The Jailer Encounter Spoilers - Death Comes for the Soul of Your World!
While some players were critical that the Patch 9.2 reveal did not include going back to Azeroth, it seems that the Jailer's words during the Maw introduction so long ago may have been appropriate after all:
"Death comes for the soul of your world!"
PATCH 9.2 STORY SPOILERS AND SPECULATION AHEAD!
During the Patch 9.2 reveal, we were told that there was a narrative reason we would only be facing up Anduin in the first week, with the final three bosses - now revealed to be the Lords of Dread, Rygelon, and the Jailer - accessible starting in the second week of the raid. The dungeon journal may reveal the reason for this departure from the norm, as the final bosses of the raid have cosmic elements which suggest they take place in an entirely different area, with some of Zovaal's attacks targeting Azeroth directly, and leaving it up to the players to protect the world soul while racing to defeat the final boss of
: Zovaal launches a volley of missiles at Azeroth, decreasing Azeroth's health by up to 20%. One of these missiles can be intercepted by each player, inflicting 60 Shadow damage.
: Inflicts 5% of Azeroth's maximum health in Shadow damage.
While we don't have a lot of information to go off of just yet, there are a lot of interesting parallels to be drawn from the names of phases and abilities used throughout the encounter.
Phase One: Origin of Domination
, seems fairly straightforward; engaging Zovaal directly, but
Intermission: Machine of Origination
sounds suspiciously familiar to other titan-scale tech, such as the
Forge of Origination
which players used to destroy N'Zoth at the end of
Battle for Azeroth
. The Jailer
attunes to the machine
Phase Two: Unholy Attunement
, repeatedly releasing some kind of cosmic energy, before turning his attention on Azeroth itself in
Phase Three: The Unmaking
, which itself sounds very familiar to
, the final boss of
Oh and just in case you didn't get the connection between Zovaal, the Helm of Domination, and the Scourge, he also casts
in phase three. Good luck with that.
Zovaal unmakes existence, killing everyone except him.
This cosmic narrative is one which has been repeated for several years. Several minions of the Old Gods, as far back as
The Burning Crusade
have made cryptic quotes referring to the stars, and while these have largely been interpreted to mean the Old Gods, we also know that they themselves were merely servants of a greater power: the Void Lords. While the story of
didn't focus on that cosmic power,
Battle for Azeroth
answered only a few questions while asking several more.
Uu'nat, Harbinger of the Void
, was one such being, with several quotes relating to events which eventually came to pass in
N'Zoth whispers: The veil wanes. His crown will open the way.
N'Zoth whispers: I alone can save you from what is to come.
We now know that the first line refers to Bolvar's
Helm of Domination
, and while the second is still somewhat ambiguous, it would seem reasonable to believe it refers to the Jailer - coming to unmake all. The deep background lore of World of Warcraft has long been rooted in cosmic conflict, as far back as the Titans, Sargeras, and the Burning Legion, though additions over the years have revealed an increasingly complex landscape: the Titans are against Sargeras, who formed the Burning Legion to halt the threat of the Void Lords, who used the Old Gods to infest worlds, who the Titans then constructed Keepers to defend against.
Where the Jailer falls into this conflict isn't exactly clear, although we know his magic helped create the Scourge and artifacts such as Frostmourne and the Helm of Domination, which in turn created the Scourge, which was intended to weaken the forces of Azeroth and facilitate the Burning Legion's second invasion. While it feels as though the Jailer should be naturally aligned with the Burning Legion in that both are firmly against the Void Lords, which also reinforces N'Zoth's words, though it feels as though the Jailer (by way of the Dreadlords) has been playing 4D chess the entire time - supplying the Burning Legion with the Helm of Domination, which conveniently split the veil between Azeroth and the Shadowlands. It's actually not a bad story, it just takes a team of cryptologists to put it all together.
Coming Full Circle
With our returning to Azeroth, or at least near it on the cosmic scale, one question remains unanswered - what will happen with the giant sword embedded in Silithus? The final blow of Sargeras shattered Azeroth, leading to the events of
Battle for Azeroth
and paving the way for
, but has since been ignored. In an interview with Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser and Taliesin & Evitel, we were told that the the sword still has a part to play in something to come, and the Jailer turning his power against the world soul may just be it.
Will the sword disappear from Silithus?
The sword has a part to play in something to come.
Will Azeroth ever be born?
Wait and see.
Zovaal may not be as physically large as
Sargeras was at the end of
, but these things are mercurial and should his spells fail to destroy Azeroth, the Jailer could find a way to use it himself. If Sargeras really was in league with Zovaal's true intentions, it's very believable that he left the sword in Azeroth for exactly that purpose - in fact, it would bring the story full circle and pave the way for the return to Azeroth that so many players have asked for. Should the Jailer manage to use the sword, either to prematurely birth or potentially destroy the world soul contained within, it would cause catastrophic damage, easily another
-level event and create all the justification needed to spend another expansion or two dealing with matters at home.
The wound in the world left by Sargeras became one of the main catalysts for both
Battle for Azeroth
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