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World of Warcraft: How the Jailer Could Have Been a Much Stronger Villain

World of Warcraft: How the Jailer Could Have Been a Much Stronger Villain

Since he was introduced in Shadowlands, Zovaal the Jailer has been the main antagonist of World of Warcraft. After struggling against him throughout the expansion, players defeated him within the Sepulcher of the First Ones raid during Eternity’s End. However, his defeat rang hollow for most World of Warcraft players - rather than feeling triumphant or bittersweet, they were just relieved to see him go.To get more news about Buy WoW Dragonflight Gold EU, you can visit official website.

At face value, the Jailer has a lot in common with other World of Warcraft villains, but those similarities crack under pressure. The Jailer’s motivations and modus operandi lacked the clarity and consistency of his predecessors, which led to annoyance or confusion among many players. However, with a little more development, Zovaal could have become as popular as the Lich King, the Old Gods, or Sargeras.
The Jailer’s motivations are the core of his poor reception. From when players first learned Sylvanas Windrunner was in league with the Jailer in Shadowlands, many asked why this decision was made. At various points throughout Shadowlands, The Jailer claimed he sought to destroy the world, dominate the multiverse, and reshape reality. Meanwhile, Sylvanas said they intended to fix the broken system of the afterlife; a goal that did not seem to match. It was not until Zovaal’s dying words that he mentioned a greater threat he was trying to protect against the whole time. At no point during Shadowlands were players told the reasoning behind his goals, nor why Sylvanas chose to betray her people and ally with Zovaal when their motivations were seemingly at odds.

When compared to the motivations of other villains, Zovaal’s seem flimsy. The Lich King sought to kill everyone and unite the world in death, while Sargeras sought to wipe out existence with the Burning Legion to prevent the Old Gods from corrupting it. These motivations are straightforward, but have details beneath the surface that support their overarching goals. The Jailer’s motivations lack clarity and depth, leading him to feel like a poor imitation of others.

This confusion could have been avoided if World of Warcraft played the Jailer’s hand more clearly. It seemed WoW was trying hard to keep an air of mystery behind Zovaal’s motivations, but that made it hard to become invested in stopping him. Trading that mystery for a more palpable, perceivable threat would have helped immensely. Alternatively, if World of Warcraft wanted to go with Sylvanas' stance that the system of the Shadowlands was cruel and wrong, it should have highlighted the flaws of the "Machine of Death," a plot point present in the Bastion story that was dropped before fully explored.
When players first met the Jailer, he was portrayed as an untouchable force of death. However, later in the story, players encountered many characters who voluntarily joined the Jailer’s side in Shadowlands, including Sire Denathrius, Helya, and Devos. With a legion of spies and followers in every corner of the Shadowlands, it seemed like he was a charismatic puppet-master, able to convince anyone to join him. World of Warcraft was caught between portraying two different versions of the Jailer.

Villains like Sargeras or the Old Gods do not suffer from this discordant characterization. Sargeras plays the role of an inexorable god-like being within the Burning Legion, while servants like Kil’jaeden and Gul’dan plotted deeper schemes. Likewise, the Old Gods often acted as unfathomable, distant entities while acting through proxies and corrupt beings. Zovaal attempted to do this in Shadowlands with schemers such as Denathrius and Kel’Thuzad, but never showed how his network of villainy operated.

World of Warcraft should have picked a method and stuck with it. If it wanted Zovaal to be an unstoppable force, it should have focused on keeping him a looming threat as characters like Denathrius carry the antagonistic weight. Alternatively, if WoW wanted him to be a master schemer, it should have portrayed him as the charismatic underdog, just barely able to slip beneath the notice of the Shadowlands Pantheon of Death to undermine their authority.

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