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WoWOct 2, 2018 10:00 am CT

What’s next for the Horde in patch 8.1? An official in-game appearance of Zappy Boi, for starters!

In the opening quests of Battle for Azeroth, the Horde takes a little trip to the Stormwind Stockades to rescue a high-value prisoner. In classic bait-and-switch fashion, the prisoner we’re there to rescue isn’t Saurfang, but Princess Talanji. Saurfang chooses to remain behind — turning his back on Sylvanas’ Horde. Since then we haven’t heard a peep about what he’s been up to. Patch 8.1 looks like it’s going to change that.

Wowhead has been busy peeking behind the curtain of 8.1 and has found some interesting dialog related to Saurfang. What does this mean for the future of the Horde? Let’s take a look!

The following post contains potential spoilers for patch 8.1. Turn back lest ye be spoiled.

Picking up the trail

In a series of quotes found in patch 8.1, we get the setup for a quest chain involving a newly escaped Saurfang. Sylvanas dispatches you to rendezvous with Dark Ranger Lyana, one of her best trackers. Sylvanas wants you to find Saurfang before the Alliance can — assuming that they’ll kill him on sight. You meet Lyana outside of Stormwind and set to work picking up his trail as he makes his escape. It’s a good thing that Saurfang is a Warrior and not a Rogue, as the Dark Ranger is able to pick up his trail and follow it east.

A sewer exit. Outside the city, away from prying eyes. Let’s take a look at that lock.
Seems we have found his escape route. Hmm, there is mud around the lake. We should check for tracks.

It looks like there’s an encounter with some Alliance forces who are also tracking Saurfang. Once you’ve cleaned up the riff-raff, it’s time to head east and (hopefully) find Saurfang. I’m sure that Sylvanas only has the best of intentions and wants to bring Saurfang back safe and sound.

Where in the world is Varok Saurfang?

Soon, you’ll come upon a small farmstead near the pass to the Swamp of Sorrows. Stopping in for a brief chat with the farmer, you find out that Saurfang stole a priceless family heirloom and fled into the night. A Warrior like Saurfang wouldn’t go too long without a weapon — so it’s likely he stole a weapon. Somehow, it’s escaped the farmers notice that you’re members of the Horde — it seems likely you’ll be disguised at this point — but then his dogs start barking at you.

Must’ve been your orc that got my dogs all riled up last night.

They were barkin’ and growlin’ up a storm. They do that whenever one of those Horde scoundrels comes around.
Come to think of it, sorta like they’re doing right now…

Hey! You’re Horde, ain’t ya!? Get ’em, boys!

I can’t imagine that a simple Farmer in Redridge will put up much of a fight to a Champion of the Horde like us. Time to go over the pass into the swamp and catch up with Saurfang. I hope you remembered to pack the bug spray.

The return of Zappy Boi

The swamp is a big place, so it’s a good thing that everyone’s favorite Troll Shaman pops up to help bring you to Saurfang. Zekhan the Troll gets his first in-game model and is here to save the day! Unfortunately, Sylvanas was up to her tricks and gave Lyana orders to arrest Saurfang for treason. Things get…heated:

Ya ain’t got a shred of honor between ya! How ya gonna turn ya backs on Saurfang, after all he’s done for da Horde?… Not alone! If it be da loa’s will dat fall here, den it’s gonna be together. As da Horde!

When the dust settles, you’re left standing with Saurfang and Zekhan over the bodies of the Dark Ranger and her forces. Saurfang wants Zekhan to return to Sylvanas but makes sure to leave him bruised so she doesn’t get suspicious about his survival. It seems like Saurfang has a plan to restore not only his honor, but the honor of the Horde. In order to make that happen though, he’ll need someone working from the inside.

Saurfang: Return to the Banshee Queen. Tell her that I will be no one’s pawn. Zekhan, I need you to remain in Orgrimmar. Let those who wish to restore the honor of the Horde know that they must not give up hope.

Zekhan: No way, mon. I’m comin’ with ya! Where da high overlord go, I go.

Saurfang: Not today, my friend. This path I must travel alone. Go with honor. You will see me again.

Zekhan: We betta’. We be countin’ on ya.

We know that Suarfang has been leading Orcs on Azeroth into battle for a long time. Is he going to make an army to challenge Sylvanas? Zekhan can’t be the only member of the Horde willing to side with Saurfang. Could he be taking a trip back through the Dark Portal to try to get support from the Mag’har left on Outland, or trying to link up with the newly arrive Mag’har from Draenor? Time will tell.

Where do we go from here?

All that’s left is to take a trip back to Orgrimmar and report Saurfang’s escape. Sylvanas is suspicious but lets it slide — for now — choosing to focus more on the ongoing war with the Alliance.

We’re seeing a lot of parallels to the quests from Mists of Pandaria where we helped Thrall and Vol’jin lead a revolution against Garrosh. Zekhan is placed inside the Horde to act as a liaison to whatever plans Saurfang is working on. Could we see him try to assume the mantle of Warchief? He’s not working with the Alliance, so even if Saurfang takes over the Horde, would we see an end to the conflict? Tyrande doesn’t seem like she’s in a very forgiving mood lately.

Plus, we still have to figure out who or what wanted Sylvanas to be Warchief in the first place. It’s likely that whoever it was, they’ll want to protect their investment. This quest just leaves me with more questions than answers! Hopefully, we’ll get those answers in the next patch. Until then, are you hoping that Saurfang comes back as the new leader for the Orcs and deposes Sylvanas? Or do you want the Dark Lady in charge?

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