Nostalgia is Strong
Once again this week I have not really consumed much media, so I don’t have enough material to really do one of my normal Saturday morning columns. Additionally I am still mired in this nostalgic bomb that is World of Warcraft Legion information. I’ve still managed to stay “clean” but I know at this point it is only a matter of time before I renew my World of Warcraft account, and at least take a “taste”. As quietly as Alt seemed to think, yesterday information about the Legion Beta client started trickling out on the data mining sites, and I have to say there is a bunch of interesting information. So this morning I thought I would talk a bit about some of the theories I have running around in my brain. Firstly there seems to be a much more heavy Vrykul theme than I originally thought. I realize that one of the islands we will be visiting is essentially run by the Vrykul, and since they have more or less lost their connection to the Lich King, I am assuming we will not longer have the Valkyr resurrecting them and creating undead versions.
Much of the armor we have seen datamined has that same feel, which only serves to damage my calm all the more. This expansion is starting to seem like an amalgam of Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King which pretty much represent the pinnacle of my enjoyment of the game. I feel like this is absolutely what they had intended, and then when you combine actually letting us venture into the Nightmare… they are essentially throwing everything at the screen and hoping that we love whatever it is that they come up with. There are so many warning klaxons going off in my head telling me that the end result will never live up to the hype. The problem is there is a hyper kid in my head on a sugar rush telling me how awesome it COULD be… and is slowly winning out. Basically the adult in me is losing and I am finding myself paying closer and closer attention to Legion beta information. More than anything I am just hoping they give me a Death Knight that is fun to play again.
I’ve said before that in the Legion trailer, I thought we would be witnessing the death of Varian Wrynn because for a few moments… you think exactly that is going to happen. That is not in fact how the trailer ends up… but as I was preparing for it… it started me thinking that I believe over the last several expansions Blizzard has been preparing us for this. Bit by bit they have been grooming Anduin to take the throne, and in the datamined information we can see that once again he is getting a significant upgrade in model. Similarly we see Anduin not Varian as one of the avatars we the players get to play. I think it is pretty much an inevitability that something will happen to Varian and cause Anduin to take the throne, bringing with him a much more three dimensional and reasoned character than that of his father. I like Varian just fine… but he was always sold to us as “our” Thrall, but that promise has never really materialized.
The game as a whole is still to some extent dominated by the evolution of “Green Jesus”. Maybe this expansion will be different, and maybe this expansion we will see Varian as something more than a dude with two badass swords and a penchant for war. That has always been the problem with playing Alliance, it never felt like we had a really strong focus to rally around. The horde have such a strong identity, and that reverberates with the players that love that faction. The alliance on the other hand, has no shared struggle… no central driving focus that they can rally behind. We have a bunch of really interesting secondary characters, consistently rallied behind a significantly less interesting central character. I had hoped that we would exit out of Warlords with Yrel, but all signs seemed to point to her staying on Draenor. Then we have awesome characters like Genn Greymane that never actually got the promise of being a true and proper leader with their own city. You can see that Genn also got a really nice model update, but my working theory is that this has something to do with one of the artifact weapon quests… and sadly not that we might be able to actually use Gilneas as a proper city.
I find it hilarious that after all of these years… the model is still called “Lava Man” in the back end, instead of Bolivar or even the Lich King. This is obviously an updated version of the Lich King model, and I am wondering where exactly he will factor into the new content. My theory is that this is probably related to the Artifact weapon quest chain, but then a part of me wonders… if we are essentially creating an expansion with the best parts of Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, are they going to set the Lich King up for a return as well? We are after all seeing Illidan as part of this expansion, and it is a high likelihood that after all of these years Bolivar would lose his control over the power of the Lich King. I always questioned the sanity of allowing Bolivar to hold this position… even though it seemed pretty badass at the time. Surely eventually the power of the throne and the helm would overwhelm him… and he would in fact turn into a proper “new” Lich King.
With Legion could we be setting in a chain of events that would end up triggering a reboot of the Lich King content essentially? Where the Scourge under the direction of the new Bolivar Lich King would once again ravage Azeroth? There is part of me that doubts they would do something that blatant… but then again I never expected to see Illidan again. There is of course another option.. we might end up fighting along side the scourge under the control of Bolivar as they serve as a nearly limitless army to take on the Burning Legion. I guess it all depends on just how big this conflict gets before the end of the expansion. The problem is… as I let all of these theories and ideas out of my head… the more I am wanting to log into World of Warcraft in its current state and play. I know that the same game is there that I left several months ago, and that most of the things I am really interested in wont be here until Legion. The stranglehold of nostalgia however is absolutely a thing.