World of Warcraft‘s Game Director is saying that Legion will deliver on Blizzard’s plans for Illidan Stormrage going all the way back to Burning Crusade.
Illidan Stormrage is a member of World of Warcraft‘s pantheon of villains, one of several classic Warcraft III characters that Blizzard brought back to play a much larger role in the MMO sequel. Yet, just as the demon hunter inevitably failed to live up to Kil’Jaedan’s expectations and prevent Arthas from becoming the Lich King in Warcraft III, similarly did he fail to live up to fan expectations and deliver a complete storyline in World of Warcraft’s Burning Legion expansion.
Still, Blizzard’s plans for Illidan Stormrage appear unfinished, as the raid boss will be returning in World of Warcraft‘s upcoming expansion, Legion. More than that, Blizzard’s plans apparently extend all the way back to Burning Crusade. In an interview with GameSpot, Game Director Tom Chilton talked about Blizzard’s long in slumber plans for Illidan:
“We did have a sense that we were going to come back to it at some point, but we didn’t know exactly when that would be. There are a lot of loose ends in the Illidan storyline, and in this expansion a lot of those loose ends get tied up.”
Those loose storylines begin and end in the Black Temple, the raid area where players gathered and ultimately defeated Illidan and whatever plans he was working on in Outland. Any continuation of Illidan’s story in World of Warcraft would have to start there, which is exactly what Blizzard intends to do in Legion:
“When you create a Demon Hunter, one of the first cinematics that you see kind of launches off right at the point where The Black Temple is being raided in Outland. So you get sent off at that point, and when you come back you see another cinematic that ties off what happened right after the raid ended.”
Demon Hunters are to be the new class launched with Legion, starting at level 98 and moving straight into the expansion’s content. Considering what Chilton is saying, it seems like Illidan may quite literally step out of the end of the Burning Crusade and into Legion. Or, more specifically, his corpse will be taken from the end of Burning Crusade and resurrected in Legion.
World of Warcraft has grown in many ways since Burning Crusade was initially released in 2007. Many of those improvements revolve around storytelling, world-building, and lore. In those respects, Burning Legion is rather a sore spot in World of Warcraft‘s history. Revisiting that expansion in Legion is both an admirable task for Blizzard, but also a precarious one. Players still go through Burning Crusade levels 60-70, so one would hope those events aren’t entirely ignored or retconned from 100-110.
That said, Illidan Stormrage really does deserve a better hand than the one he was dealt in the Black Temple and throughout Burning Crusade. Despite his demonic tendencies, Illidan was always a fan favorite character in Warcraft III. I doubt anyone’s hoping for a redemption arc in Legion, but having that character back and starting problems again with the Burning Legion should be more than any fan could want. That alone makes World of Warcraft worth going back to.
World of Warcraft‘s sixth expansion, Legion, will launch on August 30 later this year.