In fact, it looks a lot like a crater. One that is pretty similar to two fairly substantial craters we already have in game: Un’goro Crater over on Kalimdor, and Sholazar Basin up in Northrend. Given what we’ve been told so far in regards to the new raid, and how the developers wanted to make something in the style and scope of Ulduar, this raises a few questions. The biggest one being — what if that similarity to Ulduar isn’t just a matter of size and scope?
Un’goro Crater and Sholazar Basin
Un’goro Crater was thought to be an anomaly in vanilla — the lush green landscape stuck out in stark contrast to the deserts that surrounded it. It was later revealed to be a kind of experimentation area for the Titans. In fact, Khaz’goroth himself once stood in Un’goro and shaped creations, testing them in the crater as his own personal petri dish of sorts. Although a few of the creatures roaming in Un’goro were created by Khaz’goroth, many existed long before the Titan’s arrival.
Sholazar Basin is basically the Northrend version of Un’goro Crater. Whether or not Khaz’goroth spent time there as well is unknown. However, the Avatar of Freya makes it clear that the Basin is an experimental area, which points to the same “petri dish” purpose of Un’goro Crater. In addition, the two zones are linked together via a Waygate, and players can travel from one to the other simply by stepping through.
The fact that there were not one, but two of these areas in the world suggested that perhaps others existed as well. Although none were discovered on the Eastern Kingdoms, the fact that the world used to be united as one continent could explain the absence of a crater on that side of the world — at the point in time of the Titan’s experiments, all continents were linked together.
The Isle of Giants
The appearance of the Isle of Giants maps bears a striking resemblance to both Un’goro and Sholazar Basin, suggesting that perhaps this is a third Titan “petri dish” if you will, once used by the Titans for experiments in creation. Given the interest that the mogu have shown in Titan technology, it only makes sense that an area of this nature would exist — especially given how many other Titan-esque facilities we’ve already seen on Pandaria.
The other telling factor is the dinosaurs that are suddenly popping up all over the place. Datamined material tells the story behind one of the bosses in the new raid, Horridon:
The Zandalari brought powerful creatures with them to the Isle of the Thunder King to use as engines of war. Led by the War-God Jalak, the dinomancers of the Zandalari Beast Ward use ancient tribal magics to strengthen the great beasts and command obedience. The horns of Horridon, the fabled mount of Jalak himself, can tear through the stone walls of a keep as a blade cuts silk.
So where’d they get these creatures from? The Isle of Giants is a pretty good guess. Dinosaurs are commonplace in both Un’goro and Sholazar, which makes that connecting link between the three places even more likely. Here’s the thing — according to the Prophet Khar’zul, the Zandalar need all the land they can get, because Zandalar Isle was destroyed. So it’d make sense that the Zandalar seek the next best place for a jungle home of sorts over on the Isle of Giants.
Why it all matters
So why should we care about all of this information? Two reasons — the mogu are attempting to use Titan technology again in an effort to rebuild their former Empire. We see evidence of this in Mogu’shan Vaults, and that raid suggested this was only the beginning. In fact, the final boss of that raid was a revamped-Titan facility that mass produced mogu soldiers. The mogu aren’t just looking to rebuild their Empire, they’re looking for a way to easily create and control as many soldiers as possible.
And on the other end of the spectrum we have the Zandalar. They literally brought the Thunder King back to life, because he was the one who first forged the alliance with the Zandalar way back when the mogu Empire was still in power. Back in patch 4.1, the Zandalar were trying to unite all troll tribes again because trolls were simply dying out — they wanted to go back to the days of troll supremacy, when you couldn’t walk three feet without kicking a couple trolls along the way.
So now the Zandalar have the Thunder King back. The Thunder King is no doubt quite pleased with the Zandalar. The Zandalar want to rebuild their Empire. It just so happens that the mogu have been working on rebuilding their Empire, too. And a petri dish of the Titans, an area where Khaz’goroth himself may very well have toyed with creation … well, that’s some pretty powerful technology. More than enough to literally rebuild the two Empires from the ground up, by mass-producing living beings.
If the Isle of Giants is another Un’goro, another Sholazar Basin, does that mean that the Throne of Thunder isn’t just similar to Ulduar in scope and size, but in purpose, too? And that makes me wonder about that mysterious 13th boss that appears after we defeat the Thunder King on heroic. Is it something the Thunder King had up his sleeve all along, or is it perhaps something imprisoned in the Throne of Thunder … something similar to Yogg-Saron?
What are the mogu ultimately up to? For that matter, what are the Zandalar up to? And how do we stop two powerful enemies, when they have the very power of the Titans themselves on their side?
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you’ll ever need to know.