Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lich King Faction Speculation

Blizzard recently put up a page on the zone Dragonblight coming in Wrath of the Lich King. One sentence intrigued me, and so I'm going to indulge in some total speculation.
The one-time Scarlet Crusade, now the Scarlet Onslaught, has arrived as well in the hopes of claiming victory in their ongoing campaign against the Lich King and his minions.

What's interesting here is that Blizzard has renamed the Scarlet Crusade. Now why would they do that?

The immediate answer that jumps to mind is that Blizzard wants to separate out the reputation associated with each faction. This is similar to what was done with the Cenarion Circle and Cenarion Expedition. If the Scarlet Onslaught was the same faction as the Crusade, and you could get honored or exalted reputation with the Onslaught, that might screw up content in the old world.

If you couldn't get reputation with the Onslaught, there's really no reason to make them a different faction. As pure enemies, using the Scarlet Crusade would be better, as there is history between the players and the Crusade.

So I believe this points to the Scarlet Onslaught being a faction that you can gain reputation with. Which makes further sense as it is a faction opposed to the Lich King. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all.

But a lot of us are not going to be happy working with the Scarlet Onslaught. They've been the bad guys for so long that getting to revered or exalted just feels wrong, especially for us paladins.

So how to reconcile these two positions? Let's take a huge leap of logic, and state that the Onslaught makes the most sense as a faction you choose to join, like the Aldor or Scryer factions in Burning Crusade. And if the Onslaught are one choice, there must be a faction which is another choice.

There is one organization which would be the perfect foil to the Scarlet Onslaught: The Order of the Silver Hand, reforged by Tirion Fordring.

Two similar orders, both aimed at destroying the Lich King, but opposed to each other. It fits the Aldor/Scryer mold, as well as the content around the previous Naxxramas, where the Scarlet Crusade, Argent Dawn, and Brotherhood of Light worked together.

There are other possibilities, of course: a splinter faction from the Argent Dawn or Brotherhood of Light. But I like the Order of Silver Hand best.

So my predictions are:
  1. The Scarlet Onslaught will be a faction that you can choose to join in Wrath of the Lich King.
  2. The opposing faction will be the Order of the Silver Hand.
  3. 90% of all paladins will join the Silver Hand.


  1. Just 90%?

    How could you do the Fordring chain as a paladin and not choose the Silver Hand?

    I so hope your speculation is correct....that would rock!


  2. Makes sense to me. The Crusade is overtly racist and xenophobic, which is exactly what Fordring hates.

  3. Another point worth making is that WotLK is post-"The Truth Comes Crashing Down", where Balnazzar has been revealed (and defeated) as the Grand Crusader of the Scarlet Crusade. The name change to the Scarlet Onslaught may be symbolic of this change in leadership and their desire to take the fight to the Scourge.

    I agree with your analysis though, it seems pretty likely that SO will be one of two mutually exclusive factions with the Silver Hand (or whatever the Argent Dawn evolves into if not the SH) being the other. As the backstory of the two rival factions is already very well developed this should hopefully encourage Blizzard to imbued the various faction-tied activities with more distinctive flavour than they were able to with the Aldor/Scryer.

    I wonder if they will refer back to the (lvl60) Naxx-alliance between the AD and SC, or try to gloss over it in WotLK...

  4. I'll add my speculation to the end of that then:

    Just as with scryer/aldor, they'll make sure that the rewards of joining either one differs just enough that people will ignore the lore and go with one that doesn't make sense (so there might indeed be plenty of Scarlet Paladins), because of game mechanic rewards.

    Well, that or make one significantly easier to gain rep with, just like with scryer/aldor.

  5. While I understand your concerns as far as the Crusade went, there's a series of connected facts you are either overlooking or unaware of:

    The Scarlet Crusade was originally a good intentioned group, set upon cleansing the Scourge from Lordaeron. In fact, the Scarlet Crusade was originally made from remnants of the Order of the Silver Hand (and other groups).

    As suicidal zebra mentioned, Balnazzar (masquerading as Grand Crusader Dathrohan) was controlling and most likely corrupting a large portion of the Crusade. I would imagine that this was put to a stop by the actions of "a (nameless) group of adventurers who revealed his treachery and vile nature for all to see."

    In addition, the events of the Corrupted Ashbringer questline, culminating with the death of Renault Mograine, who betrayed and killed his father, that removes the two most corrupting influences upon the Crusade.

    Note: While both of the events are still able to be played over and over again, I believe this is for the purpose letting players play through them. Blizzard is trying to show a story, and the deaths of key characters would hamper the instances and showing the story to old players, but the impact of those events should not be ignored just because you can kill Balnazzar or Renault Mograine again.

    Now, with both of the two leaders mentioned above (and many others such as Grand Inquisitor Isillien) out of the picture, I see it as entirely possible that the Crusade returns to it's original nature of cleansing Azeroth of the Scourge, without all that "Kill all non-humans" crap.

    Will this absolve the Scarlet Crusade of everything they did? No, but if one considers the effects of Balnazzar as some grand subtle mind control of the Crusade. Detheroc, Balnazzar's brother was able to do something much like that, only much more overt (but less time consuming). If Balnazzar was not concerned with speed, but rather effect, I would imagine he could corrupt many more. In the end, would you blame someone for something they did under magical influence?


    In a related point, as you noted, Tirion Fordring recreated the Order of the Silver Hand. Tirion exists in (as far as I know) the Alliance town of Valgarde, which points to him and the Order of the Silver Hand being an Alliance faction (which fits quite well with the Lore). If this is the case, then I consider it unlikely that they will make opposing factions that the player needs to choose, but only make one or both those factions available to the Alliance.

    Now, it's possible that the Scarlet Onslaught and the Silver Hand represent two factions the Alliance could side with, Blizzard could make an opposing set of factions for the Horde alone. Maybe the Apothecary of Undercity and an opposing group... The Earthen Ring perhaps?

    Though if the Scarlet Onslaught was to be half of an opposing faction choice for both factions, a much more logical "other side" would be the Northrend version of the Argent Dawn... Something like the Argent Sun. Consider that the Argent Dawn was created by people who turned their back on the Scarlet Crusade, so they seem like the natural opposite to an offshoot of the Crusade. Since the Argent Dawn was a group that associated with both Horde and Alliance, this would bypass the above issue with the Silver Hand being Alliance only.

  6. You are assuming that 90% of Pallys know anything about the lore of the game.

    IMO at least 90% will go with whatever faction gives the best rewards for their spec.

    Out of the other 10% who actually know the lore, 90% will still go with the faction that gives them the best reward, but won't be happy about doing it.

    I am sure there are a LOT of people out there who accept quests without ever reading them, and so have virtually no idea about the history/lore of the game.

    I am one of them - 70 blood elf pally.

  7. So, so far we have:

    Silver Hand
    Scarlet Onslaught
    Argent Dawn
    Brotherhood of Light

    Scarlet Onslaught is confirmed but may be NPC. Would be cooler if you could work for them though.

    Has Silver Hand been confirmed? I remember seeing screens of Fordring in Valgard but I can't remember if he was Silver Hand or Brotherhood.

    I'd be dissapointed if the Argent Dawn got left out of Northrend after all their hard work elsewhere.

    From patch 2.0 onwards it has just got better and better to be a paladin. Looks like our lore will be central to WotLK factions/lore.

  8. I can see, from a RP perspective, a good number of Blood Elves willing to go with the Onslaught.

    With the Blood Knight lore changes coming in 2.4, it wouldn't surprise me if some players wanted to keep their "dark" nature, thus siding against the Silver Hand.

    Mind you, my Draenei Paladin will be doing whatever it takes to join the Silver Hand, but I'm just sayin...

  9. I'm always up for some speculation, so let me try an avenue that the previous posters haven't yet.

    Assuming first that the Scarlet Onslaught is very much still tied to the Scarlet Crusade, and that their general demeanor and xenophobia haven't diminished much, it would force players to make an extremely difficult choice:

    Is defeating Arthas important enough to toss aside all their disdain for the Crusade and their practices and actually JOIN them? The enemy of my enemy is my friend...but that friendship comes at a steep price.

    How different is that really from what made Arthas fall in the first place? He began with his ideals, his beliefs, and slowly allowed each to fall away in the pursuit of his goal.

    If Blizzard really intends for Wrath to be intensely character-centric, making players walk in Arthas' boots, this faction makes perfect sense.

    In a sense, that means that the battle against the Lich King is inherently stacked against the majority of individuals who would challenge Arthas in the first place. How much will they have to give up, how much sacrifice will be necessary, just to assail the Frozen Throne and confront the Lich King?

    And whose to say, when everything is said and done, when Frostmorne falls from Arthas' fingers, if the very actions that drove the characters to reach him just create ANOTHER Lich King?

    All roads lead to the Frozen Throne. It's a perfect trap.

  10. Good points, I particularly like the speculation that we are essentially following in Arthas's footsteps and that we ourselves will perhaps end up falling from the ligh into Darkness.

    Perhaps this is what is required in order to become a death knight.... to take Frostmourne from Arthas's fingers.... or perhaps there will even be a Good & Evil type of reputation. Where completing quests from a particular quest line or faction will swing you one way or the other.

    Personally I think that something like this would be awesome to have within WotLK. Where people who complete primarily good quests, and not evil ones, would become Knights of the Silver Hand or similar, whereas people who complete the "evil quests" would eventually be able to change into deathknights.

    Or perhaps even have the same quests, but multiple ways of completing each, with the outcome determining whether you swing towards the dark or the light.

    Anywho, I think I got a little off topic lol

  11. Could the Scarlet Onslaught be nothing more than the Northrend branch of the original Scarlet Crusade? I do think the paladin order should be a major NPC group, but I don't think we're going to rep up with Scarlet Onslaught, but rather fight them again as they are still too corrupted to focus on the Scourge, instead also attacking those that would otherwise be their allies.

    I would love to see an Argent Dawn/Order of the Silver Hand alliance faction in WotLK, as well as a mage-oriented faction in Dalaran (kind of like how the Cenarian Circle/Expedition seemed to be mainly druids). In fact, it would be awesome to have class-centered factions that you could gain rep with for rewards that are geared towards your class specifically.

  12. I will join the one with the higher elevator to bubble and jump off of.

  13. Agreed. Unless all the Holy/Prot stuff is Silver Hand and the Ret/Death Knight stuff is Onslaught. Then we'll see some wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  14. @revaan

    Ravenholdt anyone?

  15. I know I would be all over the Silver Hand. I think a lot of us Alliance Paladin nuts played the old RTS games and are Uther fans at heart. (yum generalizations)

  16. Damn straight i would join the silver hand...if im not completely evil by the time the expansion comes out.

  17. I'd join the silver hand purely as a stylistic decision anyways. I mean, it's just way cooler - plus, tirion fordring! What a MAN.

  18. If he has the Ashbringer then I am sure the Scarlet Crusade would join the Silver Hand. Maybe at best a sub faction of the Silver Hand. what do you think?
    (Chose your faction "Hand of Argus"/"Scarlet Crusade"

  19. i would like to see the Silver Hand to be brought back up, but then the alliance would have to work with the Blood Elf cause along with the patch, comes the removal of the captured Naaru in Silvermoon, so thier organization i think is falling to pieces,but needless to say i think the alliance should get a tabard to the Silver Hand just like the Belf get thier tabards

  20. I'm not sure I see the Onslaught as being an Aldor/Scryer type faction. If the Onslaught is very similar to the Crusade, then I don't see how the Forsaken could rep up with them at all. And I'm not sure I see where there's room for the Onslaught to be very different from the Crusade either, the AD or the Brotherhood of the Light are already more approachable mutations of the Crusade. I guess the writers or whoever can come up with something, but it just seems unnecessary to me. I think I agree that the Onslaught is a way to put Crusaders into Northrend without some of the baggage from the earlier levels, but I suppose I just doubt they're going to be a reputation faction in quite the way you suggest.

  21. Goddamn Paladins getting all the lore

    ah well your idea is GREAT! obviously Dalaran will be split up the Shatt... YAY MORE REP GRINDING!

    one problem... death knights
    surely KotSH will not want the complete opposite of a paladin and the SO will not want something so closely releated to the Lich King....

  22. From a recent post on MMO-Champion:

    "Dragonblight will also let you reunite (violently) with the Scarlet Crusade."

    So there goes this idea.


    "The Argent Dawn faction returns in Zul'Drak."