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WoW: Red Shirt Guy is back! Questions about necromancy and death in Shadowlands

The lore of necromancy remains one of the great mysteries of World of Warcraft to this day. In Azeroth, this kind of dark magic is frowned upon and even forbidden in some parts of the world. But as strange as it sounds, there are some differences between Maldraxxi magic and classic necromancy in the real world.

The return of the Red Shirt Guy!

Lore legend and WoW columnist Ian Bates, better known as The Red Shirt Guy

, recently asked the World of Warcraft development team via Twitter questions about the backstory of the Necrolords in Shadowlands. Especially when it comes to the topic of "Death in the Shadowlands", there are currently many misunderstandings in the WoW community. Recommended editorial contentAtthis point you will find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal data, external content will only be displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content":Load all external contentIagree to external content being displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. More about this in our privacy policy. External content Read more in ourprivacy policy.

We previously addressed this issue in the article Shadowlands and Death in Azeroth

. Steve Danuser, Narrative Lead on World of Warcraft, picked it up again on Twitter and answered Ian's question.Recommended EditorialContentThisiswhere you will find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal information, external embeds will not be displayed until you confirm by clicking "Load all external content":Load all externalcontentIagree to have external content displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. More about this in our privacy policy. External Content Read more in ourPrivacy Policy.

Steve confirmed that the death of souls in the Shadowlands is final. The soul dissolves or is just destroyed. The developer also explained the difference between the magic used by the Necrolords in Maldraxxus and classic necromancy as we know it from Azeroth: Rather than forcefully bringing corpses back to life, the Maldraxxi prefer to gift souls with a new body. After the rebirth, it's a matter of improving the new shell more and more. For example, after several millennia, the body of a Maldraxxi rogue looks completely different from the one it was originally created in. The developers definitely want to explain this subtle difference better in the future.

Not all undead are the same

Sure, the Necrolords can also create soulless constructs from corpse parts. However, the highest art of necromancy in Maldraxxus remains transferring a soul from body to body. They cannot, however, retrieve a dead soul. The type of necromancy Arthas used differs from the magic of the Necrolords. The Scourge is the creation of the Burning Legion. However, the demons have stolen only a small portion of the Necrolords' knowledge in the Shadowlands. Basically, the demon necromancers are bunglers who didn't understand the philosophy of the Necrolords.

On the other hand, creating undead like banshees or death knights is part of the supreme discipline of necromancy. However, Arthas could only cast this type of magic with Frostmourne. The Runeblade was forged from the chains of the dungeon master and decorated with the runes of dominion. These powerful runes are the key to soul transfers between reality and the Shadowlands. They also ensure that the respective souls submit to the will of their master - as in the case of Arthas and Sylvanas. The first Forsaken of Lordaeron were a byproduct of the plague the demons experimented with. After Wrath of the Lich King, Sylvanas resorted to the aid of the Val'kyr to fill the ranks of the Forsaken with new undead.

Speaking of Val'kyr, however, some powerful creatures can manage a necromancy without external aid. As messengers between worlds, the winged ladies of the Odyn have mastered the fine art of soul transfer. The best example of this is the second reincarnation of Nathanos Pestrufer. Sylvanas commanded one of her Val'kyr to transfer his soul into a new, younger body. However, this magic exacts a high price from the Val'kyr. Thus, some servants have had to sacrifice themselves to bring Sylvanas back to the realm of the living. To learn more about Sylvanas' pact with the Val'kyr, read this article. We also recommend the Warcraft short stories Nightfall and The Dark Mirror

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