Know Your Lore: Familiar faces we hope to see in Legion
Last week, I talked about several characters that I’d like to see make an appearance in the upcoming Legion expansion. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but several people pointed out that the list was pretty much Alliance characters. This wasn’t my intention at all, I was mainly looking at the cast page as listed, and which characters were likely to have some kind of vested interest in what was going on. Night Elves and Draenei both have a long history with the Burning Legion, one that pre-dates the formation of the Alliance, after all. Keep in mind, too, that the majority of heroes on the cast list page are Alliance characters as well — the only real Horde character shown is Sylvanas — which meant I wasn’t really thinking about Horde characters that extensively.
But hey, I’m an equal opportunity lore columnist here, and since people were asking about Horde characters, I’m happy to indulge in a little more digging and consideration.
Let’s just get him out of the way first, why don’t we? Thrall isn’t the leader of the Horde anymore, but he’s still a big face in Warcraft lore. Add to that the fact that Thrall was heavily involved in repelling the Burning Legion during the Third War, and you’ve got a pretty good reason for the former Warchief to be invested in what’s currently going on. Thrall was a big part of the reason Archimonde fell at Hyjal, but it’s not just that role that puts him in an interesting spot here — he was also the Orc that was trying to achieve some sort of tentative peace with the Alliance. Jaina is no longer interested in that prospect — and for good reason — but that doesn’t mean that Thrall isn’t still invested in the idea, particularly since he’s stepped down as Warchief and has taken a more neutral role with the Earthen Ring.
Speaking of which, considering the fact that the Earthen Ring was very much invested in Azeroth’s survival during Cataclysm, it stands to reason they’d be taking the same stance when the Burning Legion starts to invade. The biggest thing Thrall has working against him right now isn’t story, it’s player perception — we’ve seen a lot of Thrall lately. People are a little tired of seeing Thrall. Because of this, seeing him in Legion may not be as strong a prospect as you’d like to think. But hey, why not go for a long shot here — if not Thrall, what about Aggra? She had a fairly minor role in Cataclysm, but she’s got every reason in the world to be set against the Burning Legion. Her home, Draenor, was corrupted beyond recognition due to the Legion’s influence. She’s Mag’har, raised in a clan that named themselves the Orcish word for uncorrupted. Azeroth might not be the home she started out on, but would she really stand by and watch the Legion wreck another world? Again, it’s a long shot, but not out of the question.
Why Vol’jin? Simple — we haven’t seen him in action yet. Not as Warchief. Sure, we watched him usher in a rebellion in Mists of Pandaria, but once he was made Warchief, we were sent off to Draenor and he seemed pretty content to let us lead the show over there. We have no idea what he’s been up to on Azeroth, or what his plans for the Horde actually are, beyond the fact that he referred to the Horde as a family, not an army. That’s great and all, but that isn’t really what I’d call a leadership campaign, you know? What is the Horde going to do now, as a faction? How is the Horde handling the aftermath from that whole rebellion? Are things still tense between the different races included in the Horde? Do people immediately assume any Orc is or was a Hellscream sympathizer?
It might not seem like a big deal, but it is — we’ve never seen a schism within a faction before in World of Warcraft. And if the Burning Legion is invading, it’d be nice to know that our Warchief has some kind of plan for dealing with it. However, given that we’ve been told that players will be representing their classes more so than their respective factions, this might actually be a moot point. The question that begs, however, is a good one — are we moving towards classes over factions because that seems to build a better army, or are we doing so because we, as characters in this game, are tired of the faction war, and would rather save the world on our own? And if that’s the case, how is Vol’jin going to deal with that ugly reality?
Lor’themar Theron / Lady Liadrin
But enough about Kalimdor. Over on the Eastern Kingdoms, Sylvanas has made an appearance on that cast page. We know she’ll be involved, so what about her closest neighbors? There is still some tension bordering just shy of animosity between Sylvanas and Lor’themar Theron. Sylvanas was the Horde leader responsible for bringing the Blood Elves into the Horde, but she was fairly demanding about getting her recruited allies to assist with the war effort in Northrend as well. Neither Lor’themar nor Sylvanas had any love at all for Garrosh Hellscream, but that didn’t bring them together in the slightest — during the Operation: Shieldwall story line, it was revealed that the Alliance were actually in talks with Lor’themar about the possibility of the Blood Elves leaving the Horde altogether.
Obviously, Jaina’s actions in Dalaran put a swift end to whatever alliance that might have been. But what we’re left with is the impression that Lor’themar is definitely going to do what’s best for his people — not for the Horde. And again, that plays into what we’ve heard about Legion regarding the faction war taking a less prominent role — that sounds like something Lor’themar would be perfectly fine with. His people definitely have a history with the Burning Legion — the Blood Elves are descendants of the quel’dorei that fought in the War of the Ancients. The Lich King was a creation of the Burning Legion, albeit working on his own during the Third War. And Prince Kael’thas Sunstrider was trying to summon Kil’jaeden to Azeroth through the Sunwell. The Burning Legion corrupted the only “real” leader the Blood Elves had left, and Kael’thas’ death meant that Lor’themar had to remain in a political position he doesn’t really care for. He’s got plenty of reasons to want the Legion dealt with.
And if we’re going to mention Lor’themar, we almost have to mention Lady Liadrin. As one of the forces on Draenor, Liadrin witnessed the horrors of the Shadow Council first hand. She worked with the Draenei and she’s likely just fine with continuing to do so on Azeroth, considering Velen restored the Sunwell. Since she’d got that Draenei connection already, she’s almost a more likely candidate than Lor’themar at this point. Liadrin’s inclusion in Legion is a guarantee either way — she’s been named as a champion for Paladin players during the expansion — but whether that’s a story-heavy role remains to be seen.
And then we’ve got the wild card. Maybe this isn’t a name you’d expect to see on this list. But with Sylvanas Windrunner having a prominent spot on the cast page, he needs to be included here. Why? It’s not that Koltira has any vested interest in the Burning Legion at all, it’s that the last time we saw Koltira, he was being taken away to the Undercity on Sylvanas’ orders. If you haven’t played through the Western Plaguelands since Cataclysm, I’d highly recommend doing so, because the events in Andorhal leave us with a cliffhanger we have yet to see resolved. Sylvanas told Koltira she had agents that could help him “erase” his weakness — his friendship with the Alliance Death Knight, Thassarian.
Sylvanas’ entry on the cast page states, “As her fate edges closer to the abyss, Sylvanas must decide how far she’ll go to protect her people…and whether they’re more precious to her than her soul.” Does Koltira actually count as “her people?” He isn’t Forsaken, he’s a Death Knight — but Sylvanas made the implication that he would be loyal to the Horde and the Forsaken when she had him taken away. We haven’t seen what happened to Koltira after that. He hasn’t come back. But if, in fact, Sylvanas has agents in the Undercity that can pretty much force loyalty to the Forsaken, Koltira’s fate might actually play into the protection of her people.
Either way, Koltira Deathweaver’s fate has been a mystery since Cataclysm, and plenty of people are really interested in seeing how that story played out. And Sylvanas’ cast entry has an ominous tone of near-finality to it that makes one wonder how — or if — she’s going to weasel her way out of whatever is in store. We’ll have to wait and see if Legion finally shows us whether or not Koltira’s part of that tale as well.
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