The validity of E-Sports. Here we go again.
World of Warcraft Patch 5.3: The Revolution Begins But Who Will Be The Next Warchief?
A Bit Of Background
Azeroth never gets a break.
After the invasion of Outland against Illidan, the invasion of Northrend against The Lich King, and Deathwing’s merciless assault it seems that the Alliance and Horde just can’t rest. As soon as the fires were put out and the Maelstrom was calmed the two factions went back to perhaps the only thing they know: war. The constant and never-ending battle against each other then raged upon the shores of Pandaria, a continent not visited by outsiders in a long, long time. The arrival of these warring factions then allowed an ancient evil known as the Sha to escape their imprisonment and begin their corruption of the continent once again.
With the Sha’s assault on Pandaria on-going, the world turns most of their forces against the new threat while one major piece on the chessboard continues his foul ways. The current Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, has been a busy Orc. Garrosh fought bravely against the Lich King but during both campaigns in Northrend and against the full might of Deathwing and the Twilight’s Hammer he noticed how each racial member of the Horde performed, prepared, and devoted to the fight. He noticed that the Blood Elves had barely an army stocked up in Silvermoon City and the wounds of the Third War were still as fresh as ever. After the re-taking of the Echo Isles, the Darkspear Trolls led by Vol’jin were still re-grouping and replenishing their numbers. Sylvanas and the Forsaken undead are near outcasts after deploying a horrifying plague that nearly crippled both the Alliance and Horde during the Northrend campaign. The Tauren of Thunderbluff were the only race to contribute a large force to the latest war campaigns.
So with only the Tauren showing their might and force, that left the Orcs to prove themselves and those who did joined the mighty and loyal Kor’kron elite that served Garrosh directly. With Garrosh knowing the full force of his Horde and that the Orcs and his Kor’kron would be the only loyal band he could count on, the Warchief began to alienate and push away the other races of the Horde. Only the Tauren were given respite from Garrosh as the Orc leader set out on his own campaign of bloodshed.
Before this, Garrosh’s reign as Warchief was met with heavy criticism from non-Orc members of the Horde. Vol’jin attempted to give wise council but Garrosh shot him down. Sylvanas dislikes Garrosh and after the sanctions put against the Forsaken for use of the plague there is definitely hot water between the two racial leaders. However, it was when Cairne Bloodhoof of the Tauren directly challenged Garrosh for the Warchief position after the Orc used violent methods to obtain resources from Ashenvale that things went truly downhill for the Horde. Garrosh killed Cairne and that echoed across the Horde. Cairne was a beloved presence in Azeroth and Vol’jin took the loss badly.
Garrosh has a bunch of other warcrimes and atrocities on his reign but now, with Patch 5.3, the World of Warcraft begins the rebellion against Garrosh and the Kor’kron. Vol’jin begins his Darkspear Revolution and the world advances on Orgrimmar. The raid on the city and battle against Garrosh most likely will not happen until Patch 5.4 but the seeds will be planted and the Kor’kron will be embattled.
So the big question now is: who will be the next Warchief?
Vol’jin, Son of Sen’jin
As the Troll leader sparks the Revolution and has been the most outspoken of Garrosh, his name seems to be a favorite for Warchief. Vol’jin has been a focus of late as Blizzard will release a book about him and Patch 5.3 puts him in the driver’s seat. However, I’m not sold on Vol’jin as Warchief. Recorded video of the Darkspear Revoluion storyline shows that Vol’jin still needs plenty of council from others otherwise he overlooks options and that is not a leader you want in a world that is constantly ravaged by war and invasion.
Thrall, Son of Durotar
A lot of players seem to think that Thrall will come back and lead the Horde. This won’t happen. Thrall’s resignation from the position signified a huge change in his life. The battle against Deathwing and the start of his new family is something Thrall will never forget and it is so evident that he has changed. Thrall is not a protector of Azeroth and all of its people. He has no place in world conflicts between the two factions. His powers and wisdom are needed to heal the world after the Cataclysm and his only part in the Revolution seems to be him being at the ready in case Garrosh causes terrible destruction to the world itself and not aspiration to rule again.
Many Forsaken loyal players want this to happen. Honestly, it would be the most interesting plot twist but the rest of the Horde and the Alliance arne’t going to tolerate a plague-using banshee to become Warchief. Sylvanas simply cannot take the position. The opposition against her just wouldn’t allow this to happen until Blizzard plans to throw the Alliance vs. Horde storyline to the front again in the next expansion. However, with the inevitable return of the Burning Legion, I can almost promise you that the relations between the two factions will become much better after Garrosh. Under Sylvanas that just won’t happen.
The Regent Lord of Silvermoon City has become quite the major character in Warcraft. It was all thanks to Lor’themar that the Blood Elvers were able to overcome the betrayal that Kael’thas Sunstrider committed. Lor’themar is also very vocal against Garrosh’s violent ways. He has even gone on record as contemplating taking the Blood Elves out of the Horde and realigning with the Alliance with their High Elf brethren. However, Lor’themar still fights under the Horde banner and has led the Horde forces on the Isle of Thunder against Lei Shen. Lor’themar has kept a lower profile if you put him side-by-side against Vol’jin and the like but he has every right to try and claim the Warchief position. He has been a worthy member of the Horde leaders that has promoted the ways that Thrall did during his reign. Lor’themar’s tactics and leadership during the events on Pandaria also strengthen his claim.
Cairne’s son has done everything within his power to protect his people against further atrocities from Garrosh. Baine is smart and he understood that Garrosh’s hold over Orgrimmar and the might of his Kor’kron could not be stopped by him and the Tauren forces alone. Baine has committed the most of his forces and efforts to what Garrosh has planned which has also put him at a disadvantage. The amount of Tauren in Orgrimmar means that Baine cannot openly confront Garrosh without risking the safety of his people. This is reflected in the storyline we’ll all see in 5.3. With this kind of disadvantage, that means Baine have to pretend to still be loyal to Garrosh. That means he may also be able to get the closest to him. Baine still has a major part to play and I feel like we may see him in the upcoming raid. If Baine did take the position from Garrosh, then the redemption of his father would be complete and we would have perhaps the most peaceful Warchief aside from Thrall.
This is out of left field, which puts Chen right in the picture of what Blizzard has said. They told us that the new Warchief would be someone we do not suspect. Chen is a part of the Darkspear Revolution. We’ve seen him in the storyline previews from the PTR containing Patch 5.3. What Chen’s real reason for being a part of this revolution is uncertain but he clearly believes most of the Horde is worth fight for. Garrosh can be clearly seen as an evil person from an outsider like Chen. Chen also knows of the Sha and when Garrosh took the Heart of Y’Shaarj from Pandaira, perhaps he realized that the real threat could be what the Orc Warchief has planned. The Sha are one thing but if Y’Shaarj could ever be resurrected by the fel energies known so closely to the Orcs then the world would be in serious danger. It is hard to think that even if the revolution succeeds that Chen would ascend to the Warchief position but it is out of left field and Chen’s a neutral party in all of this. His neutral way of thinking could provide the Horde with the best way of progression after Garrosh is out.
Rexxar – Champion of the Horde. Rexxar is a hero to many and an honorable person to all. Rexxar lives by a code and many players have a fasincation with him. However, he has never shown a wanting to lead. He goes where he is needed. For a long time, he’s been in Outland helping out the Orcs and Ogres who have defected from the warring clans. He cares more about reuniting with his father and making amends with him then coming back to aid in a revolutionary bid for leadership.
Varok Saurfang – The Saurfang name is legendary in the Horde. Broxigar Saurfang wounded and hurt the Mad Titan Sargeras. The name Suarfang rings in every Horde member’s ears. Currently, Varok is the High Overlord of the Kor’kron Guard, Garrosh’s loyal and mighty army. However, Varok is not a fan of Hellscream’s son. This means that Varok could show up during the raid on Orgrimmar and lend a hand against his Warchief. It seems fitting since the title players get for aiding in the revolution is “Oathbreaker”, however, this is still a stretch. The Saurfangs are known for fighting, war, and bravery on the battlfield. Right now the Horde needs to re-align itself and it can’t do that under a war hero or someone who has only known battle.
So… Who Will It Be?
Out of all of those options the ones that really seem like a fit are Lor’themar, Baine, and Chen Stormstout. Vol’jin does not have what it takes to be anything more than an advisor and general. Thrall has a lot going on but his time and effort is better spent on the entire world. Sylvanas is not in a position to even attempt to take the lead. Lor’themar has become a beacon of hope for his people and his efforts on Pandaria are something to marvel at. Aside from his team-up with Aethas Sunreaver, Lor’themar doesn’t have a bad relationship with the Alliance, either. Baine has the best chance at actually taking out Garrosh or at least giving the players their shot at getting to him and taking him down. He could easily be the one to sit on the throne after the battle ala Bolvar and the Frozen Throne but I do believe the cost of the battle will leave Baine injured and not in a position to ascend afterwards. Chen does fit the “not expected” statement of Blizzard but I just don’t see him wanting it. His neutrality is one thing but being the leader of a faction he only just became familiar with just doesn’t seem right.
So out of the options known to us, Lor’themar Theron seems to be the best option. Lor’themar has the best shot at offering a re-alignment for the Horde people and races and also strengthen relationships with the Alliance. The relationship will be most important when threats like the Old Gods and Sargeras reemerge. While players want to see more PvP options and opportunities, I do believe that after Garrosh things will lighten up between the two factions.
Lor’themar has become a light amongst the blight that Garrosh has put over the Horde. Where most of the races have resorted to worrying about Garrosh and the state of the Horde, Lor’themar has always kept his sights on helping people and fighting the true threats. Now that Garrosh has become a true threat thanks to the Heart of Y’Shaarj, Lor’themar can set his sights on the whole of the Horde and bring them back together.