The big news this week (besides the nerfing of Firelands content, something that many other bloggers have already discussed) was that patch 4.3 would bring with it a new Legendary weapon - a Rogue dagger. As soon as I heard this, I started wondering what this dagger might be, and what lore significance - if any - it might have.
Now, patch 4.3 is the "end" patch of Cataclysm. It's the Deathwing patch. So it would make perfect sense if the Legendary was somehow connected to Deathwing. However...a dagger? Deathwing has a lot of ties to the Dragonflights, to the Night Elves, to the Old Gods, sure. But he's never really been one to mix it up in melee, where a fighter's blades could touch him. Sorcery and earth magic is much more his style.
So what could be the story behind the Legendary? And a dagger? Against the almighty Aspect of Death? It'd better have some pretty potent power behind it.
(This post contains some spoilers for some zones introduced or revamped with Cataclysm, including Mount Hyjal and the Badlands.)
The most common response I've heard is that the Legendary will be some form of pointy trophy from the big guy himself. Now, there's a lot of merit to this idea. It's very fitting, to create an ultimate weapon from the defeated remains of one of the most powerful beings ever to walk Azeroth. And there's something raw and appealing about a dragon's tooth as a dagger; it's visceral and barbaric, yet at the same time, very awe-inspiring.
However...I find myself unimpressed with this suggestion. First of all, what about his other teeth or claws? It doesn't seem very rare if an entire 25-man raid would have enough dragon tidbits to start making their very own Deathwing blade! Secondly, while it would be fitting, it just doesn't seem that interesting. There's no story or lore to it! When people talk about Dragonwrath, they can talk about the involvement with the Blue Dragonflight, Tarecgosa's tragic fate, how they had to temper and forge the staff in the fires of Ragnaros' servants and cleanse it of evil energies, etc.
But Deathwing's Tooth? What's the backstory there? "lol i killed deathwing and i took it."
Still, it's probably the most likely choice.
Remember, this is a ROGUE dagger. And there are very few noteworthy Rogues still kicking around who have any sort of historical relevance. Horde players saw Garona in Twilight Highlands, and worked with her to take down the Twilight Cultists there, but she's vanished (ha!) since then. Granted, her major grudge was with Cho'gall, but now that he's dead, maybe she turns her eyes to his new master? Especially if there's also an Old God lurking around somewhere to stab?
Garona is one of those rare NPCs who has a pretty rabid following on both factions, so I think a lot of players would be excited to team up with her in some epic questline. After all, she's pretty much THE Rogue. She's also a SIGNIFICANT cultural figure to both the Humans and the Orcs, which could tie into some very interesting developments with Varian and Garrosh. Finally, if it was the same dagger she used to assassinate King Llane, it would be an extremely powerful and bittersweet bit of closure.
Of course, the major flaw in this theory is that Garona doesn't actually have any direct connection to Deathwing. While I would love to see her waiting, stealthed, inside the raid entrance, it would feel a little random and contrived. Besides, she's a master fighter and assassin, but is she really going to be able to backstab Deathwing? A dagger's probably not going to be much good against him. Unless, of course, it served another purpose...
One of the more popular NPCs introduced in Cataclysm has been Thisalee Crow, the wild and edgy Druid of the Talon we first meet in Mount Hyjal. Within moments, we realize that Thisalee is a little...different. Unlike most druids, who emanate calm and tranquility, Thisalee is audacious and daring, and leaps into dangerous missions with a reckless abandon. She's also refreshingly cheerful and happy to see you, even while carrying out what are essential cutthroat black ops missions for the druids. It's totally badass.
It really wasn't surprising that she showed up again for the Molten Front quests, as one of the Druid of the Talon lieutenants. I'd say that were Blizzard to poll players for their favorite new NPCs, Thisalee would be near the top, if not the runaway winner.
How does Thisalee relate to Deathwing? Well, one of Deathwing's most defining characteristics is his metal-plated body, which serves as both physical armor and protection, but also to contain his bursting-at-the-seams power. Even if a foe were to get past his incredible magical defenses, and the fact that he's a GIANT DRAGON, they would still have to deal with his armored, near-invulnerable metal hide.
Hey, what do you know! Thisalee just so happens to have some experience dealing with this exact problem! In the quest Disassembly, there are Twilight dragonkin that have encased themselves in heavy metal plating, emulating their monstrous overlord. Thisalee's solution? Simple. Take a shiv, wedge it between the plates, and pry off that armor! And then, of course, kill them. Simple, but effective!
While I don't envision us just casually walking up to Deathwing and repeating this practice, I think the IDEA might be one that we duplicate. After all, we've got to get past that armor somehow! Obviously, no ordinary dagger would do. It'd have to be one specially treated and enchanted, to be able to take away Deathwing's infamous metal shell. There'd be a lot of work required. Add Thisalee's awesome personality and cult following, and you've got the makings of a great Legendary.
Unfortunately, as cool as Thisalee is, I don't think she's quite big enough to jump up to "had a Legendary named after me" status. Also, I personally think it'd be a nice touch to have a Legendary that wasn't simply a godly, ultimate weapon, but rather have it be more practical, something incredibly simple yet powerful. I think this...but I think many players would feel let down and disappointed.
(There's also the fact that Thisalee is a Druid, not a Rogue...)
Finally, Thisalee has the same problem as Garona - she doesn't really have any sort of direct grudge or vendetta with Deathwing. Sure, she wants him gone, but so does everyone else on Azeroth. She's a good soldier, no doubt, but it's not personal.
Legendaries should FEEL legendary. There should be pathos, emotion and powerful history behind them. Dragonwrath is epic because of the tragic sacrifice of the noble Tarecgosa, whose spirit rests within the staff, allowing you to carry on her legacy. Shadowmourne was epic because of the uneasy moral implications that arose from wielding a weapon of pure evil, lost souls and suffering; essentially becoming the same as the terrible foe you were trying to defeat.
As for Deathwing? He's nigh-invincible, is a former Dragon Aspect, and wields untold power bestowed upon him by the Old Gods. He is almighty and he knows it. But he's also extremely arrogant, and believes himself to be incapable of failure. Incapable of making mistakes.
Little does he know that a while ago, he made a big one. One that could potentially (and likely will) come back to bite him in the giant metal-plated rear.
I speak, of course...of Rhea.
We first meet Rhea in the Badlands, where she enlists our help in conducting a series of experiments on some Black Dragon eggs. Her goal? Cleanse the eggs and remove the cloying taint of the Old Gods, and produce a pure, uncorrupted Black Dragon. She hopes that a pure egg will allow for the eventual rebirth of the Black Dragonflight, restored to their former nobility and benevolence.
Amazingly, she succeeds, and manages (through the use of Titan relics) to purify an egg. She knows that both her and the egg will be in grave peril if Deathwing ever learns of what she is attempting to do, so she quickly packs up to leave, to take the egg and hide it away, safe from Deathwing's fury.
Rhea says: I'll just leave this right here.
Rhea says: How's my little baby doing?
Rhea says: No... it's... it's you! NO!
Deathwing says: You impetous little whelp... I know exactly what you and the mortal are up to.
Deathwing says: Are you ready to die, dragon?
Rhea says: Yes... just show mercy to the egg.
Deathwing yells: Mercy!
Deathwing yells: THERE IS NO MERCY! YOU WILL BURN FOR THIS, DRAGON!
Deathwing incinerates Rhea and the egg, and leaves. Players investigate the charred remains, only to find a final message from Rhea that is both heartbreaking and heroically stirring...the purified egg survives! But at such a terrible cost.
If you are reading this, then my suspicions were correct. Deathwing has found us. The egg is destroyed, as am I.
This was, actually, the plan from the beginning. You see... the egg that Deathwing destroyed was not the egg he sought.
It was mine.
A gnome scientist who had been assisting Rhea in her endeavors explains that the real egg had successfully been moved to safety, and Rhea's sacrifice would now ensure its safety, since Deathwing believed the egg to be destroyed. And then, because the questline apparently WASN'T SAD ENOUGH YET, he gives us a final gift from the deceased Rhea:
This questline has had an incredible impact on players. Go read the Wowhead comments for Rhea's Last Egg and you'll see countless heartbroken vows that her poor orphaned hatchling will be there when Deathwing falls; that players are going to kill Deathwing "for Rhea." Blizzard knocked it out of the park with this storyline.
So why not continue it?
Now, I'm not sure why this Legendary would be a dagger. And I have no idea why it would be for Rogues. But imagine how emotionally powerful and evocative it would be if the dagger was directly related to the purified egg that Rhea sacrificed herself for...if it wasn't just a weapon or powerful artifact, but rather a way for us to avenge the courageous red dragon and honor her tragic end.
Maybe the egg was hidden away in the Caverns of Time, secured away in a different time period, safe from Deathwing's notice. And who knows how much time has passed? The egg might now be a full-grown Black Dragon, uncorrupted and clear of heart, raised with love and nobility as its guardians rather than cruelty and evil. No doubt this dragon would know full well of the Red and Black Dragonflights, of Deathwing's corruption, and of Rhea's selfless sacrifice. It's basically the ultimate motherly act, for a creature that wasn't even her own child.
How would it play out? Maybe sometime in 4.3, Deathwing might show up and overpower us, and laugh at our pathetic efforts. Meanwhile, other Black Dragons would show up to bask in their master's power and laugh at our failure, and to watch Deathwing destroy us.
But then, one Black Dragon appears that Deathwing doesn't recognize. This mysterious dragon denounces Deathwing, and admonishes him for single-handedly ruining and destroying their once-proud flight.
Marenstrasz says: Your foul Old God masters have no hold over me, tyrant.
Marenstrasz says: Do you remember the Badlands? One brave dragon sacrificed everything to save me from becoming one of your slaves.
Marenstrasz says: She did it for us! For the future of our flight! And you murdered her for it.
Marenstrasz says: But she fooled you, Neltharion.
Marenstrasz says: The egg you destroyed was not not the purified egg...but her own.
Marenstrasz says: Love...sacrifice...honor. These are the things you have thrown away, in your lust for power.
Marenstrasz says: These are the things you have forgotten.
Marenstrasz says: No more! Our flight has suffered enough! You will taint us no longer!
Marenstrasz says: This is for the one who gave me life...the one who saved us.
Marenstrasz yells: This is for Rheastrasza!
...I don't know what Marenstrasz (just a name I made up, of course) would actually do at this point. Or even how it ties into becoming a Legendary. I'm tapped out! But man, this would be awesome. Of all the possible Legendary dagger/Deathwing connections, I think a Rhea hook would be amazing. Emotional, sad yet bittersweet, and a great sense of closure/justice. It's got it all!
And I don't even LIKE Rhea. But that's a story for another post.