There are new insights into the backstory of WoW: Shadowlands! A few days ago the editors of Lorekeeper, SA Gamer and Cybersport conducted an exciting interview with Steve Danuser, the lead narrative designer of World of Warcraft. The focus of the conversation was the story of Maldraxxus and Draka's fate. In the conversation we also learn what exactly happens to the souls in the Shadowlands and how important the afterlife is for the Warcraft universe.

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Death in the Shadowlands and the Horrors of Necromancy

The souls of the Loa and the Wild Gods are associated with the Emerald Dream. However, they also have a strong link to the Ardenwald. After death, their souls rest in the realm of the Winter Queen, whose servants prepare the animal spirits for rebirth.

The souls of the Loa and the Wild Gods are associated with the Emerald Dream. However, they also have a strong link to the Ardenwald. After death, their souls rest in the realm of the Winter Queen, whose servants prepare the animal spirits for rebirth.

Source: Blizzard

In the interview, Steve Danuser answered many general questions about death in WoW and what role the Shadowlands play in the cosmic structure of the Warcraft universe. Blizzard's developer confirmed that the souls disappear completely when they die in the Shadowlands. This topic is particularly complex because death is also in World of Warcraft (buy now ) nothing really tangible. What happens to the soul in the Shadowlands depends on its strength. For example, souls of strong personalities linger in the Shadowlands for a while, while weak spirits in the anima stream immediately pass. This information is particularly important because after the release of Nachleben: Ardenwald we don't know whether the mighty Ursoc finally died in the great drought or whether there is still hope for the soul of the Wild God.

Undeath and the abandoned are also an exciting topic. Danuser explained that the experience of death and the violent return as the undead can completely change the personality of the revenant. This explains why the resurrected night elves in Battle for Azeroth turned their backs on the Alliance and joined the Banshee Queen. We are not yet fully aware of the process of resurrection. All we have learned through numerous dialogues from Warcraft 3 and WoW is that most of the souls ripped from the Shadowlands by necromancy return confused and often with no memories of their previous lives. So it seems logical that they should avoid the living (whom they regard as monsters anyway) and join other undead first.

The real size of the Shadowlands

The Shadowlands are a domain made up of innumerable small empires and the four big empires. In WoW: Shadowlands we can first explore the four great realms of the dead: Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenwald and Revendreth. These areas are the focus of the story of the upcoming expansion, here the main story about the Eternals and the jailer takes place. However, Danuser stated that there are many more little realms of the dead that are both idyllic and gloomy. If we have understood the whole thing correctly, then there are souls who, after their death, can create their own little realms that exist in the Shadowlands independently of the four great areas. The said little kingdoms can be compared to purgatory. Some souls move on later, while others are forever trapped in their own little hell.

Another big mystery are the WoW characters from the alternative timelines. Draka is a good example at this point, after all, we've seen different versions of her over the past few years. There is Draka from the original timeline that gave birth to Thrall. In Warlords of Draenor, we met another Draka who had no children. According to the Bronze Dragonflight, there are many other versions of Draka in the Infinity of Time that are basically unrelated. Yet the fates of these characters are linked on another level. At this point Steve Danuser used an interesting metaphor. He compared the stories of these characters who exist side by side in the Warcraft universe to a rope. Each story is just a thread, which in turn winds around other threads and ultimately results in a strand. So you can look at these fates individually, but you can also combine them into an overall picture. It is up to you whether the whole thing makes sense. The original wording from Steve Danuser on the subject of time travel and alternative worlds is as follows:

Question: We've done some stuff that's involved with time travel and alternate realities. What happens to those souls when they pass on? Do they go to the Shadowlands?

"This is a complicated question. How do you deal with things like alternate Draenor? There was a Draka there. What is that Draka? Is she alive? Is she dead? Is she related to the Draka in Shadowlands that we see? Or is there another Draka? We know that in Warlords of Draenor, Velen of that universe died. Does that mean there is a Velen in the Shadowlands? But what about the Velen in Azeroth? All these things are very complicated questions.

The way I would have you think about it is think of a rope … If you look at a rope, it is one thing, right? It's something that you can grab onto, you can hold it, you can see it; think of that as a character. Think of that rope as Draka or Velen.

If you look at that rope more closely, you can see there are different threads that make up the rope. There are different twines that pull together, and you can pull off one of these threads if you want. But it's still a rope, and each of those threads you can think of as one of the realities of the character, one of the streams of time … There is a thread that is the Draka from Draenor we visited in the Warlords of Draenor . There is another thread that is Draka on Azeroth as we know her … And there are many other threads that could be other realities that we never peered into. But all of those threads at some time come together to make that rope. And remember also that, as you'll see, that there are many characters in the Shadowlands when they refer to time, they usually say that time is not a construct of death. Time and Death are not related. Death is about eternity, not linear time. The manner in which these threads come together, that can take a very long time from mortal perceptions. Those threads can be separated for a time, but sooner or later, they do combine to make one rope that is that character. You can think of it as the threads of that rope, all the individual threads, are just waiting. And over time, they will come together but they can exist as separate entities for a time. That still doesn't change the fact that they are part of one rope. "

Shadowlands and the rest of the domains

The Warcraft universe is divided into various large and small domains. The Shadowlands appear very small compared to the rest of the empires. Nevertheless, the afterlife plays a major role in WoW.

The Warcraft universe is divided into various large and small domains. The Shadowlands appear very small compared to the rest of the empires. Nevertheless, the afterlife plays a major role in WoW.

Source: Blizzard

In the Warcraft Chronicles, in which Blizzard summarizes the most important WoW stories, there is a particularly exciting illustration that shows the structure of the universe. Well, in the picture we see a clear division into different domains, but the role that the afterlife plays in WoW raises a lot of questions. Steve says, for example, that the other cosmic forces such as light or emptiness were not separated for no reason. Creatures from the respective domains return to their realms after their death. The best example is the demons who return to the chaos of the Twisting Nether after their defeat. If they die there, that is considered final death. The same rule applies to the naaru who return to the light after death. The whole thing is not that simple, however, because there are countless exceptions in the history of WoW. At this point it seems to play a major role whether and how strong the connection of the being to the respective domain is.

Danuser emphasized that the cosmic forces are trying to break the rules of the game and the limits that were apparently imposed on them by the first. For example, you can influence the fate of a hero and snatch them from death. This means that not all mortal creatures end up in the Shadowlands after they die. Some souls merge directly with the light or disappear forever into the void. So the perfect equilibrium that the first tried to achieve with their creation is only an illusion. If the machinery of death is at the heart of creation, then we are not surprised that different parties such as the demons, the light and the emptiness are targeting the shadowlands.

Draka, Durotan and Thrall: will the orc family find each other again in WoW Shadowlands?

That Draka plays the main role in the Maldraxxus campaign came as a surprise to many players. Similarly unexpected was the fact that her companion Durotan and her son Thrall play no role at all in their new story. Good thing Thrall is also in the Shadowlands, she can't foresee. Still, many WoW fans are currently debating whether and when Draka will be reunited with their son and why Durotan's soul disappeared while his wife ended up in Maldraxxus.

Steve Danuser first spoke about the connection between Draka and Durotan in the interview. He at least hinted that there was hope for the split orc couple. Perhaps they will come together again when Maldraxxus and the Shadowlands are pacified again. Here is Steve's original quote:

"So, Draka and Durotan, obviously some point along the way, did get separated. Where did Durotan go? We don't know as of yet. Does Draka know? No, she doesn't really know. But those strands of rope I mentioned before, think of those as strands of fate. Different souls that have crossed over or intersected one another through life, I think there is probably something that draws them, that keeps some tether between them even in the afterlife (…)

So, don't give up hope that Draka and Durotan might be reunited someday. But right now Draka has a job to do and that is front and center in her mind in terms of what she needs to do in order to perhaps earn the respite that she's due and be able to visit the mortals she cared about so much in life . "

Danuser also speculated about what happened to Durotan after his death. It seems that Durotan could end his life better than Draka. The uncertainty as to whether or not her baby survived the robbery unsettled Draka so much that she wanted to prove herself again in the afterlife. For this reason the judge sent the orcin to Maldraxxus. Durotan's soul, on the other hand, wandered directly into the eternal hunting grounds after death. This is what Steve says of Durotan's fate himself:

"You know, like Durotan: If everything went great for him, he's probably in this endless hunting ground where he has his wolves around him and he can just go out there, he doesn't have to worry about any dark forces wrecking his world . He can just enjoy that forever … And you know what, maybe Draka can someday fulfill her obligations and join him there. Who knows? We'll see … "

The developer does not rule out that Draka will one day follow Durotan into the eternal hunting grounds. However, that assumes that she fulfills her tasks in Maldraxxus. Danuser also reveals that there will be a reunion between Draka and Thrall at a later point in Shadowlands. That's great news!

Question: Many players are waiting for Draka and Thrall to meet. How important will this event be, and how will this reunion be emotionally for both of them?

"I don't think a reunion like that could be emotionally easy on either part.

We saw Thrall go to this alternate Draenor and we got to see him interact with versions of his parents, but they weren't the same people. He got to pick up on a lot of their qualities and things like that. But there was probably still something within him where he knew that these weren't actually the people who bore him, who lost the chance to raise him and so forth.

But this Draka that is in Shadowlands IS that person as we saw in the Maldraxxus Afterlives short. She was the one who gave her life trying to defend that little baby. And again, if we think of threads of fate bonding characters together, those kinds of threads transcend mortal life, then there is definitely a thread between Thrall and Draka that needs to be resolved there. And that is definitely something that we plan for in the subsequent chapters of the Shadowlands. Right now, when you play through the storyline, obviously Thrall has been taken captive, he is in a bad place; we've got to resolve that. Draka has a lot going on in the Shadowlands that she needs to immediately resolve in terms of what's going on Maldraxxus. But there will definitely come a point where these paths are drawn back together, where they intersect. And I think that intersection will be a highly emotional moment for both of those characters and for the players who witness it. So that's definitely a story that we are looking forward to telling. "

WoW: The second afterlife short film – Maldraxxus

So a lot of emotional moments await us in WoW Shadowlands. Perhaps Draka's encounter with Thrall is the said point in her story that gives her soul eternal peace so that she can later join Durotan. Can you remember the dramatic separation of mother and son from afterlife: Maldraxxus? In agony, Draka couldn't touch her young son one last time. His fate was uncertain for her. Imagine if Thrall could take this burden off his mother and tell her that her sacrifice was not in vain and that he could grow up to be a great warrior and leader. Then Draka could possibly leave her old life behind for good.

What do you think? How could the story of Draka and Thrall end? How important are the Shadowlands in general? And what cosmic secret surrounds our heroes, who seemingly can easily walk between the worlds? Write us your theories!

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