The BlizzCon website is always adorned with a banner representing the upcoming video games or expansions. Below you can see the different banners since 2007-2013.
As you can see in the images above, compared against the 2014 banner — the latter sets a discordant note. Arthas is among the three characters in the banner. To be precise, the image contains the Witch Doctor, Arthas, and Nova.
In 2013, Garrosh was the one representing World of Warcraft because that’s when Blizzard revealed Warlords of Draenor. The 2014 banner may spawn different speculations. All three characters appear in Heroes of the Storm — which is currently in Technical Alpha testing, with beta and open beta coming sometime in the future. This speculation seems the most rational. However, if that’s the one becoming factual — why not represent a Warlords of Draenor character, and a Protoss (considering Legacy of the Void is in development)? Isn’t it suspicious to a degree?
Another speculation one might think of after seeing the 2014 BlizzCon banner is: it represents a second Diablo III expansion, StarCraft: Ghost (formerly postponed, not cancelled), and … wait, Warlords of Draenor has no release date as of the time of this post. Blizzard can’t announce a new World of Warcraft expansion, can they?
There are some delicious questions to ask ourselves, but that’s better left unsaid in this post. Is the Arthas image there representing Heroes of the Storm, or is it a red herring? Arthas there might be misleading. I think “Heroes of the Storm” right away as the only possible explanation for Arthas’ presence in the artwork.
However, there are a couple possible reasons for Arthas to be introduced in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Incredible reasons.
Arthas the Lich King died in Icecrown Citadel with a fatal blow from Tirion Fordring’s Ashbringer which shattered the Frostmourne runeblade. We know that Tirion placed the helm of the Lich King upon Bolvar Fordragon’s head to become the new Lich King. A jailor of the remaining Undead Scourge forces.
However … we have not heard in-game nor in printed media what happened after that scene. We haven’t heard of a proper burial or funeral of Arthas’ corpse.
There is one possibility here that might surprise some fans. What if Tirion Fordring invoked the Light to resurrect Arthas? Could Arthas be redeemable after all the atrocities of his actions? Then again, didn’t we see this very debate in World of Warcraft: War Crimes?
Didn’t Medivh bring chaos upon this world when Sargeras possessed his body? Yet he found redemption as The Prophet. Aegwynn resurrected Medivh (as seen in World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred). Then Medivh was next seen in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, warning Thrall to take his people west toward Kalimdor. Medivh warned King Terenas, then Arthas, and then Jaina to do the same.
Is it feasible in your mind’s eye to see Tirion Fordring or even Prophet Velen resurrect Arthas shortly after his demise to serve the Light once more?
Erase all that from your mind in order to see yet another speculation out of many one can conceive.
We know Arthas died. However, he could very well appear in Warlords of Draenor if the developers deemed so without a resurrection being involved. Say whoa?
In the novel World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King we read that Ner’zhul summoned Arthas to travel to the Icecrown in order to merge. Arthas donned the helmet and the new Lich King was born. The Lich King hibernated a few years afer the events of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. During his sleep, Ner’zhul showed Arthas visions of the future.
Arthas foresaw the New Horde and the rebuilding of Quel’Thalas. He saw the frostwyrms raiding Orgrimmar & Stormwind. Ahn’Qiraj. Arthas foresaw the Cataclysm. The Emerald Nightmare (as seen in World of Warcraft: Stormrage)
That’s not all. We also experienced in World of Warcraft vanilla how the Cult of the Damned experimented with Plagued Hatchlings, and there is the enigmatic tampering of time in Andorhal (as seen in the quest: A Matter of Time. Chromie stated this tampering was caused by the Scourge.
A Matter of Time
Chromie: Tampering of the timeline by a sinister force – most likely the Scourge – has occurred in Andorhal! I can try to keep the passage of time here intact and mend what has been damaged, but I’ll need your help to do so uninterrupted.
Temporal parasites – carrion that feed on the strands of time’s altered flow – now infest the silos of Andorhal. A blue pulse of distortion is their only visual marker. They slow my auguries; please (name), help me by using this temporal displacer to root out these parasites.
Temporal parasites are a common malady present wherever the flow of time has been tampered with. I sense that many are present, and this is disturbing.
Rooting out whatever ones you can find will help me be able to take a better hold on the deteriorating temporal situation here. I will be able to sense when this has been achieved.
Blizzard didn’t delve too much in-game, in novels, mangas or comic books what exactly this tampering of time was about, how far the Cult of the Damned went with it, or what were Arthas’ plans.
What if the tampering of time was actually Arthas going through time to change some events of the past and even … the future?
If you are Arthas, and you are worried about the Cataclysm, and every single event that might pose a threat to your reign, and you have the power to travel through time … wouldn’t you change things in the past, or even get a sneak peek into the recent, and distant future to see if you are still reigning? Or to find out why you aren’t around to change that or to plant failsafes to re-emerge?
Arthas was in Ner’zhul’s mind. He could have seen how Ner’zhul gathered relics of power to open rifts to other worlds. If Arthas had the ability to tamper with time — to travel back and forth in time — wouldn’t you search for relics of power?
Arthas could have traveled back and forth through time and returned mere minutes after he jumped in time and no one would notice.
What I am getting into is that if Blizzard Creative Team deemed so, Arthas could show up in Warlords of Draenor during one of his tamperings of time — scouting alternate timelines. We could beat him, and he could escape back to the past — weeks, or months before his demise in Patch 3.3.0.
Obviously, the 2014 BlizzCon banner might be anything but these two speculations. All we have in the radar is Warlords of Draenor and Heroes of the Storm. There is room for new Blizzard games to be announced at BlizzCon, or even at GamesCom. Kotaku recently posted a job profile of a Blizzard developer who mentions he is working on a Blizzard game to be announced sometime in 2014. Maybe the 2014 banner is just a placeholder until it can be filled with a banner themed after the secret unannounced game.