World of Warcraft Classic’s Season of Discovery is currently in full swing, and players think they’ve found a startling connection to the modern, “retail” version of Blizzard’s MMO in the form of a mysterious, Void-shrouded figure that just might be the franchise’s next big-bad.
WoW is set to have a big year in 2024. There’s a new expansion, The War Within, coming later this year to the modern version, while WoW Classic is getting new class abilities, reworked dungeons and raids, and the potential resurrection of cut content as part of Season of Discovery. Normally, these two different versions of the game don’t interact at all. Mounts and toys unlocked in modern WoW don’t unlock in the old-school versions, for example. They may be two versions of the same game, but in many ways they are miles apart.
That’s precisely why it’s so surprising that the villain Blizzard has already confirmed will play a large role in The War Within, Xal’atath, might have just appeared in Season of Discovery. As broken down by longtime WoW content creator Bellular, a new quest chain added just for Season of Discovery sees players venturing into the game’s revamped version of Blackfathom Deeps (once a dungeon, now a 10-player raid) to collect a mysterious object called The Box: one with the power to infuse the Void into armor. The quest sees players then journeying to Hillsbrad Foothills, where a mysterious crystal made of light, one not in the original version of the game, can be found. Using the power of the crystal, The Box can be destroyed, leaving behind a single Shard of the Void.
It’s what happens next that has the heads of WoW conspiracy theorists spinning. A mysterious elven figure, shrouded in the void, magically appears with a tempting offer. Rather than destroying the shard, the “Shadowy Figure,” as they are referred to in-game, instead proposes another idea–use the shard to craft a powerful piece of armor that can be used to “destroy evil or whatever it is you lot do.” Should players agree, the Shadowy Figure teaches players the recipes to craft various Void-Touched armaments, which are currently some of the best items in Season of Discovery.
Much about the interaction, from their elven and Void-masked appearance, to their dialogue where they poke fun at players and their noble intentions, and even the nature of the quest itself that sees players infuse an item with the power of the Void, lines up perfectly with that of Xal’atath. She’s a mysterious character that, according to lore from the modern version of WoW, has existed in the shadows of Azeroth for thousands of years, her dark essence infused into a powerful dagger of the same name which has changed hands numerous times and was even used by Priest players back during the game’s Legion expansion. Towards the end of the Battle for Azeroth expansion, Xal’atath is freed from the dagger after striking a deal with the Old God N’Zoth, free to roam the world once more.
What exactly she’s up to in The War Within is still a mystery, but it’s clear she’s up to no good and will play a large role in the adventures to come. Prologue quests revolving around Xal’atath, who is also referred to as The Harbinger, will be coming in Dragonflight’s patch 10.2.7 this spring to set up her role in the upcoming expansion.
The question still remains: Is the Shadowy Figure in Season of Discovery actually Xal’atath? Blizzard will likely never say outright, but the evidence does line up. If the Shadowy figure is Xal’atath, it has huge implications, as it would be the first time that the Classic version of the MMO has crossed over with lore and characters from the modern version of the game and could be a sign of things to come. Season of Discovery is currently still in the first phase of its content rollout, with new leveling phases and content slated to arrive every few months over the course of 2024, with phase 2 set to begin on February 8. That means it’s possible the mysterious Shadowy Figure could make more appearances in future phases and potentially offer players even more powerful items, along with more clues about their true nature.
WoW: The War Within is slated to arrive sometime this summer, with the expansion’s pre-patch, which will add the anticipated Warbands feature that will allow characters on the same account to share items and rewards, expected to arrive a few weeks ahead of the expansion proper. Around that same time, players in Season of Discovery should be reaching level 60, with Blizzard having promised new endgame activities and content updates for max-level characters.