World of Warcraft

A Case Study: Loading Screens and How They Tell WoW’s Story

wow4 - A Case Study: Loading Screens and How They Tell WoW's Story

Let's start with the facts:

We know patch 8.2 will take us to Nazjatar and Mechagon. In lore, Nazjatar is near the Maelstrom, and we're unsure of Mechagon's location as of yet. What we do know is that Mechagon will probably be in close proximity to Kul Tiras, especially Tiragarde Sound, considering we end up in Mechagon through Tiragarde Sound and the two environments look almost identical.

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Mechagon looks like it's an isle just off of Tiragarde Sound considering the environments look almost identical!

Alright, so why am I bringing this up? The space in between Zandalar and Kul Tiras is strategically avoided by sailors as you travel in between the two continents.


STUDY #1: Boralus to Zandalar Locations (Very Convincing)

The journey from the Alliance outposts in Zandalar to Boralus has the same exact patterns as the journey from Boralus to the Alliance outposts, so there's no need to do an extra study on those.

Boralus to Nazmir

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When traveling from Boralus to Nazmir, the boat will go around Stormsong Valley rather than going south and right into Nazmir.

Boralus to Vol'dun

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When traveling from Boralus to Vol'dun, the boat once again goes around Stormsong Valley. Of course, you wouldn't travel around Zandalar to get to Vol'dun, but the boat seemingly wastes time going south.

Boralus to Nazmir

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This is the most interesting loading screen of the three, in my opinion. When traveling from Boralus to Zuldazar, this is the only instance in which the boat goes south. However, you can see that there is a change in direction in the middle of the ocean. Instead of just going in a straight line to Zuldazar, the boat turns a bit northwest, plateaus for a bit, and then sails back southeast as it nears Zuldazar.

So, what does this all mean? The first two aren't as compelling, but they would've certainly wasted a bit less time by going south. It's understandable that the ship goes south and takes that bump in the path on its way to Zuldazar.


STUDY #2: Dazar'alor to Kul Tiras Locations (Pretty Damn Convincing)

The journey from the Horde outposts in Kul Tiras to Dazar'alor has the same exact patterns as the journey from Dazar'alor to the Horde outposts, so there's no need to do an extra study on those.

Dazar'alor to Drustvar

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We can clearly see that as the ship exits the waters of Dazar'alor, it takes a sharp turn north, refusing to go to south. It takes this route until it becomes parallel with Drustvar, at which point it turns east and makes landfall.

Dazar'alor to Stormsong Valley

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As the ship leaves Dazar'alor once more, this is a path that anyone could expect. This is the most convenient path to Stormsong Valley from Dazar'alor, so there's not much to say except for the fact that there's still a sharp turn as the ship leaves Dazar'alor.

Dazar'alor to Tiragarde Sound (OUTLIER)

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This is the first image to be an outlier in this case study. The journey from Dazar'alor to Kul Tiras has proven to break this chain, as there's not any sharp movement northward. There is a bit of an abrupt attempt as the ship nears Kul Tiras to align itself with the shore and get to Tiragarde Sound, however, so this example isn't completely out of the water!

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As the heroes of the Horde sail from Dazar'alor to different locations throughout Kul Tiras, we once again see an attempt at going as northward as possible, especially during the ship's journeys to Drustvar and Stormsong Valley. Tiragarde Sound has proven to be the first outlier in this study, but we still see a bit of an attempt to move northward as it closes in on the shores of Kul Tiras.


STUDY #3: Splotches on the Azerothian Map (Sort of Convincing)

There's some splotches placed on the current map of Azeroth, and
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they've been on previous iterations too. Is this a design choice? Most likely. But what if they've refused to draw lines in these areas because there's some key locations they have yet to place here? Let's be safe and take a look for the sake of it.

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There are three locations which could be very important in the future of Warcraft lore. I predicted what they might be below!

Location 1 – Nazjatar or Ny'alotha?: The most accepted theory at the moment is that the area south of Kul Tiras and Zandalar is Ny'alotha, but there's little evidence to back this up. We don't even know if Ny'alotha is in the material plane that we exist in. All we know is that in 10 of 12 examples, ships avoid traveling south by making seemingly unnecessary strides, whether it be traveling around a continent or making sharp turns. Also, considering WoW disregards a lot of lore, this could end up being the location of Nazjatar before it rises up. It couldn't be Mechagon, as Mechgon is supposed to be smaller than the normal zone, and
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Location 2 – Probably Nazjatar: This area would almost definitely be Nazjatar when it does end up rising up. There's not a lot of space in between the Broken Isles and the Maelstrom, but there's a ton of space on the other side. I'd bet you a fair sum of gold that this is where Nazjatar will end up showing itself.

Location 3 – Perhaps the Dragon Isles?: There's a lot of speculation about the Dragon Isles, which have been in Warcraft lore since the very beginning, and there's been some recent discussion about its return through some Island Expedition quests. We know that the Dragon Isles were supposed to originally be a raid zone north of Stratholme, and it seems there's something north of Stratholme without lines. Could this be the future location of the Dragon Isles?

Of course, we're the most interested in Location 1 for this study, and it seems to be the biggest. Maybe we'll find a portal at the bottom of the ocean here to a different dimension that takes us to Ny'alotha? What if this is really where Nazjatar is located before it rises up? Who knows?

Conclusion #3: There's definitely something south of Kul Tiras and Zandalar, but whether or not the absence of map lines in this location is an indicator has yet to be revealed.


STUDY #4: The Great Sea and Old World Travel (Wait for It!)

With all this evidence, there's also much that we can counter it with. There's a map that shows both Horde and Alliance players journeying to the Great Sea during their War Campaigns that takes us to the southern area where sailors seemingly avoided. There's also an old route from Booty Bay to Ratchet that goes through here. While this seems to disprove it, there's a lot of evidence that still shows that this is a place of great significance.

From Dazar'alor/Boralus to the Great Sea

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The location that the Horde and Alliance both goes to is a bit obscure. It's also important to mention that the "X" is still partially on the lines. Also, there's something very important about this location.

Something very important to point out here is that in this area that sailors avoided, Derek Proudmoore's body was found, along with an entire fleet of Kul Tiran ships. Was there some unknown force here that wiped them out? A storm? How would we know it was a storm and not some evil presence like N'zoth or Azshara?

From Ratchet to Booty Bay

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This route clearly passes through the area that sailors between Zandalar and Kul Tiras have avoided. It's also important to mention that this is an old path that has been in the game since Vanilla.

As I said in the caption, this path has existed for 14 years. They haven't changed much with the old world since Cataclysm except for the recent Warfronts and the Barrens in patch 5.3. Otherwise, there's not much of a reason to change this specific route that not as many players take anymore until something does show up on the map.


STUDY CONCLUSION: Maps Tell the Upcoming Story

There's a lot of evidence pointing towards the fact that there's something coming. 10 out of 12 times, sailors avoid the south when sailing from Kul Tiras to Zandalar (or visa versa), the other 2 times still showing some signs of southern avoidance. Derek Proudmoore and an entire Kul Tiran fleet was found in this area. Hell, this entire area has a lack of lines, which hints even further that it could mean something.

There's something coming. Something big. And we need to prepare for it. Whether this be Nazjatar (probably not since it's most likely near the Maelstrom) or Ny'alotha (more likely), we need to be ready to face whatever forces end up ravaging Azeroth, whether it be Old Gods, Void Lords, or even Titans.

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