In a bold move that is perhaps indicative of the direction Blizzard will be taking with the game and lore progression, Patch 2.4 saw the removal of M'uru from Silvermoon City and the displacement of Lady Liadrin from the chamber in Farstriders' Square. In a scripted event that reveals what happened to the captured Naaru, Lady Liadrin pays a visit to A'dal in Shattrath City, eventually pledging the service of the Blood Knights to the Shattered Sun Offensive. In the blink of an eye, Lady Liadrin become Exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive (where'd she get that quest, I wonder!) and leaves Shattrath wearing one of the coolest tabards in the World of Warcraft.
What does this imply for Blood Elf Paladins? Gameplay-wise, not much. Although I would've welcomed a change in the quests for Horde, the biggest changes were that all the quests that were previously available from Lady Liadrin are now obtained from Lord Solanar Bloodwrath. Obviously moved for logistical reasons, the quests are virtually identical to the ones that Lady Liadrin dispensed. The one noticeable change is in the early quest Claiming the Light from Knight-Lord Bloodvalor. In the original quest, players were to fill a Shimmering Vessel with power from M'uru, whom the Blood Knights used to hold captive. The updated quest now requires the player to draw the lingering energies from the Blood Elf Magisters rather than M'uru, indicating that what remains are mere vestiges of the power that the Blood Knights once wielded.
The salvation of Silvermoon
In the dialog between A'dal and Lady Liadrin, A'dal recounts a prophecy made by the ancient Draenei Velen, where Liadrin is destined to bring redemption to her people. It was slow in coming, although it is a welcome change in Silvermoon City whose inhabitants had, for over a year, been pledging allegiance to an entity the entire player base knew to be a bad guy. It was getting a bit silly, really. In Patch 2.4, subtle changes took place in Silvermoon City. The Arcane Guardians patrolling the city have been reprogrammed to buzz in error when mentioning the name Kael'thas, and certain Blood Knights now declare allegiance to Silvermoon rather than the false prince. Small changes, but it moves the story forward. Even the previously bland and quote-less Lor'themar Theron now says something about Kael'thas' betrayal.
More than any other class available to the Blood Elves, the Paladin class is the most lore-rich and tied in to the race's storyline. In practical game terms, this only lends flavor and one key spell, Seal of Blood, but little else. Every Blood Elf Paladin who has completed the True Masters of the Light series for the Summon Charger spell are also awarded the Blood Knight Tabard. It's like getting into an exclusive club. Compared to the Alliance version of the quest, the Horde quest for the epic mount is ridiculously easy. But what it lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in juicy lore and intrigue. If you've ever leveled a Blood Elf Paladin, you'll know that they're the spoiled little rich kids in some sort of boarding school. At Level 60 Level 20 (thanks, Alex!), they gain the unique ability to emote /eye the Silvermoon City Guards, who will genuflect in response.
Interestingly, despite the new allegiance to the cause of A'dal and Lady Liadrin's commitment to finding a new source of power, the current quests still explore the Blood Elves' obsession with controlling power and their misuse of the Light. As the quest line for the Blood-Tempered Ranseur indicates, the Blood Knights are not beyond utilizing demonic elements as long as it serves their purpose. The quest line for the Thalassian Charger involves desecrating Alonsus Chapel -- the one place in Stratholme that is protected from Scourge invasion -- and slaying Aurius, whom old-school players will recognize as an ally against Baron Rivendare. As much as I enjoy the whole Blood Knight lore and persona, this particular quest line made me squirm uncomfortably because it's just downright evil.
Of course, with Lady Liadrin's disillusionment with Kael'thas, she returns in faith to the Light. Her taking arms against Kael'thas is, as A'dal put it, the first step on her (and consequently, her fellow Blood Knights') new path. We speculated in the past that gameplay-wise, the Horde-only Seal of Blood might be given to the Alliance. Of course, that didn't quite happen. I know many Alliance players continue to petition for Seal of Blood (with countless analysis and number-crunching). Just because it didn't come with Patch 2.4, though, it doesn't mean it won't. But I wouldn't hold my breath just yet.
What tomorrow brings
As Lor'themar notes in his rumor text, everything that the Blood Elves know is in flux. This means that although the quests don't currently reflect the Blood Knights' new resolve to turn away from their misguided, Light-siphoning ways, there's a good chance that it can still change. Blizzard has been experimenting with progressive storylines with small, almost unnoticeable changes, they took an interesting step with the removal of M'uru from Silvermoon City.
Because M'uru was so central to the story of the Blood Knights and their source of power, his absence leaves a huge vacuum in game interactive lore. It's something that Blizzard should address sometime in the future, and the current Horde Paladin quests won't hold. It seems unlikely that A'dal, as peace-loving as the Naaru is, would stand for the continued abuse of the Light that the quests depict. In fact, Mu'ru states that Lady Liadrin's people "will die if they do not change." We can only assume that this change refers mainly to their lust for power -- and no class exemplifies that more than the Paladin.
Personally, I'm excited to see what Blizzard has planned for the Blood Knight storyline. Even if it only means minor changes to quest texts (although I'm not quite sure how they can make the burning down of Alonsus Chapel less evil), it moves the Blood Knight story forward. In fact, when Wrath of the Lich King finally arrives, I'm pretty sure we'll be getting more Paladin lore in the form of a certain Highlord and his legendary sword. By that time, I'm fairly confident that Blizzard will have fixed Blood Knight lore to reflect that they no longer steal the Light but actually receive it through faith much like, well, true Paladins. It only makes sense.