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WoW's New Expansion Destroys Everyone's Favorite Floating City, And Maybe Kills A Major Character Too

Another iconic Azerothian city is in ruins.


World of Warcraft's upcoming The War Within expansion is raising the stakes, as its opening moments sees one of the game's most beloved cities destroyed and one of its most prominent characters presumably killed.

Spoilers below for the opening of The War Within!

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Now Playing: World of Warcraft - The War Within Expansion Announcement Cinematic

As is made clear in a recent hands-on preview with an alpha version of The War Within, the floating city of Dalaran, home of the mages of the Kirin Tor, has taken a beating. Players wake up on the shores of the new Isle of Dorn zone, buried beneath the rubble of the fan-favorite city that served as a player hub for the game's popular Wrath of the Lich King and Legion expansions. After battling through groups of the spider-like Nerubians and rescuing survivors scattered throughout Dalaran's ruins, players meet up with Warcraft heroes Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore, who reflect on their losses.

What, exactly, transpired is a little unclear, as the actual scenario that leads players to the shores of the Isle of Dorn isn't playable in the alpha--nor are any of the cutscenes depicting the battle for Dalaran or its aftermath. But using some context clues and the descriptive text that currently occupies the space where the game's cutscenes would be, we get an idea of what went down.

The Nerubians, led by the villain Xal'atath, are presumably to blame for Dalaran's destruction, though the exact sequence of events isn't revealed. Last players saw, Dalaran was above the Broken Isles, and must have moved closer to the Isle of Dorn as part of an operation to stop Xal'atath. As Thrall and Jaina take a moment to mourn the loss of their joint strike force, they take an additional "moment for Khadgar." The archmage isn't seen anywhere in the alpha or mentioned further, and seems to be presumed dead by Thrall and Jaina.

A cutscene placeholder sees Thrall and Jaina mourning the loss of their task force, and their friend Khadgar.
A cutscene placeholder sees Thrall and Jaina mourning the loss of their task force, and their friend Khadgar.

Whether Khadgar is truly dead or simply missing-in-action for the time being remains to be seen, but his absence, and Dalaran's destruction, do present a major shake-up for Blizzard's MMO. Khadgar has long served as an important character and guardian of Azeroth, one who frequently guides and teams up with players to take on the game's latest threat. The fact that both he and Dalaran appear to have been wiped out in the new expansion's opening moments does help to establish just how big of a threat Xal'atath and the Nerubians pose.

Dalaran is just the latest Azerothian city to be laid to waste in recent years. The game's Battle for Azeroth expansion in 2018 saw the Horde burn down the Night Elf capital of Darnassus, after which then-Horde Warchief Sylvanas preemptively destroyed the Forsaken capital of the Undercity with a deadly plague, rendering it uninhabitable, rather than let it fall into Alliance hands.

The War Within's public alpha launches later this week. A special The War Within Collector's edition--one that also celebrates WoW's 20th anniversary--is currently available for preorder. For more, check out why WoW is on our list of the best MMORPGs.

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