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Bolvar, Arthas, Tyrande, the Jailer and a More Linear Story: Lead Narrative Designer Interview

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We have a whole lot more lore info coming from the Taliesin and Evitel interview with Lead Narrative designer Steve Danuser! Not that many spoilers present, as it's mostly hints at what's to come, but if you really want to go into Shadowlands blind you might want to skip this one, but we'll also mark the really spoilery stuff separately anyway.

Let's start off with the big stuff:

The first run through of the Shadlowlands storyline will be linear, unlike BfA or Legion, with a very specific narrative direction showing off the individual zones in a specific order, starting with Bastion and ending in Revendreth. The lack of souls in each of the zones and how they deal with it is a major part of their individual stories as well, as the Jailer is taking them all. After you've seen all of them in action throughout the story and get a feel for them, you'll get to choose your Covenant. Then when it comes to alts you can immediately choose the Covenant and play through the zones in which ever order you want.

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Bolvar will play a key role in the expansion (as we already know, he's the one that actually takes us to Shadowlands) and will take on the Magni/Khadgar role (so, prepare for a whole lot of CHAMPIONing in a deep voice this time). He's already seen into the Shadowlands before so he knows a lot more than the rest and will be a guide for us. We'll also get to learn more about his past, with Taelia being involved as well.

The Covenant campaigns will be similar to the War campaign, and most like the Legion order hall/artifact campaigns, as they'll take you all over the Shadowlands. The individual Covenant stories are different, but have some elements that overlap.

The Jailer is the central villain of the expansion with a focus on him driving the main events. Again they learned from BfA and the very loose and spread-out nature of the bad guys there. He's been plotting for a very long time and Sylvanas isn't his only ally/pawn(?), while his action won't be quite as simple as it will appear at first. The Shadowlands has been in a bad place for a while thanks to him and we'll get to know what it was like before all of this started as well.

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They wanted to avoid bringing everyone back as a simple greatest hits list, the decisions on who returns were made based on the stories they wanted to tell, and how those stories help describe the Shadowlands and the Jailer's plot, not character popularity.  It seems Arthas isn't coming back just yet, as they wanted to do right by him, not just throw him in there because it would be cool. No word on if he's coming back in Shadowlands at all (but it really seems likely in a later patch, just from my own outsider perspective). There will, however, also be smaller and more light returning character moments, they won't all have their own big stories.

Slight spoiler as to the presence of a specific storyline, no details about it though:

Spoiler

Tyrande will be back and be in the Ardenweald storyline quite a bit, as well as later in the expansion. Her Night Warrior plot thread is also going to be important, as her increased power will be a factor.  The death of so many Night Elves will get attention and is very important. We also may get some cool cinematics related to Tyrande.

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Non-specific spoiler about Torghast:

Spoiler

The rougelike dungeon is tied into the story and isn't just tacked on, as it hosts a major plot point in the Forge of Domination, which was used to craft the Lich King's helm. The remaining pieces of the Helm of Domination will factor into the story and still have some power which will be relevant.

And here's some of the shorter tidbits:

  • Sargeras' sword "has a part to play" in something to come.
  • Hints we might get to see/hear about a Titan homeworld/homeworlds.
  • The Sylvanas loyalist storyline is concluded and won't pop up again in Shadowlands, as all players experience the same story. However, there will be some NPC interactions specific to loyalists.
  • The Forsaken storyline will continue, but it's sounding like it won't be there until later in the expansion.
  • The story of Shadowlands is already "done" for the entire expansion, they know where and how it ends and how it sets up the next expansion, as they've learned from the issues of BfA.

There's a whole lot more, especially details and slightly less relevant stuff in the full interview, so definitely check it out!


Timestamp in case it's not working: 06:05:25
 

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"The story of Shadowlands is already "done" for the entire expansion, they know where and how it ends and how it sets up the next expansion, as they've learned from the issues of BfA."

It might be both a good and a bad thing. At least they have general outline to follow, but it can also mean that this is a "filler" expansion, kind of like WoD was. We conclude our business in Shadowlands, with Sylvanas, Jailer and so on, only to find out that Void is attacking, again.

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...I _really_ hope we get some explanation on how the Helm, which was crafted by the legion using fel magic to host the soul of nerzul, somehow became the key to breaking the barrier between worlds and was also (Retconned?) into being crafted in Torgast's forge

?????

I mean did the legion have access to the afterlife all this time?    Did the original forge get stolen from the legion a few years back when noone was looking?    If not, how did all the legendaries it apparently created get out of "hell" and into Azeroth?

I am glad they realized "Oh Crap we forgot the continent sized sword!" and plan to address it though.

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15 minutes ago, Arcling said:

"The story of Shadowlands is already "done" for the entire expansion, they know where and how it ends and how it sets up the next expansion, as they've learned from the issues of BfA."

It might be both a good and a bad thing. At least they have general outline to follow, but it can also mean that this is a "filler" expansion, kind of like WoD was. We conclude our business in Shadowlands, with Sylvanas, Jailer and so on, only to find out that Void is attacking, again.

With Sylvannas betraying the Jailer and stabbing him in the back before becoming "The Harbinger" of the Void?  ?

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On 4/10/2020 at 11:40 PM, Migol said:

...I _really_ hope we get some explanation on how the Helm, which was crafted by the legion using fel magic to host the soul of nerzul, somehow became the key to breaking the barrier between worlds and was also (Retconned?) into being crafted in Torgast's forge

?????

I mean did the legion have access to the afterlife all this time?    Did the original forge get stolen from the legion a few years back when noone was looking?    If not, how did all the legendaries it apparently created get out of "hell" and into Azeroth?

I am glad they realized "Oh Crap we forgot the continent sized sword!" and plan to address it though.

Feels more like the Legion stole the helmet and used it as part of the plan to conquer Azeroth.

Probably Nathrezim's doing since they were practicing necromancy as far back as War of the Ancients, they might have discovered a way into the Shadowlands.

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15 hours ago, Teufel said:

Feels more like the Legion stole the helmet and used it as part of the plan to conquer Azeroth.

Probably Nathrezim's doing since they were practicing necromancy as far back as War of the Ancients, they might have discovered a way into the Shadowlands.

Again, that would be a retcon, since the current lore has it being directly crafted by the burning legion, as was Shadowmourne (which, it should be noted, did not cause a giant dimensional rift when it was shattered).

Not trying to downplay your theory but I really hope we get a good, lore friendly story than some hand wavy "all the souls attached to it caused everything int he sky to explode!"     We had WAY too much of that in BFA.

Edited by Migol

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On 4/12/2020 at 5:33 PM, Migol said:

Again, that would be a retcon, since the current lore has it being directly crafted by the burning legion, as was Shadowmourne (which, it should be noted, did not cause a giant dimensional rift when it was shattered).

Not trying to downplay your theory but I really hope we get a good, lore friendly story than some hand wavy "all the souls attached to it caused everything int he sky to explode!"     We had WAY too much of that in BFA.

Not really a retcon, if you count in Blizzard's current lore policy.

Chronicles in general are accounts of lore from the Titans' point of view, but since they are not omniscient, that leaves "what is the actual truth" up for debate in regards to this topic, as well as many others. 

It's not like they made direct moves against the Legion after Sargeras left the Pantheon, so how'd they know for sure how demons got their hands on the Helmet.

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