Shadowlands - worst lore of all time

I just leveled my druid and went into the SL content. I remember always choosing the world quest option when the expansion was live. I used to think it was just due to world quest leveling was superior in every way, but I’ve historically enjoyed questing and revisiting the lore (I know, I’m one of those guys, weird right).

Anyway, now I understand why I avoided it. It’s absolutely awful.
First you have to sit through +10 minutes of NPC talk just to get started - When you finally enter Bastion, you are greeted with - You guessed it - MORE talking.

But hold, it’s not just the time wasting that makes it bad. The contents of the story is also incredibly uncomfortable.

I understand the Kyrians are supposed to be on a flawed path as we eventually arrive at the consesus together that they are in the wrong, but are we supposed to believe that these guys have been running a high-end cult for EONS ? As in millions of years? Then there’s the owlboys which we are made to believe get depressed when they can’t do slavework for prolonged periods of time. Oh wow, they really considered their needs.

Who wrote this stuff?

In Night ga- fae land, we are lead to believe that this realm of savage beings who lived, true to their nature, we are constantly met with fairies and happy-go-lucky beings that belong in a Disney movie rather than a realm of death.

Maldraxxus is just about the only interesting place, since it has that real pulp potential, but alas we are constantly greeted by raw and strong men and women who cannot help themselves from threatening you because of how much of a wimp you appear to be. Is it tongue-in-cheek? Is it a parody? Or are they seriously expecting anyone to find it cool?

Revendreth is aesthetically the most interesting zone, especially because it actually has TWO whole color schemes as opposed to the other 3 zones that runs in monochrome or acidic bright monocolor.

Here we are met with the absolute gigachad, Sire Denathrius. I honestly got excited at the idea that we would finally have a character that could portray some morally gray tonalities. Instead, he was made out to be - A VILLAIN IN DISGUISE. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this revelation. Either way, it left me very disappointed and worse yet, we were left with his b-boy son that could not be less interesting if the writers tried.

As for the Maw, I mean… We escaped it within 10 minutes. SO much for being “hell of WoW” or limbo. Funnier still, an NPC asks of you to rate whether or not the place was spooky. It felt like a beta-build test to understand better how players reacted to it. Turns out, taking the player’s mount away from them made for a tedious and boring grind of an “adventure”.

I’ve never been more opposed to WoW lore than this. By far the most uninteresting, boring, bland and just outright forgettable content.

To add insult to injury, various characters we knew from pre-established lore, just randomly happen to be really important figures of the afterlife all at once. Again, let me remind you this is a reality that has been around for eons.

I also couldn’t appreciate that everything looked like humans. The afterlife should’ve been more alien for it to be an interesting concept. This was not it.

Turns out, The Maw was never hell - Rather, shadowlands as a reality as a whole, is hell itself of WoW. What a crazy expansion in all the wrong ways.


Well… yeah, no objection from me there.

Even better, they have been studying the philosophy of morality and identity for eons, and every single one had to deal with these questions in their quest to become Kyrian. They are experts of a level we can’t imagine. And their whole system turns out to be one big oopsie.

I was actually not opposed to the idea that people, who were selected specifically for their wish to serve, would have an afterlife where they strife for ego death, to be the perfect, unbiased servants of all. The Forsworn seemed more like a problem of the Arbiter sending the wrong candidates, or magical meddling from the Maw, than a problem of the base philosophy, creepy as it may be to witness. But nope. They were just wrong. I mean, I’m not surprised that anything that requires some depths of thought would be beyond these writers, but why would they put us into some greek philosophers’ wet dream then? :disappointed:

I think people don’t give enough credit to that problem. I believe they deliberately made the zones drab, so that the flowing Anima would pop out better. We spend a whole year in these zones. Then they added another addition to the Maw that was equally drab, where we spent more than half a year once again. And even better… we couldn’t even move from zone to zone, we had to take a long, long flight path through Oribos, every fricking time. They deliberately made it so that there was no chance to even see anything that wasn’t in one zone’s color scheme, when you were there.

Yeah, people caught on to the gameplay faults and the story faults of the addon clearly enough, but I think the visual and convenience problems were a big unconscious factor in the addon’s reception.

I’m curious . You started at level 10 right ? How far did you get with the story before capping it at lvl 60 (if you even reached lvl 60) . I’m asking , because I feel that , not only is it low quality lore , there is little of it .
BFA may not be greatest , but honestly I’m leveling in Zuldazar , without heirlooms or rested experience (deliberately logging outside of rested areas) and have done only 2 dungeons . I’m level 56 exactly half way trough the Nazmir zone (2nd zone) . I am doing all side quests .
I’m pretty sure I will have the same results or better , in any of the non-shadowlands zones .

You misspelled best. I am not interested in dragons so shadowlands is my comfort addon.

made me audibly laugh. Didn’t even look at it like that, but it’s a very good point.

It is the worst so far. A global criticism I’d say i have is that it was very ADHD and it was rather obvious where they cut corners so they could do four separate mutually exclusive endgame storylines, which makes the base zones about as substantial as instant noodles.

Bastion. Moral hurr durr, test, test, fighting freedom fighters, invaded by Maldraxus. No time to substantially dive into any of it just ADHD gogogogo.

Maldraxus visit the site of each house once to unlock a door. End.

Ardenweald protect Ysera’s seed from wicker monsters, until she respawns. End.

Revendreth. Has an actual plot-ish structure. Problem is that it’s a highlights package on fast forward, which wastes through months of potential storytelling like 3 quests and some busywork at a time.

Maw doesn’t even really have a story, Sylvanas does bugger all, Jailer occasionally monologues and Runecarver squats about as a game mechanic, as compared to an important lore reveal/character.

The worst part about Shadowlands was the whole Sylvannas arc, period, I hope we never hear from her again.
Terrible expansion.

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I waited until level 50 before going into Shadowlands, believing I’d be given the world quest option, which I wasn’t. Decided to go with it and just experience the storyline once more. Only managed to finish the Kyrian zone, but all of the lore from my other completion came back to me as I was going through it.

Not sure if there’s little lore, but there’s a lot of “hey remember this guy? Here he/she is, talking about their feelings” type moments, which is uh… I dunno, it certainly doesn’t constitute as interesting to me and I won’t be remembering Alexandros Mograine’s afterlife arc as anything worth of note.

So in that sense, I agree. There’s very little.

What arc? She barely did anything at all… (besides yapping at Anduin)

Oh, and on Maldraxxus… there just has to be one major dropped story thread. Why the ever-loving fork would they give them all of the scourge-aesthetics and then do nothing at all with it? Why would they give us ziggurats, zombie bodies, scourge necromancer robes and architecture we’d have thought was nerubian and then not even try to establish a connection? Even if their motive was actually to create updated art assets for an upcoming world remake, they must have seen the necessity to explain it, don’t they?

With what they were going with, a Brutal Legend style land of metal tropes would have been a much better fit, and so much cooler to experience. Maldraxxus is the one Shadowlands zone that had some of the old Warcraft vibes, with hilarious violence that no one there took too seriously. Murder and mayhem was mostly all in good fun. Yeah, there were the stronk, “fe”-male characters around, but that could have been a clear part of the joke. But they mostly just made everything icky.

…And I’m saying that, although Maldraxxus was probably the most fun zone for me in Shadowlands, mostly because I liked the mood of the characters. But such a waste…

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The whole two souls thing, she was being manipulated by the Jailer and then helped us at Zereth Morthis.
It’s her “redemption arc”.

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That’s kind of the stupidest thing about Shadowlands. All her actions ended up completely vindicated by the Pelagos plot and the remaining goal of abolishing the Maw got endorsed by both Pelagos and Tyrande, while the soul merge thingy came up after she turned on the Jailer due to ideological disputes, after their common goal of destroying the arbiter and breaching ZM has been accomplished.

She did very little, learned even less and experienced next to no personal growth.

Are we still hung up on that genocide thing? Come on, now that we know that she pitied the vore lava worms and their eternity spent apart, from a source outside the game, we should be able to appreciate her personal growth. She isn’t the ame person as she was before. She is almost the same, but vindicated in her believes!

I think the biggest problem was the “story weight” of this dimension. They hyped it up way too much.

  • Find out what Sylvanas was planning, see her actions of BfA finally pay off
  • Learn who forged the Lich King’s sword and helmet and discover the mystery behind it
  • See where the Scourge and the Lich King originated
  • Bolvar will be the Khadgar of this Expansion

All this beside setting up a completely new dimension with new characters, a new pantheon, a new power system and new villain, who is supposed to be the most skilled puppet master of the Warcraft universe.

In the end, Sylvanas’ actions didn’t ‘make sense’ in a rational way; she just wasn’t herself
In the end, we met the guy who forged the helmet and the blade. We still don’t know how they ended up on Azeroth or why.
In the end, we learned that the Lich King was supposed to be the Jailer’s “herald”, but… that’s it. (What happened to ‘There must always be a Lich King!’?)
In the end, Bolvar didn’t take 100 steps after arriving in Oribos and was merely a minor character without story value.

Add to that, the realm itself had endless possibilites and potencial for deep storytelling. The moral ambiguities of the Kyrians (Why do you still throw souls into the stream when you know there’s no arbiter and these souls will aid the Jailer?). The madness of Maldraxxus (Why do you kill each other when a death in the Shadowlands means a final death?).
Last, but not least, why the hell would you call the most dangerous inmate of a prison its “Jailer”, when he’s shown to be in chains himself and has no reason to support your system?

All this expansion needed was a different kind of storytelling. What if we just landed there, just to learn that Sylvanas has a weird connection to the Maw? What if the Eternal Ones didn’t trust us and we were on our own, exploring the Maw and looking for information? Leveling up, gaining reputation with the covenants, have several mysterious run-ins with Sylvanas, who tries to explain to us that we were deceived? Not having her act as a comic book villain, but a rageful soul that actually tried to get through to us and question our “hosts”?
They did a good job in Shadowlands in showing the moral flaws and ambiguities of the covenants and their leaders - what if we didn’t know if we were actually helping the good guys, always doubting and asking ourselves, if Sylvanas was actually right?
And then, when we had reached a certain renown level, the Eternal Ones could have revealed Zovaal’s story to us, piece by piece. We could have seen flashbacks, visions, maybe even his first encounter with Sylvanas. Could have discovered that Frostmourne wounds the soul and that Sylvanas isn’t “complete”. Could have learned that last time, mortals were involved too and that this was the reason why they didn’t trust us and kept us on distance.

I sincerely believe that this story could have worked if it just had better pacing and there had been some mystery left. Instead, we got all the setting information right away and in the end, the “masterplan” of Sylvanas and Zovaal was just a letdown.

Now compare all this to Dragonflight. We know who the Incarnates are, we know enough about the aspects, both have personalities, weaknesses and clear motivations. We have a sincere reason to help the aspects and fight the incarnates, but the Titans’ actions are sus enough for us to consider that the Primal Incarnates might not necessarily be wrong in the end. It’s just the right balance of knowledge and mystery (in my opinion).


Dragonflight is just alliance bias repeated. Another Bfa. I hope the expansion gets abandoned by Blizzard before they are able to kill more Horde lore characters.

Funny thing is that Vereesa knew about it since warcraft 3.

You’re gonna love Dragonflight.

Tip: mute ingame dialogue. It suddenly made DF more bearable. I wish Blizzard would stop voice acting all their quests. Most of them suck, if not all. I wonder how many time they can save with doing that.

Shadowlands is amazing haters need to shut it.

It must have been for an hard Sylvannas simp, not everyone is one of those thoug.

Maiev is more of my jam personally.