Probably overthinking a weird Afterlives detail

So I’ve been doing a huge Shadowlands lore deepdive and there is one detail in the Afterlives Maldraxxus short that is confusing me.

At around 1 minute into the short, there are a couple shots of Draka sneaking by what appear to be Fel Guards in order to steal a map, but closer inspection of this scene raises multiple questions.

  1. There are trees in the background, this along with the mountain ranges shown make it pretty clear that we are not looking at Maldraxxus here, as the rest of the short is pretty consistent with what we see in-game.
  2. The fact that these even appear to be Fel Guards makes me wonder if this is even taking place in the Shadowlands, or if Draka did some kind of mission outside of them (if that’s even possible).
  3. The map stolen doesn’t seem in depict any area that we’ve ever seen before, especially not anywhere in the Shadowlands, with it having a distinct rigid left edge, mountains, and multiple bodies of water.

This all makes some level of sense, given that at this time Draka would not be fighting against the other houses of Maldraxxus yet, but that raises the question of what is being shown here.

We know that Maldraxxus defended the Shadowlands from outside threats, such as the Void, and from our experience on Azeroth, defending does usually involve some level of counter-invasion, with us attacking the Scourge in Northrend and the Legion on Argus in order to defend Azeroth, so this isn’t entirely out of the question for the Maldraxxi.

That said, the thing that gets me confused is where this is supposed to be. These are seemingly Fel Guards, but there is a distinct lack of Fel anywhere in sight. This makes the idea that this is a notable Legion planet questionable, but that said, if it isn’t a Legion planet, why would it be a target for a counterattack against the Legion? After all, it was important enough for Margrave Akarek of the House of Eyes to personally oversee Draka’s mission here.

Literally the only answer I can think of is that this is possible some kind of realm attributed to Cosmic Chaos (Chaos as a force, unassociated with Sargeras’ Legion). My only real reasoning for this is my theory that Life and Chaos are somewhat linked, due to Aman’thul’s comments in one of the new Emerald Dream books.

This would explain the presence of both life and demons while also being a place significant enough for Draka to be sent to steal intel from.

All of this from maybe 10 seconds of collective footage.

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I don’t remember where, it was an interview around the time this was released, but it was confirmed that it’s a Legion planet. They infiltrated a place in the Twisting Nether IIRC; just another part of this cosmic war, like the other forces having invaded the Shadowlands themselves.

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Well, brokers were able to transport a pit lord, molten giant, and two demons to the Shadowlands for the Theater of Pain world quest. We were also able to open portals to Azeroth from the Shadowlands which suggests that travel between realms as well as plains of existence is practiced in the Shadowlands relatively often.

Of course Abominations with no hands have a hard time getting to reality without getting someone to use their corpse to channel them back into reality as seen with Princess Emeni the Slaughter Daughter who only unleashed her wrath upon the Sethrak Empire of the Faithless with the help of the Players finding her corpse and using it as a conduit to channel her due to the hiccup of not having hands(having replaced them with Blade Arms) and thus having a hard time getting anywhere beyond the Shadowlands(I’m amazed she was able to reach Revendreth).

Of course they can simply get someone to open a portal but who honestly expects the House of Rituals to simply open portals for the sake of an Abomination from the House of Construct’s grudge?

That makes more sense honestly. I think I just kinda assumed that it had to be something extremely significant for a Margrave to leave the Shadowlands, and my reasoning really just spiraled from there.

Also really interesting that Maldraxxi are capable of leaving Maldraxxus. Ties well into my work-in-progress theory that liches are naturally Maldraxxi entities and that liches on Azeroth artificially transform themselves into Maldraxxi through death magic.

Fair, I guess I hadn’t considered that non-living entities could travel from the Shadowlands to the realm of the living. Assumed there had to be some kind of stipulation, since we never really saw anyone leave the Shadowlands that wasn’t supposed to be there.

Well there is your first mistake.

Imma give you a great piece of advice, and its going to be the same things blizzard is going to do.
Just assume the entirety of SL was nothing but a fever dream, and never address it or anything it did ever again.
Blizzard is going to do the same thing to SL they did to WoD, shove it in a corner, and never talk about it, and only have character make cameos just so you are you know, dont completely forget it.

Honestly speaking would a Maldraxxi be willing to show their new form to their Family Members? Said family would be horrified calling them abominations!

The Druids of the Flame used the fact that Amirdrassil was half Death-aligned to frighten Night Elves into joining their ranks so that should give you an idea of why Souls from the Shadowlands rarely ever leave.

Souls also aren’t allowed out until they have been given a proper Body too whether it be Kyrian, Venthyr, Soulshape or Maldraxxi.

I did a bit more digging. This is a drop in Korthia, which is the map they took.

The planet they go to is the same one from the Illidan Harbingers short. There’s vegetation because it’s a planet that was recently conquered. It’s a wasteland by the time the Illidari get there, showing the passage of time. Illidan and Korvas slay Azgoth.

I actually liked Shadowlands’ lore, just not most of the actual gameplay.

This is the reason I’m doing this deep-dive, that’s actually pretty cool. If they paid such attention to random details like this, who knows what else they had in the expansion that nobody cared to notice due to hating the expansion overall.

At this point I’m genuinely half convinced that the Jailer might actually be pretty fleshed out as a villain, but it’s all locked behind layers of random side-quests, off-hand NPC comments, item descriptions, and rare encounters.

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Unfortunately not the case. They’ve somewhat stubbornly kept Shadow Lands lore at the forefront of the current narrative.

The whole planting of Amirdrassil and our presence in The Emerald Dream is a continuation of the Shadow Lands story. This is a hill they’re willing to die on, evidently.

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I love little continuity things like this, it’s surprising they went through such effort whenever this was the era that Danuser was fine with retconning whatever he wanted. There are other items in Korthia with some neat backstory tidbits. It really shows that them not being able to do archaeology for Shadowlands was false.

The Jailer is a basic villain; any illusion of depth is caused by his complicated 4D chess plans that are illogical when looked at after untangling that mess. The draw of interest they gave for him was keeping him mysterious at the start and slowly revealing more about him as the expansion went on, but the answers weren’t satisfying and just kept having people asking questions in frustration. His entire character is this: he’s a fallen god who couldn’t convince those working for him that there’s a greater threat out there, so he turned evil to try to stop it. That’s literally it, we know nothing about him as a person, what the universe would look like if he remade it, who he was trying to go against or why he thought people (other than Sylvanas) would trust a guy whose actions and aesthetic are based around torturing souls to the point of destruction. The funniest part is that he probably put himself into this mess because he sucks at communicating, to the point that even with his last words we dunno what the hell he’s talking about.

The Jailer has as much depth as a shallow pond, it’s just kinda hard to tell because of how murky it is.

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I get that much, but the things I’m curious about are how his plan all ties together, what details there are about him as a character, if there are any details about what this threat he saw was, and what the Maw actually is.

I mean, my notes so far are only a fraction of the entire expansion (I’m up to the first main questline in Maldraxxus), but so far the different threads that make up his plan are coming together nicely.

Even details like why he kidnapped the leaders are making sense. In the Maw, Sylvanas remarks how Anduin lacks vision and that they’ll find someone else; adding onto this, when the Jailer drops Baine, he comments that he is “unworthy”. Despite Sylvanas’ earlier comment, The Jailer sets his mind on using Anduin after seeing him use the Light to protect us as we left the Maw.

Tying all that together with what we see later on, and it’s pretty clear that he captured these leaders, the one’s who served to be the biggest thorns in Sylvanas’ side during BfA, in order use one of them to take the Sigil from Bastion - ultimately using Kingsmourne/Arthas to dominate Anduin and use him a trojan horse.

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His plan in the Expansion itself comes together nicely but his plans with the Nathrezim before his WC3 Plan weren’t logical.

Around the time of Day of the Dragon he captured the Primus and began schemes to create the Lich King and install a Soul Extractor into Icecrown to draw out the World Soul to fuel him with enough power to instigate the plan to invade Zereth Mortis.

He first sent the Frozen Throne into the Twisting Nether and had Denathrius’s Nathrezim gift it to Kil’jaeden with the suggestion he use it on Azeroth. He promptly shoved Ner’zhul into it and Ner’zhul got the idea to make Arthas into his host Body to preform the Jailer’s scheme while backstabbing Kil’jaeden.

Unfortunately he got the idea of Dominating Arthas’s lingering Soul Fragment so that it would be in the passenger’s seat while leaving the Body in the driver’s seat despite the fact that Body’s without the control of the Soul cannot be Dominated! End result: Arthas backstabbed Ner’zhul damaging Ner’zhul’s Soul and exorcizing his own Soul Fragment around the same time shoving half of it and Ner’zhul’s Soul into Frostmourne.

The originally claimed(by Frostmourne like half of the other half) half of Arthas’s Soul returned to his Body, felt remorse then got grabbed by Uther and thrown into the Maw and grounded down until only the Lich King persona was left while the Frostmourne claimed half of the other half of Arthas’s Soul went to the Maw by default when Frostmourne was destroyed while the Heart-bound half of that half lingered in Northrend as Matthias Lehner.

In any case the half of Ner’zhul’s Soul inside Frostmourne naturally went to the Maw by default and got tortured and turned into a barely sane Mawsworn Raid Boss which we put out of it’s misery.

In any case the Lich King failed Zovaal and he couldn’t use the World Soul to fuel the Maw to envelope Oribos forcing him to resort to using Argus to shut down the Arbiter in order to get the Souls necessary to fuel the Maw so that he could have it envelope Oribos.

His original plan was a failure due to Ner’zhul’s dense idea of stripping Arthas of Morality by forcing his Soul in the passenger’s seat. Mal’Ganis himself had only a split second of horror as he realized that Ner’zhul just derailed the plan by giving Arthas freedom. His masterpiece of scheming(and he does even now consider it a masterpiece just as Balnazzar considered the Headless Horseman his masterpiece) was rendered pointless because of the bungler he gave Arthas over to.

The Jailer’s Plans for the Scourge and Sylvanas are cut and dry. His plans for the Nathrezim aren’t cut and dry although he may have only started using them when he finally decided to take Denathrius up on his offer which makes Denathrius the convoluted mastermind with what the Jailer fearing being the only thing hard to comprehend since we are only supposed to know about it later after this Expansion.

The Jailer planned for the Sword of Sargeras but then again Il’gynoth does look like a Nathrezim and could have gotten info about what we’d do from N’Zoth(whose past self we visit with Time Travel in Dragonflight) who’d naturally neglect to tell anyone about what we’d do to the Jailer and Denathrius since he knows what they were planning since he read our minds.

The Jailer’s Plans are easy to understand as are the reasons the plans failed(provided you read the Arthas Novel, do the Wrath of the Lich King Matthias Lehner Questline and do the Chains of Domination Uther Questline as well as understand the concept of Domination) while the threat that inspired the Plans is not understandable since the threat hasn’t even shown it’s face.

Denathrius’s Plans are hard to understand and he is still out there scheming despite his team up with Zovaal blowing up in his face.

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This was explained. There was an ancient war where the cosmic forces attacked Shadowlands, Light attacked Revendreth, Void attacked Bastion, and the Legion attacked Maldraxxus.

To make sure The Legion never attacked Maldraxxus again they kept tabs on them. What the Legion stole from Maldraxxus was the knowledge of soul forging, forging a soul into a weapon to empower that weapon.

At some point Gul’dan even stole necromancy from Maldraxxus to create the Horde’s first Death Knights. His staff was stolen from Maldraxxus.

So in the Illidan Harbingers there’s a similar Legion stronghold with guards outside it’s the same world, prior and after the Legion taking all it’s resources and leaving it as a dead planet. That stronghold was held by Doom Lord Azgoth. At some point, Margrave Akarek and Baroness Draka of the House of Eyes traveled to Azgoth’s planet and stole his maps. They were specified as his maps.

https://wowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Azgoth%27s_Tattered_Maps

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while true its because the seed(Huhuhuh) of this storyline were planted during shadowlands so i think post this plot point its gonna get the wod treatment.

All we know is that it’s a threat to all of the cosmic forces. They go into it in Zereth Mortis but much of it sounds like Danuser overdosing on psychedelics.

Shadowlands shouldn’t be seen as a standalone expansion but as setting the stage for a much bigger cosmic conflict.

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We don’t even know how he learned about this 7th cosmetic force. Or how he managed to overcome the domination magic placed upon him by the Primus and how to use it.

I feel like Blizzard missed an opportunity with that spare Arbiter body we find along with the proto-pantheon we fight in SotFO’s. It implies that Zovaal might have been the prototype Arbiter but the First Ones disappeared before they could make the Mk2, like they were able to do so for the Archon, Daddy D, Winter Queen and The Primus. I mean, why else would there be a spare Arbiter blank slate?

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