Thursday, December 01, 2011

Players and the Sack of Theramore

Mists of Pandaria will have a renewed focus on the Horde versus Alliance conflict. As part of that, it's been revealed that Theramore, Jaina Proudmoore's city-state, will be sacked by the Horde.

Now, it's probable that, like most major storyline events, this will happen "off-screen", in a novel or comic, or maybe a cut-scene before Mists of Pandaria comes out.

One of the problems with this method is that it's never the player's fault that the Alliance and Horde are at war. It's always that angry Garrosh, or stupid Varian. If only they were sensible and intelligent, then all these problems could be avoided.

I think it would be better if the players were responsible for the destruction of Theramore. If they had their bloody handprints all over the ultimate trigger for the FourthWar.

Here's how I envision it playing out:

Garrosh Hellscream (questgiver): Lok'tar Ogar, Champion of the Horde, Slayer of Deathwing! The Alliance have held us back for too long. Even now their armies encroach upon our territories, and kill our soldiers. It is time for us to deal with the main Alliance stronghold on Kalimdor. Your orders are to sack Theramore, destroy their ability to threaten us, and eliminate their leader, the mage Jaina Proudmoore.

Horde Player: What!?! Are you mad? This is an atrocity, an act of war. It is stupid and short-sighted! I will not do this.

Garrosh Hellscream: I offer you this epic weapon, Champion, and this rare striped kitten. It is not just any kitten, it is a Kitten of the Horde!

Horde Player: Theramore will burn, Warchief! The men and women will be put to the sword, and their children enslaved. Also, I would also like a gemstone collar for my kitten.

And then we have a phased instance of Theramore like the Wrathgate, only the players would be treated as the champions of the invading army. The Horde player's object is to destroy Theramore. The Alliance players also have a similar questline, but their quest would be to hold the line as long as possible, and then evacuate and get Jaina to safety.

I think an event like this would get the players deeply invested in the Horde/Alliance conflict. And it would force them to take responsibility for the conflict as well, the blood on their hands, rather than treating it as something that stupid NPCs came up with, or was written in a novel that most don't care about.


  1. 4th war, if I'm not mistaken. The 3rd one was against the Scourge and LK.

  2. You're right, I changed that.

  3. I will gladly slaughter hundreds of armless civilians and swim in their blood for the legendary boon that is the striped kitty!

  4. Hmmm, and what do you do when a player refuses the quest (and the associated epic reward which would end up dezzed/forgotten in a couple of weeks)? You leave him in a phased separate world where Theramore still exists?

  5. "I think it would be better if the players were responsible for the destruction of Theramore. If they had their bloody handprints all over the ultimate trigger for the FourthWar."

    I think you bring up a good point about "the horde" actually being "that one guy with the tusk shoulderpad" and "the alliance" actually being "the guy with the swords." The entire game of WoW has just been us playing clean up for their messes.

    I also think focusing more on the players could be good for creating new heroes down the road. It would certainly be cool to play through the stomping of theramore, then to pick up the latest comic and see theramore in ruins, with hundreds of hordies cleaning their blades and disposing of bodies. You could say to yourself, "Yeah, I'm there. That's me. I did that." It would feel so much more personal, the thing that seems to be missing from WoW these days.


    Phasing is by region, not by zone or entire world, so it would only matter if your friends spent all day every day in theramore.

  6. @ Helistar: That's easy. You obviously won't be able to level past 85 if you don't do this mandatory gating quest. Or not be able to enter heroics at 90. Or stuff.

    Gosh, do I have to do all the thinking by myself? ;-)

  7. Time for Rohan to write more FanFic. That was great.

  8. Blizz doesn't seem that interested in having some of these major story lines play out in WoW. To Blizz, that seems to be the impetus to sell more books. (Jaina book, anyone?) With more and more of the significant Warcraft lore taking place in the books, it seems that Blizz is shortchanging WoW a bit.

    Now, if I recall properly, the Horde v. Alliance conflict was supposed to be more front and center in Cata, but in the end it seems to have gone back to the Icecrown/Grizzly Hills level of conflict from Wrath. Call me skeptical, but to put the conflict on center stage you need to stop putting most of the impetus for the conflict off stage. In that respect, Rohan, I do agree with you in your suggestion. However, there needs to be a similar investment for the Alliance. I don't think that a losing battle (ala Andorhal) is going to do it for the Alliance; I think they need to take Tarren Mill.

  9. @Helistar, nothing would happen. You're not the only champion of the Horde. Someone else would lead the sack of Theramore, get the weapon and the kitten (and maybe a title "Veteran of Theramore").

    I guess you'd get the moral high ground, but Theramore would still be destroyed.

  10. Positively brilliant! I love the idea of getting more involved with the events and having a hands-on experience. The event quests we've had in the past have all been some of the greatest experiences I've had in gaming. AQ gates; Scourge invasion; Elemental invasion.

    Cannot stress how much I love this idea. Only, do I (as an Alliance member) get a chance at an epic lion cub perhaps? ;)

  11. With the release of Cataclysm there were a number of prequel activities that we could participate in. I helped my Troll bro's reclaim their home island, I watched as Garrosh and Cairn fought out for control of the Horde. I missed, but saw that there was a fight to reclaim control of Thunder Bluff.

    Alliance, you got to reclaim Gnomeregan (sp!?).

    I would actually be surprised if we don't get a quest and/or achievement for participating in the sack of Theramore. Alliance, you can have Lordaron (UC) back.

  12. You mean, Blizzard should incorporate a "story" into their game and we would be a part of it? Maybe we could even have different dialogue responses that takes us to different phases or cutscenes! Kind of reminds me of this thing that's going to be released on the 20th of this month...

  13. That is very possible to happen and would be cool if they did. They did something similar for Gnomergan and echo Isles. Both of those were a blast and I felt very involved.

  14. @Iatusthegoat, Garrosh as Cato the Elder?

  15. Reminds me of AH-nold in the running man "I will not fire on innocent civilians. . ." I literally LOL'd at work over the "striped kitten of the horde". . .

  16. Damn straight. This post is spot on.

  17. There would be another option. Not doing this kind of stuff.

    In war you can only loose.

    For a movie or a sRPG a war might be a good driver for the story. But for an MMORPG, where you "live" in a "world" for many years a war means that every side looses more then they win.

    I don't care which horde village the alliance takes over or burns to the ground because those horde cities mean nothing to an Alliance player. They have no history. The loss of Theramore, on the other side, removes something from the game.

  18. "The Siege of Theramore"... new molten front style questing hub?

    (or quel'danas style, perhaps.)