- This article is about the Shadowlands zone. For the Val'sharah NPC, see The Maw (Val'sharah). For the quest, see . For other uses, see Maw (disambiguation).
|Level: 50 - 60|
Maw guard |
|Minor settlements||Ve'nari's Refuge|
|PvP status||Contested territory|
The Maw is one of the realms of the Shadowlands. This horrific place houses the most vile and irredeemable souls in existence. Ruled by the enigmatic Jailer, the Maw inspires nightmares and legends even among the denizens of the Shadowlands. No one has ever escaped this vile place, and any foolish enough to venture here are never heard from again. At its center lies Torghast, a cursed otherworldly prison where the most wicked souls in the universe are locked away. In recent years, the machinery of Death has been broken, and all souls who enter the Shadowlands are now condemned to torment in the Maw, no matter their deeds in life. This has caused the Maw to begin growing larger and more powerful while the rest of the Shadowlands wither from a lack of anima. The Maw is antithetical to Oribos.
The Maw is a max-level zone designed for exploration and (somewhat) open-ended play, without settlements or inns to let players catch their breath.
- 1 Background
- 2 Getting there
- 3 Geography
- 4 Gameplay mechanics
- 5 Quests
- 6 Achievements
- 7 Notes and trivia
- 8 Inspirations
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Videos
- 11 Patch changes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
In the deepest depths of the Shadowlands lies the inescapable Maw. The wretched souls imprisoned in this hopeless realm are the unforgiven and irredeemable. They are imprisoned forever and suffer without end, until they are twisted into a mere shade of their former glory. It is then that the tormented willingly serve their tormentor.
Normally, few souls are sent directly here, as even the most evil and prideful beings in existence are given a last chance to atone for their sins in Revendreth. If they fail or refuse to seek redemption, they are condemned to an eternity in the Maw. Still, few souls would trickle from Oribos into the Maw, for souls the Arbiter found completely irredeemable.
The landmass within the Maw consists of pieces of land that have been ripped from a realm that was destroyed upon entering the Maw's atmosphere and whose pieces have become burned and desiccated. The Jailer pieced these together into a single landmass by throwing out chains in every direction within the Maw from Torghast and pulling them inwards. The Maw was sealed and made inescapable with the magic of the Heart of the Forest, with the goal of banishing The Jailer forever.
As the Jailer's dwelling, the Maw is a tumultuous, hopeless maze of torment chambers and endless despair. The laws that bind the Shadowlands are meaningless within the Jailer's realm. Reality is ever-changing within the Maw, which is continually altering itself to the whims of its singular master who resides in Torghast, Tower of the Damned.
Around the time of the Burning Legion's third invasion of Azeroth, the machine of death was broken, causing all souls who enter the Shadowlands to pour directly into the Maw as part of the river of souls. As a result, the Maw grows larger and more powerful while other parts of the Shadowlands have become deprived of anima and have started withering. During this time, Mueh'zala brought Helya to the Jailer's side.
Sylvanas Windrunner has been working with the Jailer since her attempted suicide at Icecrown Citadel and has been perpetrating acts to bring about great amounts of death in the world of the living. As she has fed the Maw with new souls, both she and the Jailer have grown more powerful.
After Tyrande Whisperwind jumped into the Maw by herself, Shandris Feathermoon received visions of Tyrande in the Maw, including specific locations within the Maw of where she'd be able to find her.
Maps and subregions
|Instance name||Level range||Group size||Approximate run time|
|Torghast, Tower of the Damned||60||1-5|
|Sanctum of Domination||60||10-30 (20 on Mythic)|
|Zone Name||Faction||Level Range||Direction||Access|
|Oribos||50-60||n/a||Waystone to Oribos|
|Korthia||60||southeast||On foot, or using the Animaflow Teleporter from Ve'nari's Refuge|
The Maw is not a typical zone, and it has some unique mechanics to encourage players to drop by, gain some currencies by doing activities, and then leave.
The three currencies
The overall objective of the Maw is to gain Stygia and the reputation to use it with Ve'nari, but balanced against drawing the Eye of the Jailer. Additionally, the covenants would really like some more freed souls to power their way of life once a week.
Nearly everything in the zone affects some or all of the "currencies". Looting generic mobs will award a granule or two of Stygia. Freeing lost souls for the weekly covenant quest will award much more Stygia, but also advance the Eye of the Jailer progress. Rares and events will award more stygia, advance the Eye progress, and award reputation with Ve'nari. Completing quest objectives will advance Eye threat at that moment, while turning in will award the reputation and Stygia.
To direct players' efforts, there are several high-level activities that players are encouraged to complete daily and weekly:
|Source||Reputation||Stygia||Threat||Threat per rep||Threat per Stygia|
|Rare elite mob||100||≈75||500||5.00||6.67|
|Wrath of the Jailer (weekly)||250||100||500||2.00||5.00|
|Perdition Hold weekly||1100||700||1200||1.09||1.71|
|Maw Lore (one-time)||100-150||0||0||0||0|
The Eye of the Jailer
To keep players from grinding Ve'nari reputation and Stygia all day, the daily comes into play. This mechanic gently encourages players to not idle in the zone and, after a while, less-than-gently encourages players to leave the zone as more advanced threats are unleashed. Eventually, the Jailer will have had enough and starts rapidly eroding the player's life force, killing the Maw Walker outright.
The Eye of the Jailer threat level resets daily, alongside daily quests.
- Soulseekers attack you on sight
- Towers bombard your location, dealing damage and slowing you
- Assassins are sent to kill you
- Winged Abductors hunt you from above
- The Jailer rapidly erodes your life force
At tier three and above, the Jailer will send Assasins to harry the player as they enter combat. Defeat it to survive. Defeat 100 to earn the achievement .
At tier four, with no warning at all, a Stygian Abductor will snag the player from the ground and fly up high, winding up a long cast that will likely throw them off the edge of the zone.
At tier five, players lose 10% incoming healing every 20 seconds. Once all incoming healing is gone, players lose 3% of their max health every tick. Thus, once players hit the maximum for the day, they have 200 seconds (3 minutes, 20 seconds) to exit the Maw or make it to Ve'nari's Refuge.
During this tier, players are ineligible to loot any additional Stygia or gain reputation with Ve'nari. However, should they desire to run Torghast, they have enough time between landing in the Maw and running down hill to the refuge to make it to her Torghast portal.
Once players progress the Chains of Domination campaign, they will fight the Eye of the Jailer during a quest in the Maw. The Eye of the Jailer will no longer be inflicted upon players after the completion of this quest. It will be available as a raid boss in the Sanctum of Domination.
Ve'nari and her refuge
On the southeastern part of the mainland is Ve'nari's Refuge, home to the broker Ve'nari. At the refuge, players are immune to the Eye of the Jailer, have easy access to Torghast, and slowly build out a portal network to other points in the zone. Ve'nari trades in Stygia, acquired from various sources in the Maw.
However, Ve'nari is not a trusting character, and the Maw Walker will need to gain standing with her over time to purchase more of her wares. Such standing comes from completing her daily and weekly quests, killing notable foes, and taking part in other events in the zone. Additionally, two subzones, Perdition Hold and the Beastwarrens, are gated behind her reputation standing, and will award the achievements and when unlocked.
|Standing||Overall rep||To next level|
|Dubious||0 - 999||1,000|
|Apprehensive||1,000 - 6,999||6,000|
|Tentative||7,000 - 13,999||7,000|
|Ambivalent||14,000 - 20,999||7,000|
|Cordial||21,000 - 41,999||21,000|
Completing objectives in the Maw (freeing souls, daily quests, bonus objectives, etc...) will award some . Ve'nari will trade the player's gathered Stygia for various upgrades, like a portal network, or quality-of-life improvements in Torghast, like the ability to always see at least two Anima power choices when interacting with Anima hoards.
Should players die in the Maw, they will drop roughly 20% their Stygia, but they can loot their corpse to recover it. Players respawn instantly at a graveyard with the buff and will need to run back to their corpse while alive. However, if players die again before looting their first corpse, the Stygia on that corpse will be lost permanently. Should players fall off the edge of the Maw, the lost Stygia is gone permanently.
|n/a||60||Teleports the player to Ve'nari's refuge|
|300||Quest item (9.1)|
|500||Quest item (9.1)|
|Apprehensive||527||Torghast upgrade (death)|
|800||Torghast upgrade (obleron armaments)|
|1130||Maw upgrade (Chaotic Riftstones)|
|165||Stealth + movement speed buff|
|Tentative||1135||Torghast upgrade (broker powers)|
|666||Maw upgrade (assassins)|
|1050||Maw upgrade (grappling hook)|
|1650||Maw upgrade (Animaflow Teleporter)|
|875||Torghast upgrade (9.0.5 Broker teleports)|
|230||Torghast Mawrat skill|
|210||Torghast lock bypass|
|Ambivalent||775||Maw upgrade (abductors)|
|1025||Torghast upgrade (anima powers)|
|3760||Torghast upgrade (phantasma)|
|Cordial||1330||Torghast upgrade (broker powers)|
|1575||Torghast upgrade (broker powers)|
|Appreciative||1525||Torghast upgrade (anima hoard)|
Occasionally, players will find Soul Cages in the zone. Free the Caged Soul inside to gain progress on the weekly quest Return Lost Souls, which requires saving between five and twenty, but players will advance their progress on the Eye of the Jailer. Additionally, Wailing Souls serve the same purpose.
Rares and events
The minimap keeps track of both rare mobs (marked with a star), and Maw events (marked with a skull). Events respawn quickly (roughly every 5 minutes), while rares can take hours.
Killing rares or marked events will award a decent amount of , advance the and award some standing with Ve'nari. The rares are also tracked in achievements and .
Chaotic Riftstones and Animaflow Teleporter
Once unlocked with , purchased from Ve'nari with Stygia, players can use Chaotic Riftstones to more quickly get around the Maw. Each Riftstone will send the player to it's pair.
Additionally, players can unlock the Animaflow Teleporter with the , which provides one-way trips to the Tremaculum and the Beastwarrens:
- Main article: Maw storyline
During the Shadowlands intro experience, players crash-land in the Maw, fight their way through new enemies, catch up with the kidnapped leaders, and then activate the Eroded Waystone and leave the leaders behind.
Late in the Maldraxxus storyline, the Maw Walker is tasked to return to the Maw to retrieve a Baron of Maldraxxus.
At max level, midway through the first chapter of their covenant campaign, players are sent to the Maw to recover souls to power their covenant sanctum. While working on Ve'nari's tasks, adventurers see Baine get captured and sent to Torghast!
After completing the first chapter of the covenant campaign, Bolvar Fordrgaon asks players to return to Torghast to save Baine. In the process, they will recover a key that leads to the Runecarver, crafter of artifacts (and legendaries).
After freeing Baine, the rest of the Ve'nari storyline plays out -- which is gated behind her reputation.
Notes and trivia
- During development, the items had flavor text per item alluding to details otherwise not mentioned in the storytelling. Most flavor text was moved as descriptions of the corresponding quest, but the following were removed:
- It was implied that there was a time "before the Maw was called the Maw."
- A night elf Maw Walker had been tortured through physical abuse, gnomish tavern jigs (which led to guards abandoning their duties), and had their soul finally break after 115 repeats of the burning of Teldrassil.
- There used to be some form of currency in what is now the Maw.
- The attribution of to Warden Korrath.
- All the Korrath's Grimoires were readable; sadly, no player during development wrote down what the books said to the knowledge of the editors.
- The used to have the Waystone to Oribos and other locations of the Maw circled; on live the map is "covered in scribles" and "hint[s] at realms unknown".
- The mentioned the Mawsworn use time-based punishments.
- It was previously stated that the Arbiter sends some souls directly to the Maw, but this is not affirmed in-game, where souls are instead always given a last chance at redemption in Revendreth. However, Steve Danuser later confirmed the Arbiter did send irredeemable souls to the Maw, a "trickle".
- Bwonsamdi has been using his powers to prevent troll souls from falling into the Maw, to the point of grabbing Zekhan from it and shoving the soul back into his body.
- Art director Ely Cannon has described the level design of the Maw as being a "very difficult" process, as the artists had to create a zone that was very desolate without being a typical desert landscape. The artists tried to take a few of the themes included elsewhere in the Shadowlands and include them in the Maw, but in a way that was only vaguely reminiscent as opposed to specific parts from other zones. According to Cannon, the pieces of land that make up the Maw are probably not taken from the primary Shadowlands zones players can visit, such as Bastion or Revendreth, but rather from the millions of other possible afterlives that exist; the artists wanted the Maw to showcase something different from the other playable zones while still having elements that would allow players to understand that "this was a place but it's obviously not what it was before".
- Flying will never be added to the Maw.
- The Maw could be seen as the Warcraft equivalent of Hell. It also draws inspiration from the underworld of Greek mythology particularly, among other underworlds, real or fictional.
- For Zovaal's cultural inspiration, see The Jailer#Notes and trivia.
- The soul river Gorgoa is similar in concept to the rivers that flow through the Greek underworld, but named for the Gorgon, and the subzone Cocyrus and the currency are respectively named after two of said rivers: Cocytus and Styx.
- The flowing molten stygia gestures to the river of fire named Phlegethon.
- Furthering this comparison, many of the inhabitants of the Shadowlands use the Maw in a style reminiscent of mortal and real-life expletives involving Hell. e. g. "The Maw take you!"
- The fact Zovaal was banished here after doing something such that the Eternal Ones felt forced to do so is likewise comparable to the way Satan is dealt with in multiple Abrahamic traditions. Specifically, the ice-like nature of Stygia and the cold themes of Desmotaeron are parallel to how the last circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno is frozen over.
- The term "Maw" itself used for this hell-like realm could be a reference to the medieval Anglo-Saxon depiction of what the entrance of Hell looks like, the Hellmouth, in the West derived from Roman depictions of Orcus.
- The reads "Vala Mortalis", the latter being Latin for "death" or "mortality", but the former is not a word in Latin but is similar to "Valles" and "Vale", which mean either "valley" or "goodbye" respectively. As such, the coin could be a play on "memento mori" (remember death), instead being "goodbye death", or a reference to the Tanakh's verse of "the valley of death". The name "elethium" is likely derived from the River Lethe.
- The handful of references to "Obleron", like , may be a reference to Oberon, the King of the Fairies and husband of Fairy Queen Titania, who was based upon the German heroic figure of Alberich etymologically, but conceptually upon the Irish Finvarra (last pseudo-historical king of the fairies) and the Gaelic Donn (often an aspect of The Dagda), the Irish god of the dead and king of the Celtic Otherworld.
- Elements of both the Maw and Torghast resemble Oblivion, such as Coldharbour in comparison to the Coldheart Interstitia both in appearance and the name, from Elder Scrolls.
- The capture of Korthia resembles the Dark Anchors of Coldharbour.
- The way Odyn's eye was given to Mueh'zala and then given to Zovaal in the Maw gestures to how Odin gave his eye to the Mímisbrunnr, but also how this well was where the Ginnungagap once was, the name of which means "gaping abyss" and "yawning void", names parallel the idea of the Hellmouth mentioned previously.
- The race of giants sent to the Maw long ago that were later punished by Zovaal due to his feeling threatened by them are likely a reference to the Hectoncheires from Greek myth. One of the giants name is "Bahmeht", likely referring to Behemoth or Bahamut.
The Maw in Afterlives.
On the loading screen for Shadowlands.
The Maw as seen from Oribos after completing The Master of Lies.
Overlooking the Maw from Revendreth, pre-The Master of Lies.
- Patch 9.1.0 (PTR): Helgarde Keep subzone made available to players.
- Patch 9.0.2 (2020-11-17): Added.
- ^ a b c Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: What's Next. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Recap. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ https://twitter.com/Warcraft/status/1362911772861034496
- ^ https://twitter.com/Warcraft/status/1362912126948442112
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 169
- ^ worldofwarcraft.com - Shadowlands
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 180
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 174
- ^ a b Afterlives: Revendreth
- ^ a b BlizzConline Developer Interview: Steve Danuser & Morgan Day | Chains of Domination & Shadowlands Feb 22, 2021
- ^ a b Garth Holden 2020-07-09. Interview with World of Warcraft art director Ely Cannon. SA Gamer. Archived from the original on 2020-08-04.
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 184
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, pg. 187
- ^ Azeroth Radio 2019-11-03. John Hight & Johnny Cash SHADOWLANDS Interview! | BLIZZCON 2019! (06:57). YouTube. Retrieved on 2019-11-07.
- ^ On the Trail
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-26. BlizzCon 2019 | World of Warcraft: What's Next | Full Panel (19:40). Retrieved on 2020-09-19.
- ^ Shadows Rising
- ^ Everything changing in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands’ polarizing Maw zone
- ^ Hand of Hrestimorak
- ^ Hand of Bahmeht
- ^ Hand of Nilganihmaht