Patch 7.3 promises some of the most ambitious storytelling World of Warcraft can offer with the announcement that players will be able to travel to Argus, homeworld of the Burning Legion. But what's the story behind Argus, and why are we heading there in the first place? Well, we have some information to share.
Argus is a world situated on the edge of the universe, at the border of where the Twisting Nether meets physical space. It's a blasted ruin that's been horrendously corrupted by fel magic, but thousands of years ago, before the Legion’s influence, Argus was a crystalline paradise. Way back when, the planet was the home of the draenei - back when they still called themselves the eredar. For tens of thousands of years, these eredar lived in a peaceful utopia ruled by their benevolent leaders Velen and Kil’jaeden. Yes, that Kil’jaeden. As you might have guessed, something really bad happened to this peaceful utopia in order for benevolent Kil’jaeden to become that Kil’jaeden. You're definitely right, but let's learn more about the eredar first.
The eredar were brilliant sorcerers capable of incredible power, and as with the nightelves on Azeroth, that magical power became the problem. It started with Thal’kiel and his cabal of sorcerers using their magic to summon demons in an attempt to stage a coup. He planned to topple Velen and Kil’jaeden so he could become the sole ruler of Argus. But before the rebellion could get off the ground, Thal’kiel was betrayed by his star apprentice Archimonde. Yes, that Archimonde.
Thal’kiel was executed for his transgressions, his skull turned into an artifact weapon future demonology warlocks would seek, and Archimonde, for his loyalty, was elevated to ruler alongside Velen and Kil’jaeden. Though Thal’kiel was eliminated, the damage he wrought extended far beyond his failed coup. Because of the concentration of powerful magic on the planet, Sargeras, Lord of the Burning Legion, turned his attention to the eredar homeworld.
Looking for new recruits with the intellect to lead his demonic crusade, a disguised Sargeras offered the Triumvirate of eredar leaders the chance to have ultimate power in exchange for loyalty. Kil’jaeden and Archimonde accepted, learning too late that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Velen, however, refused. The Prophet, aided by the power of the naaru and their transdimensional ship the Genedar, escaped Argus with his followers. Newly homeless, Velen and his eredar adopted a new name, calling themselves draenei - or "exiled ones" - and permanently solidifying the violent rupture of eredar society.
But the eredar and draenei were still the same people; these names just represented different facets of the same crystal. The eredar encompassed the inhabitants of Argus that chose demonic power and service to the Burning Legion, while the draenei were those who fled with Velen in search of a safer home. However, the distinction between the two groups was not only defined by allegiances. The fel magic of the Legion physically corrupted the eredar, changing their skin from blue to red. In some cases, they grew wings and horns, and they became larger than their draenei counterparts. These demon-corrupted eredar became known to the draenei as man'ari - or "unnatural beings." Archimonde and Kil'jaeden were transformed as well, and they were raised to positions of power only second to Sargeras himself.
After accepting Sargeras's deal, Archimonde focused his efforts on conquest and corruption, bringing worlds and races into the Burning Legion’s fold. Eventually, the magical dabblings of Queen Azshara made him turn his attentions to Azeroth. Promising Azshara the same power Sargeras once promised him, Archimonde and the elven Queen used the power of the Well of Eternity to open a portal the Legion would use to launch the first invasion of Azeroth: the War of the Ancients. The war ended poorly for both, and a small band of night elves and powerful dragonflights destroyed the Well, ruining the portal and returning Archimonde to the Twisting Nether. There he waited, conquering other worlds while he searched for a way to return and wreak his vengeance upon the planet.
Meanwhile, Kil’jaeden used his new powers to track down and attempt to annihilate his old colleague and friend Velen for his so called "betrayal" in refusing Sargeras’s gifts. For a millennia and more, the demon lord relentlessly pursued Velen and his draenei, destroying every world on which the exiles ever found respite. Thankfully, Velen was always able to keep his people at least a few steps ahead of Kil’jaeden’s murderous demons with the help of the naaru and the power of the Light.
It at last seemed the draenei had found a place to call home when they landed on the planet they'd ironically name Draenor, or "Exile’s Refuge." They lived at peace with the native orcs of the land, and when Kil'jaeden's scouts finally caught up with them, the demon lord kept his presence hidden. He was going to try a less direct, more sinister strategy this time around. Kil'jaeden decided to sow distrust in the orcs of Draenor, making them lash out and shatter the peaceful co-existence between the two races. Then, using the orc shaman-turned-warlock Gul’dan and the pit lord Mannoroth as his proxies, Kil’jaeden convinced the orcs to make the same pact with the Legion that he once made. He offered the orcs power in the form of the pit lord’s blood, and coerced by Gul’dan, the orcs drank.
After the orcs allied with Kil'jaeden, the draenei were slaughtered, and they were all but wiped out by the horde (you guessed it, that Horde) of bloodthirsty orcs. All Velen could do to save his people was what he knew best: run. He left scant defenders in the holy city of Shattrath, sacrifices that would hopefully create the illusion of the total destruction of the remaining draenei. Then, he gathered the rest of the survivors in his last ship, the Exodar, and fled.
He didn’t get far. The Exodar’s engines were damaged, and when they fired up, they exploded, sending the ship careening across the stars until it slammed into Azeroth. Velen’s gambit worked, though; the destruction of Shattrath finally sated Kil’jaeden’s desire for revenge, and he did not pursue Velen any further. Once more, the draenei evaded total annihilation. The exiles found new allies in the Alliance and a new home on Azeroth.
But, inevitably, the Legion found them again. Now Velen, dispirited by the personal consequences of the Legion’s rise, means to return to Argus. The Prophet is tired of running, so he intends to bring this millennia-long fight back to where it all began. When Patch 7.3 launches, we get to go with him.
Ash is a part-time writer/full-time gamer and has managed to successfully combine the two hobbies into one profession. She enjoys RPGs of all stripes and dreams of being a competitive Triple Triad player.