Note: Despite the fact the title and some of the content within has pieces of lore, the article is meant as speculation of possibilities where the story could be taken to if WoD-Gul’dan went back in time.
World of Warcraft is an exciting and rich world full of lore, and history. One aspect of the world that Blizzard Entertainment has visited and revisited is Time.
One of our first introductions to Time was when Chromie asked us to help her in Andorhal during the quest titled: “A Matter of Time.” Remember the temporal parasites (carrion worms) at the Silos?
This storyline was never revisited or updated. Chromie speculated that the Scourge was somehow altering time in Andorhal. We may assume she was wrong, and that instead it was the Infinite Dragonflight — who she didn’t know exist at that point.
Sadly, that questline was removed in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Andorhal changed quitely to reflect the post-Wrath of the Lich King changes. On the Horde side, there is a quest where Sylvanas captures Koltira Deathweaver for a torture session. So Andorhal was updated, and “A Matter of Time” quest was gone with the wind.
We have seen Scourged Whelpling in Icecrown, near the Argent Crusade Pavilion which is proof the Scourge and Arthas had continued to experiment with dragons, and we also know that one of the targets of the Scourge during the pre-Wrath of the Lich King invasion was… Tanaris (home of the Caverns of Time).
We do know there were Plagued Hatchling experiments in Scholomance, but we don’t know for how long the experiments went, or if there were other locations where the Cult of the Damned was experimenting on whelps. If so, we don’t know to what extent Arthas was able to tap into Time itself.
Now we have the Heroes of Darrowshire questline with Chromie, which presents another alteration or distortion of Time.
Later on, we entered the Caverns of Time and went back in time to help the Bronze Dragonflight defeat the Infinite Dragonflight. They attempted to stop Medivh from opening the Dark Portal.
All the three original Caverns of Time dungeons’ story revolved around an Infinite Dragonflight trying to prevent the Horde from coming to Azeroth (Caverns of Time: The Black Morass), or preventing Thrall from becoming the Warchief (Caverns of Time: Old Hillsbrad Foothills) or preventing Arthas from going to Northrend or becoming the Lich King (Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme).
Well, well. Ain’t Arthas an odd target for the Infinite Dragonflight? What could Murozond want with Arthas? We know Arthas died. However … what if Arthas tampered with Time long before we reached Northrend? Or what if Arthas isn’t dead or gets resurrected … maybe Murozond fears something Arthas will do in our near future?
Back to the Murozond’s anti-Horde agenda, we know that the same Nozdormu who helped us defeat Murozond in Caverns of Time: End Time, will turn into Murozond at some point in the present of (or some time in the future after) Warlords of Draenor.
If Murozond wanted to prevent Medivh from opening the Dark Portal, or prevent Thrall from becoming Warchief … then Murozond is actually trying to prevent something that will happen during or after Warlords of Draenor. Coughs, of course the story developers didn’t know Warlords of Draenor would exist back then when they created the Caverns of Time dungeons in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade.
However, for continuity’s sake Murozond may have wanted to prevent Garrosh from becoming Warchief by eliminating Thrall from the equation of rising the new Horde. That led to Garrosh coming to power and unleashing the Iron Horde. We can also argue that Murozond feared Thrall … because the Titans showed him the vision of his demise… and Thrall was the cause directly or indirectly.
That’s a possibility, but let’s study another possibility. There has been a buzz in the internet about Gul’dan likely going through a portal to the present Azeroth, and heading to the Tomb of Sargeras.
That would be awesome, and interesting. But… what if Gul’dan managed to find the remnants of the Twilight’s Hammer in the present, becomes their new leader, and the Twilight Hammer lead him to… the Caverns of Time.
What if Gul’dan went back a few years or even centuries in the past of Azeroth? Holy mind-blowing time twist, Batman!
Wait, let’s sink that in. And digest it. Slowly.
Someone from an alternate past which should never have existed, comes into the present and goes back in time and changes our past and present.
How would Azeroth be in a world where this alternate Gul’dan changes the War of the Ancients? Or… the Troll Wars … where Gul’dan and the Twilight Hammer help the trolls win against the High Elves and the Humans of the Arathi kingdom? What if Gul’dan takes over Uldum and Ulduar back in the past to fuel an engine of destruction upon Azeroth and beyond?
Of course, you … as member of the Timewalkers would come to the aid of Nozdormu and Chromie to fix the shattered timeways. Time has been broken. Twisted.
Marvel Comics: The Multiverse Collapses
Those of you who are Marvel Comics readers may know about time travel. A lot. Recently, there have been several events that have broken not only time itself, but the multiverse.
The War of Kings storyline led to a fracture in the fabric of space and time, known as The Fault. The Guardians of the Galaxy were involved in that storyline. Things began to fall apart from that moment forward.
The Age of Ultron kinda messed things up even further. Ultron defeated most of the heroes in the present, and decimated Earth. Wolverine goes back in time to kill Hank Pym to prevent him from inventing Ultron. After killing Pym in the past, Wolverine goes back to the present. However, things ended up worse without Pym. The Skrull-Kree War affected Earth, and Morgana La Fey invaded the present with magic, as Pym’s science wasn’t there to prevent magic incursions. Wolverine proposes to that alternate timeline’s Iron Man he could go back in time again to prevent his younger self from killing Pym, to which Iron Man says: “Time is a living organism that will break if ripped too much.”
That quote is kinda intriguing in terms of World of Warcraft. The Butterfly Effect. Garrosh went back in time to create the Iron Horde. By doing so, Mannoroth was killed 30 years earlier. The orcs didn’t drink Mannoroth’s blood, nor invaded Azeroth.
The Iron Horde invaded the present, and we invaded their past. Present-Maraad dies. Past-Velen dies. Yrel survives. Lot of time twisting things that literally changed the past, the present and the future of Azeroth … and alternate timelines and realities.
Chicken and the Egg
Some of you who aren’t into Marvel Comics like I am, might not get much of this stuff. Hopefully, you can get a grasp on it. As you know, Chris Metzen is a fan of Captain America. He is a Marvel Comics geek. The Thor vibe too. A old-timer nickname of Metzen is Thundergod, in homage to Thor. We have seen that vibe influence Blizzard games. The StarCraft II Thor, the Odin, Thrall and his lightning-swinging Doomhammer. To name a few.
In 1995, Marvel Comics launched a mini-series that shocked fans.
The son of Charles Xavier goes back in time 20 years into the past to kill Magneto. He figured if Magneto didn’t exist, Charles Xavier would have stayed with Gabrielle Haller to be a father to baby Legion. Bishop, Storm and Psylocke go back in time to stop Legion.
Legion confronts a young Magneto, before he became Magneto that is, and as he drives forward his psychic-blade to kill Magneto — Magneto’s best friend: Charles Xavier gets in the way to protect Magneto. Legion accidentally killed his own father.
That massive event was titled Age of Apocalypse.
No Xavier 20 years ago meant he never got to found the X-Men. They weren’t there to fight Apocalypse nor prevented his ascension. What happened was that Apocalypse and his army took over North America. Many heroes died. Some who were to become X-Men, became prelates and lackeys of Apocalypse instead.
20 years later, an Older Bishop still navigates this new timeline surviving as he can. To make the story short, Old Bishop is sent back in time to prevent Legion accidentally killing his father Xavier in the 1970s.
Old Bishop stops Legion. Xavier is saved. Things should go back to normal now for the timeline. Xavier will now found the X-Men a few years later, and the present in the 1990s would be as good as it was.
Wrong. Turns out Sugarman and Dark Beast from Age of Apocalypse managed to escape that era and landed 20 years into the past (in the 1970s).
This essentially opened a can of worms. A massive time-loop. Turns out Dark Beast created the Morlocks that lived in the sewers of Manhattan. Sugarman was the intellectual creator of the Mutates in Genosha.
The paradox is that Bishop had already come into the 1990s earlier and he had already met a world with Morlocks and Mutates. That means … Dark Beast and Sugarman were in the present before Bishop even experienced all the Age of Apocalypse thing. Holy paradox.
Now — how do we apply this to World of Warcraft? Most of that already happened to World of Warcraft.
See the signs? The similarities?
— Legion goes back in time. Changes the past. The Age of Apocalypse rises.
— Garrosh goes back in time. Changes the past. The Age of the Iron Horde rises.
Both storylines are abysmally different, but the basics are there. Yet, one can but wonder… what if Gul’dan from 30 years ago (Warlords of Draenor) escapes into the present Azeroth?
What if he finds the Twilight Hammer survivors? What if Gul’dan uses Caverns of Time or the Timeless Isle to go back in time to a past era of Azeroth?
What if whatever changes he’s made to the past, are really meant to happen? It has already been part of Azeroth’s history all along.
Like when Dark Beast and Sugarman appeared 20 years in the past and created the Morlocks and the Mutates. That was already the X-Men’s history before Age of Apocalypse even happened. Their present was the consequence of Dark Beast/Sugarman’s presence in the past. Revelation!
At the end of World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden, Arthas the Lich King awakes from his slumber in Northrend. Arthas has visions of the future. He sees the Cataclysm, the Nightmare originating from the depths of the sea. Arthas saw another vision of the future — the Scourge Invasion on Orgrimmar and Stormwind. Arthas had never seen Orgrimmar before. Take in mind these visions happened prior to World of Warcraft (2004) events.
Having seen visions of the future, wouldn’t you tamper with Time to prevent that future? Or to alter it? What if in those experimental Time manipulations detected by Chromie in the quest “A Matter of Time” accidentally propelled Arthas into … Warlords of Draenor?
What if Arthas takes Gul’dan back to the past, circa our knowledge of 2004 events.
What if the current Azeroth is consequence of Gul’dan’s presence in a far past? Or things he did back then affected the world in such way that caused what is our present. It’s a paradox, surreal, mind-twisting, but breathtaking.
Imagine an expansion where we join the ranks of the Timewalkers, and go back in time to stop Gul’dan. Many points in time visited in order to fix the timeways. What if Medivh came along with us? Lot of crazy things can be done as a story developer. Like what if this Medivh falls in love in the past while we do our Timewalker thing — and oops … he sires a child with the woman of the past? And … and the woman names that boy … KHADGAR!!! Holy paradox!!!
Chicken and the Egg. What came to be first?