The Power of the Night chapter name – and the only remaining unresolved theme in Ardenweald – implied that we must see a resolution for the Night Warrior / Tyrande and address the recreation of sigil. I must say it was done pretty well, with a number of revelations to be discussed. Spoiler: I’m not dissappointed.
What surprised me most were the introductory quests. It was a fun and interesting touch that Night Warriors are not only denizens of Ardenweald in the afterlife, and wrathful Khaliiq and Stonewright are quite believable to be the former Night Warriors. Fussing with the seeds, Drust and devourers and Ardenweald again would have been a lot less fun – besides, their local troubles were resolved in the campaign of 9.0. Trips to Maldraxxus and Revendreth were a lot more exciting and fun than the other option, nuff said.
My only beef with the campaign is that the gameplay is sooooo excruciating in quests design. Chapter 5 was tedious, this endless cutting through the fattest ever mobs of Desmotaeron, even if Draka and Thrall genuinely contribute to DPS and tank everything for you. Chapter 6 had a boring run-in-circles-to-find-dreadlords part, also certain boss dreadlords appeared deadly for some of my toons. Chapter 7 – the current one – had this disguise quest. While it was very fun by lore and supporting characters, this crawling all over the place on the ground in disguise was pretty annoying.
In short, when I’m thinking of catching up with the chapters on the remaining toons, every time it’s “not again” sentiment concerning gameplay, even if I actually like the lore that comes along. Alright, let’s get back to the lore.
I liked how the ritual was designed in whole, and the resolution of Elune’s manifestation. We got the big reveal: why the Winter Queen holds the grudge against her sister.
Turns out, Elune has a pocket death dimension for her believers – a sort of purgatory where she decides how to deal with the souls next, but she claims them first, not the Kyrian “ferrymen”, like she did with Ysera in Legion. They could be returned to Azeroth as wisps – or she could direct them to Arbiter’s judgement.
First I thought that she could send them directly to Winter Queen surpassing the Arbiter’s judgement, but on the second thought, she can’t – as proved by Khaliiq and Stonewright, clearly the former Night Elves and Elune’s worshippers (is where they got their Night Warrior powers) that ended in Maldraxxus and Revendreth. If it were for Elune to decide, she’d send them to Ardenweald too, like the gay horse and stag Night Warriors, am I right? Besides, it’s Oribos torrent of souls that was redirected and pours into the Maw. So no, it’s still Arbiter doing the judgement. But it was safe for her to presume that her nature-loving children will end up in Ardenweald en masse when she released them for the afterlife.
A pocket dimension for worshippers of a certain deity is not something unheard of – we have De Other Side, no less, reserved for Bwonsamdi believers, trolls in general. Again, he could release them for judgement, but it’s the first place they go to after death.
So the plea of Winter Queen was to urge Elune to release all the souls currently in her pocket realm, cause Ardenweald situation was quite dire.
And now Elune finds herself in a dilemma: on one hand, Winter Queen claims that the cycle of Death and Life, the nature cycle, is under threat. It’s an unprecedented turn of events, something that has never happened before. On the other hand, Elune hears the desperate prayers of the Night Elves, her worshippers. She was not able to stop Sylvanas from her sudden decision which happened in a moment – but she was able to hear the prayers and do something to help ease their pain, or save someone, in a manner that Bwonsamdi interferes in the mortal events.
This was a choice of two evils, and I think she picked right. As I said, the Shadowlands drought is an unprecedented disaster. On the other hand, the death toll in Teldrassil was vast and horrible… but it’s probably not the worst that happened to the Night Elves in history. Yes, I’m talking about the Sundering.
Let me remind you that Night Elves were a dominant race back when Azshara reigned supreme and Legion came. Their empire stretched throughout old meta-continent of Kalimdor, having supressed the previous dominant race, the trolls. So they inhabited all the continent, and as we know, the Sundering destroyed like 80% of it, was it? Along with all the villages, cities and camps of the Night Elves. Compared to this scale, Teldrassil case is but a scratch on the surface of history. And there were also Legion invasions that took no prisoners, and other wars and calamities too.
In other words, it was a choice of saving a big number of Night Elves (but the question was not about survival, as they still populate vast areas of Northern Kalimdor – Teldrassil was merely one of the enclaves, even if the largest one), or saving a death realm which is undergoing an unprecedented drought and is on the verge of extinction, as I’m sure the Winter Queen made it clear with her desperate pleas.
So, in the scales and balance (Balance!) between Life and Death she picked to help Death as this part of the cycle seemed more troubled and in a graver situation. The extinction of Life was not at stake (even if it suffered a heavy blow), but the extinction of Death was.
The choice was not nice and sweet – like I said, it’s been a choice of two evils. She tried to atone by granting powers to Tyrande – at least she would help with vengeance, the darker side of the Moon, if her Light side had to pick inaction.
And hence the tear. Learning that the choice she had to make had no consequences is harsh, and Winter Queen, receiving nothing, was too enraged to reach and talk, presuming she abandoned her. She failed everyone – by the combination of her choice and cirumstances she did not know about, but it’s a failure nevertheless, refusing worshippers from being saved and at the same time refusing them a peaceful afterlife.
The last thing to talk about is the sigil. Primus and Renathal in previous chapters made it clear that sigils can be recreated without much effort. The case was not about losing something irreplaceable, something too dear to lose – the case was to keep them from Thanos – sorry, Zovaal. Getting all the sigils grants him power to walk where he shouldn’t walk and do things that he shouldn’t do. Hence they would reforge them – now for us, to follow the baddie and stop him.
It was a nice touch that Elune’s tear helped to recreate a sigil. I’m not sure that the first sigil was also created with Elune’s help, but in any case it’s a powerful artifact, and she offered it as a means of atonement for what transpired by her (partial) fault.
Oh, and Tyrande. She came into senses, for sure, and had to reconsider the vengeance deal to survive. What will be her attitude towards Sylvanas now? I’m not talking a total forgiveness, but the sedation of the most fierce Sylvanas hater is a step to the direction of actually working with the banshee queen and letting her heroically sacrifice, like everyone suspects.
We’ll know about that in Chapter 9, or most likely in 9.2.
So far Elune was a central character, and we got a valid explanation about Teldrassil events and her pocket dimension, as well as Tyrande case resolution – that will quite do. Not to mention that yet again Ardenweald has the most moving and tearjerking story to offer among Covenants.