I won’t lie, I like my spoilers. I also kick myself when I realise that the spoilers I’ve gone out to find has overall spoiled the entirety of a story for me. It’s partly why I ignored any forum thread or any article concerning Christie Golden’s War Crimes novel recently before I had read the book. Though the outcome of the end was still spoiled, because I knew of the events to come in Warlords. It was a great book, don’t get me wrong, but I can guarantee that some of the plot twists would have been much more surprising and enjoyable had I not known what eventually happens to Garrosh. Please note, there will be spoilers in this article, especially in the final sections where I talk about Warlords of Draenor.
The journey on which he gets there was good to read, and I imagine it’s why a lot of Game of Thrones book readers continue to watch the TV series (other than some parts of the TV version not being in the books) is that although they know what’s eventually going to happen a lot of the time, they still enjoy where the producers of the show take the books and present it to us as we sit on our couches and watch the epic fantasy unfold. Personally, I feel that knowing the end result kind of nullifies a lot of the twists and turns that many stories make, and looking back on the story of Mists of Pandaria I feel that this expansion was a prime example of that.
We’re greeted at the start of the expansion with the pre-expansion event of the Destruction of Theramore, Garrosh’s plan to get all of the Alliance’s generals and leaders into one place and them drop a devastating mana bomb on the city, further separating the Horde and Alliance ties, especially severing any kind of diplomacy Jaina had with the Horde. Shortly afterwards, a massive continent was discovered in the mists south of the Maelstrom in the Great Sea when Horde ships were attacking Alliance ships – one of which carrying Anduin Wrynn.
The first couple of months of the expansion was us, both Horde and Alliance taking part in a small task force set out to explore this new continent. Of course, with residual animosity between the two factions, we recruited the Hozen and Jinyu,clashed and caused the ancient horrors of Pandaria, the Sha, to resurface on this new continent. The rest of the first few months were to clean up after ourselves and defeat the six prime sha that the last emperor of the Pandaren Empire locked away many years ago.
Once the bulk of Horde and Alliance forces made landfall a couple of months after the players had, a small chain of events followed concerning Garrosh’s attempts at creating a weapon capable of crushing the Alliance – pretty standard follow-up to what he attempted in Theramore. To this, he tried to use the Divine Bell, fabled to have increased the strength of the user’s warriors by fueling their hatred and anger while also striking fear and doubt into its enemies. The Alliance got their hands on the Bell before Garrosh, but that didn’t stop him from sending agents into Darnassus and stealing it for his own use. Anduin Wrynn ended up stopping Garrosh in this particular path of conquest by shattering the Divine Bell with an artifact known as the Harmonic Mallet.
A secondary plot started in the Jade Forest of the Mogu returning, a powerful race that had enslaved the Pandaren over 12000 years ago before being defeated. This storyline continued through most zones in Pandaria, alongside a renewed ancient alliance with the Zandalar trolls. In Kun-Lai Summit, players are sent on a wild goose chase across multiple mogu tombs and ruins, only to find that the Zandalar have resurrected the first emperor of the Mogu Empire, the Thunder King Lei Shen. After several months in the Pandaria campaign, after the sha were neutralised, this Thunder King had returned to his island stronghold known as the Isle of Thunder and had gotten to work uniting the scattered Mogu clans, enlisting the aid of his ancient Zandalari allies, and re-awakened the horrors his people had engineered in order to re-conquer and crush Pandaria (with a Zandalar secondary plan for taking on the rest of Azeroth).
After the assault on the Throne of Thunder, both Alliance and Horde came away with artifacts and powers that strengthened both factions – the Horde made use of the anima technology and the Alliance gets to empower Jaina’s staff with the powers of the Thunder King. Now imagine that we didn’t have the leak from BlizzCon ’11 that Garrosh was the final boss of Mists. After all of this, it would have been very interesting to see in patch 5.3 to see events such as Battlefield: Barrens, Secrets of Ragefire scenario, the digging up of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario. We could have assumed that the Horde and Alliance would continue to come to blows, as that’s what we’ve essentially been doing since the Wrathgate event back in the Lich King expansion, but for the Darkspear to go in all out rebellion against Garrosh and end up causing civil war – that might have been an interesting surprise to see.
Had we not known that Garrosh was the end boss of Mists, would we be even more up in arms right now that there’s such a long span of no content? Could it have given Blizzard a bit of opportunity to have created an extra filler raid (as much as we adore them) to explore races like the Yaungol in more detail, or chase off some more Zandalar trolls after the defeat of Lei Shen? Knowing that he was the final boss just left me feeling throughout the entire expansion “So what is Garrosh going to do that gives both factions the desire to kill him, not just the Alliance?” Segregating Orcs from the rest of the Horde in Cataclysm wasn’t enough. Trusting Magatha Grimtotem, silent enemy of Cairne Bloodhoof, to enchant Gorehowl in his mak’gora against Cairne and ending up killing him wasn’t enough. Going against honourable combat – the very foundation of morals most of the Horde follow – in the destruction of Theramore wasn’t enough. Attempting to assassinate Vol’jin in 5.1 wasn’t enough. Killing off anyone and blowing up Razor Hill’s inn because people spoke against him as outlined in the Shadows of the Horde novel wasn’t enough. All of these slowly built up into the rebellion in 5.3, but the real kick that got Alliance, Horde AND Pandaria’s participation against the Warchief was the destruction of the Vale and consumption of an Old God’s heart. Ever since BlizzCon 2011 I’ve been following the story on both factions, just trying to piece together the different clues that ultimately led up to the big picture we all knew to expect in the Siege of Orgrimmar.
This is why I’m so far looking forward to Warlords of Draenor. We don’t know who the end boss is: as far as the warlords themselves go, we’re already killing off Ner’zhul, Blackhand and Kargath Bladefist in the first few months of the expansion. Durotan is for the moment allied with the playable Horde. That leaves Kilrogg Deadeye (though I believe I read somewhere that we’ll be confronting him in the Bonetown scenario), Grommash Hellscream and Gul’dan. This leaves plenty of speculation as to where the expansion will take us, and what encounters we might end up fighting against. I’d imagine that with 5 of the 7 featured Orcish Warlords being taken care of in the first patch, that we’ll either see Grommash as the fourth boss in the final raid or that we’ll be taking care of the rest of them fairly quickly, with a side-raid concerning the Spires of Arak and then dealing with whatever Gul’dan has gotten us into.