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End of the War Campagin and Looking Towards 8.3

By Robin Baird on October 07, 2019 | Editorials | 0

Two weeks ago, Blizzard dropped the 8.2.5 patch, and with it came the end of the War Campaign we’ve been working on since Battle for Azeroth launched last year. Although I initially hadn’t expected this story to end until 8.3, I am happy to finally know the outcome of the war, which started with the burning of Teldrassil. However, almost everything went differently than I expected. Since I’m going to be talking about the story here, this is your formal warning: there are spoilers are ahead.

 

       

At the beginning of the 8.2.5 war campaign, we gather together the combined forces of Saurfang’s Horde and what’s left of the Alliance troops. We find ourselves once again before the gates of Orgimmar. However, unlike last time, we don’t burn our way through the city to kill the warchief. Instead, Saurfang challenges Sylvanas to Mak’gora. I can’t help but wonder if this was his plan from the beginning. He’s been through plenty of battles and has laid siege to Orgrimmar before, so he knew the stakes well. If there were no other way, I’m sure he would have led the armies without hesitation. However, counting on Sylvanas’ arrogance to drive her to agree to a Mak’gora rather than hide inside would seem like a sure thing.

I don’t think he expected to win, either. He certainly wanted to, but he had to know the odds were against him. While he certainly was a strong fighter, Sylvanas has always been a quick and agile fighter. Plus, Varok Saurfang has grown older over the years and is no longer at his peak strength. It seems odd to me to consider he could have expected to kill her. The fight wasn’t the point though. The conversation they had while they were fighting was everything. Saurfang didn’t look at the people who stayed loyal to Sylvanas as evil traitors who were destroying the Horde. He thought of them as still being members of the Horde who were loyal because they couldn’t see what she had become. If she had just killed him outright, things would have gone very differently. Sylvanas couldn’t resist goading him though.

After splitting Shalamayne into the two sword version, Varok Saurfang successfully lands a good blow on Sylvanas and, more than anything, that’s what causes her to say too much. She loses her vaunted composure, and she declares the Horde and everyone there is “nothing.” She didn’t exclude anyone or say the Undead are the only ones who matter. Not only that but she also resorts to using magic to kill Saurfang which is a massive breach of protocol for a Mak’gora. At the end of the day, Sylvanas is only really concerned with herself, and she was never really looking out for the good of her people. I know some people are still hoping for some, “Sylvanas was right,” reveal which redeems her, but after everything she’s done this expansion there’s no redeeming her as far as I’m concerned, and that kills me a bit. I had such high hopes for her when she became warchief.

I do have one question about this whole thing. All of this takes place after we’ve killed Azshara and released N’zoth out into the world. However, during the loyalist scene, Sylvanas mentions her bargain with Azshara still stands. I’m wondering again what exactly her agreement with Azshara is. Clearly what Sylvanas expects to happen is we will fight N’Zoth, and he’ll kill many of us, but I can’t think that was her goal. She used to think the Forsaken would be loyal to her through anything, but this whole thing has shown her that isn’t the case. So, her goal can’t be just for everyone to die and then raise us to follow her. Maybe Sylvanas expects N’Zoth to bestow some gift on her, which will ensure her the immortality she’s been desperately searching for. After all, she does say “when next you see me, you’ll understand.” Perhaps the next time she pops-up she’ll have some new form in much the same way Lady Ashvane was transformed.

As for the war between the Alliance and Horde, we seem to have come to a bit of an uneasy ceasefire. I don’t think we’ll see any formal merging of the two factions. Both the Alliance and Horde have strong identities, and I don’t see them giving those up to merge completely. All we need for peace between the factions is mutual understanding, respect, and a desire to work together to see us overcome our differences. With the reoccurring threats to the entire world popping up consistently, we’ll likely have to work together for a long time. I mean, I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s unlikely we’ll finish off N’Zoth in one patch. Certainly, at the very least 8.3 will need to start actively pointing us towards whatever is next. BlizzCon is in a few weeks ??

I also want to mention some obvious elephants in the room. First, Genn Greymane did take part in the assault on Orgimmar, but all he cared about was getting Sylvanas. Which is predictable. In fact, he lost his composure when he found out she fled. I also wasn’t surprised to see Tyrande and Malfurion were not present. However, we shouldn’t take their absence as a sign the Nightelves are leaving the Alliance. There was a sizable contingent present in the combined armies. I’m curious what kind of state Tyrande is in now. There was a big deal made about how dangerous the Night Warrior ritual is, and even though she survived it enough to infuse everyone else and fight; that doesn’t mean it won’t have some lasting effect on her. Whether it’s a question of just her temperament changes or something more serious remains to be seen.

Additionally, now, the Horde is down two leaders. They seem to be setting Calia Menethil up as the obvious choice to be the leader of the undead. She did help Derek Proudmoore to come to terms with his undeath, but even outside of that she would probably have a lot of support from the Forsaken if they knew she existed. Many of the Forsaken are from Lordaeron, and she’d be the rightful heir. She seems to have taken the first steps on the path to being ready to lead her people and is now prepared to lead. Perhaps we’ll get a story about cleaning up and restoring Lordaeron and instilling her in her place soon.

Of course, the Horde as a whole is also without a Warchief now. Out of the faction leaders who are left Lor’themar is probably the most obvious choice for Warchief. He is the one who has most closely been working with the Alliance throughout Nazjatar, but he also doesn’t trust them, and the Alliance does have issues with him as well. This friction could be problematic if we are moving into a new era of peace between the factions. To have a lasting stable peace between the Horde and the Alliance Baine would be the best choice. He and Anduin share a mutual bond of trust, which will help, but Baine is also generally respected by everyone who knows him. Even the people who didn’t like him defending Garrosh during the trial didn’t have any real complaint against Baine specifically. They just didn’t want Garrosh to have a defense. He was also the first to take action against Sylvanas and didn’t run off afterward even though he knew it would likely mean his death. Baine has grown immensely since his father’s death, and he’s the best choice to lead the Horde now.

I’m anxious for BlizzCon at this point because I want to know what’s next now. I know people who hate the idea of the faction war coming to an end are hoping everything will fall apart, but I’m hopeful. We can have a new day in Azeroth where we aren’t motivated to fight each other because we are different, but instead, fight together and let our differences strengthen us. I have the feeling whatever is next will be unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it’ll take a genuinely united army to defeat it.


Arlee

Robin Baird

Robin loves RPGs, MMOs, JRPGs, Action, and Adventure games... also puzzle games... and platformers... and exploration games... there are very few games she isn't interested in. When it comes to MMOs she focuses on WoW and GW2 but will pick-up other games as they catch her fancy. She's a habitual returner to FFXIV because that game is an all-around great MMO.