World of Warcraft

Cutting costs may be the reason behind the lackluster story.

wow4 - Cutting costs may be the reason behind the lackluster story.

/equip tinfoil hat

Something I realized is that it feels like this story was not always intended to be the one-dimensional dumpster fire it currently is. A story with complex ethics and philosophical challenges take time and more importantly, money. When you want a morally complex story the writers are going to have to spend a lot of time communicating and debating over things like what constitutes an "morally gray" event and what would be considered out of character.

But if you come in and say "These guys good, other guys not good." Suddenly it's not nearly as hard to write as it comes down to just brainstorming good and bad things for characters to do and just rolling with it.

I know I'm oversimplifying it. I'm just trying to get the basis of this theory across.

One of the big things I want to talk about is the order of events in the build up to the expansion. A lot of people have said it would have all made much more sense if the Alliance struck at Undercity first and I think that might not be a coincidence.

I don't think it would have just been better writing though. Sure there was the overall community opinion that Alliance was sick of being purely reactionary and Horde players sick of getting whacked with the villain bat. But I think the Alliance striking first may have been the original intent because so many things that don't really make sense end up making perfect sense if the Alliance simply struck first. I'm going to list the examples I can think of.


The opening of the

has a monologue of Sylvanas saying "We have paid the price for sharing this world." in our current context this makes little sense. This isn't a price for sharing this world, this is a price for committing mass genocide. But if the Alliance was laying siege to Lordaeron unprovoked this could very much be considered a price for tolerating the Alliance.


Earlier in the development they mentioned one of Anduin's motivations was to prove himself. This motive lines up perfectly with a

in Legion where Anduin expresses that he feels like he did not earn the right to wear the crown of Stormwind and as you walk through the city with him you overhear conversations among citizens and it reveals that while the people like Anduin, they don't have much faith in his ability to protect them.

Yet in Battle for Azeroth we have seen little of Anduin trying to prove himself. Sure he's leading the war effort but it's purely reactionary not an active attempt to impress his people with his strength and initiative.

But I think earlier in development the plan was to have Anduin in his need to prove himself launching an attack on Lordaeron. This makes too much sense. Lordaeron was once considered a holy city but it is now inhabited by a race that the majority of Humans consider to be evil unholy aberrations who have no right to exist. Not only that but Sylvanas is arguably the most hated figure to the Alliance, especially among Humans and Worgen who have suffered the most at her hands. So an attack on Lordaeron to reclaim the holy city and put an end to Public Enemy #1 would make Anduin be considered a hero not just to Stormwind but the entire Alliance.


In the

for Sylvanas, Delaryn Summermoon asks Sylvanas why she insists on invading the tree when only civilians remain. When Sylvanas responds that this is war Delaryn responds telling Sylvanas that this hatred. This confused me when I watched this. Sylvanas has no real reason the hate the Night Elves. She doesn't really have much reason to hate any of the Alliance. Most of her actions are done out of pragmatism not emotions. Which when you think about it, actually makes her even more of a bi*ch. This is no secret to anyone so why she would be accused of doing this out of hatred doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You might think that she was referring to Sylvanas's hatred of life but Delaryn didn't come to that conclusion until Sylvanas told her the story of the fall of Quel'thalas.

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(I'm going to have to switch topics to make my point here, bear with me.)

There are two instances that might drive Sylvanas to truly hate the Alliance and want to punish them out of pure malice. One would be killing Nathanos, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon. But the other would be taking Undercity from her. She has been shown to have some emotional connection to the city best exemplified during the Battle for Undercity in Wrath of the Lich King when they enter Undercity and she is enraged by that Varimathras and Putress have done to the city. There are other smaller hints towards this such as in the beginning of Before the Storm on Page 17 when she's in Orgrimmar and actively wishing she was in Undercity instead.


Now you may be thinking "But she's the one who made it uninhabitable with the blight." and you're right but I think that might not have been the original plan.

In the "What's Next" panel for Battle for Azeroth at Blizzcon 2017 they tell us that Lordaeron is in ruins after the siege and is now indefensible. Not uninhabitable. This seems to be a really odd thing to mislead/lie about. Sylvanas's affection for using the blight is well documented so it wouldn't be much of a spoiler to tell us she blights up the place. So what if the Alliance destroying decimating the city and driving her out was the original plan

(And now here's where we return to the Warbringers short)

If the assault on the Night Elves was actually a campaign of revenge from Sylvanas for the Alliance's destruction of Lordaeron it would be much more logical for the Night Elves to accuse her of doing this out of hatred and malice towards the Alliance. And we know the Warbringers shorts were set in stone very early in development so if they wrote that when the plan was for the Alliance to destroy Lordaeron this line suddenly makes much more sense.

I do have other points other than the order of events to point to the idea that this story might have been intended to be morally ambiguous.



Jaina ends the song by ominously saying "Beware of me." I and most other people interpreted this as implying that she was going to be ruthless and violent in the upcoming events. But instead we have Ms. Pleasenobullythezandalaripls pretty much the opposite of someone the Horde should be wary of. But as I already mentioned the Warbringers shorts were set in stone very early in development so it's possible the original plan was to have a more ethically questionable Jaina.

Also the fact that the Kul'tirans sing that song implies that they have very ignorant and spiteful views of the Horde races. But this doesn't seem to have translated into many events in game where they act on those beliefs.


In the past I made a topic theorizing that Saurfang would return to Sylvanas and the Horde. Turns out I was WAY off. But the points I made still stand. Why were both Sylvanas and Saurfang equally advertised as icons of the Horde if they are going to oppose each other? It still doesn't add up. It may be possible Saurfang wouldn't have been as disgusted with Sylvanas if the Alliance were the clear aggressors, if maybe the Alliance was acting more brutal and hate driven. Sure he still would be chafing under her command but he certainly wouldn't defect like he currently has. So maybe that was the original plan and that's why they were both marketed the same way Anduin, Genn and Jaina were.

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Something I realized while thinking about this was that the personalities of both Anduin and Sylvanas seem a slightly inconsistent in Before the Storm.

On Page 25 we see Sylvanas trying to justify to her plans to herself. If she was truly so uncompromisingly evil she wouldn't need such thoughts. Yet in other places she seems so sure of her clearly morally bankrupt plans.

Also at certain parts Sylvanas expresses affection the Forsaken and takes pride in them. One part that stuck out to me was how she got upset that one of the Forsaken changed her name back to her Human name trying to understand why when her Forsaken name was good for a Forsaken. Almost like a mother wondering why their daughter was acting rebellious. But at other parts she thinks of them as disposable and worthless to her. Even going so far as to massacre them in the highly controversial scene near the end.

Meanwhile Anduin is also rather inconsistent. Probably the most interesting trait he displayed was mild paranoia. Sure in the past he was paranoid about his people not approving of him, but this is him feeling he can't trust others. He notes that Valeera is the only one he can truly confide things in and on Page 136 when Alleria tells Anduin that she and Veressa met with Sylvanas Anduin thinks to himself "It seem each passing day reduces the number of people I can rely on."

However this behavior is never seen again.

I know this is a long shot but I think there's a possibility at some point while Christie Golden was writing the book she was informed in the change of plans for the story and had to salvage what she could and rewrite it in a much more polarized way which lead to a few minor inconsistencies in the characters.

I know I'm probably crazy and the simple truth is probably just that we are just dealing with subpar writing. But I think it's interesting to think that maybe this is all Activision's fault in their rampant cost cutting they've forced the writing team to make a much more simplistic story to save time and resources.

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