“The sun has set on this mortal world, fools. Make peace with your end, for the Hour of Twilight falls!”
The Hour of Twilight is the fulfillment of a chain of events instigated by the Old Gods many eons ago. It is prophesied as the moment when the Old Gods will finally be freed from their ancient prisons and will return to end all life on Azeroth.
A very ancient prophecy speaks of the Hour of Twilight--Azeroth's final moments of existence. At the last sunset, the Old Gods, sealed away within the depths of the world long ago, will enact their judgment and irrevocably twist the mortal world to reflect their essence. On Draenor, the Pale orcs received a prophecy of the Hour of Twilight from the void lords: a time when the shadow would envelop the universe and snuff out all life in existence. When the Pale, as the Twilight's Hammer clan, arrived on Azeroth during the First War, they immediately sensed the Old Gods and realized Azeroth was the place where the prophecy would occur.
Aman'Thul's vision of the Old Gods one day causing the Hour of Twilight, capable of potentially wiping out all life on Azeroth, was one of the reasons the Pantheon empowered Nozdormu and the other Dragon Aspects with their powers, to ultimately avert this single catastrophe, although Aman'Thul for all his vast powers was not omniscient and was unaware Neltharion would eventually be corrupted into Deathwing. Using this to their advantage, the Old Gods corrupted Deathwing as a way to make their plan "foolproof", using one of the very Aspects destined to stop the Hour of Twilight, to instead usher it. Nozdormu received another vision of the future which made it apparent that Deathwing would be the Hour of Twilight's Harbinger after the War of the Ancients.
It possibly started with the reopening of Ahn'Qiraj, when the Old God C'Thun stirred from its slumber beneath the lands of Silithus. A chain of events is set in motion where the Old Gods are rising, their ancient machinations are finally paying off, and Deathwing is their greatest pawn upon the board. While the insane Aspect believes himself to have his own purposes, his mind and soul were devoured by the Old Gods from the onset, and in this final hour the former Earth-Warder of the titans has become the ultimate weapon for the Old Gods to unleash.
Deathwing's attempt at fulfilling the Hour of Twilight was finally stopped when he was vanquished at the Maelstrom by the Dragon Aspects, Thrall and mortal champions of the Horde and the Alliance. However, this victory came at a great cost, with the dragonflights' losing the majority of their power and immortality, as they had, at last, fulfilled their ancient purpose.
In Ysera's vision of the Hour of Twilight, all the five Aspects, including Deathwing himself, lay dead and broken at the ruins of the Wyrmrest Temple, having been destroyed by their own powers. Every lifeform on Azeroth will be dead and rotting, except twilight dragons. This outcome was also a possible future if Thrall would not step in the place of Neltharion as the aspect of earth, and remained in the Horde instead of appointing Garrosh as his replacement.
The grim aftermath of the Hour of Twilight can be witnessed first hand by players within the End Time instance. When the Hour of Twilight shown in the End Time has come to pass, all life on Azeroth forever has faded, and only time-twisted echoes (and possibly some newly risen ghouls) are left to aimlessly wander a dead and empty world.
- Deathwing yells: The sun has set on this mortal world, fools. Make peace with your end, for the Hour of Twilight falls!
- Fandral Staghelm says: Not so fast, Son of Durotan. You and your allies have certainly set us back. But, the Hour of Twilight cannot be averted! The Twilight Prophet knows that you, and you alone, are our final obstacle. He sent me to remove you from the game.
- Ragnaros yells: THE END COMES, SON OF DUROTAN...THE FINAL HOUR OF TWILIGHT.
True End Time?
- First observation
Murozond states in End Time that he has seen the "true End Time", worse than what is seen in the instance, and that the Hour of Twilight was simply a blessing the world cannot comprehend. This leaves the question as to what Murozond is referring to, but since he was once Nozdormu it is not surprising that Murozond would be able to travel through time to different possible outcomes to see this true End Time. As to why Nozdormu never mentions this true End Time is a mystery. Murozond may be lying. This concept may also explain the discrepancy between Ysera's vision and what players encounter.
- Alternative observation
In the End Time instance, the future and maddened self of Nozdormu states that he has "witnessed the True End Time", and proclaims that the dead and empty world the adventurers see is "a blessing you simply can not comprehend". When he is eventually slain by the adventurers with the aid of his former and still sane self, Murozond's final words are: "Aman'Thul... What I... have... seen...".
These strange remarks suggest that Murozond is the consequence of Nozdormu eventually bearing witness to something he has yet to have witnessed in the present, and that the End Time the adventurers journey to is in fact a time pocket that Murozond and his Infinite Dragonflight weaved to be able to escape or at least hide from this "True End Time".
Since the End Time that Nozdormu/Murozond hides himself in already portrays the apocalypse having come to pass, it raises the very disturbing question as to what the Great Aspect of Time could possibly have seen beyond the end of the world that instilled such terror in him it forever pushed him over the brink of insanity.
- Multiple outcomes
Even with Deathwing's demise, the Old Gods may still be plotting another way of achieving their ultimate goal, suggesting that the Hour of Twilight was only delayed and not truly stopped. The further proof to this claim is The Blank Scroll short story, where Garrosh Hellscream--fueled by the power of the Scroll--managed to destroy most bastions of resistance against his goal to gain Orcish supremacy over the world. For a time they ruled, and then the apocalypse occurred; caused either by the Legion or the Naga and the Faceless ones (referred to as "horrors from the sea") or maybe both, fighting a devastating war that ultimately destroyed Azeroth.
A similar outcome alluding to The Blank Scroll story is presented during the questline (as well as the Mythic-only last phase of the final encounter with Garrosh Hellscream in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid). Kairoz, trying to push the Vision to its limits, requests an adventurer to find a most devastating timeway he can find. During the vision, faction leaders of both Horde and Alliance can be seen impaled, adorning the Stormwind Harbor, which is ruined by the Orcish siege as well as polluted with Y'Shaarj's essence.
- Not the true Hour of Twilight
While this is the version of the Hour of Twilight put forth on Azeroth, it does not, in fact, seem to be the true Hour of Twilight. The Pale Orcs of Draenor heard of the prophecy from the Void lords themselves, and this version states that the Hour of Twilight is when the Void consumes all reality. It's possible that this is what Murozond was referring to.
It is possible that the alternate future that is Ny'alotha was what Nozdormu was trying to prevent.
- Nozdormu's inevitable fate as Murozond
At least initially, whether Nozdormu's fate was inevitable seems to have been unclear. Nozdormu stated that the End Time was not an "inevitable" future, Alurmi claims afterwards that the End Time was apparently overwritten as a timestrand, and Alexstrasza in their post-Cataclysm meeting that Nozdormu and others "had altered that future forever", thereby erasing his responsibility for Murozond. Nevertheless, the most recent lore in Chronicles Vol. 3 seems to indicate that Nozdormu's fate was "inescapable". Exactly how Nozdormu regained enough of his Aspect abilities as Murozond to counter his former empowered self is also debatable, although it is possible the Old Gods or their servants (although most of those on Azeroth are apparently slain in the present day) empowered him much like they did Deathwing. Whether this means Murozond's End Time is also inescapable as Azeroth's future, or something else entirely, remains ambiguous.
It's possible that the true Hour of Twilight is not the resurfacing of the Old Gods on Azeroth, but the successful corruption of Azeroth's world-soul into an immensely powerful Dark Titan. The potential for a world-soul to be corrupted by the Void Lords was what drove Sargeras to begin the Burning Crusade, with the goal of wiping out all life in the universe in order to prevent the Void Lords from corrupting it. Under the Void Lords' influence, Azeroth could be used as a tool for them to corrupt the universe, or as a source of power to use to fully manifest themselves into it.
The seeming contradictions as to the nature of the Hour of Twilight might be attributed to the mercurial and incomprehensible nature of the Void itself, with its constantly embracing all possibilities as potential truth, and makes it possible that there is indeed more than one single future outcome for the Hour of Twilight.
- ^ Deathwing the Destroyer (Twilight of the Dragons)
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 55
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 84
- ^ Ask CDev
- ^ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector's Edition, Chris Metzen
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 59
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, page 125-127
- ^ War Crimes
- ^ The Nordrassil Summit - Dialog
- ^ Thrall#The Vision of Fire
- ^ Garrosh believed in a world ruled by the orcs. The scroll had made that reality. The orcs flowed over Kalimdor, enslaved by a different master than the demonic blood that had once dominated them. Nothing could kill them, and the pale void of the artifact that drove them blazed in their empty eyes. Teldrassil had toppled, burning, into the sea. A charred pit was all that remained of the Exodar. The tauren and trolls, appalled by the devastation, had fled across the Great Sea, hoping that Garrosh would be content with his victories. Stormwind fell. The orcs reigned supreme. For a time. The Dark Portal, left unguarded, was reclaimed by the Burning Legion. Horrors rose from the sea and found no champions left to stop them. Azeroth's mountains burned and melted. Its oceans boiled until nothing remained. And all was dark.
- ^ Dawn of the Aspects pg. 43
- ^ World of Warcraft Volume 3
- ^ Traveling in a cold corner of the Great Dark Beyond, the titan Sargeras stumbled upon a world-soul. To his horror, he saw that the planet had been almost completely infested by the Old Gods, and the nascent titan's tranquil dreams had turned into horrific nightmares. After learning of the void lords' plans from the black world's nathrezim inhabitants — that if the Old Gods succeeded in corrupting a world-soul, it would awaken as an unspeakably dark creature who would devour all of creation — Sargeras cleaved the corrupted world in two, instantly killing the nascent titan within. When he returned to the Pantheon to tell of his discovery, Sargeras was chastised by his brethren, who insisted that they may have been able to save the world-soul without killing it. It was this event that later led Sargeras to form the Burning Legion in an attempt to prevent the void lords from ever spawning a dark titan.