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.
On Saturday, I heard that posters on the story forums were discussing a claim that there was a new building in Stormwind where Alleria was talking about void elves. Having already explored Drustvar and Nazmir, I decided to get in line for the demo again and make a level one human character to see if these rumors were true. What I found was so much more. Afterwards I made an orc and checked Orgrimmar to see if it had a similar update (spoiler alert: it did).
Sadly I cannot share any images of what I found. I asked one of the Blizzard employees on site if I was allowed to take any pictures from the demo and was told I could not. I mentioned there were people streaming the demo and he said they’ll get in trouble for doing that. Given that WoW developers were present on these streams, I assume he was misinformed or those were very special exceptions. Either way, I didn’t want to take any chances. Several other posters on the story forums have reported on the Stormwind changes as well, and fellow Blizzplanet contributor Handclaw saw Baine Bloodhoof’s new model as well (though in a different location).
For the most part, Stormwind and Orgrimmar were identical to their live versions, except for these two new areas. Each was called the “Stormwind/Orgrimmar Embassy” and was made entirely of garrison art assets. There was a single new type of building in the Stormwind Embassy which resembled a cross between a farmhouse and barracks, my guess would be that it’s from the new Warfront feature. I’ve made a mock up of where they were located:
As you may notice, the Orgrimmar Embassy had replaced the Goblins Slums. A tiny section of it remained, the area where Boss Mida is, but it was otherwise completely gone, even the lake. Each district consisted of: a large central building (a medium barracks for Alliance, a medium town hall for Horde), a blacksmithing area, and lots of tents. Stormwind had additional buildings: Celestine of the Harvest’s house was replaced with the updated garrison house model and there was the aforementioned new building where the Wollerton Stead currently is. The Stormwind embassy was completely devoid of NPCs outside of the central barracks, and the Orgrimmar Embassy still had all the old Goblin Slums NPCs but I don’t think they were meant to be there. The mining trainer, for example, was constantly swinging a pickaxe into the air.
What was really interesting were the NPCs located inside the barracks and town hall. In each, all the respective faction leaders had gathered, along with some very intriguing additions. The Orgrimmar Embassy’s leaders were Sylvanas Windrunner, Varok Saurfang, Baine Bloodhoof, Lady Liadrin, Rokhan, Lor’themar Theron, Trade Prince Gallywix, Ji Firepaw, Eitrigg, and Nathanos Blightcaller. Saurfang, Baine, and Nathanos all had brand new models. Baine’s new model looked identical to the artwork of him shown on the Kalimdor loading screen:
Saurfang’s new model has been shown off at BlizzCon:
Nathanos’ model had his hair slicked back while he wore an outfit similar to Genn Greymane’s but with a tall collar. Basically he’s going for a Count Dracula look.
The Stormwind Embassy’s presence consisted of Anduin Wrynn, Turalyon, Alleria Windrunner, Tyrande Whisperwind, Velen, Genn Greymane, High Tinker Mekkatorque, Muradin Bronzebeard, Aysa Cloudsinger, and… Wrathion.
Wrathion was sitting in the corner, away from the other alliance leaders. I initially thought it meant he was spying on the factions, but Wrathion was only present in the Stormwind Embassy.
Now that the descriptions are out of the way, I can talk about what happened upon entering the main buildings. As soon as my character entered, a scripted conversation began. This unveiled the purpose of these new districts, they’re for the Allied Races.
In the Stormwind Embassy, Anduin explained that he’d gathered the other leaders here because “the horde’s aggression cannot go unanswered,” and that they were in need of new allies. Turalyon said that now that the Legion has been defeated, the Army of the Light “would be proud to fight for the Alliance.” He also mentioned that a group of draenei initiates were about to undergo a special ceremony to become lightforged, and that this would be the perfect time broach the subject to the Army of the Light. Anduin fully agreed with this plan.
Next up, Alleria said that she had been trying to convince the blood elves to rejoin the alliance but that her efforts were “futile.” However, she found a faction of blood elves who had been exiled from Silvermoon for practicing void magic. Alleria said she believes that she can train them to harness the Void as she can in return for having them join the alliance. Anduin responded that he didn’t like the idea of using void magic, but he trusts Alleria and her judgment, and that having seen what she’s capable of, the alliance can’t afford to ignore that kind of power.
Then Anduin said that while both should be recruited, it was up to me to choose which race they go after first. I could then talk to Turalyon and Alleria, who each gave a summary of their allied race which was identical the summaries they have on the Battle for Azeroth website and a greyed out option to “start quest.”
The Orgrimmar Embassy followed the same structure. Sylvanas asked the other leaders if there were any new potential allies for the horde in their war. Baine spoke first, saying that he was holding a large banquet in Mulgore for the chieftans of the Highmountain tauren tribes to convince them to join the horde. Sylvanas was somewhat dismissive, saying the highmountain tauren didn’t have much to offer but their strength would make for good frontline soldiers.
Liadrin then said she had been making inroads with the Thalyrssa and the nightborne, and believes that with some additional encouragement they could be recruited. Sylvanas was more enthusiastic about them than the highmountain tauren, saying that “even without the nightwell” their magical abilities and knowledge would be invaluable. Again, Sylvanas said it was up to me choose which race to recruit first.
That was all I could do at these new districts. Notably there was nothing about recruiting the dark iron dwarves or Zandalari trolls. The Battle for Azeroth website does say “Even more allies await in unexplored lands. As heroes of the Alliance adventure through Kul Tiras, they’ll have a chance to recruit the Dark Iron Dwarves. In Zandalar, champions of the Horde can convince the Zandalari Trolls to join them,” so they’ll probably have a different method of being unlocked.
As a final note, keep in mind this is from a very early demo so it’s entirely possible for none of this to make it to live servers. For example, the BlizzCon demo for Shadowmoon Valley in Warlords of Draenor had almost nothing in common with the Shadowmoon Valley we ended up getting when the expansion released. Hopefully we’ll find out more about these new areas, whatever Wrathion is up to, and the allied races soon.