world-of-warcraft-war-crimes-coverThe latest World of Warcraft novel, War Crimes by Christie Golden, came out today. Reviews of the book have been pouring from various WoW fansites over the past few days, but this will not be one. Suffice to say, I really liked the book (aside from one big flaw), and it make me extremely excited for Warlords of Draenor. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the shocking revelations brought to light in War Crimes and the implications they might have for the storyline of Warlords of Draenor.

Obviously this means there will be spoilers, so if you with to read the book “fresh” then I recommend doing so first before reading this article.

-It’s best to get the ugliness out of the way, so here is the one large flaw. The August Celestials’ verdict. They believe Garrosh should live, and unless I’m misinterpreting, be set free, so he can continue to learn and grow. This makes no sense. They are essentially saying Garrosh’s life is more valuable than those of the thousands he has killed and will go on to kill. For beings that are supposed to be the pandaren gods representing virtues like wisdom and hope, that’s pretty twisted. Now I have a theory for this, which if proven true would make this decision far more palatable. I theorize that the Celestials know what will happen to Garrosh, and they want him to cause further harm. It is intriguing that the Celestials came to the aid of the pandaren when the mogu attacked the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, but when Garrosh attacked and destroyed it, they left the pandaren to die. It seems oddly contradictory, unless they knew that the Vale would be destroyed and wanted it to be.

When one thinks about it, the destruction of the Vale helped the pandaren in the long run. It taught them that they cannot bury their emotions, and must confront them to know peace. It was through the Vale’s destruction that the opportunity to permanently destroy the sha presented itself. Somehow, the Celestials saw what would happen, and knew that the destruction would lead to a greater longterm peace. Thus I theorize that they are similarly aware of what Garrosh will do in Draenor. Garrosh and the Iron Horde will cause destruction on scale that makes the Vale’s destruction seem petty. But perhaps, just as the loss of the Vale taught a great lesson, the Iron Horde will teach one as well. As for how the Celestials would know all this, they are tied to the Timeless Isle, the same place whose existence allowed the creation of this alternate Draenor to occur…

-Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets talk about the good stuff!

-The villain team up of Zaela, Shokia, Thalen Songweaver and Harrowmeiser works surprisingly well. I really want to see more of them, and I hope they show up in Warlords of Draenor. Maybe they could be the rulers of the now Iron Horde controlled Blackrock Spire?

-The much talked about Sylvanas-Vereesa subplot is well done. For a time while reading, I actually thought Sylvanas could and would be redeemed. War Crimes shows just how close the Banshee Queen came to redemption, then proceeds to, at least in my interpretation, guarantee her eventual fate as a raid boss. It is mentioned several times that she is planning to overthrow Vol’jin and take control of the Horde, and by the end of the book all her emotions have been replaced with “torment, and hate” at the living. I think its now only a matter of time, or expansions, before she ends up with a loot table.

-Genn Greymane’s appearance is short, but notable. First off, he attends the trial in worgen form, to show his acceptance of the curse. With the knowledge that worgen will have a storyline in Warlords of Draenor revolving around the worgen curse beginning to reassert itself, I cannot help but wonder if this is foreshadowing. Secondly, he is the only one to bring up that the Horde at large has wronged the Alliance as much as Garrosh, and is quickly silenced. Could this be a sign of the old Genn coming back? The Alliance needs some political turmoil or intrigue, and Genn would be the perfect candidate for this role.

-While Garrosh is one of the main antagonists in Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard has stated players will not fight him. We’re given a better idea of why, seeing Garrosh’s physical state in War Crimes. His body is covered in “dark tracings, like webby fingers … the legacy of the sha” and he has a “bad leg” which forces him to walk with a limp. Garrosh is in no condition to fight anyone… or is he? Could the “legacy of the sha” be more than just scars? What if that means he has residual Y’Shaarj power in him…

-At BlizzCon, the developers said the Iron Horde is not the true enemy of Warlords of Draenor, that they are merely the puppets of greater villains. Now I can say with a fair degree of certainty who they are: the infinite dragonflight. Having already dealt with Murozond in Cataclysm, it appears we are witnessing its formation.

-Also at BlizzCon, we were told Wrathion would not have a role in Warlords of Draenor, outside of maybe a small cameo. It seems this was a necessary lie to preserve a twist, as with Christopher Nolan swearing up and down that Talia Al Ghul would not appear in The Dark Knight Rises. Wrathion is part of the conspiracy to free Garrosh, and while it is not directly stated, I get the impression that he is in charge of this infinite dragonflight/Iron Horde/whoever else may be involved plot. Chris Metzen said the final boss of Warlords of Draenor would not be an orc, and Wrathion certainly isn’t one…

-Speaking of Wrathion. His partnership if not leadership of the infinite dragonflight is deeply troubling. The infinites serve the Old Gods, Wrathion’s greatest enemies beside the Burning Legion. It was because of their corruption that he saw no alternative but to have every other black dragon he knew of slain. Has Wrathion himself fallen to the Old Gods will? Or did the infinite dragonflight originate outside of their influence, only to be corrupted later. Hopefully its the later, we’ve had enough Old God plots lately and a break would be nice, especially since Draenor already has at least one Old God for us to deal with with or without the infinites.

-On a last note, I must reiterate this, as I had mentioned before on Twitter. With the return of the infinite dragonflight, I believe that Blizzard would be making a grave mistake if they do not have Elizabeth Birdsong act as portal mage for your garrison’s mage tower. She could occasionally get startled when you enter and throw a book at you even!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my look into War Crimes and how it may shape the storyline of Warlords of Draenor. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I for one am now even more excited for the coming battle against the Iron Horde.


Ian Bates

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