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.
It has also been thought by Falfindel Waywarder of Thalanaar that dark magic of some kind blighted the land.
Thousand Needles contains no raid dungeons, micro dungeons, or battlegrounds.