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Lore Reveals from the Bellular Chains of Domination Interview - Ner'zhul's Story, Payoff for Garrosh, Cosmic Forces
23.02.2021 um 03:30
Bellular interviewed Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser and Lead Game Designer Morgan Day about Chains of Domination, which had many interesting lore reveals such as the potential continuation of stories for Ner'zhul, Garrosh, and Yrel.
Parallels Between Anduin and Arthas
Ever since Uther flung Arthas into the Maw instead of allowing his soul to be judged fairly, players have wondered if Arthas was manipulated by the Jailer. Perhaps he should have been sent to Revendreth instead, if the Jailer's magic in the Helm of Domination was so potent and controlling. When we later complete the Twisting Corridors questline and see the Jailer attack Bolvar, Calia even muses if her brother was fully in control of his actions while wearing the helm. So naturally, players are curious if Arthas was similarly mind-controlled like Anduin in the Kingsmourne cinematic.
: There are similarities, deliberate ones, that we're showing in the cinematic to have Arthas overtones. But we see clear differences as well. When Anduin attacks the Archon, we get that moment where the power weakens a little bit and we see his personality come through. He's horrified at what's going on. But then that Domination magic kicks in again, the runes light up, and he is once again suppressed to the Jailer's will.
That wasn't the case with Arthas. Arthas made choices along the way, and yes there was a dark power calling to him and all of that, but it was still very much choices that he made that led him along the path that he went.
The Jailer's Agents
Bellular then clarified that the Jailer wasn't mind-controlling Arthas in the same way as Anduin, instead taking a subtle approach designed to prey on Arthas' personality flaws. The response was interesting, discussing how the Jailer has been improving his technique over time to win agents over to his cause. Notably, Sylvanas is mentioned here--has the Jailer tricked her into joining his cause? It does seem odd she'd join him at face value, if he's responsible for setting Arthas down a dark path, whom she bitterly hates.
I think that you could look at the patterns of what's going on with Ner'zhul, with Arthas, with Sylvanas...the Jailer is refining his techniques. He needed agents on the outside to carry out his will. He had willing ones like Sire Denathrius and he has others that he's tried to coerce or encourage along the way. The results he's gotten haven't always been what he wanted. You could imagine that if the Lich King was an entity designed to get his influence on Azeroth, that these mortal influences, both Ner'zhul and Arthas, ended up getting in the way. Now, when you saw Sylvanas trying to say to the Jailer "let me win this one, let me convince him, he'll be better as a weapon this way"...the Jailer gave her some latitude there but it reached a point where he said it's time to go. So that's how we see dominated Anduin now.
Story of Ner'zhul - Continuing in Jailer's Sanctum?
The former Lich King Ner'zhul was considered a failure by the Jailer due to his defiance, as we learned in
Im Griff des Kerkermeisters
. While there's no word if we'll see Arthas in Shadowlands, it looks like we'll learn more about his predecessor in Chains of Domination. With Shadowlands revealing so much new lore about the Lich King and Helm of Domination, players have been wondering how Ner'zhul's old story fits into the new lore as he played a key role in Arthas' transformation.
: Ner'zhul... We're going to be delving more into that story and what happens when this mortal, y'know that it looks like someone is going to go along with the plan and then they don't. That doesn't please the Jailer. Whatever is left of Ner'zhul, after all that's been through with him, you can imagine that is receiving some of the Jailer's ire. It may be that we see a little more of that story as Shadowlands unfolds.
There are definitely opportunities on that one as we explore spaces like the Sanctum of Domination. Who would the Jailer have trapped away in there? What are some of the people or souls he would be tormenting? There' definitely opportunity with the new raid coming up to explore questions like that.
The question then wrapped up with a confirmation that we'll learn more about the powers of the Pantheon of Death, tying into the cryptic messages of the Primus, and what happened to the Jailer in the past back when he was Zo'vaal. All interesting food for thought especially with the reveal that the
Dreadlords will be in Chains of Domination
, a group long-suspected to be agents of the Jailer.
Garrosh in Revendreth
Players were excited to see Garrosh return in Afterlives: Revendreth, hoping it would lead to a bigger story for the former disgraced Warchief. Some even speculated at the time that Garrosh could be a secret Mythic phase for Sire Denathrius, which didn't materialize.
However, it seems that Garrosh's story may get an emotional payoff in a future patch, which would make sense as the
Thrall lore panel
emphasized the fallout between Thrall and Garrosh, as well as hinting Thrall would reunite with Draka. Thrall getting emotional closure on Garrosh would be a natural fit for an introspective questline in the style of Jaina's Kul Tiras saga in Battle for Azeroth.
When it came to Afterlives: Revendreth, we thought "What kind of character would embody the sort of soul that would be sent there, that's filled with pride, but still had some quality in it that didn't deserve the Maw?" That was really Garrosh's story. He had this path laid out for him, and circumstances and choices that other people made led him to go down a certain way. But you could have, perhaps, seen a different route for him. He became a really great embodiment there.
Obviously he wasn't part of that initial core Shadowlands 9.0 story, but now as we go into Chains of Domination, we have a chance to explore some more of those other stories. We feel like Garrosh had a really great arc, and that he had a really culminating moment in Warlords of Draenor, so we don't want to retell a huge story with him. But I think it's safe to say that we'll get some payoff for his appearance in the Afterlives trailer and I think that you'll see some fitting events that will transpire, but I don't want to go into spoilers.
It's cool to talk about Revendreth and the different afterlives, and what makes them unique. Revendreth is unique in that it isn't potentially people's final resting place. It's more about the rehabilitation--can this soul be saved or will they be whisked off to the Maw? Similar to Ardenweald, which is more about the cycle of life and death and rebirth. So that's one of the fun elements of Revendreth that's good to keep in mind.
Garrosh is a battery, a source of great power because of that big life he led. That's a fun story to tell.
Afterlives: Revendreth - Fate of Garrosh Speculation
Grimoire of the Shadowlands - Broker POV on Cosmology
Blizzard has been exploring the WoW cosmology in greater detail these last few expansions, with Shadowlands providing the perfect opportunity to learn more about the cosmos and view it from a different perspective.
laid the groundwork for what we currently know about the cosmos, but it was written from the perspective of a writer familiar with the Titans of Azeroth. In an upcoming book, we'll read a different take on cosmology, written from the point of view of a Broker, an enigmatic race introduced in Shadowlands.
We've got a book coming out called The Grimoire of the Shadowlands that is written from the point of view of a broker. One of the chapters in there discusses a different point of view on the cosmology of the universe and what it means.
Yrel's Story and the Light
Outside of the immediate cosmic lore of Shadowlands, the interview touched upon a
controversial story from Battle for Azeroth
--the fate of the Mag'har Orcs and the destructive power of Yrel wielding the Light. When Warlords of Draenor ended, the Draenei and Mag'har Orcs were in a temporary peace, set to go down a happier path than the events in the main timeline with Yrel positioned as a charismatic leader. Unfortunately, when we pick things up in the Allied Race questline, the Draenei are wielding the powers of the Light to convert or purge the remaining Mag'har Orcs. Bellular asked what Yrel is up to these days and got this reply:
One of the things we've tried to do with the Mag'har Orc storyline...we see the conflict just didn't go away between Yrel and her forces and Grommash and his Orcish forces. Clearly, there's some more story to tell there. Legion gave us some great opportunities to delve into the lore of the Light more with Xe'ra, and her interactions with Illidan, and Turalyon's POV on it, Velen's POV...I think Velen learned a lot about the light. At one point he may have been blindly devoted to that, and I think he's gotten some different perspectives. That's definitely a storyline that will be playing out.
Cosmology and Morality
Danuser also touched upon the dynamic between larger-than-life cosmic forces and morality. While we may attribute morality stereotypes to cosmic forces, such as assuming Light is good and Void is evil, that's a human perspective being applied to powerful forces that just want to execute their will.
The thing to keep in mind is that these forces, whether it be Light, or Order from the Titans, or Shadow...characters in our world tend to ascribe good and evil motivations to these things, but really, those powers don't care about morality. They are driven to do what their nature is. And so, the nature of the Titans is to impose Order on things. If you are on that program, helping them accomplish that goal, then they will be benevolent towards you, and they will help and guide you. Perhaps we'll learn what will happen if you aren't someone who agrees with their agendas.
The same could be said of the Light--what happens when Illidan didn't go along with Xe'ra's plan? Well, sparkles rained down from the sky Even, for example, in Visions of N'Zoth, when you think about the things N'Zoth was saying, he wasn't like 'serve my evil will!' He was like 'I can make you stronger! I can help you!' There's a bunch of bad stuff out there, you should be joining me and letting me help you do these things.' You could say 'was he lying to me?' Well part of it...probably was. But there's truth in it too.
These things exist beyond the morality we as mortals think of. As that more-cosmic storyline unfolds, those moral questions and mortal points of view, vs these cosmic ancient powers, will be something to explore.
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