1 week to go. I still have yet to purchase BfA, so that gives you some context. Seems more of an experiment and thing to do rather than hype at this point. WoW has typically been about building, about growth. Forward movement. Everything since Sargeras was given the boot has been about loss. As much as the world loses 2 major capitals, players are losing every neat bit of Legion (gear/skills)… and I’m still having no idea what it is we’re getting back or building towards – other than more war.
Back on point, this week saw the release of the Battle for Lordaeron event. Same concept as the starting event for Legion, you and 19 random people go through events related to the cinematic from last year. Reminder, this video:
Well… the actual scenario doesn’t play out that way. There is no mass res from Anduin (he does cast a large bubble though). Sylvanas doesn’t join the fight. Feels like a movie trailer which incorporates the feel of the movie, without any actual scenes. Fine.
In isolation, the event does work. It has the major faction leaders… a best-of run of heroes. It takes about 30 minutes to get through all the parts. There are 3 main phases, all of which consist of filling a bar, then taking out a big-baddy. That would be a tank, a druid, then Saurfang. Tank is a patchwerk fight. Druid has some neat wind effects and would be a fun dungeon boss. Saurfang… I’ll get to that. The event is a nice one to participate. It rewards you (at the start no less) with a weapon that is worse than what the War of Thorns could provide… so that’s a bit odd. Useful for fresh 110 I guess?
I like sci-fi fantasy. I am fully aware that there are tropes that Blizzard depends on (the hero journey for one, and WoD was a trope-fest). Blizz has come a long was from the BC days of story telling, with highs and lows along the way. Legion was, ignoring the artifact questlines, a consistent tale. The best part to me was seeing how Xe’ra was arguably a bad “thing”, trying to convert Illidan to the light against his will.
Sargeras is dead. He plunged his super sword into the planet. Magni/Khadgar convince the heros to sacrifice their uber weapons to stop the forward damage, and we agree. That still causes Azerite (planet blood) to seep out. Apparently it’s both powerful and valuable… and somehow after a couple thousand years we never knew it existed. Fine.
Before the Storm (novel) is about the discovery of Azerite, the bonds between the Horde and Alliance, and the want of the Forsaken to either really die, or find peace. Sylvanas wants none of this. Novel ends with a new type of Forsaken joining the Alliance (Calia), that’s resurrected by a mixture of light/void. Nice setup, right?
Battle for Azeroth
For reasons Sylvanas wants to conquer Teldrassil. Ok, that’s actually a passable story for her character. For poor reasons she gets offended and burns it down. I won’t bother with the logistics of how this is not possible, but let’s just agree that she goes bonkers. Blightcaller is good with it.
We learn from another video that Saurfang is not happy with this choice. He knows what’s coming and it will wipe out the Horde. He wants to quit/die. Zappy boi somehow makes him change his mind. This makes sense to this point. When Saurfang decides to take on the entire Alliance force solo that seems a bit much, no? Maybe this is a Loki ploy, in that he knows he’ll get captured? But his lens is that he wants to die… so I don’t quite get what’s going on.
Blightcaller is usually mob boss #2 and does whatever Sylvanas says. Alrighty. There’s a scene of hesitation when she orders the city blown up. Curious.
Baine objects to letting Saurfang die alone, then swallows his pride knowing he can’t do anything – yet. The other Horde heroes are inconsequential to the story line.
Jaina quit the Alliance council at the start of Legion. Outside of the game (novel/comic) Jaina reflects on her rage after the Legion is defeated and vows to support Kul Tiras. Fine, pull that story string of redemption. Doesn’t explain at all why she chose that specific time to join Anduin with a magic flying boat. It’s a bit too much on the nose for me, but hey, that’s how Blizzard write stories.
Anduin does what Anduin does. As much as Sylvanas is the trigger for this expansion, Anduin is the one who makes the story progress. The anti-hero days seem gone, and we’re in black/white mode. Which is too bad. Leadership is about making the best choice out of multiple bad options.
So where are we now? Teldrassil is burned. Lordaeron is blown up with the blight. Sylvanas escaped, and sacrificed a significant part of the Horde to do so. Her teammates don’t appear convinced, and Saurfang is captured. Jaina is back in the Alliance fold, and Anduin has to be wondering what’s coming next from the Horde.
Looking at all the Warcraft media, it seems clear that there are larger plans at work, for a more unified planet. Sylvanas is the outlier here. A story that can only go one way, unless there’s a massive rug being pulled from under. I am waiting for the shoe to drop. And all sorts of other idioms. When are the void lords coming again?