Wrathion Will Deal with Deathwing's Legacy in Dragonflight – Forbes Interview with Steve Danuser

Wrathion Will Deal with Deathwing's Legacy in Dragonflight - Forbes Interview with Steve Danuser

In an interview with Forbes, World of Warcraft’s lead narrative designer Steve Danuser elaborated a little on the role Wrathion will play in Dragonflight.

Heather Newman: Wrathion, the good son of a legendarily bad dragon, returns this expansion as a leading character. But he wasn’t shown in any of the preview footage of the expansion, unlike most of the other dragon characters. Has he changed?

Steve Danuser: In terms of his appearance, Wrathion is going to maintain his handsome neer-do-well-ish kind of a guy who can make some questionable choices in the things that he’s done over the years.

He is really young in dragon terms and he has a very unusual origin. He was the fusion of dragon eggs mixed with outside influences. He consumed the heart of Lei Shen, which was brimming with Titan energy. So he has a very unusual origin story. And he’s one of only a couple black dragons left on Azeroth that we know about him and Ebonhorn. So Wrathion’s got a journey of his own.

Unusual Origin

Steven mentions that Wrathion is really young in dragon terms, but he’s young in our terms as well. The result of a red dragon-led experiment to create a purified black dragon egg free of corruption, Wrathion first hatched during the events of Cataclysm. From the start, Wrathion made it clear he planned to be his own dragon – free not only of Deathwing’s influence, but of the Red Dragonflight’s influence as well.

Wrathion says: No. I want him to deliver a message to the red dragonflight.
Wrathion says: Tell them that I am free of my father’s madness, and I will be free of them as well. I am to be left alone: this will be my first and only warning.

Wrathion was also immediately ruthless, sending players on a series of quests to wipe out the remaining members of the Black Dragonflight, who he saw as beyond redemption.

Wrathion says: As you know, Black Dragons frequently disguise themselves as humanoids in order to tamper with mortal affairs.
Wrathion says: While the house of my mad father collapses around him, the few remaining Black Dragons have gone into hiding.
Wrathion says: But I can still sense them. My cowardly brothers and sisters will cause untold suffering if we allow them to stay in the shadows.
Wrathion says: Moreover, they are a threat to me.
Wrathion says: That’s where you come in. Help us to slay them all, and I will reward you handsomely.

The Heart of Lei Shen

By Mists of Pandaria, Wrathion knew that the Burning Legion would return, and he set about making plans to prepare Azeroth for the coming threat. Believing a divided world would be weak, Wrathion wished to see an end to the faction war.

Wrathion spent a great deal during Mists building up a friendship with Anduin Wrynn while the latter recovered from his bones being shatterd, though their worldviews fundamentally conflicted – Anduin seeing Wrathion as too cutthroat, while Wrathion viewed Anduin as soft.

Eventually, Wrathion had players bring him the heart of Lei Shen – the Thunder King. In life, Lei Shen was a Mogu emperor who stole the power of storms from the titan keeper Ra. Lei Shen was resurrected by the Zandalari during the events of Mists of Pandaria, and was the main antagonist of patch 5.2.0.

When Wrathion ingested the heart, which, as Steve Danuser said, was still brimming with Titan energy, it had a very strange effect. He went into a trance and even spoke in a voice that was not his own for a moment. Anduin, who witnessed the incident, found it extremely unsettling.

Wrathion says: Ahh – the heart of a king. The powers of a God.
Anduin Wrynn says: What are you doing? You’re not seriously going to eat that-
Wrathion says: It is filled with Titan magic, the language of creation…
Wrathion says: Oh, I see them – a million, million worlds – glittering in their perfection – but one above all others – oh –
Anduin Wrynn says: What are you trying to pull?
Wrathion says: It is gone. I don’t remember any of it. Oh! None of them remembered. The irony!
Anduin Wrynn says: What are you talking about? I don’t trust you.
Wrathion says: You are wise not to.
Wrathion says: Champion, I need time to…”digest” what I have learned. But soon, we will take action.

Wrathion in Dragonflight

Wrathion has been seeking the Dragon Isles at least since Battle for Azeroth, but has been unsuccessful. We now know this is because the Dragon Isles have been hidden from the outside world, but that will change in Dragonflight.

Wrathion’s focus in Dragonflight sounds like an interesting contrast to his early quests. While he has always struggled with Deathwing’s legacy, Wrathion’s earliest quests involved cleansing the corruption within the Black Dragonflight through destruction – sending us to kill its members. Now, Wrathion sounds like his focus will be on renewal, rebuilding the Black Dragonflight from the ashes.

Heather Newman: What will he be up to in Dragonflight?

Steve Danuser: We know that he’s been looking for the Dragon Isles, he’s been seeking them out for a while, because he has this hunger within him. He has this feeling that he is a descendant of Deathwing and that he has in some way to make up for the fractured legacy that Deathwing left behind and what it did, decimating not only the black dragonflight, but other flights as well.

So Wrathion feels that burden of reclaiming the black dragonflight from the ashes of what it was. He fancies himself as someone who could take up the reigns of leadership and guide it forward. Now that point of view isn’t exactly going to be shared by all of the other dragons. Certainly they would have questions about the methods he’s used and wondering about his origins and what that means for him as a dragon. So Wrathion has a great journey ahead.

He’s going to remain dashing and all of that, but we’ll see a much more personal side to him as well, as he faces some of these questions about himself and about his dragonflight.

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