Memories and Why Bastion is Revendreth in Reverse

Slight spoilers for leveling content in the four zones.

I completely understand why people are uncomfortable with Bastion, they presented the whole idea of losing who you are as a clear negative while not giving the player character a way to redress it or an outlet to address their grievances, i.e. someone you can sympathize with agreeing with you that isn’t clearly under the Jailer’s influence.

But I think the rest of the zones cover the idea of moving on from your mortal sense in a less… combative way that is kinda interesting to look at on a personal level. As people our experiences shape us, we may have some inherent traits depending on who you ask, but by and large our experiences contribute a significant part of our personality and our personality influences our experiences. Are you the same person that you were twenty years ago? Obviously yes, but you’ve changed. Your personality changed. You had new lived experiences, you conquered new challenges, and you learned life lessons. You are probably very different from the person you were twenty years ago. Now imagine who you will be in 50 years. What about a hundred? What about a thousand?

The Shadowlands, or at least the four realms we see, is clearly an ‘active’ afterlife, you have a job to do, a boss to report to, and can, somehow, die. This means you’re constantly growing, adapting, and changing, and over time your personality changes, you lose old attachments.

In the three non-Bastion realms we see we can very clearly tell that every individual save for the most recently arrived is more defined by their centuries in the Shadowlands than their sparse few decades of mortality. Even our fellow Azerothians in Maldraxxus seem to have moved on, no one even mentions Thrall to Draka and, outside of her cinematic, she makes no reference to him. The player character killing Vashj is water under the bridge. Mograine barely reacts to meeting his own son, and literally every other character, from Krexus to Mevix to the Plague Doctor guy has absolutely 0 connection to their home world or past life. Ardenweald is frighteningly similar, except we interact with fewer mortal souls.

Revendreth, however, is portrayed as literally reverse Bastion. The entire point of the zone is to lose who you are, to atone for and eradicate all of the sins of your past life so you can ‘ascend’(does that word seem familiar?) to the Ky-VENTHYR who are given a charge crucial to the Shadowlands which is bringing souls t- REDEEMING LOST SOULS. Granted, this process is clearly a little more warranted given how Revendreth takes in criminals, tyrants, and literally the worst of the worst. Garrosh literally unleashed an old god on a peaceful continent and got sent there, but at the end of the day they do the exact same thing, they wipe someone’s slate clean so they can engage in a crucial task for the stability of the Shadowlands.

Now that I’ve made my point I want to double-back and try to figure out why Bastion is getting more, incredibly justified, distaste. Bastion might just be an unintentional masterwork in MMO storytelling because it quite simply doesn’t give you an out. The tacit understanding in Revendreth is that this Denathrius guy is kinda suspicious and sooner or later you’ll end up betraying him so you can set things right, as a matter of fact you end up betraying him more than halfway through the zone.

Bastion does not give the player this luxury. You have to go through with the process of purging aspirants of their memories and, when confronted with someone having doubts about it, you are forced by the game to take them to be ‘cleansed,’ when the scary purple people show up and start talking a lick of sense, they then start killing people clearly establishing themselves as the villains. But they’re more than just villains, they’re villains with a point. I’ve see people post that they’re conflicted about fighting them, which honestly might be what Blizzard is going for.

Blizzard has made no secret of their love of taking something that seems good and making it ‘MoRaLlY gRaY.’ Shadowlands is this taken to the extreme, every covenant clearly has its ups and downs and the Kyrians, a combination of Greco-Roman philosophy and angelic aesthetics, were clearly going to be the hardest to bring down to grayness. They might have done a little too good of a job in doing so though.

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I might get flak for this, but I would boil it down to real world western values. In America, for example, the virtues we value and prize most highly are freedom, liberty, and independence. Becoming a Kyrian is essentially giving up most of that to perform a vital, crucial service for the entirety of the Shadowlands. For most of us, it’s unthinkable that there is ever any situation where we would willingly give up our memories and attachments in the pursuit of perfection. At that point we attack the very concept, adding a little snide, “Well, what they consider perfection,” as if we have a clue ourselves.

I think the Kyrians would resonate more with, say, more eastern spiritualism and philosophies. Buddhism might be a good example (though I am by no means an expert on it). In Buddhism, one strives all their life to give up their attachments in the pursuit of perfection and enlightenment. I think where the line between Buddhism and the Kyrians is drawn, is that Buddhism is something the individual chooses to practice, whereas souls in the Shadowlands aren’t given a choice of where they end up.

And for a lot of us western nation citizens, being denied the freedom of choice is abhorrent.

I think this is why a lot of players see the Arbiter as this menacing entity that needs to be destroyed. There’s this line of thought that if only souls could choose where to go, it wouldn’t matter they were unhappy, because it was their choice.

Few players want to accept that the system of the Shadowlands, of the Kyrians, Venthyr, Night Fae, Maldraxxi, etc… were all working incredibly well. It’s tantamount to seeing a world where freedom, liberty, and independence cease to exist or even matter.

It’s a heavy story, and it’s certainly challenging a lot of worldly perceptions. That’s a good thing though. If people maintain their culturally ingrained views about freedom, liberty, independence being the most important virtues at the cost of happiness and stability, then they gain a new appreciation for their lives. If they start considering a different kind of society or lifestyle, then they’ve opened themselves up to that possibility, and can appreciate there isn’t just one way to live (even if I don’t think anyone will ever conclude losing freedom, liberty, and independence is the kind of life they’d want).

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No. When you’re done in Revendreth you get re-judged by the Arbiter usually. To become a Venthyr, you have to be “sired” by another, and usually The Sire ie Denathrius, but any Venthyr can sire a soul into becoming a Venthyr, as we see the Accuser do during the covenant campaign, which the quest reveals can be exploited as a weakness she has now given herself.

It’s this, in combination with the fact not everyone has PTSD.

If you’re not from the US/Western Society that values independence and individuality above all else, even to the point of self destruction or self harm (just look at the Anti-Masker Discourse, it’s insane) and/or if you’re someone with PTSD (like actual, paralyzing PTSD) and recurring violence in your life (*raises hand to both *) Kyrians make sense.

The point regardless is that the Kyrians after 9.0 Covenant Campaign will allow Aspirants to choose the Traditional Path or Keep Their Individuality.

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As a christian, I see bastion as an exaggeration of christian faith in a sense.

Putting down to a basic level, bastion is about giving up who you are so you can become a new being, to serve. Is just taken to a new degree, since to move on to your new life, you not only give up the old one, but every memory and everything that you were.

I think this plotline is also used for the paladin companion in Diablo 3?

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It is, but the dude ends up rebelling against his order once he finds out he was essentially brainwashed though

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