World of Warcraft

Theory: Blizzard is Splitting Factions in Preparation of Warcraft 4

wow7 - Theory: Blizzard is Splitting Factions in Preparation of Warcraft 4
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Attention: Possible spoilers ahead as I will draw on all information currently available, including unreleased content.

The Theory:

Blizzard is currently pushing the WoW lore in a direction which will lead to a split within both the Alliance and Horde so as to create four factions resembling to the original Warcraft 3 factions of Human, Orc, Nightelf and Undead by splitting off the Forsaken from the Horde (possibly adding other races like the Goblins) and splitting off the Nightelves from the Alliance (possibly adding other races like the Worgen). They do so in preparation for Warcraft 4, which will be announced at Blizzcon 2019, and whose story takes place either between the end of the 8th <9th> and the beginning of the 9th <10th> expansion or parallel to the 9th <10th> expansion (with a possible time jump between expansions and another redesign of the old world).

Why I think this is the case:

– The recent writing let's just say puts a lot of effort into manufacturing a split within both factions. This is very obvious in case of the Horde, and is strongly hinted at for the Alliance both inside and outside of the game (for example in the in-game scene where Anduin denies Tyrande help in reclaiming Darkshore, with Genn then joining forces with the Nightelves). The divide within the Alliance could be developed further in later BfA patches or in the next expansion. Theories about a faction split or all together new factions have already been brought up. The Horde split alone could be just another plot point, but taken together with Alliance one I think this hints at some greater intention behind the writing. After all, the implied divide would leave us with factions very close to the ones in Warcraft 3, where the Humans were more "Human+", including Dwarves and Highelves, similar to the Orc faction, which included Tauren and Trolls. Nightelves and Undead were standalone faction-races in Warcraft 3 if you consider WoW's playable races (they did however include things like Dryads and Nerubians).

– The breaking of alliances has been hinted at by Sylvanas in the BfA cinematic and by Varimathras in the Antorus Raid. Sylvanas also says "we have forgotten what made us strong". I think I remember some character basically stating that Azeroth was only capable of withstanding the Warcraft 3 demon invasion because it literally is a "World of Warcraft", a world strengthened by constant fighting.

-A shift back to Warcraft 3 is also apparent in recent developments of the Nightelf race, whose savage and primal side was emphasized in the "Terror of Darkshore" cinematic. In my opinion, Blizzard is trying to characterize the Nightelves more like they were in Warcraft 3.

– Starcraft 2, which is definitely at the end of its life cycle, was more or less the successor to Warcraft 3. I do not believe that Blizzard has given up on the RTS genre, which is in my opinion ready for a revival anyway. I think that if they do an RTS title, it would definitely be Warcraft 4.

– The timing would fit the remake of Warcraft 3, because I would presume that the remake generates more profit when being released before its successor, builds hype, and that the same team that worked on the remake could maybe afterwards transition to Warcraft 4.

– I do believe it was in a T&E video about last Blizzcon where it was said that some Blizzard employee stated something like "if you visit only one Blizzcon in your life, it should be the one next year". Warcraft being Blizzard's biggest franchise and the respective RTS games being, historically seen, probably their most important titles, a Warcraft 4 announcement would definitely make Blizzcon 2019 very special.

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How I think this will look ingame:

– Sylvanas will probably at some point in BfA attack Stormwind. I could see this happening as an 8.2.5 or even as an 8.3.5 post-N'Zoth raid that will serve as a ground upon which to develop the next expansion, while also completing the triumvirate of "Warbringers" as endbosses of raids who survive the encounter (assuming Azshara surives). Sylvanas will most likely be beaten by the joined forces of a post-Sylvanas Horde and a still Anduin-lead Alliance. Sylvanas will not be killed, and may even achieve her goal (whatever that might be). Anduin does not further pursue the eradication of Sylvanas' new faction because he just wants the fighting to end. This angers Tyrande, Genn and Alleria as they insist on Sylvanas' destruction, their reasons being the burning of Teldrassil, the historical conflict between Forsaken and Gilneans, and for Alleria because the Undead are the natural enemy of the void. These three also oppose a peace with the once again restored Horde because of its compliance in Sylvanas' actions during the war.

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– The new factions could consist of either only Undead and Nightelves respectively, or other races (most likely Goblins and Worgen) could also join them. Goblins for example have repeatedly been shown to not share the ideal of honor with other Horde races. They can be argued to better fit in with a faction lead by Sylvanas, who is more morally flexible, as are Goblins. Worgen are strongly connected to Nightelves lore wise through the curse being connected to Nightelf druidism, as well as in their hatred towards the Forsaken.

– I do not think there would be a hard split gameplay wise between previously allied factions. Characters of races that are split off from their original factions would still be able to play together with others as they are now, but would maybe be neutral instead of friendly with NPCs. There would also be new capitals for the new factions, replacing Teldrassil and the Undercity.

– Some allied races could be argued to be likely to join the new factions. For example has Geya'rah (leader of Mag'har orcs) expressed her approval for Sylvanas' imprisonment of Baine. But I think that only the allied races that correspond to those races splitting off would join the new factions. Suspiciously enough, three of the four missing allied original races correspond to races likely to split off, which could hint at their introduction being used in the development of the lore of the faction divides. In my opinion, this is how the allied races match the original races:

Orcs – Mag'har Orcs

Tauren – Highmountain Tauren

Trolls – Zandalari Trolls

Undead –

Bloodelves – Nightborne

Goblins – (very likely Vulpera)

Humans – Kul Tiran Humans

Dwarves – Dark Iron Dwarves

Gnomes – (very likely Mechagnomes)

Nightelves – Voidelves*

Draenei – Lightforged Draenei

Worgen –

The Voidelves are kind of a wildcard in my opinion and were probably added just because Blizzard wanted Highelves, but couldn't just give us Highelves because they are too similar to Bloodelves. They may be the race corresponding to the Nightelves, which would make much more sense lore wise if they were just Highelves. Still, as pointed out, it would make sense for Alleria to join Tyrande's new faction. As of now, it looks like the next allied races will be Vulpera for the Horde and Mechagnomes for the Alliance, which would also make sense in terms of equality in uniqueness as both use existing skeletons, but are major reskins (they will be likely introduced in 9.0 probably just for pre-order reasons). Vulpera would follow the Goblins into the new faction, as their prime motivation as a race seems to be survival, which corresponds to Sylvanas' motivation of "survival by all means". That leaves us with two missing allied races, most likely for Worgen and Undead. My prediction for those would be "Dark Rangers" for Undead, and "Nightelf Worgen" for Worgen (not original ideas). "Dark Rangers" would most likely be named differently because the term refers to a group of individuals and not to a (sub)race. They are undead Bloodelves and Nightelves, both male and female, with some additional customization options. The Nightelf Worgen would similarly be just a reskin of the existing Worgen. I would speculate these to be the last allied races because they would fit very well into a story of the formation of the two new factions. Nightelf Worgen emphasize the strong bond between Nightelves and Worgen and make a lot of sense lorewise. "Dark Rangers" would also fit nicely into a story where Sylvanas is building her own faction and has to strengthen her ranks. The latter race has been present in the game quite a lot recently, with at least one male "Dark Ranger" Bloodelf specimen I know of and the Nightelves raised in Darkshore. These races would probably be introduced in a 9.X patch.

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Disclaimer: I do not know whether this theory has been brought up before, but it probably has been in some form or another. Apart from whats hot on r/wow (subbed only recently) and videos of Bellular and T&E, I have no other information input, so I wouldn't know if this wasn't original.

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