Warfronts; Retroactive Sense?

I’d said before it seemed like the marching orders were handed out on opposite day.

The Defilers are an entire sub division of the Forsaken military specialized in fighting humans in Arathi, and the Warsong Clan has battled the Kaldorei in the woods of Ashenvale since first contact.

So naturally the smart move was to send the Forsaken to Darkshore and the Orcs to Arathi.

Thunderously stupid but come to think of it if Sylvanas goal was simply a body count and not victory, that actually would be a good strategy.

So come to think of it, it actually does make sense.


Except it wasn’t a battle between Defilers/Arathi or Warsong/Silverwing. It was suppose to be joint military operations and ultimately Horde versus Alliance.

Thematically they wanted it to be humans vs orcs and night elves vs forsaken because these were the two races that were opposite of each other.


I’m pretty sure that two warfronts were cut that would have helped things make a bit more sense. It goes back to my ‘Legion and BfA were meant to be four expansions’ theory. This would have included the Barrens Warfront, and the Silvermoon Warfronts that were both cut (and likely where those Heritage Armors for Tauren, Gnomes, Dwarves, Goblins, and Blood Elves came from).

In the original plan, it seems clear to me that the Alliance was supposed to attack Lordaeron first, and the Arathi Warfront was the Horde trying to gain a foothold again via the use of the airship. It should also be considered that Arathi has rotating leaders with different forces present as a result, and you probably would have seen the same with the Darkshore one, if that hadn’t been cut. I think the Arathi Warfront was meant for the first BfA expansion, while Darkshore was meant for the second and not ready/as polished. There are still oversights in the zone to this day that shows they basically took what was ready and tossed it into circulation.

Thematically, Arathi hearkens back to classic Warcraft vibes, which would have aligned well with their faction war ideas. And Darkshore happening an expansion later would have meant a lot more time for the Night Warrior stuff to cook.


I agree with your overall point, but I doubt they designed Darkshore to be “opposite races.” I think they just wanted one of the warfronts to be humans vs orcs because Warcraft I, and then they threw the Forsaken into Darkshore because the Forsaken were prominent in the expansion. The fact that they ended up being opposites thematically was probably just a lucky coincidence.

Just curious, what are they? I only ever did that warfront a couple of times.

I kind of wonder when the Night Warrior came into the story. If the original plan was for the Lordaeron attack to happen first (and I think it’s plausible that it was), I wouldn’t be too shocked if the night warrior was not part of that plan.


Look, like it or not the night elves/Forsaken were always the opposite to each other in narrative terms. They were the faction that was living in the continent dominated by the opposite faction. Even back in “Tides of War” they talked about how if the night elves were ever driven out of Kalimdor the alliance will respond in kind by attacking the Forsaken. As a side note, as I recall when you did a faction transfer before night elves became forsaken and vice verse(until the current model of you can become any race your class is available to).

I’d also point out the Night elves had some quest before that dealt with the Forsaken. It is literally WoW’s version of Dota, life vs death.

“Like it or not”? I don’t actually care. :smiley: And I’m not disputing that they are thematically opposites. I just don’t get the impression that a ton of care and planning went into the Darkshore warfront.

Night elves have clashed way more with orcs than with any other Horde race over WoW’s history. But the devs clearly really wanted Orcs vs Humans, so the orcs were already busy in Arathi. Then they had to find something different for Darkshore, so they grabbed Forsaken. It works fine.

The warfront bosses not rotating is one I mentioned, but the biggest one isn’t the warfront itself but how the zone transfers over. When Alliance holds it, not all the assets from the Horde go away in Lor’danel, which means the zone never goes over completely. This is seemingly a bug/oversight because the Blight pools therein aren’t actually visible, you just skip around the town and suddenly encounter it. Unlike Arathi, which has a full map swap depending on who holds it, Darkshore remains relatively static no matter who holds it.

Night Elf leather armor is also missing 3D effects that appear intended but were never added.


The only thing good about Darkshore was the Forsaken armor set. Seriously that and the vicious black bonesteed are just *chef’s kiss. Particularly the mail armor as the Forsaken male models in particular look awful in a lot of mail. Love that spikey arbalist / spearmen look so much.

But I have all that stuff because I played Darkshore relentlessly. I actually prefered the purple look to the green PvP variant, and even if I didn’t good luck getting 4 toons to the 1400+ rank anyway.

I probably played it at least upwards of 40 times and can tell you it is terribly, terribly designed. The ending push where you’ve to destroy two Kaldorei boats takes a ludicrous amount of time, and the only mildly interesting way to spend it is to hijack a chimera. The cool looking turrets are boring to play - you just plink away at the boats doing no visible damage. The catapults are NPCs and also just sit there plinking away so lord knows why the turrets werent as well. Other than that you can throw exploding seeds at them. If any of that sounds even vaguely interesting I promise you it isn’t.

It was just such a half baked design. Warfronts in general were bizarre. A PvE EBG. Who is that for?


The Darkshore warfront armour is just another arrow in the quiver of ‘Blizzard has issues with Night Elves’ really. The Forsaken gear is all gorgeous, in my opinion, and evokes a lot of the Forsaken themes, drawing from their various aspects like the R.A.S, the Dreadguards, the Deathstalkers, and so on. Even the basic tier 1 versions have a lot of 3D effects and complexity to them.

In contrast, the Night Elf gear is uh… fairly half-baked in my opinion, and while the weapons are nice, the armour doesn’t seem to draw from much of the prior Night Elf themes or aesthetic. Only the mail set looks like something akin to the Sentinels, for instance. Also they made the most iconic Night Elf weapon Demon Hunter only which is… a choice.

In terms of who warfronts were for, I think the concepts are quite good, we just never saw them in their full form. Even Arathi, complete as it seemed, was likely a victim of a lot of cut things. They’re much like island expeditions, in that sense.

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And I do. Suffice to say they wanted the Fourth War to be a faction war. And as shown by things like say “Tides of Vengence” cinematic, the night elves would have had to fight both orcs and forsaken in their turf. Literally any and every race of the Horde.

My issue with the warfronts is they never envisioned it as something that could be pvp. Like it could have been a way for players to feel what it was like to be in the RTS and yet no, it was just a pve race that got boring fairly quickly.

I always appreciate your insight. To me it does not make sense at all.

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Each their own aesthetically but I do think the Darkshore gear does fit Night Elves pretty well. The armor curves, has a lot of natural elements, and keeps the purple hue that we’re use to from Night Elves.

The leather set was certainly a disappointment though. Looks like they tried to make a druid combat suit and just failed miserably. Not only are there plenty beautiful and very Night Elfy druid sets, but you dont even see your gear most of the time in 3 out of the 4 specs! The blue gladiator sets were an odd choice too and screams Stormwind. Otherwise, very fine job with them and all the warfront/gladiator sets.

To the story with them, yeah it seems so butt backwards to have a primarily Kalimdor force in Arathi and an Eastern Kingdom one in Darkshore. Even if they are joint military operations like suggested, it makes no real sense to send all the Night Elf fighting Orcs to the open fields of Arathi and the plague launching, dead raising, corpse faking Forsaken to the dense forests. Saying nothing of the random tauren and non-forest trolls in Arathi too. I get the Orcs vs Humans aesthetic they wanted to go with but the rule of cool really loses its shine when its stupidly implemented.

They could have Orc and forest troll forces there, sure. Hammerfall is right night door, as is Revantusk. You can keep the rotating commanders, Etrigg leading Hammerfall’s orcs, Rokhan Revantusk, but how they’re not spookifying all of Arthai with Forsaken Legions is beyond me. How they’re not clear cutting sections of Ashenvale and Darkshore (more than they were) with orc peons and warsong lumber camps or having trolls stalking the trees playing cat and mouse with elves, or tauren just looking at a tree and fan girling over it like Donkey looking to turn it into a totem like, “I like that tree. That is a nice tree” is just deflating. Instead we get “SIRA NO!” and just makes sad tauren noises. They were nice trees…

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Agree, but I think elite Aspirant gear was more in Night Elves colors. Gold really is not a color for Night Elves.


Unfortunately Blizzard have forgot to add this version into the game. =(


It’s just frustrating how many missed opportunities there were.

Particularly with Arathi. As of Legion the ruins of Stromgarde were occupied by an independent undead faction run by Galen Trollbane. Who you do ice in the DK questline but the point is clearly there’s no shortage of undead Stromgardians. The Black Bride is such a blank slate that you easily could’ve said she was Stromgardi. Perhaps even a protégé of Danath.

Trouble is then you’d have a situation where both the living and undead have completely valid claims. So the real villain of the piece is their mutual inability to coexist. And thatd make for a morally gray war story which clearly wasnt the plan.

Also if the Forsaken were actively trying to seize Stromgarde that would give the Alliance very good reason to commit serious resources to rebuilding Stromgarde. Khaz Modan would be living at gunpoint, obviously they cant have that.

Instead though it seems like the Alliance decided to rebuild this because of some Human reconquista plan. Which in itself isn’t the worst idea. But the story seems to be that they did that at the expense of aiding their Kaldorei allies in one of their darkest hours.

And again that in itself could also be a good story beat. But it’s the Alliance were talking about so not sending support wasn’t a problem, and Tyrande is told by her God to cool it with the righteous indignation shtick.

And as for the Forsaken we’ve zero idea how they felt about any of this. Belmont and Faranel escaped so clearly it didnt go catastrophically wrong for them. And the kicker is you could’ve done cool stuff with the Forsaken in Darkshore as well.

Shrouding a haunted forest in eternal night and burying people alive is sure to freak out most of the Horde. But you practically sent out a real estate listing add to the Forsaken. Could’ve had some “the dark is my home too” banter and even a counter to the Orc being buried alive scene with Forsaken bursting up out of the ground after burying themselves to set up an ambush.


That is probably one of the worst things in Arathi - The Black Bride is such a underutilized character that has been around from the start and would be a great direction to go. Since the story has been so botched I doubt we’ll see any meaningful attempt at these areas for a very long time.

They haven’t sold Arathi either as the critical location it is either. It is the only way to get into the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms by land. Its one way in, one way out, by the Thandol Span. They treat it as this throw away empty plains which everyone finds boring, yet that couldnt be further from the truth. I mean yeah, its a boring place to level and it is kinda plain, but its super important when you start to think of the geo-political ramifications of who can control that zone, especially as they’re looking to rebuild Stromgarde. It can house a secure port that would keep the city/fort supplied during siege, that same port goes right out to Gilneas, Kul’tiras, and eventually Stormwind, it could launch a navel invasion at Southshore to get around Thoradin’s Wall and the Greymane Wall if the Alliance ever wanted to push north again. Its also one of more accessible ways into the Hinterlands to reach the Wildhammer. Like, its a big deal and they treat it as a throw away zone! How Arathi is not treated like the Panama Canal, the Straight of Gibraltar, or Istanbul (not Constantinople) is criminal.

All that and not to mention Darkshore, and northern Kalimdor at large, not getting these cat and mouse troll/bleeding hallow vs night elf stories or just the real story and fear you can do for a campaign in a dense forest with people who can make the trees attack and others who make the the ground shake and wind move.


Agreed. imo they should’ve been a combination of what we got plus Wintergrasp/old AV. A large PvP battle with significant PvE elements, with some stacking buff to ensure the zone would - eventually - change hands.

e.g. you start off fighting waves of footmen and end up succumbing to waves of elite Silver Hand paladins.

They also should’ve been more integrated into the story. Darkshore was done poorly but Stromgarde was just ridiculous, 0 effort made to incorporate that into the story beyond one breadcrumb quest.

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Except the writers have debunked this theory multiple times. Things changed sure, maybe it wasn’t always going to be Sylvanas that caused the Burning, but the Alliance hitting Lordaeron first was never on the development or story table.

Yeah I think finding out Warfronts were exclusively PvE may’ve been the most disappointing bit of BFA which is saying something.

The factions arent actually conceptually all that interesting to fight. Because it’s just a series of dudes in armor. The Forsaken might throw an abomination in here and there and the Kaldorei reliably turn up with Treebeard and friends but on the whole it’s overwhelming just some guy with pauldrons and a sword. That can’t compare to fighting through Yogg Saron’s madness or trying to knock Deathwing out of the sky while on him.

The faction conflict is fun because youre fighting other players. Who can surprise you, and have their will to fight shattered.

Seriously raise your hand if you’ve personally turned the tide in a BG by pulling some feat of daring do that inspired a demoralized team to victory. Thats the sort of thing you just cannot replicate in PvE.

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I don’t really believe the writers at this point, they cling to the narrative that this was all planned out too, when a lot of it was very clearly added in ad hoc. Even other things they say contradict that there was much in the way of planning, such as the admittance that they hadn’t even planned out the end of Shadowlands before it had launched.

The opening cinematic was the last thing Metzen wrote for Blizzard, and he was surprised that it wasn’t the Alliance attacking first.

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Sylvanas is doing hero poses all over the marketing for Legion, including the loading screen, and in the cinematic she outright saves Varian’s life.

Yeah things are a bit sketch with her trying to enslave the angel chick but it was in service of granting her people true immortality. Which is certainly isn’t wholesome but we reward people for doing completely horrific ish for their country and people all the time.

Mix that with Sylvanas’s For The Horde in the cinematics, which have to be worked on months and months ahead of time, and I outright do not believe any of that was planned too far in advance.

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