Lore reveals in patch 9.2 could irrevocably alter the World of Warcraft
I’ve been thinking a lot about the story reveals in patch 9.2 and all of the tantalizing bits of narrative we’re getting from dataminers. All of that has me really wondering what we’re going to experience in the next World of Warcraft expansion, and how much of that story will start to unfold in the pre-expansion patch that will inevitably follow patch 9.2 — and how much is already unfolding.
So let’s take a look at what’s happening in patch 9.2, and the many questions it raises.
There will be spoilers for patch 9.2 in this post. If you don’t want spoilers, stop reading now.
Is this the end of everything?
We know Blizzard already working on the next expansion, as it always does so concurrently with whatever expansion is current. Shadowlands was already on a drawing board somewhere before Battle for Azeroth actually came out.
There are a lot of datamined reveals that have me thinking:
- The selection of Pelagos as the new Arbiter
- The various fights from the Sepulcher of the First Ones raid
- The origins of the Eternals as creations of Zereth Mortis (including Zovaal, the original Arbiter)
- The fact that Zovaal seeks to use Azeroth itself as a power source to remake existence using Zereth Mortis
Is Zereth Mortis itself linked to Azeroth? Is that why their names are so similar? Is there, perhaps, a similar Zereth Vita perhaps? It should be noted that the word Anima literally means life, just as Mortis means death, so there in fact could be multiple creation engines similar to Zereth Mortis just as there were several such engines created on Azeroth by the Titans.
One idea that keeps coming back to me is the idea that the First Ones themselves may have deliberately entered the material world where Azeroth dwells as World Souls in an attempt to understand creation by becoming part of it. But regardless, we know that within the world of Azeroth slumbers a world soul, and that world soul is powerful enough that Zovaal intends to use it to power Zereth Mortis and unmake reality as we understand it. How? Is it similar to when we used the Titan network to seize control of the Forge of Origination at the end of Battle for Azeroth?
Patch 9.2 poses lots of new questions, and so far we can only guess at the answers.
Argus, Azeroth, and world souls
Looking at all of this, I’m deeply curious. We know that Zovaal directly attacks Azeroth during his attempt to remake existence, based on the fight description in the Encounter Journal. We know, based on the long quest chain to recreate the Arbiter, that the Jailer’s strike against the Arbiter followed the death of Argus at the end of Legion, because the attack that laid the Arbiter low and allowed him to hijack all the anima meant for the various Shadowlands was made using Argus itself.
Saezurah: The time has come. The halls have healed. A new Arbiter waits in the wings.
Saezurah: The chorus assembles. The vessel awaits. Your voice must join them.
Saezurah: Dissonance… a melody lost long ago…
Darkseer Corrupter: Long have we awaited this moment. The Banished One’s gambit made manifest…
Pelagos: Something is interfering with the ritual!
Darkseer Corrupter: A world-soul twisted by Death. A maul with which to crush the Arbiter…
Darkseer Corrupter: And now it shall take this vessel! Arbus will be Eternal!
In a way, we all sort of expected it. At the time, the very quest Blood of a Titan told us that the fight with Argus should not have been winnable. Argus’ death, a practical impossibility, was crucial for Zovaal’s plan, because he needed an impossible weapon: a world soul warped by having died, something it shouldn’t be able to do. It was this that allowed him to disable the Arbiter that was created when Zovaal’s betrayal of his purpose as Arbiter left the position vacant, and thus the plan of the First Ones incomplete, or broken, fractal as Saezurah describes it.
And if the First Ones’ plan for the universe is fractal, that means it repeats on multiple levels. The expanding symmetry of the plan requires there to be an Arbiter in the Shadowlands, as part of the Eternals, the Pantheon of Death. But did it also require the Pantheon of Order, the Titans, and their World-Souls? Are there other such beings and groups and arrangements in the realms of Order, Chaos, Life, and even the Void Lords themselves perhaps serving as the shadowy reflection of a similar group who inhabit the plane of Light? The similarity between what we see on Azeroth itself and what we’re seeing in Zereth Mortis, the similarity in names between those two places, and the idea that a fractal plan for the creation of existence was carried out in the past has me deeply curious. This was a plan Zovaal deviated from and is now seeking to overwrite by linking one level of reality with another — repeating fractals of each other. So what does this mean for the next expansion.
The entire Warcraft cosmology could be revealed to be a Mandlebrot set, recursive, with powerful entities existing as repetitions of a powerful, reality-shaping mathematic formula that calculates it into being. And just as music is a form of math, we can literally understand this plan of the First Ones as a sort of song, or a language, a code or a cipher. By learning it, are we taking steps to bring the experience of existence out of our limited, mortal experiences? Are we becoming like the First Ones?
And was that their plan all along? Every new patch brings more questions, and I’m very curious to see what we find out.
Originally posted 12/29/2021. Updated 1/14/2022.
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