Bolvar looks to be our new Magni in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Each World of Warcraft expansion as of late has given us a main NPC or two who guides us along the way — someone who has a connection to the place we’re going. Bolvar Fordragon appears to be the go-to in Shadowlands. Wearing the Helm of Domination all these years allowed him to see into this realm of the dead. And when Sylvanas defeated him, she ripped the helm apart and tore an opening between our world and the Shadowlands, kicking off the expansion and everything that followed.
Given he no longer has the Helm of Domination, how exactly does he become our go-to NPC for Shadowlands? Let’s take a look. Spoilers ahead.
The reluctant hero rises to the occasion
At first, Bolvar tells the player he cannot go to the Shadowlands. He has too strong of a connection to the place, and going there could be dangerous. Instead, he gives the player a shard of the Helm of Domination, which allows the player to travel there. The player must go and search for other heroes that have traveled, including Baine, Jaina, Thrall, and Anduin. Even though we’re able to find them, ultimately, the player is the only one to make it to Oribos — which also makes them the first corporeal entity in the city’s history.
Given the player still has the fragment from the Helm of Domination, it can be used to connect Shadowlands to Azeroth. And that’s exactly how Bolvar (along with some Death Knights) first arrives in the Shadowlands. Together, you help create some portals back to Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
Now that he’s there, he summarizes for the denizens of Oribos what happened. He talks about how Sylvanas soloed him atop ICC, then he describes what took Baine and the others during the intro quests. In general, Bolvar here has hints of information on the Shadowlands but not much more. He has several pieces of dialogue and a few moments of, “Awesome cut scene goes here.” It’s beta. He makes it clear, he’s had glimpses of the Jailer and Sylvanas, and they’re up to no good. He’s not giving out a lot of details yet.
What does Bolvar have in store for max-level characters?
There are two endgame stories that Bolvar is involved in. The first is the long-awaited reunion between he and his daughter, Taelia Fordragon. The latter arrives in Oribos along with Calia Menethil, pleading with Bolvar to help find the missing people who we lost in the Maw back in the early quests. After some back-and-forth wherein Bolvar initially protests, Taelia reminds him that she traveled all the way to the land of the dead to ask for this one thing. A strange time to play the family-reunion card but hey. Bolvar and the player channel a ritual with the Helm of Domination and see Baine and Jaina in the Maw, setting up for players to rescue them. No word on Thrall or Anduin, though — they’re probably just in a later patch.
Datamined dialogue indicates that Bolvar will have more to do with the Maw and Torghast, and players will be checking back in with him regularly. That appears to be his main role here, standing around Oribos and progressing with this endgame story content. He is the Khadgar of Shadowlands, just with a deeper, more echoey voice.
That said, in Ardenweald, there is a story with Tyrande and the Night Warrior — and revenge. With the datamined dialogue, there are lines with Bolvar and Shandris Feathermoon. They talk about saving Tyrande, knowing the scars of war, and taking the player with her to do what she has to do. (Apparently Shandris no longer answers to the player and instead defers to Bolvar now.)
Where will Bolvar’s story go?
We are seeing a lot of setup with Bolvar. Shadowlands began with him losing a fight and his helm being destroyed. We have the first introduction between him and his daughter. We know that he spent years peering into the Shadowlands and fighting off the darkness of the Helm of Domination trying to dominate him. There is a reluctance to even be here and either a fear or a toll on him to use his powers.
There are a lot of stories in Shadowlands. The overarching Jailer archenemy. Sylvanas and her plans. Each of the Covenants has their story. Blizzard is setting up their own arc with Bolvar. Let us hope this pays off, because they are leaving open an important question: What if there isn’t always a Lich King?
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