It’ll take me a while to get through all of the MoP information from the latest press tour but, for me, the biggest announcement was that Garrosh, current Warchief of the Horde, is going to be the enemy of the final patch. This decision, while ultimately predictable, is probably the biggest show stopper of the entire expansion as far as concerns me. Clearly the popular view of Garrosh takes precedent again, not the considered view, and because he’s widely reviled he’s the next to die.
It’s unimaginative, and stupid.
Some readers will recall what I said prior to Cataclysm in my “Ode to the Warchief” (posted on WoW Insider), a post that saw some excellent commentary both for and against my view of the subject. Garrosh was exactly what the Horde needed at the time and he’s what the Horde needs right now. Most of the criticism levelled at him in the past is ignorant of the facts, and his behaviour exonerates itself a lot of the time. Naturally, it was compared to the behaviour of the Third Reich by the asinine, but it’s worth remembering what Garrosh is and what he strived to achieve.
“Garrosh killed Cairne!”
No, he didn’t. He was framed by the Grimtotem and Cairne’s death shook him to the core.
“Garrosh just wants to kill the Alliance!”
No, he doesn’t. He was enraged by the behaviour of his own orcs in the Thousand Needles.
“Garrosh hates Vol’jin!”
Any new leader, when threatened, would react. And Vol’jin still supported him against the Zandalari.
I could go on, but there’s no point in doing so. What’s most important, and what Blizzard are ignoring, is that Garrosh is a deep character who is consistent with his history. When you compare this to Thrall, undoubtedly the recipient of the Horde throne when all is said and done, he’s the better character by miles and miles. While Thrall is contradictory and the cause of a lot of great stories being sidelined to accommodate him, Garrosh gets involved where you’d expect and behaves as his history would dictate. And while it’s widely accepted that some of his viewpoints are morally unpalatable to some, it’s exactly that characteristic that makes him such a good character. Those views, as ugly as they may be seen by the players, resonate properly with the race he represents. Alas, that’s not good enough. Because people don’t like him, and Blizzard can’t be bothered to find a place for his particular vantage point, the game is further dumbed down to simply accommodate the classical version of “good and evil”.
But what is the players part in all of this? One of Cataclysm’s biggest lore failings was that the players were sidelined too much of the time and had no real choice in what transpired. If we’re talking about “war crimes committed by one side”, we have to assume it’s the Horde that have done it and that’s why Garrosh is then named as the main enemy of the expansion. So what part did we play in it? Was I part of these crimes? Did I have a choice? Did I support what happened or did I try to stop it? Do I end up fighting my faction itself?
There are other questions here, too. Are the Blood elves finally going to play a part here? Much of this seems to vindicate Sylvanas, which many won’t like. Baine, a battle-brother of Garrosh, must have felt that he could have helped temper Garrosh, while Vol’jin trusted the Warchief by virtue of trusting Thrall. Undoubtedly, all of this combined could have made for better story telling as Garrosh developed in his role. What about Varok Saurfang, the orc who helped guide Garrosh in Northrend?
But most importantly:
What made Garrosh commit war crimes, considering nothing in his past indicates that he would?
His reaction to Krom’kar in the Thousand Needles was clear and absolute. Genocide is not something he supports, because his belief in “honour” would stop him from doing so. Yet we’re supposed to just accept, as players, that all of a sudden he’s going to turn into Hitler, Milosovic, Stalin et al.
One thing that did intrigue me was that the S’ha could have played a part in this; their spreading of doubt, envy and fear could cause a paranoia in Garrosh that forced him to behave out of character. But the words “end his reign as Warchief” imply that the S’ha are not the enemy here and it’s Garrosh himself.
Just as with Illidan, another great character I might add, Blizzard are going to wreck established storylines just to make what they think will be a cool end boss. Once again, loot comes before the story which tells us all, pretty clearly, that they’ve learned none of the important lessons from Cataclysm with regard to lore. When you make loot the single most important facet to the game, you rob RPG players of their chance for an immersive world to play in and cheapen the game even further.
I’m so very disappointed with all this, I really am. I had such high hopes for Garrosh and he’s going to be killed off for no legitimate reason other than bad writing.
Garrosh is a winner.
It’s a shame his writers aren’t.