Friday, August 30, 2013

Three Reasons Alliance Should Not Want to Kill Garrosh... Yet.

Actually the title for this post should be "three reasons why it would be better storytelling if the alliance does not kill garrosh immediately and the one reason it can never happen" but it was too long for the title box.

Now on with the show.

There has been a great deal of talk about how the alliance has gotten the short end of the stick story wise this expansion and it really should not come as a surprise.  The writers have been all about the horde for a long time now, but what do you really expect from a company that has a statue of Thrall in front of their corporate office?

So while I do support the people complaining that the alliance has been getting the short end of the stick story wise for a long time I believe they are picking the wrong fight saying that alliance has been left out of the build up to killing Garrosh.  Lets face it, the alliance need no reason to what him dead.  Do you really need a story to build up to killing the enemy?  He is the enemy to the alliance, sha touched or not, right?

Blizzard has done a decent job trying to make the alliance feel as if they were part of a story that they really have no business being a part of.  The horde need a reason to kill Garrosh, the alliance does not.  So give the writers some credit for finding a way to squeeze in some alliance storytelling here and there.  In truth, they did not need to.  The only reason there is any alliance stuff is because they did not want to leave one faction with nothing to do.  It was not added because it was needed because it was not needed.  The alliance already wants Garrosh dead.

So even if the alliance need no reason to kill Garrosh, the question is, should they really kill him the second he pops up or should the alliance wait until the right moment?

This is where I believe the blizzard writers have failed.  It is not because the expansion has had so much more for the horde story because that is how it should have been.  The horde leader is becoming the big baddie, so he needs that build up.  Being he is horde and it is his build up, the story will of course unfold on the horde side of the coin.

The horde is turning on their leader, justifiable or not as you might see it, so they needed to build up the story for them to want to take down their own leader.  The horde needed their story.  The alliance didn't, the alliance wants to kill Garrosh because he is the leader of the opposing army.  There is no further justification needed.  There is no need for some huge story behind it.  The enemy must die.  That is all the story the alliance needs.

So with all the lore "unfairness" behind us now lets get to the point of the post.

Even with the alliance needing no reason to want to kill the leader of the opposing faction I don't think the alliance should have anything to do with the next raid tier, at least not as it is written.  The actual raid tier is where the alliance part of the story should start to be written for the expansion.  The entire expansion has been about the horde story, and rightfully so, so now is the time for the alliance story.  This is where the alliance should shine.

Three reasons alliance should not want to kill Garrosh... yet.

1) The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Let the horde and the true horde fight it out.  Why should the alliance even risk losing troops sending them in the middle of two rabid dogs fighting.  Both the horde and Garrosh's true horde are the enemy.  So let them go at it.

No matter who wins, the alliance comes out on top.  If the horde wins Garrosh is dead and the alliance can come in and wipe out a weakened horde.  If the true horde wins than the alliance would have a fresh army that could walk all over the tired and beaten true horde.

While there are a million and one reasons for the alliance to want to see Garrosh dead, losing troops, massive amounts of troops, is not the way to go about it.  Sitting back and letting the dogs go at it and then cleaning up the mess when it is all over is the way to handle it.

Both the horde and the true horde are the enemy of the alliance and as such, they are also a friend, being they are taking each other out.  Let them duke it out and let the story line be told from the alliance perspective of getting ready to clean up the mess and eliminate the horde once and for all as soon one of the dogs go down.

That is when the alliance should take out Garrosh.

2) The Alliance wants you.

Recruit, recruit, recruit.  The alliance have always had a working relationship with Vol' Jin.  He might be the enemy in the terms that he is a horde leader and his race is a card carrying member of the horde but that does not mean he can not be bargained with.  Alliance or horde side, you can see the influence he has had on cross faction relations. 

Vol' Jin is a good leader, an intelligent man, a brilliant tactician and knows when the getting is good.  So given the option to switch to the winning team is something he might be willing to do.  He owes the horde nothing more, that debt was paid a long time ago, and this turnabout from the true horde should be enough to show him the horde he once knew, the one that deserved his respect does not exist anymore.  The thought of his enemy being more helpful to him than his friends might lead him to think of his enemy not so much as his enemy any longer.

Even with the barrens he sought out the help of the alliance.  Although I could swear I remember reading, while doing the quest on one of my characters, that it was the blood elf leader's idea to seek out the alliance's help.  Really wish I could recall where I believe I read that, horde or alliance side, so I could reference it.  However, if that is indeed the case, that not only is Vol' Jin willing to work with the alliance but others are as well, it could mean more races could make the jump as well.

In the end the other races of the horde could be very agreeable to jumping ship from a horde that turned on them to an alliance that helped them even when they were the enemy.  By drawing out the fight and allowing the horde to lose at every turn their need for the alliance to assist them will grow greater.  Once it reaches the point where they realize that it is jump ship or be destroyed, they would be more than willing to join the alliance.  At least the trolls, tauren and blood elves.  Not so sure about the other races.

Once the alliance has split the horde, or at least some parts of it, then they could put their full backing into the war effort and go in stronger than ever before.

3) Wrathion was right.

Wrathion wanted one faction to stand tall at the end of the current events and he did not care if it was the horde or the alliance.  He did not care what they called themselves.  He just wanted everyone together to face a greater threat.

From a story telling perspective that would mean that wrathions vision would be closer to my previous example.  But going further.  The forsaken would never join the alliance.  Heck, I'd be hard pressed to figure out why they are even with the horde.  So that would mean not only would Garrosh need to fall but so would the dark lady.

While she is around there will never be a completely united front like wrathion envisioned.  This would mean that the alliance would need to get the horde races they can get to join them to join them even sooner.  As soon as possible, so as to make sure they do not lose as many troops as in the previous example where the alliance waited until they were in dire need to recruit them.  If they recruit them sooner that would lose fewer troops of their own and then they could go in to face Garrosh with a much larger force together.  The reason this is needed is because the moment Garrosh falls they would need to move on and finish things which would mean removing the only other obstacle to a true united world.

Effectively this would change the last raid patch into a bit of a surprise for everyone that plays the game.  Garrosh falls and then the combined forces of the new alliance/horde grouping would move directly on to kill Sylvanas.  The new battle for undercity in technicolor raid format.  It would be even more epic than the original one that everyone thinks back fondly of.  Now how is that for a surprise ending setting up a true combined force for the next expansion?

And then the one reason it could never happen.

1) Game play.

While from a story telling stand point all those above options, the alliance destroying the horde, splitting  the horde, or absorbing the horde, would all work out to be fantastic story telling and give the alliance a true fist pumping moment like they were promised and a vibrant story over all it could never happen for game play reasons.

No matter who the big baddie is at the end of each raid tier the true enemy we face is not them but the person sitting at another computer somewhere in the world that is viewing events from across faction lines.  While the game never shows it, the story of warcraft is horde vs alliance.  We might never actually participate in any of that battles but that is what is the driving force behind the game.

Like when Garrosh made such huge advances in Kalimdor before cataclysm.  We never got to take that land as the horde and experience the victory, we never had a chance to defend that land and suffer the defeat as alliance.  As a matter of fact, what we did as players didn't matter at all.  It just changed hands without our input at all and that is kind of sad in a way.

The story telling could not have went the way that any of the three examples I gave showed because we can not dismantle one faction, or even permanently injure it to the point it is a fraction of its former self.  But from a story telling point I personally believe there was a huge missed opportunity.

For the first time ever the game makers could have let us have a hand in the molding of the game.  They could have had the alliance ask for some reparations for the lands Garrosh appropriated while he was in power.  They could have asked for all remaining orcs that were part of the true horde to be jailed or even put to death.  They could have allowed the horde and the alliance players to actually be part of something that changed the face of the game, at least in a shift of power sort of way.

It would have been nice to be a part of the changing events and seeing those events happen instead of just logging in to the next expansion with a notice of "this is what happened when you were gone is the time we are skipping that you had absolutely nothing to do with".  They could have used us as the catalyst for change and let us be a part of if.

It would have given the alliance the fist pumping moment they have been promised and denied the entire expansion.  As I said, I do not see why alliance players complain about things so far this expansion as it was building up to take Garrosh out, so it was a horde story, the alliance story was already told, Garrosh is the enemy, we kill the enemy, that is all alliance needed.  But this, the after killing him, that is where the alliance story should have been.

To have used this content to change the face of the true game, the horde vs alliance game, to let everyone play out a part of something that ended with an exchange of land, now that would have been excellent writing.  That would have been good story telling.  That would have been more believable.

In the end, because of game play, the story took a hit and that could not happen.  The game can never be written too well because to be written well you would need to make sweeping changes and that can never happen thanks to game play.  Game play 1, game player 0.

If you were to say game play be damned, how would have you liked to see the story end?

1) Alliance destroy the horde.
2) Alliance split the horde.
3) Alliance absorb the horde.

Or maybe...

4) Horde turn on the alliance that helped them and kill them furthering the hate between the factions.
5) Certain races splitting factions.  For example next expansion trolls and worgen could choose to be alliance or horde.


6)  Something else you decide.


  1. 6) I've commented about this elsewhere but I'll summarize it here as well... after 5.4, the remains of the Horde (minus Forsaken) and Alliance combine into a new faction. Forsaken become the second faction which would require some sort of ability to "undeadify" all races, not just Humans. As a result, each race (with a possible exception for balance reasons since Forsaken would obviously be exclusive to that faction) would have living and undead versions so you'd be able to play any race as either faction, just like Pandaren. Each player, when logging into a toon (new or existing) for the first time after that patch hits, would choose which faction they want. Basically a one-time, freebie faction change opportunity, use it or lose it.

    The only major flaw I see (aside from true "Lok'tar" Horde fanatics who likely wouldn't appreciate this turn) is how Blizzard would incent enough folks to go to the dark side to have any sort of faction balance. The only way I can think of would be to have a superior faction story which is partially how we ended up with the current situation in-game with Alliance being the tag-alongs lore-wise. Still, they're better at this stuff than I am, maybe there is a way to get that done without shirking the New Alliance story.

    Regarding why Alliance are participating in the raid to begin with, it must be another Lich King or Deathwing (or probably previous end-expansion baddies) situation where we need the combined power of the two factions to overcome the evil. If we let the Horde go in alone, they'll get wiped out and we won't have enough power left on the Alliance side to stop Garrosh ourselves and we'll get wiped out as well. I don't think they've set up that situation particularly well in 5.3 but perhaps a better clarification is coming in 5.4. I think we'll be happy enough just going in for the shinies, though, to be honest.

    1. I've heard that theory before, could have been from you here or another Anon. It would be interesting for sure. I could even see it happening. So all races would be their races, but in living and undead versions.

      It would basically be a choose your side no matter what race you are. I doubt they would go that way but it would be kind of cool if they did, at least for one "cavern of time" raid of an alternate future where both sides can raid together. Could be fun.

      I think you might be right on how they are playing it. As if the two need to be together to get it done. But I will never really buy that as a reason when in the end there will be 10 or 25 people that kill him. Not entire factions. So they do not need both factions.

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    3. I think Roo is right. Not much would be needed to make people go to the "dark side". As a former RPer I can tell you that playing the bad guy is 100 times easier than playing the good guy and it is also more attractive.

      I think it is the "body" of the undead that would scare people off, if anything does. Many people do not like it. Now if the races could still look like the races they are with tiny differences that would be all they would need. Then people would flow there because playing the bad guy is cool, and easy.

  2. I can see a little bit of everything where we defeat Garrosh and the Orcs some of the Horde splits then say Trolls and Blood Elves can choose to be Alliance or Horde and other Horde races stay true to the new Horde leader I don't see a need for Alliance races to choose factions at this point it would not go along with story lines.
    I do hope however that eventually Alliance will get a great story line

    1. They say the alliance story is still coming. I'll just suggest you do not hold your breath.

      Some alliance race would have to be an option to switch along with a horde race if they do that, just for balance reasons. I agree. I don't see any reason why an alliance would change, not after these events, but for game play reasons, as I mentioned, if one horde race becomes open to both sides one alliance one would have to as well.

  3. Lor'themar's talks with the Alliance were part of the Hordside Dominance Offensive questline, which ends with him flipping the table over and swearing at Garrosh.

    1. That must have been what I was remembering. I've done the entire story on both horde and alliance side and could not recall where I remembered him looking to the alliance for help.

      Thanks for cluing me in on that. It would have bugged the heck out of me not remembering where I saw that.

  4. The Horde were more of a "coalition necessary for survival" before Garrosh's policies segregated the various races from the "True Horde" orcs, and shattered the shaky unity that Thrall was able to achieve. Once Garrosh is removed from power that Kalimdor confederacy will return and create a fragile peace with the Alliance that came to their aid.

    The Alliance only really has a beef (sorry Tauren) with Garrosh's orcs and Sylvanas's expansion into the old human kingdoms. There are minor quibbles with the other races (Troll, Tauren, Goblin, Blood Elf) but, aside from personal grudges, they mostly adhere to a "live and let live" philosophy until provoked.

    And provocation will be coming.

    "Blood in the Snow" set the stage for movements toward a united Dwarf nation, presumably so they could send their combined forces against Orgimmar alongside King Varian. The trust isn't entirely established yet, and this could cause some problems when the proverbial hammer comes down.

    News from The Undercity has been quiet. Too quiet. With most of the Dwarf forces moving to Kalimdor, Sylvanas will be ready to make her move into the Dwarven lands. Her ultimate goal is presumably Gnomeregan, hoping to study the radiation lingering there and find a way to incorporate it into her plague. In the process the Forsaken will set up camp in/near Ironforge, forcing the Bronzebeard Dwarf survivors to retreat into the realm of their old enemies and new allies, the Dark Iron Clan.

    Accusations will fly, and (true or not, we'll leave that to Blizzard) Moira Thaurissan will be imprisoned/executed for conspiring with Sylvanas to drive the Dwarves out of Ironforge during their assault on Garrosh.

    The Sunreavers, who hate the undead even more than they distrust humans, will offer their assistance freeing Ironforge in exchange for permission to study the magical properties of the Great Forge and the lava surrounding it. An information exchange between the two archaeological societies isn't out of the question, either.

    Smarter, more creative people than I will have more to say about the other races.

    TL;DR: Sylvanas is gonna start some poop in EK while the focus is on Kalimdor.

    1. You need to watch for Moira, she is making a play to be the sole leader of the dwarves for the time being as her son grows up. It seems to be somewhat evident from alliance side but I do not see it going that far even if I would classify her as "evil" in a sense, almost the mini alliance version of Sylvanas.

      I do agree however, Sylvanas is way over due. Quite honestly I thought if the alliance were ever going to go into a raid and take out a horde leader it would be her.

      I am still not even sure why she is with them. I know it is a marriage of convenience, if that is the word I am groping for. In the end, she is no more a member of the horde than he is a member of the alliance in my mind. She is just sitting and waiting and it makes sense to wait with the horde as they are the aggressors, and the alliance is not.

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    3. That is interesting. We know blizzard like to put thought behind their names. I wonder of one of those meanings were indeed the reason she has that name.

  5. Anon, Grumpy's Former Guild Leader:

    A friend of mine who was in our guild hated to PvP simply because of the storyline. The fact that one threat after another, and always with the Burning Legion in the background, have repeatedly caused the two factions to work together for simple survival was his reason. There is a lot of truth in that.

    If Blizzard actually had someone with a knowledge of history working to develop the story, such would be the case. Likewise, someone with some slight knowledge of geography would have had rivers flowing from the mountains to the sea and not just randomly running hither and yon. Instead we have what we have now, a mishmash of poorly designed continents and even shoddier story telling.

    The players should be the ones driving the storyline, with world events designed by blizzard to allow for such. That would have required a real story teller to work the necessary details out. Sorry to say, but instead of that, Blizzard makes all the decisions and says "here, take this and like it cause we got "shiny purples" for you to eventually win." It is the gear conscious nature of the game that drives Blizzard. To their notion all the important things are the purples. They honestly believe that is what motivates everyone.

    Don't misunderstand me, the idea of WoW's basic story of the Burning Legion threatening existence and being ultimately thwarted by the combined might of the two factions from Azeroth and Outland had the potential to be a real epic. Blizzard failed to present this properly to make the game truly great and settled for the right now what is cool sounding.

    But imagine a story that from Vanilla on, gradually makes the end of the Human vs Orc war from the original game into how the two sides slowly ever so slowly come to work together despite the tension and animosity of the past. By the time Deathwing takes to the air, the only sides should be the undead versus the living versus the NPC side of the current monster of the day. Align the undead with the Burning Legion and the final expansion is the end of the war, and to make it truly interesting, make that winner be on a server by server basis.

    Gear be damned, how few are the stories in which the great magical gear is the reason one side wins? Frodo went to destroy the one ring after all and not to use it.

    1. I heard an argument that the two factions fighting is a good thing because it keeps them strong and battle ready.

      If they did not fight and there was no really constant treat (each other) they would become weak and be ripe for the picking. You can not just assemble and army and teach them to fight on a moments notice. But with warring each other all the time they can just switch focus and are already battle ready.

      It went into much more detail of course, but it was a very solid and compelling argument for the alliance vs horde being a good thing.

      Gear is the motivating factor to keep people playing and paying that monthly fee. It is because they are a business that gear has to always be the most important thing. Sadly, they have not figured out a way to make gear and story work together.

      They have the ability. I've seen it in this expansion a few times already, to slowly open gear gates while telling a compelling story. Perhaps that will try to expand on that and change it to an earn your gear through the story system instead of wait for luck and you will get gear system. But as someone else here always says, that will never happen because random gear has been "proven" to keep people playing. So random gear will always be put first over compelling story.

  6. They've even come out and stated that: gameplay >> lore.

    I've been sick of the whole alliance vs horde thing for a long time. We got that out of our systems by WC3, even before WoW existed. Societies eventually grow up and get over their stupid differences. The factions of Warcraft need to do the same because they are essentially all just "people"; neither is inherently evil.

    1. As I mentioned in another reply, I understand the gameplay > lore thing. It is to keep people subscribed. Blizzard is a business and as such that much always be priority #1.

      However, I do believe that if they hired some better writers, some with some actual skill in weaving a tale, they can get a lot more solid lore while still keeping gameplay first.

      The writers just need to work closer with the designers so they can both move forward together.

      That is the problem. I think gameplay and lore are independent of each other in their design and that is why lore has to take a back seat.

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    1. Anon, Grumpy's Former Guild Leader:

      Yes, it is just a game, and to be honest, it is a very good game. But it could have been so much better. Simply getting the geography correct would have made it a huge amount better.

      It bugs the immortal hell out of me every time I see the river between Westfall and Elwynn Forest--a river that flows from a waterfall at one end to as dead end mountain at the other end. That is far from the only example but for me it was the first one that I found disconcerting. It breaks the immersion factor greatly.

      I could cite many other examples of such outlandish (and not just Outland either) geography. Almost anyone could if they desired to do so.

      The history of the world has been altered so many times it really isn't funny. For game play sake it is claimed, so another race can be added or a monster made or because it is Tuesday or Wednesday or the sky is blue or cloudy or whatever the reason of the moment might be.

      The best way would have been to have outlined the history of the game before the game was coded. Yes in the real world history is messy and colored by the perception of individuals, but for a story it needs an internal consistency that has been sadly lacking at times for WoW.

      I think it obvious by now that the final expansion will be the carrying of the fight to the Burning Legion, sending the heroes off Azeroth to end the existence of the greatest threat to survival ever made in the Blizzard game universe. And in that time, Blizzard will still be hyping the "war" between the alliance and the horde. Such a shame.

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  8. Anon, Grumpy's Former Guild Leader:

    Perhaps it is time to raise a hue and cry for the "Player's Truce" ending the war in fact even if the game doesn't recognize it. I know that it would be unlikely to work, but refusing PvP on all but the recognized PvP formats would maybe make blizzard think again about what they are doing with the storyline. Of course there are a lot of folks who already refuse PvP other than through the recognized PvP formats, so I guess that too would not be something Blizzard would recognize as a legitimate protest.

    1. PvP is still the single most played aspect of the game. For that reason only that aspect needs to remain in the game or they risk losing another 30%+.

  9. All the gang of those who rule us
    Hope our quarrels never stop
    Helping them to split and fool us
    So they can remain on top.
    -Bertolt Brecht 1931

    that about sums it up, eh, Anon, the old grump puss ehemaligen Bandenchef :D

    agus fanacht frosty

  10. Lor'Themar was seeking a peace with Stormwind, which was ruined because some of the Sunreavers helped Garrosh steal the Divine Bell from the Night Elves, and Jaina blamed the whole lot of them for it.

    As far as Vol'Jin seeking help from the Alliance during the Escalation storyline, it's Baine who tells him that he'll need help from outside the Horde.

    1. Awesome. Someone else said it might have been Lor, the blood elf leader, but now that you say that I think you are correct. It was Baine and his friendship with Anduin makes a lot of sense that he would see out their assistance.