Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Next Warchief

In 5.4, Garrosh Hellscream will be deposed, and a new warchief chosen to lead the Horde. Who do you think the next warchief will be?

I think that Blizzard will not pick someone obscure. They will pick someone with a lot of name recognition, who makes sense to the average, casual Horde player. With that in mind, here are my rankings:

Front-runner - Vol'jin

Vol'jin has gotten a lot of screen time, including a full novel. He's also the driving force behind the rebellion, and has been a racial leader for all of WoW. That makes him the obvious choice.

Contender - Lor'themar

Lor'themar has also gotten a lot of screen time in MoP, and has been developed into an admirable, competent leader. However, the big negative is that he is a blood elf. The Horde's motif in Warcraft is to be the "monstrous" faction, the outsiders. Having a pretty-boy blood elf be the Warchief cuts against that, and cuts against the Horde's identity in a major way.

Contender - Thrall

Thrall was the previous Warchief, and he has very high name recognition. But he's also the one who left the Horde, and it might seem weird to just waltz back into leadership. However, the orcs will still need a racial leader. Thrall is pretty much the most important orc left, and is likely to be the orc racial leader. Having Thrall be leader of the orcs--but not Warchief--may seem odd.

Dark Horse - Sylvannas

It's Sylvannas. Massive name recognition and popularity, and cunning enough that her ascension could seem plausible. However, she's been on the sidelines for most of Mists, so it would be odd for her to come out of nowhere and grab the throne. Plus, what would she really do as Warchief? She has her kingdom and her armies over in the Eastern Kingdoms. Taking on leadership of the entire Horde seems like it would gain her a lot of trouble and not many advantages.

I would expect her to use this opportunity to throw out the Kor'koron Overseers in the Undercity. That seems like a very Sylvannas-like move to me.


That's how I see the race for Warchief. I think Blizzard is going to pick Vol'jin. He's the one they've been setting up, the one who's story arc leads to the mantle of Warchief. To be honest, picking anyone else really seems like deliberately making a twist ending, just for the sake of having a twist. That rarely works out well.


  1. I can't see how you can have a Warchief based in Orgrimmar that isn't an Orc.

    So unless the capital was to move to one of the other cities, I think Thrall will be back as the leader.

    I played Horde through BC the first time and I vividly remember Thrall playing a big part. It was sad to see him go as Warchief. When we got to Cataclysm I'd moved to the Alliance and to see him play a role for the Alliance was just odd!

    Vote Thrall for Warchief! Bring back the Horde's true leader!

  2. No love for Baine?

    According to the Jaina novel, he was also a key figure in the rebellion.

    He has the least negative rep level with major Alliance NPC's, which may or may not be a good thing (depends on whether Blizzard wants to keep emphasizing the faction war), and is probably the least likely to flip out about the very likely landing of Dalaran on top of the crater of Theramore (I can't see them NOT doing this between Jaina's lore and the game mechanics of not having an Alliance hub on the bottom two thirds of Kalimdor). Bear in mind that the Garrosh raid presumably has to end with the Alliance outside Ogrimmar deciding not to slaughter the surviving half of the Horde, so it would probably help from an in-game lore perspective for the new Warchief to be someone that the Alliance can stand.

    I guess the downside is that in-game he's done significantly less than Lor'themar has, but he's still a recognizable core Horde race. I'd consider rating Baine as high as number two on the list, assuming that they're not going to name a new Warchief out of nowhere.

    (Not asking after the Goblins or Horde Pandaren, let's not be silly here. :) )

  3. I thought it was already known? But I won't say just in case people don't want to be spoilered.

    It terms of lore I am more worried about post battle, Sylvanus with a new influx of human recruits and no longer kept in check, marching down towards Ironforge.

  4. I don't know about Baine. For some reason I just can't see him as a serious candidate. Too young, no significant screen time (at least in-game).

    I mean, Baine has some scenes in a novel. Vol'jin has an entire novel.

  5. What about Nazgrel for leader of the Orcs? He's more well known than Lor'themar was, at least. I'd agree Nazgrel probably isn't visible enough to lead the whole horde.

  6. Second tier orcs are also a great pool to draw from here. Nazgrel was mentioned, but there are others. I don't think Eitrigg is too old. Saurfang is a good choice.

    I think you dismiss Lor'themar too quickly, and for a minor issue. He's already been hinted at by Rommath, for what it's worth, and he's certainly capable.

    Baine was mentioned, and yes he's young, but he's capable, and fairly neutral, horde-faction-wise.

    Another idea would be a war council. Warchief itself is still a relatively new concept to the Horde, and they could further adapt to the circumstances of having increased the diversity of their faction so much as to demand a more representative government.

    Silly idea? Anduin.

    In all seriousness, I have no idea who it will be, but the dart in Garrosh's back is sure to be Vol'jin's. Or maybe an axehead from Gamon.

    In closing, my vote has and always will be for Basic Campfire.

  7. The hand that wields the knife never holds the crown. Therefore, as it us the treason Vol'jin who us stabbing Garrosh in the back, it won't be Vol'jin who takes his job.

    Both Thrall and Saurfang could definitely become the next orc leader. Only they could make peace with the Alliance. But Saurfang can't be leader of all the horde, I think.

    The orcs are the heart of the horde. A horde led by troll, tauren, undead or blood-elf is setting itself up for further trouble. Nonetheless, I'd love to see Sylvanas take over, to make Vol'jin squirm even more! He's crying about Garrosh using Mogu magic? Making Saurok? How do you like Sylvanas' way of making undead, then, Vol'jin?

  8. I'd like to see Rexxar or Saurfang, but I think they'll go with Lor'themar.

  9. Just found this thread.

    I would be interested in seeing a council setup running Orgrimmar. I know it's not really the hordes way, but it could be a mechanism to stop one character having the power to do what Garrosh did.

    Would also allow for some interesting narrative infighting about current stance towards the Alliance and the current path Sylvanus seems to be heading down.