Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Fall and Reemergence of Kel'Thuzad

Since I was wondering how Blizzard decided to reintroduce Naxxramas into the game, I did a little research yesterday. Fair warning, there are quest spoilers ahead. If you haven't fully cleared out Dragonblight (specifically the Wintergarde Keep quests), I would recommend not reading below the line.

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Still here? Okay, let's backtrack. Before the Burning Crusade and the re-opening of the Dark Portal, Kel'Thuzad posed the most imminent threat to Azeroth. From his floating citadel above the Eastern Plaguelands, the Lich King's lieutenant commanded the Scourge's forward forces in the Eastern Kingdoms, and was protected from attack by a cadre of the finest Scourge creations (or a freak show of Scourge abominations, depending on your viewpoint). When KT launched a full-scale invasion of Azeroth, sending necropoli to the major Alliance and Horde cities, the Argent Dawn said enough is enough. They teamed up with the Scarlet Crusade, formed the Brotherhood of the Light, and sent squadrons of the most elite combatants (read: player-controlled raiders) directly to Naxxramas, KT's headquarters above the burning streets of Stratholme.

After clearing out Naxx, defeating KT's pet frost wyrm Sapphiron, and then ultimately besting KT himself, a single raider amongst the victorious could take KT's phylactery and present it to the Brotherhood of the Light for disposal. Father Inigo Montoy of the Brotherhood happily accepts the phylactery, promising to deliver it to the Argent Dawn for proper handling.

That's the last you hear of Kel'Thuzad. Until now.

Upon fighting your way off the frozen shores of Borean Tundra and moving into the Dragonblight, you happen upon Star's Rest. It is in the surrounding area that you find something of great interest to a Kirin Tor commander at Star's Rest - at which point you are whisked on the fastest hippogryph they have to Wintergarde Keep, clear across the Dragonblight, to consult with the commander there. The 7th Legion, an elite fighting force comprised of veterans of all Azerothian wars from ages past, is in direct conflict with the Scourge here, desperately clinging to their stronghold around the main keep. Over the scourged farmlands, an eerily familiar necropolis hovers...

After assessing the situation at Wintergarde and speaking with the 7th Legion commander, you are sent on a series of quests to thwart the lich Thel'zan the Duskbringer, who commands the Scourge ground forces at Wintergarde. The culmination of these quests is a confrontation with Thel'zan himself. With a group of 7th Legion Elite at your back, you summon forth the lich - at which point he paralyzes you all in fear and starts talking trash. But, salvation comes in the form of Bolvar Fordragon, who rallies you and the Legion, and utters Thel'zan's true name - Father Inigo Montoy. The man whom accepted Kel'Thuzad's phylactery was a double agent for the Scourge, or at least was confronted and turned by the Lich King after accepting the phylactery. It's pretty safe to assume that the phylactery never made it into Argent Dawn hands.

This, my friends, explains a lot. It accounts for how Kel'Thuzad returned and brought Naxxramas to bear in the Dragonblight. It also partially explains why Highlord Fordring took time to hand-select each and every member of the Argent Crusade. To this point, I viewed the former as a plot hole in the Scourge storyline. I'm glad to see that Blizzard sewed that hole up with a bit of a twist.

I bet Father Montoy was originally a Scarlet Crusader. No right-minded member of the Dawn would fall to Arthas's corruption while clinging to life... would they?

1 comment:

Herc said...

Nice post. Really nice of blizz to put some background story on the return of naxx.

I don't remember having the same quest or at least storyline for Horde in Dragonblight.