A Proposed Revision 🖊

Having had some wonderfully relaxing time away from retail, I’ve given some thought to the sequencing of events in the main timeline, and had been pondering ways to amend things to be more… sensible? Or at least narratively coherent, especially towards the end.

Pure fan dribble below; peruse at your own will.

And just a heads up, pace yourselves. Broken into two sections because of the size and word limit per post.

I’ve since started a fan novelization based on this outline, which can be found here.

Classic

Patch 1.0

The Classic experience would remain stapled fairly heavily to its original tracking, but with more details filled in and drawn out.

At launch, there would be several races available that weren’t originally present at the start, including the Draenei and Blood Elves, Forest Trolls and Wildhammer Dwarves, and then High Elves and Ogres.

Total Starting Race Count:

Horde: (8 races, 5 cities.)

Blood Elves: Capital is Silvermoon City (large).
Orcs: Capital is Orgrimmar (large).
Forsaken: Capital is the Undercity (large).
Tauren: Capital is Thunderbluff (large).
Darkspear Trolls: Unofficial Capital is the Orgrimmar (large).
Forest Trolls: Unofficial is the Orgrimmar (large).
Ogres: Official capital is Stonemaul (small).
Pandaren: Unofficial capital is Orgrimmar (large).

Large cities are: Orgrimmar, Thunderbluff, Undercity, and Silvermoon.
Small cities are: Stonemaul.

Alliance: (8 races, 5 cities.)

Bronzebeard Dwarves: Capital is Ironforge (large).
Humans: Capital is Stormwind (large).
Night Elves: Capital is Teldrassil/Darnassus (large).
Draenei: Capital is the Exodar (large).
Wildhammer Dwarves: Unofficial capital is Ironforge (large).
High Elves: Unofficial capital is Theramore (small).
Gnomes: Unofficial capital is Ironforge (large).
Pandaren: Unofficial capital is Stormwind (large).

Large cities are: Stormwind, Ironforge, Darnassus, and Exodar.
Small cities are: Theramore.

(Mechanical side note: instead of having separate races for Bronzebeard/Wildhammer Dwarves and Darkspear/Forest Trolls, it would be a system in which you essentially get sub-races. So the Dwarf race would share one main racial, but depending on your sub-race you’d get special customization options, skins, and secondary racials. As more races are expanded (Zandalari trolls, Dark Iron Dwarves, etc) this system would make it easier to balance.)

Initially, Draenei players would get a scenario in which they escape from the Outlands alongside Velen, crash land on Azeroth, are rescued by the Night Elves, and then formally be brought into the Alliance.

Thalassian Elves, similarly, would have a scenario in which they survive the destruction of Quel’thalas in a flashback, and are then rallied by either Lor’themar or Auric Sunchaser. The former learn a bit about where Kael’thas went off to, and then engage with the Forsaken who provide aid and bring the Blood Elves into the folds of the Horde. The latter follow Auric south, where they’re rescued by Jaina Proudmoore, and are then taken to Theramore where they set up camp.

  • Theramore would become an official mini-capital for the Alliance.

  • The Horde would get a large Stonemaul outpost as their own mini-capital to balance out the role of Theramore.

  • Additionally, Pandaren should be playable from the start; they’re just around as wanderers, taking up with either faction and exploring the world at large.

Launch Content

Things would progress much as they had during classic, but with lots of further development. For starters…

Blackrock Region:

The Alliance would dig into story related to Blackrock Mountain, in which we learn that Moira is trying to liberate the Dark Irons from under the thrall of Ragnaros. We go in and raid the mountain to break the hold of Ragnaros, and we see Moira rise as leader of the Dark Irons with the fall of the emperor. The Alliance would then tackle Ragnaros himself in the core.

This, however, is a double edged sword as Magni Bronzebeard (king of Ironforge) isn’t keen on allowing Moira to stay; the tension between them drives Moira further into the arms of the Dark Irons, and she casts out the Alliance, taking hold of the lower half of the mountain for the Dark Irons.

Similarly, the Horde would be tasked with raiding the upper halls of the mountain, under the direction of Thrall and Etrigg, who realize the danger posed by Rend’s “True” Horde.

This story would dive deep into Thrall and Etrigg’s regrets and worries about the Horde, its legacy, and its path going forwards. It is difficult for Etrigg to look back at the Blackrocks and their place in the world at the moment and he’s is even offered a position within Rend’s “True” Horde (with his ‘people’). While tempting, he manages to overcome his desire to reunite with his family and remains loyal to the Horde.

Etrigg journeys with us as we help lead an uprising in the halls of Upper Blackrock Spire, bringing some of the Orcs there into the folds of the Horde. The Horde will have to break the hold of the Dragonflight over the rest of the enslaved Blackrock Orcs, and eliminate Nefarian and Rend in order to claim victory.

The Arathi Highlands Region:

In the Highlands, Alliance players would face a more fully fleshed out story as the surviving nobles of Strom struggle against the Syndicate and each other, all vying for power over the ruins of humanity’s first empire. This would be made more complicated by Forsaken’s recent advance into the region, whose own story would focus on undermining Alliance unity in the region, viewing the Highlands as an ideal territory for expansion.

The Alliance would play the middleman through their story, fighting beside Lieutenant Valorcall as he tries to navigate the choppy waters of the noble rivalries. His goal is to reclaim Stromgarde at all costs, but he’s constantly struggling with the political games. The finale for that area would focus on support being denied to Valorcall in the face of a massive, imminent assault by the Horde, because the nobles are too busy fighting each other. Valorcall makes a valiant sacrifice to hold back the Horde, which finally unites the squabbling nobles.

On the other side, the Horde would play alongside the Black Bride of the Highlands, who leads the Defilers. She’s had no real backstory set up so I think it would be a fantastic opportunity for the Forsaken to get a new, really well fleshed out character. The Black Bride would have hailed from Arathi, and have rode north with a legion of Knights to aid Lordaeron during the Third War. Her story would be tied to that of the Forsaken, and now she’s come south to claim Arathi for the Horde, and unify her ‘people’ under Sylvanas. Much of her own personal story would unfold as she tries to grapple with her emotions as a Forsaken, juggling family and loyalty, both new and old.

She would direct the Horde’s efforts in the region against the Ogres, Witherbark Trolls, the Syndicate, and the Alliance. She’s the one who plots and conspires to undermine the Alliance nobility’s dealings in Arathi, and uses the player to groom, coerce, and blackmail several lesser nobles into siding with the Horde in exchange for ‘power/eternal life’ as Forsaken. Eventually, she’d lead the Horde’s assault against the Alliance in the region, culminating in the final fight against Valorcall which ends his life. The region’s story would end with the Horde gaining an advantage, but with the Alliance finally unifying its forces in the region.

The Hinterlands Region:

The Wildhammer Dwarves (+high elves) and Forest Trolls would have their story unfold here, which would grapple with the tensions between the Horde/Alliance, and their proxy forces across Azeroth. Both groups would end up butting heads hard, but will come together in the end to rally against the Vilebranch trolls in the region. The conflict culminates in a massive battle for Jintha’Alor.

There’s also some tasty cool Dragon lore in this region too, and it’d be a shame not to explore it in depth.

Lordaeron and Quel’thalas:

In western Lordaeron, and in Quel’thalas, the Forsaken/Blood Elf narratives are focused on trying to secure their own territories from enemies all across the board. The Scarlet Crusade would serve as a main threat (just as before) in the west, the Amani in the north, and the Scourge all across the collection of zones. In addition, the Forsaken would need to content with Scourge Hunters coming north from Gilneas, and tensions from the Alliance in the south; the Blood Elves would need to contend with the Withered, and also concerning developments regarding Kael’thas.

Stormwind:

The Alliance (and even the Horde) deal with the undead, the worgen, the trolls, and the Defias Brotherhood revolting. Ideally, the death of Van Cleef should inspire an uprising in Stormwind that shows just how rocky the political atmosphere in Stormwind is; this would be a great opportunity to expand on Onyxia’s hold on power - and make the threats seem closer to home, rather than just being “out in the country”.

Kalimdor:

Across the ocean on Kalimdor, much of the story already focuses on taming a wild land, and I think staying true to that is key. In 1k Needles, the Barrens, and Feralas, Ogres, Centaur, and Trolls should be amassing in greater form - threatening to wipe both factions’ forces out in those regions. Having the Alliance focus on threats down the western coast, from Ashenvale south to 1k Needles through Feralas, and the Horde fighting down the middle/eastern side of the continent, would be an easy and fair split.

Ashenvale and The North:

The Night Elves and Orcs would be battling against the Legion remnants/Satyrs in the north, along with the Naga and each other. It’d be wonderful to see a more complex relationship between the two factions, even having them come together to take down some of the greater threats.

Feralas:

Eldre’thalas (Dire Maul) should be a central point of conflict as well, as the Night Elves wish to reclaim it, and the Stonemaul Ogres desire it as a new home for themselves that is more heavily fortified. Their conflict over the region (Feralas) would inevitably lead to the Satyr’s/Sheldralar/Gordunni Ogres rising up to drive out both ‘invaders’, which would prompt the Dire Maul dungeon complex becoming available.

The Horde would focus on the Gordunni Ogre wing, the Night Elves on the Shendralar wing, and then both rush for the Satyr wing, within which the Horde and Alliance end up clashing against one another, only to be attacked by the Satyrs. This forces both factions to withdraw with neither having enough forces to claim or hold the city.

Dustwallow & Barrens:

The Alliance would be getting the largest share of the Onyxia raid lore, as they follow an investigation into the disappearance of Varian Wrynn. Once we get the good old king free from his prison in Dustwallow, and follow part of his journey across Kalimdor, we’ll team up with him to defeat Onyxia. The important thing is making sure all the story gets in the game, instead of leaving it exclusively to print/comics outside of the game.

The Horde, meanwhile, would be tackling the dire threat of the Quilboar, in what I would propose as a brand new raid on par with Onyxia’s Lair. Mankirk would be an ideal candidate to lead this effort to take out the Quillboar leader in a one boss raid high above the barrens, along the cliffs that overlook Mulgore. This would require a greater amplification of his story in the Barrens, and would draw in Thrall and Cairne and Vol’jin and Chen as well.

We’d see the Quilboar leader invoke ancient magic and summon Agamaggan, the Wild God from whose blood the Quilboar were born and the briar thorn was grown. This massive Wild God battle would be sizable enough to match Onyxia.

Later Patch Content:

Naxxramas and Ahn’qiraj would also play a larger role, and we’d have more well established events and quests leading up to either zone.

Naxxramas:

Bolvar would lead the coalition assault into Naxx alongside the Argent Dawn after the Scourge launches its massive assault across the world. The High Elves and Blood Elves would play a major role in this, along with the Forsaken and the Silver Hand forces still loyal to the Alliance. There would be tension, but ultimately a unified front would form that is able to lay waste to the legions of undead inside of the dread citadel. The conclusion to the raid, however, needs a twist.

We find that with Kel’thuzad’s last breath, he mutters something about his inevitable rebirth, and something about the hands of ambition. We all know that KT comes back, but the characters in game don’t know this. This tease would stoke an immediate suspicion of each other amongst the coalition leadership, and the Argent Dawn rises to the occasion to ease tensions - claiming that they will take and safeguard the phylactery of Kel’thuzad (and we know how that ends).

Ahn’qiraj:

Saurfang, similar to Bolvar with Naxx, would lead the offensive into Ahn’qiraj alongside the Cenarion Circle, forming the Might of Azeroth. I’d vote to make this raid a bit more impactful than it originally was, however, as we’re dealing with old gods and it should pay off long term.

My pitch would be to have C’thun trick the Might of Azeroth into thinking that Ossirian the Unscarred, end boss of the 20 man raid, is the true leader of the onslaught that’s unleashed. Everyone is led to believe that C’thun is still far too weak, and has been made a prisoner by Ossirian. There’s no need to panic, C’thun is clearly still kept nice and tight behind bars.

In response, the Might of Azeroth makes their assault on Ahn’qiraj, which turns out to be a trap, and there are hints that the Infinite Dragonflight has had a hand.

Once the Might of Azeroth is inside of the ruins of Ahn’qiraj raid (the 20 man), Ossirian (upon his defeat) reveals that they were fooled, and C’thun emerges properly, laying waste to the armies of Azeroth that had gathered. Minions of the old god spread out across Kalimdor, and the player characters, along with their faction leader reps in Silithus, barely survive.

There would be a delay between the release of the 20 man and 40 man raid, in which players are completely unable to hold back the tides of C’thun. We see the Qiraji spill north, towards Feralas and the Barrens.

The only way to remedy the course is to seek out the Bronze Dragonflight, from who we learn that something is not quite right; strange wrinkles in time lead the Flight to believe there is mischief afoot. With them, we return to the time before the Might of Azeroth charged into Ahn’qiraj.

We would get an intensive lead up storyline in which we’re investigating anomalies in the timeline, but we can’t outright reveal who is at fault.

Finally, we get the 40 man raid, where we don’t go with the Might of Azeroth, but instead lead a strike team into the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj (the 40 man) to face C’thun directly. In that raid, we find our own player character corpses, revealing that someone had killed the ‘other us’ in the main timeline, who were meant to prevent the trap from being sprung. Essentially, the Infinite Dragonflight won the first round, and that’s how the Might of Kalimdor lost.

There’s a penultimate boss fight (just before C’thun) where we find an Infinite Dragon which sought to prevent us (in the first place) from killing C’thun. We take him out, but it raises questions about this new Dragonflight. Then, we beat the snot out of C’thun, who is effectively imprisoned once more, seeing as we are unable to outright kill him.

We return to the present time to see that our actions have altered the ‘present’ that we’re from as well, and that the Might of Azeroth was victorious.

The heroes of the Might of Azeroth remain unaware of our mission, and when they raid the Temple and find C’thun still imprisoned, they believe that their intelligence had been correct - C’thun was indeed too weak to pose a threat, and that Ossirian was the mastermind behind the Qiraji assault. It becomes a secret between the player characters and Nozdormu that the Infinite Dragonflight is a thing, and that an Old God almost got free.

Burning Crusade

Patch 2.0

Leading up to the expansion, we’d have Velen and Rommath sending members of the Horde and Alliance on a covert mission which neither are aware will overlap. The mission is to the Outlands: the Blood Elves still have an open gateway (as they’re still loyal to Kael’thas at this time), and the Draenei ambush and highjack this same portal. Both groups would have a scenario in which they’re in the Outlands, and they learn of “Illidan’s” ‘plan’ to invade Azeroth (which was actually Kil’jaeden luring us to the Outlands to kill Illidan for him).

Liadrin and Maraad lead these two parties. While initially these two groups will fight each other during their mission, they come together once they realize what’s at stake, and collaborate to reopen a gateway back to Azeroth. Velen and Rommath call for a summit, in which both factions, and the Argent Dawn/Cenarion Circle, attend. It’s in the middle of this summit, as the two are about to explain things, that various messengers barge in and proclaim, almost in the same breath, that the cities are under attack. There is immediate finger pointing, but it becomes immediately clear that it’s not the factions attacking each other: it’s the Legion.

Velen and Rommath hastily explain, and the summit adjourns. The Argent Dawn states that they’re going to amass at the Dark Portal while the Horde and Alliance retake control of their cities - and then prepare to counter attack.

Then we get the original launch event, in which capital cities are under attack by the Legion.

Launch Content:

Even as the Legion invades Azeroth in order to draw the armies of the world to the Outlands, the Alliance and Horde also take time to engage in affairs and events all across Azeroth, so we wouldn’t be focused just on the Outlands.

That said, we’d see the Draenei take an active role in leading the Alliance expedition to the Outlands, much the same as the Blood Elves do for the Horde. Both factions wage a heavy assault against both Illidan, and the Legion, but we actually get story regarding what Illidan’s plan is, so the narrative would have more nuance; this would draw heavily from the Illidan novel.

We’ll follow Maraad, Auric Sunchaser, and Arator leading the Alliance into the Outlands to find the Alliance Expedition’s survivors, while Liadrin, Thrall, and Rommath lead the Horde in tackling the threat of Kael’thas.

Hellfire:

In Hellfire Peninsula, we’d be struggling to push back the Legion and establish our own footholds in the area. The Alliance will come across Honor Hold, and the Horde will claim Thrallmar. The Horde’s story is fairly straight forward, taking the fight (first and foremost) to the Legion in this area. The Alliance, however, has a rough go at the start, and faces a great deal of inner conflict and tension.

The Alliance forces struggle to find an ally in the survivors of the Alliance expedition, who had believed Azeroth to have been destroyed along with Draenor. The arrival of the Alliance, they perceive, to be a ruse, and the reveal that the Alliance and Horde have struck an accord makes many even more uneasy given the history of the Orcs on Azeroth.

It takes a great deal of effort to keep the war rattled survivors from striking out at the Horde, and it puts tension on the faction leadership. Things reach a fevered pitch when, under Danath’s orders, an Alliance strike team pulls back from an assault when they realize that the Horde were already engaging the Legion - and losing, essentially leaving the Horde’s strike team to be annihilated.

This nearly prompts an all out declaration of war between the two factions in the Outlands, but Thrall intervenes, and tries to reel the Horde back.

Tensions continue to rise within Honor Hold as both factions continue to quest throughout the zone, and we get a near revolt by the soldiers of Honor Hold. The climax of the zone is tied to the Alliance not focusing enough attention on the demons, and as a result, the Legion are able to lay siege to Honor Hold. It’s the Horde that comes to the rescue of the Alliance in this encounter, which seems to be enough, for the time, to buy the Horde some good will in the eyes of overzealous and bigoted First/Second war veterans like Danath Trollbane.

We would get a neato-cheeto moment of Danath and Thrall coming face to face, acknowledging old hatreds, and agreeing that their common enemy needs to come first: for now. This also does wonders to put some nails in the coffin of “the Horde always being the bad guy”, as we clearly see them setting aside slights in order to save the world.

After Honor Hold is liberated, both factions turn their gaze towards Hellfire Citadel, from which Kargath reigns. In this raid/series of dungeons, we learn that Maggtheridon’s blood has been used to empower the Fel Blood Orcs who are in service to Illidan, but we uncover that Kargath has actually been turned by the Legion. Using demon blood was a great idea to strengthen soldiers, but not even Illidan’s engineers could prevent the corrupting affect that links the consumers to the host.

As a result, Maggtheridon has used Kargath as a proxy leader in Hellfire, and has tricked Illidan into believe the Orc was loyal to him. As we lay siege to the Citadel, Maggtheridon’s enslaved Orcs revolt against Illidan’s forces in the Citadel. The Alliance and Horde are able to make use of this advantage, and it proves to be the key to taking down Kargath, and Maggtheridon.

Coilfang and Terrokar:

The Alliance and Horde will then take a baseball bat to the Naga and Arrakoa. We journey beside Rexxar, Rommath, and Auric, in dismantling the Naga’s threat in Zangarmarsh, first.

We flush the naga down the toilet in the lake and eliminate Lady Vash’j, who, with her own final breath, mentions something about us ‘not knowing how wrong we were’. We pick up a crystal from her corpse which starts a quest line.

Through this quest line, we learn that Kael’thas broke away from Illidan and made a pact with Kil’jaeden. Through the series of quests (stealth missions) that carry over into Terrokar, we’ll learn that he’s made this deal only to enact his own plan for vengeance upon the Burning Legion for its role in the coming of the Scourge, and the destruction of Quel’thalas.

Kael’thas, allegedly, retains some semblance of his morality, and has struck a faux accord with the demon lord; his plan is to summon Kil’jaeden fully in order to allow the heroes of Azeroth to slay him.

Presented with an uncertain prospect, Auric Sunchaser, Maraad, Lady Liadrin, and Rommath (along with the Aldor and the Scryers) get together to discuss the risks in both pros and cons of trusting Kael’thas’ word. Voren’thal (leader of the Scryers) is particularly uncertain, as he’s seen what Kael’thas has done in the name of the Legion, even if he is working a long con.

While they deliberate on what to do, players pursue the Arrakoa and Firewing Blood Elves throughout the region, which takes us deep into Auchindon where we ally with Khadgar to fight specters of old enemies (Ner’zhul, Teron, etc).

We also get Arator seeking out his family at the Allerian Stronghold, which holds some interesting quests where we follow him on a journey to track down leads about his parents.

Nagrand:
In Nagrand, we journey beside Thrall and Maraad as we begin to move through the region.

Thrall’s journey takes him on a quest to find Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grommash, and also his own family line, who are based out of Garadar. Thrall comes forth speaking of Shamanism, which Garrosh sort of blows off as being the ‘ways of old mystics’, which could never replace the strength of a warrior.

Riders come into the village bringing word of an Ogre raid threatening a small Orcish village, and Thrall and Garrosh both ride out to handle this, with the Horde players in tow. We see the two Orcs each trying to go about things in their own way, which puts a big wrench into things as they end up tripping over each other’s feet, so to speak. In order to beat back the Ogres and rescue the village, the two have to make compromises, and rely on each other’s strengths.

Garrosh, while initially skeptical, develops a respect for Thrall, and eventually comes to ask him of Grommash. Thrall begins to fill his head with mildly deluded stories and legends that set Grom up as a noble and always well intending hero.

Maraad, for the Alliance, leads players to the nearby Draenei settlement of Telaar. Here, Maraad comes face to face with specters from his past; the withering, dying mother who raised him. One of the Broken, she’s begun to fall ill and die.

Maraad’s mother has been having visions of Oshu’gun, which is actually the Naaru’s inter-dimensional ship which first brought the Draenei to Draenor. In those visions, she’s seen the tormented spirits of the dead being wrapped up and prevented from moving on. She, like many broken, can’t feel their connection to the Light anymore, and Maraad believes that the visions of Oshu’gun may have something to do with it.

Maraad then journeys to Oshu’gun and learns that K’ure, one of the Naaru, is falling into a void state there within the ship. Maraad grapples with the dark energies within, and has to face ghosts from his past, many of which are tied to his failures during the Siege of Shattrath. With our help, he manages to overcome the specters, and purifies K’ure. The Naaru commands Maraad to bring his mother to Oshu’gun.

Upon her arrival, K’ure eases the mother’s suffering and helps her pass away, returning her to the Light. This offers some bittersweet closure for Maraad.

Elsewhere in Nagrand, we’ll deal with the Legion, the Elements, and the Ogres who are a constant pain in the butt. Some of the Stonemaul Ogres from Azeroth come through to the Outlands with the Horde and seek out the ancient knowledge of the Ogre Empire. The Horde will get a lot of story in helping Ogre characters uncover fragments of the past, and learn of the fall of their empire to the Horde. Much of this eludes to future threads to pull on from the WoD storyline.

Blades Edge Mountains:

In the jagged spires of Blades Edge, the focus is fixed on three main objectives: the Black Dragonflight, the Ogre Menace, and the Mok’nethal.

Danath Trollbane leads the efforts to tackle the Black Dragonflight, who terrorized the Alliance during the Second War and also the Alliance Expedition while on Draenor. Here, we see Danath hunting the surviving black drakes, in which it’s clear that help is needed. Danath turns his focus towards Gruul, the Dragonkiller, believing that the monstrous Ogron could be the solution to his problems.

The Alliance works to lure Gruul out from his cave and set him loose upon the Black Dragonflights breeding grounds. With Gruul going ham, the Alliance sweeps in and begins to destroy the eggs. It’s important, however, for Alliance players to avoid Gruul himself cuz they’ll get crushed for sure; Gruul isn’t an ally, he’s the enemy of an enemy.

At the end, players confront Sabellian, son of Deathwing, and realize that he’s not the terrible, awful Dragon that he was painted to be. He reveals that while Deathwing had been corrupted by the Old Gods on Azeroth, Sabellian believed that the Outlands could be a fresh start. This wasn’t possible, however, because Deathwing was still a crazy pants.

Deathwing returned to Azeroth years ago however, and Sabellian has been trying to breed a new sect of the Black Dragonflight ever since who are free of corruption. We, as adventurers from Azeroth, were unaware of this, and blindly believed Danath’s accounting of the hardships suffered by the Expedition on Draenor. With us having enabled Gruul’s obliteration of Sabellian’s brood, we owe it to the dragon to help him kill Gruul, and all of his sons.

We’d then get the older quests we had to go after Gruul and his family, which includes the raid.

The Horde side of this storyline involves Rexxar reconnecting with his family, and forging a friendship with Sabellian who is under the guise of Baron Sablemane. Rexxar has a big journey to undertake as he tries to find acceptance in his family’s clan, and decide upon just who he wants to become. Does he want to stay behind in the Outlands with family, or return to Azeroth and forge a new life for himself?

He sets out on his BC quests to hunt the Ogres and the Ogron in the region, seeking to prove his worth to his father, and earn the “right” to make decisions for his own future without being seen as a disappointment. His father, originally, was disappointed in Rexxar for joining the Horde of old.

We’d see Rexxar take on more than he can chew with the ogres, and Baron Sablemane comes to his aid. The two forge their friendship, and in return, Rexxar agrees to help Sablemane with taking out Gruul the Dragonkiller.

We also have the older quests involving the Night Elves in the region.

Netherstorm:

When the time comes to head into the Netherstorm, the group of Elves that had been discussing what to do about Kael’thas comes to a decision: “trust without aiding”. They give the player orders to lay waste to Kael’thas’ forces in the Netherstorm, and if Kael’thas’ plan to summon Kil’jaeden comes to pass, they take the shot and eliminate Kil’jaeden. If not, and it turns out that Kael’thas truly has fallen and is simply leading them all on, they eliminate a serious threat to Azeroth and cut Kael’s head off.

As we get to the Tempest Keep, the Naaru deviate from the plan, remaining absolute in their want to lay waste to Kael’thas, claiming that anyone who sides with the Legion, even with good intentions, should be purged. (We see here the zealousness that the Naaru bring to bear later on with Xe’ra.)

Privately, Rommath and Auric, respective to their faction, countermand the Naaru’s orders, and direct the player to spare Kael’thas, and take him into custody.

As we raid the Tempest Keep, we come to find plenty of portals had been opened from within the ship, and some of the mages reveal that the portals lead to Quel’thalas. Instead of being killed in the Tempest Keep during the now penultimate fight, Kael’thas escapes when the adventurers come, claiming that his plans aren’t yet ready.

The final fight takes us to Quel’thalas: Silvermoon City. Kael’thas and his Blood Knights have struck at the city to steal back the Naaru, M’ru. We chase Kael’s forces through the city streets, but they manage to escape, and we’re left fighting a massive infernal in the Court of the Sun.

At the close of the fight, we look out at the Isle of Quel’danas from the top of Silvermoon’s palace, and see a massive shield spring into place around the isle. This, most obviously, foreshadows the later patch which deals with Kael’thas and the Sunwell. We’re left with uncertainty as to whether Kael’thas truly is on our side or not. Auric and Rommath claim that it will take time to get inside the shield, and find out for sure.

Shadowmoon Valley:

Meanwhile, back in the Outlands, the armies of the Sha’tari would begin to push towards the Black Temple. This series of quests leads right into the Black Temple raid, with all the original content like the storyline with Maiev and Akama. We’d also be dealing with the Netherdrakes as they were in the original game.

Much of this zone will focus on the Orcs grappling with their legacy on Draenor, including the defiling of Karabor and the massacre of the Draenei people. The Horde will face shadows of the past as they try to fight towards the Black Temple; it’s revealed that their way is blocked by the souls of the dead who were slain at Karabor.

The Horde will work to summon visions of the past, and have to defeat them in order to release the spirits of the Draenei clerics of Karabor. Through this, they realize that one individual is responsible for this barrier: Teron Gorefiend.

The Horde stages an assault on Teron’s private sanctum, on a chunk of floating rock above the Outlands, and they battle him to near defeat, but he escapes. Despite making it out alive, his spellwork is broken and the Horde can advance past the spirits of the past: the western flank of the Black Temple is open for their armies.

The Alliance, on the other hand, will focus on the legacy of the Alliance Expedition, and reuniting the Sons of Lothar in the hellish wastes of Shadowmoon. Realizing they will need more forces to aid in the assault against the Temple, they stage an assault on a Legion prison world, and liberate many of the survivors of the Alliance Expedition who were captured decades prior. Here, they face an inquisitor who teases the fate of Alleria and Turalyon, but the Alliance has to withdraw before they learn anything concrete.

With additional forces, the Alliance can advance along the eastern flank.

The Sha’tari will push down the center of Shadowmoon Valley, plunging deep into Hand of Gul’dan (the giant volcano) where the Naaru, Scryers, and Aldor will face the echo of Gul’dan himself. Both factions will get to engage in this, and we’ll get to see Maraad and Thrall team up to beat down the echo, clearing the way down the center towards the Black Temple.

The Black Temple:

As we conduct the raid, we see that Illidan is in the middle of weaving a spell that Khadgar (who takes part in the assault) recognizes immediately as the same magic used by Ner’zhul which broke Draenor apart years before during the time of the Alliance Expedition.

The raid is mostly the same as before. The final fight against Illidan, however, is actually a fight against his demon hunter elites as they return from Mardum with the Sargarite Keystone in hand. While we’re busy with his demon hunters, Illidan spends part of the fight trying to dissuade the Sha’tari from continuing their assault, but they refuse to believe Illidan, convinced he’s trying to shatter the world once more.

In truth, they’re not wrong - but it’s not the full story, either. Illidan is trying to open portals to Argus itself, in the hopes of destroying that world, but at the expense of the Outlands. Believing he can sacrifice himself and the Outlands in order to deal a near fatal blow to the Legion, he continues to weave his magic, but the heroes eventually defeat his demon hunters, and challenge him directly; spoilers, he loses. His body, the Sargerite Keystone, and the demon hunters are promptly stolen away by Maiev and imprisoned.

The portals slam shut, and the way to Argus is closed, despite us getting a brief glimpse of it.

Obligatory Troll Raid:

As we’re wrapping up affairs in the Outlands, the Amani make an aggressive push out from Zul’Aman, seeing the Blood Elves occupied with the Legion. With the initial release of Quel’thalas in Vanilla, Zul’Aman would be a full on zone, not just a raid instance. The area itself would be inaccessible however, but looms over the starting quests. This patch would finally open up those gates, and makes the zone accessible.

Zul’jin, ever bitter about the Horde’s inclusion of the Thalassian Elves, seeks to erase Quel’thalas from the map. Calling upon the power of their Loa, the Amani strike out across the Kingdom, bringing flash point invasions where Amani raiders will occupy locations across the Blood Elf territory.

Their assaults draw the attention of both the Horde and the Alliance, who realize that having Quel’thalas under control is essential before they can turn their focus towards Quel’danas, and Kael’thas.

The Quel’dorei of the Alliance, the Sin’dorei of the Horde, the Sentinels of the Kaldorei, and the Banshee Queen’s Forsaken send their ranger forces to Zul’Aman to quel’thethreat (get it? hah.)

Vereesa Windrunner leads the Silver Covenant contingent, Hauldron Brightwing leads the Farstrider contingent, Shandris Feathermoon leads the Kaldorei Sentinels, and Sylvanas Windrunner leads the Dark Rangers who join.

The four leaders have differences of opinions on how to approach the situation, which leads to tension and uncertainty. We learn that Zul’jin has been marching his armies through the gates of Zul’aman, which makes a hard entrance that way near impossible. In order to increase the chances of success, the four groups split up, and tackle things from a few different angles. Each one starts their entrance into the zone with an epic gauntlet run on the backs of Hippogryphs, Dragonhawks, and Bats, the iconic mounts of the various groups.

We have two Horde groups and two Alliance groups, which allows us to have some variety. We’d get a vast forest in Zul’aman as a full zone, in which we have to complete dailies and quest-lines leading up to the raid. Maybe we even get a mini-dungeon as well.

Through the quests, we’d have Sylvanas and Vereesa going toe to toe, while Shandris and Hauldron serve as the other rival pair.

Sylvanas is hunting for links within the Amani culture to how they are able to survive for so long, and how they regenerate. She believes that she can harness this power and gift it to her people. Vereesa, while trying to keep Sylvanas focused on the Troll threat, realizes what she’s up to, and uncovers that Zul’jin made a pact with Death itself, and that’s how he’s managed to survive for so long; he sacrifices to Death, and is granted immortality.

Vereesa knows that it would further damn Sylvanas’ soul if she made the same pact, and she tries to thwart her sister’s plan out of something like compassion. Ultimately, the two end up butting heads as they charge into one of the dungeons, which culminates in a final fight that has Sylvanas and Zul’jin going toe to toe, and Sylvanas nearly has him beat. She calls out to make a pact with Death, claiming she’ll sacrifice Zul’jin’s powerful, immortal soul in exchange for being granted her own immortality, but Vereesa intervenes, and as a result, Zul’jin escapes the temple, and flees deeper into Zul’aman.

Hauldron and Shandris also seem to disagree on how to approach things. We get tons of quips about each others’ culture, but they are mature enough to put aside their major issues and collaborate on fighting the Trolls. We see them using wit and trickery to lure out the defenders of the rear entrance to the raid zone, but Shandris’ forces are overwhelmed once they’re engaged by by the loa empowered elite of Zul’jin.

Hauldron has an opportunity to strike at Zul’jin himself, and probably cut off the Amani invasion for good, but he knows it would mean leaving the Sentinels to be massacred. He throws aside the opportunity in favor of rescuing the Kaldorei, and we see both groups having to fight their way out of a tricky situation, which just so happens to end with a battle against the warlord responsible for defending the rear entrance to Zul’s fortress.

Then we’d get the full raid opening up, in which we kick Zul’s butt. In the aftermath of the raid, Horde players would get a scene with Sylvanas as she laments the wasted opportunity she had; but she does gain something of benefit to her. She recovers a totem of Death from Zul’s body which she claims can open doorways to great power.

Caverns of Time:

As we wrap up Zul’aman and head into the CoT dungeons/raid, it’s important to note that we need to carry through on the Quel’danas content as well: we’d get small quest lines tasking us with scouting out/probing the shield around the Sunwell, and trying to develop a plan to invade.

Outside of that…

We see the return of the Infinite Dragonflight throughout our questing experience, and we’re brought face to face with Nozdormu once more after Zul’aman wraps. He is working to keep the true nature of the situation a secret from the world. Drawing upon our pact with him from the C’thun affair, we work with his agents of the Bronze Dragonflight to help fight back the Infinite Dragonflight.

Cue the classic CoT dungeons.

During our journey we come across a Bronze dragon, Kairoz, who can’t seem to remember anything about where he’s been or what he’s done, but he fears that he may have done something awful in one of the timelines. This prompts us to dive into the raids/dungeons to begin unscrambling things.

This becomes an absolute mess that the Dragonflight begins to lose control of, however, and some of the Bronze drakes are killed as a result of their battle against the Infinite. Some begin to consider the possibility that Nozdormu himself has begun a descent into madness. Kairoz tasks the players with helping him investigate several dungeons/timeline slips in order to uncover the truth of things.

In the CoT dungeons, we see the intervention of the Infinite once more as they mess with the timelines, and and we learn that some of the Bronze dragons are beginning to succumb to madness, and are no longer sure who they can trust.

We manage to put down the Infinites, and rescue some Bronze drakes, and then Kairoz takes us to the raid (Hyjal), at the end of which we find a Bronze dragon that has fallen to madness, and we need to put it down. This dragon has a crystal in hand which reveals information regarding Nozdormu’s descent into madness. We however, being totally meta, know he turns into Murazond, but for the lore perspective this would simply seem like foreshadowing.

Nozdormu then arrives, and he wipes Kairoz’s memory and casts him back into the present. Nozdormu explains to us that the Hour of Twilight threatens to unmake the world, and that everything must happen precisely as it is meant to, otherwise reality could crumble. He takes the crystal, and claims that he won’t wipe the memory of our characters because he trusts us, but warns us all that we must be careful, and help keep his secret, or our timeline could be doomed.

Aside from closing the loop when we leave (where we see Kairoz wandering about, confused as to where he’s been and what he’s been doing), we’re given the first serious indication that Nozdormu has begun to wipe the memory of his own flight just to prevent them from learning the scope of the crisis, and perhaps is even beginning to succumb to true madness.

The Sunwell

The armies in the Outlands disperse and return to Azeroth, though the Shattered Sun Offensive is formed thereafter to lay siege to the Sunwell in order to defeat Kael’thas and stop his “madness”. We need to bring down the barrier, however, and that takes a combined assault from both the Shattered Sun, the Horde, and the Alliance. With the Outlands secure, the Naaru bring the Tempest Keep’s ships down upon the Isle of Quel’danas and focus their power into hammering the shield. It provides a small enough opening to get through, and we stage an assault to disable the shield (powered in the Magister’s Terrace).

As we strike at MT, we’ll learn more about Kael’thas’ true plan and realize that he hadn’t lied to us after all, and that he’s not betrayed his people. In truth, he is simply trying to bait and lure Kil’jaeden into the world so that we can kill him.

Circumstances have forced his hand, driving him to attack the Horde and Alliance to keep up appearances, and there is a splintering of unity as a result: the Naaru’s Shattered Sun Offensive wants to take out Kael, while the Blood Elves/High Elves wants to work along with the Prince’s plan.

In order to get ahead of the zealous forces of the Shattered Sun, Rommath leads the strike team (with us) to the Magister’s Terrace to 1) disable the shield, 2) try and reason with Kael’thas - refusing to give up on his long time friend.

In that final confrontation, we see that the eyes of Kil’jaeden are watching Kael through the crystals, even in his private sanctum, and we’re forced to fight against the Dawnblade forces there so as to not blow Kael’s cover.

We eventually get to Kael’s chamber, and instead of killing him, we focus on destroying the eyes that are watching (as ‘collateral damage’) during the fight. Once in private (once we whittle him down to 50% health or something and kill all the eyes), Kael reveals his plan, and Rommath/Auric warn the Prince about the price it will exact. Kael’thas claims that he knows it may require an ultimate sacrifice, but one that he will gladly pay for his people. He says that no songs should be sung if he dies - but that his people should live free of the Legion.

Kael instructs the heroes to gather up several artifacts from around the Isle, which can be used to defeat Kil’jaeden. He’s then allowed to escape, and flees to the Plateau. We bring the shield, down, and the Shattered Sun properly lays siege to the island.

Kael’thas, this way, totally becomes part of the final raid, and isn’t unceremoniously killed off in a 5 man.

We then join the Shattered Sun Offensive in their push on the Sunwell Plateau. We’re able to gather the items, and get to the final showdown.

Mid-way through the raid, Kil’jaeden is partially summoned, and looms over the plateau as we fight our way deeper. He begins to realize that we’re using items of power to counter the wards and protections that are empowering him and enabled his partial emergence into the world. Through this, Kil’jaeden realizes Kael’thas’ betrayal.

We defeat M’ru and arrive at the final chamber of the Sunwell where we see Kael and Kil’jaeden battling one another. We rush to join the fight, but Kael’thas is slain during the battle. We manage to take up the fight against Kil’jaeden, trapping part of his soul in the fel crystals in the chamber that the Blood Elves love to keep around; this further weakens him, and we use the items of power which Kael guided us towards in order to defeat the demon lord. He’s banished, effectively, with part of his soul trapped behind in the fel crystals.

Kael’thas dies a hero, and the champions acknowledge his complicated nature, and his ultimate sacrifice. Despite his claim that no songs would be sung, Kael is hailed as a hero, thus justifying the ridiculous statues of him in Silvermoon that haven’t been updated in 13 years. LOUD COUGHING BLIZZARD.

Key item to note here, the champions of Azeroth now are in possession of part of Kil’jaeden’s soul, which the Blood Elves lock away.

Velen restores the Sunwell; all things are good and dandy. Sort of.

A Brief Aside:

While the Alliance and Horde are busy responding to the threats on Azeroth in the immediate wake of the Legion’s assaults, and recovering from the fighting, Sylvanas (in Lordaeron) sets her sights on a separate, coveted prize; Gilneas. It would provide new harbors and resources for the Forsaken for what Sylvanas calls the Forsaken’s one true purpose, and would also eliminate a potential threat. Monster Hunters frequently come north from the kingdom, and their zealous attitude towards both Scourge and Forsaken alike drives them to hunt the undead.

Unaware of the Worgen curse breaking out across the kingdom, Sylvanas sets her armies south towards the wall. In the same beat, and without any awareness of the Forsaken’s movements, the Alliance sends a detachment of druids, from Kalimdor, to the Plaguelands to begin researching whether or not the lands there can be saved and healed.

With much of the world’s gaze turned towards recovering in the wake of the wars in the Outlands and on Azeroth, Sylvanas assaults the isolated and withdrawn kingdom of Gilneas. She confides in loyal Horde players that the totem she recovered from Zul will absorb the souls of those she slays, and that both she, and the Horde and Forsaken, will benefit greatly from this invasion.

She can’t, however, get past the Greymane Wall, which is heavily defended, due to so much of her forces already being engaged in helping the Horde and the Blood Elves elsewhere. She knows quite well that Thrall would never sanction an invasion of Gilneas.

She recruits the aid of the Goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, who use their proclivity for explosives to bring down the wall, and open the way into Gilneas.

That zone’s events play out much as they originally did, but without Garrosh present: instead it is simply Sylvanas taking an advantage that was open to her, only to realize the situation is FUBAR. There isn’t any Cataclysm happening currently, but the zone still works well even without it.

The Goblins play a critical role in aiding the Forsaken as they wade deep into an already out of control civil war/humanitarian crisis in Gilneas.

Nearby, however, the Kaldorei druids become aware of the Forsaken army on the move, and divert to observe. They witness the plight of the Gilneans, realize the seriousness of the spreading curse, and intervene.

The rest of the Gilneas zone plays out as it had, with the Night Elves coming to the aid of the kingdom to evacuate the Worgen/Gilneans, though without outright attacking the Forsaken. Sylvanas takes Gilneas with the aid of her untested Blight, which they realize needs to be researched further before it can be effectively deployed (foreshadowing yo). She also manages to harvest many souls from the slain Gilneans for her death totem.

Genn still loses Liam, and accepts the refuge of Teldrassil for his people after the Night Elves arrive to help the Gilneans escape. Genn then travels to Stormwind and meets with Varian, who has choice words for the King who abandoned the Alliance to the Scourge.

They have a tense engagement, but the sight of Anduin, just a young lad, startles Varian into sympathizing with what Genn has gone through. Varian agrees to bring the Worgen into the Alliance, claiming that if Sylvanas is on the war path in Lordaeron, it can only mean the Alliance forces in the north are her next targets.

Despite welcoming Genn in, Bolvar has to reel Varian back, dissuading him from launching any retaliatory strike against the Forsaken. He cites the pressing issue of recovering from the war, and the fact that Gilneas, technically, wasn’t part of the Alliance at the time.

Similarly, Sylvanas brings the Goblins to Thrall, who is none too happy about what Sylvanas has done in the Eastern Kingdoms. Claiming that she’s put the whole Horde at risk, Thrall threatens to eject the Forsaken - believing he needs to uphold the honor of the Horde, but Cairne, once again, intervenes.

Sylvanas argues that the Horde has secured new lands, and that she took it from a Kingdom which posed a direct threat to the well being of her people. Most of all though, she has moved the Horde one step closer to defeating its true, great enemy; the Lich King.

She also invokes the unquenchable thirst for vengeance that humanity harbors towards the races of the Horde for their history of atrocities, which Etrigg and Thrall argue against, in spite of the collaboration of the factions in the Outlands. Sylvanas is quick to point out that it isn’t all good, though, and that the Alliance left the Horde to die many times in battle while fighting the Legion. Garrosh speaks up too, siding with Sylvanas, and that it’s the Horde’s duty to protect its future, and to put the Alliance in check.

Cooler heads are able to prevail, however, and the Goblins are formally recruited into the Horde, and Kezan opens up as a new faction city for the Horde.

New Races:

Horde: (1 races, 1 city.)

Goblins: Capital is Undermine.

Alliance: (1 races, 0 cities.)

Worgen: Unofficial capital is Teldrassil.

Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0

Some months will have passed between the end of BC and the start of Wrath; this allows for the new races to settle in, and the factions to begin recovering from the war.

It isn’t long, however, before we begin to see an increase in the Scourge’s presence across Azeroth, but no all out assault happens just yet. Amongst the Horde, Garrosh and Sylvanas both urge Thrall to take a more aggressive stance against the Alliance, referencing the saber rattling going on with the arrival of the Worgen. On the other side of the fence, Genn and Tyrande also press Varian to put more pressure on the Horde. Tensions are rising in Ashenvale as the Horde begin to cut down more and more lumber, agitating the Ancients, and Genn still wants retribution for Gilneas.

Both Varian and Thrall are brought to the table by Jaina Proudmoore, who has been urging for a peace summit following the events of Gilneas. Neither side is keen on talking, but things are held together well enough. The summit is called off, however, when both Genn and Sylvanas attempt to have each other assassinated, and Thrall and Varian almost come to blows over accusations when reacting to the events.

Both sides leave the summit more inclined to fight each other than before. But soon after, just as both factions begin to secretly plan out contingencies for war, the Lich King makes his play.

Launch Content:

WoTLK would pick up from its original start point now, and both the Horde and Alliance will strike deep into Northrend. The Ebon Blade story happens just the same as before, as does the Argent Crusade narrative. We see more focused skirmishes break out between the factions in Northrend, but nothing outrageous happens until the Wrath Gate, where things take a dive. But before that happens… Malygos.

The Nexus War: The Blue Aspect, just as he does in retail, would do his insanity thing, and the Wyrmrest Accord would have to gather and lead the assault against him. The Kirin Tor teleport their city, and both groups set their focus on attention on the crazed aspect.

Naxxramas: Again:

Following Malygos’ defeat, we have Naxx to deal with. We pick up with the story and learn the truth of what happened with the traitor in the Argent Dawn who returned Kel’thuzad’s phylactery to the Scourge. There’s a tense but brutal conflict to take out Kel’thuzad again, and we all know how that goes. Nothing here changes.

The Wrath Gate:

This, however, is where there are some heavier revisions: we come to the Wrath Gate. Since witnessing its shortcomings in Gilneas, Sylvanas has been ordering the Blight to be perfected (Dragonblight and Howling Fjord storylines), but of course, she is ousted in a coup as Varimathras takes over, just as the assault on the Wrath Gate is underway.

Both Bolvar Fordragon and Dranosh Saurfang are then killed when the Forsaken stage their ambush at the Wrath Gate. Sylvanas flees to Orgrimmar and gathers help in assaulting the Undercity to take it back, but Varian is preparing to do the same.

Varian is beyond furious at the death of Bolvar. With Fordragon having been the one person aside from Jaina trying to hold Varian back, the gloves come off real quick.

The King diverts forces from Northrend and sails the Alliance’s best soldiers to the shores of Tirisfal.

Sylvanas and the Horde manage to retake the Undercity through the sewers, dealing the killing blow to Varimathras while the Alliance cut the head off of Putris, who has fled the Undercity and was trying to escape by way of the sea to the north. Varian isn’t content with taking Putris’ head, and wants to bring an end to the Horde’s control over Lordaeron for good.

Taking the scenario almost exactly as it is from BFA’s launch, Varian and Genn (instead of Anduin), would lead the siege of the Undercity. Sylvanas, realizing the Horde can’t hold the Undercity without reinforcements, decides to destroy it rather than let it fall into the hands of the Alliance. She orders the Horde’s soldiers to evacuate as soon as the Alliance breaches the city walls, claiming that any who stay do so welcoming their own deaths.

There is a final showdown in the throne room which is interrupted as the caches of Blight, being produced all throughout the city, are detonated. Sylvanas embraces the power of the totem of Death she has recovered, and banshee modes out, leaving the Alliance to their fate; the Alliance heroes end up being rescued by Jaina. The Undercity is permanently lost to the Horde, and uninhabitable for the Alliance as well.

This loss of a capital city for the Horde balances out with their gain of Kezan/Undermine as a city from the expansion prior.

Tensions in Northrend:

The aftermath of the Undercity/Wrath Gate is that both sides are preparing for all out war against each other now, leaving the fight against the Lich King and the Scourge to the Argent Crusade, the Knights of the Ebon Blade, and Kirin Tor for the time being.

Those factions, in a large summit, join together to form a new ‘unofficial’ third faction, and call themselves the Champions of Azeroth. They resolve to bring an end to the Scourge, and any greater threat that endangers Azeroth.

Side note time: You know those first few quests we spend so long working towards in Icecrown, where we have to clear the valley and then fight our way to the top of a cliff and plant a flag and then build a tower? Yeah that was a let down; it was hinted at a keep or fortress being built there… and we got a tower. I’d have the Champions of Azeroth build a huge fort there and use it as their main base of operations, and have the Tournament overlook Crystalsong, instead of a grim and bleak ocean to the north.

We’re able to punch our way through towards the inner areas of Icecrown, but can’t yet penetrate the Citadel.

Ulduar Patch:

We join the Champions of Azeroth for the battle against the Old God - Yogg’saron, in Ulduar (as adventurers, not as Horde/Alliance). Within this scenario that leads up to the raid, we begin to learn of just how deep the old god’s corruption goes, and we have to liberate a few of the Keepers before we can assault the city.

We’re tasked with teaming up with Thorim to break Yogg’saron’s grip on Loken. This involves Nozdormu, who helps us go with Thorim back in time to before Loken was corrupted. We gain several items and learn several things, which we then use in the present to free Loken from Yogg’saron’s grasp.

The two brothers hash out their terribly history with each other, and will then team up to aid us in the raid.

Despite having both of these Keepers now, we’re still unable to breach the defenses of Ulduar. Loken suggests we call upon Odyn for aid, and he explains the history with the Halls of Valor and Ulduar. Technically, Loken is the Prime Designate after Odyn vacated the throne (when he did his “i’m a grumpy man” thing and raised the Halls of Valor from Ulduar).

Loken helps us open a passage into Odyn’s Hall, and we have to battle for Odyn’s favor in order to gain the aid of his Valajar in the effort against Yogg’saron. Odyn also swears us to a pact in which we will serve as his agents on Azeroth in return for his aid. (This will come back later. “Odyn will remember this…”)

We gain the aid of the Valajar, and are also given a key from Odyn which opens the way into Ulduar, enabling the group to take the fight to Yogg’saron. From there, we do the raid in full. We’re able to beat the snot out of Yogg’saron, chain him up once more, and have the Keepers reinforce his bindings so that he won’t be able to escape again of his own will. Like C’thun, it’s mentioned that he’s too powerful to kill.

Note that this is Old God #2 that we’ve defeated, and not killed.

Argent Tourney and Icecrown Citadel:

Tirion’s Argent Tournament then comes around, and works to bring the Horde and Alliance together, though only for the occasion. For a brief time, the war is set aside so that all attention can be focused on Icecrown Citadel.

We kick Arthas off the throne and Bolvar becomes the new LK.

Sylvanas then throws herself from Icecrown, totem of Death in hand, and kills herself, which is even more critically important considering her people have no home right now, and she’s making enemies everywhere. It’s through this death that Sylvanas is brought face to face with Helya (courtesy of the totem), who swears her into the service of Death. She is granted control over the dark Val’kyr, and returned to life.

Back in their capitals, both the Horde and Alliance know damn well that peace isn’t an option now that the Lich King is dead, and both are ramping up the war, even though Jaina and Thrall are still arguing for peace.

Ruby Sanctum:

We get the Ruby Sanctum raid, foreshadowing Deathwing, but more importantly, a bit of lead up to future events long term. One of Odyn’s Valajar appears, and summons the player to the Halls of Valor. There, he tasks us with striking down one of Helya’s lieutenants, and taking from them a tablet which will help Odyn learn more about what’s keeping him “trapped” within the Halls of Valor (a result of his treatment of Helya).

We go on this quest in which we strike out at the Helarjar lieutenant, who calls out for Helya as he’s near death. An echo/image of Helya appears as the lieutenant is killed, and Helya demands to know why a ‘mortal’ has come seeking to kill her chosen. She demands the mortals (us) forsake Odyn, and serve her, or perish. The player has a choice to make here, they can choose to serve Helya instead of Odyn, or refuse her, and have to fight their way out.

If the player chooses to serve Helya, she’ll claim them as her own champion. She’ll then explain what’s on the tablet, revealing that Odyn was refused by the Vrykul when he asked for volunteers to become Val’kyr, and so he forced Helya to become the first, against her will.

After Helya became powerful enough, she shed her connection to the Light in exchange for a pact with Death itself, which allowed her to curse Odyn, trapping him within the Halls of Valor, which inadvertently trapped her in Helheim as well - but granted her impressive powers. The two are arch rivals now, with almost matching power: Helya is empowered by Death, and Odyn empowered by Life/Creation.

The only way Odyn can escape and return to the land of the Living in his full form is if that curse is broken, or Helya is slain. The pact works both ways, though; Helya is trapped in her own dominion as well.

If the player refuses Helya, and escapes, they have to fight their way out and return to Odyn with the tablet; they then learn the story from him, instead of Helya.

The player’s choice in this matter will tie into future content, especially with Legion and what comes after.

Cataclysm

Patch 4.0

All out war erupts and the world is shattered by Deathwing, but the armies of the Horde and Alliance are out for blood; they clash and vie for territory regardless of the rampart destruction all around them. The Earthen Ring/Cenarion Circle join the Champions of Azeroth and help lead the efforts against Deathwing and the Twilight’s Hammer, while the two main factions clash endlessly like children.

Launch Content

Garrosh feels that Thrall is leaving the Horde open to attacks, as he’s putting “too much effort” into providing relief to the suffering people of Azeroth in the wake of the Cataclysm when they should be fighting to win, first. He challenges/defeats Thrall in Mak’gora.

Driven out, Thrall leaves the Horde, and joins the Earthen Ring formally, dedicating himself wholly to healing Azeroth, and feeling as though he’s failed to help the Horde rise above what many believe to be its destiny (to be monsters).

Important here: Cairne is then killed defending Camp Taurajo from the Alliance, and this only fuels aggressions even further as Cairne was beloved by the Horde, and widely considered to be a champion of peace.

Garrosh escalates the war against the Alliance as a result, in the name of Cairne, but he isn’t yet “unhinged”. Given the history of the conflict in this revision/reboot, the Alliance has been the ones that are heavily on the side of the aggressors, and Garrosh is seen as justified in ramping up the conflict.

Much of the same content as before is provided: lots of conflict across Azeroth between the Horde and Alliance, and also against Deathwing’s forces.

Nefarion and the Black Dragonflight:

The Alliance is facing its own new threat: Twilight Cultists far too close to home, and black dragons. Blackrock Mountain, again.

The Dark Iron dwarves seek out the aid of the Alliance in dealing with the sudden and violent emergence of the Black and Twilight Dragonflights clawing their way into Blackrock Mountain.

In exchange for amnesty, a place amongst the leadership of the Alliance, and also dependent upon the support of the Alliance in dealing with Nefarion who has come back and is lording over Blackrock Mountain in service to Deathwing, the Dark Irons will join the Alliance.

The Alliance helps the Dark Irons fight back Nefarion, we get a mini-version of the Blackwing Descent raid - but as a longer, heroic dungeon. Then, the Dark Irons make good on their deal, Moira ascends as a more prominent leader, and the Alliance gets Shadowforge City as a new capital city.

Obligatory Troll Patch:

The return of the Troll empires introduces complications as both the Horde and Alliance are heavily targeted. The Gurubashi assault the Alliance in the south of the EK, near Stormwind, the Amani lay siege to Quel’thalas in the north, the Frakkari attack the Horde and Alliance in southern Kalimdor, and the Drakkari rise up from Northrend as well.

The Zandalari make their appearance now, and the “Zulites” (those who follow Zul) become the common enemy. Princess Talanji appears, and seeks out the Horde for aid, revealing that Zul is acting without the permission of King Rastakan, but that he’s too powerful for the King to openly oppose. This, obviously, leads to the re-discovery of Zul’dazar.

The Horde learn that Zul has considerable power in Zandalar, and the Horde will need to plead their case to Rastakan in secret in order to secure an alliance. The Horde then gets the full Zandalar/BFA story, but with some new twists.

The Dark Irons will help the Alliance gain a foothold on Zandalar, and both factions must battle against each other, as well as the Zulites.

Both factions will get access to a series of four revamped dungeons: Zul’gurub, Zul’aman, Zul’farak, and Zul’drak. We have to take out the leaders in those zones, and gather items of power in order the get into…

The Uldir raid!!

In it, in addition to fighting a new old god, we also face Zul. In this version, Zul is killed - but his spirit manages to escape. Even still, we’ve taken out the new old god, and Zul, and eliminated the threat posed by the Zulites.

The Horde learn from Talanji that, without Rastakan (who has reigned for ages) the empire is heavily weakened.

The Amani, Gurubashi, Frakkari, Drakkari, and even the Blood Trolls have broken away from the empire, and headed into seclusion following their defeat. The Zandalari, however, under Talanji, choose to stick with the Horde.

Adding a whole new continent mid expansion is a bit wild, considering we also have the new Cata zones, plus a world revamp, but I think it’s a better place to fit the Troll content in the grand scheme of things.

We get our troll patch, our Blackwing raid, and two new races have joined the roster.

There is endless fighting across Azeroth, including on Zandalar, and the war begins to spiral out of control.

That said, destruction isn’t the only thing happening across the world. The hunt for new territory is also underway.

Hearth and Home:

Sylvanas, desperate to get her people a new home so they’re off the streets, draws upon the support of the Blood Elves and retakes Stratholme. They put out the fires, and turn it into their own capital city, complete with Forsaken architecture. This, however, thoroughly agitates the Argent Crusade, and so Sylvanas cuts off Stratholme from Hearthglen (connected in the north), and from the Plaguelands.

The Worgen, meanwhile, are working to reclaim Gilneas and purge away the blight. They manage to retake the city, and begin to settle in once more.

This patch would be ideal for new battlegrounds, one in a blighted Gilneas, and one in the burning city of Stratholme.

We’d also get tons of smaller stories bringing us up to speed with other Alliance and Horde affairs across the world, and also assisting the Champions of Azeroth with defending the world.

Firelands and Hour of Twilight:

The Firelands patch also has its come back, and the Champions of Azeroth wage a fierce battle on the slopes of Mount Hyjal. There wouldn’t be much difference here, narratively speaking.

What is important to dig into is the role of the Infinite Dragonflight, which brings us face to face with our years old pact with Nozdormu to defeat/imprison C’thun, and then Yog’saron.

As agents of the Infinite Dragonflight infiltrate the ranks of the Champions of Azeroth and both factions, we are tasked by Chromie to investigate rumors of a lost Bronze dragon. She has us gather up a few artifacts, which we combine into a time stone, which allows her to “help” this lost dragon. It turns out to be none other than Kairoz, who we learn has been repeating the same time loop since we last saw him during the Hyjal raid; a side effect of this is that he’s begun to crack.

Unwittingly having aided Chromie in setting Kairos free (who we were partially responsible for sticking in that loop in the first place), the two team up, believing themselves to be on the trail of a conspiracy. They begin to investigate the Bronze Dragonflight, and realize that it’s now tied up with the Hour of Twilight, should it come to pass. They uncover the truth about what Nozdormu has been doing to cover it up, as well as the Infinite Dragonflight’s role over the previous years.

Tensions boil over as the truth is revealed, and the Dragonflights confront each other. Using the chaos as an opportunity, an Infinite Dragonflight plot unfolds to unshackle the Old Gods. We learn that the Hour of Twilight is nigh, and that Deathwing and N’zoth are at the center of it all.

Kairoz and Chromie confront Nozdormu about his alleged fate, the one in which he becomes Murozond, leader of the Infinite Dragonflight. We end up managing to bring about a resolution to the tension between the three, and help center their focus on Deathwing. There are loose ends, however.

Nozdormu helped the adventurers defeat C’thun and Yogg’saron, and Murozond threatens to unmake those realities. We have to go back in time in a new CoT dungeon, revisit the battles against Yogg’saron and C’thun, and protect ourselves from the Infinite Dragonflight.

The end fight is where we help Nozdormu overcome Murozond, and defeat him.

Then, we go through the End Time raid and kill Deathwing like normal. Happy trails.

Towards the end, however, I think it’d be a solid move to give the Draenei a formal home on Azeroth. Have them turn the Exodar into a proper capital city, rather than a big waste of space.

New Races:

Horde: (1 races, 1 city.)

Zandalari: Capital is Dazar’alor.
Forsaken claim Stratholme.

Alliance: (1 races, 1 cities.)

Dark Iron Dwarves: Capital is Shadowforge City.
Worgen reclaim Gilneas.

Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.0

This expansion, for the most part, hit all the right notes. I think it’s fair to keep things steady as they were, with the exception of Garrosh. Garrosh should have been kept on the track of the honest and stern, albeit unwavering type of leader. I’d rather him be portrayed, in this revision, as a young leader who is struggling to find his place, and learning how to balance his style of leadership.

I think using the spit between Garrosh and Thrall is a great wedge to use for this. Cairne being killed is also a great and spicy element to revisit; however, as posted earlier, I’d have it happen in a different way (Cairne having died defending Camp Taurajo, instead of being killed by Garrosh).

This time, Garrosh takes the BFA Sylvanas’ approach, and goes overboard in his execution of waging war; that’s referring to Theramore, of course. It would be the first point at which the Horde starts to go… “Maybe we need to rethink this and slow down.”

Launch Content

Garrosh lures the Alliance leadership to Theramore, intending to wipe out the Alliance’s capacity to wage war before the conflict can escalate further. Many of the Alliance’s command staff attend the operations in Theramore, and the entire region becomes a hotbed of conflict. There would be active questing involved this time in which players Alliance side uncover Garrosh’s plot, and then try to evacuate its leadership.

The Horde’s side would be focused on a war council amongst the leadership, which Garrosh has convened to unveil his plan. He brings the Horde’s leadership into the folds on his intention to bomb Theramore, and while there are many cries and protests on the grounds of honor, Garrosh makes the argument of what is more ‘honorable and civil’: to send tens of thousands of soldiers to their deaths, or to end the conflict swiftly and decisively?

Garrosh acknowledges the advice and counsel of the other leaders however, and reverses course, heeding their encouragement to not bomb Theramore, and instead decides to lay siege to it the typical way. Thaelen Songweaver, however, is a Blood Elf who is still bitter about the way the Alliance treated the Blood Elves during the Third War; he steals the Focusing Iris and deploys the mana bomb upon Theramore anyways, against Garrosh’s orders.

There is immediate chaos and turmoil, as the war council points fingers, and the Alliance reels from the devastation. Garrosh insists that he had no part in the ploy, and dispatches scouts and trackers to hunt down Thaelen, but the Horde realizes that there is no back-peddling now, and that the Alliance will come for blood.

Obviously, in response to Theramore, Jaina begins leaning heavily towards the Alliance, but manages to overcome her fury and portrays a sense of balance and neutrality, all the while plotting against the Horde in secret. The Horde’s leaders are shaken, worried about what the next ‘first strike’ would be, and how bad it will make things. Jaina rises to the role of leader of the Kirin Tor, thereafter.

I think an interesting twist bit would be to have the Horde getting a short storyline to hunt down Thaelen, who Garrosh executes for his crimes (violating the orders of the Warchief). Garrosh would then send the player to the Alliance to present the head of Thaelen as an indication that Theramore was not what it seemed. The Horde player would get killed, and then revived, and report the exchange back to Garrosh, which essentially cements his understanding that there is no turning back now.

Important to note now that the High Elves have lost their home, Theramore, and have to use Stormwind as a refuge.

We then get war spilling over onto Pandaria. The Pandaren finally get some content in earnest, and the story progresses normally, but with Garrosh taking more and more extreme methods in response to the Alliance’s unrelenting and savage thirst for vengeance.

Vol’jin begins to oppose Garrosh’s more extreme methods, trying to coach him on the values that Thrall instilled within the ‘new’ Horde. Garrosh makes the argument about survival over honor and morality, and claims that anyone not willing to do their part for the Horde should leave, because the Alliance is beyond reason at this point.

Tensions begin to rise within the Horde as a result of a divided mentality on how to bring a close to the war.

The Divine Bell incident then happens, but Jaina, again, maintains a level head. She demands that the Sunreavers turn over those responsible, or face expulsion from the Kirin Tor. The Sunreavers disavow the attack, but turn over no one, claiming that the orders came from outside the Sunreavers. Rommath manages to help ease things over, but Jaina levies harsh punishments on the Sunreavers. Instead of a “purge”, she uses these punishments as a sign that she’s furious and willing to punish, but still keeping her cool. In truth however, Jaina is really just waiting for the right moment.

Alliance players then help Jaina coerce and secure the loyalty and backing of the Council of Six through secret meetings. This Alliance only storyline lays out that Jaina has grand plans for the Horde.

Lor’themar privately tasks Blood Elf players with a special quest; they can either accept, or reject. The quest is to meet with SI:7 agents and open talks with the Alliance about breaking away from the Horde. Lor’themar claims that after Garrosh used the Sunreavers behind Lor’themar’s back, violating neutrality and risking Elven blood, he believes that the Blood Elves are being pulled further and further down a path they won’t survive. The conflict keeps escalating and there is no end in sight.

On the Alliance side of things, Genn and Tyrande are pushing for more extreme methods to be used against the Horde, but Varian (heeding Anduin’s wisdom) takes a cooler approach and tries to use more logic and wisdom than strength and brutality. He seems to have learned from both Bolvar and Anduin, and strives for an end to the war, rather than absolute destruction of his enemies.

This leads to tensions rising within the Alliance, as well - especially when Genn and Rogers and Tyrande begin leading a ruthless campaign against the Horde that tests the limits of the Alliance’s moral boundaries. Garrosh will also offer quests for Horde players to do the same.

Horde and Alliance players can opt into these storyline, or reject them. The quests would be all out barbarism and savagery, with Genn/Rogers/Tyrande or Garrosh/Warlord Zaela sending players out to wipe out settlements and butcher the enemy.

A Brief Aside:

As we’re pushing through the Pandaria content, Helya and Odyn contact their champions on Azeroth for another task, and we’re summoned to their dominions; both have gained wind of the plans of the other, and want to stay a step ahead.

What we learn is that there is a plane of existence within which two powerful strongholds exist: the Shadowlands. In the middle of this plane is the a region called the Undying Lands; neutral territory where the souls of the dead roam upon passing through the veil.

On one end of this plane is the landscape of Helheim, with Helya’s Abyssal Bastion as the “capital”, and on the other end is the landscape Valhalyn, with Odyn’s Halls of Valor as its “capital”. Both the Halls of Valor and the Abyssal Bastion themselves are permanently bound there because of Helya and Odyn’s ancient feud, and the curse; both are seeking a way to use their capital as a gateway into Azeroth and the world of the Living, however.

The benefit of this is would be the ability to use their Val’kyr to remake the world: Odyn wants to purge the old gods and control the world in the name of the Titans, while Helya wants to purge the living and let Death itself rule over Azeroth.

We learn that the faction conflict is feeding an enormous amount of souls into the Shadowlands, and that both Odyn and Helya are battling for control of those souls.

We’re tasked with seeking out an oracle deep out at sea who has had a vision of the future which is essential for Odyn and Helya. We are actually pitted against players who chose to back the other Titan-forged being, instead of our typical faction enemies. We’d get a new Tol Barad type zone/pvp event in which we fight over control of the Oracle’s temple, while representing our chosen Keeper: Death or Life.

During this pvp-match zone’s event, players of the opposing faction can group together, and win control of the Island. Once they’re in control, it opens up a two boss raid, at the end of which is the Oracle who shares a prophecy of the end of the world: Ragnarok. She grants players access to a stone which allows them to summon either Valajar or Helarjar to aid them in combat on cooldown.

Returning to Odyn or Helya with this news startles them, but sets them in motion to do “things”.

The Mantid:

We get the Mantid storyline, and all that jazz. No changes.

Landfall:

Landfall patch; heat things up. Keep it mostly the same. Go go.

In Dalaran, Jaina finally sets her plan in motion. She begins feeding false intelligence to the Sunreavers with the intent of letting the leaks/Horde loyalists send the info onto Garrosh. This lures them and the Horde into pursuing a red herring about a source of great and powerful magic that the Alliance “has been working to secure”, on a remote island out at sea. In truth, she’s been using the intel to A) draw out the Sunreavers in Dalaran who are loyal to Garrosh, and B) draw the Horde’s best commanders and forces into a trap.

Horde players would be on the other side of this storyline, and be ordered by Garrosh to investigate.

When the Horde’s forces arrive at the location, they realize it’s a trap all too late.

During the scenario, Jaina swiftly executes the Purge of Dalaran (and the shattering of potential reconciliation between Quel’thalas and the Alliance), and breaks the Kirin Tor away from the neutrality. Using the support of the Council of Six, she goes off the rails.

Dalaran, appearing above the island on which the Horde has assembled some of its best forces, unleashes devastation; the spells that are unleashed from the floating city essentially vaporize the island entirely, erasing the soldiers from existence in every reality, just like what happened at Theramore. The impact is devastating.

Horde players would get to do the scenario on the island, and just barely survive it, while the Alliance play the other side, in Dalaran city itself.

Both the Horde and Alliance players return to their faction to report the results.

Vol’jin and Lor’themar confront Garrosh about the absolutely devastating trap, and also about his increasingly extreme approach to the war, and his use of the Sunreavers behind Lor’themar’s back, which resulted in their ejection from Dalaran and the purge of the Blood Elves there. They claim that the Kirin Tor picking sides is a clear sign that the turning point has been reached, and that all of Azeroth could be left in ruins if the war keeps escalating.

We then find out that Garrosh also knows that the Blood Elves were talking with the Alliance about switching sides, and the warchief outright threatens to exile both of their people from Orgrimmar for “betraying” the Horde, but he gives them one last chance, claiming that Dalaran should be proof that the Blood Elves have no place anywhere but with the Horde, and that only the Horde has accepted them. He uses the Kirin Tor’s attack as proof that there is no way to reel back the Alliance.

This time, it seems as if Garrosh genuinely has good reasons for starting to go ham on defiant members of the Horde, but it leaves them weak and divided as a result. The Tauren contemplate leaning towards the ‘underdog’ group in the Horde who want to sue for peace, but manage to hang on just a little bit longer; they’re still bitter about Cairne, and it provides a good motivation for Baine to pursue war, but they fear being obliterated by the vengeful Alliance armies.

The Forsaken are also uneasy about which way they’re leaning with regards to the internal strife within the Horde, as they are just as hell bent on the Alliance’s destruction at all costs, but they understand where the cards may fall. For now though, they remain with Garrosh.

We begin to see things crumbling of the Horde, which is compounded by the emergence of a new threat that puts pressure on everyone. In this, the Horde players are tasked by Garrosh or Lor’themar/Vol’jin to remain neutral, to keep a foot in both camps to serve as eyes and ears.

Alliance side, Varian is livid that Jaina destroyed an opportunity to draw in a new ally in the war, and tensions boil up fast as the leadership of the Alliance come to an all out shouting match over the direction to take. Varian outright condemns Jaina’s actions, calling her a monster who is just as bad as Garrosh. The arguments spiral out of control, and the leaders nearly come to blows.

Many want to strike early at Orgrimmar while it is vulnerable, while others want to wait for a potential rebellion to take hold, and instead focus on the new threat that has emerged.

Ultimately, the Alliance realizes it has no choice but to divert from its focus on the Horde as storms gather all across Azeroth, and the thundering serpent riders of the Thunder King assault holdings all across the world.

The Thunder King:

The Thunder King has risen at the hands of Zul’s minions. After his defeat on Zandalar, and being driven out, Zul has rallied the scattered remnants of the Amani, Gurubashi, Frakkari, Drakkari, and the Blood Trolls, and has bound them to his will once more.

Leading a de-facto empire, empowered by the ancient magics, Zul unleashed the Thunder King upon Pandaria, and Lei Shen there after empowered those who would fight beside him with incredible powers. We get a world event for the Isle of Thunder patch, in which the Thunder King’s war parties strike out across Azeroth. Storms would roll in over a zone, and shortly after, thundering serpents, elementals, and war parties of Mogu and Trolls would invade the zone (sort of like Legion Assaults).

While this happens - the Horde get a small side storyline.

HORDE: The arrival of the Zul’ites, and their hunt for magical power and items, raises awareness of the heart of Y’Shaarj for Garrosh, which he sets out to pursue, along with Baine. The two take the player hero with them, but they’re waylaid by Vol’jin, who claims that the Horde needs every soldier to pursue the Thunder King, and that dark magics and cursed parts of an old god will do no one any good. Garrosh commands Vol’jin to leave and go back, that he doesn’t need people who would bow to the Alliance, but Vol’jin refuses, claiming that he won’t let Garrosh go down the same path that his father had.

Vol’jin explains the parts of the story about Grommash that Thrall never told Garrosh, which only drives more instability in the young warchief.

Vol’jin prepares to challenge Garrosh to mok’gora then and there, but Baine intercedes, claiming that the Horde must always stand together, even through its worst days, and that a challenge will only divide them further. He tries to reason with the two, but neither will budge, and Garrosh claims that the Horde is weak without him as its leader; that he alone can provide what will keep it strong: war.

Baine refutes this, surprised to hear it in fact, and claims that unity and trust is what has kept the Horde strong. He claims that all great leaders fail in the end by refusing to trust, and by allowing their lust for power and disregard for their people to blind them to the fracturing within.

Garrosh gives them both a choice; give everything, even their souls, for his Horde, for the Horde, or be banished. Vol’jin claims he’ll never stop fighting for the Horde, just not Garrosh’s. Baine, inspired and also seeing the inevitability of endless war under Garrosh, decides to stand with Vol’jin. Garrosh’s assassins then try to take out both Vol’jin and Baine, and Garrosh goes after the Heart. The player will be able to save Baine and Vol’jin, and it becomes clear that there’s a dire need for action.

The Kirin Tor Offensive and the Sunreaver Onslaught then lead their dual offensive onto the Isle of Thunder. We get Jaina taking power from the Forge for her staff, and Lor’themar securing his own power from Lei Shen’s vault (where his altar is) which he imbues into his bow, and both factions go head to head on the Isle.

We get that showdown we had before, and Jaina/Lor’themar agree to work together to defeat Lei’shen, and then to handle their own conflict after.

We fight the Thunder King, then Zul, and kill off both for good. Jaina and Lor’themar then handle their beef, acknowledging that the war can’t go on forever, and that there needs to be an end; that said, both admit they will never, ever forgive each other for the atrocities committed by either faction. Lor’themar reveals what happened with Vol’jin and Baine, and explains that both are still alive, and seeking out Thrall and the others who will come aid in the revolution.

The focus shifts to breaking away from the war mongering and escalation, and towards saving the heart of both the Alliance, and the Horde.

The Timeless Isle:

We get this lovely patch, tons of new content, and of course the threads of the story leading into WoD. We see Kairoz again, who continues to suffer the crippling side effects of having been trapped in the time loop for so long. He’s convinced that, despite having defeated Murozond, there is a great darkness looming, and only one way to approach it. He begins to task us with gathering up echoes of time from throughout MoP areas, including the upcoming raid.

He explains that he’s trying to build a device that can set right the timeline, but is unwilling to trust Nozdormu with it given their history together. The player will help Kairoz build the device throughout the rest of the expansion.

The Siege of Orgrimmar:

Word spreads about the revolution and coalition, though not all leaders are happy about this ‘tentative alliance’. As Jaina unveils the plan to the Alliance leadership, Genn and Rogers and a few others outright refuse to comply, claiming that siding with the Horde is an utter betrayal of the people the Horde has massacred. Genn and Rogers go off on their own, and Varian dispatches the Alliance player to stop them.

Both factions prepare for the Siege of Orgrimmar.

With both Zul and the Thunder King slain, both factions (as they did originally) set their focus on Garrosh, and bringing a swift end to the war. We see Garrosh go for the Heart of Y’shaarj, destroy the Vale, and then the revolution takes full swing. The Trolls, Tauren, and Elves are ejected from Orgrimmar, and the Battlefield Barrens content rolls out, which is followed by the Siege of Orgrimmar.

During the Battlefield Barrens and lead up to the Siege, the Alliance players track down Rogers and Genn who are preparing an ambush on the revolutionary forces.

Instead of getting the infamous ‘robo spy cat’ quest, the Alliance players would be tasked with halting a potentially crippling blow to the revolution, and have to halt Rogers and Genn from following through with their planned attack. Varian and Jaina arrive for this, as well, and Varian invokes Bolvar (who was like a brother to him) and claims that revenge will never bring back the dead.

Varian unloads about the siege of the Undercity, and the destruction he brought down, and how it’s only made the conflict worse. Genn and Rogers seem to be reeled back for the time being.

We then get the siege, in which we face a similar ending to the faction conflict.

Varian makes his promise that if the Horde violates the truce, or acts without honor, the Alliance will come after them and finish what it started.

Garrosh and Loose Ends:

Garrosh goes on trial, Vol’jin becomes head of a Horde Council, thereby abolishing the role of Warchief, and there is tentative peace on Azeroth for a short time.

We then deal with the trial, in which Kairoz recruits others to help free Garrosh, and enable his escape to another timeline. Apologizing for misleading the players, he proclaims that there is only one way to stop the coming darkness - and that is through making right the past. He then uses the device we helped him build in order to take Garrosh away.

While Garrosh is doing his time jump thing, it’s really important that there be follow up to the faction conflict.

One of the stories I’ve really wanted to see happen on both factions is a recognition of just how much the faction war has cost the Horde and Alliance, and just how extensive the damage has been. In the story, we’ve heard the economy in nearby regions is being sucked dry by Stormwind for war funds and soldiers; we’ve heard the Horde is “on the brink of defeat” and “struggling without supplies” for ages, and yet none of these things are ever manifest in the game.

Kind of like the Genn/Anduin “So this is the last of the soldiers” quote from the cinematic, and then suddenly we have tons of Soldiers for Nazjatar and elsewhere - there’s never a 1:1 parallel with what is said/what is seen.

I’d want stories to roll out dealing with that. Have players of both factions come across homeless war veterans in their capital cities, for example, and need to go to get medicine or food for them. In the time they’re away, the war vet passes away from whatever they were sick with/starvation.

We find Sons of Lothar/Scourge War dog tags or commendations of some sort, and bring them to someone like Danath Trollbane or Saurfang; I think it’d be great to see a more grounded side of these older war veteran characters, and have them confront their faction leaders about not doing enough to end the wars sooner, and to provide for the soldiers who serve, and the people who suffer.

Maybe they have us go and gather up other veterans, or npcs who have been made homeless, and a feast is thrown for them city wide, and then relief programs enacted in those cities.

There’s tons of zones like Redridge and Westfall, Ashenvale, Durotar and Mulgore/the Barrens that have been laid waste to during the war, and returning to see this conclusion is really important.

Having a period of time, or even a whole patch, where we’re tasked with going to older zones/revisiting older characters, and helping them recover from the conflict, would be a fantastic way to see the world as new again, and also to reconnect with characters we’ve helped before, or maybe townships and people we didn’t help enough, and see how they’ve suffered.

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Warlords of Draenor

Patch 6.0 At the onset of the expansion, we’d have a bit more story following up on the end of MoP. We’d see the strained relations between the factions, and that they’re barely holding on as is under the economic turmoil that has hampered recovery efforts.

The Alliance has, despite its victory, suffered near crippling internal strife with the tension between its leaders. Its economy is also in shambles, and the faction is struggling with civil unrest as a result. Many of the leaders want the Horde to pay reparations, and want to lay heavy sanctions on the faction, but Varian is trying to prevent more tension between the factions.

Horde side, there is just as much unrest and unease as they struggle to realign themselves with a new set of values and ideals that better represent where they are. Their people are starving and near destitute, and the Orcs/Trolls are considering moving further inland, towards the Barrens where life has begun to spread from the Wailing Caverns. This demands a lot of rethinking on behalf of the Horde’s leaders, as they need to come to terms with who they want to be.

Racial Update:

With all the races added since Launch, I want to highlight what we have and where they’re at.

Horde: (10 races, 7 cities.)

Blood Elves: Capital is Silvermoon City
Darkspear Trolls: Unofficial capital is the Orgrimmar.
Forest Trolls: Unofficial capital is the Orgrimmar.
Zandalari Trolls: Capital is Dazar’alor.
Orcs: Capital is Orgrimmar.
Tauren: Capital is Thunderbluff.
Ogres: Capital is Stonemaul Fortress.
Forsaken: Capital is a rebuilt Stratholme.
Goblins: Capital is Kezan.
Pandaren: Unofficial capital is Orgrimmar.

Alliance: (10 races, 7 cities.)

High Elves: Capital is Tal’thalas.
Gnomes: Unofficial capital is Ironforge.
Bronzebeard Dwarves: Capital is Ironforge.
Wildhammer Dwarves: Unofficial capital is Ironforge.
Dark Iron Dwarves. Capital is Shadowforge City.
Humans: Capital is Stormwind.
Worgen: Capital is Gilneas.
Night Elves: Capital is Teldrassil/Darnassus.
Draenei: Capital is Embaru.
Pandaren: Unofficial capital is Stormwind.

  • The Dwarven Council of Three Hammers is struggling to overcome old rivalries with each other. Grim Batol is still cursed and tainted, and can’t be returned to, and the Blackrock menace still threatens Shadowforge City. In Ironforge, the Bronzebeards are struggling with overcrowding as refugees flood in. The three Dwarven leaders grapple with who should lead long term in the absence of Magni, and the issue of Moira’s child rises once more.

  • The Night Elves are struggling too, specifically with how much of their own land they’re willing to allow the Orcs to make use of. There is tension within their society with regards to the return of Malfurion, and who should lead the Elven people. Many have come to prefer Tyrande’s fierce and indomitable ruthlessness in war time, but others are coming to believe that Malfurion’s compassionate and peace loving demeanor is better suited for the future.

  • The Worgen, meanwhile, are adapting to life back in Gilneas once more, but it comes with unease as many believe that Gilneas should hold more power in the Alliance to safeguard against the growing impassivity of the Wrynn dynasty, especially keeping in mind the Alliance’s perennial enemy - the Horde. The Worgen were hoping for a brutal and absolute defeat of the Horde, and were denied their vengeance against Sylvanas by Varian’s eagerness to make peace.

  • The Draenei, in their new city of Embaru, built around the crashed Exodar, are trying to repopulate, but many of the Draenei feel that their best bet is to withdraw from the Alliance all together, fearing more conflict in the future given the simmering tensions lingering from the war. Velen tries to hold together a war weary population that wants nothing more than to simply tend to itself, but Velen knows that the Legion will come at some point, and they need allies for that time.

  • The Gnomes are taking a more active role in Alliance leadership, helping to provide new technologies to help in the recovery process, but Gelbin Mekkatorque is torn between leading his people to a new future, and heeding their calls to return to Gnomeregan to reclaim their home. Geblin faces a rival, vying for power, and it comes to an election within the Gnomish population, which Geblin narrowly wins.

  • The High Elves, without any home since the destruction of Theramore, remain as agitated refugees who have been fighting day in and day out to claim territory for themselves within the already cramped walls of Stormwind. Auric Sunchaser and Vereesa Windrunner eventually lead the survivors out from Stormwind, and strike down a settlement called Tal’thalas on an isle in the Great Sea.

  • The Humans of Stormwind face trying times as the Kingdom’s population is torn in many directions. Home to refugees from Lordaeron, Arathi, Theramore, Quel’thalas, and elsewhere, there are calls for Varian to strike north and reclaim western Lordaeron for the Alliance while the Forsaken are still far to the east. Varian knows this will only incite tension and unease, but knows that the city can’t hold the massive refugee populations for much longer.

  • The Pandaren continue to be a nomadic people, and seem to be doing the best out of everyone on both sides. They journey between Pandaria and their faction cities, helping to resettle refugees, and continue teaching their ways.

  • The Forsaken, still reeling from the loss of Lordaeron’s capital, have resettled in Stratholme, and are facing an uphill battle in purging the remaining Scourge from Quel’thalas and the northern region of the continent between Stratholme and Hearthglen. They’ve managed to build up a new, strong city, but are grappling with meeting both Sylvanas’ mandates, and the will of the Forsaken people. The defeat of Arthas has changed the dynamic of Forsaken society, and not everyone is on board with Sylvanas’ “kill all the living” approach.

  • The Blood Elves, in the north, finally know a brief time of peace. It’s in this period that tensions begin to bubble up on the home front as nobles vie for power, territory, and influence. The people wish for Lor’themar to take up the crown in the wake of Kael’thas’ death, but he outright refuses; other nobles don’t have such hesitation, however. Lor’themar faces a tense political dynamic which forces him into a position where he must make a big decision: ascend to the throne and forge a fragile Kingdom back together, or step aside and allow someone else to lead.

  • The Tauren, in the wake of the war, are struggling with accepting the end of the war. A peaceful, nomadic people, many believe their eagerness to avenge Cairne took them far from their traditions and culture, and many seek to find their spirit once more. Baine begins to find his footing as a peacetime leader through this, but struggles to accommodate the needs of various, often uncooperative tribes.

  • The various Troll races, together, struggle to set aside their histories and forge a unified front. Talanji believes that the Zandalari are best suited to lead the united troll peoples, but Vol’jin is weary of this, knowing the legacy of the Zandalari. The two leaders go back and forth, and try to find common ground.

  • The Goblins of Kezan continue to work their money magic, and seem to have come out of the war on top. They seek to draw out their owed money from the various races of the Horde, and also further improve their city of Undermine.

  • Ogres of the Stonemaul Clan have long struggled to survive the harsh wilderness of Kalimdor, and finally begin to carve out a proper home for themselves with the aid of the Tauren. Many of the ogres wish to return to practicing magic, as their ancestors once did, but are unsure of how to begin. The Tauren connect the Ogres with the Blood Elves, who begin to help them discover the ways of the arcane once more.

  • Orcs, are Orcs. And Orcs have a long history of warfare, but also a culture of trade and agriculture and nomadic shamanism, too. With a council of leaders instead of a warchief, the Orcs set their focus on expanding upon their way of life. They return to old rituals and practices, and seek to make amends with the spirits.

Many of the races (of both factions) are returning to their own homelands to repair the damage of the Cataclysm and the war, and that leaves some parts of the world unguarded. One such area is the east and south of the Eastern Kingdoms. During this period, strange things begin to happen in the Blasted Lands, including anomalies and the sort. We work with the Bronze Dragonflight to uncover that it’s another reality/timeline attempting to make a connection. Eventually the Dark Portal is reopened.

Launch Content

The Iron Horde spills out from Draenor with a sudden violence, levels the fortifications in the zone, and then pushes deep into Azeroth. The opening patch content involves the Iron Horde pushing over the mountains into Stranglethorn, and then storming north towards Stormwind from both the jungle, and the swamp.

With its economy crippled and its soldiers having returned to their homes after the war, Stormwind is unable to hold back the Iron Horde, and most of the Kingdom is overrun, with the capital itself falling under siege. The big event of the pre-patch would be the rest of the Alliance, and the Horde, coming to lift the siege of Stormwind, in which both factions fight to drive back the Iron Horde which has already breached the city gates. We also get the Upper Blackrock Spire revamped dungeon.

Once Stormwind is liberated, both factions, under the leadership of Thrall, Liadrin, Maraad, Danath, and Khadgar, push onwards. There are, however, simply too many soldiers of the Iron Horde on Azeroth already to defeat quickly or easily, so Khadgar proposes a familiar idea - a surgical strike into Draenor in an effort to close the portal from the other side. It is, admittedly, a suicide mission, but one they need to undertake in order to staunch the tides of soldiers coming through.

The Horde and Alliance hold the line in Stormwind’s neighboring zones, while an assault force invades the Blasted Lands by sea and air. This serves as a distraction while the players and the heroes stage an all out strike on the Portal, going behind enemy lines, and charge through into Draenor.

The Other Side:

The introductory experience would be the mostly same from that point on: the portal would be damage on Draenor (though not destroyed), we’d be introduced to some new villains, and then we’d become stranded, just narrowly escaping Tanaan. One note of change, however, is that Garrosh would serving as Warchief of the Iron Horde, not Grommash; Grom serves simply as Chieftain of the Warsong clan.

We settle in Frostfire and Shadowmoon, and find that we’re unable to open portals back to Azeroth in the present, at least not without Bronze Dragonflight magic. For mechanical purposes, players can go back and forth via one of the Bronze Dragonflight NPCs, but it’s strictly a mechanical element. We are, thoroughly and completely, stuck on Draenor.

Much of the initial questing experience would remain the same from here on, but characters like Maraad and Orgrim Doomhammer would have much more build up, and we’d have to rely on the natives of Draenor instead of bringing our own armies from Azeroth. Shattrath would serve as the neutral capital city, with Karabor and Bladespire being smaller faction specific hubs.

Maraad and Thrall would serve as the faction leaders, having the most experience with Draenor, and Khadgar would be the neutral guy who helps guide us through the Gul’dan storyline. Liadrin and Danath would begrudgingly work together, and serve as the military leaders, while Maraad and Thrall are the more ‘big picture’ type leaders.

Maraad would play a key role in Y’rel’s ascension and growth; Thrall would serve as a lightning rod for the Durotan story; Liadrin and Danath would serve as the multi-purpose characters who adapt as is needed; Orgrim would be the guy on the inside who sees how soulless the Iron Horde is becoming under Garrosh; Y’rel would serve out that role of the ‘up and coming new leader’; and of course Velen would be the mentor who dies.

We’ll occasionally cross paths with Orgrim, who tries to parlay with the champions of Azeroth, even as the Iron Horde continues to wage a brutal war across Draenor, but the champions are hesitant to believe him. Orgrim claims that war has consumed the hearts of the Horde’s warriors, and they are at risk of losing everything.

The Draenei and Blood Elves will team up once more and lead the assaults in Talaador, tackling the issue of Auchindon. In this storyline, we see a Naaru, kept within the holy temple, trying to purify a second, failing Naaru, which is on the brink of going void; this is in part due to the meddling of Teron’gor. Through Y’rel and Maraad’s story, we manage to save the first, Naaru by sacrificing the second. The outcome of this story is that Maraad will meet his fate, and Y’rel will rise and accept the blessing of the Naaru we saved, transforming her into a Lightforged.

Having lost both Maraad and Velen, Y’rel teeters on the brink of despair, but finds purpose in her gift from the Light, and strives to seek victory in their name.

She declares herself a “Velenite”, in honor of Velen, and works to spread the teaching’s of the Naaru to the other Draenei. We also see Maraad’s soul become bound with Y’rel’s weapon, so that we’ll always have a part of him along for the ride.

Liadrin asks Y’rel to help her, too, become Lightforged, and the two share that bond.

Important to note here, the attack on Shattrath hasn’t happened yet.

While the storyline unfolds in Talaador and Shadowmoon, in Frostfire we’ll get the original story with Durotan and Thrall and G’nar. That storyline, I felt, was solid through and through, along with the Gorgrond material.

The Dark Irons and Orcs will lead their faction specific charge into Gorgrond to go after Blackhand, and we’ll cap off that story as well with few changes. Blackrock Foundry will be the first major raid.

Frostfire and Shadowmoon will also remain faction specific, and Nagrand will be a max level zone that we can’t yet access.

Since we can’t get into Nagrand yet, I’d propose Farahlon being added as the other zone for leveling content, and it’d be wonderful to see a ‘new’ side to Draenor that could be unique from the rest.

As we wrap up in Gorgrond, Frostfire, Shadowmoon, Spires of Arak, and Talador, we’ll get quests to go scout around and spy on the Iron Horde in Nagrand, where we learn more of Garrosh’s story, and witness the tension brewing in the Iron Horde. We see Orgrim openly challenge Garrosh for leadership of the Iron Horde, but he fails, is defeated, and loses the Doomhammer as it’s shattered and broken in battle. Orgrim leaves in shame, much like Thrall did when he fought and lost to Garrosh.

Garrosh lashes out in front of his remaining chieftains and lieutenants, revisiting some of Baine’s own words, specifically that no Horde can survive when there is no unity, and no trust. Garrosh claims that he’s been seen in a vision to lead the war against the darkest night that comes, and that any too weak to stand at his side shall be cast out. He has journeyed beyond time and space, that he has even brought such terrible power to bear that a whole world of bitter enemies were desperate to unite just to stand against him. He claims that he has what it takes to forge a bold future, and that he will do so no matter the cost.

This is a shocking moment for Grommash, who sees just how “unhinged” Garrosh is in his eyes; not knowing the history of Azeroth, Grommash can’t truly understand what Garrosh really has seen or been through. He can imagine, however, what the Iron Horde is bound to become under Garrosh, and how quickly the Warchief is losing control of the war, despite the big game he talks.

Our spying also reveals that the Iron Horde is preparing an all out assault on Talaador in an effort to regain their footing, intending to strike from both Nagrand, and Tanaan.

Garrosh plans to wipe Shattrath off the map.

The Shadow Council:

Khadgar, meanwhile, is still pursuing Gul’dan, and he summons the champions to warn them of something he’s been scrying; Gul’dan has sought out Grommash again to offer new power, enough power to challenge and defeat Garrosh, and reclaim the destiny of the Orcish people.

We go on quests to stop this exchange, but come too late to find an empty cup of the demon blood at the meeting spot in Tanaan, and neither Gul’dan or Grommash present.

Desperate, Khadgar summons the Alliance and Horde leadership on Draenor, and lays out what he knows. We get quests to hunt down more of the Shadow Council, and also to do a few other things to prepare for what we can imagine is about to happen next.

Thrall asks players to help him seek out Orgrim, and to bring him back to the fight. We get a touching moment between Thrall and Orgrim, where the truth about all things comes out regarding their alternate history; both believe themselves to have failed in their duty to the Horde, but they agree that not all futures are decided with one battle or moment alone.

Thrall offers his own Doomhammer to Orgrim, who agrees to come and try once more to free the Horde from the corruption of both the demon blood, and of Garrosh’s madness.

The Siege of Shattrath:

The Iron Horde leads its assault on Shattrath, in which Garrosh’s army plows out from Tanaan and Nagrand, laying waste to fortifications along the way. Warchief Garrosh Hellscream stands at the spear of the attack force, though only has Kargath left beside him.

We get the raid we always should have: we need to defend Shattrath from the Iron Horde during a massive, all out battle/siege.

We’d start near Auchindon and fight our way towards Shattrath. There, we’d start to push the Iron Horde back towards the Harbor. Kargath would be slain as a boss near the beginning, and maybe a few huge Gronn that can level buildings with their itty bitty feets.

Halfway through the raid, as Garrosh begins to level parts of the city with his cannons from the harbor, we’d reach the terraces of Shattrath and witness the arrival of a corrupted Grommash, along with a legion of fel-empowered soldiers. The two confront each other in the open, drawing attention away from the coalition forces retaking the city.

Garrosh waxes on about how the legends of Grommash were false, and that he’s never been anything but the slave of demons; he regrets ever having sought to follow in his footsteps.

The two Orcs engage in their own fight, and while their armies clash amidst the partial ruin of Shattrath’s harbor, we take the chance to recover lost parts of the city and fight our way down to the port.

Garrosh’s Iron Horde is being pushed out of the harbor, pinched between the Legion forces coming from Tanaan, and the Coalition forces from the upper city; we’d move to confront him, personally. Realizing just how serious a threat a Fel-Iron Horde would be, the leaders from Azeroth try to reason with Garrosh, but he refuses to side with the champions of Azeroth after all that happened.

It’s at this point that Orgrim shows up, and he challenges Garrosh once more to mok’gora for leadership of the Horde. Using Thrall’s Doomhammer, Orgrim defeats Garrosh, but doesn’t kill him, and instead offers him a second chance. Orgrim talks about how all great leaders face an uncertain future, and must learn how and when to put their cause before their pride. Thrall steps in now, and admits to his part in not guiding Garrosh as well as he could have, and that he always thought of Garrosh as a brother he couldn’t save.

Instead of a fight to the death, we actually get closure of some kind between the two. Thrall reminds Garrosh that people aren’t their parents’ legacy, and that he can forge his own path, and that he doesn’t have to live up to any destiny or legacy. Thrall followed a prophecy that saved his people once before, but he’s acknowledged that once that prophecy ended - he struggled to see the path forwards; he had to learn to make decisions for himself. People must choose, and make their own destiny.

Garrosh relents, and steps down as Warchief of the Iron Horde, and Orgrim ascends. While somewhat uneasy, given Garrosh’s brutal history on Azeroth, the leaders are able to stand together at least for the short term in the face of the Legion. The combined armies then charge into the harbor and take the fight to Grommash.

The coalition forces manage to drive back Grommash and his Legion to the edge of Tanaan, where they withdraw. The final cinematic of the raid is the champions moving to the a cliff overlooking Tanaan, where we get the cut scene of Gul’dan raising the fel spikes to impale the Hellfire Citadel, and beckoning forth the Legion.

Khadgar explains that things have become even worse now; the Legion has come.

Nagrand:

The end of this raid unlocks Nagrand, which is a Suramar type zone, in which it’s max level content, but not yet end game. Here, we have to wrest control away from pockets of the Warsong clan who followed Grommash in drinking the demon blood. We get to meet a variety of Warsong heroes, both new and old, who fight on different sides of the war.

We also get Highmaul, but as an eight or nine boss dungeon instead of a raid. In this, we have to force the Ogres into submission so that they’ll aid us in the final push into Tanaan. This chapter is great for the Stonemaul Ogres of the Horde, who have been wanting to reconnect with the arcane ways of their ancestors.

Tanaan, and the Final Push:

The final patch is similar to how it was in retail; we have to break our way into Tanaan in order to fight the Fel Iron Horde. This time, however, we have Orgrim and Garrosh helping us. Gul’dan is the big bad, most obviously, with Grommash and Kil’rogg serve as additional bad guys to fight.

As we push through this zone, we realize that, originally under Garrosh’s order, the Dark Portal has been under reconstruction since we damaged it upon arrival; Garrosh explains that his plan was to invade Azeroth once more, once we were out of the way: this now poses a serious threat. Khadgar explains that from what he can tell, the Legion is preparing to use the rebuilt Dark Portal to summon demons to Draenor.

He has an idea, however; he recalls our previous battle against Illidan Stormrage at the Black Temple.

Khadgar explains that Illidan had taken a Sargerite Keystone from the Legion, and had used it to open the way to Argus once before, but that we stopped him before his plans were complete. Danath reminds Khadgar that the keystone was locked away on Azeroth after Illidan’s defeat, but Khadgar insists that where there is one, there are more.

Khadgar proposes highjacking a Legion portal, already open in the region, and stealing another Keystone which they could use to connect the Dark Portal to Azeroth, and summon in their own reinforcements. Another risky, potentially suicidal mission.

We get an epic questline in which we raid a Legion world, kill a big bad demon, and steal another Keystone. It’s during this raid that we realize an interesting fact: we’re on an ‘alternate’ Draenor, but we’re facing the same Legion as before. This was a major point of contention for folks who dig into the lore, so I think I may have a work around.

Building upon what we know of the Timelines (according on the Bronze Dragonflight), I’d posit this: we are the main timeline. Any deviation becomes a small pocket dimension, like a wart on the face of our timeline. It can’t be erased, but it can be adjusted or altered so that it doesn’t become hideous and awful. That said, this timeline only exists from the moment that something changed.

So there aren’t multiple baby Velen’s running around, there’s only the two Velens: ours, and the one who began existing the moment Garrosh got sent back in time. Also, Gul’dan isn’t contacting a “different” Legion, he’s contacting the Legion in “our” timeline, the main one.

Hopefully that straightens out the issues.

Upon returning to Draenor, Khadgar needs time to purify the keystone with Arcane power so that we can make use of it without needing to use fel magic. During this time, maybe we get the rest of the Garona questline, or something else as content.

Once we are ready to go, we focus on Hellfire Citadel itself, and our final assault.

Tanaan Jungle and the Raid:

We get Tanaan Jungle as a zone, but instead of landing near the Portal, we invade from the west, and have to stake out our territory.

Bring back all the classic Legion goodness of Kazzak, Kil’rogg’s story, all the other stuff, yada yada.

Then…

Hellfire Citadel Raid:

We start the raid by laying siege to the citadel from the west, literally punching a hole right through the back door. We’d tackle all the familiar bosses from retail, but also with the new addition of Grommash, who Garrosh helps kill, bringing a sense of closure for him as he’s killing the ‘legend’ he’s supposed to live up to (both in the form of a hero he can’t be, and a monster he was becoming).

When we get to the Gul’dan/Mannoroth fight, we see Manny holding us off while Gul’dan reopens the Dark Portal, and summons Archimonde fully into Draenor.

Having fought our way up to the top of the Citadel, we have a great vantage point to observe this from, but it also means we need to go out the front door, and fight our way down the road to the Dark Portal.

There, we have all of the armies we’ve been building up coming together in an all out battle against the endless hordes of demons spilling out from the Dark Portal. Ogres, Orcs, Draenei, all the heroes from Azeroth, and maybe even some Ethereals, all squaring up against the Legion.

Khadgar needs to be protected during this battle as he tries to work the Arcanite Keystone (the repurposed Sargerite Keystone) and divert the Dark Portal so that we can get reinforcements from Azeroth.

Khadgar proclaims throughout the fight that it’s harder than he thought to rework the portal, and that something on the far side is tugging against him, preventing him from linking the portal to Azeroth.

Things don’t go well for us, and we’re nearly defeated in the battle, with Archimonde beating down most of the heroes. Finally though, Khadgar seems to falter and collapse, but something happens; the portal snaps to a different anchor, and the Arcanite Keystone appears to activate on its own, stabilizing the gateway.

The sudden shift of the portal draws Archimonde’s focus, as well as everyone else, and through the new, blue tinged portal, we see Turalyon, Alleria, and hundreds of Lightforged Draenei begin to march through from the other side. Two Naaru also accompany them, and it’s sort of a “oh no way” type of a moment for the heroes, but the charge is sounded and the fight picks up again.

With reinforcements, the power of the Naaru, the champions of Azeroth, the Draenor Coalition, and the Army of the Light beating down Archimonde, we kick in the nuts. With his last breath, he sucks Gul’dan down the demon drain portal thing, and then dies. Part of his soul is trapped away in the nearby Draeneic crystal pylons, and the battle is over.

Key item to note here, the champions of Azeroth are now in possession of part of Archimonde’s soul, which Khadgar takes and keeps. This mirrors what happened with Kil’jaeden’s soul in the Sunwell raid.

Now we can have our Draenor is free moment, but probably from Y’rel, instead of another villain/anti-hero.

Conclusion:

Turalyon, Alleria, Khadgar, Kurdran, and Danath share their Sons of Lothar reunion, while Garrosh, Orgrim, Durotan, and Thrall have their own small gathering. Y’rel and Liadrin, turn towards the Naaru, and seek knowledge and blessings from them, as both have strong ties to the Light.

The Naaru note Y’rel and Liadrin’s transformation into a Lightforged, and claim that there is a place for them amongst the Army of the Light, but both decline, saying that they already have their place, with their people.

The Army of the Light reveals that they cannot stay on Draenor, and that there are many other worlds that still need them. The leaders from Azeroth offer to join the Army of the Light and bring Azeroth into the fight, but Turalyon claims that the champions of Azeroth have another path to walk, and that home beckons for them. It is foreseen that their paths will cross once again, but not just yet. He explains that Sargeras will feel this defeat, and that many more worlds will suffer as a result.

The Army of the Light returns to their ship through the portal, and then Khadgar uses the Arcanite Keystone to connect Draenor to Azeroth.

The heroes from Azeroth begin to pass through, and return home, but Garrosh decides to stay, claiming that no one on Azeroth would be ready to understand where he is at. He claims that he needs to stay here, on Draenor, and learn for a time. On Draenor, at least he has a chance to begin again with people who are ready to help him learn.

It’s a rough parting, but the groups split; Y’rel and Orgrim obviously stay on Draenor, but they do dispatch a cluster of their people to journey back to Azeroth with the champions, and claim that should the people of Azeroth ever have need of them, they will be here. Through this, allies coming through the portal to Azeroth, and we get the Mag’har racial customization for the Orcs, and and Lightforged Draenei for the Alliance (and customizations for the Blood Elves).

Khadgar takes the crystal containing part of Archimonde’s soul, as well as the Arcanite Keystone, and the heroes return home, and steal the portal to Draenor behind them.

For the first time in nearly three decades, the Dark Portal is still and vacant.

Back on Azeroth:

The champions return to Azeroth to find that a great deal has changed: the most jarring note of change? Time.

Five years have passed on Azeroth while the champions were away, even though it seemed like months.

While time has passed, some hatreds haven’t faded, and tensions are still present, even if the two factions are working together on a number of fronts.

We get to check in with all these cool cats, and see what’s changed. Khadgar hands over the Draeneic Crystal containing Archimonde’s soul fragment to Velen in the Draenei city, and then heads off to hunt down Gul’dan.

New Races:

Horde: (1 races, 0 cities.)

Mag’har Orcs: Unofficial capital is Orgrimmar.
Blood Elves get holy eyes options from Liadrin.

Alliance: (1 races, 0 cities.)

Lightforged Draenei: Unofficial capital is Embaru.

Legion

Patch 7.0 Through Khadgar we get the original announcement and reveal of the Legion’s return to Azeroth. This spells bad news, duh. We get Demon Hunters unlocked, in which we get that original scenario where Maiev unlocks the Vault of the Wardens to free the imprisoned Demon Hunters; and Illidan is also kidnapped.

The heroes of both factions stage their assault on the Broken Shore, to devastating effect. Sylvanas and Varian are chosen to spearhead the assault on the shore, in which we suffer the injury of Vol’jin, but not his death. Sylvanas and Varian both call for the retreat as the Legion begins to overwhelm the factions, and both armies withdraw to the shore, but along the way we’re picked off one by one by the Legion.

We, as players, are mortally wounded by the Legion’s forces during the retreat, and we can only watch as our heroes and faction leaders reach the ships at the shore. Genn and Sylvanas are also killed during the retreat. We then get the cutscene of Varian trying to evacuate with the coalition forces, but he sacrifices himself so that they can get away, and then the cutscene flickers out as our character ‘dies’.

We awaken and it is revealed that Helya and Odyn have had the Val’kyr rescue us, and have brought us to either the Halls of Valor of the Abyssal Bastion, depending on who we backed.

We’re essentially told that we haven’t fulfilled our pact with them, and that we still have a purpose to serve; we are tasked with returning to the world of the living, and continuing to do as they bid. They claim that the coming war will set in motion the final battle for Azeroth (hint) that will reshape the future as it is known.

Genn is brought fully into the fold as a follower of Odyn, while Sylvanas already has her pact with Helya.

We are thrust back into our bodies, and essentially either fall from heaven or crawl our way up from hell(heim), and return to our faction capital to see the result of the assault on the Broken Shore.

Launch Content

The factions have failed during their assault on the Broken Shore, and the nations of Azeroth are left reeling from their losses. Legion invasions occur all across the world, which will prompt us to go explore parts of the world again.

The Kirin Tor and the Champions of Azeroth rise to the forefront during this expansion, and the Horde are finally permitted back into Dalaran. Jaina steps down, not believing the Horde can be trusted, still. We begin our class hall campaigns, and then venture onto the Broken Isles, and many other zones across Azeroth where Legion incursions crop up.

Throughout the initial roll out of content, we’ll be tasked with building up our order hall, and taking the fight to the Legion all across the world. We’ll get the different zones of the Broken Isles, more or less exactly as they were, save for Stormheim.

Stormheim:

For this zone, I’m stripping away the original ‘faction conflict’ element of Legion because I felt like it wasn’t well executed, and instead of Genn and Sylvanas going toe to toe because of Varian’s death, it will be as a result of Odyn and Helya’s power struggle.

We learn that Eyir, the lead Val’kyr, has been captured by the Legion, and is at risk of being corrupted. Helya has dispatched Sylvanas to capture Eyir and claim her for Death, while Odyn is sending Genn to liberate Eyir in the name of the Life.

It turns out that Eyir safeguards access to the Aegis of Aggramar, not Odyn, and we need to rescue her not only for that Pillar of Creation, but also for our task from Odyn or Helya. This puts players, regardless of their faction, in direct conflict with each other. I really like the idea of faction PVP still being around in the form of BGs and WPVP, but adding a new twist to it (life vs death) offers a new and engaging approach to the game.

With Sylvanas, players siding with Death need to steal the Lantern of Souls, while with Genn, players need to steal back from the Legion a device called the Grip of the God King, which has been used by Odyn to keep Eyir loyal.

The twist with Eyir is that while she is rescued from the Legion’s captivity, in the finale Genn and Sylvanas go toe to toe -trying to use both the Grip of the God King and the Lantern of Souls to control Eyir, and she finally snaps. Freed of both the Legion, and the two competing powers, Eyir abandons her station and flies away, taking many of the Val’kyr with her.

Without the powers of the Val’kyr to ferry the souls of the dead to either Helheim or Valhalyn, Odyn and Helya have essentially had their power plateau.

We take the Aegis of Aggramar back to Dalaran, and then return to our fight against the Legion. Genn, specifically, brings word back to Anduin in Stormwind, and reveals to him the story with Helya and Odyn. For Anduin, the choice is easy: Helya represents death and shadows, and Anduin seeks a meeting with Odyn, but Genn claims that it’s too dangerous, and that it can wait.

The Rest of the Broken Isles:

The rest of the Broken Isles would proceed as they originally did, and the PVP towers would be split between the forces of Death, and Life, instead of Horde vs. Alliance.

Suramar, as well, would continue as it did in retail, with players helping to liberate the city from the grip of Elisande and the Legion.

We will get the same Illidan storyline as before, and also the Turalyon/Army of the Light quests with the Light’s Heart core. There needs to be changes to this though, since we’ve already seen Turalyon and his army. Turaloyn instead will claim that the Legion’s invasion of Azeroth was unexpected, and that Sargeras’ fury has grown beyond measure. Taking the opportunity, the Army of the Light is launching their invasion of Argus while they have an opening, and that the time has come sooner than anticipated: the Army of the Light needs the help of Azeroth.

He explains that we need to get Light’s Heart to the Prophet.

The follow up quests take us into the heart of Umbaru, the Draenei city on Azeroth, where the Exodar sits at the center. Within that, lies O’ro, the last of Xe’ra’s line.

Cue the rest of that storyline, and the pursuit of Illidan’s soul.

Return to Kara Patch:

When we get the “in between” patch, we see the original Return to Kara content, but within that we see the Legion scouring the tower for clues to the where abouts of two very important items: the crystals containing part of the souls of Archimonde and Kil’jaeden.

We get the Return to Kara dungeon, plus another new dungeon: Grasp of the Legion. In this dungeon, players work with Khadgar and Rommath as they respond to massive Legion incursions in Umbaru, and Silvermoon. In both scenarios, we’re too late to stop the Legion from reclaiming the soul crystals.

This is certain to spell doom for the heroes, and Illidan takes charge in coordinating our response, alongside Khadgar and Velen and Rommath and Thalyssra. As they’re meeting to discuss the plan, we get that cinematic leading into the next patch.

We see the twisted, withered forms of Kil’jaeden and Archimonde who have been partially reformed in the twisting nether: both are missing a huge part of their soul, which leaves them incomplete.

We see them receiving word that the crystals have been recovered, and are waiting within the Tomb. That springs the massive, second wave assault of Azeroth where all the Legion ships come in once more.

In response, the heroes plan to assault the Broken Shore once more, and storm the Tomb of Sargeras.

Tomb of Sargeras Patch:

This patch would, again, be quite similar to its original form. Once we get to the end of the Tomb of Sargeras, we’d have to face a twin boss fight in which the two demon lords swap places as they draw more strength from the soul crystals. The lower their health, the more strength they gain from reattaching their souls.

Eventually the fight takes us to the ship, and then to Argus, where we miraculously manage to defeat them both after destroying the crystals. Cue the sweet cut scene of Illidan using the Sargerite Keystone, the heroes teleporting back, and then looking up in shock as Argus appears in the sky above Azeroth.

Shadows of Argus Patch:

We’d get the Shadows of Argus patch, but with a bit more to do, instead of just world quests up the wazoo. Part of the lead up to the finale is taking control of a massive Legion portal gate in Antorus, where we’re able to activate the Arcanite Keystone from Draenor, and open the way between worlds. Through this, Khadgar ushers in the heroes and armies of Draenor, and we prepare to wage the final assault on the Legion’s home world.

Y’rel, Garrosh and Orgrim charge through, the Iron Horde and the army of Velenites in tow, and help us in taking down the Legion.

Reaching the end of the Antorus raid, we realize we’ll have to head out with the Titans to end the war, and defeat the world soul, but Khadgar and Illidan know that the Legion will still survive on Argus, even without their leader.

In order to fix that problem, Illidan and Khadgar team up, and use the Arcanite and Sargerite Keystones to open thousands of gateways to countless, wasted Legion worlds, and essentially begin to rip what remains of Argus into tiny pieces. This is the same spell-work we stopped Illidan from completing the first time, atop the Black Temple.

Leaving the world to crumble, we journey to the Seat of the Pantheon, and take down Argus the Unmaker. After that, we get the cutscene of Illidan sticking around to serve as jailor of Sargeras, and the heroes return home aboard the Vindicaar.

But then of course, Sargeras sticks his sword into Azeroth. Bad news.

Y’rel and Garrosh and Orgrim, and their army, come with us to Azeroth, but seeing as we’ve left the Arcanite and Sargerite Keystones behind on Argus to hold open the portals, we have no way of sending these friends back home.

With three new heroes from Draenor, plus Turalyon and Alleria and all their new friends, we come home with a full boat, and folks settle amongst the people of Azeroth.

We also unlock Nightborne for both factions, and then Void Elves and Highmountain Tauren as well.

End of Expansion race/city count.

Horde: (13 races, 9 cities.)

Highmountain Tauren: Capital is Thunder Totem.
Blood Elves: Capital is Silvermoon City
Nightborne: Capital is Suramar City.
Darkspear Trolls: Capital is the Orgrimmar.
Forest Trolls: Capital is the Orgrimmar.
Zandalari Trolls: Capital is Dazar’alor.
Orcs: Capital is Orgrimmar.
Mag’har Orcs: Unofficial capital is Orgrimmar.
Tauren: Capital is Thunderbluff.
Ogres: Capital is Stonemaul Fortress.
Forsaken: Capital is a rebuilt Stratholme.
Goblins: Capital is Kezan.
Pandaren: Unofficial capital is Orgrimmar.

Alliance: (13 races, 8 cities.)

High Elves: Capital is Tal’thalas.
Void Elves: Unofficial capital is Tal’thalas.
Nightborne: Official capital is Suramar City.
Gnomes: Unofficial capital is Ironforge.
Bronzebeard Dwarves: Capital is Ironforge.
Wildhammer Dwarves: Unofficial capital is Ironforge.
Dark Iron Dwarves. Capital is Shadowforge City.
Humans: Capital is Stormwind.
Worgen: Capital is Gilneas.
Night Elves: Capital is Teldrassil/Darnassus.
Draenei: Capital is Embaru.
Lightforged Draenei: Unofficial capital is Embaru.
Pandaren: Unofficial capital is Stormwind.

Battle for Azeroth

Patch 8.0

Okay, this has been a lot; if you’re still here, congrats.

With the conclusion of the last expansion, and the small bits of thread pulling towards a Light Vs. Death expansion, this is the point at which things would spill over.

The initial launch contains the same issue of Azerite spilling out from The Wound, and the Champions of Azeroth being unsure of how to remedy the situation. They go through the routine of purging their artifacts in order to absorb the power from the sword, but that doesn’t handle the clean up operation.

The Alliance and Horde begin to research the new mineral, but it’s really Helya and Odyn, again, who are after the juice*. We are tasked by our ‘chosen figurehead’ with beginning to gather as much as can be obtained, and also to turn as many heroes as we can to strengthen our forces. The effort to “clean up” the Azerite leads to a brewing cold war in which many heroes begin to take sides. It’s not Alliance vs. Horde, but instead Life vs. Death.

Genn and Syvanas finally bring out the offer to their allies about Death, and Life, and many choose to pledge themselves to either Odyn or Helya.

Anduin is quick to come into Odyn’s favor as a powerful servant of life and holy righteousness, and Sylvanas easily gains Helya’s favor through her dark deeds. Both begin to recruit many heroes to their sides, which complicates the politics in many cities.

Magni, Khadgar, Thrall, and others stand as beacons of neutrality, knowing that extremism on either side is a dangerous path.

Many of these characters (and obviously there are tons not listed) would be recruited over the course of the expansion, and not all at once.

Champions of Life Champions of Azeroth Champions of Death
Anduin Wrynn Magni Bronzebeard Sylvanas Windrunner
Genn Greymane Hamuul Runetotem Magister Umbric
Malfurion Stormrage Khadgar Alleria Windrunner
Vareesa Windrunner Thrall Shandris Feathermoon
Velen Nobundo Akama
Y’rel Kaelec Wrathion
Alexstrasza Chromie Moira Thaurissan
Falstad Wildhammer Brann Bronzebeard Darion Mograine
Kurdran Wildhammer Tyrande Whisperwind Valeera Sanguinar
Rommath Arrator the Redeemer Aethas Sunreaver
Lady Liadrin Jarod Shadowsong Maiev Shadowsong
Lor’themar Theron Thalyssra Occuleth
Lillian Voss Gazlowe Trade Prince Gallywix
A Random Murloc Geblin Mekkatorque Alonsus Faol
Lorna Crowley Mathias Shaw Nathanos Blightcaller
Garrosh Hellscream Etrigg Ji Firepaw
Aysa Cloudsinger Varok Saurfang Garona Halforcen
Sunwalker Dezco Taran Zhu Vol’jin
Baine Bloodhoof Muradin Bronzebeard Princess Talanji
Rokhan Mayla Highmountain Hauldron Brightwing
General Stormpike Tae’thelan Bloodwatcher The Black Bride
Maxwell Tyrosus Jaina Proudmoore Elder Thorntusk
Ivar Bloodfang Skylord Omnuron Darius Crowley
Jes-tereth Muln Earthfury Danath Trollbane
Ogre Racial Leader Aponi Brightmane Sky Admiral Rogers
Drek’thar Senegosa Orgrim Doomhammer

We learn in the lead up patch that the Well of Eternity, beneath Nordrassil up on Mount Hyjal, has been bubbling up an overwhelming amount of Azerite,= which is beginning to affect the tree - turning it to a crystal like form.

Both the forces of Life and Death make a move on the World Tree, and it culminates in a stand off at the base. Instead of the new battleground being in Feralas, we get one in which we fight up the slopes of Mount Hyjal.

Factions no longer matter as the champions of Helya and Odyn vie for power and control over the mineral. A spark in tempers ignites a massive conflict which serves as our ‘big launch event’. After the build up and scrambling up the mountain from both sides, war breaks out at the crown of the world.

The all-out battle that ensues amongst the boughs of Nordrassil, not Teldrassil, sparks a fire that transforms the tree into a giant smoke stack, and essentially bathes the world in ash and darkness, and gives the illusion that the skies are on fire.

Both sides are forced to retreat, and immediately blame the other.

Lines are drawn. Capital cities are shoved towards either Life or Death, and the board is shuffled for the races of Azeroth.

We’d get a new, updated Azeroth, including a complete overhaul for all of the world, not just the EK and Kalimdor. Northrend, Pandaria, Zandalar, EK, Kalimdor, Kezan, etc etc. In addition to all the old places, we’d get new areas as well, including:

A smaller Kul Tiras, a whole slew of islands, and a brand new continent on the backside of Azeroth (the Dragon Isles) that’s not yet accessible.

The revamped world would be entirely seamless: no loading screens between continents. We can take a flightpath, unhindered, from Stormwind to Northrend, and then across to Ogrimmar if we so choose; or fly in a straight line across the world. Obviously, with a whole lot of water between continents, we need to fill it with something… more on that down below.

For the sake of arguing for this revised history/sequencing, we’re going to say that such tech is possible.

Launch Content

As we take sides in the conflict in the beginning of the expansion, we’re contacted by our leaders and instructed to begin building ships that can take us to the multitude of islands and continents across the world in order to gather the Azerite that is springing up. Both the force of Life and Death are then sent off to Jaina and Garona, who are, separately, preparing to travel to Kul Tiras.

We’d take the BFA Kul Tiran storyline and insert it here, with small adjustments as Jaina helps to bring her homeland back into the fold, on the side of Life. The Kul Tirans will help build ships for Odyn’s forces.

Those who fight for Death would follow Garona to begin forcing the loyalty of pirates, using Freehold, near Kul Tiras, as their base of operations. These pirates then will help build ships for Helya’s forces.

Once we have our ships, we can sail them anywhere on the map. The idea for a system around this follows as such:

Open Seas System:

Once players build their boat, they can group with four other players who support their faction (death or life), and can do Island Expeditions in the open world. Various vendors/NPCs are in place around the world in port towns and cities, and they offer time limited quests to journey to an island out at sea, and compete against other players in an open world scramble for Azerite, and treasure.

We’d face not only enemy players on the high seas, but also on the islands, as multiple groups can have the same time limited quest as we do. There would be rare spawns on these islands, and a constantly shuffling/rotating set of tasks, using the Island Expedition’s system for random instancing.

If players are PVP flagged, they can be hunted by other players, and would appear on the map, but if not - players can’t outright kill you. Instead, you may face a shockingly aggressive series of AIs that hunt for the same Azerite treasure you’re after. This builds on the pre-existing Island Expeditions system.

We’d have sea monsters and Azerite elementals and tons of other elements to make it challenging and engaging.

The story will then follow the efforts of either ‘faction’ in securing control of the Titan facilities across Azeroth, which are a means of connecting either the Abyssal Halls of Helheim (Helya), and the Halls of Valor in Vallahyan (Odyn), with the world of the living.

Both Helya and Odyn command their armies to force the compliance and loyalty of the Titan Keepers across Azeroth. The Keepers have spread out from Ulduar and are seeking to reactivate, and defend, the various Titan Facilities from Odyn and Helya. We quest through the world as if we’re brand new characters, and regional sets of zones are all tied to one Keeper or another.

For example, Archaedas (representing Uldaman) would tie together the central EK zones, where as Ra would tie together the Pandaria zones, etc etc.

Similar to the Legion and BFA Scouting Maps, players will get to choose which Keeper they want to go after in whichever order they prefer. Each Keeper is assisted by several Watchers.

A brief historical aside: the Watchers were the first of the titan-forged, and among them several were chosen to be empowered in order to lead the Titan’s armies against the Black Empire on Azeroth: these became the Keepers.

Keeper Location Allegiance
Archaedas Central Eastern Kingdoms Death
Hodir Northrend Death
Loken Zandalar Death
Thorim Broken Isles Life
Freya Southern Kalimdor Life
Ra Pandaria Life
Mimiron Kul Tiras Neutral
Tyr Northern Eastern Kingdoms Neutral

In addition to battling for control of the Keepers, their Watchers, and the the Titan facilities across Azeroth, heroes are also tasked with gathering up that Azerite which can help empower their faction.

Of the listed Keepers, Mimiron and Tyr are the notable neutral figures. Mimiron’s part of the story takes us into the halls of Mechagon, where we battle for control over him, and all of the Mechagnomes across Azeroth; this includes a dungeon in Mechagon. We end up failing, however, and Mimiron locks us out of the Titan vault deep underground beneath the city.

We get several other new dungeons which take us deep into various Titan facilities, and then two raids (on par with Emerald Nightmare/Nighthold).

The first would be the ‘finale’ of the questing experience, and it involves the story of Tyr:

Raid One:

The raid would be led up to by a massive series of quests in northern Eastern Kingdoms.

The story revolves around Odyn and Helya trying to resurrect Tyr, who was slain in what would become Tirisfal Glades (thus the name). The clash of life and death stirs up a volatile storm in the region, and while the two armies are charging across the region to seek entrance into the Vault of Tyr, they stir the servants of the Old Gods who Tyr died battling. We’re tasked with battling back the minions of the Old Gods, which itself foreshadows future threats.

Once inside the vault, Odyn and Helya themselves arrive, and players fight the final boss, which is the opposing leader.

At the end of the battle though, right when it seems like there might be a victor, Eyir (leader of the Val’kyr) finally makes her return, and resurrects Tyr to serve as a neutral party, alongside herself and Mimiron.

The conclusion to that story would mark the end of the first phase of the expansion. Then we’d get a Suramar type patch full of new max level content, through which we get a slow burn storyline that builds up to the next raid.

The First Big Patch

The focus of this next big chapter of the story revolves around Helya and Odyn tasking their champions with collecting the Pillars of Creation from Dalaran. Both Helya and Odyn believe that, since they both have an equal share of the Titan facilities across the world, the Pillars of Creation can provide the extra boost they need to connect their domain of the Shadowlands with realm of the Living on Azeroth.

While our characters don’t realize it, we as the players can begin to see that this war, the influence of Helya, Odyn, and the Azerite, is essentially corrupting our characters and we’re all becoming more and more fanatical.

We are, in essence, becoming the villains who have thrown everything aside for this cause. As a cool way to symbolize this, a new cosmetic system would be implemented through which we can spend Azerite Power from our Heart of Azeroth to unlock ‘mutations’, or new customizable features on our character like ‘Titan runes’, shadowy tendrils, different colored eyes, etc.

Raid Two:

The second raid, the Nighthold-esque one, takes place as the champions of Life and Death strike at Dalaran itself, seeking to claim the Pillars of Creation.

We’re forced to battle some of our favorite heroes who have sworn themselves to staying above the war that they believe only brings Azeroth closer to total destruction. The Neutral Keepers are there as well, trying to hold back the insanity of the armies of Life and Death.

The battle shakes the city, and eventually brings Dalaran crashing down. I’d be absolutely hyped for the approach of shifting gravity throughout the climax, and having the skybox be slanted so it looks like Dalaran is careening towards the ground.

Once the city crashes down upon the ground, Helya and Odyn command their servants to scramble and grab the Pillars, and book it back to their factions’ dominions. Both have enough to complete their plan: it’s now a matter of who achieves it first.

The aftermath of that second major raid, aside from the deaths of several major characters and an escalation of the stakes, is an unshakable suspense.

We are invited to the domain of our chosen faction, and we witness what happens next. Both Helya and Odyn try to activate the Titan facilities under their control, and begin the process of linking their domains with Azeroth, breaching the barrier dividing the Shadowlands from Realm of the Living.

The fact that both of them are doing this at the same time puts incredible strain on Azeroth, and the facilities begin to falter; ultimately, Azeroth cracks. As a result, a breach forms in the barrier between the Shadowlands and the land of the Living.

End Patch: Ragnarok:

With the horrifying impact of Odyn and Helya’s choices, the barrier between the Shadowlands and Azeroth has been breached. The spirits of the dead spill out into our world, and the influences of the living begin to ‘corrupt’ the Shadowlands.

Odyn and Helya task us with journeying into the Shadowlands, laying siege to Helheim and Valhalyn, and taking out the other. This is only possible now because it wasn’t previously possible to move mass amounts of the living into the Shadowlands, nor mass amount of spirits into the realm of the Living; now, all bets are off.

We get a new three zone ‘continent’ (similar to Argus), in which we have to defend our own dominion, assault the enemy’s (either Valhalyn or Helheim), and then fight for control of the middle region, simply called the “Undying Lands”.

While we’re in the Shadowlands, we have to spend artifact power in order to defeat the enemy spirits, which begins to weaken the influence/hold that Azerite has upon us.

We also face the threat of the Old Gods in the Shadowlands, as N’zoth has been seeking to pierce the realm and spread his influence for ages.

We’d get two new dungeons, one in each of the two “dominions”. In one dungeon we see Odyn hunt and bind the soul of Galkarond, the ancient monster of a protodrake which was, essentially, the worst, baddest, most awful dragon ever, which is seen as a colossal threat to Helya’s team. It’s noted in this dungeon the influence of N’zoth is clear, and we have to purge it away before we can take control of Galkarond.

In the second dungeon, Odyn’s team faces a big defeat as Helya captures and takes control of Eyir, along with her all of her Val’kyr, where again we see the influence of N’zoth in the Shadowlands.

In those two dungeons, we’d face the spirits of characters from our past who have not yet been claimed by Odyn or Helya. With the sway of Azerite and Odyn/Helya over us weakening bit by bit as we further use up our Azerite power, these characters are able to help us begin to see reason. After completing the two dungeons, we’re essentially clear minded enough to be confronted by Tyr and Mimiron, along with other neutral characters.

Using Mechagon, where Mimiron has built “Tyr’s Forge”, we’re supposedly able to purify ourselves of the corruption of Helya and Odyn’s control. But, we can’t get to it. Mimiron has been driven out by agents of N’zoth, and we get reports that minions of the Old God are creeping up all over the world, no doubt as a result of the cracking of Azeroth.

We need to purge the halls of Mechagon, and then make use of the forge, which clears our minds completely of the sway of Helya and Odyn. Not all characters are ‘brought back to their senses’ however, as many are still in the Shadowlands, but it’s a start.

Tyr and Mimiron and the other Champions of Azeroth help us as we prepare to journey into the third and final raid of the expansion, which is smack dab in the middle of the Undying Lands. We know that Helya and Odyn are all in for this war against each other, and the time has come for their final gambit.

The Champions of Azeroth task us with breaking into either the Halls of Valor, or the Abyssal Halls (depending on who we had originally sided with), and stealing several items, all while pretending we’re still loyal.

Team Life has to steal two things: Grip of the God King, which we tried to use to control Eyir back in Legion; and the Gjallarhorn, gifted to Hymdall. Tyr explains that should this horn be sounded, the Keepers must answer its call, for it heralds the end times: Ragnarok.

Team Death has to steal two things as well: the Lantern of Souls, which we used to try to control Eyir back in Legion; and the soul of Eyir herself, which has been trapped in a necklace that rests around Helya’s neck while she sleeps.

Tyr believes that by combining the clarion call of the Gjallarhorn with the Lantern of Souls from Helheim and the Grip of the God King from the Valhalyn, he can break the hold that Odyn and Helya have over the other Titan Keepers. If enough of the Keepers are broken free, they stand a chance against Odyn and Helya themselves.

The quests that follow are super tough scenarios in which we have to sneak around the Abyssal Halls, and the Halls of Valor, and steal back the items.

Once we have all the stuff, Tyr proclaims that it is time.

Raid Three:

The third raid is Ragnarok, where all the heroes of the universe come together in a battle that essentially is the “end of the world”. Pretty much every main character we’ve ever seen in the story is involved in one way or another - whether living or a spirit.

The goal for the armies of Death and Life is to defeat the other, and lay claim to the Shadowlands, and all of Azeroth. We, as the ‘redeemed’ Champions of Azeroth, however, have to defeat both armies, and take out Odyn and Helya.

The first part of the raid is claiming a foothold in the Shadowlands, which we do against all odds as both the armies of Death and Life are waging an apocalyptic battle on the fields of the Undying Lands. There’d be a really stunning visual component to this, as one end of the zone is a brilliant, blinding light hidden behind mountains, and the other end is absolute night and shadow, and in the middle is this twilight field of eternity.

We’d have to face Fenrir as the first of the major bosses (end of the first wing of the raid), and then Eyir as the second (end of the second wing). As soon as we have Eyir defeated, we return her soul to her, and she comes to fight by our side.

The raid progresses on and the body count grows as we cut a path through the heroes who have chosen to fight for Death, or Life.

Then, Odyn and Helya themselves emerge and stand ready to join the battle, and this is when Tyr enacts his plan. Using the Lantern of Souls and the Grip of the God King, Tyr sounds the Gjallarhorn, which shakes the Shadowlands down to its foundations.

The Titan Keepers are roused from their stupor, and grow furious over the state of things. Enraged that Helya and Odyn would risk the soul of the world for their petty squabble, they and their own loyal titan-forged creations join us in battle against Odyn and Helya.

The third part of the raid is the growing forces of the Champions of Azeroth as they push Odyn and Helya to the brink of defeat. The penultimate boss is the near defeat of Helya and Odyn, but the battle is interrupted.

Galkarond, having been corrupted and warped by the influence of N’zoth in the Shadowlands - and Odyn’s grip over him weakened by the sounding of the horn, emerges. Odyn and Helya are both shocked and terrified, as are all the other heroes. Hordes of the Old Gods’ minions wash over the battlefield, and all three armies, Death, Life, and the Champions of Azeroth, desperately battle back the monsters.

At the 11th hour, when Galkarond has wiped out most of the assembled forces, Eyir takes hold of Gjallarhorn and sounds it once more, this time with a much different tone. Light and Darkness rise from Helheim and Valhalyn, and the Val’kyr, both Light and Dark, descend from above, answering her call.

The harbingers of the worthy raise all of the heroes from the death, purified of Odyn and Helya’s sway, and the entire cast from pretty much the entire history of World of Warcraft, dead and living, rally together for one last insane battle against Galkarond in the Shadowlands.

Smash cut to the finish; we kill the dragon, and banish the Old Gods’ minions from the Shadowlands.

The conclusion of the raid is the imprisonment of Helya and Odyn back in their dominions. Tyr and the other Keepers repurpose the forges and titan facilities of
Azeroth to seal the breach into the Shadowlands, and we have our resolution.

So much devastation has been wrought upon Azeroth, but at least minds are clear, and people are able to begin to recover, and make amends.

Legacy of the Titans

Patch 9.0

This would be the expansion in which the Old Gods rise in their full might, with the cracking of Azeroth having unchained them from their prisons.

Azshara would also have her story in this expansion. We would finally have the heroes of Azeroth united in earnest opposition to the return of the Black Empire. Featured would also be the Dragonflights, who take us to a place called Erdune, otherwise known as the Dragon Isles, where we find the power needed to defeat all three of the Old Gods, that are now unchained and rampaging across the world.

For me, I’d be onboard with this being a ‘final’ expansion; maybe.

New Mechanical Systems:

The board of races, capitals, factions, and groupings, got entirely shuffled in the previous expansion; this new chapter would further build upon that shake up, and establish a new order going forwards. With no clear factions to guide us, the heroes of Azeroth are free to walk their own paths; players will be able to form small clusters and groups based on common traits and moral groundings from an in character standpoint. This development would be a new feature, called the Accords system, which replaces guilds.

For the most part guilds have been a meta device in order to group players for shared content pursuit; Accords would be fulfilling that same role, but on a much larger scale.

NPC characters would, for the most part, return to representing their race instead of one faction or another, with the Champions of Azeroth remaining as the only real permanent faction.

The Accords System:

In an evolution of the Guilds system (which would be discontinued), players will now be able to create their own ‘faction’, so to speak. Instead of being part of the Alliance/Horde, or the servants of Life/Death, you can become part of Jim’s Fun Family, Heroes of Mulgore, or Sally’s Molten Core Swim Tim. The Accords system allows these groups to form alliances and partnerships, or rivalries by declaring war upon each other. This would be an ideal improvement for roleplayers, whose characters sometimes don’t conform to the pre-existing factions. The nature of the Accords system would still serve a great utility for raiders and pvpers to group together, much as guilds always have.

If I wanted to make an Accord for my friends for instance, characters of any of the races (regardless of faction) could join. Together, we’d be able to do raids, queue for battlegrounds, and anything else we’d want. Players who don’t belong to an Accord can still queue for BGs, but will be randomly tossed into a match with other solo players and assigned to one of the two groups. Warsong Gulch for example would be heroes being recruited by the Silverwing Sentinels or the Warsong Outriders to fight, even though those factions aren’t exclusive to the Horde or Alliance anymore.

The idea is that there are no longer any hard set major factions, and that PVP is simply for the mechanics/gameplay aspect.

This may require some BGs to be reworked, but ultimately I think it gives more freedom to players in the long run.

As for the story…

The Story:

In the wake of Ragnarok, many characters long to return home and escape from the nightmares of what they’ve been through. The Champions of Azeroth however, forever vigilant, keep on the job and warn us of what they’ve realized: the Old Gods’ shackles have been broken, and they’ve begun to escape their prisons.

We get two zone specific events (Storm Peaks and Silithus) where we rush to try and contain the Old Gods. We arrive too late however, and we see Ulduar and Ahn’qiraj swarming with the minions of the Yogg’saron and C’thun. Various heroes join us in trying to push back these two Old Gods in the pre-expansion content, but we realize it just isn’t going to happen. The heroes are overrun, and the two Old Gods escape into the world.

There are rumors, too, that N’zoth’s prison is somewhere beneath the sea, but we haven’t been able to pin-point it just yet which is a major issue of concern.

The surviving Aspects of the Wyrmrest Accord summon the leaders of Azeroth to a council meeting to which our characters are also invited. They explain to us what they know of the Black Empire, and the history of the Titanforged who waged war against it eons past. Alexstrazsa shares that witnessing Galkarond rise in the Shadowlands reminded her of Azeroth before the Sundering, and even further back in time when the five aspects (the original ones) waged their war against that very same dragon.

She claims that the birthplace of Dragonkind, a place called Erdune, may hold the secret to re-empowering the Aspects and granting them the strength needed to battle back the Old Gods once more.

Keep in mind that the Aspects gave up their power at the end of Cata in order to defeat Deathwing. Not much is remembered or known about Erdune, and we’re warned that it could be incredibly dangerous with the Old Gods on the loose.

The Titan Keepers also pledge their aid, and vow to hold the line against the rising might of the Old Gods while the heroes journey to Erdune and seek this power.

Launch Event:

The big launch event this time is us sailing across the world towards Erdune, which is south of Pandaria (sort of like the antarctic equivalent of Northrend). As we near the shores of Erdune however, N’zoth rises from the deep, and the giant, tentacled Old God of everyone’s wet dreams nightmares smashes our ships to pieces.

We’re scattered and lost at sea; later on we wake up, adrift amongst the wreckage of our ship. We have to survive at sea where, through several quests, we find other survivors and climb aboard a lifeboat. We’d get another “scouting map” in the form of a compass; this allows us to pick which part of Erdune we’d want to quest in first.

The quests that follow involve us setting up a small base camp in whichever zone we choose. We have to secure a landing spot and begin scouting for other survivors in the near area. Once the player has a small base camp they can begin their journey deeper into the continent.

This follows the same model as other expansions, like WoD, Legion, and BFA.

Launch Content:

We have several new zones on the continent of Erdune to quest in. The continent itself is a massive, squished doughnut shaped mass of land with an enormous lake in its center. Around it are the six zones: the lake itself is the seventh zone.

Zone Location Theme
Verdan Highlands South Emerald Dream: Life and Nature themed
Arcune East Magic: A mix of Azsuna and Crystalsong.
Eartan South West Earth: Desert/rocky mountain biome
Spires of Aman West Time: Lofty Castle from Spyro/Throne of the Four Winds.
Sargaron Ravine South A rocky gorge/valley between Eartan and the Spires of Aman.
Pantheon’s Rise North Titan themed.
Sea of Golgar Center Water themed.

The Verdan Highlands, Arcune, Eartan, the Spires of Aman, and the Sargaron Ravine are our options to quest in first. As you can guess, they are heavily inspired by the various elements and Dragonflights: Life/the Dream, Magic, Earth, Time, and then Titans themselves, respectively.

The final two zones listed (Pantheon’s Rise and the Sea of Golgar) are for max level content, but only the latter becomes playable immediately at max cap.

The Sea of Golgar, centered in the heart of the continent, is the massive lake of magic and power which is from where Azeroth was meant to arise. The shores around the lake are visible from each of the surrounding zones, giving us something to (quite literally) look forward to. It serves the same place as Suramar - always present, but only accessible once we reach max level.

Pantheon’s Rise is a Titan city which even the Keepers that we’ve met have never set foot in. It was designed as the seat from which the Pantheon itself would greet Azeroth upon her awakening, and summon her soul into the universe. We can’t yet get into here just yet however (comes in a later patch).

Verdan:

This region is related to Eonar, The Life-Binder, and also the Green and Red Dragonflights. It’s a lush, verdant landscape filled with waterfalls and lakes, fields flushed with life, and a spectacular looking world tree, Azor’thassil, which looms over the rest of the continent similar to how Nordrassil towers over Hyjal.

As we begin our journey through this zone, we encounter other survivors from the fleet who introduce us to a new, young green dragon, An’sera, who is none other than the daughter of Y’sera. She has lived secluded here for ages, unaware of her mother’s fate. We journey with her to commune with the spirit of Y’sera, and we eventually connect with Eonar who takes a concerted interest in the current events reshaping Azeroth.

We are guided through the zone by An’sera, and we learn the origins of the Emerald Dream, and the World Trees that the Aspects grew over the eons from the seeds of the G’Hanir (Nordrassil being the first).

Throughout this zone, we face the influence of the Old Gods seeping into the area. We dive deep into both this zone, and the Emerald Dream itself, in order to purify that growing influence of the Old Gods; despair and corruption threaten to take many heroes from us, and we’re driven to eventually seek out an Avatar of Eonar who is under siege deep within the zone.

Along the way, we learn more about the Titan themed tree, Azor’thassil, which we learn is the metaphorical “arm” of Azeroth’s world soul reaching out to the Titans to help wake her from the nightmare of having us idiot mortals living on top of her. It’s a blend between Titan blood and nature magics, and it continues to grow as Azeroth matures. It is gravely threatened by the influence of the Old Gods however.

The quests in this zone culminate in the summoning of the Wild Gods of Azeroth to aid us in freeing the Avatar of Eonar. In return, she blesses us with a piece of bark from Azor’thassil, and we manage to secure the whole of the zone against the Old Gods’ corruption.

We keep this piece of bark, intending to use it to restore Nordrassil.

Near the climax, we also get An’sera taking her place as Aspect of the Green Dragonflight.

Arcune:

Arcune is a vast and wild land mostly made of crystalline structures and geographical features. It is bristling with magic, and we follow Kaelec as he journeys to the heart of it to discover a strange source of power that has eluded him since their arrival. Here, we get in contact with Norgannon, who helps us to understand what Kaelec has begun investigating.

It turns out that the Odyn and Helya’s use of the various facilities on Azeroth overwhelmed Azeroth, and a crack or fissure formed here in Arcune as a result - as if Azeroth’s energy was bursting from the seams. From this fissure, the raw power of Azeroth’s sleeping world soul has begun to seep out.

We face off against Ethereals who are seeking to harness the power of this fissure, and also other magi who are drawn to the raw power and seek to use it for themselves. Kaelec confronts the notion of just how far he’s willing to go to “save” Azeroth; will he do as Malygos sought to do and try to strip all other beings of their ability to use magic, or can he find another way to remedy the situation and try to council and guide mortal magic users?

We’d journey with agents of the Blue Dragonflight as they battle against the Ethereals, and the Old Gods’ servants, and make our way towards the fissure. Kaelec, after coming to terms with his duty as Aspect of Magic, locates an Avatar of Norgannon and is granted a portion of the Titan’s power, with which he mends the fissure in the world and seals away the energy once more.

Once the fissure is closed, he has to grapple with his decision on how to approach the lawless magi across Azeroth who, in the wake of the our factions dissolving, are less inclined to abide by laws outside of their own orders. This problem is a difficult challenge for Kaelec, and we have to help him through the dilemma by revisiting memories and moments through history in which he balances the good, and evil, done by mortal and immortal magic users alike.

Ultimately, he’ll decide that there won’t always be an aspect of magic - and that mortals and immortals alike have to make decisions for themselves; that we can’t have one all powerful being making choices for everyone, no matter how great the risks: freedom is the true power of the people of Azeroth, after all. He claims that, as challenges arise he’ll be ready to face them, and that he won’t embrace Malygos’ legacy as a tyrant in his role as Aspect of Magic.

Eartan:

Here, in Eartan, we follow Wraithion as he explores the noble origin of Neltharion (Deathwing). Wrathion acknowledges just how easy it is to fall to corruption, especially when the earth itself is home to the imprisoned Old Gods. He seeks to rally the dragonkin who roam the rocky mountains and badlands in the region.

There is an unwillingness amongst the proto-drakes and dragonkin native to Erdune to trust in an “outsider”, and we have to help Wraithion build up his support. Ebonhorn also journeys here to aid Wraithion.

The two dragons come face to face with an Avatar of Khaz’goroth, who originally empowered Neltharion (Deathwing) as Aspect of Earth. The Avatar, well aware of Deathwing’s terrible reign, doubts the readiness of any other Dragon to accept the power of Khaz’goroth. Wrathion is eager to defeat the Avatar and take Khaz’s power by force, but Ebonhorn convinces him instead to walk a different path than that of sheer domination.

Ebonhorn guides him through the rest of the zone, and the two strive to prove that they have risen far above Deathwing’s madness, and that Wrathion is ready.

At the zone’s conclusion, we see the servants of the Old Gods pouring into the zone, and Wrathion leads the united dragonkin and proto-drakes in battle against them. We get a huge battle in the skies and on the ground, dragonkin versus Old Gods, but Wrathion seems to be overwhelmed. It’s at that point that the Avatar of Khaz’goroth emerges, having been watching the Wrathion during his adventures, and empowers the dragon with the blessing of Khaz’goroth - finally believing him ready.

Embolded and strengthened, we see Wrathion rise as Aspect of the Black Dragonflight, and he leads the assembled forces in driving out the servants of the Old Gods from the zone.

Spires of Aman:

This zone is what I’ve always wanted from a game; imagine Lofty Castle from Spyro, or the Throne of the Four Winds, but an entire zone. Magical spires floating across a cloudy landscape, sailing ships drifting from platform to platform, and dragons flying about the spires.

Here, we’d explore the legacy of Aman’thul, who was the head of the Pantheon. From the Spires, Aman’thul intended to watch Azeroth grow and mature, and as it’s his personal sanctum - it lives up to its reputation as a truly magical place. We find, however, that the influence of the released Old Gods is beginning to corrupt the Spires, and even the clouds are darkening.

We’d journey with Nozdormu, Chromie, and other Bronze Dragons as they seek to uncover the plot in this zone. Atop the massive spires we witness visions and projections of the Titans from across the eons: this helps to fill in more lore about them, and what they were up to for all their lives. We also see their discussion on whether or not to kill more of the Old Gods on Azeroth, and the potential dangers of doing so.

We learn that as long as Azeroth slumbers, killing the Old Gods, who are burrowing deep into the world, will critically wound Azeroth (ala the original Well of Eternity).

Because of the corruption already taking hold in the Spires of Aman, we’re behind the curve and desperately trying to catch up. We have to unravel the mystery of the corruption, and learn that some of the Titanforged servants in the Spires have been affected by the corruption and are now trying to repurpose the spires to draw in sinister power from the Dark Beyond.

We find out that the leader behind this plot is none other than the Avatar of Aman’thul, who is essentially a parody of Murozond (Nozdorumu’s future evil self). This avatar mocks and taunts Nozdorumu, goading him to embrace madness as a means to gain victory. We constantly have to work to pull Noz’ back from the brink.

The zone’s mid-story twist takes the life of Nozdorumu, who sacrifices himself to enable us to gain an upper hand in facing the big bad, right after he accepts responsibility for his many failures. He explains that he truly believes that the future must rest in the hands of the young, who see with eyes unclouded by the fear of eternity, like he and this Avatar were.

Chromie rises in his place, and must pull things together. Rallying behind her, we manage to drive out bads, take out the corrupted/twisted avatar, and bring stability back to the Spires. Chromie becomes Aspect of the Bronze Dragonflight; she’s the one who absorbs the power of Aman’thul.

Sargaron Ravine:

Much of this zone contradicts things like Dawn of the Aspects, just as a heads up.

The Sargaron Ravine was, at one point, Aggramar’s private sanctum, a place where he trained and perfected his Titanforged warriors. As we journey through this zone we face many of his creations, and also witness his darker side: his concerns and worries for Sargeras. We’ve only ever known Sargeras as a villain, but through Aggramar’s memories and story, we see Sargeras before he was corrupted. We learn the tragic story of how Sargeras was falling further and further to madness, and how Aggramar yearned to help bring sanity and calm to his brother.

In this zone, we also get our first glimpse of a massive facility, which we learn later became the lair of Galakrond before he was killed. Through lead up quests we learn that Aggramar sought to craft the perfect warriors and creatures to aid him and the Titans against the Demons of the Twisting Nether, and Galakrond was the first of the Proto-drakes that was forged and born.

This is the literal birthplace of dragonkind, but it’s not as wonderful and inspiring as one would imagine. Following Alexstrasza through the zone, we slowly begin to uncover that part of Galakrond’s fall to insanity and terror was because Aggramar sought to perfect the massive proto-drake, and in the process tormented the being to madness and cruelty.

We come face to face with an Avatar of Aggramar who is plagued by doubt and remorse; he’s been trapped within this region, able only to watch the corruption and fall of Deathwing from afar, and all that had befallen Azeroth since the Titan’s departure. We learn that this sanctum he’s guarding also holds the key to getting into Pantheon’s Rise, which is currently inaccessible to us.

Alexstrasza, realizing that we need the Avatar to gain access to Pantheon’s Rise, tries to help the Avatar come to his senses - but eventually accepts that there is no hope for him; this Avatar needs to be slain before he can stop us from getting inside.

We help Alexstrasza overcome and defeat the Avatar, from which she absorbs some of the power of Aggramar. This is meant to be a sobering kind of a story chapter, as we see that even the noble and well intending can suffer and lose their battles. Alexstrasza has plenty of experience witnessing this (Neltharion, for instance), and I think she’d be a solid fit for helping us through that.

We then learn what lies within the Pantheon’s Rise. That zone, a Titan city, has the means to summon the Seat of the Pantheon itself (final Legion raid fight zone), by which means we can bring the Titans into the fight to save Azeroth.

The problem is that we need to activate several pylons/power consoles which are spread out around the Sea of Golgar.

Sea of Golgar:

This next zone only opens once we have all of the beginning zones completed.

Once we reach max level and finish the other zones, the first ‘Suramar’ type zone becomes available; a massive, magical lake in the center of the continent. This area becomes a point of major focus as Azshara’s minions and the servants of the Old Gods arrive on the shores of Erdune in force, and charge inland.

There are several outposts and facilities along the shores of the Sea of Golgar, and we need to build up the defenses of the Titanforged who reside there and take control of the pylons.

The corrupting influence of the Old Gods continues to spread around the edges of the lakeshore during this process, as well as the zones we’ve quested in, giving us plenty of world quests to go back and tackle.

We wind up in a race against Azshara and her forces to take control of these Pylons. Azshara seems to be gathering the power cores from those Pylons for some purpose, and we’re a few steps behind her each time.

We’d get a dungeon for the final power core, which Azshara steals and then escapes with.

The raid that follow take us to a half sunken temple out at sea, near the Maelstrom, where Azshara has taken the power cores.

The First Raid:

Halls of the Queen:

Our raid starts with the Champions of Azeroth in a chase across the high seas, in which we use our player ships to pursue Azshara. Cue Kraken/Leviathan fights, lots of sea witches and giant naga beasty boys, and of course a battle against the waves themselves as storms batter the fleet.

We eventually get to the shores of the island temple and have to defeat the gate guardian, after which we can then enter the temple itself. Within, we face all manner of Old God minions and creatures: all totally awful and terrifying, for sure.

Deep within the temple, we see Azshara is locked behind a set of doors, and we need to break through to stop her. This fight is a timed survival encounter: we defend Magni, Khadgar, Thrall, and a few others as they try to shatter the magical seals on the door. We fight against old god spawn and naga here until the end of the battle.

The doors are then breached and we rush through to the next area, which is a terrace overlooking the Maelstrom off in the distance. During the fight against Azshara we see the tendrils and eyes of N’zoth, Yogg’saron, and C’thun rise up from the sea.

We struggle to defeat Azshara and her maidens, guardians, and other lackeys, but ultimately we fail to achieve victory in time; Azshara finishes casting her spell.

The penultimate cinematic of the raid is the waves beyond the temple, around the Maelstorm, chopping and churning. Then, the terrifying spires of the Black Empire rise from the depths, and massive temples and halls erupt with a particularly terrifying violence.

The Black Empire has risen.

Azshara flees, and our final “fight” is us running a gauntlet through the temple as it begins to collapse. If you’ve ever played those Crash Bandicoot levels… imagine that, but in WoW, but with more dying.

We run back out through the same way we came in, in a mad dash for the ships out by the shoreline. Chunks of the temple are crumbling down around us which we have to dodge, and towards the end of the fight the sea floods into halls and we have to basically white water raft through the remainder of the Temple.

At the end we escape on our ships and look back at the horizon to see the spires of the Black Empire looming above us.

First Major Content Patch: Reign of the Black Empire:

The Black Empire has risen and its shadow spreads across Azeroth, bathing the world in twilight. The three Old Gods rule from the center of the city, which stretches out around the edge of the Maelstrom.

We’d get a patch in which we invade the lower level of “The Black City”, and have to take back the power stones that Azshara stole. There’d be tons of new quests, a dungeon, and then of course, another raid. This patch will focus exclusively on Azshara’s role within the Black Empire, where she’s consort to N’zoth.

We learn that Azshara is holding the power cores for herself in a massive, sprawling temple in the lower city, which we have to raid.

This patch is paired with the advance of the Old Gods across Azeroth. We get the Legion Assaults/Faction Assaults styled content all across Azeroth in which we have to journey to old zones and fight back the Old Gods’ advances.

Despite the size of The Black City, we’re only given access to a small part of it initially; the rest is full of elites far too powerful to take down. While we can only quest in this beginning area, the rest of Azeroth has plenty of content -in the form of these invasions, and other quests out in the world.

In the lower portion of The Black City, we’ll see Azshara’s “fate” as a part of the newly risen Black Empire; it’s not as glorious as she had envisioned. Her people are twisted, and she is wracked with terrible visions and suffering greatly as she is twisted into a monstrosity; with great power comes great misery.

Tyrande and Thalyssra lead the efforts to tackle Azshara, and are initially out to murder her face off. As we journey deep into the Black Empire’s lower city though, they begin to realize that Azshara truly believed she could overcome N’zoth, but that she miscalculated and failed.

Azshara gives us clues to picking up the pieces of her plan to betray and overpower N’zoth. This takes us to familiar zones, like Vashj’ir, Azsuna, Naz’jatar, etc etc. The closer we get to picking up the pieces, the further Azshara descends into absolute madness.

At the end we’re confronted by Azshara who has fully turned to madness; we barely escape. It’s clear to Tyrande and Thalyssra that Azshara needs to die now.

We don’t touch the Old Gods themselves yet, but they’re a constant presence throughout the patch.

The Second Raid:

Palace of Eternity:

This raid focuses on taking down Azshara for good. The important take-away is that we put Azshara out of her misery, and recover the power cores from her place of eternal horrors.

The aftermath of the raid is us escaping, and sort of acknowledging that even the greatest and most powerful characters of our time, who have sought to strike out on their own, have all stumbled and succumbed to darkness. Unity is the key to surviving.

Second Major Content Patch: Fall of the Black Empire:

With the power cores secured, we journey back to Erdune and reunite with the Dragon Aspects. Together, we return the power cores to their Pylons, and then dip into a new dungeon, Aggramar’s private sanctum in the Sargaron Ravine, which unlocks the new, final zone, Pantheon’s Rise.

Dungeon: Halls of Fortitude:

In this dungeon we follow the Dragon Aspects (with their new powers) as they journey into the Aggramar’s sanctum/Galakrond’s lair, right in the heart of Sargaron Ravine.

We fight the defenses and creations of Aggramar, along with some of the Proto-Drakes that have never left Erdune, and thus retain their original forms.

The final boss is an Avatar of Sargeras, in a pure form - to be specific. We realize that Aggramar kept the Avatar sealed away and safe, and that this Avatar has no knowledge of what his True Self became. Being pure, this Avatar of Sargeras values strength and honor, and challenges us to a fight in order to gain entry to the final area. Defeating him grants us access to consoles and Titan technology in the Sanctum, which opens the door to the final area.

Beyond is a terrace which overlooks the Sea of Golgar, on the direct opposite side of which stands the Pantheon’s Rise: the Titan city. All we can see of the massive zone looming on the edge of the lake is the gate and walls which surround it.

We activate the consoles on the terrace, and get a cutscene of the gates to the city opening up.

Completing the dungeon unlocks the final zone.

Pantheon’s Rise:

Pantheon’s rise would be the final ‘max level’ zone we get, and it’s a majestic, sprawling Titan city. Within are the many titan forged creations, similar to the Keepers, who tend to the Titan’s dominion. The city is being invaded by the minions of the Old Gods, and we need to drive them back.

The Dragon Aspects, and surviving Avatars, are our go to contacts as we fight to gain full control of the city. After we build up our reputation and finish the quests, we’re finally permitted entrance to the chamber which will summon down the Seat of the Pantheon. It’s just a giant, empty, roofless space - surrounded by nothing by columns (very greek/roman in style).

We call upon the Titan Keepers, the Avatars, and the Dragon Aspects, in order use their powers for the procedure, but it will take time to prepare in order to be able to summon the Seat of the Pantheon from where it is in the Twisting Nether.

After a few weeks of obligatory time-gating, we’re able to summon the Pantheon.

New Dungeon:

Dungeon: Seat of the Pantheon:

At long last we get a dungeon in which we have to defend the summoning area as the Old Gods begin their full on assault against Erdune. This is led by none other than N’zoth himself, who emerges from the sacred and very powerful Sea of Golgor, the place Azeroth’s world soul was intended to emerge upon her awakening. The Old Gods’ assault intensifies, and we see the tendrils and servants of N’zoth laying siege to the city.

At the finale of the dungeon, the Titanforged and Aspects are victorious, and we see the Seat of the Pantheon descend from the sky in a flashy ‘Titan’ kind of way. We come face to face with the whole Pantheon (Sargeras included), along with Illidan Stormrage, who has been serving as Jailor of the Mad Titan.

Aman’thul and the others are grateful that the heroes of Azeroth have summoned them, and claim that the time has come: Azeroth needs to awaken. Sargeras and the Titans have had a long chat while they were away, and it’s been agreed upon that Sargeras cannot be redeemed - but that he will still fulfill his goal; he will sacrifice himself to give birth to the ultimate being who can stop the void: Azeroth.

Aman’thul tasks us (along with Illidan) with clearing a path through the city to the very shores of the Sea of Golgor where N’zoth is. We need to fight our way there, and we return to the power pylons which we restored in earlier quests; we need to activate them in order to drive back N’zoth so that Azeroth can be born.

The quests should articulate just how difficult it is to battle back against N’zoth, but eventually we’d be successful. The end of the quest line would be the activation of the Pylons, which drain the soul and power of Sargeras himself. It seems like an insanely big ‘ouch’, but the Titans agree that it is a sacrifice fitting of his crimes.

This overpowering zap from the pylons drives N’zoth away, reopening the Sea of Golgor. The Titans then awaken Azeroth from her sleep.

Through the Sea of Golgor, we witness her birth/awakening, and oh MAN is she majestic. We finally get our world soul.

Azeroth, finally awake, walks up to the Seat of the Pantheon and takes Sargeras’ place in the Pantheon. Azeroth has been, if you’ll permit the comparison, like a paralyzed and mute surgery patient whose anesthetic wore off halfway through the procedure. She has felt every single idiotic mistake the people of Azeroth have made, and she is pissed.

She declares that she will address the people of Azeroth soon enough, and that right now there are Old Gods needing to be punished.

So we punch them in the face. Or, more or less, we let Azeroth swing us around like a club in order to hit the Old Gods in the face.

Time Gating Unlocks the Next Area

We return to the zone we’ve already been to: The Black City - the throne of the Black Empire. We’re now able to journey into the rest of the city, which we didn’t have access to before.

The final raid in this zone consists of the Titans, the Keepers, and the Dragon Aspects joining together with us to lay siege to the Black Empire.

Final Raid: Fall of the Black Empire:

Fall of the Black Empire:

With Azeroth awakened/born, killing the Old Gods (which are rooted deep in the planet) is no longer impossible, and we’re able to work with the Titans to smite them to hell and back. We finally can put down the three Old Gods that have been tormenting our world for eons.

The idea of a raid spawning the entirety of the largest “city” ever released in game gets me hyped.

We’d fight the three Old Gods separately (one in each wing), after which each recedes deeper into the city. We then face all three in a council type fight.

Once the old gods are defeated, the ending of the expansion is us, the Dragon Aspects, and the Titans, heading to Nordrassil and using the bark from Azor’thassil (the Titan world tree from the Verdan Highlands), to heal the tree. It immediately sprouts back into life, stretching farther and higher than ever before, and it is symbolic of the ‘rebirth’ of Azeroth in the wake of the Old Gods’ destruction.

Azeroth then turns her attention towards the people of Azeroth, many of whom have taken part in the chaotic wars that have so greatly injured Azeroth in her infancy.

Azeroth explains that she has half a mind to smite us into oblivion, but the rest of the Pantheon explain that the threat of the Void still lingers, and that while Azeroth is safe - there is a whole universe of danger still waiting. Azeroth commands us, the heroes, to do her bidding and journey out amongst the universe in order to destroy her enemy - the void.

The Titans return to their city, and we, the heroes, return home to prepare for our next adventure.

18 Likes

Why do you turn into a worgen between posts?

3 Likes

Apparently posting over a hundred and forty thousand words at a time is not allowed. I’ve learned this the hard way.

8 Likes

Makes sense. Carry on.

1 Like

Regarding pandaren, I always thought it would’ve been better if their unofficial capitals were Ironforge and Thunder Bluff. I feel like they mesh with the culture of the dwarves and tauren better than the humans and orcs.

That said, as much as I am enjoying the read, I have to contend some choices. Namely making draenei and blood elves avaliable from launch. I think them becoming playable with Burning Crusade would still make more sense.

And I’m not really sure why you bumped the worgen and goblins to TBC when they really aren’t relevant? I mean I see that it’s to compenshate for the Horde loosing Undercity the next expansion, but still. Though, Zandalari and Dark Irons being made avaliable in Cata instead is also an interesting choice.

That said, bumping the loss of the Undercity to Wrath actually does have an interesting merit to it.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten thus far.

Reading more, I do kinda like the idea of spreading the Allied Races across multiple expansions. Zand/DI for cata, Mag’ar/LF for WoD, etc. It’s a cute notion, I like it for simplifying the timeline a bit.

That all said… man your Battle For Azeroth is cluttered as all heck. So many characters dude. And, well, really convoluted. Like I get wanting to make it more diverse and full, story wise, and making it not so “Sylvanas and Death is evil, the end” but still it gets really cluttered especially in the BfA part.

I figured the soldiers lost at Naz-jatar were those ‘last of them’ and that’s why Anduin was so desperate to end the war at Orgrimmar- or else he’d have to start throwing farmers at the Horde and he didn’t want that.

That’s a cute idea. Could probably tie it into Profession quests for profs like Cooking, gathering, first aid, tailoring, etc.

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For sure on some part of this: the bulk of their content begins in BC, but it also can be argued that, in the span of a week (in the original retail version) we a) meet the blood elves b) invite them to the Horde and then c) go with them to a new planet.

The idea here was to give more time for relations to build, and us to get familiar with their story.

Waiting till Cata for the Worgen, I feel, doesn’t really present anything tasty or new that can’t be accomplished earlier on; it’s a story that can happen at any time.

I felt like, if pushed earlier, it would also be a sound way to heat up tensions between the Alliance and the Forsaken, all while helping to set up Northrend a bit more for Sylvanas. Originally, we didn’t have any “Alliance vs. Forsaken” stuff going until the Wrath Gate, unless you count Arathi Basin.

TBH I gave up trying to make sense of it; I’ve just accepted that there’s gunna be things that don’t line up, no matter what.

It takes time to unpack. Keep in mind though that all the other expansions have been heavily modifying stuff we’re already familiar with, so it’s easier to make sense of it. This BFA rewrite is, in many regards, brand new - so I’d give it a few and reconsider it.

That said, I’d be eager to hear your thoughts on it in detail.

I’ll probably read it again, give it an hour and read it once more before really judging it.

I can see the merit in that.

That said, my real issue is the draenei. They’d be a bit sudden to introduce that early into the story. I think Vanilla WoW should’ve introduced us to the eredar styled Draenei before TBC made them playable.

Eh, it’s like Game Workshop said, “There’s always enough elves”. I’m not too worried about fantasy numbers.

Well there was also Hillsbrad, but I suppose I can understand where you’re coming from, I’m just not sure bringing the worgen in this early would be good for their own story.

Blizzard found that the reason why Draenei were a bit hit and miss was because of the suddenness of their introduction. Worgen, methinks, would also have this issue which is why they had the Grizzly Hills worgen story, to really show more of the worgen before making them playable.

But that’s just me. The Greymane Wall was also a consequence of the Shattering, which is something I feel like should be a bigger thing in our own Lore as it is. This world shattering event, and only two continents really seemed affected, so I guess I’m also a bit iffy on seeing another consequence of the Shattering going away.

EDIT:
I will say this- I really like the idea of us being able to choose between Odyn and Helya and this being a reaccuring element several expansions over.

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This would have been a really interesting bit to see. We did have the Blood Elves in Vanilla, albeit just as a few NPCs, but it was still good to have them present. Could have been interesting to see some of the Draenei stuff in that regard, but… Blizzard did rewrite them real heavily between WC3 and BC.

I think this is a reasonable perspective. Honestly I wouldn’t mind having the Draenei story around in Vanilla, same with Blood Elves, but restricting them to only being playable once BC dropped.

That way you’re exposed, but not oversaturated.

This is another big one I’d agree with.

I was hopeful at the time that Northrend would get an update as well, but there is only so much they could do. For Cata, I’d love amping up the destruction as a result: that’s never something I’d say no to.

And yeah, I was jazzed about the idea as well, and kept going back to see where else elements of it could be introduced.

I’m a huge sucker for slow burn stories that build over time. They just need to have payoff.

I think canonically, both races were part of the factions in vanilla. Blood Elves, very certainly.

I can see why the dwarfs would indeed be a great choice. EVERYONE, GET IN HERE… FOR SOME BEER!

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The interesting thing is, in Darkshore you have to investigate a red crystal that is leaking dangerous chemicals to the local flora and fauna. When you chip away at the crystal, you see parts of a skeleton that you don’t know. I kinda liked that as it implies that the Exodar crashed sometime during vanilla. As we see how those crystals affected the areas around Azuremyst and Bloodmyst Isles. I miss it when blizzards foreshadowing was hidden and not in your face.

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Eh if that quest was from vanilla, then it wasn’t forshadowing. Blizz did not invent Draenei as we know them until well into TBC’s development. Even Naaru were made up before the Draenei-eredar were.

I’m hesitant to call things that retroactively fit new lore ‘foreshadowing’.

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It was from vanilla. And it does line up with events that does occur in the Draenei Starting zones.

TBC’s development was starting to form well into vanillas development, as areas such as Karazhan and Hellfire were originally going to be in vanilla but were pushed back for TBC. That quest chain could’ve been added in the late stages of vanillas initial release. We don’t know to be honest.

Blizzard was developing vanilla while also developing WC3. So a lot can change during that time.

I understand this. I can see why you would view it as a retroactive change. Was just pointing it out as it made me curious when I did darkshore in wow classic.

The short chain is

https://wow.gamepedia.com/The_Red_Crystal
https://wow.gamepedia.com/As_Water_Cascades
https://wow.gamepedia.com/The_Fragments_Within

In the first quest, it mentions that the crystal is causing the local moonkin to go insane (which is something we see later on in the draenei starting zones)

And the 2nd / 3rd quest has you investigate the crystal where you encounter parts of a jawbone from what appears to be a humanoid, but you don’t know for sure.

Some people have speculated that it is actually a fragment from the skull of Gul’dan, however that does feel like a stretch to me.

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I do know that Blizzard hadn’t conceived the Draenei being the new Alliance race when TBC was first announced, and that was a year into Vanilla. Only Blood elves being the new Horde race was a part of the announcement.

Also, from what I recall, Hellfire was actually never supposed to be part of Vanilla WoW. The Hellfire we found by glitch jumping was apparently never intended to be added to the game and was just people testing stuff. Karazhan was intended for vanilla tho.

As for belves joining during Vanilla WoW, there was a pair of blood elves in employment of the Horde during the gates of Ahn’Qiraj, as per the manga, but there are other instances of blood elf interaction with the Horde in classic.

I’m pretty sure Chronicles places the draenei arrival as being after the events of classic… though I don’t possess Chronicles 3, just 1 and 2.

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Chronicles 3 is weird so I can understand that. I mean according to it, only alliance forces dealt with Kil’jaeden at the sunwell.

As I mentioned before, it did raise my curiosity when I did that chain. It might’ve been added in later as wowhead comments on the original quest date back to patch 1.12. But that is still part of vanillas timeline. That being said, the final quest in the chain did get a fix in patch 1.3 so who knows.

It is always fun to speculate on things.

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I couldn’t help but notice the absence of Nagrand, HFC, and Blades Edge Mountains.

No revisions for those storylines?

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In the Burning Crusade Expansion? If there isn’t anything listed about it, it’s just not heavily revised and can be mostly kept as is.

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I implore you to reconsider.

-The Magtheridon/Kargath mini plot
-Rexxar re-kindling with his father and people
-Baron Sablemane, the forgotten Black Dragon
-The rise of Garrosh
-Forgotten Mag’har characters (Jorin Deadeye)

I mean, you sure none of those need revisions?

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I’ve been trying to think of “big picture” with this revision, instead of nitpicking every small bit of the story. Each of those elements you listed can absolutely use some love and care, hah - not going to argue with you, I just didn’t dig up BC all too much because of how isolated most of those stories were.

I can give it another crack later today when I’m home.

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