Know Your Lore > WoWOct 16, 2017 2:00 pm CT

Know Your Lore: The Vrykul — a new playable race?

When looking at likely prospects for new playable races next expansion, it’s impossible to ignore the Vrykul. Originally making their first appearance in Wrath, these progenitors of humanity have made a comeback in Legion. With so much time invested in telling their story, it seems a logical conclusion the Vrykul could be made available for play.

Unlike the Shal’dorei, the Vrykul have been featured in more than a single expansion. And unlike the Ethereals, we have a much more comprehensive view of their history — most of our questions surrounding the Vrykul have been addressed, if not fully answered. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see them as an option for playable race.

In fact, given what we might see coming next expansion, you could almost call it “highly likely.”

Vrykul origins

The Vrykul aren’t just the progenitors of humanity — they were originally titan-forged. Created by the Titans during the ordering of Azeroth, the titan-forged were originally intended to fight the Black Empire. The first generation of titan-forged were the Watchers — once the Old Gods were defeated, new generations were introduced. That’s where the Vrykul come in. Meant to safeguard the Keepers’ holdings, the Vrykul looked to their creators as gods.

In time, the Vrykul developed a rich history and culture of their own — but their so called “gods” continued to forge their destiny for them. Odyn, offended by the very idea of the Dragon Aspects, created an entire army of Vrykul to serve as Azeroth’s defenders. But he went above and beyond just their creation — he shaped their afterlife as well. He crafted the Val’kyr from female Vrykul in order to usher souls of the dead from the Shadowlands. And souls that were deemed worthy for this would become Valarjar — reborn in a storm-forged body to live and fight on in the Halls of Valor.

Meanwhile, the Old God Yogg-Saron managed to trick Loken, and in the process unleashed the Curse of Flesh on the titan-forged. Eventually, later generations of Vrykul began showing signs of the affliction. Born “weak” and “deformed,” these descendants were in fact the first branch of what would eventually become the Human race. To these curse-afflicted Vrykul, it seemed as though their gods — the Titans — had abandoned them entirely.

Ymiron in Utgarde Pinnacle

Present day

We were first introduced to the Vrykul in Wrath of the Lich King. Our dealings with the Vrykul were by and large hostile. Most Vrykul clans weren’t interested in being friends or allies. And the fallout from Loken’s betrayal and subsequent alliance with Yogg-Saron nearly led Azeroth to extinction. Thankfully, we were able to halt the re-origination sequence triggered by Loken’s demise at our hands.

In addition to the Vrykul, we also saw evidence of Helya’s rebellion, although we didn’t know it at the time. The Kvaldir are entirely her creation — Vrykul souls who were intercepted before they could reach the Halls of Valor, ushered to Helheim instead. Needless to say, the Kvaldir didn’t exactly welcome us with open arms, either.

But in Legion, the story changed. While the Vrykul of Stormheim are largely hostile, there are allies to be found among them. The Halls of Valor are home to Azeroth’s finest warriors — mostly Vrykul, but some of Azeroth’s other races have visited the Halls as well. And Odyn himself seems to recognize the value in Azeroth’s other races, even if we have to prove ourselves again and again.

Why the Vrykul?

The Vrykul arguably have one of the most developed stories out of Azeroth’s non-playable races. There was a lot of lore to unpack in Wrath, and it got even more detailed in Legion. Vrykul history goes all the way back to the ordering of the world — as titan-forged, the Vrykul are some of Azeroth’s oldest protectors. In Legion, we’ve proven ourselves to be on the same level as these mighty warriors — and outshined them, in some cases. {PB}

In other words, we’re worthy allies. Our cause is just — we’re trying to save our world. That’s something the Vrykul can relate to on a deep level. After all, it was part of their original job. Humanity has proven itself to be far more than the weak, deformed cast-offs of Vrykul evolution. It’s a force to be reckoned with in its own right.

Now that Helya has met her end, Odyn and his Valarjar are no longer shackled to the Halls of Valor. Odyn’s already expressed an interest in returning to Ulduar and reuniting with his fellow Keepers. Despite his unorthodox methods, Odyn’s primary goal has always been the protection of Azeroth. Given what we’ve witnessed through the eyes of Magni Bronzebeard, Azeroth may need that protection now more than ever.

A likely defense

In fact, that’s the biggest reason the Vrykul are such a likely prospect. Their origins go all the way back to the battle between Titans and Old Gods. We’re dealing with the remnants of the Titans and the Pantheon right now. The Old Gods are a persistent threat — and signs of their resurgence have been on the horizon ever since we bested the Emerald Nightmare.

What we are fighting, and more importantly what we are fighting for, are both matters that are deeply important to the Vrykul. Odyn and the titan-forged aren’t going to fade into obscurity once the Legion threat is vanquished. They have far too much to fight for. It only makes sense that they’d fight on our side.

While it feels natural for the Vrykul to side with the Alliance — they are the progenitors of Humanity, after all — they could just as easily take a neutral stance. A race as old as the Vrykul doesn’t seem inclined to involve itself in petty political matters of races it barely understands. The Vrykul are fond of battle, but they want an honorable battle. Factional bickering might not fit that bill.

Upcoming content

We still don’t know what we’re going to see in the next expansion. However, hints in Legion are pointing pretty strongly at a few likely prospects. If we’re dealing with Old Gods, as both the Emerald Nightmare and Magni’s communication with Azeroth’s world-soul have hinted, then it stands to reason the Vrykul would be involved.

Alternatively, we’ve had hints that the Lich King has been up to something in Northrend. The continent still has a strong Vrykul presence, so that might lend itself to Vrykul allies as well. Or if Chromie’s scenario is pointing at some kind of time-travel expansion…well, the Vrykul have been around for nearly all of Azeroth’s history.

Most importantly, though — no matter where we go, we’re going to have a major fight on our hands. Glorious battle is pretty much what the Vrykul are known for. It’s what they excel at. Sure, we’ve been at odds with the Vrykul before. But with everything we’ve done for them in Legion, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect a little gratitude in return.

It’s still up in the air if we’ll see a new playable race next expansion. But out of a cavalcade of prospects, the Vrykul seem as good a choice as any. Their reappearance in Legion was accompanied by a lot of new story. We’ll have to wait and see if that story continues once Legion is over, but it feels like we haven’t heard the last of the Vrykul — and they’d be a welcome ally to have on our side.

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