Hazzikostas: Ok, so… Covenants. Take a step back, let’s get back to the world for a moment. To mention the 4 zones: each of which has a Covenant, and at the center of it all rests Oribos. Oribos is a city that again, predates memory. It is of an unknown construction, and it is the home of The Arbiter – this powerful, mysterious being that really fuels the machine that is the Shadowlands. And that has drawn to it, over the millenia, all manner of beings across the Shadowlands, and even some from other dimensions.

Brokers and Soul-Traders come here to wheel and deal the politics of this entire dimension center on this bustling city at the heart of the Shadowlands; and this will also serve as our sanctuary city, our main player hub in our adventures through the Shadowlands.

Khadgar wanted to bring Dalaran through, but we figured there was already a city there, not needed.


Last zone: this mysterious place known as The Maw. So, to our knowledge anyway, there is no Covenant, but our knowledge is very, very limited about this place. You see, The Maw is a swirling vortex of darkness, almost like a black hole.

And precious few souls over the eons, the Arbiter would send directly into The Maw. Those were seen as the most tainted, the most irredeemable – the darkest most dangerous souls that were consigned to The Maw. As much for their own potential punishment, as to protect the Shadowlands from what they could otherwise bring with them. Thus The Maw is a mystery to even the natives of the Shadowlands, even the Ancient Ones.

It’s known to have through whispers, a ruler known only as The Jailer. But the Jailer is almost like the Boogie Man of the Shadowlands. Right? It’s the whispered figure of children’s tales that I hope you know: “the big, bad Jailer is gonna get you locked away in The Maw;” but basically nothing is known because nothing has ever escaped The Maw. Journeying into The Maw is one way. Of course, we’re going to have to go there, otherwise I wouldn’t be telling you this; but that’s how it’s going to work.

Ok, so what I just described is how the Machinery of Death has functioned throughout World of Warcraft’s history, throughout the universe’s history, but that’s not how it’s working right now. Death itself, is broken. Instead of coming before the Arbiter and filtering out all the realms of the Shadowlands, all souls that have shuffled off this mortal coil in recent years have been pulled inexorably directly into The Maw. Strengthening it, causing it to grow, to swell like a tremendous maelstrom. That also means that the other realms of the Shadowlands are starved of this essential force: Anima — that souls bring with them. There’s a drought afflicting the entire Shadowlands. The Shadowlands are withering as The Maw grows.

Now what is Sylvanas’ role in all of this, you may wonder? Because she after all is the one who set these events in motion. I know Sylvanas has been an enigma to many for a long time. She at times can be an inspiring figure, but then at other times especially recently it has seemed like her actions were calculated to cause the maximum.

(cheers and applause mised with Boo)

So yeah, slightly contentious issues here, um …

(Audience laughter)

At times, recently it seemed like her actions were calculated to cause the maximum amount of death possible. What if they were? And, who is this mysterious figure… that we saw briefly, a glimpse of in the Expansion trailer earlier today?

Audience Member: “Please tell me it’s Arthas Menethil…bring him back!”


Hazzikostas: It’s not Arthas. Arthas is dead. I’m sorry.

(Jeering and disapproval start)

Audience Member: “Take her death, baby!”

Hazzikostas: But, But! This is the mysterious Jailer inside the Maw. And, this is not Sylvanas’ master, she doesn’t have a master, she’s above that – she is beyond that.

(Audience cheers)

But this is a power with whom she is in league. They are partners with a common end that we will discover in time. And many have wondered, how has Sylvanas grown so powerful in recent years? How did she go from, a mighty Dark Ranger, but one who had to flee the Lich King back in, you know, Wrath of Lich King when you confronted them in the dungeon to one who can stand up, smite Saurfang and face off against Bolvar?

It’s because, through her allegiance to one of these Lords of Death, as the power of death has been growing, as the power of The Maw and the Jailer have been growing, so too have her own powers. And that is a taste of the powers she’s drawn upon, and that is part of what awaits us.

NEXT: Pre-Shadowlands World Event

1. Intro to the Shadowlands2. Zones3. Covenants4. Oribos & The Maw
5. Pre-Shadowlands World Event6. Alt Characters7. Dungeons & Raids8. Systems & Rewards
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts