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Who’s the villain in the World of Warcraft: The War Within trailer?

Xal'atath in The War Within for World of Warcraft

A new trailer for World of Warcraft’s next expansion, The War Within, revealed a new villain and confirmed the release date.

World of Warcraft, through its many ups and downs, remains one of the biggest MMORPGs in the world.  Even as Blizzard experienced layoffs in January 2024, World of Warcraft boasted over 7.25 million subscribers across all game editions, the highest since the last expansion, Shadowlands. However, the Shadowlands DLC received backlash from most of the community for a plethora of complaints.

Most notably, Shadowlands had staggered patch releases, which made World of Warcraft feel stagnant during its era. The expansion also added annoying additions, such as legendary resource requirements with daily caps. On top of all that, the storyline under-delivered despite a massive cast of iconic villains returning.  Fans hope The War Within puts World of Warcraft back on course and while fans are getting hyped over the reveal of a new villain, the expansion’s quality won’t be certain until its release date.

Who is the villain of World of Warcraft: The War Within?

Xal’atath, a mysterious void entity possessing a dead night elf, is the antagonist of The War Within.

Revealed as the Harbinger of the Void, Xal’atath will be the main villain of The War Within expansion. Shadow Priest players will be very familiar with Xal’atath, as they were the ones who set her free in the first place from a cursed dagger. The entity struck a deal with N’zoth and has begun amassing a Nerubian army for sinister purposes.

Notably, instead of any apocalyptic angle that previous expansions focused on, The War Within trailer heavily implies a more internal struggle. While there will inevitably be big reveals, given that it’s World of Warcraft, a focus on characters would certainly be welcomed by fans. Character writing has always been one of the biggest pet peeves by fans with the current World of Warcraft story, particularly with Shadowlands.

What is the release date for World of Warcraft: The War Within?

World of Warcraft: The War Within Beta begins on June 5, 2024.

The War Within is the first chapter of what Blizzard calls the “Worldsoul Saga.” Xal’atath leads an army of arachnid nerubians as players dive deeper into the earth to uncover the mysteries of this expansion. 

As for the full release, Blizzard has not announced a concrete date. However, speculations put the release sometime in September 2024, as the World of Warcraft: Remix event ends on August 19. With Chris Metzen’s return to the writing team and new figureheads at Blizzard, fans hope The War Within doesn’t disappoint. 

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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