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Blizzard teases the future of some key World of Warcraft characters

Battle for Azeroth could shape up to have one hell of a story

Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

The world of Warcraft is filled with all sorts of characters, and some of them have been sitting on the sidelines for years. With a new expansion, like World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard always has opportunities to share new stories and bring back old characters.

When we sat down with Steve Danuser, World of Warcraft’s senior narrative designer, and lead artist Ely Cannon about the Horde’s identity before Battle for Azeroth’s launch, we made sure to ask them about some missing characters. Here are some of the cryptic hints they gave us about the future of World of Warcraft.

[Spoiler warning: This article goes into the plot of the Before the Storm novel as well as past World of Warcraft expansions and Battle for Azeroth.]

Calia Menethil

“She definitely has a role to play,” said Danuser. “Not so much in the battle, but in the storylines that unfold from it”

For those who don’t know, Calia is the sister of Arthas Menethil, who most know better as the Lich King. In the latest novel, Before the Storm, Calia is killed. However, she is raised from the dead as the first lightborne Forsaken, a completely different kind of Forsaken than Sylvanas.

Based on Danuser’s comment, it sounds like players will see her hand in some of the events coming up, or even past this expansion.


“When the time is right,” said Danuser. “He’s not involved in the first phase of this conflict, but his interests have always been big picture. The concerns that he’s voiced in the past and the powers that he’s delved into, that’ll definitely be bubbling up in future content.”

Wrathion is the son of Neltharion, one of the original Dragon Aspects who would eventually transform into the villain Deathwing. But Wrathion has never been evil like his father. In fact, his motives are a bit unclear, and nobody is quite sure who he serves or why. It seems as though players may encounter him later in Battle for Azeroth, or perhaps a distant expansion.

Hakkar, the Blood God

“No, we don’t have immediate plans to involve him,” said Danuser. “That’s something we’ve definitely talked about, but we chose some different Loa to focus on for this expansion.”

Hakkar is a Loa, one of the troll gods. He’s a giant serpent with wings and is particularly evil. Considering that this expansion focuses so much on trolls and the Loa, it wasn’t unreasonable to suspect that Hakkar could show up to cause trouble in BFA. Assuming Blizzard isn’t trying to trick us, it looks like Hakkar will be sitting Battle for Azeroth out.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time in the interview, leaving most of the other subjects to be answered via email.


Blizzard told us: “Gone before his time. His spirit is restless indeed.”

Players who have played far enough into the Horde side of this expansion already know that Vol’jin is around, and potentially up for a big promotion. It seems as though Bwonsamdi, the Loa of death, isn’t too thrilled about Vol’jin’s current status either. However, players will probably have to wait for a future patch to see how things play out with Vol’jin’s spirit.

Shandris Feathermoon

Blizzard told us: “As her people regroup after the loss of Teldrassil, Shandris will fight at the forefront of the war campaign.”

Similar to Vol’jin, Shandris is already heavily involved in the Alliance war campaign, and promises to be an important leader in her faction’s side of the war.


Blizzard told us: “He has earned the right to savor his victory over the Mad Titan.”

It seems as though we’ve seen the last of Illidan Stormrage. While he could always come back in a future expansion, it seems very unlikely that we’ll see him anytime soon.


Blizzard told us: “Haunted by ghosts.”

Thrall has been missing and Doomhammer-less since the very start of Legion, when he helped Enhancement Shamans claim their artifact weapon. But since he killed Garrosh Hellscream in Warlords of Draenor, Thrall has been struggling to commune with the elements like he used to.

Unfortunately, Blizzard’s tease doesn’t tell us much about his future. We could see Thrall come back in some capacity this expansion, or he could be down for the count for a while longer.


Blizzard told us: “He has battled demons for a thousand years. Once he readjusts to life on Azeroth, Anduin will need his council.”

Turalyon is the High Exarch of the Army of the Light and he’s just recently re-entered the Warcraft story. It sounds as though he’ll be joining Anduin’s small council sometime soon. However, Turalyon is also under a great deal of stress. Considering that he fights for the light, and his wife, Alleria Windrunner, is now the mother of the void elves, Turalyon is probably dealing with a great deal of internal struggle.


In one of our final questions talking to Danuser and Cannon, we asked about Bolvar Fordragon, the current Lich King. Of all the answers we got, Bolvar’s was by far the most interesting.

After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Danuser simply laughed and said “pass.”

While this suggests that Bolvar will finally be re-entering the story in Battle for Azeroth, we’ve recently had even confirmation of this in the Alliance campaign.

After saving Jaina in the Pride of Kul Tiras quest line, Taelia — your Alliance guide through the entire story — reveals that her full name is Taelia Fordragon in front of King Anduin. Taelia is the daughter of Bolvar, something that most players and King Anduin are surprised to hear.

With the Lich King’s current progeny playing a significant role in the current expansion, the return of Bolvar seems imminent.

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