As we know since last year’s PTR, the last encounter is N’Zoth himself. Apparently he has three levels of personal defence: one, Wrathion cuts through his shell (cutscene), two, we are fighting its husk – tentacles and everything (encounter 1), three, it’s the brain and messing with our minds (encounter 2).
N’Zoth and Other Final Bosses Big Bad Lore
The lore of the final encounter itself is actually awesome. N’Zoth appears to be the most dangerous compared to other expansion’s big bads! C’Thun was merely a no-name boss of very-very local bugs. Illidan, Arthas, Garrosh just sat in their throne rooms, waiting for us to come (justified in TBC in WotLK). Archimonde and Kil’Jaeden were both bumped on the heads as soon as they put their demon noses out of respective portals. They didn’t even manage to do anything except being immediately bruised! Deathwing was being chased with Dragon Soul across Azeroth like a redneck would chase a lousy dog with a broomstick.
Antorus, frankly, was a total lore fuck-up. We ruined the Legion’s war machine and liberated tortured titan souls so that they incarcerated Sargeras, but we never knew that until the end! We never saw Sargeras, we had no clue if he was there and what he was doing, and WTF was Argus the Boss, how dangerous he was or how he was going to mess with our plans (if we had any)? Absolutely no idea.
N’Zoth, on the other hand, came out most logically and is FREAKING dangerous. Once unshackled, he comes straight for the titan machines, trying to complete his goal. He almost succeeds, not only messing with the machinery, but his adversaries’ minds as well. Come think of it, he’s the only ACTIVE final boss, and he’s the only boss that was on the brink of Azeroth destruction (well, corruption) AND that we knew what his danger is, what he was after.
So in the end we see the champion almost fully corrupted and slowly walking to N’Zoth. Then Heart of Azeroth kicks in, becomes visible to MOTHER as a final beacon in utmost proximity to the Old God, and she channels the titan energies into N’Zoth. He is vaporized, and Ny’alotha, as a product of his mind, crumbles.
In the follow-up quest machinima Magni tells us that Azeroth is finally free from all the Old God corruption, she sings in happiness (visualized as azerite energy flows in the Chamber’s tubes), and we are proclaimed champion not only of our people, but Azeroth itself.
I’m not against anything that happened. Answering the expressed concerns:
Comparison to Mordor and Sauron’s defeat are legit, but it’s not borrowing. If anything, N’Zoth’s Ny’alotha desintergration is more logical, because this whole world exists only in N’Zoth’s imagination, unlike Professor’s strange explanation of Sauron’s “will” that kept constructions together.
Unlike the shaky war campaign, N’Zoth’s arc was quite logical till the very end. In fact, the narrative is a lot stronger than its lore rival faction war or many final boss arcs from previous expansion. A taste of the Old God theme with a generic G’huun (coolest idea, if you think about it!) – and we acquired MOTHER aka the key character there, Stormsong corruption with zone, dungeon and raid, Azshara theme, and finally N’Zoth who was very active and dangerous. We were hanging on the brink of losing everything, including planet and ourselves!
The only possible sore is his release in the end of Eternal Palace, but that doesn’t look deus ex much: everybody had other plans in this showdown, but it happened so that he was released, and he grasped this opportunity with every tentacle.
We did not get a pre-rendered cinematic about N’Zoth, but that was never the case, not even with Sargeras. It’s always been a machinima. We did not get a transition to the new expansion, but we had that with another BfA arc: 6 minutes of glorious mak’gora, finalizing the expansion War lore (the main villain!), almost immediately followed by another stunning sequel cinematic: the destruction of Lich King’s helmet. Technically a trailer, but.
And if we take N’Zoth as a side quest after defeating the major villain (the War), we could remember that it’s not the first expansion which does that. Sunwell and Kil’Jaeden arc, Ruby Sanctum which technically belonged to WotLK but was de facto a Cata raid by lore happened AFTER the expansions climaxes: AFTER the defeats of Arthas and Illidan, and were nowhere more inspiring or moving than their ends.
Personally I’d like to see just a little bit more in the BfA finale cinematic: the screen is lit by light… and then? It feels like a comma, not a dot. Show the hero on the green grass among bunnies, back to the real world, and we’re good.
I’ve got two options for you.
First, we will still have a proper finale. As far as I know, no one yet has reached the datamined faction cinematics where they discuss the peace treaty – through gameplay, not datamining. Apparently there’s got to be this questline – which could hold the real cinematic too?
I would vote for a proper, pre-rendered or machinima peace treaty cinematic which may happen later. Maybe the questline opens with opening of LFR and Mythic raid in a week, or it becomes available after opening of the last LFR wing, so that all players could see it?
Second option – which could sadly seem very possible – is that Visions are merely a filler patch. Mark you, I consider it very well done in every aspect, from lore to gameplay. And yet as all developer efforts are now fully devoted to Shadowlands, the current (arguably, but mostly considered) failed BfA doesn’t get an ending it may have got. It’s a questionable decision, because it pisses off players even more, but we’re not aware what happens in developers’ camp – not really.
I guess we shall wait and see. Maybe we’re are already so spoiled by a mass of pre-rendered cinematics that we automatically wait for them at every smallest lore point.
As of now, I don’t see the current finale – if it really is the finale – bad or worst. It’s just…. undertuned.