Updated Mon, Nov 07, 2011 by Saia
Death in World of Warcraft is a funny thing. As we learned in Cataclysm, it’s not always final. Much less if you’re a Player Character who can make use of the services of a Spirit Healer. But what if you’re an NPC? True legends have a way of coming back but should they and who should be next to go?
NPCs die all the time but, in WoW, they can come back. Just look at Cenarius, Aviana and Malorne who we spent hours resurrecting in Hyjal. Also Onyxia, several times, along with her brother Nefarian. Yet, in the last few patches, there have been more who have died and haven’t come back: Arthas, Illidan, Malygos, Cairne Bloodhoof, Magni Bronzebeard and, of course, Krasus.
Blizzard has been taking the writers’ maxim “murder your darlings” a tad literally of late and it seems no one - except perhaps Thrall (for now at least) - is safe. There are a plethora of characters who could be next on the chopping block so who could be next and how could they meet their end?
Thrall is, of course, the best candidate for heroic sacrifice. The saviour of Azeroth who is being set up to save the world and possibly give his life in the process. He’s going to stand up to Deathwing and help us defeat him using the Demon Soul. It’s not really possible to top that so perhaps it’s better he go the heroic sacrifice route - a la Bolvar. To go out with a bang rather than a whimper.
As times moves forward, no NPC is safe from Death.
Then there’s Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen. Since Arthas’ fall, she’s been on a mission to give her people security. She’s taken Gilneas for the Horde and has entered into a contract with the Val’kyr to save them, herself and the Forsaken themselves. Suddenly her dying people have a chance again but she is wandering down a slippery slope which could end in her final death, along with that of her people and the Val’kyr. I can easily see her going a tad bonkers and becoming a raid boss in a later patch or just being assassinated on Garrosh's orders.
On the Alliance side, there are quite a few possibilities. Blizzard is well known for it's love of the Horde but their bias is getting to the point where players are kicking their heels waiting for something to happen in Stormwind. Previously popular characters with a deep background in lore, NPCs like Jaina, Tyrande, Velen and even newcomer Genn Greymane feel neglected. These days it's all Thrall, Deathwing and the continuing battle against the Twilight's Hammer. There are many characters who’ve not really contributed that much to the in-game lore of late and could now have the sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads.
Take Jaina, for example. At one time, players were convinced she and Thrall were destined to be together but then comes Aggra and since Arthas was finally defeated, the Alliance’s most powerful sorceress has fallen to the side lines. Jaina’s last appearance was a witness to Thrall’s wedding. There are hints that Theramore is going to meet a fiery fate in Mists so perhaps this will be her time to shine?
Similarly Velen hasn’t really contributed anything since arriving with the Draenei. His only major role has been the restoration of the Sunwell using Mu’ru’s spark. Other than he hasn’t contributed much to lore other than being the wise, grandfathery type who watches while his grandkids run around killing dragons.
Of course, let's not forget Tyrande. She’s been well and truly sidelined by her hubby which is understandable, really. Malfurion, of course, is one of the great champions of Azeroth recently returned from the Emerald Dream to help lead the war against Ragnaros and Deathwing. Tyrande, now co-leader of the Night Elves, has to face up to some unpleasant truths, including that her race can now die of old age. Yet, as of late, she’s had no real discernible role in the lore, except for standing in her husband’s shadow and attempting to lead her people.
Yet it’s also curious. In 4.3, during the End Time dungeon we have to fight four shadows, echoes of Baine, Jaina, Sylvanas and Tyrande. Why those four? Is there some meaning in the choice of racial leaders we had to fight? Who knows but perhaps, with time, we’ll find out. Who do you think should be next to have a date with death and why? Let us know in the comment’s box.