A burning question has resonated in the minds of many, especially myself, since Warlords of Draenor’s unveiling: how will the expansion’s story progress and conclude?
The prospect of how Warlords of Draenor storyline comes to a close is still a mystery. By all accounts, all that we know for sure pertaining to WoD’s conclusion and final raid tier is the following: Grommash Hellscream will be involved with the final encounter, and it will be heavily Legion themed. Aside from this tidbit shared by Tom Chilton, what happens upon Draenor post-6.0 is a complete mystery. The single plausible route to formulating what will play out next in WoD is speculation, and the recent slaying of Mythic Imperator Mar’gok surprised many with a new development in the lore.
Before jumping into any speculation, let’s review every significant lore event that’s occurred so far in WoD:
- Garrosh is dead
- Kargath is dead
- Blackhand is dead
- Ner’zhul is “dead” (becomes one with the Void, and makes musings that death is simply a boundary, not a finality)
- Grommash, Kilrogg, and Azuka Bladefury are the only Warlords still alive
- Gul’dan is in hiding
- Teron’gor is “dead” (we never see him die, and Dave Kosak stated the fact we hadn’t found his body yet was “disturbing“)
- Cho’gall is dead, after becoming empowered by the Void
- The Arakkoa of Draenor are attempting to rebuild and forge a new future for themselves after the events within the Spires of Arak
- Two Naaru have now fallen into a “Void” state, acting as actual conduits to the Void itself and allow creatures that reside there to manifest on Draenor
- Kairozdormu is dead, and spouts that he had dreams of becoming “Infinite” when you momentarily resurrect his spirit
Notice the points that are bolded? They’re as such because they heavily pertain to what occurs during the Mythic Imperator Mar’gok encounter and act as clues for what’s to come.
So, what exactly happens during the final Mythic encounter within Highmaul?
For those of you who have progressed through Highmaul at all, after the very first boss’ defeat: Kargath, Cho’gall (who had been imprisoned in Highmaul shortly after subjugating the Naaru K’ure), breaks free from his prison and arrives in the sort of Gladiator Colosseum in which the encounter took place. Upon arrival, Cho’gall then proceeds to berate Imperator Mar’gok, raving that he will burn Highmaul before unleashing a legion of Pale Orc followers on the Ogre city. At this point, Cho’gall simply disappears, and on all difficulties other than Mythic, he’s never seen again in the instance. Once players reach the final encounter with Imperator Mar’gok, something very different than what occurs on the lower difficulties happens: instead of Imperator Mar’gok being slain by the players, he’s in fact slain by Cho’gall.
Cho’gall appears, attempting to siphon the power from a set of magical stones the Imperator has equipped on his body. Once he siphons the stones, Cho’gall quickly dispenses of Mar’gok and engages with the present raid party himself, creating an entirely new phase for the fight only accessible on Mythic difficulty.
Now, in the surprise fight with Cho’gall, the power twisted Ogre says a multitude of things. Three lines specifically stand out among his dialogue:
- “Your world will be swallowed in darkness! (All will hear his call!)”
- “The night consumes us! (We have won! All will be as foretold!)”
- “He comes… (You can never escape…)”
Of all irony, Cho’gall, even in an alternate timeline, still falls to the sway of a higher power’s might and becomes their fiercely loyal pawn. Irony aside, Cho’gall’s insane spoutings hold weight to them; a heavier weight than many realize.
Circling back toward my major lore plot points listed earlier, the specific events bolded have an immense relation to Cho’gall’s proclamations.
A huge theme involved with this expansion is the Void. The Void itself, once thought to be another name for the Twisting Nether, is apparently either its own realm or a completely different section of the Nether. Throughout WoD so far, a multitude of forces have tapped into the Void’s power to a level that it’s concerning. Ner’zhul literally becomes one with the Void, throwing his death within Shadowmoon Burial Grounds in question; Cho’gall throws the Naaru of Nagrand into a Void state; Spires of Arak itself is stained in Shadow and Void magic, originating from the Dead God Sethe.
All these factors are, in fact, closely related. When each plot point is woven together and speculation is employed, the plausible future it points to for WoD’s storyline is worrysome.
So, let’s cut straight to it. What does all of this mean? Who is “He”? What is the importance of the Void this expansion, and is it more dangerous than the Legion?
The answer I’ve come up with does certainly place the Void in a threatening light that rivals the Legion and their apparent inevitable arrival with the expansion’s final raid. Let’s start:
By opening portals that connect Draenor itself to the Void, something residing deep within this dark and distant realm has awoken. Before this dialogue had been discovered with the clearing of Mythic Highmaul, the only tangible evidence we had of this was via a semi foreboding quest offered by an Imp who can sometimes appear in your Garrison’s Tavern. The Imp, Impsy, states that a myriad of disturbances (see) have started to rock the Void and Twisting Nether itself. For a demon himself to appear and warn you of this doesn’t bode well, especially one who’s approaching you asking for aid in attempting to seal whatever activity has started to act up in the Void.
Cho’gall now confirms that something, in fact, IS on the move within the Void. The mad Ogre himself becomes empowered by the Void much like Ner’zhul had, but unlike Ner’zhul, it seems Cho’gall found something in the Void; something dark, and something sinister.
Whatever Cho’gall came in contact with, it seems to be extremely similar to his former Old God master(s). He speaks as if he’s fallen to the sway of their whispers and madness again; the manner in which we see Cho’gall after his Void empowerment is eerily alike to his parallel counterpart from our timeline. Even more-so, the Pale Orcs Cho’gall ends up gaining under his banner were known to become such decrepit creatures via whispers and visions of insanity from a ceremony upon the Throne of Elements that either blesses the partaker, or turns them into a husk (aka a Pale Orc). It’s implied this happens due to some Orcs delving too deep and, possibly, coming into contact with some malevolent force. Now, what creatures do we know that employ insane whispers and horrible visions to subjugate mortals? And considering the Void being an element itself, and the fact that this ceremony takes place at the Throne of Elements, where the height of Elemental power on Draenor would exist, it’s incredibly possible that the Orcs venturing here do in fact come in contact with some malevolent force; the very force that Cho’gall is now calling his master.
The Arakkoa also at this current point in Draenor’s history, despite it being an alternate timeline, have not made contact with the Old God master they worship on Outland. The Arakkoa continue to worship Rhukmar, Terokk, and/or Sethe, and each of these entities are confirmed to not be the Old God master they venerate and serve in our own timeline. On top of this, the Arakkoa employ heavy uses of Shadow magic in their culture, along with possessing the ability to enter a sort of “Shadow Realm” that could be linked to the Void itself, especially considering the creatures that spawn from this “Shadow Realm” being related to the Void .
Furthermore, we have the loose thread that is Kairozdormu, who stated that his plan involved him becoming “infinite”. Keep in mind as well, when freeing Garrosh, he somehow had the Infinite Dragonflight under his wing and aiding him in his cause. Why though? Why the Infinite of all things?
This is where everything comes full circle, and this is the outright conclusion I’ve come to with all of these massive lore developments involving the Void:
The Void is actually where the Old Gods come from, and an Old God, the very Old God that ends up becoming the Arakkoa’s “savior” and forges the Infinite Dragonflight, is who he came in contact with. The Old Gods are known to be parasitic beings originating from somewhere among the Twisting Nether. Based on a quote from Herald Volazj, a Faceless One and a boss from Wrath of the Lich King, it’s stated, “Gaze into the void. It is the perpetuity in which they dwell.” Considering the high involvement with the Void this expansion, this statement is much less cryptic now than it was during Wrath.
The linkage between the Old Gods and the Void is vastly implied. In all encounters we’ve had with these tentacled beings, they’ve employed heavy uses of Shadow magic and are unable to die. As of Warlords, the art of necromancy has been shown to be directly tied to the Void. When Ner’zhul becomes empowered by the Void after corrupting the Naaru of Shadowmoon Valley, he and his clan gain the ability to freely raise the dead. Having dominion over life and death is something frighteningly similar to the Old Gods, who apparently stand on a line between both planes. To have control over death itself is to, apparently, be aligned with the Void, if the outcome of Ner’zhul’s actions are interpreted as such.
The Old Gods have also stated the name of a city, “Ny’alotha”, several times. When Sylvanas temporarily died during the events of Silverpine Forest, she stated the place she went to was a place of pure Darkness, where souls were tormented endlessly. Curiously during Mists of Pandaria, one of the whispers received from Y’shaarj’s heart states “You will rest in Ny’alotha“. It’s been implied since first hearing Ny’alotha’s name uttered that it’s the home of the Old Gods, and if it does reside in the Void, what Sylvanas saw may have indeed been Ny’alotha.
If the Old Gods do in fact originate from the Void, this is without a doubt who Cho’gall came into contact with. At this point in time, Cho’gall is still young and he wouldn’t even know what an Old God is. Not until his ventures on Azeroth did he come into contact with the likes of C’thun and N’zoth, and by the time we engaged and slayed him in the Twilight Citadel, he had already been completely corrupted by their influence and was obviously familiar with all of their machinations. In the timeline WoD takes place, I don’t think Cho’gall would understand what he truly came into contact with; the sounds of his dialogue during the Mythic Mar’gok encounter imply this being has told him of a black future and swayed him with absolute power.
Regardless of this, Cho’gall again becomes a tool of madness, wanting to end the world as he always has. He was originally going about doing this through the Shadow Council, but once he felled the Naaru of Nagrand, he came into contact with something mad enough to make him betray Gul’dan.
Cho’gall saw something that was inevitable and he saw nothing else to do but accept it, just like he had with his Old God masters on Azeroth.
What Cho’gall saw is what I believe to be the downfall of the Arakkoa and the creation of the Infinite Dragonflight. Even being slain, Cho’gall states that whatever was awoken in the Void is coming in full force, all while at the same time we’re facing a possible incoming invasion from the Burning Legion. Blizzard wouldn’t put emphasis on the Void unless it was going to end up being a colossal part of the story throughout the expansion. They also wouldn’t include such specific dialogue, like Kairozdormu’s ravings of becoming “infinite”, if it wasn’t going to be important.
I genuinely believe that either in a tier between our final showdown with the Iron Horde and the Legion, or involved in the final encounter/raid itself, Cho’gall’s master will arrive in full. Blizzard stated the final encounter of the expansion is apparently a “surprise“, and an Old God appearing out of the blue, along with present Legion influences and Grommash Hellscream would certainly make for an insane fight. Cho’gall’s master will arrive through some means and I believe it will mean both the downfall of the Arakkoa and the rise of the Infinite Dragonflight. I have no idea how this will come to be other than it’s meant to by some means. Cho’gall himself states that what he saw was inevitable, and though we’ve heard this several times over the years with any villain’s plans, there’s too many loose plot threads that can be linked straight to whatever is stirring in the Void.
So, short summary:
1. The creation of the Infinite Dragonflight is inevitable, and the musings of Kairozdormu, plus the Dragonflight’s involvement in Garrosh’s own escape, highly imply we will see their forging this expansion.
2. The Arakkoa have yet to worship the Old God they do in our timeline, a fate that seems almost unavoidable for the species after the events of Spires of Arak. The Shadow and Void magic that stains their species, including their ability to enter a sort of “Shadow Realm”, implies a link to the Void which may house their future benefactor. The “Shadow Realm” they’re also in contact with has Shades that originate from it as well, and Shades are the embodiment of lost souls, which Sylvanas described existing in the Void when she reached it in her temporary death.
3. The Pale Orcs have been in contact with something, and their following of Cho’gall further implies they all serve the same master.
4. Cho’gall’s communication with this force is immensely similar to his counterpart’s interactions with the Old Gods.
If people have been looking for what is real important in the Warlords of Draenor storyline, this is where it’ll be found.
And, if Cho’gall’s master turns out to not be an Old God…
…Then what exactly is coming for us?
Until next time, folks.