Your Next Warchief

What’s this?  A Warcraft-ish post on this Warcraft-ish blog? Has everything gone topsy-turvy? What happened to The Old Republic, and Apple products? The answer is simple: I’m playing World of Warcraft again. On my PC. And yes, I didn’t think I’d be excited for Mists of Pandaria, but I am.

Mind you, I’m not exactly looking forward to Pandaria itself — I think the environments are beautiful and compelling, but the lore has been pretty much shoe-horned into everything else that is Warcraft. Really, it isn’t the plight of panda-people that gets me, it’s how Blizzard is moving the story of the Horde and Alliance forward. Finally, we’re going to do something about the rabid dog that is Garrosh Hellscream.

WoW Insider recently posted an article proposing possible candidates for the position of Warchief, once Garrosh is tossed out with last week’s lunch. Here’s my breakdown.

Baine Bloodhoof

I’m a die-hard Tauren player. When Cairne was murdered, it definitely left an impact on my characters; myself as well, truth be told. Baine has done well to step up and fill his father’s shoes, er, hooves, as he organized the mission to retake Thunder Bluff from the Grimtotem and has since strengthened the Tauren people by embracing, and utilizing, the Sunwalkers. Sadly, many World of Warcraft players do not know of Baine’s heroism in defeating and exiling Magatha Grimtotem — these events, including Magatha’s plotting and ultimate coup, were only included in Christie Golden’s novel, The Shattering.

My gripes with book-only events aside, I think Baine would be a fair choice for Warchief. I do however recognize that the Orcish people may not take kindly to being led by a Tauren, despite how the Tauren aided them in their founding of Durotar and Orgrimmar. Baine is strong-hearted, and good-hearted, but I think his leadership skills are probably best put to use leading his people.

Aggra

I am not a fan of Aggra. I think her romance with Thrall was forced, and rushed. I think she pushed Thrall to become something she believed he was destined to be, an idea concocted partly in her own mind, rather than a sum of his life experiences. I think… I’ve ranted on this before.

I believe Aggra will take a backseat to the story, along with Thrall. Their story ruled a good part of the events of Cataclysm, and I do not see them returning to the limelight any time soon. I liken this to Tirion’s role in the world after Wrath of the Lich King — he’s become the governor of Hearthglen and remains the leader of the Argent Crusade, but he is not on the front lines. Also, there are plenty of arguments against Aggra assuming the mantle of Warchief, one of which being that she is a Mag’har with very little knowledge of Azeroth. True, she helped avert the Cataclysm, but much of her life has been spent in Nagrand. In Outland.

Varok Saurfang

Now we’re talking. It goes without saying that Saurfang is a strong contender for the role of Warchief, though he may not wish to be. He has seen Orcish life before and after the Burning Legion. He has lived on both sides of the Dark Portal. He has fought in three wars. He’s loved, lived, and lost. An autobiography by this guy would be an absolutely intense read.

And, let’s not forget that he promised to put Garrosh down if he ever led the Horde down a dark path. Hello! Dark path, we’re on it! I truly, truly want to believe that Blizzard will make good on this old Orc’s promise. Varok Saurfang is the Warchief the Horde needs right now — I think he could wisely lead us through the war that has now, thanks to Garrosh, become an inevitability. He might not want to take the throne, but he very well might have to.

Rexxar

Won’t happen. His devotion to the Horde goes deep, but not so deep that he would trade his wild lifestyle for one of politics. If you think someone like Saurfang would be rightly hesitant to lead, then someone like Rexxar would simply outright refuse. He wants one thing out of life: to live free. The Warchief’s throne would understandably be viewed by him to be nothing more than a gilded cage.

Vol’jin

A lot of fans are pulling for Vol’jin, but I’m not one of them. Like with Baine, I think Vol’jin is best leading his people. They’ve only recently retaken the Echo Isles, and there is always some form of bad ju-ju happening in the other Troll clans — the Darkspear need a leader with his head in the right place, i.e. with their best interests at heart. Plus, I do not see the Orcish people easily accepting a Troll Warchief, and that can create an even more uncomfortable political climate within the Horde.

Sylvannas and Lor’themar

Again, this won’t happen. Sylvannas’ days are numbered. She’s gone off the deep end and is plain crazy — but crazy like a fox. I suspect she’ll go all-out Lich Queen very soon, and we’ll have to depose her as well.

And Lor’themar? Who? Believe me, I very much want to see the leader of the Blood Elves involved in the story, but if someone like Baine or Vol’jin are “hard sells” as Warchief then Lor’themar is a hands-down impossibility. Can you see anyone even partly resembling a dandy sitting on that spiky iron-and-oak throne in the middle of Orgrimmar? I can’t.

I welcome the opportunity to make Lor’themar, and the Blood Elves in general, break out of their “metrosexual yuppie” stereotype — but installing this guy as Warchief isn’t the way. He wouldn’t last. Every green-skinned maniac from here to Winterspring would be challenging him for leadership.

The Write-In Candidate

Who’s to say what ideas are being cooked up inside Chris Metzen’s mind? My only hope is that we get someone other than Garrosh, and that someone has their head screwed on straight. I didn’t sign up with the Horde to play the “bad guys” or the “bloodthirsty nutballs” — that has never been the appeal of the modern-day Horde. I enjoyed having things shaken up, however, as it allows us to explore how our characters would deal with these changes. Do they find the new direction appetizing, or appalling? Do they love or hate Garrosh Hellscream? Do we love or hate Garrosh Hellscream?

Unfortunately this was not a strong focus of the last expansion. With Deathwing destroying the world, it’s hard to bring political struggles to the front. Mists of Pandaria, however, promises to lack a “big baddie” and instead show more of how the Horde and Alliance view the land of Pandaria — namely, how they intend to make use of its riches. It’s a perfect opportunity to show us how militaristic the Horde has become under Garrosh, not to mention how monstrous, while giving us a chance to save it, and oursleves, before it’s too late.

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