The crux of this post will focus on the following statement
“There has always been some question as to what the Horde stood for,” said Danuser. “And that has changed and evolved over time. Is it this disparate collection of outcasts that nobody will align themselves with? And that’s why they’re together, out of necessity? Or is it this group that’s driven by honor and courage? Players have been able to identify and pull out parts of the storyline that they favor and maybe turn a blind eye to some of the other things, but all of those things have been part of the Horde’s history.
I call shenanigans.
If the Horde has one problem it’s that it has been given extremely poor leadership post WotLK. Ogrim Doomhammer was a nutter, fine. Thrall took over in WC3 and moved away from the fel-rage model and back into the honor/courage mindset. This was held up through Cairne & Vol’jin. Thrall was positioned more as a Mary-Sue through Cataclysm and a change was certainly required.
Garrosh was an interesting choice as warchief, as he operated under absolutes. He went off the deep end in MoP, but that followed the somewhat standard trope of “die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain” that was all the rage at the time. (See Batman and Halo franchised for examples). If people can recall, the Horde did not agree with him and joined with the Alliance to take him out. There was a grey area for a while, but it did reach a tipping point.
Vol’jin came in next for WoD. WoD as a whole didn’t have any leaders but Khadgar. The Horde surely didn’t have an Yrel equivalent. He was there but had minimal impact. He died on the Broken Shores at the start of Legion, just like Varian – but with way less impact and dashed many Horde hopes.
From WoW launch until Legion start it would be hard to argue that the Horde lacked consistency or values. I don’t mean the faction leaders, I mean the general Horde. Goblins are their own brand of mad-scientist and are just as crazy as the gnomes (just less scrupulous).
Undead as a faction, that’s another ball game. Sylvanas has always looked out for her and hers from the start. Ruthless and unforgiving, but not petty or emotional. (Which I think is the main pain point most people have with the burning of Teldrassil, as currently shown.) Her style of leadership – of victory at almost any cost – intersects a lot with the Horde’s vision of honor in combat and not surrendering. But it’s crystal clear in player’s minds, and the other Horde leader’s minds that they do not agree with her methods.
If you think about it a bit, you come to realize that aside from Magni acting as the speaker of Azeroth, there are no alliance members who are actually in tune with the planet. Sure, aligned with the Light (paladins & Draenei) but not nature. The Horde is about living with nature and finding balance. Testing one’s limits. In the D&D alignment spectrum – the Alliance tends towards Lawful Good (with Greymane, Jaina, and Shaw as exceptions), and the Horde tends towards Neutral Good, if not outright Neutral (with Sylvanas being more Neutral Evil).
Back to shenanigans.
The Horde has few questions about self-identity. They have questions about their leadership. I’m all in for BfA exploring how the Horde identity comes to terms with the fact that their leader shares only a portion of their values. I think that would make a very interesting story line – if it’s only within the Horde. Especially considering they are in the hear of Troll-land, where their shamanistic roots can be further explored.