…At long last. For months, the following videos have been sought after by those who played the Broken Shore Scenario in the Legion Alpha and now the Beta as well. It’s an interesting coincidence the videos are released by MMO-Champion the same day those who pre-ordered Legion get early access to the Demon Hunter class in the live game (!).
Here they are in order:
…The fact that the videos are nearly identical aside, the Horde version gives a clearer picture of why the Alliance-Horde forces were crushed and nearly wiped out by Gul’dan and the Legion. Varian sacrificed himself so Genn, Mekkatorque and the others could escape. It’s also revealed Varian’s body never makes it back to Stormwind. Some of his ashes, maybe but not his body. The tomb built in his honor in the rebuilt Stormwind Park is likely just a memorial for him.
You can see the noticable pause with Sylvanas before she sounds the call for the Horde to withdraw. She knew pulling out could reignite hostilities with the Alliance, who were feet away from Gul’dan. With Vol’jin mortally wounded and the other Horde leaders pinned down, it was a lose-lose situation for her as the only Undead faction leader on the Broken Shore. She had to take her living allies’ survival into consideration against the unending might of the Burning Legion and…yeah. Her quiet contemplation as the ship sails from the Broken Isles tells everything.
The immediate aftermath of the Alliance and Horde’s first loss to the Legion back in Stormwind and Orgrimmar is different. As I noted in a previous post, Varian’s son Anduin becomes King of Stormwind. Genn, who was at the Broken Shore is furious and vows revenge against Sylvanas. Jaina urges the newly crowned king to punish the Horde for leaving them to the Legion before leaving to do her own thing. Horde side…well, there’s a video:
…Blizzard clearly pulled a Gul’dan with Vol’jin and Sylvanas here.
As we now know, Warlords of Draenor was used to bring back Gul’dan. The original Gul’dan was dead so they used the multiverse concept officially introduced in WoD to bring him back. The multiverse aspect is made obvious if you watch the Harbinger videos involving Gul’dan and the Legion. In regards to Horde leadership, it turns out Vol’jin was just a placeholder for Sylvanas. A shame given how much development his character had at the end of the previous expansion, Mists of Pandaria. I actually thought more would have been done with him.
Vol’jin’s biggest accomplishment as leader of the Darkspear Trolls was the retaking of the Echo Isles just before the Cataclysm. Vol’jin’s open hostility toward then new Warchief Garrosh Hellscream laid the groundwork for the Siege of Orgrimmar. Thrall, who had stepped down as Warchief to help heal the rift between Azeroth and Deepholm returned to the Horde to confront Garrosh. After Garrosh was removed from power, the other leaders named Vol’jin the new Warchief of the Horde for keeping the Horde united despite the circumstances.
Vol’Jin briefly travels to Frostwall on Draenor to help the Horde Commander build a shipyard for the final push into Tanaan Jungle. Vol’jin’s last act as Warchief is naming his successor, Sylvanas Windrunner. I was more than a little surprised but also impressed Vol’jin said to her face he never liked her. Even so, he felt she was the best person to assume the mantle of Warchief given the circumstances. She could have left all of them for dead but she personally carried him off the battlefield and made sure the other Horde leaders safely retreated.
With his final words, Vol’jin mentions a vision the Loa granted him indicating Sylvanas must be the next Warchief. Interesting…and worth remembering that the one thing the Undead and the Darkspear have in common is to both, death is not the end. Given Blizzard is clearly making moves to bring Illidan Stormrage back from the dead (his death is reaffirmed in the Demon Hunter Starting Experience).
…Sylvanas Windrunner is probably the second-most the most iconic and well known Undead character in Warcraft Lore after the Lich King. I will assume most of you are at least aware of who she is. For those who aren’t, Sylvanas was Ranger-General of Quel’Thalas in life. When the Scourge invaded her kingdom, then Death Knight Arthas Menethil not only killed her but tore her soul from her body and turned it into a Banshee. To add further insult to injury, he put her body in a coffin and carried it around as well as allowed her to retain her free will as constant reminders of her defeat at his hands.
Sylvanas would get the last laugh, however: When Illidan Stormrage and his allies began to attack The Frozen Throne, Arthas lost control over a large number of his undead minions–Sylvanas among them. Collaborating with the Dreadlord Varimathras, she managed to reunite with her body and drive Arthas back to Northrend. She would go on to become the leader of the damned of the fallen kingdom of Lordaeron. Their faction would be called the Forsaken and she, as their leader was called the Banshee Queen. The Forsaken were driven by a single purpose: The destruction of the Scourge and the one who leads them, The Lich King.
Sylvanas vouched for the Blood Elves of Que’Thalas–her people when she was alive–to be admitted into the Horde. Shortly after the War against the Scourge began, Varimathras betrayed her and took control of The Undercity. Relations with the other Horde leaders became strained as it was revealed she had been secretly developing a New Plague, which rogue Forsaken used against Horde, Alliance and Scourge alike at Anguar’thar The Wrath Gate. The ambush left Bolvar Fordragon, who led Stormwind during Varian’s absence at death’s door.
The New Plague was not only effective against the living but against the Undead as well. It was so dangerous, both Thrall and later Garrosh fobid her from using it. Sylvanas reached an epiphany after Arthas was slain and tried to kill herself. The Val’kyr, who were some of the Lich King’s most powerful servants swore loyalty to her after showing her a vision of what would happen to the Forsaken if she didn’t lead them: The Alliance would retake Lordaeron and her people would be wiped out. Sylvanas vowed to protect the Forsaken and the interests of the Horde no matter the cost. In return, as long as the Val’kyr existed she herself would never die.
After the Cataclysm, the Greymane Wall shattered and The Forsaken invaded Gilneas to take it for the Horde. With the Val’kyr, Sylvanas gained the power to turn dead humans into Forsaken. While the display disgusted then Warchief Hellscream, she felt it a necessary evil for the Forsaken to maintain control of their lands. During the campaign with Gilneas, a plan to get some of Genn’s former allies backfired when they betrayed her and killed her, forcing some of the Val’kyr to be sacrificed to bring her back. She would later get personally involved with the Battle for Andorhal, which ended in victory for the Horde.
Sylvanas, who never liked Garrosh lent her support to Vol’jin, who was the leader of the rebellion against him. Taking that into account, it may very well be that Vol’jin naming her his successor is just his way of returning the favor. Now Warchief, it is worth noting she has very few Val’kyr left. If the character profile for her on the official website (above) is any indication, she will be forced to chose between saving herself or her people. I predict Sylvanas will sacrifice herself to save the Horde but the price will be steep. We may be talking about who the next Warchief could be by the time the next expansion is announced. I think the next Forsaken, Darkspear and Orc leaders will be built during this expansion and the next.