As a huge fan of the lore in Warcraft as well as a huge fan of community interaction from the creative development team, there are few times I get more excited than Ask Creative Development time. Being able to pitch questions at the guys and gals in charge of the storylines we anxiously await to be unfolded lets us die-hards express our biggest hopes and concerns for the future story of World of Warcraft. Last time the creative development team took questions, we got some pretty good answers on topics such as what happened to Frostmourne after it shattered, the tol'vir actually being the Obsidian Destroyer unit and Moam, and the final word on where the blood elves get their new power.
My hopes are high for this next round of questions, as Cataclysm introduced countless new lore figures, quests, and story deviations into the already enormous world. I've come up with a list of four points of lore that I would like the creative development team to address, to shed some light on these very prominent figures.
Every time lore question and answers come up, everyone throws their hands in the air at the same moment and screams, "What about Sylvanas?!" Well, I am no different. Sylvanas is a compelling character to both sides of the Warcraft equation. For the Alliance, she represents everything as evil as the Lich King with the added bonus that her people/minions are the literal remains of the fallen kingdom of Lordaeron. She represents to many the greatest evil on Azeroth next to Deathwing, and the continuation of her story gives the Alliance more and more reason to hate the Horde she associates with.
For the Horde, the continuation of Sylvanas' story is vital to the strength of the Horde in the Eastern Kingdoms as well as the understanding of where she stands. Admittedly, Sylvanas' methods throughout the expansion have seemed very peculiar, even for her. The inclusion of the Val'kyr, former servants of the Lich King, into her armies perplexes many on the Horde side of things, including Warchief Garrosh Hellscream. To be honest, I've been told by Blizzard for six years of World of Warcraft that the Horde is not an evil faction, but that we all live in various shades of gray, and that it's all relative. Blizzard even went so far as to craft entire zones around the premise of us all existing within many shades of gray.
So my question about Sylvanas is: What are her motivations? Will we find out what is truly haunting Sylvanas? If she is so evil, then have we, as a faction, stepped out of the gray area and Blizzard is asking us to defend her actions? Or, as I suspect, is Sylvanas suffering from some outside force that is doing to her what was done to many before her -- clouding her mind to what is really at stake and pulling her into her own form of madness? At what point will all of Sylvanas' oddness be clarified?
The Earthen Ring
Thrall and The Earthen Ring have become major players in Cataclysm, with the fighting in Vashj'ir and the plight of the World Pillar in Deepholm. These great shaman have taken it upon themselves to fix the elemental wrongs of Azeroth and beyond, and so far, they have been very successful in doing so. While Thrall maintains the Maelstrom rift, keeping it just enough open and just enough closed to stop the planet from tearing itself apart, the other shaman of the Earthen Ring fight Deathwing's elemental servants all over Azeroth.
The issue comes from the fact that one of the Earthen Ring's biggest challenges, fixing the World Pillar in Deepholm, has come to pass. The success in Deepholm leaves many Earthen Ring with a mission already accomplished; they can now turn their attentions to more pressing matters outside of the plane of earth.
So my question about the Earthen Ring is: What is next for the Earthen Ring? Will we see the effects of the success in Deepholm in the next tier of content? Will the Earthen Ring be instrumental in the fight against Ragnaros, or will they be relegated to the fight in Vashj'ir and the new, unannounced creature that lurks in the waters coming in the next patch? And what of Thrall? Will he be relieved of his Maelstrom guarding duties at some point during Cataclysm, at least until his new book comes out?
Rustberg Village and Tol Barad Peninsula
Something strange is going on with Tol Barad Peninsula -- like, really strange. I have praised the Tol Barad design before, giving it style points for creating such a wonderfully tense atmosphere and perfect ominous mood. Rustberg Village is a common destination for many daily quest seekers who brave Tol Barad Peninsula for some sweet Tol Barad commendations. You've all probably met the suspicious residents of this haunting fishing village.
The villagers of Rustberg are suspicious. It says so in their name. The problem is that we don't know what they are suspicious of. Or is the suspicious moniker one of characterization? Is the villager himself a suspicious person, or is the villager himself suspicious of something?
So my question about Tol Barad Peninsula is: Who are the villagers of Rustberg Village? What are they suspicious of, or why are they suspicious? Why are they both Horde and Alliance races, working together, on this remote island that only recently became bathed in conflict? Who are these people, what are they doing there, where did they come from, and why do I kill 14 of them on occasion?
The Reliquary and the Explorer's League
So far, the story of the Explorer's League in WoW has been a fascinating one. Brann Bronzebeard has been an instrumental figure in many locales all over Azeroth, especially if the Titans are involved. Recently, Blizzard added some much-needed depth to the blood elves by giving them an interesting role to play within the Horde -- a contingent of blood elves known as The Reliquary are the Horde's answer to the Explorer's League. Instead of having pure motives of finding and unlocking the hidden treasures of history, these elves are hinted to be looking for ancient powers and the means to use them. While not power-hungry and addicted as they once were, these blood elves take their arrogance and apply it to archaeology.
So far, we have witnessed some awesome back and forth by these two factions. As the Explorer's League strives to uncover the tales of history, the Reliquary is right there to throw them off the trail and find answers first. We watch them tussle in the Badlands and duke it out in Tanaris, and we see some major players in Uldum. Sadly, this great conflict is not played out as well as I would have hoped in Uldum, but the main characters do make appearances.
So my question about the Reliquary and the Explorer's League is: Will we be seeing more of this awesome new addition to the blood elves, and will their story, along with the Explorer's League, play into the further exploits of this expansion? The theme this go-around has been steadily more and more about uncovering the darker sides of our selves and our factions, from the Dark Irons moving back in to take their place in the dwarven halls, to the worgen unleashing their inhumanities to beat back the Forsaken. From the orcs accepting back the greatest dragon hunters to ever live, the Dragonmaw, into the fold, to Sylvanas diving deeper into her own little madness, we are watching as each faction finds out a little bit more about itself and its ruthless tendencies. This seems absolutely ripe for conflict, ancient evils, and powers beyond our wildest dreams. Having the Explorer's League and The Reliquary, especially with some Belloc versus Brann/Harrison Jones action, would be pretty spectacular.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.