Sargeras will be the final boss of WoW’s 5th expansion. That I’m sure of. But where has he been in the meantime? The common misconception is that he’s dead. That’s a load of bunk. He’s as alive as ever. That said, Blizzard definitely went out of their way to make it as confusing as possible.
I’ll sum up some of the details here, but for the entire story, you should check out the Sargeras entry on WoWpedia. As it goes, the problem with Sargeras lies within his famous defeat at the hand of Medivh’s mother Aegwynn. To just add salt to the wound we then have “The Tomb of Sargeras” rising out of the ocean southeast of the Maelstrom.
So what the heck happened?
Let’s jump back really fast to 10,000 years ago during the War of the Ancients. At the heart of the war was the Burning Legion trying desperately to open a portal to where Sargeras resided, so he could physically enter Azeroth. It is *heavily* implied throughout the story that Sargeras’ mere entry into Azeroth would be enough to sunder it. Consider what happened when Deathwing came back. Now, consider this: Compared to Sargeras, Deathwing is about as dangerous as an armor plated housefly. Fortunately, the good guys won the War of the Ancients, so Sargeras never showed up.
It all finally goes pear-shaped a few years later when Sargeras shows up in the frozen north and is defeated by Aegwynn. Well– obviously this didn’t make any sense. Here’s the fine print: What Aegwyn defeated was an *avatar* of Sargeras. His plan all along on this particular “outing” was to enter Azeroth via an avatar, be attacked by Aegwynn, lose to her, and promptly implant his spirit within her, allowing him to later take possession of Medivh. His plan worked flawlessly.
Everything would have gone to hell (literally) if it wasn’t for Medivh’s apprentice Khadgar, who noticed the corruption. Medivh was ultimately decapitated by Lothar himself, and the last time we saw Sargeras was when his spirit was erupting from the bloody stump of Medivh’s neck.
So, just to be clear, what Aegwyn defeated was an avatar of Sargeras, and it’s the corpse of that Avatar that is buried in the “Tomb of Sargeras”. Some have suggested that it was only a “part” of Sargeras’ spirt that originally possessed the avatar. I think that’s hogwash, or I at least hope it is, because that whole idea just comes across as half-baked. “Oh, er– it wasn’t Sargeras’ spirit. It was just a small part of it!” Why? What would be the point of doing that? The lore stands just fine as it is. To retcon the story so it was only part of his essence would only diminish the lore we already know.
So– where is Sargeras now? If we use the pattern Blizzard established with the Lich King and Deathwing, then it’s likely that Sargeras has been out of commission since Medivh’s defeat. His spirit has then likely been traveling along the Twisting Nether back to its body, which has probably been comatose this whole time similar to Malfurion Stormrage. But– if we follow what happened with Illidan, then Sargeras is already back home with his body and merely awaiting his next chance to assault Azeroth. Either way, I think we can derive a pretty clear picture of what will happen at the end of the 4th expansion (the one with Azshara):
There is another “Dark Portal” (note the quotes). This “Dark Portal” has lain dormant since the sundering, and it is *much* more dangerous than any other portal we’ve encountered. Where as the original Dark Portal leads to Outland, this “Dark Portal” leads to Sargeras’ homeworld, probably Argus. After Azshara is killed, something is going to happen with that portal. The real question is, from which end will it be opened? Will it be restored and reopened on our side, probably by the Naga? Or will the Burning Legion open it on our end. I think the answer will ultimately tie into what Sargeras has been doing this whole time. If he’s been making his way back home since the death of Medivh, then it’s likely that his reunification with his physical body will be the catalyst that causes the Burning Legion to re-open it. If, on the other hand, Sargeras has been reunited with his body for quite some time, then it’s likely the Burning Legion is unable to open it, which would mean it happens on Azeroth.
Either way, we’ll just have to wait and see.