I’m aware that there are some Night Elf purists out there who regard the Night Elves’ inclusion in the Alliance as the moment that the concept started to go downhill, but I’ve always disagreed and still do - the trouble for the Night Elves, and where you really start to see the emergence of the “Night Elf fan” was with the 2010 launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. This was when the Horde had itself a big old party and along with some zone rebalancing (which was needed), Blizzard also modified a number of zones to show the Horde on the offensive, and large and in-charge everywhere, including in Ashenvale forest. Technically it was a victory, but onscreen it looked like the Horde had simply conquered the area (an impression that would be with us right up until BFA among some posters). But at the time there was this growing narrative, talking about the new phasing technology.
“They’re still working things out. Future patches will reflect the victory as well as new stories. The story isn’t over yet. Just wait and see.”
So I waited, and I saw.
Over the next few years, I recall asking and wondering why there wasn’t a questline, a spot in a new update patch, a scenario, or a dungeon or something that would update some of these zones. They weren’t supposed to be like this forever, were they? Well, yes it would seem. They’re still like that. That entire experience is still in retail, and until recently WAS the leveling experience that was a part of what every character had to see.
I was given this same line every time there was some new piece of content that portrayed the Night Elves as weak, or ineffective, or stupid. “The story isn’t over yet!” Surely Blizzard has this all planned out! They wouldn’t do something this awful or insulting to a concept this popular and a playerbase this big if they didn’t have something planned for it. We’ll hit back “someday”, we’ll get our resolution “sometime” - even as the story was leaning its moral in the direction of describing pride - that thing that they had destroyed on the Alliance side - as the root of all evil.
5.1 portrayed the Night Elves in an incredibly bad light - but the expansion just started! But wait and see!"
5.3 was an intermediary patch! The Siege of Orgrimmar is coming up! “Wait and see!”
The siege of Orgrimmar may have been unsatisfying for everyone, but… there’s a book! Wait and see!
So I waited, and I saw.
Now there’s a new expansion in Draenor. … Well the story is over now, it’s too late to complain about it!
I didn’t stick around for Legion - I didn’t trust Dave Kosak with an entire expansion of Night Elf lore (and I was half-vindicated about that I’d say, especially considering that I think what happens to the playable race matters). But I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when I rejoined the commentary space at least during Battle for Azeroth - and saw those hated three words waiting for me.
This is how all heroes’ stories begin! You’ll get your revenge! Wait and see!
Blizzard wouldn’t destroy Teldrassil if they didn’t have a plan! Wait and see!
We don’t know how they’ll even get to Teldrassil! Wait and see!
We don’t know how Teldrassil is destroyed yet! Wait and see!
This is to motivate you to fight the Horde! It’s part of the story! Wait and see!
They’ll have to have fighting in Ashenvale! Wait and see!
This Night Warrior thing is a super serious power up! Wait and see!
Darkshore certainly isn’t the end of them getting revenge on the Horde! Wait and see!
Azshara is coming! This has to be relevant! Wait and see!
They’ll have to address this in a satisfactory way in the epilogue! Wait and see!
The story moves at a glacial pace, but you’ll get your due eventually! Wait and see!
So I waited, and I saw.
I remember having one person out on the discord who shall remain unnamed (but you know who you are) calling everyone in spitting distance an idiot because they CLEARLY didn’t see that Sylvanas was totally going to die because she was totally the villain. This was the answer that she went to after we learned that no, the Night Elves weren’t going to meaningfully hit back against the Horde and were now being asked to deal with it and save it for Sylvanas. Now, who could have predicted that Sylvanas could possibly escape her role as a jet-black villain and potentially… be redeemed?
Well, this forum doesn’t like to talk about her because they’re usually raking her over the coals for making yet another thread predicting it. But she of course was right - the pessimists have been right. From early on, we reacted to developments like these with the understanding that Blizzard would likely build in no resolution - that Teldrassil was going to go unavenged. The people who said that we would get our due against the Horde quickly pivoted to Sylvanas - and as the warning signs piled up we got the same tired refrain:
“Wait and see”
So I waited, and I saw…
Don’t tell me to wait and see ever again.