Sunday, June 20, 2021

WoW Patch 9.1: Are we getting a new Anduin? [Spoiler!]

May 20, 2021

The end of the first chapter of WoW: Shadowlands was both exciting and dramatic. Despite the defeat of Count Denathrius in Castle Nathria, the dungeon master does not even dream of giving up. Quite the contrary! He and his ally Sylvanas Windrunner continue to pursue their secret plan. To achieve their goals, the Dungeon Master must first break out of the Maw. And to do that, he needs a key.

This key, spoken of by the dungeon master in Torghast, is none other than Anduin Wrynn, the young High King of the Alliance. He and other notable Warcraft heroes such as Jaina, Baine, and Thrall fell into the clutches of the Dungeon Master at the beginning of Shadowlands, who imprisoned them in Thorghast after our escape to Oribos. With the exception of Anduin, we were able to free all of the prisoners from the tower. What fate awaits Wrynn Junior was a mystery for a long time.

In Torghast, we were able to overhear some conversations between the jailer and Sylvanas. Both were convinced that they could unleash the dark powers of the Maw through Anduin. Exactly how remains a mystery. Finally, the dungeon master has Shalamayne, the legendary sword of Varian Wrynn, reforged into a Gramblade. With this cursed runeblade, Sylvanas would then finally bring the recalcitrant Anduin to his knees. But the Banshee Queen's doubts left the players hoping for a happy ending after all.

Now we have certainty! WoW Patch 9.1: The New Anduin [Spoilers!] (2) Source: buffed Blizzard announces Patch 9.1 with the following words: "[...] the Banished has a terrible new champion in its employ - a cruel instrument of despair recruited by Sylvanas Windrunner, capable of striking fear into the hearts of Azeroth's heroes like no other creature of the Shadowlands."

So Sylvanas did it! If the text is to be believed, it looks like the good ending is off the cards for Anduin. In the latest concept art leaked a few hours ago by Blizzard themselves, along with new information about patch 9.1, we apparently see a gruesome version of Anduin Wrynn. Instead of his golden armor, the new Anduin wears a heavy plate armor decorated with lion skulls. His new Lich King regalia is simply grotesque! WoW Patch 9.1: The New Anduin [Spoilers!] (3) Source: Blizzard Alongside his Gramblade Shalamayne, the Alliance king wears a new helmet that strongly resembles the Crown of Dominance, the Lich King's helm. Looking at the pale face of Anduin, one is immediately reminded of Death Knight Arthas from the cover of Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne. If the image does indeed show Anduin, then it is certain that Sylvanas forced him into the dungeon master's service willy-nilly.

But is this the end of Anduin Wrynn? We don't know exactly what story Blizzard will tell us in Korthia, the City of Secrets, with Patch 9.1. All we know is that Sylvanas will be a boss in the new Sanctum of Domination raid. Perhaps the Banshee Queen, like Denathrius before her, has completed her task and the Dungeon Master no longer needs her. The villain Sylvanas already made it clear that he doesn't care about the fate of his allies. It's also hard to imagine that we can save Anduin anymore. We must remember that there was no redemption for Arthas, and Bolvar was only able to defy the jailer because Alexstrasza's flames saved him from undeath.

However, the young king's death doesn't quite fit the story in the Legion comic "Anduin: Son of a Wolf". There, we see Anduin as an old man preparing for the final battle against evil. There are also plenty of unanswered questions in Shadowlands. Where is Varian Wrynn? Although he was a great warrior, his soul did not come to Maldraxxus. So he could still show up in Shadowlands as some sort of trump card and save his son. But it's also possible that the light can't be tricked into cleansing Anduin's soul again. In that case, though, he'd be a light-forged undead like Calia Menethil. Of course, all of this is pure speculation at this point! Hopefully we'll find out what's really in store for us in Patch 9.1 in a few hours at BlizzCon 2021.