmering Flats, a vast salt pan that was used by Goblin and Gnomish engineers for their races. Despite being relatively barren, the area had its own harsh beauty, and the sunrises seen from either Freewind Post or one of the mesas around Darkcloud Pinnacle were spectacular. The Shimmering Flats and Mirage Raceway were also worth visiting for their surreal, lonely atmosphere.
The Thousand Needles is a contested territory, and can be tiresome to travel around without a Flying mount, especially since the bridges linking major sites are packed with battling Tauren. As a result this area doesn't see anywhere near as much action as some, but Darkcloud Pinnacle is a favorite stealth ganking spot for Alliance rogues due to the many Horde quests there as well as the relative difficulty of the mobs/remoteness of that location. The Alliance attack the Great Lift and Freewind Post fairly regularly - however the Great Lift was demolished in Cataclysm. In addition, players questing on the Shimmering Flats near the Tanaris border are advised to look over their shoulder from time to time, as the unwary can occasionally find themselves being stabbed in the back by a passing member of the opposing faction.
Before the great Sundering, the region of Thousand Needles was a river canyon, the spires of sandstone shaped from years of rushing water. Water flowed to the sea from a large lake to the east, fed by an underground tributary. Then came the demons and the destruction that threw the entire world into upheaval. The canyon was thrust above the water table; the eastern lake dried into a vast salt flat and Thousand Needles became a sandy gorge. Thousand Needles rises south of Dustwallow Marsh and serves as a channel to Desolace to the west or the Tanaris Desert to the South. It also connects to Feralas. The long canyon stands as a natural divide between central and southern Kalimdor. The realm gets its name from the dozens of giant, cylindrical columns of sandstone that rise from the bottom of the canyon like a forest. Bridges have been constructed atop many of the spires, connecting pathways across the canyon from one side of the surrounding mountains to the other. To the east of Thousand Needles, the canyon opens into a large, dry lakebed. This dried-out salt flat is actually below sea level. At its center stands an alkaline lake with ten times the salt of any ocean. The sere region is so hot, dry and salty that few creatures venture here. Lizards, scorpions, vultures, and birds of prey are not uncommon and neither are centaur war bands. A contingent of goblins mines for oil in the Scorched Basin. The spire bridges allow travelers to traverse the canyon without running into the barbaric centaur who patrol the canyon floor. The bridges are not entirely safe, however, as birds of prey will attack the unwary. Larger birds have even sabotaged the bridges from time to time. There is very little of interest in this land, unless someone has a passion for salt or sandstone... or oil.
The barren canyons of Thousand Needles have traditionally been the territory of several Tauren tribes. The Tauren were forced to live precariously on the tips of the high mesas in order to avoid the large tribes of Centaur that almost wiped them out. Now, with the help of the Horde, the Tauren are fighting back against their enemies, including the fanatical Grimtotem Tribe. The Shimmering Flats to the southeast are also the home of the world famous Mirage Racetrack, where gnomes and goblins race their respective rocket cars in order to permanently settle the question of which race has better engineering.
It is suspected that ages ago Thousand Needles was once a small inland sea, or perhaps even an inlet of the Great Sea. This explains the salt flat as well as why there are so many "needle"-like mesas (once possibly islands). The cause for the sea's evaporation could be attributed to the sundering, which tore the ancient Kalimdor cleanly in two. A catastrophe such as this could easily have caused climate change.
Another theory states that a river with its source in Feralas, possibly Wildwind Lake, flowed into the area that would become Thousand Needles. The river cut through the earth, carving the canyon and shaping the dramatic pinnacles that became the Thousand Needles. It was a verdant, forested land. The river emptied into a large inland sea in the east. When the Great Sundering occurred, the course of the river was altered and ceased to flow through what would become Thousand Needles. The forests died and the fertile soil became orange dust. The inland sea, without its source of water, evaporated, leaving behind a vast salt flat.
After the Cataclysm, the Great Lift was destroyed and Camp Taurajo burned to ashes; the simplest entry is after a quest in Dustwallow Marsh (  ) or Dustwallow Marsh/Feralas (  ) brings you to New Thalanaar/Westreach Summit.
Thousand Needles contains no raid dungeons, micro dungeons, or battlegrounds.
Maps and subregions
- Note: The below map is for the ld version of the zone.
Flight Master Locations
|Zone Name||Faction||Level Range||Direction||Access||Access|
|Dustwallow Marsh||35-40||Northeast||By foot west of Splithoof Heights; from Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge to Mudsprocket||By foot west of Splithoof Heights; from Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge or Westreach Summit to Mudsprocket; also from Westreach Summit to Brackenwall Village|
|Feralas||35-40||West||Swimming west; from Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge to Shadebough||Swimming west; from Westreach Summit to Camp Mojache|
|Southern Barrens||30-35||North||By foot near Razorfen Downs||By foot near Razorfen Downs; from Westreach Summit to Desolation Hold|
|Tanaris||45-50||Southeast||By foot south; from Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge to Gadgetzan||By foot south; from Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge or Westreach Summit to Gadgetzan|
|Un'Goro Crater||50-55||Southwest||via Gadgetzan (see above), then to Marshal's Stand or Mossy Pile||via Gadgetzan (see above), then to Marshal's Stand or Mossy Pile|
- Main article: Thousand Needles NPCs
The Thousand Needles are home to several characters of note. At Freewind Post, Cliffwatcher Longhorn seeks aid in the battle against the evil Grimtotem Clan. At the Weathered Nook, Dorn Plainstalker attempts to teach members of the Horde about Faith, Endurance, and Strength. And at the Mirage Raceway, Kravel Koalbeard sends bold adventurers around the world in search items that will give him personal gain in his bets at the gnome and goblin races.
- Main article: Thousand Needles quests
- See also: Thousand Needles questing guide
Horde quests in Thousand Needles begin around level 25 and go through level 35. Neutral quests at the Shimmering Flats begin around level 30 and continue to level 35. Some of the neutral quests that send players out of the zone continue all the way up to level 45. Notable quest chains include Goblin Sponsorship quest chain and Errands for Kravel quest chain, both neutral and available at the Mirage Raceway.
In CataclysmThis section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
In the lake that was formerly the Shimmering Flats, a massive "speedbarge" run by Goblins and Gnomes floats over the flooded ruins of the Mirage Raceway. Clearly even the fact that most of the area is now underwater could not put Goblins off the idea of making money out of it somehow.
- Camp E'thok – submerged; NW of here is a Horde encampment called Westreach Summit
- Darkcloud Pinnacle – slightly NE of the Pinnacle a path has collapsed in the high hills, allowing access to Razorfen Downs
- Freewind Post – apparently taken by the Grimtotem; at the base of the Post is a very small camp of both Horde (Tauren) and Alliance (Night Elf) NPCs, who seem to be working in conjunction to drive away the Grimtotem
- The Great Lift - destroyed
- Highperch – slightly flooded; Heartrazor is bound by a band of Twilight Subduers; the shelf above this is called Twilight Aerie, whose skies are patrolled by hostile Aerie Aces
- Mirage Raceway – underwater; now a giant boat sits in the flooded area with a neutral quest hub with flight path, Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge; SE of here along the high ledge is Tirth's Haunt, where Magus Tirth is now Mad Magus Tirth and is constantly attacking "Plucky" Johnson, who is the new vendor of the Ancona Chicken
- Rustmaul Dig Site – now known as the Rustmaul Dive Site
- The Screeching Canyon – submerged; in the hills above there is a large Twilight Cult encampment called the Twilight Bulwark
- Weazel's Crater – now submerged; the hills east of here have collapsed and opened to the sea; on the high ledge to the south of the opening is a Southsea Pirate area known as Southsea Holdfast; to the slight north of here on the opposing high ledge is Splithoof Heights where the Galak have moved – it appears they are neutral at first; to the NW of the former crater is a path high in the hills that leads to Dustwallow Marsh with a platform overlooking Thousand Needles
- Windbreak Canyon – submerged; south of here is another Twilight establishment, Twilight Withering
- Due to the extensive flooding of the zone, many areas are now underwater. In addition to the above mentioned, other areas include: Whitereach Post, Splithoof Crag, Splithoof Hold, The Weathered Nook, Ironstone Camp, and the entirety of The Shimmering Flats.
- New tameable creatures: Saltspray Gulls, Brilliant Clayscrapers (colorful, macaw-like bird), and Monstrous Macaws
- New untameable creature: Dead Whale Shark. This massive corpse is located in the Shimmering Deep north of the Speedbarge.
- Main article: :Category:Thousand Needles mobs
- Air elementals
- Carrion birds
- Earth elementals
- Water elementals
- Wind Serpents
- You can't race on the Mirage Raceway.
- Shimmering Flats mobs have an oddly high rate of dropping blue BoE (lvl 20-27) gear, though this rate seems to only go as high as .5%.