Many of us seem to think that Battle for Azeroth will have a similar ending as we had in Mists of Pandaria, namely: Siege of Orgrimmar 2.0. Although while I believe that with Sylvanas we will fight another 'corrupt' warchief in 8.3, I don't think we will go to Orgrimmar, but rather to Stormwind. Here's why…
Those who read the Before the Storm novel by Christie Golden know that one of the chapters has a interesting ending, when Sylvanas speaks with Nathanos:
"But soon, I will call upon the brave fighters of the Horde for another battle. The one you and I have both longed for." Nathanos was silent. She did not take that for disagreement or disapproval. He was often silent. That he did not press her for more details meant the he understood what she wanted.
Personally, from the entire book, this is is the paragraph from Before the Storm that stuck the most with me. Especially because we normally have no idea what Sylvanas is up to. Even two patches into BfA's 'morally grey' storyline – we simply don't know what her motives are. Therefore I regard these lines from the book as the only first hand information in which Nathanos basically 'admits' what Sylvanas' greater plan is. – "Stormwind, the battle Sylvanas and Nathanos both longed for".
How this will turn out in the game? I don't think Stormwind will get conquered by Sylvanas permanently and I don't think that the Alliance players will have to find another hub. I do think that Stormwind will be a raid/phased content in 8.3. where we will face Sylvanas.
Why does Sylvanas want Stormwind?
There are more hints that point to Sylvanas going for Stormwind in 8.3, but I'll cover that after I explain why I think Sylvanas 'wants' Stormwind, because that is crucial to understand these hints.
First of all, it is known that Sylvanas has been in a long struggle to ensure the survival of her people, the Forsaken. We are left in the dark with many things she does, but this has always been her number one priority. Recently, in Legion the Horde worked alongside the alliance, but in Stormheim Sylvanas proved to be pragmatic as ever once again hinting at a desire for Forsaken dominance by promising a 'new age' once she acquires new Val'kyr. Moreover, her /farwell lines in-game are: "I will grow the ranks of the Forsaken. One way… or another." Secondly, we know that Sylvanas is almost out of Val'kyrs, having only one left with another Val'kyr being killed at the battle of Darkshore. So how will she ensure the survival of her people when the chances are getting smaller that she can resurrect/raise them? That's right, By raising a very large number of new forsaken! And what's a better harvest of freshly raised forsaken than Stormwind? Thirdly, the Humans are Sylvanas' worst enemies. She never forgave them rejection of the forsaken, which becomes clear again in the Before the Storm novel, when she doesn't support a reunion between humans and forsaken relatives. Naturally, this ends grimly, confirming Sylvanas' conviction. Ultimately, by taking Stormwind, Sylvanas would achieve a stunning victory; being able to grow the ranks of the forsaken, while also wiping out her biggest enemy/threat.
There are many more sources that confirm that Sylvanas' priority for the forsaken is to survive. If not for them to thrive and dominate. This has always been a priority for her over the Horde. I might edit and add sources later.
How Sylvanas wants to take Stormwind
First of all, I believe that Sylvanas has no interest for the Horde to prevail. I think she ultimately only cares for the Forsaken to prevail. Therefore, I believe Sylvanas has started the faction conflict solely to weaken and ultimately destroy both factions. In newly datamined 8.2 texts we find very interesting clues that might confirm this and that Sylvanas is leading both the Alliance and the Horde into a trap and towards destruction, when we set out for Nazjatar.
Texts that hint on leading the Horde into a trap:
"Nathanos. The next phase of our campaign is at hand.Sail out with what remains of our fleet. The blade will guide you to the rendezvous.Casualties on both sides will be substantial. Consider this an opportunity to weed out the disloyal.The threads we have woven with such care will soon be drawn together. The war is serving its purpose. Stay focused on the endgame. You know what is to come."
Texts that hint on leading the Alliance in a trap (and that it worked) when in Nazjatar:
"Nathanos: You're back on your feet. Good. Your survival is key to the Dark Lady's plans.Nathanos: Look around, $p. The vaunted Alliance fleet lies in ruins. Perfect."
Consequently Priscilla Ashvane has this to say to both Alliance and Horde in Azshara's Eternal Palace raid:
"Puppets… fools. The Banshee baited you… to your own slaughter."
Lastly, we all could have seen this coming, when we take back to Ogmot's dream journal:
"Last night, Ogmot dreams of great battle. Two fleets bashin on ocean of blood. Shadows twistin beneath da ships, risin. Risin. Ogmot so happy watchin da carnage!"
The most confirming hint on this being Sylvanas leading the Horde and Alliance in a trap is this one for me:
"Ogmot sees lady wrapped in dark swirlies. She leads herd of blind sheep.
Da sheepies follow her everplace she go. Do everthin she say. Never doubt lady.
She guide dem over tall cliff! SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT! Stupid sheepies! "
For me personally, it is very convincing that Sylvanas has been sparking the faction conflict on purpose. When lately also setting the Horde's leaders up against herself on purpose. To ultimately lead them all into this one trap together, which are Azshara and Nazjatar. This gives her the opportunity to go for what she really wants: Stormwind (which is the 'endgame' she speaks of). Which finally gives her Forsaken the chance to dominate.
Is Sylvanas not serving N'zoth?
I don't believe Sylvanas is under old god influence or serving under N'zoth. I think she is purely serving herself and her own goals for the Forsaken. I do think she is purposely leading the horde and alliance into Azshara and that she possibly got the idea or the inspiration for this plan from Xal'atath/knaifu (who does serve N'zoth). I think she hopes that Azshara, the horde and alliance destroy each other (or at least weaken each other), while she carries out her plan to take Stormwind and empower the Forsaken. I don't think Sylvanas is aware that she's also carrying out Azshara plan by doing so. (which is freeing N'zoth from his prison with the Heart of Azeroth, see text here:)
Azshara: That lumbering dwarf believed you could save Azeroth by empowering your shiny little Heart. The gift of a sleeping titan.Azshara: Yes, a titan's heart was exactly what was needed. Not to heal the world… but to shatter the prison of a god.
The old gods are also hinting that Sylvanas and the dead are the true enemy, and want Sylvanas to be killed (many sources like the sisters comic, might add it here later). So I don't think they work together or serve each other. However, I do think N'zoth has 'used' Sylvanas as the key to his jail, and possibly wants to dispose of her later (but is probably unsuccessful).
This also gives Blizzard an opportunity for two future enemies, the lich queen(?) and N'zoth (old gods) seperately in the next expansion(s).
More hints that Sylvanas will go for Stormwind:
In Antorus, Varimathras literally says that the shattered mask (forsaken's logo) will hang above the Alliance's hearth:
Varimathras: So, your Alliance still endures. Longer than I expected, though she has already planted the seeds of its downfall. She is patient, that one.Varimathras: When your thrones run red with betrayal… when your holy places burn and the shattered mask hangs above your hearth… only then you will know. And it will be too late.
What is also an interesting part is "When your thrones run red with betrayal" – does this indicate Sylvanas betraying the Horde and Alliance or might Derek Proudmoore have a role in this? I am certainly not the only one who believes he might fulfil an important role in Sylvanas' plan.
Blizzard revamped Uther's tomb in Battle for Azeroth. As we know, Uther fought the scourge and was killed by his student Arthas who went on to become the Lich King. If Sylvanas unleashes a new sort of scourge in 8.3, it would not come as a surprise to me if we see Uther back. How? Uther was a paladin who was very devoted to the light so he might get a similar treatment as Calia Menethil.
I don't think Sylvanas will hold Stormwind. I think it will be a raid for the players when Sylvanas has taken the city in 8.3, and we shoo her away after the final battle. She will succeed in achieving her goal in Stormwind though… Therefore, I don't think we will kill Sylvanas in 8.3, but we will either have her as the final boss in the expansion after BfA or the one after that (depending on if we first take on N'zoth or Sylvanas). I think we will know what the bargain between Helya and Sylvanas is after 8.3.
As we know from many sources throughout several expansions, Sylvanas' ultimate goal is to have the Forsaken survive, thrive and dominate. I believe she, as warchief, has no interest in the Horde (or anyone else for that matter) prevailing and purposely started the faction conflict. In 8.1.5. Sylvanas sets the Horde leaders up against herself on purpose, so they will literally be in the same boat together for her next step. Sylvanas leads the Horde and Alliance navies into a trap at sea in 8.2. (which is Nazjatar) and hopes to decimate their forces, while she has the freedom to carry out her own plan: Taking Stormwind and empowering/raising more Forsaken there and reaching her ultimate goal to ensure Forsake dominance in the future. Therefore, I think Stormwind is our (raid) destination in 8.3.
Edit1: Spelling mistakes (sorry for my English)
Edit2: Cleared up that I don't think Stormwind will get conquered by Sylvanas permanently and I don't think that the Alliance will have to find another hub, but that I think Stormwind will be a raid/phased content in 8.3 where we face Sylvanas.
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