The QueueApr 21, 2017 11:00 am CT

The Queue: In which I talk about the Windrunners a lot

Remember to send your good wishes to Liz today.


BALTHAZAR

So what exactly did Sylvanas do to make Nathanos stronger in Dark Mirror? Is he a Death Knight now?

No, Blightcaller isn’t a Death Knight now.

Honestly I’m a bit surprised that Blizzard felt the need to even explain what happened there. Usually when they do a model revamp, they just do it. Dark Mirror is the only time I can recall off of the top of my head that they’ve bothered to explain why a character’s model changed.

As far as what happened, my initial read was that Sylvanas had the Val’kyr kill (Spoiler) in order to use his life energy to affect the transformation. Subsequent readings seem to bear that out. Nathanos isn’t stealing (spoiler)’s body so much as said body was utterly destroyed as part of the ritual, which restored Blightcaller to a closer approximation of what he once was. It’s like being a Death Knight, but it’s not quite the same thing. As we’ve seen in Legion, the Lich King has unfathomably vast necromantic energies at his command, far greater than any individual Val’kyr save perhaps Eyir or Helya. Without those powers to hand, Sylvanas’ Val’kyr needed a sacrifice to even come close, and was greatly diminished in the process.

So yes, Nathanos is like a Death Knight — like them, his body is held in a kind of necromantic stasis, dead but no longer decaying or rotting away. Essentially he’s a unique form of undead, much more like Sylvanas or a DK than his previous form.

What Sylvanas did, exactly, is harder to define. I mean, technically, she didn’t actually do anything. She ordered the Val’kyr to use a variation of the Death Knight ritual to restore Nathanos, and since the Val’kyr didn’t have access to the power of the Lich King, she was forced to use the entire life of (spoiler) as a sacrifice. Initially I wondered if they just stuck Nathanos’ spirit in (spoiler’s) freshly dead body, but the fact that his restored body was still wearing his rotting Ranger Lord uniform tends to put that aside. (Spoiler) is dead and everything he was, even his body, was utterly destroyed in the process of raising Nathanos into a new state of existence.

I’ve seen several people mention that this is an act of pure evil. Yes. It is. Guys, Sylvanas is an utter monster and she always has been. She’s not just trying to preserve her people. She’s always been pure evil, ever since Arthas raised her. This isn’t new. What’s interesting about it is the level of sentiment it reveals. Sylvanas’ justifications for what she does here are paper thin. She goes to great lengths to find Nathanos when he’s a mindless undead, brings him back into the fold, and now acts to preserve him at great cost to herself.

This is as close as she can get to love. Murdering an innocent to preserve Nathanos is as close as she can get to saying you are important to me. I care about you. Go back to War Crimes and realize that Sylvanas would have murdered and raised Vereesa not out of hatred, not out of cold pragmatism, but out of love. This is the only way Sylvanas can love anymore.


DJAYK

QftQ: how do you activate the Broken Shore quest line? Just got an alt to 110 And wondering how to get there

I’d say, if it didn’t automatically pop for you, check your Adventure Guide. My level 110 Human Warrior that I haven’t touched in months got it that way.


MYTHRIAK

Why are the Windrunners so fond of Humans? /wink wink nudge nudge

I’m going to answer this question seriously even though it felt a bit tongue in cheek.

I think to a certain degree it’s coincidence, but also, the Windrunner family has a set of unique circumstances that make it more likely.

First up, all three of the Windrunner sisters had an impossible standard to live up to. Their mother Lireesa was a renowned Ranger General who cast a long shadow, as did her predecessors in the role, many of whom were Windrunners at all. Each sister reacted to it differently — Alleria refused to follow in her mother’s footsteps, seeking instead to be a Ranger out in the field. Sylvanas felt duty bound to take up the role, but never wanted it. As the youngest, Vereesa struggled to escape the shadow not only of her mother, but her two sisters as well.

Then there’s the deaths of pretty much the entire Windrunner clan at the hands of Orcs. This event during the Second War caused grief and an awareness of mortality that put each of the Windrunners at odds with the rest of their society. Yes, Elves are much longer lived than humans, and most elves at that time didn’t really think about death as something immediate, but the Windrunners knew better. They might not be aging as fast as Humans, but they knew full well that a few savages might come along and wipe them out of existence and then they’d just be gone. Keeping aloof from the shorter lived humans didn’t matter as much once you’ve seen everyone you love die.

Thirdly, the Windrunners are intimidating. Alleria was quite possibly the greatest living markswoman on Azeroth. Sylvanas and Vereesa aren’t far off the mark now (hard to say Sylvanas is living, but you get what I mean). They were also all three legendarily beautiful. Humans tend to be brasher than Elves, and if you look at the Humans each Windrunner chose, not a one of these people were what I’d call timid. (Turalyon was brave enough to pick up Lothar’s broken sword and kick Orgrim Doomhammer’s ass with it, Nathanos Marris was willing to endure the derision of the rest of the Farstriders and if you read Dark Mirror he clearly doesn’t back down from challenging Sylvanas, and Rhonin was a hothead.) Also, there are social considerations — if any of the Windrunners had sought someone from their own culture, who would it have been?

Dark Mirror posits that Kael’thas was sniffing around Sylvanas, and that’s fairly believable — the Windrunner line is an old one, and it had a tremendous amout of prestige in Quel’Thalas. For three Elven women with that pressure on them, a Human mate is an escape. It’s not like the court at Quel’Thalas was likely to push too hard on the issue, either – with Human lifespans being what they are, you just wait a few decades and try again. (I also like to imagine Kael’thas striking out with each of the Windrunner sisters in turn, just because it amuses me.)

But there’s also the simple fact that each of them liked a Human because they just so happened to meet a Human they liked. Turalyon cared about Alleria’s grief, he listened, he clearly wanted to be there for her. Nathanos’ dedication to Sylvanas was clear underneath his acerbic demeanor, and as for Vereesa, in Rhonin she found someone who didn’t give a fig for what that last name meant. Each sister didn’t choose a Human, they chose someone who  just happened to be one.


VIN

Q4tQ: Does anyone else feel like this is the end of the expansion? I know it’s not…but I can fly and I’m spending most of time just farming rep or resources to buy toys and make mounts, etc. The game feels like it did for me at the end of MoP or WoD…where does the expansion take us from here?

Honestly I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it patch 7.3 we end up on Argus and can’t fly there.

I get what you’re saying about the feel of the expansion on the Broken Shore, but frankly I don’t think we’re going to get the same kind of expansion cycle this time. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a 7.4.


BRAINSTRAIN

I’ve seen several sites billing 7.2 as WoW’s “biggest patch ever”. But that’s… totally false, isn’t it? One dungeon. A small zone. Rep grind. Time-gated questline. Feels like a large, but not exceptional, size. It’s not fair to include the Raid, since it won’t be open for a month or more.

I feel like there a lots of patches that beat it – 6.2, 5.4, 4.3, 3.3…

You know, I felt much the same way, but when you actually sit down and list everything in 7.2 it starts to take on a mammoth quality. The Broken Shore (especially since it isn’t all unlocked yet), The new five man, changes to the dungeon system (including two Heroics from Mythic Karazhan), Pet Battle Dungeon, the expanded Order Hall Campaign, Flying and Class Mounts, Artifact Challenge Appearances, new followers, and then Tomb of Sargeras which looks to be a pretty big raid… it’s not a small patch.

It’s at least competitive with the largest patches we’ve seen in previous expansions.

Okay, that’s the Queue for this Friday. Remember, send your well wishes to Liz either here in the comments or over on her twitter.

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