Now that there’s more information available from the World of Warcraft Legion alpha, I feel suitably ready to be able to share my thoughts on the forthcoming changes to World of Warcraft. I will also cover spoilers within this post, so if you do not wish to know upcoming story advancements, look away now…
The biggest stories coming out of Legion so far, seem to be the deaths of Highlord Tirion Fordring and King Varian Wrynn. From an Alliance perspective I can see this both equally frustrating and surprising. The gist tends to be on the Alliance side of things that major Alliance characters tend to either turn evil, die, or become neutral. Examples of this include:
- Arthas – turned into the Lich King, killed in Wrath.
- Kinndy Sparkshine – turned to dust in the destruction of Theramore.
- Malufrion Stormrage – Spent centuries in the Emerald Dream, returns in game as a neutral character.
- Tirion Fordring – dies during the paladin artefact quest.
- Medivh – possessed by Sargeras, killed in Karazhan
- Varian Wrynn – Killed during the starting quests in Legion.
- Bolvar Fordragon – Believed dead at the Wrath Gate, survives in undead form, becomes new Lich King, n
Whilst over on the Horde side, so far there are two to three notable losses during World of Warcraft’s lifetime.
- Thrall – stepped down as Warchief to become a neutral Shaman, yet still sees the Horde favourably.
- Caine Bloodhoof – Died at the hands of Garrosh Hellscream during a Mak’gora when Garrosh’s blade was poisoned by Magatha Grimtotem
- Garrosh Hellscream – Became a dictator, was disposed before eventually being killed by Thrall in a Mak’gora
- Draenosh Saurfang – Killed by the Lich King at the Wrath Gate
- Vol’jin – Missing in action as of Legion.
You can sort of understand the Alliance point of view, and this is just listing characters that appear in game in one form or another. However I can see why some of the characters mentioned above are required to die if the Legion artefacts including weapons such as the Ashbringer are to be handed to the players. The one that confuses me the most so far is Varian Wrynn’s death, since there has been no artefact linked with him, so I cannot see a reason beyond just showing how dangerous the Legion can be.
The deaths of both Tirion and Varian are quite surprising since both have been major figures within World of Warcraft and quite visible at that. Both have recently seen some development lore wise, extensive in Varian’s case, so to see them killed off is quite surprising. Anduin, Varian’s son, is already seen to be taking over as King of Stormwind, so the question now becomes, who will replace Tirion as Highlord of the Argent Crusade?
The biggest change however is that now, the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner is the new Warchief of the Horde. Those of you familiar with the lore within World of Warcraft will find themselves quite surprised at this, since she has been portrayed almost as the Lich Queen since the death of Arthas during Wrath of the Lich King. It does create a very intriguing possibility, and frankly for me, anything that brings more storyline prominence to Lordaeron is all good.
It does make me wonder however if either over the course of the expansion or indeed the expansion that follows, if we will see Sylvanas do a Garrosh and essentially rise to prominence during Legion only to go off the deep end in the following expansion. The intriguing part is the datamined information on Calia Menethil, sister of Prince Arthas Menethil, the former Lich King.
At the moment it is unknown if the return of Calia is merely a blast from the past in a dungeon or artefact quest, or if indeed she is back. If she is back it raises the question, will she be alive or undead? If alive, will she try to reclaim her Kingdom? Will Blizzard advance the story of the humans trying to retake Lordaeron? If undead, then that would indeed make me wonder whether Sylvanas is being positioned as a future antagonist to be put down by both factions, and whether Calia would be positioned to take the throne of Lordaeron back into Menethil hands. The interesting thing here would be where the loyalty of the Forsaken would lie. For the first time they would have a choice of who their matriarch would be. Do they follow the Queen that saved them from destruction, or do they stay loyal to the Princess that they knew and loved in life?
Another interesting thing to note comes in the Death Knight artefact quest. The Death Knight meets the Lich King to make this weapon and the Lich King practically refers to the Death Knights of Acherus as his servants, and the Death Knight getting the artefact as his chosen champion. This brings two questions to me, 1) Is the Lich King now working with the Ebon Blade again? 2) Is he a force of good or a force of evil? Both intriguing prospects for the story going forward…
You can’t mention faction changes without the introduction of the Demon Hunters, and of course, the return of Illidan Stormrage himself. There are two points of possible contention here that makes you wonder how this will all work out. The first point would have to be the return of Illidan himself. Throughout TBC he is shown to be against the Legion, yet we still gang up and kill him. Gul’dan has brought him back to life, this in itself raises a lot of questions.
- Illidan’s body was kept in a crystal in the Warden’s prison, with his soul kept alive yet separate. Does this mean that he never died? Is Illidan a demon now?
- If Illidan is a demon, why would he side with us? Sure he has an issue with the Legion from years back, but then again, we did just walk into his Temple and kill him for little reason at all.
- Illidan consumed Gul’dan’s skull, wouldn’t he be able to recognise Gul’dan from his magical aura or scent? Wouldn’t Gul’dan sense a little bit of himself in him?
- Gul’dan had to traverse into the Tomb of Sargeras to supposedly find Illidan, wouldn’t Gu;’dan wonder why his own writing is on the wall and why his now headless corpse, which is nothing but bones, is lying on the floor? Wouldn’t that freak him the hell out?
- Will Illidan and his Demon Hunters remain neutral like the Death Knights or will Illidan seek to return to Kaldorei society? Would he even be accepted in Kaldorei society?
Those are the questions that come to mind personally so I am quite interested to see as to how this pans out. That however, is not even taking into the equation all the changes to Night Elf Society. Demon hunters will be Night Elves and Blood elves, rightly so, since that adheres to lore. The Blood elves will not have much of a problem with that, since they have always done what was needed to be done. The Night elves however. now that is a different kettle of fish altogether.
In the past the Night elves were very xenophobic. They interacted only within themselves, and even then, two groups were expelled from their society, demon hunters and the Highborne. Since the start of World of Warcraft, we have seen them join the Alliance and interact freely with the other races, which in itself is a far cry from their attitude in Warcraft 3. We have also seen them welcome the return of the Highborne and now the demon hunters.
This in all honesty seems a complete departure from Night elf lore. I can get that desperate times call for desperate measures, but to go from exiling two groups and pretty much despising them, to accepting both them and other species in your cities and towns, as well as your society seems quite the jump and I can see why Night elven rpers would be upset. I say this, even though that personally I’m a big fan of the Highborne and Illidan and welcome the opportunity to rp them and as well in the city of Suramar.
The introduction of class halls is an interesting one, although if I am honest I am a bit confused about some of the decided locations. The decision for Paladins to get Light’s hope chapel and Mages get Dalaran, that I understand, rogues getting the Dalaran sewers I do not however. As far as I can see, this seems a decision based on game play convenience rather than lore. Lore wise, the rogues already have a hideout or class hall, at Ravenholdt in Hillsbrad. Although to be honest, they are surrounded by Forsaken forces and blight, so I can understand in a way, moving from there. That being said, it didn’t bother them for two entire expansions, so why the need for change now?
The storyline changes in Legion so far seem intriguing, though a part of me wonders whether they are too much, too soon. That aside World of Warcraft has been depending on lore figures from the Warcraft series for a long time now, so I can understand the need for the introduction of new characters, and the death of old ones, to continue the story forward and inject some fresh impetus both into the lore and into the game. Whether theses changes will work and whether they will be for the greater good of the game or not remains to be seen. Either way, they are certainly quite bold and interesting changes. These are of course my preliminary thoughts, and I will be commenting further on the changes in World of Warcraft lore as they are announced, datamined and revealed.
Until next time,