It’s time to take another peek into the Shadowlands. This time, we’re heading into Revendreth, one of the areas that Champions of Azeroth will be visiting in the next World of Warcraft expansion. This land of the afterlife is well suited for the prideful and arrogant souls who get sent here, with its clouded, crimson skies, and the dark stone ramparts of Castle Nathria. You will not be finding the timid to walk these cobbled streets.
Yet, despite its imposing appearance, Revendreth is not a place of punishment. Indeed, the Arbiter, in her infinite compassion, has deemed the souls here still worthy of redemption, and this is their last chance to be something greater.
The Master of Revendreth, Sire Denathrius, is an Eternal One, one of the ageless and ever-wise beings who rule the realms of the undying. He is keenly interested in the welfare of mortal souls, devoting himself to the arduous process of ridding them of their pernicious pride.
While he may be kind and gracious, leniency will be detrimental to a soul’s progress. As such, the Master has no other choice but to put them through rigorous rituals to wear away at their encumbrances of mortality. They will inscribe their transgressions on a sinstone to remind them of their failings in life, assisted by the dredgers, diminutive caretakers whose tireless work demonstrates a relentless loyalty to their beloved Sire. The dredgers are the ones who will deliver the souls into the care of the Master’s devoted subjects, the venthyr.
These ashen-skinned venthyr, shaped as Sire Denathrius himself, inhabit the gothic hamlets of Revendreth. The rituals to strip the arrogance of defiant mortal souls also provides the anima on which the Shadowlands thrives; the more prideful a soul, the more abundant the anima. The most trusted venthryr, the Court of Harvesters, are an elite group of aristocrats, each possessing a medallion of the Master’s essence so as to allow Sire Denathrius to watch over it all.
The stoneborn, chiseled from the quarries of Revendreth by the Stonewright, are the defenders of the realm. They are ever vigilant against those who would seek to thwart the Master’s benevolent mission. Should souls shed their dark pasts, they can return to Oribos to be reassigned, or stay on to become venthyr themselves to continue the cycle. Some may still fail to be absolved; on losing their final chance at redemption, they will move onwards to the Maw.
A lot of the design for Revendreth is easily recognizable from its gothic, vampiric inspirations. The place is timeless, as death can be. The gargoyles and spikes would hardly be intimidating to the prideful souls who find themselves ferried here, but it sure does sets the mood. The gothic theme is complemented by medieval elements with the castle walls, and armoury.
The gargons are loyal beasts, unable to betray their sacred duty. They’re animated with the anima, filling a variety of roles: guards, hunting companions, pets, and fellow tormenters of souls, and even more rarely, as front line against ground forces. The venthyr keep death wargs as pets, creatures with the face of a bat, and a bear’s body.
The venthyr are known throughout the Shadowlands for their skill in exsanguination of only the most pure, concentrated anima from souls. The process is not a clean one, with the resulting unresolved energies and pollutants needing to be run off. Considering the venthyr’s visual identity of gargoyles and spikes, this device was part of the early development for the grates used to dump the waste out of Castle Nathria into the Endmire.
Completing the atmosphere is the music of Revendreth. What does “pride” sound like? The process of ridding souls of pride comes with a risk of succumbing to its corrupting influence, as sound designer Aaron Craft explains.
It doesn’t feel bad to have it; it’s not outright bad in small and controlled doses; but it can quickly lead one down an intoxicating and destructive path, unraveling in arrogant wrath and ugly rage.
As such, the magic needed to change accordingly to the state of its wielder: seductive and alluring in the hands of a venthyr engaged in ritualistic activities, and feral and monstrous should you show hostility. Hear the breathy sounds of the succubus of temptation, or the desperation of pride lashing out.
As you wander Revendreth, you can hear the echoes of the past as it builds upon the ruins of itself. They may hold their heads up high, but decay has happened nonetheless.
Even the mightiest will have to bow their heads when they arrive in Revendreth, but it is all in service for the greater good. With the anima waning, how will you help them return to their glory days to prepare souls for absolution? You’ll have to find out for yourself when you play the beta, or when the expansion fully releases.