July 17, 2009

Gilneas, the Worgen, and the Scythe of Elune

Okay. So when I post about WoW, I try to make it so that non-WoW players can have some idea of what I'm talking about in the post. With this post... I'm not really gonna make that effort. I'm too excited, there's too much to discuss. Explaining everything would just make this post two times (at least) as long. Because we're gonna talk about the big discovery- possible evidence of two new playable races that will be added in the new expansion pack.

At this point, it's more or less a given that a new expansion will be announced at BlizzCon. If it isn't, everyone will be massively disappointed. And heck, we're due one, anyway, by the schedule that Blizzard themselves announced a while back. A lot of people are taking it for granted that the new expansion will be a Maelstrom expansion, with additions to old world Azeroth- I think it quite likely, but let's not cement that idea in our heads. Certainly Blizzard has hinted this strongly, but we have to remember, this is Blizzard. This is the guys that kept Starcraft 2 a complete secret for nine freaking years. They are pretty good at keeping stuff under wraps. And that's the only reason I'm still on the edge about these supposed new races, as well. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, a dataminer found some new face textures for the Hallow's End masks, modeled after Goblins, and what is likely a species of Worgen (since they don't look like regular Worgen).

I'm pretty sure that they are, indeed, Worgen, despite how unusual they look. They do rather look like cat people, but given Blizzard's repeated declarations that if they added new races, they would be drawn from existing lore and set up to succeed, thus avoid what many people consider the "lol lore"situation of the Draenei, WoW's biggest retcon, I am pretty confident that they are Worgen. Consider A) that those are flat textures, and once applied to 3d models, the added depth will change the look, and B) that they could well be concept art, not finalized skins, especially considering how similar they look to certain pieces of noted Blizzard artist Samwise Didier. Add to that the fact that every Hallow's End mask thus far has been of a playable race, with every race represented- Blood Elf and Draenei masks were added for Burning Crusade, just as Blood Elves and Draenei were made playable- and you have yourself a pretty compelling argument for Goblins and Worgen becoming playable.

Smart money is on the Worgen being Alliance, and the Goblins being Horde. Why, you ask? Well, for Goblins, even though they currently exist as a neutral faction, a lot of them were members of the Horde back in Warcraft 2, so it's not so hard to imagine them rejoining, especially if this does turn out to be a Maelstrom expansion... as their home, Kezan, is an island nation, they are dangerously close to the Naga threat in the middle of the ocean, and would probably need some help. Needing help in WoW means picking a side, and you better believe they have more reason to go Horde than Alliance. And of course, there would be no need to alter the existing Goblin factions to be meaner to the Alliance or nicer to the Horde- races are rarely a united front, least of all the mercenary, opportunist Goblins. They're easy to lore justify.

The fun- and I really do mean fun, I love this stuff- comes in justifying the Worgen for Alliance. A lot of assumptions have to be made, at this point in time, to link them to the Alliance, and that sounds like a blast to me. But first, we have to get a basis in facts. So let's do that.

So, the Worgen are primarily present in three areas in the game- Silverpine Forest, Darkshore, and Grizzly Hills. In Grizzly Hills, the Worgen demonstrate an ability to infect/curse humans, and thereby turn them into Worgen. No other races have been shown as being turned into Worgen. In Darkshore, an Alliance questing area populated by humans, we learn the story of Velinde Starsong, a Night Elf Sentinel who brought the Worgen into this world via the Scythe of Elune. And in Silverpine Forest, we have the Undead and Kirin Tor mages both fighting the Worgen as they roam the forest... and, of course, the instance Shadowfang Keep, in which the (human) Archmage Arugal resides with his army of Worgen. So though the Horde has certainly fought the Worgen a few times, they just don't have the deep lore connection with the Worgen that the Alliance does. The Worgen were summoned by the Alliance, controlled by an ex-member of the Alliance, and turned members of the Alliance into more of their kind.

And that's not even mentioning Gilneas. Gilneas is a human nation that has shut itself off from the rest of the world for quite a long time. Near the start of the third war, the leader of Gilneas basically declared that they weren't going to help the Alliance, and they didn't need the Alliance's (or anyone's) help, that they were strong enough to shut themselves off from the world and be perfectly self-sufficient. And then they promptly closed their gates, and no one has left, entered, or heard from them since. That was years ago, and as cited above, Blizzard has hinted that some very interesting things have happened behind those closed doors, and that we will soon learn about them.

Okay, that's pretty good grounds for a little conspiracy theory, but what does it have to do with the Worgen? Well, Shadowfang Keep is approximately a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Gilneas border (that's a technical system of measure). A whole army of Worgen, who have proven their ability to turn humans into more of themselves, right around the corner to this nation that has gone dark for years. What would happen if a few Worgen managed to get inside? Unlike the rest of the world, they would have no idea what they were dealing with- everyone else has fought the Worgen, knows how dangerous they are and how they can spread, but the Gilneans would likely just treat them like any other monster. And when they did so, someone would inevitably get infected... and just like a plague, the infection would spread like wildfire. Extremely contagious condition + ignorant public + isolation. Do the math. Gilneas would be Worgen-ized inside of a few years.

You think that's fun? Tommorow, I'll post a little made-up (but logical) lore background to how it could even happen, how it would go. Look forward to it! Especially since it has me so excited that I'm posting on a Saturday.

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