Welcome, students, to today’s lecture that will hopefully provide you with a broad overview of Battle for Azeroth, the next expansion for World of Warcraft. The expansion begins next week and today’s reset brings the Battle for Lordaeron into the game as the culminating event of the pre-expansion story.
It appears, however, that the material presented to the class in the game itself has been lacking, both in terms of actual tasks to complete and in the story developers are trying to tell. Crucial pieces of lore are missing in-game with the vast majority of the pre-event plot being presented in other external media forms. Comics, novels, cinematic short movies and novellas have all played a part in the story but the stories each one tells, the puzzle pieces they present, are missing from the in-game experience.
With that in mind, we’ve collected all of the lore pieces released by Blizzard and put them into a rough timeline that ultimately leads up to next week’s launch of Battle for Azeroth. So, if you’re ready, students, let’s begin.
Start at the very beginning…
Fear not, we’re not going that far back in the story, but we do need to see what events in Legion brought this pending faction war to bear.
First stop, the culminating event from Legion, the defeat of Sargeras and the wounding of Azeroth:
Of course, this massive world-shattering event had an impact on each faction:
Magni Bronzebeard is back and is now the Speaker of Azeroth, her protector, in a sense. His comic reveals his protective nature for the wounded young Titan. He compares his parenting skills with his own daughter, Moira, to his new fatherly feelings for Azeroth herself in his comic, Magni the Speaker.
Another notable character who will play a huge part in the events of Battle for Azeroth is Jaina Proudmoore, daughter of Daelin and Catherine Proudmoore of Kul Tiras. She has been largely absent throughout the events of Legion but makes a reappearance in both a comic and a cinematic video as part of the Warbringers series.
Sylvanas Windrunner, Warchief of the Horde, has a crucial role in Battle for Azeroth. To provide some context for her background, and for the collective stories of the three Windrunner sisters (Alleria and Vereesa being the other two), Blizzard published the Three Sisters comic.
The last piece of more distant “history” leading up to Battle for Azeroth is Christie Golden’s novel, Before the Storm. The book is almost exclusively focused on Anduin Wrynn, King of Stormwind and offers readers insight into his character as events begin to spiral out of control. (You can read our review here).
The Road to War
Over the last couple of weeks, Blizzard has pulled out all the stops to set the stage for Battle for Azeroth. This includes two cinematic shorts (and perhaps another two before August 14th) and two novellas.
I’d suggest reading the Horde-side novella called A Good War that presents the faction’s reasons for war and how those events led to the burning of Teldrassil. Sylvanas’s Warbringers cinematic video should be viewed after the novella.
Of course, the previous two provide context for the Horde, but not the Alliance. However, the Alliance perspective is shown in the novella Elegy, a heartbreaking look at the after-effects of the burning of Teldrassil.
Finally, war comes to the Horde as the Battle for Lordaeron gets underway. Troops and tools of war have massed outside the Forsaken capital, Undercity. Both sides are bristling with hatred. Yet one old soldier takes time to reflect on the cost of war.
But war comes…
...and the Battle for Azeroth commences. First, Jaina Proudmoore arrives on the scene:
When it seems the city is lost, Anduin Wrynn and Sylvanas Windrunner have a...chat.
So, students, you now have a rough timeline of events leading up to The Battle for Azeroth. Where do you stand?