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World of Warcraft - Island Expeditions Peek into Unseen Lore

By Suzie Ford on February 25, 2019 | Columns | Comments

World of Warcraft - Island Expeditions Peek into Unseen Lore

When World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth debuted in August 2018, one of its most touted features was the brand new Island Expeditions system. While fairly popular at first, over time expeditions became less interesting with egregious RNG to receive the unique rewards and due to the overly repetitive nature of the gameplay.

As a result of this fall off in player interest, many have stopped running expeditions altogether and, as a result, are not picking up the special quest items that can be dropped that lead to some pretty fascinating lore taking place “offscreen”. We have collected the most interesting ones that provide interesting tidbits of lore that may (or may not) have an impact on the WoW story at a later point.


Whether or not you’re running Island Expeditions, the things below are interesting tidbits of lore from WoW. Which one do you think is the most compelling?

Currently Active Storylines

Each of the three quest items below has at least a passing connection to the current storyline in Battle for Azeroth with its less-than-subtle hints regarding the Old Gods, Naga and with one of the “starring roles” being occupied by Sylvanas Windrunner, current Warchief of the Horde.

Wriggling Mass

The item is a clear reference to the Old Gods, the parasitic horrors that ruled Azeroth in the past but have since been defeated and/or imprisoned. Their preferred method of control is through whispered horrors that ultimately lead to madness on the part of many. This item is said to assail the owner’s mind “with all manner of vicious thoughts”, one that centers on a “many-eyed goat laying in a pool of black water”.

We know that Battle for Azeroth is headed towards the Old Gods, in particular, N’zoth, the Old God said to be “imprisoned beneath the darkest depths of the ocean”. N’Zoth has been encountered by Queen Azshara whose people were transformed into the Naga that is also front and center in the Battle for Azeroth storyline.

Murloc Eye

As mentioned above, the Naga have had a presence in Battle for Azeroth and will have a much larger influence on the story when patch 8.2 arrives. The Murloc Eye quest sends players back to Legion to return it to King Mrgl-Mrgl. The owner of the Eye is reminded that Naga sorcerers have used such items when casting, “but rarely do they dismember their Murloc slaves for this purpose”. That they have done so this time is considered “unsettling, even for the Naga”.

Queen Azshara and the Naga will have a huge part to play in BfA when the Sleeping City of Ny’alotha rises from the sea in the next major patch. Considering the slave status of Murlocs, this item could be a harbinger of things to be seen at that point in the story.

Ring of the Reefs

During the events of the Legion expansion, players met Helya, “the ruler of Helheim, the underworld of the cursed and fallen Vrykul”. During the Helya storyline, players traveled to the underworld and encountered Sylvanas Windrunner who made some type of deal with Helya, though we do not know what the terms or conditions of the deal were. Speculation was that Helya gave Sylvanas the lantern with which she attempted to capture the Valkyr Eyir. What Sylvanas promised to Helya remains unknown. With murder hobos supposedly killing Helya in the Trial of Valor raid, it was thought that this storyline had come to a dead end (*drops mic*).

The item that players pick up is called the Ring of Reefs and it is described as below:

A light mist twists and curls around this ring as if caressing it. Holding this object makes you uneasy, deep within your soul. It feels as if invisible, icy hands from the lands of the dead are pulling at you. There is no mistaking Helya's power. The Valarjar will want to hear about this.

From this description, we are led to believe that Helya may not be dead, something that could have a major impact on the BfA story given the unknown details of the deal made between her and Sylvanas.

The Twilight & Black Dragonflights

The Dragonflights have been major players through the entirety of WarCraft. While the Red, Blue, Green and Bronze dragons have mostly acted as allies to the factions and players, we have encountered other groups that were not so friendly.

Unscarred Black Scale

Black Dragonflight, led by Deathwing, was corrupted by the Old Gods to do their bidding. Used as a tool for destruction, this flight brought about the Cataclysm. By the end of MoP, it was implied that the flight is all but extinct - we meet a purified dragon whelp called Wrathion, who claims to wish to protect Azeroth and calls himself the last black dragon.

From the Island Expeditions we learn that, despite the deaths of Deathwing, Onyxia and Nefarian, the Black Dragonflight appears to somehow be recovering. Young black dragons are looking for Azerite around the uncharted islands.

Battered Twilight Scale

Twilight Dragonflight was artificially created by Sinestra, consort of Deathwing. Using ancient artifacts and nether dragons of Outland, she managed to construct a new dragon breed that was able to feed vampirically on all forms of energy.

This Dragonflight has been a major antagonist during the events of Cataclysm but most of their numbers perished during that conflict, including their leader. During Legion, Shaman players might have learned that some Twilight Dragons managed to survive in Deepholm.

The quest item implies that the Twilight Dragons continue to breed in great numbers in the abandoned dwarven fortress of Grim Batol.

Other Interesting Stories

Elemental Core

Before the life as we know it bloomed on Azeroth, four Elemental Lords battled for dominion with each other until one day, Old Gods landed on the planet and enslaved them. Azeroth eventually attracted Titans, who had brought the order to the planet. The Elemental Lords ended up being imprisoned within the specially constructed dimensions, called Elemental Planes: Skywall (air), Deepholm (earth), Abyssal Maw (water) and Firelands (fire).  

Shaman players in Legion could have learned more about the Elemental Planes as well as the state of affairs in them. Regardless, by the end of Legion the planes were almost peaceful, with four Elemental Lords aiding the Armies of Legionfall in their fight.

According to the quest item, however, the planes are once again back in turmoil with lesser elementals fighting against the Lords, believing that Azerite is a sign of elemental rebirth.

Sonic Stone

In Mists of Pandaria, one of the major antagonist groups was the Mantid, buglike creatures that are said to serve the Old Gods. During the expansion’s events, players defeated the Grand Empress of the Mantid, Shek’zeer, in the Heart of Fear raid. This was said to be a “heavy blow” to the race, and, without a leader, they stopped their activities.

However, with the finding of the Sonic Stone, players learn that the Mantid are “swarming” again, something they only do when led by an Empress. This means a new leader has ascended and could have ramifications on the current Battle for Azeroth story.

Glittering Scarab

Created by Titans using the Forge of Wills, Tol’vir are feline humanoids that can be found in Uldum. At some point in the past, they have succumbed to the Curse of Flesh.

Sargeras’ strike against the planet has unearthed new tombs around the world and released a new clan of the Tol’vir, called Amathet. They believe that their Uldum kin has betrayed their sacred duties and that it is the Tol’vir destiny to control the Azerite.

After learning that Uldum’s Titan Watchers have been slain, the Amathet have constructed their own which means they must have an active Forge like the one that was used to create their entire race.

Suzie Ford / Suzie is the former Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. An avid gamer, Suzie lives in the desert Southwestern US with her own personal minion.
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