Illidan returns, this time to eat your soul and remind you of the horrors of WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos. For some reason instead of moving forward, Blizzard decided to take another step back, and then another 10,000 year step back. I'll briefly be going over what exactly is going on with what's happening here. Basically, it's sort of like Blizzard's Team Rocket thing where villians keep popping back up instead of a good 'ol fashion Game of Thrones forever dead moment that World of Warcraft can never have.
So, 10,000 years ago there was the shattering. This happened near Suramar, the High Elf capital, where the Well of Eternity was destroyed, causing the Great Sundering, the first cataclysm in Azeroth's more recent history. Now, Suramar was there, but so was another city named Zin-Azshari which both sort of shared in the power of the well. Suramar went off into the Broken Isles, the above sea remnants of the great High Elf empire, while the rest sunk into the Maelstrom and Queen Azshara went with it, creating essentially the naga.
At this time a lot of retcon and retellings were going on, there was some time traveling wizards, Illidan was having an identity crisis, and half of the current WoW heroes (who were or are still immortal) were dealing with the Burning Legion invasion through their Well of Eternity. This concluded with Azeroth being broken up for the first time (the second being when 'ol Deathwing came back for the billionth time as a villian).
So, at the end of Warlords of Draenor, Gul'dan gets a trip through a gate to return to Azeroth to prepare for the invasion. He also awakens Illidan, who had his soul locked away in the wardens prison along with the rest of his ilk (the Demon Hunters). This is, I don't know, the kind of stupid part. Since I mean, I get that Illidan is a pretty bad dude, but at the same time he also hates and loves demons with the conviction of a coin still in mid-air. So who knows what he's going to do. Bring back Arthas, Kael'thas, and Kel'thuzad and have a big party or something. I don't know.
Anyway, it seems that you're going to land on the Shattered Isles, snag your Artifact weapon, meet some new form of elves which I wouldn't be surprised translated into some kind of playable race at some point. Then, in addition to that, it seems the Emerald Dream is being defined a bit more in the mainstream non-book lore as the blueprint for Azeroth.
There are four very interesting elements coming together. The first is the Burning Legion, which seems to be the headline story. They're the group of demons you have to be familiar with at this point that basically want to invade Azeroth because that's just their thing. Then, you have the Emerald Dream/Nightmare actually having an impact on the game outside of a single quest. Azshara is returning as well, who will be fighting over the fourth component being the titan pillars that you'll be aiming to activate in order to do something cool, I assume.
A few other odd lore components to look at: Dalaran is going to drive itself from Northrend over to the Shattered Isles. There is also going to be, it appears, some play with demon worlds. I believe a few quests (I know at least one), took you to other planets in Warlords, but it looks like they'll be cementing in their plans for off-world travel since you'll be taking the fight "to them."
That's my thoughts for now. I'll contribute more to the conversation in the coming days as we digust the mountains of information Blizzard is dropping on our heads.
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