Theorycrafting: World of Warcraft: Dark Azeroth (AU)
World of Warcraft Classic peaked to over a million views on Twitch this past week, and Activision Blizzard has touted increase of subscriptions. At this point, it is unknown what the future will look like for World of Warcraft Classic. Will players continue to play Classic? What will happen after players have conquered Molten Core, Naxxramas, and Onyxia’s Lair many times over?
So far a developer played around with the idea to have The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King re-released. The question is whether the WoW Classic servers will remain so forever, while WoW: The Burning Crusade servers are opened parallel to the WoW Classic servers — separating both servers as standalone communities; or whether WoW Classic will become WoW Classic: The Burning Crusade.
Is there room for WoW Classic, World of Warcraft: BFA successors, and a third World of Warcraft? Now that would be royally unprecedented.
What would be the third World of Warcraft? Probably something set in the far future. Something set in the far past. Or… something akin to WoW Classic but how WoW Classic would look like if the Horde had never crossed over into Azeroth.
Ahhh… but that is not just an idea. It has already happened in the World of Warcraft lore. Blizzard has just not capitalized on that. Yet.
When Blizzard Entertainment launched World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Garrosh Hellscream and Kairoz the bronze dragon had timetraveled to an alternate timeline where Garrosh had never been born.
Garrosh killed Kairoz as he didn’t want to be the dragon’s puppet. Garrosh wanted to live in this timeline doing whatever he wanted rather than follow the commands of his dragon master.
After killing Kairoz, Garrosh paid a visit to his father Grom Hellscream, and revealed to him he was his son from an alternate timeline’s future.
Garrosh told Grom not to drink from Mannoroth’s blood, and then we watched the Warlords of Draenor cinematic where Garrosh pushed Grom away when Mannoroth died — giving us a deja vu of the Warcraft III cinematic where Grom died.
WORLD OF WARCRAFT: DARK AZEROTH
In the Warlords of Draenor timeline, dubbed Draenor AU (alternate universe), the Horde was never corrupted by the Burning Legion. They thrived as a united orc force free of their demonic masters, but guided by Garrosh’s thirst for vengeance against the Alliance and the Horde that betrayed him.
The Horde AU of 35 years ago invaded the future Azeroth where Garrosh had come from; and that was the World of Warcraft expansion we experienced back in 2014.
In one of the Frostfire Ridge quests, we see Gul’dan having a conference with Cho’gall (AU), and a shadowy projection figure standing on the right side of Teron’gor. We never hear the name of the projection, but no need to. Its hoodied night elf model says it all. It is implied that the shadowy projection was Medivh.
In the novel World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde, by Christie Golden, we see Gul’dan having communication with the same shadowy figure. This is how Medivh (at that time possessed by Sargeras) communicated with Gul’dan, ordering the orc warlock to bring the Horde through the Dark Portal to invade Azeroth. As it originally happened in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (1994).
But… in Warlords of Draenor, this changed when Garrosh changed the timeline. Grom didn’t drink from Mannoroth’s blood. The Horde didn’t drink from it sealing the pact with the Burning Legion. The Horde didn’t invade their Azeroth.
Gul’dan did never get to fulfill his plans as seen in the Warlords of Draenor quest: “All is Revealed.”
Therefore, there is a Sargeras out there inside Medivh who never got his due… the Horde did never come to Azeroth (AU) as long planned.
What would Sargeras do in such a case with no Plan B?
Well… Sargeras would have to craft Plan B on the go.
Either he contacts the Burning Legion and send other minions from their vast collection of conquered worlds to invade Azeroth (AU), or… he empowers locals to do his bidding.
So how would Azeroth (AU) look like 35 years ago when the Horde did never cross the Dark Portal?
That’s something that Blizzard Entertainment could at any time develop and present to the players.
There is so much potential in that game.
(a) Would it be a World of Warcraft expansion?
(b) Would it be a third World of Warcraft type of game alongside Classic, and present?
(c) Will it never happen?
Well, we don’t know. But it is out there. It is in the lore. It exists.
Sargeras was stripped away from Azeroth by the Pantheon at the end of World of Warcraft: Legion, but not before plunging his sword into Silithus. Sargeras is now jailed in the Pantheon’s throne room with Illidan as his jailor.
But there is still an alternate Sargeras out there, still inhabiting Medivh’s body. Still planning. One without his promised Horde. Still on the phone at the Dark Portal saying: “Hello?! Where the eff are you and your Horde, Guldan?”
Whatever that Azeroth (AU) is after that moment in time, 35 years later it no longer looks like World of Warcraft Classic.
That is 35 years where Sargeras/Medivh may have had to empower locals as an alternative to weaken Azeroth’s guardians. The Lich King could never happen the way we know it either because Draenor (AU)’s Ner’zhul went a different path embracing The Void masters.
There is a chance that Azeroth (AU) may still have a Cult of the Damned with Kel’Thuzad. A different type of Cult of the Damned without Ner’zhul.
In this other Azeroth (AU) there was never the death of King Llane, or rebuilding of Stormwind. So there was no Defias Brotherhood.
In this Azeroth (AU) there is a Rhonin and Krasus who never had to infiltrate Grim Batol to rescue Alexstrasza; and the dragonqueen was not enslaved.
There was no Scarlet Crusade, and probably no Paladins — because Archbishop Alonsus Faol was not inspired to fight the dark magic of the Horde’s warlocks.
There was no Ashbringer, as the core of its creation was a shadow orb taken from the Horde.
There was no Scourge or Forsaken. So there is a Sylvanas out there that is still a High Elf.
The Quel’Thalas was never destroyed, and still ranking members of the Alliance, and the Kirin Tor.
The Night Elves and Cenarius are still in Kalimdor unharmed, and at their peak of civilization.
Cairne and Baine Bloodhoof probably would have perished in the Centaur assault that Thrall originally thwarted, as there is no Thrall in Azeroth (AU).
There were no internment camps.
Zul’jin would have been a prisoner of the Alliance with no one to rescue him.
There wouldn’t have been an Arugal and Worgen in Silverpine Forest, as his knowledge and experiments came to be as a mechanic to combat the Horde which didn’t exist in Azeroth (AU); and probably none in Gilneas — as Guilneas wouldn’t have created the wall in the first place to isolate themselves from the Alliance. No internment camps equals no tax increase, which provoked Gilneas’ separation from the Alliance.
The Tol’vir are still out there in Uldum.
The Nerubian haven’t been conquered by the Lich King (as he doesn’t exist in Azeroth AU — at least the way we know him).
The Vrykul are still out there in Northrend and Stormheim.
The Pandaren are still locked away in their mists.
But… C’Thun, Yogg’saron, Y’ssharj, and N’Zoth are still out there in their prisons.
As domino effect, Aegwynn is also still alive and could be a potential leading character in the fight against Sargeras/Medivh. Aegwynn was revealed to be alive and to have resurrected Medivh (pre-Warcraft III) in World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido (the first World of Warcraft novel 2004). Aegwynn alleguedly died in the World of Warcraft Comics #25 “Armageddon,” and she was buried in the Morgan’s Plot in Karazhan. But with no Horde in Azeroth (AU), the death of Aegwynn didn’t happen in Azeroth (AU).
NOTE: It’s uncertain if Aegwynn actually died, as it is unknown whether Med’an is canon.
Would Sargeras/Medivh have to recruit Deathwing, the Dark Iron, and/or the Zul’Aman trolls now that the Horde did never cross the Dark Portal? Or seduce Dar’Khan Drathir into becoming the Grom of the High Elves, by offering a new source of power to the high elves?
Would the Dragon Aspects be in Sargeras’ sight as the main champions of Azeroth?
There are many stories to create for a world of Azeroth that was never invaded by the Horde who still has a Sargeras living in Medivh’s body… in Karazhan.
More importantly… what would spawn from such an alternate Azeroth that could potentially spill over into the present World of Warcraft the way the Iron Horde did upon us?
It would still be cool to play in that alternate World of Warcraft Classic: Dark Azeroth, and then a present World of Warcraft expansion based on the future of that Dark Azeroth’s invasion. What if this time around, Grom comes knocking our door because Azeroth (AU) has crossed the Dark Portal into… Draenor (AU)?