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WoWJul 22, 2019 4:00 pm CT

Patch 8.3: Just what will happen in Battle for Azeroth’s final patch?

As of right now, I see two contradictory paths that patch 8.3 could take. I’m not saying there are only two, mind you, just that I personally see two paths — and who knows, maybe neither of them will happen. I mean, patch 8.3 is the finale to this expansion and one hopes will thematically tie it all together to some extent, so there’s a lot riding on it. But there’s so much going on in Battle for Azeroth and the end result of the Azshara’s Eternal Palace raid was such a to be continued moment, it feels like we could either see a resolution to the events of that raid, or a resolution to the events of the War Campaign and the uneasy detente we see between Alliance and Horde inside that raid.

So let’s talk about what we might get in patch 8.3 and how it could set the stage for the next expansion, whatever that ends up being.

sylvanas BFA cinematic

Battle for Azeroth’s loose ends

I’m just going to lay out some, not all, of the dangling plot threads of Battle for Azeroth.

  1. N’Zoth is free from his prison and we have no idea where or what the Old God is up to, but we know he took Azshara with him. So they’re both loose.
  2. Sylvanas still has Xal’atath and she sent Nathanos with it to Nazjatar on a secret mission, and we have no idea what he did when he was there.
  3. Speaking of Sylvanas, with Baine freed by dissident Horde and Alliance collaborators, Thunder Bluff looks to be under serious threat from the Banshee Queen.
  4. We still don’t know who told Vol’jin to name Sylvanas as his successor, nor do we know who changed him after death, but it’s likely not the same being or beings.
  5. We know that N’Zoth took advantage of the Heart of Azeroth to gain freedom from its prison, but Azeroth itself is still gravely wounded and might well die.
  6. The Alliance and Horde are still locked in a world-wide war. The Forsaken and Night Elves fighting for control of Darkshore, a constant battle happening in the Arathi Highlands, and there are skirmishes across the world over Azerite deposits.

I think it’s fair to say at least some of this needs to be addressed in patch 8.3. I don’t think all of it will, or even can be, because it’s likely that some of this will springboard us into the next expansion. So what seems most likely for the end of this expansion? That depends on whether Blizzard is going to pull another let’s do a final patch that could be an entire expansion of its own or not, and if they want to keep the faction conflict storyline going into the next expansion or finish it now.

I could see them going either way. It’s quite possible to imagine Sylvanas remaining on the back burner in patch 8.3, continuing her machinations and keeping Saurfang, Baine, and their followers tied up in a pointless defense of Thunder Bluff. But while they’re busy protecting Mulgore, Sylvanas is free to act elsewhere without their meddling. This seems especially probable if we end up going to Ny’alotha in patch 8.3 to deal with N’Zoth and the Old Gods.

Resolving the war, but leaving the threats

But frankly, I don’t expect Ny’alotha to be the end of this expansion.

I think all the clues this expansion about Vol’jin, Bwonsamdi, the Drust, the Lich King, Eyir, and other “powers of death” are going to be a big part of the next expansion, along with N’Zoth and the Old Gods. I think the Void and Death are headed for a collision course and that Sylvanas’ final fate, whatever it ends up being, is going to lead us there. I think that deal she made with Helya back in Legion is also going to feature into this, and that whatever the next expansion is, it’s going to focus on N’Zoth, the other Old Gods, and their war on the forces of Death. I’m struck by how the Void tried to get Alleria to attack Sylvanas, how Bwonsamdi couldn’t even hear Vol’jin calling to him when he died, and how Eyir said that Vol’jin has been touched by the Hand of Valor and is now beyond her power, implying that just maybe it’s the Light that has changed Vol’jin’s spirit in much the same way as it changed Calia Menethil.

But as for the Horde and Alliance conflict and Sylvanas herself, I think we’ll see some sort of resolution to this in patch 8.3, one that will also see Azeroth saved from death — at least for the moment. Whether that is directly related to what Sylvanas is doing, just an unintended consequence, or a parallel but unrelated story moment, I don’t know. I do think that whatever Nathanos was doing with Xal’atath, the dagger ties into what Sylvanas is actually trying to do, and it might well also tie into her long obsession with control over death and the supposed survival of Helya. After all, if Sylvanas can’t control Eyir, perhaps controlling Helya herself would serve her purposes.

What will and won’t be resolved in 8.3

So here’s my final call for patch 8.3.

  • Sylvanas will make her big power play, possibly revealing that she never cared about winning the war at all, but instead had other goals which Xal’atath will be a big part of.
  • Azeroth will be at least temporarily stabilized. This will leave the Heart of Azeroth powerless just in time for the next expansion.
  • We will see Helya again.
  • The Old Gods and Azshara will not be primary antagonists in patch 8.3, but likely will return for the next expansion.
  • The fate of Thunder Bluff and the Alliance/Horde conflict will be resolved.
  • We will not find out who is empowering Vol’jin now, who told him to appoint Sylvanas, or the fate of the Shadowlands until the next expansion.

This expansion started off with the Horde and Alliance conflict, and I believe it will end with that conflict, setting up the events of the next expansion as the Void, the forces of Death, and perhaps the encroaching power of the Light all take center stage. Azeroth will survive but will still desperately need our help against these hazards, leading us into both Ny’alotha and the Shadowlands as the pre-expansion patch wrapping up after 8.3.

But I could of course be completely wrong. We’ll see when we get there.

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