Updated Tue, Sep 27, 2011 by Saia
This last week has seen Blizzard reveal a massive amount of info on World of Warcraft patch 4.3. The most interesting is not the Tier 13 gear or the set bonuses, or even the details about the Deathwing fight. It’s the lore of the five-man content.
Azerothian history is long and checkered, full of cataclysms and battles between rival races but none have resonated as much as the War of the Ancients. Not only did this period in history literally shape Azeroth, it also This is what we will finally get to experience in the next phase of five-man dungeons.
If any period in history made Azeroth what it is today, it’s the War of the Ancients. This is the period when Azshara tried to create a portal which would invite Sargeras, it was also the period where Illidan gained his nickname of ‘The Betrayer’, when Neltharion became Deathwing and the super-continent of Kalimdor was ripped in three and the Maelstrom created.
It's time to face Azshara!
The city of Zin-Azshari was once the hub of Night Elf society, clustered around the original Well of Eternity, the fount of Azeroth’s magic. The city once had another name but it’s current one honoured its greatest monarch: Azshara, last Queen of the Night Elves. We’ve heard a lot about Azshara, of course, and battled her minions but we’ve never seen her.
She is in-game though, Azshara appears - briefly - in Darkshore if you kill the four Darkscale Priestesses at Nazj’vel. However she appears wearing a placeholder model - the one used by her second-in-command, Lady Vashj. As to what the Queen of the Naga looks before her city sank beneath the sea, we get hints during the Visions of the Past questline in Vashj’ir where the player takes on the role of a Naga Battlemaiden and sees a conflict from the past that gives us a glimpse in to the Naga’s culture. Dotted around the Quel’Domir Gardens are beautiful statues of important figures, including Lestharia Vashj, High Priestess Siralen and, of course, Azshara herself.
Beneath it's simple exterior, lies the power of several Dragon Aspects.
Patch 4.3 will take us to that pivotal day when everything went terribly wrong. The reason for this romp into the past is to retrieve one of the most important magical artifacts ever created: the Dragon (later renamed Demon) Soul. This simple golden disc was created by Deathwing while he was still Neltharion as a way to combat the threat of the Burning Legion. He persuaded his fellow Aspects to imbue the disc with their power and then later used it against them when his true colours were revealed, destroying most of the Blue Dragonflight in the process.
But how the Dragon Soul is going to defeat Deathwing remains to be seen, in the past, he’s been immune to it’s devastating effects but having it so close does harm the Aspect of Death. Essentially, he’s a draconic version of Gollum, obsessed with his Precious. So perhaps one of us will have to wear it while we fly on his back and it’s close proximity will allow us to strip Deathwing of his armor? We don’t know but it’s fun to speculate.
The Demon Soul was used, in conjunction with the Well of Eternity to open Azshara’s portal which would let the Dark Titan Sargeras stomp all over Azeroth. It vanished when the portal collapsed and hasn’t been seen since, which essentially explains the dungeon’s premise. It’s gone because Nozdormu has already sent heroes back in time to reclaim it - something we will complete once 4.3 hits live servers.
The Well of Eternity is about to implode and change the face of Azeroth forever!
This is what we’ve been building up to through Cataclysm, beginning with the revival of Aviana, Malorne and Cenarius during the Hyjal questlines, all three were lost during the ensuing conflict. It’s the source of the aversion most Night Elves have for the Highborne, originally Azshara’s favoured, the aristocrat-magi, who are now returning to the Night Elf fold. At the same time, this event was also the making of not only Illidan but also Malfurion, recently returned from the Emerald Dream, and Tyrande.
For many people, the lore is what drives the Warcraft universe and this period is pivotal that it seems only fitting, at the end, to return into the past. From the images Blizzard has revealed, from a young Illidan to the short of Azshara herself, this looks to have all the lures of a full-on raid, with the casual feel of a dungeon. It’s now only a matter of time until we can will be able to experience this vital day for ourselves.