WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby night_druid » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:44 pm

Bonetti wrote:Garrosh Hellscream, son of the Blademaster Grom Hellscream (of the Warcraft 3 cinematic fame), was left behind on Draenor when the wars came. He was the not-very-effective, undercut-by-everyone-because-he-whined-incessantly leader of the Mag'har -- except he didn't lead, and everyone was left to fend for themselves. One of the quest chains culminates in showing him what his father did and how he died freeing the orcs from Mannoroth's curse, which is the beginning of his story. That event changed his outlook, and he moved from there into being a major player in the Horde during Wrath (impatient, reckless, domineering) under the guidance of Saurfang. Basically, Thrall's reverence for Grom led to Garrosh being treated far better than he should have been, and Thrall hoped Saurfang would temper him into being a decent Warchief (Thrall having no heirs, and there being no obvious replacement other than perhaps Cairne -- as if the orcs would follow him).


Ok, makes sense. Never made it that far in the Horde quest line. But man, they have GOT to rehabilitate Garrosh at some point. Otherwise it makes Thrall look like an absolute horrible judge of character and somebody who you can't trust to make sound decisions outside of a battlefield.

I think of them as more like the Klingons of Azeroth -- noble in their own, not very peaceful way, and not exactly primitive. After all, they were enslaved by demons, turned loose on a world which was not theirs, then broke free of their fel chains (and their imprisonment by humans) and made their own way. Medivh led them from the Eastern Kingdoms to Kalimdor, to some of the least hospitable land there (Durotar and The Barrens). Even then, the Alliance (specifically, Kul Tiras) pursued them there (see also: Northwatch and Tiragarde Keep). There was an uneasy peace, broken by the Royal Apothecary Society's betrayal[*] and Varian's invasion of Undercity.


So orcs are basically commies? :twisted: Or vikings? (depending on who is writing that particular episode...;) ). Outside the Earthen Ring, I really haven't seen much that I'd consider "noble" out of the orcs. I think only their small numbers keep them from trying to wipe out everybody else. :P

[*] While I see the argument that Sylvanas ordered the attack, I literally don't see it. She's not stupid enough to think she can beat the Alliance and Horde, and she would never do anything that effectively helped the Lich King -- it was too hard to break free the first time, and she flat out refuses to be dominated again. I do think she ordered them to research the plague (when the entire world is against you...), and her culpability is at most of the "would no one rid me of this troublesome priest" sort of exasperation -- but more likely, given the events launching Wrath, it really was just a rogue faction of the RAS who thought they had her blessing, and were wrong. (Note also: Varimathras may have been playing his own game, dreadlords do not suffer being minions easily...)

If I had more time, I'd write up a re-interpretation of Sylvanas, similar to the one of Jaina...


Sylvanas is likely falling into maddness. Her whole reason for existance was revenge against Arthus. Now that he's gone, what purpose does she serve? Hell, she might even begin to think of herself as the Lich KIng, if her mind starts to fall apart. ;)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Bonetti » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:04 am

Bearing in mind that I'm absolutely a partisan...

night_druid wrote:But man, they have GOT to rehabilitate Garrosh at some point. Otherwise it makes Thrall look like an absolute horrible judge of character and somebody who you can't trust to make sound decisions outside of a battlefield.

Nah. One of the frequent complaints was that WoW was getting too far away from Orcs vs. Humans (well, Horde vs. Alliance) with all of the cross-faction groups and general rapprochement between Jaina and Thrall. By moving Thrall out of the Horde (and Garrosh in), and turning Varian into what he is now, plus adding strong Gilneas/Forsaken animosity, they've forced it back into more cross-faction hostility.

Varian is actually the real foil for Thrall -- he has a nearly identical backstory. His father was murdered in the first invasion, he was enslaved by orcs (which is weird -- that's entirely out-of-game, there was no hint in the Horde areas that orcs practice slavery pre-Cataclysm (no idea about post-Cataclysm)), forced into gladiatorial combat. Once he found out who he was, he returned to his throne and carried a deep-seated hostility toward orcs. (Note that the separation of his personality into two halves is novel to Varian.) However, they handled it differently -- Thrall was humbled and sought peace after being led into shamanism, whereas Varian burns with hostility.

Garrosh is equally flawed, but since Thrall's heritage was taught to him by Garrosh's father, one can accept a certain blind spot there. If Garrosh is as much his father's son, he will eventually learn.

night_druid wrote:
Bonetti wrote:I think of them as more like the Klingons of Azeroth -- noble in their own, not very peaceful way, and not exactly primitive.

So orcs are basically commies? :twisted: Or vikings? (depending on who is writing that particular episode...;) ). Outside the Earthen Ring, I really haven't seen much that I'd consider "noble" out of the orcs. I think only their small numbers keep them from trying to wipe out everybody else. :P

I'm thinking primarily of the rehabilitation in TNG, specifically Thrall as Word, Garrosh as Kurn (Worf's reckless brother), and Rend Blackhand and his family as House Duras. It's stretching it a bit, but just as there's an admirable honesty and nobility in the Empire, so do I see similar traits in the Ogrimmar orcs.

(Curiously, I think the Orgrimmar orcs are clan free. Thrall was Frostwolf, but the clans were mixed in the internment camps he freed and used to build his Horde. This is distinct from the Dark Horde, which is primarily Blackrock clan and led by Rend Blackhand.)

night_druid wrote:
Bonetti wrote:If I had more time, I'd write up a re-interpretation of Sylvanas, similar to the one of Jaina...

Sylvanas is likely falling into maddness. Her whole reason for existance was revenge against Arthus. Now that he's gone, what purpose does she serve? Hell, she might even begin to think of herself as the Lich KIng, if her mind starts to fall apart. ;)

Nah. She's not that dominating, and there's a real Lich King anyway (Bolvar stepped into that role on the slaying of Arthas -- without a Lich King, the Scourge cannot be controlled). I still see every move she's made as either freedom from Arthas' control or guaranteeing the survival of the other free-willed undead. Basically, the Scarlet Crusade couldn't tell the difference between the Forsaken and the Scourge. Lordaeron was nearly wiped out by the plague, and finished off when Arthas wandered down his evil path and slew his father. It was entirely undead at that point, all Scourge, until the then-Lich King weakened enough that Sylvanas freed herself.

The remaining intelligent Forsaken were, basically, a new race born out of genocide, and with the entire world hostile to them. Given the enslavement of the orcs by Mannoroth, the parallels were enough for Thrall to grant entry into the Horde while the Forsaken figured themselves out. The New Plague research was a mix of self-defense (multiple Alliance kingdoms surrounding them: Gilneas, Stromgarde, Alterac, pre-Wrath Dalaran, plus the Scourge on their eastern border and Scarlet Crusade killing them -- with no allies nearby) and a way to propagate the race. The Forsaken are doomed if they cannot convert others, and their survival depends on the ability to find a way to reproduce. While outside the faction, this is horrible (killing one group to turn them into another), if one is determined to safeguard one's own it is the only logical path for her to pursue. Sylvanas was a general guarding the Sunwell -- she failed, and Arthas enslaved her. She's probably pretty darned determined not to fail her "people" a second time.

That being said, the existence of the Forsaken is entirely the Elves' fault. If they hadn't settled near the Well of Eternity and tapped its power, the Burning Legion would likely never have invaded. That wrecked the world, tore the factions apart, slew many ancient protective spirits, and led to all three invasions: the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients, the Orcs (who were enslaved by Mannoroth and turned into a fighting force to invade), and the Scourge (Archimonde's approach to taking Azeroth). So, personally, I consider them the most evil race on the planet, and thus it's clear the Alliance are the real bad guys, and the Horde are victims of circumstance ;-)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Big Mac » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:14 am

night_druid wrote:I've recently completed all of the zones on the Eastern Kingdoms side of the world. Its been a slow grind, mostly because I can only play for short periods of time (longer and I get nasty headaches that take hours to go away). Overall, I like the changes they've done to leveling zones. The big thing, to me, is that they've done away with you picking up a quest chain in one zone, and have to travel literally across the world several times, spanning a half-dozen disparate zones, to complete. And they've done away with the utter randomness to the quests. Instead, each zone has a small set of quest chains, all of which keep you in-zone, making completing a zone easy and quick. A given zone probably takes an hour or two to finish. Each zone has a story, and the quests complement that story. And there's a sense of accomplishment once the zone is finished and the story is complete. I also like that they relocated quest-givers in the dungeon's entrance, so you can finish a frigg'n dungeon in one go instead of constant back & forth to a half-dozen quest givers scattered all over the frigg'n world.

They also fixed rep-grinding, so that by the end of the quest chains involving the particular faction, you're within easy reach of Exhaulted status without the nasty turn-ins and insane grinding. And often the story of a particular faction is tied tightly with one or more zones, again giving you a sense of accomplishment once you finish with a faction.


That sounds a better way to arrange long-term plots. Especially if you want to expand the size of the tabletop map and add in new towns and villages using sandbox-campaign methods. I think that these sorts of quests could be raided to help a GM knock themselves up a small netbook that fleshed out a single region.

night_druid wrote:One complaint I do have is that some zone stories end, no matter how the story progresses, in a return to the status quo. In particular, the story of the Swamp of Sorrow results in a battle where one side invades the other side's town (I'm sure its the same for Horde as Alliance). In the end, the invasion fails despite your efforts and the opposing faction's town remains. I know why they did it that way, but it would have been more satisfying to see your side "win" a few battles and expand their territorial holdings. Something similar happens in Western Plaguelands, too (my gawd, Blizzard is in love with the Forsaken or what? They're pretty much the story-line uber-faction now).


That does seem to be an area where the MMO doesn't seem very real. But then again, the nature of it being an MMO means that they need to regenerate the dead stuff for the next player with the same quest.

You might even need to do something similar if you were trying to organise a "Living Warcraft" campaign that lots of tabletop GMs went along with. :?
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Some final thoughts

Postby night_druid » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:03 pm

Due largely to the laggy server response and the nasty headaches I'm getting after as little as 10 minutes of play, I'll be cancelling my WoW subscription shortly. I've completed the quests for Azeroth and have seen about all of the game I want to see. I completed the Wogen starting zone, and I'm about half-way done with goblins. So I'll give my thoughts on the wogen/goblins (minor spoilers):

Wogen - interesting storyline and beautiful scenery. Very depressing conclusion, though, and I get the sense Gilneus was not used to its fullest. I think things were cut from the plotline. There certainly were areas in Gilaneus that were not explored. As usual, Foresaken are uber, killing everybody and marching towards world domination.

Scythe of Elune questline - <sigh> In grand Blizzard tradition, way to take another long-awaited hanging quest chain and pretty much bury it in the most unsatisfying way possible. I thought it was supposed to play heavily into the wogen quest line, not be some minor trinket in a fetch-quest and quickly forgotten. Bleh. i suppose it may pick up later, but I doubt it.

Goblin - Where the wogen questline is depressing, this one is just downright fun. With goblins, Blizzard embraced the cartoon-like nature of the graphics and just ran with it. You get a freak'n roadster right off the bat! With a radio! :) The first cut-scene is hilarious. Town in a Box is a hoot (about where I'm at right now). Too bad you lose your posse; part of the fun was riding around with your boys in your roadster; I know where the questline is heading, which makes sense from a game standpoint, but not your character's standpoint (um, your whole goal is to become Trade Prince, only to abandon that to become an adventurer? Bleh!)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby night_druid » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:39 pm

Just finished the goblin starting zone, so some final, final thoughts :)

The goblins were done right. For literally the first time in the entire game, I felt like the character EXISTED prior to me creating the character, that the character has a life and isn't just some sprite that has no true interactions with the world. My character had friends, people that appear over and over again, enough that I could remember their names and recognize them. Even had an "ex" (that you ultimately kill). My character even had an ambition, to become the next Trade Prince.

Unfortunately, as I expected, all of that is quickly discarded and your PC because just another faceless sprite in a world of faceless sprites. I think I'll end that PC here, because I'll pretend the "actual" end of that questline is my PC became the new Trade Prince and now runs the Cartel. Even if that's not what happened. ;)

Edit: I want to say, I did not like the ending to the goblin quest-line. You save Thrall's bacon, and your reward? Drafted. Yeah, thanks a lot pal. At least you could have made it more palatable. Yeah yeah, I know that's how about the only way it could end, but I still don't like it.
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Re: Some final thoughts

Postby Bonetti » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:54 pm

night_druid wrote:Scythe of Elune questline - <sigh> In grand Blizzard tradition, way to take another long-awaited hanging quest chain and pretty much bury it in the most unsatisfying way possible. I thought it was supposed to play heavily into the wogen quest line, not be some minor trinket in a fetch-quest and quickly forgotten. Bleh. i suppose it may pick up later, but I doubt it.

One of the big complaints with the Cataclysm lore is that large swathes are now out-of-game.

For instance, while we had Rhonin and Vereesa standing around in Dalaran, their backstories aren't pivotal to anything. The Aspects, which figure heavily into Northrend (Wyrmrest Temple and Dragonblight), have their backstories in in-game books. However, any stories they're involved in in-game are wrapped up in-game.

One of the original, dropped quest chains was the missing diplomat -- a story which was handled badly in-game (and was wrapped up mostly out-of-game in the comics).

They've done that more and more with Cataclysm's lore -- a lot of stuff is handled out-of-game, which is disappointing. (This has me wondering if the scythe material is handled in the Gilneas novel Wolfheart?)

There's also a long-running complaint from Alliance that Horde is getting the better storylines and questlines. For instance, goblins vs. worgen (not just the quality of the first zone) -- goblins then get a development zone in Azshara, and worgen get dumped into Darkshore along with post-Teldrassil night elves. Horde gets to whip the Dragonmaw into shape in the Twilight Highlands, and build up an incursion -- Alliance defends their beer (and loses ground as the zone progresses).

A good friend of mine who has played Alliance since launch bent my ear about it not too long ago, and she's borderline ready to give up until Mists of Pandaria arrives. (As Horde, I'm still enjoying the game :-) ) I can't speak to the Alliance experience at this time, but from descriptions of it from her and others, it's fairly depressing most of the way up. I wonder if that isn't part of the general dissatisfaction.

However, I'll have to admit that the phasing tech has finally brought at least some dynamic behavior to the world. It will be interesting to see how it's worked into MoP, but some of the bits introduced during Cataclysm (especially the Molten Front series) has brought at least some level of "you affect the world" that a tabletop game has to the MMO. If I were running a tabletop Warcraft game (on the Alliance side), I'd probably set it post-Cataclysm and swipe the whole incursion storyline (from the fire elemental in Ashenvale through Ragnaros in the Firelands) as the primary campaign path, possibly ending with Deathwing as the end-of-campaign "You're the big damn heroes now" moment.
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Re: Some final thoughts

Postby night_druid » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:08 pm

Bonetti wrote:One of the original, dropped quest chains was the missing diplomat -- a story which was handled badly in-game (and was wrapped up mostly out-of-game in the comics).


Don't get me started on Missing Diplomat...most disappointing quest ever. Took forever to build up, and ends with you being sent on a freak'n Disney ride and then sent to Jania so she can tell you how other people were awesome and for your troubles you get a woefully inadequate vendor-trash trinket.

There's also a long-running complaint from Alliance that Horde is getting the better storylines and questlines. For instance, goblins vs. worgen (not just the quality of the first zone) -- goblins then get a development zone in Azshara, and worgen get dumped into Darkshore along with post-Teldrassil night elves. Horde gets to whip the Dragonmaw into shape in the Twilight Highlands, and build up an incursion -- Alliance defends their beer (and loses ground as the zone progresses).

A good friend of mine who has played Alliance since launch bent my ear about it not too long ago, and she's borderline ready to give up until Mists of Pandaria arrives. (As Horde, I'm still enjoying the game :-) ) I can't speak to the Alliance experience at this time, but from descriptions of it from her and others, it's fairly depressing most of the way up. I wonder if that isn't part of the general dissatisfaction.


Pretty much the case. Western Plaguelands is a major Alliance defeat, and the only "victory" I can think of (Swamp of Sorrow) more or less ends in a stalemate and return to status quo. The goblins certainly have a MUCH better storyline (longer, makes more sense, and all-around more fun).

Although unless the Horde storyline is vastly different, I have a hard time understanding why ANY neutral faction hasn't turned on Horde. Cenarian Circle should be massively anti-horde over the destruction they've wrought in Ashenvale and Stonetalon (including droping a nuke on a druid school). Several factions should have a problem with the continued use of the Plague by Foresaken. Argent Dawn should probably have turned on Foresaken. Hell, even the Tauren, Trolls, and goblins should have problems with Horde (treated pretty much as second-class citizens; certainly not considered equals to the orcs or Forsaken). :P
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Ivellius » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:52 am

The Scythe does get mentioned in one of the Gilnean starting zone quests: you steal it back from the Forsaken, and that's pretty much it. I believe its history is developed in a Warcraft comic, but I could be wrong. Still, not much of a payoff. How'd it ever get to Northrend, and why did it end up back in Gilneas? And why don't we see that in game?

As for the Alliance vs. Horde issue, I'd have to say it feels like the Alliance has been shafted at nearly every turn in Cataclysm. Their Ashenvale holdings are under heavy attack, Feathermoon Stronghold sank (didn't it?), they had a bomb dropped on a druidic camp, they lost everything in Hillsbrad (do the Horde quests, you blow up the entire Stormpike army[!]). Prince Trollbane in Arathi is dead and Forsaken-ized, as are the inhabitants of Ambermill in Silverpine. Gilneas is overrun and its king in exile. Aerie Peak and Quel'danil Lodge now have the Horde at their doorstep. The high elves of Quel'lithien are essentially dead already, transformed into Wretched by some magical artifact (haven't done the quest).

In return, they took over half a desert (the Barrens) no one really wanted anyway and kinda sorta opened a supply line into Ashenvale and Stonetalon from Theramore. A supply line that's tenuously thin and constantly under attack. What's more is that Theramore is supposed to get destroyed before we see Mists. No, I'm not all that bitter.

Part of it is that the Alliance was the entrenched faction; I mean, Azeroth belonged to them before the orcs and Forsaken claimed their territories, so part of that makes sense. But the way the Horde is acting makes it hard to believe, as was mentioned, anyone would still associate with them. The orcs and goblins are pretty terrible. They pillage their way through Ashenvale and western Kalimdor, enslaving furbolgs and killing druids and deforesting everything they can get their hands on. In the lore, they and their new goblin allies polluted Durotar so much that they have to import water from Mulgore, straining their tauren allies. Garrosh has Vol'jin declaring his intention to assassinate him, and the Darkspear go behind his back to enlist Alliance forces in helping against the resurgent Zandalari (which I thought was an awesome lore idea). Garrosh Jenkins attacks the Alliance in the Twilight Highlands and had the goblins build a massive cannon to threaten Stormwind. So...why is anyone helping this guy? He doesn't seem to care as much about killing Cairne as that the poison deprived him of his honor in doing in the old tauren, so that seems like two out of the four Horde races in Kalimdor that should hate him. We also know that Sylvanas can't stand him.

But for all the Warchief's buffoonery, the Forsaken are even worse. Unleashing the plague on Gilneas and Southshore, conducting horrible experiments on sentients and wildlife alike, dooming tons of new Forsaken to a terrible fate, including Scarlet Crusaders and the mages of Dalaran...whatever else you can say, they're not simply about holding on to what land was theirs. They attack the people of Hillsbrad, Ambermill, the Solliden Farmstead, Scarlet Monastery, Purgation Isle, Dun Garok, and Dalaran Crater without much/any thought. Besides, shouldn't Sylvanas, you know, go home if that's her reasoning? She was an elf, not a human. She has no more right to be Queen over Lordaeron than either of her sisters. Sorry, this is one of those things that's obvious to the players, but she can never be called out on it in-game and doesn't really seem to have in lore from what I remember. Anyway: who would want to ally with the Forsaken? Surely Tirion isn't that poorly informed.

As a side note, I play almost exclusively Alliance and loved Twilight Highlands. Different tastes, I guess? The Alliance may have lost a bit of territory, but hanging out with the Wildhammers was awesome.

Other slightly sarcastic comment: when are we going to get more fights that don't kill major former Alliance lore characters? Major villains of every stage of WoW have been Alliance: you had Onyxia and Kel'Thuzad in classic, the biggest villains Kael'thas and Illidan in BC, obviously Arthas (and Naxxramas et al.) in Wrath, Fandral Staghelm and now Deathwing, who was in the Alliance in his human form (Lord Prestor, remember?). Come on, Blizzard! Start killing off more Horde guys.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby night_druid » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:49 am

I can only assume they're trying to encourage more players to play Horde to balance out the population disparity between the two (I think on some PvE servers its 2 or 3 to 1 in favor of Alliance; on PvP its closer to 1 to 1). Of course, all they've really done is chase off 2 million players. So I suppose they'll achieve balance sooner or later...after they've lost a few more million players.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby night_druid » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:08 pm

Ivellius wrote:The Scythe does get mentioned in one of the Gilnean starting zone quests: you steal it back from the Forsaken, and that's pretty much it. I believe its history is developed in a Warcraft comic, but I could be wrong. Still, not much of a payoff. How'd it ever get to Northrend, and why did it end up back in Gilneas? And why don't we see that in game?


Scythe is in the running with Missing Diplomat for crappiest conclusion to a massive quest chain ever.

As a side note, I play almost exclusively Alliance and loved Twilight Highlands. Different tastes, I guess? The Alliance may have lost a bit of territory, but hanging out with the Wildhammers was awesome.


Twilight Highlands Alliance questlines felt more like Hinterlands than anything else. I didn't find the conclusion particularly satisfying.

Other slightly sarcastic comment: when are we going to get more fights that don't kill major former Alliance lore characters? Major villains of every stage of WoW have been Alliance: you had Onyxia and Kel'Thuzad in classic, the biggest villains Kael'thas and Illidan in BC, obviously Arthas (and Naxxramas et al.) in Wrath, Fandral Staghelm and now Deathwing, who was in the Alliance in his human form (Lord Prestor, remember?). Come on, Blizzard! Start killing off more Horde guys.


To be honest, I suspect they're building up to both Silvanius and Gorresh as end-game raid bosses. The old banshee is looking more like the Lich King every day, and I could easily see the troll chief using a group of adventurers to assassinate the warchief. Now, how that affects Horde afterwards I'm not sure.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Ivellius » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:17 pm

night_druid wrote:To be honest, I suspect they're building up to both Silvanius and Gorresh as end-game raid bosses. The old banshee is looking more like the Lich King every day, and I could easily see the troll chief using a group of adventurers to assassinate the warchief. Now, how that affects Horde afterwards I'm not sure.


Yeah, I was just making fun of the people who used to complain about major raid bosses being Horde characters. I don't think they understand the lore as much. Sylvanas basically is the Lich Queen, but with Blizzard's desire to put the War back in Warcraft...I don't know. I somehow don't see Garrosh being a raid boss, just because almost anyone more sensible wouldn't be nearly so willing to attack the Alliance everywhere. And Sylvanas' influence is so heavily tied into Lordaeron quest chains...it just seems like they'd have to rebuild the entire world again.

How they have those quest chains in the first place and anyone is willing to work with them...that'll have to remain a mystery.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby night_druid » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:37 pm

I could see it building up to WoW 2. Gorresh and Silvanas offed on the Horde side, the King of Stormwind on the Alliance. I certainly could see Jania helping Horde murder the king; she certainly was willing to off her own father, so I wouldn't put anything past her ;)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Bonetti » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:35 pm

I recently saw a nice Garrosh suggestion in one of the Blizzard forums, laying out a way to have him be a villainous raid boss in the near future (with his role as Warchief taken over by a joint council of Baine, Vol'jin, and papa Saurfang (who finally recognized that Garrosh is untrainable)).

Kael'thas was Horde (his introduction in lore was his race turning its back on the Alliance for a variety of reasons, culminating in Garithos' actions, and he is ostensibly the Blood Elf faction leader until one goes to Outland and finds out he's serving Illidan now), as have been a few other bosses along the way (Cho'gall, Zul'jin, Kargath Bladefist). Also, Arthas is still carting around some of Gul'dan's influence, so there's that to bear in mind. Also, Deathwing was a Horde unit in Warcraft 2, so claiming him as Alliance based on his human disguise is questionable :-) That being said, I'm not going to argue that Alliance has had more bosses pulled from its lore -- outside of the trolls, Alliance has long had the bigger presence on Azeroth.

Every alliance player I know thought Fandral was an utter jerk and seem to be happy that he's killable now, given how schmucky he was back in vanilla :-)

I'm irritated that they've pushed Sylvannas in the direction they have, because her and her underlings' actions made more sense in vanilla (small faction, clinging to the Horde for help and with the Alliance trying to eradicate them as abominations, doing what it needs to survive). I feel like they're setting up a big Garrosh/Sylvannas conflict up, and I wonder if they intend to redeem Garrosh that way. No idea who would be over the Forsaken at that point, but it would probably mean the end of the Royal Apothecary Society :-)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby night_druid » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:58 am

I can certainly see raids that end with Garrosh & Sylvannas biting it in the end. That seems to be where they're heading with those two. I can attest that the old night elf faction leader was a regular jerk, so no great loss over that guy's demise. I agree the Forsaken plotline has certainly turned for the worst. Can't even really say I understood the whole "forsaken can't reproduce" bit. New forsake arose all the time, unless it had to do with undead only arise due to the Lich King's will, which makes no sense (why do you need a Lich King to keep the scourge reigned in, then?) Seems they're building towards a big showdown with Sylvannas. The only other real explanation for why the forsaken are so powerful is to reflect that so many Horde players roll forsaken (most popular, by a very wide margin, until blood elf hotties showed up).
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Bonetti » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:31 am

night_druid wrote:(most popular, by a very wide margin, until blood elf hotties showed up).

Best PVP racials in the game, until they put WotF on a shared cooldown with the honor trinket (in Cataclysm, I think -- I don't remember noticing it in Wrath). That, and Tirisfal was the best Horde starting zone until goblins were added.

As for reproduction...

As I understand it, the original Scourge re-animated as a mix of intelligent and unintelligent undead, with their will controlled by Ner'zhul (the Lich King). The re-animation as something other than zombies was due to the plague (and the lack of a cure for the plague is why Arthas felt justified in razing Stratholm).

As Ner'zhul weakened, Sylvanas broke free, formed an alliance with Varimathras etc., and effectively forked the Scourge into those who were still bound to the Lich King's will and those who weren't. Those who weren't (and were still sentient) formed the Forsaken. If my somewhat rot-brained memory is correct, the original retail quests mentioned shaking off the Lich King's domination, which implied that the Forsaken were free-willed Scourge. (I haven't checked to see if this is still how it was handled in Cataclysm.)

Realizing this, and knowing that the ranks of the Forsaken would be forever limited to the Scourge originally created (since the plague-ridden areas have already been depopulated), it makes sense that research was put into replicating the Plague. (Note also that Sylvanas found herself surrounded by a couple human kingdoms, plus the Scourge, and beset internally by the Scarlet Crusade, all intent on wiping out the freewilled undead. A quest for enough strength to avoid being wiped out makes sense in that context.)

I think some of the original threads have been lost, which has resulted in something closer to a mad faction descending into mass slaughter well beyond the point of self-defense.

The reason for requiring a Lich King was to keep the Scourge from running free -- and to keep the Helm of Domination out of the hands of whatever Scourge leaders would arise if the Scourge were freed from the Lich King's control. At least, that's my interpretation. (I also wonder if having a Lich King keeps the Scourge perceived as a failed pawn of the Legion, and thus keeps them from coming back to try to re-use the tool.)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Ivellius » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:02 pm

Bonetti wrote:I recently saw a nice Garrosh suggestion in one of the Blizzard forums, laying out a way to have him be a villainous raid boss in the near future (with his role as Warchief taken over by a joint council of Baine, Vol'jin, and papa Saurfang (who finally recognized that Garrosh is untrainable)).

Kael'thas was Horde (his introduction in lore was his race turning its back on the Alliance for a variety of reasons, culminating in Garithos' actions, and he is ostensibly the Blood Elf faction leader until one goes to Outland and finds out he's serving Illidan now), as have been a few other bosses along the way (Cho'gall, Zul'jin, Kargath Bladefist). Also, Arthas is still carting around some of Gul'dan's influence, so there's that to bear in mind. Also, Deathwing was a Horde unit in Warcraft 2, so claiming him as Alliance based on his human disguise is questionable :-) That being said, I'm not going to argue that Alliance has had more bosses pulled from its lore -- outside of the trolls, Alliance has long had the bigger presence on Azeroth.


Well, I was just making fun of people who say (said?) all the raid bosses are Horde, but I definitely have to take issue with Kael being a Horde leader. There's no reason to think he was ever part of the Horde--the blood elves claim allegiance to him in Burning Crusade, yes, but he'd long since gone over to Illidan and then the Burning Legion. If he knew at all that his people had allied with the Horde, he didn't care or felt it was irrelevant. He'd already made a different place for himself.

Bonetti wrote:As for reproduction...

As I understand it, the original Scourge re-animated as a mix of intelligent and unintelligent undead, with their will controlled by Ner'zhul (the Lich King). The re-animation as something other than zombies was due to the plague (and the lack of a cure for the plague is why Arthas felt justified in razing Stratholm).

As Ner'zhul weakened, Sylvanas broke free, formed an alliance with Varimathras etc., and effectively forked the Scourge into those who were still bound to the Lich King's will and those who weren't. Those who weren't (and were still sentient) formed the Forsaken. If my somewhat rot-brained memory is correct, the original retail quests mentioned shaking off the Lich King's domination, which implied that the Forsaken were free-willed Scourge. (I haven't checked to see if this is still how it was handled in Cataclysm.)

Realizing this, and knowing that the ranks of the Forsaken would be forever limited to the Scourge originally created (since the plague-ridden areas have already been depopulated), it makes sense that research was put into replicating the Plague. (Note also that Sylvanas found herself surrounded by a couple human kingdoms, plus the Scourge, and beset internally by the Scarlet Crusade, all intent on wiping out the freewilled undead. A quest for enough strength to avoid being wiped out makes sense in that context.)

I think some of the original threads have been lost, which has resulted in something closer to a mad faction descending into mass slaughter well beyond the point of self-defense.

The reason for requiring a Lich King was to keep the Scourge from running free -- and to keep the Helm of Domination out of the hands of whatever Scourge leaders would arise if the Scourge were freed from the Lich King's control. At least, that's my interpretation. (I also wonder if having a Lich King keeps the Scourge perceived as a failed pawn of the Legion, and thus keeps them from coming back to try to re-use the tool.)


In Cataclysm, the newly created Forsaken are animated by the valkyr and pressed into service. There's a plot about having to put down some of the Forsaken who won't go along with the program and just serve Sylvanas all nice and peaceful-like. Considering what she did to them...

But even going back to the state of the Forsaken in vanilla, their plague research was still hypocritical. Gain power by condemning others to the "unlife" they claim to hate? (Not that it ever worked as such.) The Forsaken have long had empathy problems, though I'll certainly grant they've been through a lot. Still, the logic seems somewhat lacking.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Big Mac » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:57 pm

Ivellius wrote:
Bonetti wrote:As for reproduction...

As I understand it, the original Scourge re-animated as a mix of intelligent and unintelligent undead, with their will controlled by Ner'zhul (the Lich King). The re-animation as something other than zombies was due to the plague (and the lack of a cure for the plague is why Arthas felt justified in razing Stratholm).

As Ner'zhul weakened, Sylvanas broke free, formed an alliance with Varimathras etc., and effectively forked the Scourge into those who were still bound to the Lich King's will and those who weren't. Those who weren't (and were still sentient) formed the Forsaken. If my somewhat rot-brained memory is correct, the original retail quests mentioned shaking off the Lich King's domination, which implied that the Forsaken were free-willed Scourge. (I haven't checked to see if this is still how it was handled in Cataclysm.)

Realizing this, and knowing that the ranks of the Forsaken would be forever limited to the Scourge originally created (since the plague-ridden areas have already been depopulated), it makes sense that research was put into replicating the Plague. (Note also that Sylvanas found herself surrounded by a couple human kingdoms, plus the Scourge, and beset internally by the Scarlet Crusade, all intent on wiping out the freewilled undead. A quest for enough strength to avoid being wiped out makes sense in that context.)

I think some of the original threads have been lost, which has resulted in something closer to a mad faction descending into mass slaughter well beyond the point of self-defense.

The reason for requiring a Lich King was to keep the Scourge from running free -- and to keep the Helm of Domination out of the hands of whatever Scourge leaders would arise if the Scourge were freed from the Lich King's control. At least, that's my interpretation. (I also wonder if having a Lich King keeps the Scourge perceived as a failed pawn of the Legion, and thus keeps them from coming back to try to re-use the tool.)


In Cataclysm, the newly created Forsaken are animated by the valkyr and pressed into service. There's a plot about having to put down some of the Forsaken who won't go along with the program and just serve Sylvanas all nice and peaceful-like. Considering what she did to them...

But even going back to the state of the Forsaken in vanilla, their plague research was still hypocritical. Gain power by condemning others to the "unlife" they claim to hate? (Not that it ever worked as such.) The Forsaken have long had empathy problems, though I'll certainly grant they've been through a lot. Still, the logic seems somewhat lacking.


I can only see three methods for undead (in any campaign setting) to be able to reproduce:
  • Finding dead bodies and reanimating them,
  • Finding living people and turning them into undead,
  • Finding some sort of spell that will give undead enough "life" to give them the sort of reproductive capability that living people have.

I can't really see the first option being an ethical problem for an undead. If you are undead and don't seek to destroy yourself, raising dead bodies as other undead is no worse than the situation you are in yourself.

Converting living people into undead might seem unethical, but I think that depends on the context of the setting. In Eberron they have an island (called Aerenal) where undead elves live. They are considered to be a part of society. So converting the old and the dying into undead might seem normal in that context.

If you can convert living people to dead with spells and you can convert dead people to undead or living people, perhaps there might be some sort of way to bring an undead back to life. So it might be theoretically possible to have undead folk that have babies (dead or living). But if you had that sort of magical power, why not just become living people and carry on as non-undead Forsaken (who rescue other undead from their unlife).

I'm not too sure where WoW can go with the Forsaken, as none of these options would appear to fit. Maybe they can capture non-free-willed undead and dispell the hold that the Lich King has on them. That would leave the Lich King creating new undead and the Forsaken could "harvest" from those undead. :?
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Postby Ivellius » Wed May 23, 2012 3:12 am

Big Mac wrote:I can only see three methods for undead (in any campaign setting) to be able to reproduce:
  • Finding dead bodies and reanimating them,
  • Finding living people and turning them into undead,
  • Finding some sort of spell that will give undead enough "life" to give them the sort of reproductive capability that living people have.

I can't really see the first option being an ethical problem for an undead. If you are undead and don't seek to destroy yourself, raising dead bodies as other undead is no worse than the situation you are in yourself.

Converting living people into undead might seem unethical, but I think that depends on the context of the setting. In Eberron they have an island (called Aerenal) where undead elves live. They are considered to be a part of society. So converting the old and the dying into undead might seem normal in that context.

If you can convert living people to dead with spells and you can convert dead people to undead or living people, perhaps there might be some sort of way to bring an undead back to life. So it might be theoretically possible to have undead folk that have babies (dead or living). But if you had that sort of magical power, why not just become living people and carry on as non-undead Forsaken (who rescue other undead from their unlife).

I'm not too sure where WoW can go with the Forsaken, as none of these options would appear to fit. Maybe they can capture non-free-willed undead and dispell the hold that the Lich King has on them. That would leave the Lich King creating new undead and the Forsaken could "harvest" from those undead. :?


The first option is problematic depending on how it interacts with the original personality. In most works in which I'm aware, it brings back the original soul and imprisons it within the decaying body (this is true of Warcraft)--and a whole lot of people don't find that very pleasant. The Lich King, valkyr, and the occasional powerful necromancer have this capability. I'd say this is essentially what they're doing in the starting zone for the Forsaken these days.

The second option is in a sense also what the Forsaken are doing in places like Andorhal, Ambermill, and others. The ethical problem comes in because these people don't want to be undead and are likely mind-controlled in some way.

The third option isn't possible so far as anyone is aware, but eventually that might happen, I suppose.

In the RPG they could in fact do that last option--there was a special spell they had developed that would restore an undead's sentience ("Forsake the Scourge," I believe it was called--it's in the HPG). The current Lich King, however, doesn't seem much like the type to create new undead.
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