Since the beginning of June, I’ve been waking up at night to the sound of chanting. At first I thought I’d left my “Greatest Gregorian Hits” CD playing on repeat, but I quickly realized it wasn’t monks making all that racket—it was orcs.
You see, at the start of this month, I did my first evaluation of a property from Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game—MMORPG—“World of Warcraft”, the human stronghold of Stormwind Keep. And ever since, I’ve been getting requests to put a pricetag on its Orcish equivalent, Grommash Hold. With the Horde beating down my door, I knew I needed to get to it.
After a trip to the orc capital of Orgrimmar and a quest for potential locations that took me around the (real) world, I concluded that if Grommash Hold existed on Earth, it would be on the market for $3,265,608. By comparison, I valued Stormwind at $10,392,742.
Now, dear Horde, before you start sharpening your blades and calling for my head on a platter, allow me to explain how I came to this figure. You’ll find my detailed quest notes below.
How I Completed My Chain Quest
Those who read my evaluation of Stormwind Keep will already know how I went about determining the value of Grommash Hold. For the newbs in the audience (and I use that term with the greatest of respect), here’s how the process works. In order to arrive at the orc stronghold’s value, I needed three things:
- The size of Grommash Hold
- Where it would be located in the real world
- The cost per square foot of properties in that location
Like I mentioned in the Stormwind piece, I really enjoy doing these evaluations and find the challenge of figuring out the size of virtual buildings especially fun. That said, let’s get to sizing the place up.
The Place Garrosh Hellscream Calls HomeLocated in the city of Orgrimmar, Grommash Hold is the seat of power of the Horde, one of two factions in “World of Warcraft”—the Alliance, which holds claim to Stormwind, is the other. Like Stormwind Keep, Grommash Hold has undergone some changes since “WoW” first debuted back in 2004. Now located in a part of Orgrimmar called the Valley of Strength, it was once part of the Valley of Wisdom. (Orgrimmar is situated in a series of valleys, something that I’ll delve into more in a bit.)
In addition to its location, Grommash Hold’s physical appearance also changed at the time “Cataclysm”—the third major expansion to “WoW”—was released in 2010. For the purposes of my evaluation, I decided to go with the newer, post-“Cataclysm” design.
As with Stormwind Keep, there aren’t any pre-existing floor plans for Grommash Hold on the world-wide web. So, once again, I was forced—forced—to play “WoW” for work purposes and measure the place in person. Seeing as I didn’t even have any overhead reference screenshots to go by, it was going to take a bit of a different approach.
To start with, I traveled to Orgrimmar as my female orc warrior character, who just so happens to be about the same size as my male human hunter character, if that gives you any idea how imposing orcs are. I’d already pegged my Alliance character’s shoulder width at 21 inches, so I figured that was a pretty safe measurement for my orc, despite the different sex.
Using that measurement as a reference, I walked around the perimeter of Grommash Hold upon my arrival in the city, adding up the length and width to get the ground floor dimensions. Unlike Stormwind, this fortress has a second floor, which is quite a bit smaller than the first. Reachable by rope bridge, it’s home to some trainers, while the main hall’s interior below is where the terrifying warchief Garrosh Hellscream holds court with representatives of the various Horde races. I headed up top and measured it in the same way.
When I was done, I added up the dimensions of both floors and got 10,261 square feet. Once I had that figure, I could continue on with my quest and track down a suitable real world location.
Where on the World Map is Orgrimmar?In the the world of “WoW”, the city of Orgrimmar is located in the land of Durotar, which is itself part of the Kalimdor continent. Durotar is a mostly barren, dry, sun-baked land with plenty of rocks and sand, not to mention valleys. Like I mentioned earlier, Orgrimmar is actually located in a series of valleys, which serve as a form of natural fortification against attackers. (The flying beasts that patrol the skies above it don’t hurt, either.)
Now, looking at the fact that Orgrimmar is a city built in a desert valley on a continent far from Stormwind, my thoughts immediately turned to a place I’ve been fascinated with for longer than I can remember: Petra, Jordan. This ancient site will probably be familiar to most people as the Canyon of the Crescent Moon and Temple of the Sun from the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.
Essentially, the ruins of Petra are located in—and literally carved into—a valley in Jordan, so as they’re practically invisible to the outside world. The rock here, with its red tint, is reminiscent of Durotar, as well. Plus, once I started to research the area, I found that, like Durotar, Jordan has pine forests in its higher elevations, and is also home to some of the same animal species, such as wild boars and big cats, not to mention plenty of scorpions (sadly not rideable).
Petra—and Jordan in general—really fit the bill nicely. The only issue I could foresee was finding comparable real estate there to base my per square foot pricing on. Luckily, the real estate gods decided to smile down upon me and my quest to unlock an achievement in evaluating fictional real estate.
Property Fit for a Warchief
I wasn’t really surprised to learn that there are no houses—let alone fortresses—for sale near Petra. The site is fairly remote, and is (thankfully) a UNESCO world heritage site, meaning it’s protected as a hugely important piece of global history. So, I had to find something to base my comps on as close as possible.
I was coming up short handed in my search for actual homes for sale until I started looking in the Jordanian capital of Amman, about three hours away from Petra by car. Still, that’s not too bad. Using the prices of some of the largest private homes I could find for sale in Amman, I got an average price per square foot in the area of 232 Jordanian Dinars, or $328.
With that number in my inventory, I could put it all together.
Adding It All Up (Need More DOTs!)
Turning to my old friend math (I have a high INT score), I took the square footage (10,261), multiplied it by the price per square foot ($328), and arrived at my final figure of $3,365,608 for Grommash Hold. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the building materials, cost of construction, or that awesome patchwork rug on the floor depicting the kingdoms of Azeroth. And, like Stormwind, it’s not a particularly lofty price tag since Grommash Hold is again pretty much a facade—there’s just not a whole lot to it. Sure, the walls are thick and the fortress is undeniably imposing, but it’s not the sort of place you’d actually want to live (even if you were an orc).
Since folks seemed to like when I converted Stormwind Keep’s value into “WoW” gold, I thought it’d be fun—and only fair—to do that with Grommash Keep as well. So, since you can’t buy Garrosh Hellscream’s digs, the $3,365,608 it’s worth could get you 3.5 billion pieces of gold—if you traded it to a shady gold farmer. (Which we don’t condone.) Alternatively, that amount could buy you a 21,591 year subscription to “WoW” (compared to 66,036 for Stormwind) or one month of gameplay for 259,092 of the Horde.