WoW: Shadowlands' New Raid Cinematic Shows The Fate Of Sylvanas, And Fans Are Divided
After multiple expansions of build-up, players finally got to confront Sylvanas Windrunner. But the result of the fateful encounter isn't exactly what players had in mind.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' new raid, the Sanctum of Domination, culminates in a confrontation with Sylvanas Windrunner, who for multiple expansions has served as one of the game's primary villains. A new cinematic that plays upon the raid's completion shows what's next for Sylvanas, and it's left more than a few fans divided.
At the end of the Sanctum of Domination, the Jailer, the big-bad Sylvanas has been working for, achieves his goal of obtaining the sigils of the various realms of the Shadowlands, becoming more powerful and receiving a wardrobe change in the process. He then opens a portal to...somewhere, and tells the various leaders of Azeroth in attendance, as well as Sylvanas, to kneel and serve him as he plots to unmake and then remake reality.
This rubs Slyvanas the wrong way. She has served the Jailer willingly up to this point, but seeing the Jailer making use of a brainwashed Anduin Wrynn reminds her of being forced against her will to serve Arthas, back when she was killed and turned into a banshee in Warcraft 3. Sylvanas shoots an arrow at the Jailer in defiance and says she will "never serve." To which the Jailer decides to (checks notes) reward her by apparently giving Sylvanas her soul back, which had been claimed by Arthas via Frostmourne all those years ago. The Jailer then says he will leave Sylvanas to the mercy of the Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall, and Bolvar Fordragon, before proceeding to step through his magic portal with Anduin at his side.
There's a few reasons this has proven controversial. For starters, Sylvanas in the past few expansions has committed some pretty heinous crimes in her effort to gather souls for the Jailer, including but not limited to:
- Starting a full-blown war with the Alliance
- Burning down the giant tree Teldrassil that the Night Elves called home
- Killing Horde leader Varok Saurfang for his attempt to oust Sylvanas as leader of the Horde
- Kidnapping and torturing leaders of the Horde and Alliance
Many players, particularly Alliance and Night Elf players, have been itching for payback against Sylvanas. And while the cinematic does seem to imply the former Banshee Queen might have to answer for her war crimes eventually, the fact that Sylvanas has reclaimed her soul and defied the Jailer all point towards a redemption arc that many fans were not interested in seeing.
It will likely be months before fans learn what's next for the WoW storyline when the inevitable patch 9.2 releases, but just when players thought Sylvanas might finally meet her end, it turns out she still has a big part to play, for better or for worse.
The game's latest patch has drawn the ire of players not only for its story but also over its new Shards of Domination system, which many players felt didn't respect their time and efforts over the past seven months. It's decisions like that, as well as the game's storyline, that have seen more than a few longtime WoW players jumping ship from Blizzard's MMO to Final Fantasy XIV. WoW's biggest streamer, Asmongold, recently played Square-Enix's MMO on stream for the first time July 3, helping to break the game's concurrent player record on Steam in the process.
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