Author Archive

Ian Bates

World of Warcraft Writer and columnist for Blizzplanet. I am also known as The Red Shirt Guy (BlizzCon).

Sylvanas was Behind the Wrathgate?!

World of WarCraft lore discussion has been set aflame (see what I did there?) over the past few days, following Eurogamer’s interview with Alex Afrasiabi. The interview itself is about the divide of opinions on Sylvanas and her future in Battle for Azeroth. What’s caused the frenzy of confusion and speculation is this one line from Alex:

“I’ve heard these discussions on the internet about ‘she’s going off the rails’, but is she? I’ve been writing Sylvanas personally since 2006, and this is pretty much – the Wrathgate and the Blight and the Forsaken – in character. Those were all under Sylvanas’ orders. What we’re seeing now is an escalation of the plans Sylvanas has, clearly, and we’re in the middle of that.”

The Wrathgate being under Sylvanas’ orders, rather than part of Burning Legion aligned coup that followed, hugely changes one of the most beloved moments in WoW’s history. Is this a misunderstanding? It wouldn’t be the first time Alex Afrasiabi misspoke during an interview. Or was he correct? It’s not the first time Blizzard’s suggested Sylvanas had more to do with the Wrathgate than she let on. I’ll be looking into the implications behind this and various theories below.

The 8.1 Darkshore Quests are Really Bad

I hate being negative. I especially hate it with just how toxic the community has gotten on places like MMO-Champion, the story forums, or Reddit. However the Darkshore questline, as it exists on the 8.1 PTR, has such bad writing feel I need to bring the issues with it to light. When I say bad writing, I don’t mean the normal “I dislike the story they are telling and/or believe the plot decisions and characterizations are bad,” bad writing, which is always to at least a partial degree subjective. I mean the writing is bad in a structural, mechanical sense. The quest text and spoken dialogue is completely at odds with what’s being shown. This is mostly the case for the Alliance quests, but the Horde version has issues as well. Originally I intended to release this after 8.1 goes live, as there are at least three missing cinematics which could provide some context. After some discussions on twitter, I’ve become convinced that releasing this now would be more useful. I doubt there’s enough time for Blizzard to implement any feedback on these quests, much of the voice acting is done and that’s typically the last thing they do once everything else is locked in, but perhaps it could be helpful input for future content. Let’s dive in.

Warning: the following contains heavy spoilers for Patch 8.1.

Sylvanas Windrunner’s Fate, Discussion and Predictions

Battle for Azeroth is officially live! While we explore Kul Tiras and Zandalar, further the war campaign, and recruit new allied races, the question of what fate has in store for the Horde’s Warchief hangs in the air. After how the Burning of Teldrassil turned out, the discussion over Sylvanas and what’s become of the Horde under her rule has been, to pardon the pun, heated. I won’t dwell on the controversy much because the discussion quickly became vitriolic towards Blizzard’s writers (especially Christie Golden) in a way that was far too similar to the worst portions of the Star Wars fandom. Instead let’s look at the story itself and where I think it might be taking Sylvanas.

Battle for Azeroth’s Mission Table is Chock-Full of Lore Development

Since its introduction in Warlords of Draenor, the mission table has been one of the most contentious features in the game. In fact, for both Legion and Battle for Azeroth, developers have mentioned in interviews that they heavily considered scrapping the system only to keep it around anyway. But in Battle for Azeroth, the mission table has a greater purpose, one that at least to lore fanatics, will be invaluable. Recent datamining from WoWhead and MMO-Champion revealed the text for most of level 120 missions, and instead of just being based around stuff we did while leveling, these missions reveal how the war is progressing in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. It’s essentially a way to keep the old world’s stories updated without having to do a Cataclysm-style revamp. Read on past the jump to see what these new missions reveal, some of the stuff happening in EK and Kalimdor is pretty out there!

Future Allied Race Speculation

After that pessimistic last article of mine, I feel it would be a good idea to discuss something more positive. So let’s take a look at one of Battle for Azeroth‘s most interesting features, the Allied Race system. Essentially a way to add playable races that would otherwise be too similar to existing ones opens the door to many potential races I would never have thought to be made playable. Then there is the fact that Blizzard said the six allied races coming are just the beginning. It’s unclear, at least to me, whether they meant additional allied races will be added during Battle for Azeroth‘s patch cycle, or if allied races will be something we can expect as a core feature of any future expansion like new regular races or classes. Either way, there are a tons of potential candidates worth speculating on.

So read on past the jump to see my predictions for what allied races we could see in the future.

I’m Worried About Battle for Azeroth…

I’m super-hyped for Battle for Azeroth. Just from the short demo of Nazmir at BlizzCon, I can see that Zandalar is everything I’d ever hoped it would be. Add on finally getting to visit Kul Tiras, the allied races, more story and development for faction leaders like Jaina, Saurfang, Baine, and Genn, and more old world updates (though it sounds like they’ll just be phased scenery like Theramore, but still I like seeing the world change and evolve) and this is looking like a pretty great expansion. So why I am so worried that it won’t be?

Read on to find out.

 

Updates to Stormwind and Orgrimmar in the Battle for Azeroth Demo

I’m back from BlizzCon, and what a BlizzCon it was. While I have some serious worries about the expansion, worries I detail in a future article, Battle for Azeroth in terms of what content it’s offering is shaping up to be my favorite expansion ever. I’ve wanted Zandalar as a continent for a long time… (far longer than when I wrote that article, even)

However we’re not here to talk about Zandalar or Kul Tiras today. As I’ve mentioned on twitter, the BlizzCon demo for Battle for Azeroth also hid some very surprising updates to Stormwind and Orgrimmar. Each city has had a new district added, with some very surprising lore developments included within. It goes without saying that this post includes heavy spoilers for Battle for Azeroth. So read on at your own risk.

Subraces Part 2: Before the Storm

We’d previously talked about the strange additions to the “chrraces” file in WBDX that could be evidence of four subraces coming to World of WarCraft in the next expansion. Thanks to the crafty people in the MMO-Champion hype thread, and WoWhead, even more details on these strange entries has been uncovered. Already it was getting to be too much to keep updating the original article, and then another bombshell dropped. Christie Golden’s next World of WarCraft novel has a title and description that might shed further light on the upcoming expansion. I’ve decided to the combine the two into a single, pre-BlizzCon speculation extravaganza.

REMINDER: I’ve seen some confusion over this on places like Twitter and Reddit; nothing in this or the previous article is confirmed. While the file evidence is real, we can only make educated guesses as to what the details mean. 

Possible New (Sub)Races Datamined

Happy two weeks until BlizzCon, everyone! I’ve covered several previous datamining clues towards expansion seven in these past few months, and unless something huge happens, this should be the last one. On MMO-Champion’s “Official Patch 8.0 Speculation thread,” a list from the game database was uncovered that could point towards four new (sub)races being added in. What are these potential subraces? What is the evidence for them? Find out after the jump!

Update: A new piece of information has surfaced, as well as a look back at an interesting quote from a Gamescom interview. Check them out at the bottom of the page.

The Kul Tiras Expansion Rumor Continues

As we’ve covered previously, files on the 7.3 PTR and the BlizzCon key art have pointed towards Kul Tiras as the setting for the next World of Warcraft expansion. On August 25th, yet another 7.3 PTR build has come up with datamined information that only deepens the mystery. According to MMO-Champion the new build removed the icons for all of the Kul Tiras armor “from the list of files that are extracted when you extract all of the interface files from the game.” What’s equally interesting was that even more icons relating to Zandalar were removed along with them. What does this mean? Well, based on a previous expansion leak via datamining, I think I know. Read past the jump to find out:

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