Role Play: Plot points headed into Legion
This expansion has been just a little strange for roleplayers — not in the sense of roleplay opportunities, there’s certainly been plenty of that, but in terms of plot points — where the story is leading. It’s not immediately obvious, and given that we’ve spent all our time this expansion on Draenor, there hasn’t been much indication of what’s been going on back on Azeroth while we’ve been away.
On the one hand, that means there’s a lot less in-game material to work with — after all, there’s only so much you can get out of “Well, we defeated Archimonde, but Gul’dan got away.” On the other, this means you’ve got a giant blank canvas to work with when it comes to what your character encounters when they get back from Draenor. Let’s take a look at the state of Azeroth, post-Warlords.
Horde characters had it rough in Mists of Pandaria, because Garrosh seemed particularly dedicated to tearing the Horde apart from the inside. This meant that the political situation between Horde factions was more than a little dicey, because there was a notable divide between characters who were sick of Hellscream’s regime, and characters who supported what Hellscream was trying to accomplish. This was resolved, at least roughly, by the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar, when Vol’jin was appointed as the new Warchief of the Horde.
But not long after that, we were off to Draenor, and our characters were left in a space where, as heroes stranded on this far-off world, all that tension from Azeroth seemed to just disappear and slip from memory. Here’s the thing — while we’ve been away on Draenor, stuff has been going on back home, we just haven’t seen it. This means we’ve got a little wiggle room as roleplayers to establish just what happened while we were away…and how our characters will react to it all when they return home, triumphant or no.
In the meantime on the home front, there hasn’t actually been a lot of change in any of the major cities. Horde leaders are back where they belong, and regardless of any inter-faction squabbles during the Siege of Orgrimmar, everyone seems to be getting along again. For a city that was so filled with strife, Orgrimmar is now back to just being a capital, and the only evidence of Hellscream’s reign left is the new construction he commissioned after Cataclysm.
The situation is much the same for the Alliance — minus the inter-faction fighting. The Alliance had a lot to deal with in Mists of Pandaria, and most of it was simply fallout from Horde attacks. Although King Varian had a temporary, tentative ceasefire with the Darkspear Rebellion in order to successfully take Hellscream down, there definitely hasn’t been any further hand-shaking or talks of peace since the end of the Siege.
In fact, everyone appears to have just gone home and gotten on with the business of running their respective factions, which might be a breath of fresh air to some — especially after all the violence the Alliance experienced during Mists — but to others, it might be a point worth considering. If your character was particularly affected by anything that happened in Mists, it might have been difficult for them to leave it all behind — and even more difficult to return and find that nothing has really been done in their absence.
That’s the tricky part for Alliance characters — the question of whether or not, in your character’s eyes, enough was done to make the situation right after what Hellscream did. And after being swept up in events on Draenor, whether or not your character still holds those old hurts as closely to their hearts as they did before they took that leap through the Dark Portal and to another world.
Points to consider:
- For the Horde, Warchief Vol’jin’s reign has been notably quiet — he was perfectly content to let heroes of the Horde lead the initiative on Draenor. How does that make your character feel? Were they thankful that the inter-faction conflict seemed to die out after the Siege of Orgrimmar, or were they hoping for more resolution? Were they hoping Vol’jin would do more for the Horde, or are they just happy that the Horde hasn’t torn itself apart while they were away? Do they feel like a hero, or do they feel like maybe they were just used as cannon fodder?
- The other faction leaders have been largely silent as well. Is this a sign of good things to come for the Horde, or is it just a momentary lull after the violence of the Siege?
- On the Alliance side of the coin, King Varian has been similarly content to let Alliance heroes lead the charge on Draenor — how does that make your character feel? Were they satisfied that Garrosh Hellscream was finally brought to justice and paid for his crimes, or do they feel it was too little, too late? Were they satisfied with serving the Alliance, proud to have accomplished everything they managed to do on Draenor, or do they feel they could have done more? Did they come out of Draenor
- If you play an Orc or a Draenei, what was it like for your character to return to Draenor? Did they come out of it feeling triumphant? Or did the events on Draenor simply remind them of everything they’d lost? Were they happy to help their kin in this strange, alternate reality, or did it bring up painful memories they were trying to forget? Do they view the return to Azeroth as a homecoming, or do their thoughts linger on the “home” they’re leaving behind?
- On Draenor, the Alliance and Horde largely worked separately, but they definitely had the same goals in mind. In some areas, the Horde worked willingly alongside the Alliance. How did that make your character feel? Are they all right with the idea of peace between the Alliance and Horde, or was it all just for the sake of the greater good?
- Does your character have friends, loved ones, or other important figures in their life that didn’t go to Draenor? What were those characters up to while yours was gone? How much has changed since they went away?
- Given everything they’ve seen and experienced on Draenor, what’s it like returning home to a world that doesn’t even seem to really have changed all that much since they left? Is it a little bit of a culture shock returning from the hardships of Draenor and jumping back into their old routines? Are they happy they’re home, or does some small part of them wish they could’ve stayed behind and retired beneath Draenor’s skies?
It’s that last point that applies to pretty much everyone, regardless of faction — if your character spent a lot of time on Draenor, it might feel a little strange to adjust to all the creature comforts of home. It might also be a little strange to return to a place where they aren’t called Commander by everyone in the room. And if your character wasn’t on Draenor, for whatever reasons they chose, it might be a little odd to relate to all these returning heroes as well.
We’ve got this big blank canvas on both Alliance and Horde as roleplayers — a dearth of information as to what our individual factions and races have been up to while we were away. Presumably it wasn’t a matter of everyone just sitting down, holding their breaths and waiting until we got back, so it’s up to us to fill in those blank spaces. Not for major lore characters, but for the minor ones — the people your character used to interact with on a daily basis, people they haven’t seen in a very long time.
That’s what may help you in the long run — don’t necessarily try to think about what your character is doing when they return, think about what all those people your character knows have been doing while your character was gone. Although other expansions were clearly about moments of triumph and transitions, Warlords doesn’t necessarily have that transition — so approaching your character’s return both from the viewpoint of the many tales they have to tell, and from the many tales they have yet to hear, should give you plenty of options to work with until Legion begins.
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