Note: Spoilers ahead. You have been warned
Last night I jumped into the first few moments of World of Warcraft Legion, running and hacking through the Demon Hunter starting quests, first on the Demon planet during the events of the Raid into the Black Temple, which ended with my Illidari imprisoned and sent to the Vault of the Wardens, and then in that location, freed by Maiev herself and fighting the Burning Legion.
After I had done that and left Lawgrimm, my Night Elf Demon Hunter, in Stormwind city, it was time to jump back into my main character, my Druid, Kadrell. I went over the pre-expansion quests and scenario, revealing the fate of some important characters in Warcraft lore.
A funny thing was that by playing the Demon Hunters first, I had essentially played the opening story in the reverse order, since the second half of the Demon Hunter introduction takes place after the scenarios and quests the other characters go through. So, if you have a Demon Hunter and another character, play with the latter first, so you can grasp the story in the correct order.
The Alliance story picks up right after the opening cinematic for Legion, with you arriving on the Broken Shore looking for King Varian, who’s desperately fighting off demon forces alongside Mekkatorque, the Gnome King. They’re making headway but the inexplicably powerful demon presence stalled their advance.
In the distance, you can see a large structure—the Tomb of Sargeras—and a giant Fel Energy pillar erupting from it and piercing the heavens. Surrounding this building is a massive Legion base, which the Gnome King mentions suddenly sprouted from the ground. When I arrived on the scene, I could see Legion portal ships—that’s what I call them, they’re flying obelisks that rain fel fire and summon hundreds of demon troops—materialising out of thin air, the giant conduit of energy erupting from the tomb acting as a gateway I imagine.
Before long, you’re desperately fighting for your life and those of the lore heroes, but despite your best efforts, you lose two of them. The first one shocked me to the core, as I didn’t expect this character to fall: Tirion Fordring, the man behind the Argent Crusade and wielder of the Ashbringer. He’s also one of my favourite lore characters, and Metzen’s short story “Of Blood and Honor” is phenomenal.
The second is a character that grew on me over the last few expansions and novels: Varian Wrynn. I originally hated him, because he was yet another warmonger in a world with already too much hatred and conflict, even though I understood where he came from and why he had such strong feelings. But he changed, grew wiser, learned from his son’s example and while Jaina Proudmoore became the extremist, Varian started leaning towards pacifism, fighting when it was necessary to defend their way of life but not looking for extra trouble.
I’m sad that Varian is gone, because I really liked him. I loved the growth in his character, how he became a better person despite hatred consuming him for so long. But I can also say that he didn’t leave with unfinished business. He didn’t leave mid-growth, didn’t end without evolving. From a storytelling perspective, Varian had fully developed, and as such, could be let go to create new stories and growth opportunities for others, especially his son, Anduin.
The young prince and now King has always been wise and with a massive force of will. How the death of his father will affect him remains to be seen, particularly in the face of the apparent Horde betrayal during the battle of the Broken Shore. Jaina is still on the warpath and even Genn Greymane, leader of the Worgen, has his mind set on revenge. But Anduin knows that facing the Burning Legion is the most important thing, though I wonder how he’ll react to the Horde as the battles continue.
On the Horde side—I play Aliance but I follow all stories in Warcraft—things aren’t as simple as Jaina thinks. This wasn’t a betrayal, they didn’t feed the Alliance to the demons, but they had to retreat to save their people from certain annihilation. Thrall was down, not dead but thoroughly butt-kicked and he’s one of the most powerful people on the planet. And the Warchief, Vol’Jin, took a spear to the gut. Groaning and lying in a pool of his own blood, he begged Sylvanas Windrunner, who had been fighting with Varian since they both crashed on the Broken Shore, to save their people, to not let the Horde die that day.
So with a heavy heart, she sounded the horns for retreat, knowing that doing so would spell doom for the Alliance forces. But you can tell on her face that it wasn’t part of her plan, she regrets the action even though there was no other choice.
Vol’Jin, in his last moments tells Windrunner he never trusted her, but that by the wisdom of the Loa, he asked her to step out of the shadows and lead them through this darkest hour. His last words are for her to become the next Warchief of the Horde.
At the old Troll’s funeral, Sylvannas turns to face her subjects and coldly asks those present if they’ll help her avenge the fallen Warchief.
There are a few storylines that I want to see in Legion, some of them starting from this pre-expansion content. Let me go over them:
Jaina & Thrall: These two had a solid relationship once upon a time, very good friends on opposite sides of the fence and with the same ideas for peace between their people. But since Jaina turned extremist—as a direct result of Thrall leaving the Warchief gig to Garrosh—Blizzard hasn’t addressed their relationship. During Legion, with the world in danger, I would love to see these two meet and talk, even if it’s awkward and downright hostile.
That encounter could have a powerful effect on Jaina, because I think she’ll throw plenty of blame at Thrall, and he’s wise and humble enough to admit his faults on many of those and apologise to his former friend. It won’t be enough to turn her back, hell, not even her ongoing relationship with Kalecgos has done that, but it will be a step in the right direction. I think she has too many unresolved issues.
Anduin and Sylvannas: Varian and his forces counted on Sylvannas and her archers to keep them safe while they fought on the Broken Shore and the Alliance forces don’t know the extenuating circumstances that led to Sylvannas leaving them to fend for themselves, so this is an encounter that has to happen.
Anduin won’t just attack her, he’ll ask why, and it will give the new Warchief of the Horde a chance to explain what happened on their side and start both rules with the right foot, leading to a greater cooperation between the factions against the Burning Legion.
The Black Prince: The grand manipulator, the guy who’s been warning everybody of the Legion’s coming. Turns out he was right all along, so I want to see what role he plays in this expansion, what he’ll do to support the war effort. He’s not a nice guy, and might not even be good, but he takes the protection of Azeroth seriously as the last uncorrupted black dragon, the last heir to Neltharion the Earthwarder and not the being he became, Deathwing the Destroyer.
Anduin and Wrathion also shared a nice friendship during Mists of Pandaria—ended when Wrathion betrayed him during the novel War Crimes—so a meeting between these two would also be something interesting.
Malfurion and Illidan: We still don’t know when or how Illidan will show up, but he’s possibly going to be an ally. At the end of the Demon Hunter intro segment Gul’Dan sends his soul to the Twisting Nether for some mysterious reason.
But if he does come back, there has to be a moment between the Stormrage brothers. They’ve gone through a lot and many things were said, but now on the same side it would maybe give them a chance for closure or to try to mend some fences.
Not likely, considering they’re both extremely stubborn, but even if nothing changes between them, the meeting has to happen!
Bad Guys Return: The Broken Shore scenario ends with several familiar faces making a return through the Legion portal, among them all the Warcraft III Dreadlords. Yes, even Tichondrius the Darkener. He’s a boss in one of the dungeons but I want to see an explanation for their return. Do demons killed on Azeroth just reappear in the Twisting Nether after a time or are these from the alternate timeline of Draenor?
If the latter is correct, then are we dealing with two Kil’Jaedens, one from each timeline? That’s a scary thought.
Gul’Dan and Illidan: This one is sure to happen but I’m really interested to see it. Illidan became the creature he is today thanks to the power of the Skull of Gul’Dan, so it would be interesting for the two of them to meet and maybe discuss that event.
Illidan and Maiev: These two have hated each other for millennia, but now Maiev released the Illidari to help fight the Legion. So I would love to see these two interact, maybe even bury the hatchet if Illidan turns out to be a good guy this time around. I’ve always secretly shipped these two, and with their long history together and copious and equal amounts on each side of Stockholm Syndrome, I can see them becoming something more than hunter and prey…or the same but in another sense!
Sargeras: Legion can’t end without the Dark Titan making an appearance. He’s been all over the lore, often acting from the shadows but a main catalyst in central events of the world’s story. With the Legion attacking in full force, he needs to be there, even if it’s to set up the next expansion.
So far I’m thoroughly enjoying the stories Blizzard is weaving in World of Warcraft: Legion. I can’t wait for the release of the expansion to fully immerse myself in this world once more. The above stories are just some of the stuff I want to see, but not all. I read of some alpha-content-quest where Elune herself appears before you. I want to see that most of all!
The Great Moon Goddess has never shown up in any Warcraft media, so for her to suddenly show up is big!