With this new expansion, Blizzard in all probability undoes its greatest injustice – Illidan returns Imprisoned for 10,000 years; banished from my own homeland..And now you dare ENTER my realm! You...

With this new expansion, Blizzard in all probability undoes its greatest injustice – Illidan returns

Imprisoned for 10,000 years; banished from my own homeland..And now you dare ENTER my realm! You are not prepared...
– Illidan Stormrage, WoW: The Burning Crusade (2007)

A master of technicalities and nuanced arguments, here he is, returning again, true to his word as always. You were not prepared, and when the Burning Legion comes to your gates, you look once more to the Betrayer. To understand the character of Illidan, you need to first know the madness that consumed him, his perspective on matters, what makes up his philosophical doctrine, social identity and the level of self-regulation his value system has now undergone. The darkest most malefic influence comes from the time of the War of the Ancients, which split the land of Kalimdor apart, today known as The Great Sundering. It was not Sargeras who cast that shadow upon him then. It is not that shadow that remains with him even today, when Sargeras attempts again, to enter Azeroth.

It is believed that several entities have attempted to sway Illidan their way, from the time when he first cast a spell to alter Sargeras’ portal. Tyrande made a note of this, and believed that it was the lovecraftian eldritch anathema of this world imprecating Illidan right then and there, making him their most powerful pawn for a greater purpose – their own freedom. These Dread Elders and their whisperings are known to drive anyone insane, which could result in Illidan coming unhinged over time, with every move dictated by them, from assistance so freely obtained of the naga (who already follow them freely), to his lordship over the fragment of Draenor, the realm of Outland. He is always restoring his people while taking the burden on himself. Even if his justification for his actions seem arbitrary, he has been ostracised for what he’s done – keeping the legion at bay, every single time. It is the opposite of what Arthas Menethil was – who let himself be lost to the Lich King, a hollow conduit to be filled with filth. Illidan absorbed the Skull of Gul’dan, and would have kept Gul’dan’s voice at bay if there weren’t already others tearing him apart.

This expansion looks to offer him redemption at last, where he shall finally stand vindicated of crimes that were never crimes to begin with. He is absolved of all wrongdoings and is also offered a new class that he was shown to be working on in the first expansion, the training of five demon hunters – of whom three died, one was driven insane, but one succeeded. Here, in WoW: Legion, the demon hunters return, now as a playable class. Illidan’s death was sourced in malice, and forced upon him unjustifiably, and as the new cinematic trailer shows, the most powerful mortal warlock again seems to have an important role in his return, for it is Gul’dan that we see ready to ‘release’ him.

Legion, after the backlash received with the removal of flying mounts in Warlords of Draenor, will be around again, considering they’re being reintroduced in the current expansion itself. From what Blizzard has revealed at the new Gamescom Convention, we know that the level cap has been increased to 110. It looks to tempt a lot of new players, and old ones who have been adventuring elsewhere for some time now, to return, because the most popular MMORPG has seen a dip of a million odd players in the last couple of years. It also offers artifacts for greater customisation of weapons and a brand new honor system for PvP combat. One could gain new talents as you increase rank, and once you cap at the top, you’ll be allowed to ‘prestige’, which seems to be a form of reset which offers new mounts and artifacts of an exclusive nature. There are raids that have been announced – Emerald Nightmare, which might be so because of a Dread Lord, Suramar Palace, where a new race of Elves has lived for 10,000 years, with the world oblivious to their presence, and Azsuna, where you face off against Queen Azshara for a ‘Pillar of Creation’, one of many relics from the time of the Titans. Players will see themselves going straight for the Orc warlock Gul’dan himself, understandable, considering the focal point of the game remains the Tomb of Sargeras, which acts as a gateway to innumerable Legion worlds.

The artifacts mentioned total to 36, and each with its own upgrade tree will offer boosts and power ups based on the specialisation chosen. The upgrades will happen with more artifact power gained, which in turn will be in coinage through completion of challenges present in Legion, and will also unlock greater customisation options making the same artifact have a more unique aesthetic, with several skins present that can be altered with color variants. For now, the only example we have is the Ashbringer, which can have several skins on it, to make it look like a dark and corrupted blade, or even something that looks shattered, its light held together with magical forces.

The Broken Isles, where all of this begins, is most likely a forgotten part of Kalimdor, once a Night Elf civilization, now in ruins, nothing more than a graveyard. But it hides the Tomb of Sargeras. It is here that the Legion crosses, and this shall be your battleground. Things kick off with The Broken Shores, an event created for the launch of the expansion. Take to your respective Order Halls, because the invasion this time, is unmatched in scale, far surpassing that of the War of the Ancients.

“Betrayer.... In truth it was I who was betrayed! Still I am hunted, still I am hated. Now my blind eyes see what others cannot, that sometimes, the hand of fate must be FORCED!”
– Illidan Stormrage, Warcraft III : The Frozen Throne (2003)

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