One of the most engaging mysteries left in Warcraft lore is the question of what happened to Alleria Windrunner and Turalyon. Last seen on Outland in the moments after Draenor’s destruction, they have not been heard from since. Blizzard has joked about their absence frequently, both at past BlizzCons and the in-game loading screen tip “Nobody has seen Alleria or Turalyon in years” (which in the Warlords of Draenor beta has been changed to “Nobody has seen Alleria or Turalyon in years. Still”).
There are a myriad of theories on what happened to them, or how they will re-incorporated into World of Warcraft, but this article won’t be about that. I’ve been thinking more on what Alleria and Turalyon should do once they are back.
It’s often been speculated that they will leave their heritage as Alliance heroes to become neutral characters. Characters following the same “for the greater good and little personality beyond that”-personality used for Tirion Fordring in Wrath of the Lich King, Thrall in Cataclysm, and Archmage Khadgar in Warlords of Draenor. I want Alleria and Turalyon to have a more interesting role if and when they return…
I want them to be villains.
There are a myriad of ways for Alleria and Turalyon to return and to explain where they’ve been. So let’s not dwell on the specifics. Once they come back, what would happen?
Likely, they would go first to the allies they had before leaving, the Alliance. Alleria and Turalyon are still revered as heroes, as anyone who visits Stormwind’s Valley of Heroes can attest to. Now imagine, from the perspective of a Second War veteran with no knowledge of what came afterwards, would sort of the Azeroth they would return to.
When Alleria and Turalyon vanished, they left a world where the orcs and the Horde were unambiguously evil. Their experiences in Draenor and later Outland did nothing to change those views. As we did not encounter them on Outland during the events of the Burning Crusade, it is unlikely that they would have had any further exposure to the orcs since.
They would return to an Alliance “at peace” with the Horde. But the question I propose is, would Alleria and Turalyon see it that way? Upon learning of the events of Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, and Warlords of Draenor without having been there to experience the nuances of the orcs, they would likely come to a different conclusion. Alleria and Turalyon have never met Thrall, or seen the Alliance and Horde work together in the Third War. All they would know is the atrocities committed in their times, and stories about the arguably even more vile Garrosh Hellscream and the Warlords of Draenor.
With Blizzard seemingly unable to let the faction conflict rest for any long period of time, given Ashran, there needs to be an interesting way to portray it. Since the Cataclysm revamp of the old world, faction disputes, with the exception of the Southern Barrens, have always shown the Horde as the aggressors. This causes the Horde to feel powerful and the Alliance weak, as it is impossible to truly “win” a conflict when both factions are playable. It also makes Horde players feel they are being repeatedly forced into the role of villains when Blizzard insists, and most players wish to remain true, that both factions are equally heroic.
The solution to these two issues is simple. First, make the conflict’s aggressor be Alliance, not Horde. Two, allow a clear victory by cleanly delineating the players from the villains. No civil war or working under Alleria and Turalyon for most of their tenure like Horde players did with Garrosh. Instead, have Alleria, Turalyon and the like-minded Alliance citizens required to make them a threat have a clean schism from the player Alliance, and enough of one that the Horde would have a satisfying victory without wanting to fight the rest of the Alliance. Something the Siege of Orgrimmar failed to accomplish.
Last, and most important, I am not calling for them to be made into another Garrosh-type over the top evil villain. I want Alleria and Turalyon to be like Nazgrim, one of the best done “villain” characters Blizzard has made in quite a while in my opinion. Alleria and Turalyon are fighting for what they believe in, bound by honor to stop an enemy that as far as they can tell is still a threat to the Alliance. Have their thus inevitable defeat be bittersweet. Have them show no anger for the Horde or player Alliance, but a sense of duty and honor that must be upheld, no matter how unpleasant. They would be the villains to us, but they would not be evil.
Now wouldn’t that be far more interesting than just having them return as yet more neutral commanders?