Updated Fri, Nov 25, 2011 by Saia
As we hurtle towards the conclusion of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the Horde is falling apart. How has this happened and what does it mean for for the future of Blizzard’s favoured faction?
The Horde has always had an interesting history but, of late, it’s gotten a lot more tumultuous. Since Thrall abdicated his position as Warchief to become Azeroth’s poster-orc and an uber Shaman things have gone downhill. Fast.
Garrosh’s appointment as his successor was controversial to say the least, especially given his attitude in WotLK and his accidental slaughter of the beloved Tauren leader Cairne Bloodhoof. Actually, Garrosh’s leadership has not been the nightmare we all assumed it was going to be. Even if he can’t escape Thrall’s shadow. Yet his leadership has not been without bloodshed, but he has proved on several occasions that his heart is morally in the right place. That is even with the Trolls hating his guts.
Whatever he does, Garrosh is haunted by the death of the former Tauren leader. Cairne had challenged Garrosh for his title of Warchief, believing the racist, arrogant Orc would doom the Horde. Magatha Grimtotem had engineered the Tauren leader’s death to allow her clan to take over Thunder Bluff while ensuring the disliked Garrosh got the blame but Baine eventually revealed the deception and officially pledged his loyality to the Horde under Garrosh’s leadership. Baine himself has a lot to live up to and big shoes to fill. He’s young and a relative unknown compared to other leaders, all of whom have long histories, but Baine does show a lot of promise and fresh blood can sometimes have a very positive effect.
The Blood Elves have had a similarly interesting history of late. After the demise of Kael’thas, leadership of the apathetic elves fell on the shoulders of former Farstrider, Lor'themar Theron. Many players − especially the Alliance — will probably be going “Who?” at this point which basically sums up his contribution to the Horde. We saw a bit of him in Wrath but since the Shattering, there’s been little mention of Lor'themar even though Blizzard has promised he’ll be getting more screen time in future.
Garrosh's leadership of the Horde has not been an easy one so far.
Even when Vareesa Windrunner, wife of Rhonin of the Kirin Tor, was asked by Halduron to help deal with the Amani resurgence during Rise of the Zandalari, Lor’themar didn’t even come in person, instead sending a messenger. This is the problem, the Blood Elves are still so preoccupied with their own affairs that they can’t seem to be bothered to interact with the rest of Azeroth and their leader is a shining example of that.
Then there’s Sylvanas. She is, without a doubt, the most controversial figure at the moment. She’s stormed into Gilneas, taken the place over and managing to evict the Worgen. Thanks to a pact with the Val’kyr, she's effectively immortal and determined to ensure the Forsaken as a future. Indeed, she’s surpassing even Garrosh in her desire to restore glory to her people. The problem is, Garrosh’s patience with her is growing shorter by the day and it won’t belong before the entire Horde rises up to deal with the rogue Banshee Queen. If there was ever a leader who should become a raid boss, it’s Sylvanas.
The Horde is fracturing under the pressure of its various leaders. Before we head to Pandaria, Garrosh needs to unite his people and become a proper leader rather than just a figurehead. The Blood Elves need to stop obsessing over their shiny new Sunwell and interact with the rest of the Horde, ditto the Goblins. Sylvanas needs keeping in check even though her heard is in the right place. She’s focusing on her people without taking other factors into account and it’s probably going to get her killed - permanently.
Varian Wrynn is rallying the Alliance, building bridges and making the faction stronger as a result. Garrosh needs to do the same for the Horde or we could soon find that the Pandaren isn’t the only stand-alone faction in the game.
How do you think the new WoW leaders are turning out? Does Sylvanas need stopping or should Gallywix get more lore? Let us know in the comments.