Patch 5.3 is a-coming, and the Siege of Orgrimmar is drawing nearer and nearer every day. One question that I know is on everyone's mind is, who will be the next warchief? We know Garrosh is getting deposed - we don't yet know if he's going to die - and someone will have to take his place.
So who should it be? The obvious choice is one of the racial leaders, though exactly which one is up for debate. I thought it would be fun to analyze some of the potential candidates and tease out what might make them a reasonable choice of warchief both inside and outside the story. Let's start with some of the easily dismissible, for brevity's sake.
This post contains some minor spoilers for patch 5.3, so be warned!
First up, let me reiterate what the title of this post indicated: there will be many spoilers for patch 5.2 in this post. If you don't want spoilers for patch 5.2, then I suggest you don't read any further, because that's what this post is going to be. Before I get into the spoilers, though, I should in good conscience link to some posts Anne Stickney and myself did on the subject of the mogu and their true nature, and the secrets of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and Pandaria itself. Why do I do this? Well, if you continue on with this post, you will find out.
From this point on, there be nothing but spoilers
The folks over at Wowhead have mined up a heaping helping of audio files for this new patch, and man, the story is advancing.
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
The Sin'dorei have been a presence in WoW since The Burning Crusade -- and surprisingly enough, as members of the Horde rather than members of the Alliance. This turnaround in events was largely due to the treatment of the blood elves by the Alliance during Warcraft III. Kael'thas Sunstrider watched as his people were slaughtered by the Scourge, and set out to lend a helping hand to his supposed allies, hoping that they would lend a hand in return. However, he was sent to help Garithos, a man who was -- let's face it -- incredibly racist.
And in the face of that not-quite-blatant racism, Kael'thas turned to the only people offering any sort of real alliance; the naga. While Vashj and company helped Kael'thas far more than any of his supposed Alliance allies, Garithos was happy to find an excuse to condemn the leader of the sin'dorei, and had him imprisoned in Dalaran for his supposed treasonous actions. It was this waterfall effect that eventually led to the sin'dorei's withdrawal from the Alliance, and into the arms of the Horde.
Which makes the events of patch 5.1 all the more ironically interesting ... because it's happening all over again, but wearing a slightly different face.
Please note: This Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Tides of War as well as patch 5.1 content from both Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive. If you have yet to complete these stories, you may want to veer away.
While it's not a brand new leader short story, Lor'themar Theron, Regent Lord of Quel'thalas, gets the new-to-you treatment with Sarah Pine's wonderful story, In the Shadow of the Sun. In the Shadow of the Sun was the 2008 winner in the Blizzard Global Creative Writing Contest and chronicles the leadership of Lor'themar after The Burning Crusade, the rejuvenation of the Sunwell, and the preparations for war against Arthas in Northrend. After fighting a devastating battle at the Sunwell Plateau, Lor'themar must meet the challenges of peace time and war, leading his people immediately after their great leader has been corrupted and lost.
Check out the full story over at the Blizzard community website. If you haven't yet read this one, it's definitely one of the best.
It looks like the fans followed through, after all, and we finally get to see the Battlecry mosaic much sooner than I'd previously thought. The completed mosaic reveals a truly awesome piece of art by Wei Wang depicting all the current faction leaders. By awesome I mean truly mind-blowing, and Blizzard has high resolution versions of both the mosaic and the actual painting available for download in different versions. The full mosaic, for example, can be viewed in all its 14400 x 6150 pixel glory. Arguably the best version is the dual screen wallpaper which shows the most detail, although there are also much smaller versions for mobile phones.
The Battlecry mosaic is comprised of 20,000 player-submitted pictures called out by Blizzard as part of the World of Warcraft5th Anniversary celebration. Each section of the multi-part mosaic unlocked various content over the past few months, which included sneak peeks at conceptual art and even a piece of the game's musical score. The final artwork is arguably the best and coolest rendition of all the faction leaders so far, including a dual-wielding Magni Bronzebeard in armor that's significantly different from what he's wearing in-game, which may or may not hint at a possible model change come Cataclysm. Congratulations to all the fans who contributed to the mosaic!
WoW.com's prestige in the community has afforded us the opportunity to speak with major Azerothian leadership figures on any subject, and we're letting you, the reader, Ask a Faction Leader!
We recently spoke to Archdruid Fandral Staghelm, night elf leader of the Cenarion Circle, and he shed light on several key issues, including morrowgrain research, moonkin form, troll and worgen druids, his overwhelming popularity, and Silithus stankiness. In this installment of Ask a Faction Leader, we'll be sitting with Regent-Lord Lor'themar Theron, interim ruler of the blood elves.
Our first reader question:
Dear Regent-Lord Lor'themar Theron,
As a loyal defender of both you and Silvermoon, I have seen you fight first hand, and there are questions I need to ask.
What Class are you? I mean you are said to be a ranger, or a hunter. But you look like a paladin, and use quasi-magi abilities so it has become impossible to tell. But honestly, I just want to tell you to cheer up and get some personality. Maybe then people might come back to Silvermoon and defend you, which would help seen as whatever class mash-up you are you fight terribly. Don't blame it on gear, Thrall is in level 30 greens and he at least fights like he cares. The fight to Arthas, the destroyer of Silvermoon, is coming, and you stand there, doing nothing. Will you ever send troops to Northrend? Will you ever get a personality?
Blood Elf Mage
My class? As in the role I fill in a group? It should be evident from looking at my list of abilities. You see the one labeled "Mass Charm"? Not a difficult thing to infer.