The good news? We finally know what N’Zoth looks like:

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This is big. Before this reveal a canonical image of the Lovecraftian-inspired eldritch god didn’t exist and the hype game surrounding him had been strong: N’Zoth, speculated to be one of the primary antagonists in World of Warcraft lore; N’Zoth, the villain that Chris Metzen said was “[the one] who signs Deathwing’s paychecks; N’Zoth, creator of the Naga and the final and most powerful Old God (we’ve already seen the other three: C’thun, Yogg-Saron, Y’Shaarj) Blizzard had yet to reveal to us.

The bad news (if you’re primarily a WoW player)? The first we’re seeing of the enigmatic N’Zoth is an image from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard’s online collectible card game and not World of Warcraft itself.

Some WoW fans were salty:

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And that’s just on Reddit alone. But is there really reason for such dismay?

This Isn’t Even My Final Form

Did Blizzard blunder what should have been a grand reveal of much more epic proportions? That depends on what we’re actually seeing in the N’Zoth image.

What’s there isn’t too bad. It’s a design that’s thematically consistent with the other Old Gods — an aberrant, unnerving mass of asymmetric eyes glowing furnace-like and orange-red with enormous tentacles extending everywhere. And let’s not forget the Venus Flytrap-esque maw for a forehead (if that is indeed N’Zoth’s head).

But is that all there is to it?

Will the Venus Flytrap-esque maw will open up to reveal something infinitely more malign? Is what we see pictured above merely a fragment of an enormous, insidious body that will have us recoiling in fear and soiling our panties once we see it in all its terrible splendor in a future World of Warcraft patch?

Something like this maybe?

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A new Hearthstone card was recently revealed (about an hour ago as of this writing) by a Latin American gaming site:

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N’Zoth’s Tentacle: 1 mana 1/1 Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to ALL minions

So maybe we’ll only be warding off certain parts of N’Zoth instead of facing him at full strength?

Justified Anger?

Do these upset WoW fans have a point?

Why tease and sow seeds for over five years through the World of Warcraft narrative and gameplay only to make the grand reveal in a card game that came out only two years ago? Is it some cheap ploy to get WoW players dabbling in Hearthstone to get the full lore experience?

N’Zoth is a creature born of WoW and damn it, a reveal of such an important lore figure should happen in WoW and nowhere else, right?

Actually, this isn’t the only time important facets of WoW lore have been revealed first in supplementary form before: Garrosh Hellscream killing Cairne Bloodhoof in a sabotaged Mak’gora in the novel The Shattering. Garrosh’s bombing of Theramore (which drove Jaina Proudmoore to the brink of madness) in the novel Tides of War. The death of Kirin Tor leader Rhonin in Tides of War. The subsequent trial of Garrosh after Mists of Pandaria in the novel War Crimes and the events that lead to the Warlords of Draenor expansion. You get the idea…

The point is, not all important lore for World of Warcraft is revealed to us in the actual game itself. Why? Does Blizzard want to spare us from egregiously long cut-scenes that would interrupt the game’s tempo? Are they simply trying to make a quick buck? Or should we remember that the Warcraft universe is bigger than just World of Warcraft?

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Remember me?

Hearthstone + World of Warcraft = More Lore for All?

Let’s not forget that Hearthstone is technically called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, so instead of dismissing it as merely a “free online card game,” we should view it as another great source of Warcraft mythology.

The latest expansion is called Whispers of the Old Gods, and what sort of Old Gods expansion would it be without some sort of involvement from N’Zoth? To reiterate a previous point: we still don’t know in what capacity we’ll be using the ancient evil. Will we merely facing/utilizing a fragment of his power? (The reveal about his tentacles seems to suggest something of that ilk.) Will his appearance here serve as an enriching stepping stone to when we finally do face him in World of Warcraft? Besides, is it really that upsetting to attain the N’Zoth reveal from a free to play card game made by Blizzard instead of buying a novel or… spoiling yourself via datamined information from MMO Champion?

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Or should we still think this is just some shady way of conniving WoW fans into playing Hearthstone and vice-versa, despite how logistically sound the move is from a business standpoint?

Then again, thanks to new knowledge from the recently released World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 which provides a much more definitive look at the overarching lore of WoW, maybe the Old Gods aren’t as integral to the villainous heirarchy as we once thought. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Should N’Zoth have been revealed in his entirety in World of Warcraft before Hearthstone? Sound off in the comments.

  • Hacksaw Tim Muggins

    The Warcraft III box is the end of the argument. Warcraft existed before World of Warcraft, thus it’s okay for Warcraft to exist and be presented outside of WoW.

    • Brandon Davis

      It’s not an end to the argument at all, because unlike Warcraft, Hearthstone is not a game to further the lore and story. It’s just a spin-off card game based on World of Warcraft.

      • Hacksaw Tim Muggins

        Who says it’s not a game to further the lore and story besides yourself?

        It absolutely is if that’s the decision Blizzard wants to make.

  • Pam Tanner

    I could see if N’Zoth was revealed in Diablo or something, but Hearthstone is part of the Warcraft universe. World of Warcraft is not the only part of that universe. As this article notes major plot points have taken place outside of WoW several times in the past, and this isn’t even a plot point, it’s just art.

  • Lunux

    For me, it’s not so much that N’Zoth is being revealed outside of WoW, it would have been fine for me if he/it was revealed in a rich detailed illustration in an important lore book like Chronicles. My complaint is that he/it’s being revealed in a sidegame that’s a lot more casual about the lore and doesn’t have any impact on the story in WoW. And to be brutally honest, I’m not terribly impressed with the art. Not that it’s bad art, but for a major lore character like this, I’d prefer a less cartoonish illustration.