WoW! Thoughts! — On Removing Garrosh Hellscream
So as those of you who listen to the Mashcast may know, I play WoW, and I play it enough that I’m not allowed to talk about it. These are my thoughts for this week in WoW…
A few weeks ago, Blizzard revealed that the end boss of Mists of Pandaria will be none other than Garrosh Hellscream. Garrosh has been a polarizing leader and many will feel his eventual dethronement has been a long time coming.
Cataclysm’s update of the 1-60 leveling experience presented us with zones featuring explicit story arcs, some of which prominently involve Garrosh. Previously when Thrall stepped down, we simply lost access to those quests in which his leadership was important. (For example, the questline in Nagrand where Thrall inspires Garrosh or the Battle for Undercity that starts after the Wrathgate). The result is incomplete questlines that no longer have an appropriate finale. The quests feel broken, and removing Garrosh is only going to break more.
Garrosh’s presence is felt much more heavily in Azeroth than Thrall’s was in Outland and Northrend. Even for those quests where Garrosh isn’t showing up to directly affect the action (Stonetalon, Silverpine), many are about the new direction he is taking the Horde. Garrosh’s ascendence is one of the main themes of Cataclysm, right next to the threat of Deathwing. And while Deathwing is dead as the boss of his own expansion, his story is consistent and can be understood by all the zones in which he appears. Garrosh, however, requires interaction within Orgrimmar, a place that is always considered current in the timeline. Consequently, this interaction is going to be lost once a new Warchief is appointed, and this is where things will get weird. (How will the introduction to Twilight Highlands work?)
Given Blizzard’s love of phasing, they could leave Garrosh as the Warchief for anyone lower than level 90, and once Pandaria’s final raid is completed, any max level characters would see a different Warchief. This is an inelegant solution, as NPC reactions within Orgrimmar will need to change as well. Also, when raiding Orgrimmar, who would Alliance characters find in the throne room? Would a level 85 character be able to defend a Warchief he can’t see?
What does feel more likely, though, is that despite being the final raid boss, Garrosh will not be removed as Horde Warchief. There’s going to be something very wrong with him (already, the groundwork for this is being laid with the revamped Ragefire Chasm), and we’ll need to assault him to fix it. And maybe that’s all we need to do. We will storm Orgrimmar, and we will fight and defeat Garrosh, but we don’t have to kill him. We just have to do enough damage to stop whatever is negatively influencing him, be it fel corruption, or maybe the Sha, or something else entirely.
When I try to imagine Orgrimmar without Garrosh — the new Orgrimmar of iron and rock — I can’t do it. For as much as he’s put the Horde through (his part in Cairne’s death, for starters), Garrosh always seemed to have the best intentions for the Horde at heart. And he was learning: in Stonetalon Mountains when Garrosh quotes Saurfang’s lessons from Warsong Hold, it isn’t just a callback to a prior expansion; it’s a demonstration that Garrosh may become the Warchief that Thrall thought he could be. Knowing he’s going to falter and fail to reach his potential makes that scene all the more tragic.
Unless Garrosh does become that Warchief; unless when we attack him we don’t kill him, but instead remove the source of his corruption and free him, The Horde may never find that Warchief it has been looking for since Thrall stepped down.
But maybe there is a better Warchief waiting in the wings…
New Patch! Yay for easier ticket submission! http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/4905213
New Hotfixes! Absent guild leaders get an extension! http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/4023884
New Leader Story! Velen struggles to see the Light and causes some Alliance-on-Alliance violence. Between this and the Sunwell, maybe he should be the next Warchief! http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/lore/leader-story/velen/1