GILNEAS – World of Warcraft
For the non-nerds: Gilneas (pronounced gill-nay-us) is a starting zone for the Worgen race in the massively-multiplayer online role-playing-game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft. Gilneas resembles early 20th century England, the area is very Sherlock Holmes-like. Brick-and-motar chimneys reach out above narrowly-winding cobblestone streets with wooden lampposts illuminating the foggy gloom that seems to be as permenant as the curse that haunts the native Gilneans.
While Gilneas is technically a human kingdom, the humans in Gilneas are infected with the worgen curse which turns them into savage beasts. Think werewolves. The disease was luckily contained within Gilneas due to the kingdom having sealed itself off from the rest of the world by constructing the massive Greymane Wall, a political decision made years before the blight spread.
When the dragon Deathwing wrecked the World of Warcraft, an event which is known as The Cataclysm, the Greymane Wall was broken, and the infected humans found refuge in their former allies, the Alliance.
For the nerds: Gilneas was founded after the Troll Wars, as the Arathor empire began expanding out from Strom. Gilneas quickly rose in power and wealth, and by the beginning of The Second War, Gilneas was one of the strongest human nations. Sadly, King Greymane’s hubris lead to the kingdom’s eventual downfall. Greymane believed that his own kingdom was better off on their own, without the Alliance using their resources and strengths…believing his people were not seeing enough in return. Thus, the Greymane Wall was built, and from the completion of its construction onward, no one was allowed in or out of Gilneas. Even when the neighboring human kingdom of Lordaeron fell to the Scourge, the gates of the Greymane Wall remained closed to the refugees.
To help keep the Scourge out, King Greymane enlisted the aid of the archmage Arugal, allowing the archmage to unleash the Worgen monsters against the Scourge. While the Worgen did fight off the Scourge, their hunger was not satisfied and the monsters began preying on some of the human settlements just beyond the Greymane Wall. The disease spread throughout Southern Silverpine, and eventually, even the mighty Greymane Wall could not keep the disease out.
The disease spread rapidly, causing panic. A civil war broke out within Gilneas, though it was short-lived as the two warring sides realized that the war was just hastening their eventual extinction at the claws of the Worgen.
The Cataclysm struck just following Greymane’s orders to retreat from Gilnaes to Nightelf-held lands across the sea.