[WoW] Smart storytelling in Patch 5.1 (minor spoilers)


The Horde army in 5.1 is known as the Dominance Offensive. But looking at these NPCs (dominance medic???) you have to wonder what else these blood elves are up to after dark…

Patch 5.1 hit WoW recently and with it some new Scenarios (3 man instances) and Dailies (which are rapidly becoming the theme of this expansion). But that isn’t the only thing that landed with the new content.

As you work through the dailies and build up reputation with your factions invasion army, every few days you will also unlock a new questline which tells part of an ongoing story. Last week I wrote about one off events, dividing them into event driven and time driven, depending on whether it was a player’s action that kicked off the event or if it had its own schedule.

These new ongoing questlines look to be a bit of both. They seem to depend on your faction reputation (which you can improve by doing quests), but the reputation is gated by dailies (so there is a time-based limit on how quickly you can faction up.)


There is an achievement for finishing this storyline, which also gives us an idea of how much is left to run. Each mini storyline corresponds to one line in this box.I do worry about there being one called ‘rise of the blood elves’, although purging Dalaran sounds like fun.

The interesting thing about the storyline so far is that all the new mini story questlines are … actually telling a pretty cool story. I am now really looking forwards to each next update. And I feel really engaged and keen to do these dailies now to unlock more story, even when they are in that freaking mine place.

You can also tell with clockwork precision when guildies have done various parts of the quest due to people making comments on guild chat such as “Oh shit, Garrosh is here!” (said in the same way you might say ‘Oh shit, the boss is back’ at work, if your boss was a raging psycho.)

Intriguingly, this has also sparked me into working out more backstory and personality quirks for my characters. Mrs Spinks I already knew quite well, she’s a chirpy cockney with no sense of fear and no moral compass beyond looking after ‘her boys.’ Think undead Mrs Kray with a big axe. Mrs Spinks has no issues with working for a raging psycho like Garrosh, and would normally be pretty sanguine about a warmongering warchief – if nothing else, it means good employment prospects for warriors. But since Garrosh managed to royally piss off the entire Undercity, no Forsaken is going to cry if he meets with an unfortunate farming accident.

Scutter (the goblin priest) simply lives on another planet, and is happily trying to preach the prosperity gospel to the Klaxxi in between raids, it’s hopeless and pointless but she doesn’t see it. She’s loyal in the ‘oo shiny!’ sense and completely fails to see the big picture. If she says or does anything smart and/or useful, it’s a coincidence. She likes kittens, explosions, and making inappropriate new friends.

So where is the plot going?

Yeah, this is the spoilery bit.

There is one section of the Horde plot where you get to go meet Thrall (you just knew he was going to be involved) and free a troll village from the Kork’ron elite guard who are oppressing it. If you pay attention, you will notice that some of these orcs are using warlock-like abilities. Mrs Spinks may not be the smartest warrior on the block but even she can recognise a Shadow Bolt to the face.

Orcs using warlock spells has always been associated with demonic corruption in the past.

So my prediction is that Garrosh’s new advisor, Malkorok, is going to turn out to be Mal’Ganis. Who will throw Garrosh to the wolves (and/or Sha) and somehow escape at the end of this expansion to be one of the main bosses in the next, which is already suspected to have a Burning Legion theme. Mal’Ganis is also probably one of the better villains in WoW who is still standing, so I’d be rather happy to see him again. We do have unfinished business, after all.

I’m quite curious as to the Alliance storyline also, now. Anyone want to share?

11 thoughts on “[WoW] Smart storytelling in Patch 5.1 (minor spoilers)

  1. Thus far: We recruit a SI:7 spy who thought he was retired and put him to work. Assisting him, it looks like the blood elves of the Reliquary are being tasked by Garrosh to find some doomsday-ish Mogu weapon (the “Divine Bell”) and are scouring the continent to do so. We battle them a little.

    Varian tells us to go get Jaina to kick the blood elves out of Dalaran; Anduin is there chatting with her and failing. We tell Jaina (at least I do) to stick by her guns and ignore the king; she replies that after Garrosh nuked Theramore she just wanted to kill Horde in revenge, but overcame that, and wants to maintain Dalaran as a place where humans and aliens can work out their differences peacefully, five hundred thousand tons of spinning rock, all alone in the night, our last best hope for peace.

    • Thanks for that, it all sounds quite cool 😉

      Horde questline so far, with spoilers. Garrosh attempts to assassinate Vol’jin (this happens in a scenario, which is part of the domination point questline) and the injured troll goes into hiding. Garrosh heads to the Eternal Vale and decides that the Mogu had things down straight as far as intimidating their enemies go. He gets the blood elves hunting for relics and they find stories about this bell thing.

      Chen finds Vol’jin and gets you to come and help gather stuff to heal him with. Vol’jin gives you his hearthstone to take to Thrall, who enlists you to free the troll village on Echo Isles (troll starter area) from (warlocky) Kork’ron Overseers and tells you to go back and pretend to go along with Garrosh because he has to think about what to do next.

      Lor’themar and the blood elves get on with the relic finding, with hints that he’s not happy with Garrosh either.

  2. More Alliance details, with spoilers:

    The Alliance scenario is pretty cool. You team up with Varian and Tyrande to fight the Horde. You see some good writing for Varian, who is finally acting like a level-headed King of the Alliance. He’s still aggressive and attacking the Horde, but he’s much more precise, tactical and thoughtful. Varian and Aduin have a little chat about the war and Varian convinces Anduin the Horde need to be stopped.

    You also see Tyrande kind of pledge a deeper loyalty to Varian. Blizzard seems to be trying to set Varian up as the “High King” of the Alliance, essentially the Alliance version of a single Warchief.

    I don’t want to spoil too much about future Horde stuff either, but Jaina’s initial desire to stay peaceful with the Sunreavers may not go as planned…

    • *spoilers*

      The one who got killed in WC3 rather than Mal whose name I entirely forget. He shows at the end of the Scarlet Onslaught questline over in Northrend.

      • Yeah, the scarlet onslaught leader was Mal in disguise. There were two other dreadlords, one had been posing as the leader of the scarlet crusade (Balnazzar) and the other was Sylvanas’ ‘advisor’ who masterminded Wrathgate and got whacked by horde/alliance then.

        But I think Arthas did kill Mal’Ganis in WC3, he just reformed with a new body.

      • Yeah, Arthas knocked him out with Frostmourne before running off into the blizzard. Varimathras was the one that betrayed Sylvanas. There’s also Tichondrius from WC3, who hasn’t done anything of note since.

  3. On the Alliance side it’s interesting to see some evolution to Varian, but it feels very sudden. He didn’t change over the course of the last two expansions, now he’s suddenly interested in something other than personally killing every Orc that he can find. I agree that the scripting is well done (for Blizzard) but it feels really out of place. It would have been more powerful to see Varian grow into this person rather than have an apparent overnight conversion.

    Even with that, this is the best I’ve seen Blizzard do in introducing new content. The Klaxxi daily chain and integrated quests worked quite well, especially the cap piece. The Golden Lotus wasn’t as successful but they did have a good fight at the end. This seems to be following more the Klaxxi line, which is the better path in my opinion.

    • I can sort of infer / imagine that Anduin, who seems like a capable and good young man, had a lot of influence from the priests of the Light, and is in turn a good influence on his father – Varian seems interested in Anduin’s input whenever the two are together now.

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