Know Your Lore: The Future of the Draenei
Welcome back to Know Your Lore, where we talk about the ongoing story of Blizzard’s many games. This week Matthew Rossi talks about his favorite race in World of Warcraft, the Draenei.
One of the things I’ve loved this expansion is playing a draenei in it. Getting to see what Draenor looked like before the orcs committed genocide on the draenei has been awesome, and the draenei story in Shadowmoon Valley and Talador (including Auchindoun) was one of my favorite parts of any expansion. In fact, some of my disappointment with the game’s max level content has been a lack of continuation of that very story. We got to see Yrel become an Exarch, and that I was happy about, but aside from that I’ve really felt like we’ve missed out. I wanted a raid where I helped the Sha’tar retake Shattrath, for example. I wanted to get to see what’s going on up at Farahlon. I’m hopeful we’ll still get to see this stuff, because for me all the quality story beats in Warlords of Draenor have been the draenei. It’s to the point where I actually feel bad for Horde players – you do get some nice moments in Frostfire Ridge, and Ga’nar really grew on me there, but overall I feel like the draenei just win the story.
Which is why I find myself nervous looking forward. What happens when we leave Draenor?
What happens to the draenei I’ve come to know? Yrel, certainly, but there are others, not just members of the Council of Exarchs like Maladaar, Akama or Naielle – what about my buddy Rangari D’kaan? What about the people I’ve adventured with, or sought to save across Shadowmoon and Talador? Am I leaving them behind? Previous expansions have seen characters occasionally pop up again, but this time we’re leaving them on another world, in another timeline entirely, at a different point in its timeline then we’re at – how can I possibly hope to get to see Naielle again?
Well, there are a few ways.
This isn’t an alternate Draenor after all.
We only have Kairozdormu’s word that the fact that Grommash didn’t have a son and the other incongruities we see on this Draenor are because it’s another timeline that’s just really similar to ours. For all we know, our arrival on Draenor sent shockwaves forward and back in time and allowed all sorts of changes to propagate – Rulkan still being alive, for example. And now that we’ve spent all this time and effort fighting the Iron Horde, perhaps we’ll be going back to an entirely different Azeroth, one where the things we thinkwe know never happened. I find this possibility extremely unlikely, but felt like it should be mentioned.
The Timelines Are Converging
We’ve already noted how it seems like this Draenor is almost an inversion of the one we knew – the orcs originally refused the blood and Gul’dan, only for the warlock to later overthrow a powerful martial warchief and impose his will, subverting the Warchief’s own servants the way Doomhammer once forced Gul’dan to give him Death Knights. Now we have Gul’dan and what I’m calling the Fel Iron Horde and their Hellfire Citadel, and one remembers how Warcraft II – Beyond The Dark Portal ended. In fact…
Draenor is destroyed
When looking over Archimonde’s spells for his appearance in Hellfire Citadel, one in particular grabbed my attention. We know that there are supposedly going to be more content patches past 6.2, which has me wondering – what exactly happens at the end of Hellfire Citadel? Do we defeat Archimonde and either kill the Eredar Lord or drive him back ala Kil’Jaeden? (Remember, it took blowing up a tree that had been soaking in the Well of Eternity for 10,000 years to kill Archi in our timeline.) And does Archimonde actually destroy Draenor? That spell implies he’s got the juice to do the job. Even if he doesn’t pull it off, if we don’t kill him (and even if we do) the rest of the Legion and Kil’jaeden are out there, ready to try again, and there’s no sign of Gul’dan as an actual boss in Hellfire, meaning he’s still out there too.
This doesn’t look good for Draenor’s continued survival, let’s put it that way.
What happens if the planet dies? Does it happen suddenly? We’ve never had an expansion where the place it was set dies at the end – although they’re behind the main storyline at this point, Outland, Northrend and Pandaria all still exist. If it’s weird to go back to an Outland that exists in a pre-Illidan’s fall stage, how much weirder would it be to go to Draenor for your 90 to 100 leveling when in the main storyline the place blew up? And furthermore, it would really only be satisfying to me if we managed to evacuate some of the characters I’ve come to love over the course of this expansion, and then they’d be wholly changed – how could Yrel remain positive and hopeful in the face of the death of everyone she ever knew and loved?
We save Draenor, but gain some company
There’s no rule that says that Yrel has to stay on Draenor. I’m already pretty suspicious that Grom Hellscream II is going to end up coming with the Horde back to Azeroth – so maybe Yrel, Maladaar and Naielle could take the trip back as well. I’ll admit right now that looking at patch 6.2, I have no idea how the story will continue into further patches as Ion Hazzikostas has said it will. How do we stop Gul’dan and his new Horde? What effect do we have on Draenor in the process? If it survives, what shape is it in? It’s possible that at the end of the story, the Draenei have lost so much – perhaps Karabor, perhaps Shattrath and Auchindoun – that leaving for a new world seems like a good idea to them. After all, the orcs of this Draenor did still try and kill them. Why not relocate to a world with more allies? It could even reinvigorate the story, as the alternate draenei try and come to terms with their timeline-changed ‘people’, who’ve lived through the very disaster they themselves managed to avert.
I can’t pretend I know how this is all going to work out. But I really hope we somehow get an infusion of these draenei into the ones back home, who haven’t done much in the past eight or so years.
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