What Theramore's destruction will mean for WoW

Hugh at MMO Melting Pot and I were both extremely intrigued when we caught wind of Theramore's impending demise. We threw ideas back and forth and debating writing a cooperative article, but in the end decided it would be better for us to each write our own and cross-link. I highly recommend you go read his take on this fascinating subject! :D

Blizzard Blue Zarhym recently revealed that at some point in the future, Theramore will be destroyed by the Horde, a shocking and intriguing revelation that is sure to have huge ramifications. The announcement has been controversial, and many Alliance players are unhappy or downright furious about the news. However, I think this is going to be the catalyst, the spark the re-ignites the Alliance flame that's been somewhat dwindled as of late.

The initial reaction to the news was a flood of resentment from Alliance players, upset to lose yet another beloved city, and outraged at the evil, vile Horde for destroying poor innocent Theramore for no reason at all. This is actually quite the sticky topic, because it's much more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Remember, it was Theramore - not Varian, not Tyrande, not the ALLIANCE - but Theramore who burned and razed Camp Taurajo to the ground. So for the Horde to strike back at Theramore actually makes perfect sense, tit-for-tat, avenging their fallen kin, etc. Have you talked to the survivors in Southern Barrens? These are no longer the peaceful nomads that once lived at Camp Taurajo as simple hunters - these Tauren are MAD.

Secondly, many players equate the destruction of Camp T with the destruction of Astranaar, the Night Elf settlement in Ashenvale. I don't agree with this sentiment, for a few reasons. For one thing, the Orcs and Night Elves have been battling over Ashenvale for years. One side striking at the other is, at this point, completely natural and even expected. I mean hell, the Night Elves are actively besieging the Horde's Splintertree Post in current game-time.

The constant battles in Ashenvale are certainly sad, but they are nowhere near the sucker punch feel of Theramore destroying Camp Taurajo, who have NEVER been involved in faction squabbles or disputes. It's basically comparing the assault of a military outpost to the bombing of a bus full of civilians. It's not the same.

Furthermore, the amount of destruction is laughably different. In Ashenvale, the Horde are attacking Astranaar, and the Night Elves (and Alliance players) are fighting them off. The city is intact, the NPCs are still there hanging out, and everything is still fine, it's just that the roofs are on fire and Horde wind riders are flying around overhead. It's an ongoing battle in which Alliance players can make a difference and help the Night Elves defend their town.

But Camp Taurajo? There is no battle. There is no defense. The outpost is dead, being picked clean by scavengers. Human scavengers. Horde players find corpses of familiar Tauren NPCs, including some heartbreaking ghost memories of Tauren civilians being butchered by Theramore soldiers. One ghost's last memory is bravely telling his companions to run, while he tried to hold off the attackers with a skinning knife. A skinning knife!

The attack on Astranaar was an attack that burned the Night Elves' buildings and war machines, but the Theramore attack on Camp Taurajo was a massacre. And why? To build a road, apparently.

Now, Alliance players could say, okay, maybe not Astranaar, but what about Southshore! And in this, they would be correct. The Forsaken DID destroy Southshore, and destroy it but good. Which leads into another hot topic about Theramore's impending demise - the supposed favoritism Blizzard shows the Horde.

In a lot of ways, this is a valid complaint. In Cataclysm, the Horde HAS achieved more military victories than the Alliance. Southshore, Gilneas, Andorhol, Astranaar...all have been under attack or taken over by Horde forces, while the Alliance really has only the dubious achievement of butchering Camp Taurajo. And of course, there is the heavy story focus on Thrall, even though he is supposed to be a neutral figure now.

Alliance players might also point out that they have suffered greatly with the loss of Darkshore, which is a particularly devastating zone to quest through. While this is true, I wouldn't agree that this is "Horde bias" - just like the Alliance has lost Darkshore to natural disaster, so too have the Horde lost Freewind Post in Thousand Needles to massive flooding and the Grimtotem. (It is interesting to note that in both Horde losses I have described so far, it is the Tauren who have suffered.)

However, while it's true that the Horde seems to be "winning" so far, to say it's unfair and biased is silly. The story isn't finished yet. This is but one swing of the war, and to judge things before they have resolved is absurd. As Blizzard pointed out at Blizzcon, the Horde has made military conquests, yes, but at what cost? The Horde leadership is extremely strained, and is close to breaking. Garrosh is on poor terms with Sylvanas, Vol'jin AND Baine, and Lor'Themar and Gallywix are all but non-existent. And none of those leaders have really shown any great friendship/fondness for one another (though I imagine there might be some allegiances between Vol'jin/Baine and Sylvanas/Lor'themar).

In contrast, the Alliance leadership is rock solid right now. As we saw in Wolfheart, every Alliance faction and their leaders get along well with one another, with the exception of the Dark Irons. But since they are part of a tripartite leadership, and the other 2 thirds get along great with the other races, this is more of a nuisance than any real problem. Varian himself is going through massive growth and shedding the brash immaturity he displayed in Wrath, and Blizzard said that there would be a quest line in the future where Varian undertakes a series of trials (much like Hercules) to prove himself to the other races of the Alliance, and show them that he's worthy of being their king.

In fact, when Varian does undergo these trials and becomes the Alliance figurehead, it will be the culmination of an interesting change in leadership dichotomies. Before Garrosh became Warchief, the Horde had always been a tight-knit group of ragged survivors whose strength came largely from their unity. On the other hand, the Alliance had never enjoyed this sense of community, since the various nations were relatively independent and self-sufficient. But now these trends have changed, and it is the Alliance who are banded together in solidarity while the Horde splinters more and more with each passing day.

If you consider these factors, which side is really in the better position? The Horde has some powerful players, yes, but if they can't work together and operate as a team, they'll be no match for the Alliance's unified front. Now add in the fact that Garrosh has NOT shown the same kind of personal growth that Varian has been experiencing, and the fact that Sylvanas seems poised to go completely crazy and become the new Lich Queen, and ask yourself - which side is REALLY better off right now?

I'm excited about this prospect. The Horde has gotten a little too complacent lately, too confident and bold in their actions. One of the appealing elements of being Horde is the whole fighting-for-survival, underdog feeling...but this only works when you're actually the underdog! Being put back on their toes and losing territory, being forced to really scrape and claw for survival - it's going to be a blast.

Alliance players should be equally excited, for this is their moment of glory! It's true that there's been some moments in Wrath and Cataclysm that have been hard to stomach, and it's seemed unfair at times. But this is all going to change. The hand of the Alliance is all posed to give the Horde a bloody nose, and foolish, brash Garrosh is about to learn the hard way what happens when you piss off everyone.

Now, politics aside, the destruction of Theramore is fascinating on a number of levels. From a Horde military standpoint, it's a very tempting target, being the sole Alliance stronghold in central Kalimdor, as well as the ONLY Alliance port on the eastern Kalimdor coast. It has long been a pain for the Horde, with both the Barrens and Durotar suffering under Theramore military attacks in the past. Eliminating Theramore would make it nearly impossible for the Alliance to produce any sort of ground support for between their forces in Ashenvale/Darkshore and Feathermoon Stronghold, way down south in Feralas. And of course, there's the whole "avenging Camp Taurajo" motivation.

On the flip side, what would the Horde truly gain? Despite its excellent location, Theramore hasn't ever been a major supply depot for the Alliance - it's not like the Crossroads has been fighting off Alliance assaults pouring out of Dustwallow or anything. And even if Ironforge or Stormwind were to send over an army to assist Kalimdor's Alliance forces, Dustwallow is pretty isolated right now, and these troops would have to march up through the Barrens and through the Horde's Mor'shan Rampart to reinforce Ashenvale, or somehow navigate the flooded valley that is now Thousand Needles to get to Feralas. In either case, it would be a struggle, and transporting heavy tanks or siege machines would be extremely difficult, if not downright impossible.

This does raise the interesting issue of naval support. The Alliance, whose transportation system revolves around ships, has some pretty awful harbor locations. Theramore is the only Alliance port on Kalimdor's eastern shore able to receive ships from Ironforge, Stormwind or Menethil Harbor. (Menethil is flooded but it's still Alliance-controlled, and could be salvaged.)

Meanwhile, the Alliance strongholds on Kalimdor's west side - Feathermoon Stronghold, Darnassus, the Exodar, and Darkshore - have almost zero naval support, since the only Alliance port on the Eastern Kingdom's east coast is Highbank in Twilight Highlands. (This is of course assuming that Azeroth is round.) Furthermore, reinforcements sent overseas through Highbank would be limited to infantry and ground forces, since it would be all but impossible to transport siege engines and heavy war machines from Ironforge and Stormwind up into and through the rocky and contested Highlands.

The Horde, however, have a number of ports on the eastern shoreline, in the Hinterlands, Twilight Highlands, Badlands and Swamp of Sorrows.

If I were the Alliance, I'd move to conquer Swamp of Sorrows and build a major shipyard on its coast. The region is close to Stormwind and there are no Horde outposts along the way, so reinforcements (including tanks and siege engines) could be transported quickly and without obstruction, and sent overseas to Feathermoon or Darnassus. Furthermore, troops from Ironforge (and tanks) could be sent the short distance north to Menethil, then shipped down to Stormwind for redeployment.

Speaking of southern Eastern Kingdoms, I pointed out how lone and isolated Theramore is, all by itself in the middle of Kalimdor. Well, so are Grom'gol and Stonard for the Horde! These two tiny outposts are both just a stone's throw away from Stormwind. Logically, Varian should probably stomp out these small camps and lock down the south for the Alliance, to ensure that the road to the harbor in Swamp of Sorrows remains unmolested, and to remove the only semi-significant Horde outpost south of Stormwind.

Anyway. Naval logistics aside, Theramore is beloved by the Alliance, as is its leader Jaina, and attacking either would undoubtedly enrage the Alliance. It could very well be the catalyst that finally, truly unites the traditionally-independent Alliance factions, by giving them a cause - a martyr, really - to fight for. This is what a Horde advisor, perhaps Eitrigg, would point out, but we all know Garrosh doesn't really consider any advice but his own, which in this case could be a fatal mistake.

Speaking of Jaina, what's her take on this? She's always been neutral when it comes to war, to the point of turning on Grand Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, her own father, to prevent pointless deaths. At least, she was. She hasn't been seen in Cataclysm (with the doesn't-really-count exception of being there at Thrall and Aggra's wedding), but Theramore DID go destroy Camp Taurajo. Has she had a change of heart? Or is someone else pulling the strings there now?

Jaina does have a brother, Tandred Proudmoore, who is charge of the island nation of Kul Tiras. Is he like Jaina, or their father? Maybe after arriving in Theramore, Tandred is horrified to find out what Jaina did to dear old dad, and seizes command? I'm not saying Jaina would be too weak to retain control - she's obviously very, very strong - but I wouldn't be surprised if she simply couldn't bring herself to fight her brother. Not to mention that many of Theramore's residents probably still have very close bonds and loyalties to Kul Tiras.

Even without her brother or Kul Tiras, Jaina might be having second thoughts about remaining neutral, what with Thrall no longer Warchief and after hearing about all the nasty things Garrosh has been doing, and considering her city is alone in hostile territory. Would she order Camp Taurajo burned? Probably not, but her orders might have been misconstrued, the soldiers may have been overzealous, or hey, maybe there's even been a coup in Theramore, with concerned/scared citizens deciding that no, they really AREN'T comfortable with the Horde right on the doorsteps. Many, many possibilities.

In any case, the Horde attacking Theramore could (and should!) mean big things for Jaina. She's always been the calm, peaceful one, but that's before her home was attacked. Now, it wouldn't be really unprovoked - any sane leader would realize, okay, this is PROBABLY in retaliation because we slaughtered Camp Taurajo - but maybe something about the attack really pisses her off. Maybe Garrosh uses dirty tactics, maybe it has to do with her brother, or you know what? Maybe she's pissed at the Alliance for not being there to help Theramore when they needed it, after they built them that damn road and dirtied their hands with that unpleasant Taurajo business. There's a lot of options here, but as long as they end up with Jaina mad and burning things, I'll be happy.

Also, Garrosh needs to learn humility if he's going to grow, and what would humble him more than a crushing defeat at Jaina's hands? Garrosh probably has zero respect for Jaina, because she's small and weak (physically), she's always been focused on peace every time they've met, and of course, she's a human. In fact, while Garrosh at least respects Varian as a warrior, he probably sees Jaina as just Varian's aide or lackey. Every time she and Garrosh have crossed paths - the Ulduar trailer, the Argent Tournament - Varian has very clearly been the one in charge. A solid ass-kicking by Jaina would be awesome on so many levels - it'd be extremely satisfying to Alliance players and people who love Jaina, and it might finally instill some common sense into Garrosh's thick skull.

(It would also be really nice to have another strong, decidedly dominant female character! Sylvanas for the Horde, Jaina for the Alliance.)

A lot of people have also been making a big deal about Thrall, wondering what he will think about this whole mess. He is, after all, friends with Jaina, and he's not thrilled at Garrosh's leadership so far. Will this incident make him step in and take back the reins?

Well, I hope not. Theramore's destruction really has nothing to do with him, and he has his own Big Important Things to deal with. And while he is close friends with Jaina, do you honestly think that's more important than finding out the people at Camp Taurajo - his former people, and probably friends or acquaintances! - were murdered? Not even close.

Contrary to what players want, Thrall will NOT find out about Theramore's destruction and be so aghast he returns to take over as Warchief. Thrall might be saddened, and feel really bad for Jaina, and even be angry at Garrosh initially...but make no mistakes, he would never condemn Garrosh for standing up for the Horde and avenging their fallen brothers and sisters. Hell, even if Thrall was still Warchief he'd still strike back at Theramore, despite his friendship with Jaina. It would be his responsibility as leader of the Horde, and his responsibility to his people. We saw him clash with Jaina about this exact type of issue in the Shattering novel, over the Orc attacks in Ashenvale. Jaina was shocked that Thrall didn't hand over the Orc attackers into Alliance custody, but remember, Thrall is a nice guy, but his #1 loyalty (as Warchief) is to his people. And if the survivors of Camp Taurajo are crying out for blood and demanding justice for what Theramore did, Thrall wouldn't have any choice.

Furthermore, what would Thrall coming back right now really achieve? It would look silly on Blizzard's part, to essentially be ret-conning Thrall's abdication so soon after it happened. It would basically be admitting "yeah, we screwed up, here's Thrall back on the throne." It would also be really wasteful. The successful return of a big hero type figure can have awesome dramatic effect, but only when the person's absence has been truly missed. And while there's complaints about Garrosh, from a Horde perspective, things are going great! They're strong, they're seizing territory back from the Alliance, and things are good.

No, I don't think we'll see Thrall return until much later, after the ramifications of Theramore's destruction have been fully played out and felt. When the Horde has been beaten back, and is splintered, bickering, desperate and on the verge of collapse. THAT is when a huge return by Thrall would have the most effect, as the son of Durotan steps in and - once again - unites the fractured shambles of the once-mighty Horde into a unified, cohesive faction.

So how will all this end up with shipwrecked Horde and Alliance forces landing on Pandaria's shores? Well, we know the faction battle will be taken to the seas, and I think the connection here is obvious - Kul Tiras.

This island nation has always been renowned for its fleets and naval superiority, and Theramore's destruction/involvement is the PERFECT tie-in, considering Jaina's roots and the fact that her brother Tandred is Kul Tiras' Lord Admiral.

Furthermore, the only existing Kul Tiras characters or NPCs to appear so far in-game were soldiers manning Tiragarde Keep, a small keep in southern Durotar. Formerly led by Daelin Proudmoore and fiercely opposed to the Orcs, Tiragarde's militia clashed with Horde forces from Razor Hill for years.

Tragically, Tiragarde was destroyed in the Shattering as the ocean erupted, shattering the keep walls and drowning all within. But will Tandred really believe that his soldiers were killed by a natural disaster and not their hated green-skinned neighbors, who remain nearby, seemingly unharmed?

(Kul Tiras also originally controlled the island prison of Tol Barad, but the island is now overrun with undead and unaligned rebel forces, and no one knows for certain what happened to the Kul Tirans.)

I think the Horde is going to find themselves very surprised and off-balance at the sudden appearance of these new foes, especially considering the soldiers of Kul Tiras are pretty much the most badass group of sailors in existence. Maybe Horde players are sent by Garrosh to assault Kul Tiras itself to wipe out this threat, and maybe Alliance players are sent to counter this assault. The subsequent naval battle in uncharted waters (remember, we don't actually know where Kul Tiras is now, post-Shattering) could easily end up with us washing up on a strange, never before-seen island...Pandaria.

Theramore is a popular little place, and it's definitely understandable why Alliance players were upset to hear its days were numbered. But it is exactly this loyalty and sense of outrage that will make its destruction such an important event, one that will mark the beginning of a new chapter in WoW's awesome, ever-evolving story.

31 Responses Subscribe to comments

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    Whoa, I think I love this post. Hell, I'm excited just reading your take on things.

    Camp T. really was a heartbreaking loss. I have yet to finish the questlines in the Southern Barrens, but now I feel I need to - and I, too, look forward to seeing what results from the destruction of Theramore.

    November 3, 2011 at 2:54 PM

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    I find this pretty interesting looking at the issues at hand from both angles. I don't think Blizz is anti alliance per se. I do agree with you that it is the fortunes of war. It is a huge blow against the Alliance to lose Theremore though. From the PvP perspective, this is the closest launch point for any serious incursions against Orgrimmar. Even with flight it still takes a hot minute to get from Darkshore out over to Duratar. It's a challenge but not one that is insurmountable.

    It may however, bring more attention to Darnassus. We already have the Worgen enclave there, as well as representatives from the Exodar. Unfortunately many of the alliance player base wont see the opportunity at hand to support the Night Elves in reclaiming the Western Kalimdor regions and solidify Night Elf and Worgen power bases.

    My one gripe I suppose was loosing Southshore. That hurt as an alliance player and especially as a pvper. Southshore used to be one of the hottest contested areas in open world pvp since it bordered both alliance and horde.

    Alliance folks dont remember also that Wesfall has been built up and fortified pretty intensly. The redridge has also seen a fair amount of fortification. This in itself is a pretty good advance since a whole lot of incursions came just north of Lakeshire.

    Theremore's demise will simply solidify the Horde's control of Eastern Kalimdor.

    On a personal note, the majority of players are PvE'ers (not a bad thing, it just is the larger player base). World PvPers are going to hurt the most out of this. The few times Ive dropped by Theremore post Cata, it's a dead city. Alliance players whine about it, yet overall at least on the servers I have played on, they don't use it so what's the point?

    Storyline wise, the greatest heroes usually only arise from the ashes of the darkest days.

    Allaince, stop crying, get off your collective butts and DO SOMETHING! You got lazy because you didnt have to leave your City walls after you hit 80. You really didnt have to quest hard or work through every quest to get to be your epic self. You want more? Then do more! Repopulate your old cities of Ironforge and Darnassus! But stop crying in self pity.

    Geez, I sound like a Horde guy. Honestly with the exception of a couple of toons here and there, I am Alliance. I just take what I see and bust my butt in the fight where ever I go.

    Excellent article by the way!


    November 3, 2011 at 3:02 PM

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    As a player, I would compare the loss of Camp T to the loss of Auberdine. The experiences were similar for me. I recognized every one of the NPCs and couldn't help but feel like, in some small way, Blizzard had killed my friends without giving me a chance to save them. I'd spent plenty time in both places over several characters, and those characters had become some of the things that makes a place in the game feel like "home".

    From a story point of view, I don't really think the Alliance has had a Camp T moment. While the destruction of Southshore is similar, Horde characters are sent into Camp T and you can experience that as both the player and the character. Alliance characters don't get a Southshore experience. I want to see the destruction of Thermore from the Alliance side. I want my Alliance characters to get what my Horde characters did when they were sent into the ruins of Camp T.

    The Southern Barrens is one of those areas I've pointed out to people as a place where both sides are playing through the same story now, and so both views matter. I feel like playing zones like Southern Barrens, Stonetalon, Ashenvale, and Western Plaguelands (for Andorhal) from only one side or the other is like reading every other chapter of a book. For the character, yeah... they only know what their side knows. But I like, as a player, knowing both sides. And I feel the Horde actually got a clearer story on their side in Southern Barrens than the Alliance did. Not more complete, mind you... but clearer.

    It's not too clear from the Alliance side just who the people we're working with are. General Hawthorne, for example, is allied with Stormwind, and quest text talks a lot about the Alliance, not Theramore. It's not really clear if this is an Alliance operation being run out of Theramore, or if the Alliance is there to assist Theramore in their operation. I think it would be a lot more clear if Dustwallow Marsh had been completed. Instead, we have a new road and some dead Gimtotems lying around, but basically the same quests we always had in that zone.

    I think this is an important step in the story. Having played both sides of Southern Barrens, I know General Hawthorne is not what he seems to be from the Horde point of view. But I also know the Horde has no way of knowing that. I can't blame the Horde for calling him the "Butcher of Taurajo". I can't blame them for not knowing they were manipulated into murdering the closest thing to an innocent man you'll probably find out there. (Without it being someone neutral, like the Earthen Ring guys.) And I expect the story to go somewhere from there. I expect to see people on the Alliance side suffer for things they've done, and I expect them to see that they've brought pain to innocent people on their own side. That actions and decisions matter. And I expect the Horde to find out that not everything was what it seemed at Camp T. I expect them to find out you can have the right reasons for doing something, but still do the wrong thing. I expect to see STORY!

    Also, I don't know why Theramore is popular. I've always hated the place. Let it burn.

    November 3, 2011 at 3:20 PM

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    I'll miss Theramore as the troll portal -- it looks like Stormwind, and not many people read the tooltip before they click it. :)

    As for who attacked Camp T? As an Alliance player who completed the Theramore quests many many times, I keep thinking about the deserters there. Of course, that could & probably is some remnant of Vanilla WoW or even earlier WC3, but I've never thought of Theramore as a solid unit, militarily. I've always smelled a chunk of defection, and as an Alliance player who went back after the Shattering, my characters are angry at the defectors for Camp T.

    Of course, it would be brilliant if it turned out it was actual Alliance or Theramore leadership that attacked Camp T. My characters would be completely shocked.

    November 3, 2011 at 3:49 PM

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    The Renaissance Man

    The Horde players got closure on the Southern Barrens micro story when they murdered General Hawthorne and then destroyed the oldest Dwarf settlement on the continent. That's how the zone ends for Alliance players, desperately trying to hold their hands steady as they pour one last ale past the lips of a dwarf dying of excrutiating burns. Southern Barrens is actually a more demoralizing zone for Alliance players than it is for Horde players. It's filled with little beyond Horde War Crimes, Alliance War Crimes, and bad feelings all around.

    Another major problem for advancing the Story in the 1-60 zones is the fact that Blizzard is unlikely to do major overhauls on zones that just got major overhauls in Cataclysm. The Alliance got an unsatisfying storyline in Swamp of Sorrows where they crush the Horde at Stonard... only to disarm the village and leave it standing. Only Blizzard doesn't even phase Stonard, so as soon as the quest ends, a bunch of Orc guards show up and try to carve a chuck out of the player. So much for disarmarment. Likewise, STV got a major rebuild. As such, neither zone is likely to be the center for any Alliance retribution.

    I think the main reason why Dustwallow was left mostly untouched in the revamp was because they were saving it for this event.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:13 PM

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    You shouldn't compare Camp T to Auberdine or even Astranaar.

    Silverwind Refuge. That's a more apt comparison.

    Horde went in and wiped out the Refuge. You can still see the bodies of the old vendors on the ground when you go there.

    As a die-hard hordie, I can't stand to do Camp T quests (once was enough, I cry and get mad when I pass by it). But having done little in Ashenvale horde-side (outleveled it and wanted to see Stonetalon's quests), I don't know the Refuge backstory.

    I do know that going in for the candy bucket caused me to pause and look around at all the dead. Not just Sentinels. Alchemy trainers. Reagent vendors. Herbalism trainers. Their bodies are still lying there on the ground.

    I do want to quest there on both sides. Hopefully I'll have time to get more of that story.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:27 PM

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    Well, you've done it again. This is probably the longest blog post I've ever read that I was totally engaged in the entire time. I'll head over and check Hugh's out next, but I have to say, you've produced another really informative, speculative, and fascinating post.

    That said, I've been really disappointed with Blizz about how they so frequently fail to pull the trigger on certain characters. I was ECSTATIC about Runetotem "dying" because I thought that they'd finally manned up and pushed the story with a really meaningful death. Sure, we lost Fordragon, but we need more of that. A meaningful death, caused by an enemy - not a voluntary act - would really push things in the war.

    So I'll leave it at this.

    What if Jaina dies?

    November 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM

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    On the story level, totally agree. I dont think I missd Auberdine so much since Lor Danael took its place. Loosing Theremore from a pvper/immersion player hurts bad tactically. It's the one solid launch point Alliance can forge for an attack to the Crossroads and then Orgrimmar. Once lost, it becomes a serious tactical issue. It also from the storyline causes issue as it was the one Human alliance point into the Horde held lands.

    I wish it didnt have to burn, but I think it is a very critical story point turn. Let's face it, storyline wise, Thrall has been the true hero. Somehow, we need the Alliance to step up with a hero to match Thrall. Not in tactical ability but in a storyline that allows the Alliance hero to step up and equalize the terror that is reigning. I dont know if that's possible though. Thrall embaodies the perfect Tragic Hero. He is of what most see as the "evil" side. Yet he steps forth with the most altruistic viewpoint and the heroic love of all the races. I have yet to see any Alliance character do the same. Guess we wait and see.

    November 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM

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    At least my pesky mage friend ("Here's a portal to Stormwind, just click it..") won't be able to send me to Theramore after this.

    November 3, 2011 at 6:57 PM

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    as a die hard hordie, and one who actively follows lore, I do wonder what's Baine's stand on the attack? I am actually quite shocked that he would actually just let it happen, despite the aid that Jaina has rendered for him. Keep in mind that it was not the just the horde that helped claimed back Thunder bluff.

    There is another point that I think many horde players forget. In the orc starting area, the place is actually crawling with marines from Northshore, and Northshore is actually supported by Theramore. It's really strange that Jaina who wants peace so much does such aggressive behavior as well that is contrary to her.

    I hope that Blizz does cover all ends for the destruction of theramore though. One must marvel at their ability to craft worlds so realistic that players will go to war over such a story :)

    November 3, 2011 at 7:26 PM

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    I love the sadness that Alliance players will be losing their trolling portal, haha.

    @Glorwynn - The Butcher of Taurajo is a masterful bit of storytelling. I'm fully aware that his story on the Alliance side is...less awful, though I don't know if actually forgivable still...but despite this, I wanted to kill him SO BAD when I did those quests Horde-side. I just felt like I had to.

    I would have had a similar feeling in Auberdine Alliance-side, except there's no one to hate. It's interesting how those two situations are so similar and yet so different.

    @Poneria - the allegiances in Theramore have always been an interesting element. Loyal to Jaina? Loyal to her dad? Loyal to Jaina but still not fond of the Horde? So many grey-area possibilities.

    @Glyneth - I do wonder if Silverwind Refuge got the same treatment as Camp T, or if those bodies are just there - sad, but nowhere near as heartbreaking as having quests revolving around them. I should check that out...

    @Stubborn - ...if Jaina dies, that would definitely quality as a catalyst for war, and make her a HUGE martyr. But, I really, really don't think they'd kill her in this event. Down the line? Sure, maybe. But as one of the most historical characters in WoW, Jaina's death would really have to be something significant and meaningful. (Plus, she's got her book coming out and that's not a good way to retain new Jaina fans!)

    @LifeDeathSoul - I imagine Baine would be conflicted over this. It's true Jaina did help him immensely when the Grimtotems flipped out, but also keep in mind that this was before Northwatch forces destroyed Camp Taurajo. As for the aggressive Northwatch soldiers in Durotar, I think those contribute to the feeling that the political situation in Theramore is more complicated than we think, and that Jaina definitely isn't fully in charge of all of her city's people.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:08 PM

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    How has the Alliance benefited from rock-solid leadership? Our leaders may be working together, but so far, working independently has been quite fruitful for the Horde. We've lost territory, we're going to lose a strategically important city and harbor, and we're being sent to go play with pandas. WTF?

    When does the war swing our way? When does the Alliance conquer Horde territory in equal or greater portions to what has been taken from us? We're 7 years and 3 expansions into WoW. The story isn't finished, but when do we see anything positive? The Draenei and Night Elves are still sequestered in the far northwest corner of Kalimdor, the Worgen are homeless, and the rest hold central Eastern Kingdoms. The Horde hold central Kalimdor, and the northern half of Eastern Kingdoms. Their leaders have problems, but they're much better positioned strategically than the Alliance.

    That's where Blizzard has failed the Alliance. We don't have anything positive to point to. I thought maybe in Cata the Alliance would make some headway against the Horde. Nope. Okay, next expansion? Considering we're going to be half a world away, nope. When will it be the hour of the Alliance? So far, Blizzard's answer is "Soon".

    Also, when do we retaliate for the bombing of Thal'darah Grove? We slaughter Camp T, the Horde destroys Theramore; we take a pawn, they take rook. The Horde bombed Thal'darah Grove, we...do nothing; they take a pawn, we take nothing. Or is the Alliance going to let that one slide because druids and not "true soldiers of the Alliance" were killed?

    November 3, 2011 at 10:47 PM

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    Rades what a fantastic post. I will have to share it with all my guildies this week on my blog. I have to admit I knew nothing about what happened in Camp T as I have not done the quests in the Barrens, which I feel I now have to do so I can see whether or not this attack is justified! I can understand why the Alliance is upset and it seems like favouritism, but the glory days of the Horde are dwindling with infighting and mistrust. So much is going on, but at least now I feel like I know a little of what's going on thanks to this awesome post :)

    November 4, 2011 at 12:16 AM

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    I think the Theramore thing is going to do a couple of things.

    1. Jaina will be firmly planted in the Alliance camp. The way the story has been going up to this point, she's only Alliance by virtue of a red nameplate over her head. She's been trying to remain neutral this whole time, but is stuck as Alliance sheerly due to race. The Theramore/Camp T thing will definitely solidify that line.

    2. Tying back into the Stonetalon quest chain for Horde, Garrosh will learn something from these events. Probably won't be good for him in the end.

    3. While the Alliance has naval forces, remember that the Horde has a larger air force. (Sorry, but the Wildhammer pale in comparison to goblin tech.) We might see the Horde having a larger naval presence courtesy orcs, goblins and trolls, while the Alliance see a larger air fleet, thanks in large part to gnomes and dwarves. At least, this is the way I think it should be. ;)

    At any rate, I JUST finished Southern Barrens, and it was sadly tragic. :( I remember using some of those NPCs for vendoring, training, and quests. SADNESS.

    What I think that a lot of players take for granted is that - especially thanks to the Forsaken and Wrathgate, orcs' history, and trolls trolls everywhere - Horde are supposed to be these warmongers that are always violent and brutal. Yet, there's for some reason an opposition to the Alliance races doing the same. Pre-Cataclysm, if you quested in Durotar and did the Tiragarde Keep quest chain, you'd know otherwise. Same thing in Hillsbrad Foothills. If you ever went into CoT:Hillsbrad. Things like that.

    Alliance is just as guilty as what we might call "war crimes" as Horde is. In-game, I've seen more examples of Alliance guilt than Horde. Horde just happen to be better at doing it big in most cases (Southshore, Wrathgate). Okay, maybe specifically Forsaken. >.> Anyway. The Camp T incident can be considered no less than butchery. Especially considering that they would have left children to burn. It's mentioned from one of the quest givers that it was by sheer luck that they could get the children out.

    November 4, 2011 at 3:27 AM

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    The interesting thing to me is speculating about the next domino, the Alliance countermove. What will they attack in retaliation?

    I hadn't thought about Stonard, but that makes a great deal of sense to me as a countermeasure. It's the Horde alternative portal city, it's close enough to Stormwind to be an active threat. It doesn't really have any great lore figures attached, but I can't think of many minor towns that do.

    My previous thought was that the logical counterstrike for the Alliance would be Arathi Highlands. That zone is almost completely untouched by Cataclysm, and could still use some serious quest rewriting love. It's home to the Arathi Basin entrance, it brings the conflict closer to Tarren Mill/Southshore, and it gives a story hook to bring Stromgarde back into the game in a big way.

    November 4, 2011 at 6:53 AM

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    That's such the problem, though. They're so unwilling to let their major characters die, something that happens in wars all the time. It is World of Warcraft, after all, not World of OhNiceToSeeYouCraft.

    That said, you're probably right. They've failed to pull the trigger over and over, so I doubt this will be any different. From a lore point of view, how many major characters - "good guys," so not Lady Prestor - have died since WoW released? Fordragon and Cairne are the only two that come to mind. For god's sake Deathwing owned the world and no one THAT important died. I find it frustrating.

    November 4, 2011 at 10:22 AM

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    @ Tomaj
    "It's mentioned from one of the quest givers that it was by sheer luck that they could get the children out."

    Then there is probably a case of an unreliable narrator going on somewhere, because questing as Alliance, you are specifically told that a break was left in the Alliance line to allow civilians (with any children) to leave. Of course, since none of us players were there, we can't say for certain which is the unreliable narrator. ;)

    I, for one, dearly hope Jaina isn't killed. I'd like to see her take a larger role, and I think that may well happen with Theramore coming into the spotlight. They've already made Sylvanas into someone who would be a raid boss if not for the fact she leads a player faction, and Tyrande has been overshadowed by Malfurion since the moment he returned. ("Hush, Tyrande!" whut?)

    I'd like a female leader who isn't either half-evil or arm candy. Go forth and kick ass, Jaina!

    November 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM

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    God, I hope blizzard doesn't screw this up. Ever since BC, the Alliance has been treated to sub par storylines while the Horde got genuinely amazing ones.

    We've seriously lost just every time we confronted the Horde in Cataclysm. The only two times we've experienced SOME form of a victory against the Horde was Taurajo, which has been talked about to why its so awful, and Stonard, which apparently matters so little that it wasn't even worth it to phase our victory.

    Losing Theramore just has a LOT of Alliance players going 'Again?', it it honestly feels that Blizzard it just treating the Alliance as... lesser and going 'Don't worry, you'll TOTES get your revenge NEXT expansion, swearsies!' which they've been doing since Vanilla.

    I have no doubt in my mind that the Horde will utterly obliterate the Alliance, and we'll be expected to be happy about it come MoP.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM

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    Steven Scougall

    Nobody's mentioned Taretha Foxton yet?

    Taretha = blonde human girl with significant ties to Thrall, in a very male-character-dominated story. She ends up dying in order to advance her story.

    Jaina = blonde human girl with significant ties to Thrall, in a very male-character-dominated story. Is she also going to end up dying in order to advance her story?

    I might just be chasing phantoms here, and there have been previous times when Jaina could have been killed off to advance Thrall's story but wasn't. So maybe she's safe.

    But really. Stormrage, Wolfheart, and the Tyrande leader short story, all by different authors, all seem to think that writing a story about Tyrande (supposedly one of the Warcraft setting's strong female characters) is to write about how awesome Malfurion and Varian are. So maybe Jaina isn't safe after all.

    November 5, 2011 at 7:00 AM

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    Steven Scougall

    Gah. I should have pre-read that closer before clicking submit. It should have been:

    "Taretha = blonde human girl with significant ties to Thrall, in a very male-character-dominated story. She ends up dying in order to advance Thrall's story.

    "Jaina = blonde human girl with significant ties to Thrall, in a very male-character-dominated story. Is she also going to end up dying in order to advance Thrall's story?"

    November 5, 2011 at 7:08 AM

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    That's an awesome pic of Jaina you found. Makes me miss the badass Jaina of Warcraft III, before she became a weepy ninny...

    More on topic, correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't remember anyone (aside from fans) saying that Theramore would be destroyed. They said it would be attacked. Not the same thing.

    Honestly, it's kind of hard to believe the Horde even could destroy it. It's home to the most powerful human sorceress alive. If you've read the comics, you know Jaina can one-shot small cities. Gonna take a lot more than some demolishers to bring her down.

    That's my hope for this. I want to see Jaina humiliate Garrosh -- send him back to Orgrimmar with his tail between his legs. The Alliance will be so offended by the attack that all hope of peace will be gone, and the Horde will turn on Garrosh for his failure, hopefully removing him from power.

    It's probably too much to hope for. It'll probably just end with nothing changing and Jaina crying.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:31 AM

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    Secondly, many players equate the destruction of Camp T with the destruction of Astranaar, the Night Elf settlement in Ashenvale. I don't agree with this sentiment, for a few reasons. For one thing, the Orcs and Night Elves have been battling over Ashenvale for years. One side striking at the other is, at this point, completely natural and even expected. I mean hell, the Night Elves are actively besieging the Horde's Splintertree Post in current game-time.

    Astranaar is a non-sequitur. In the Alliance quest line, they successfully fight off the Horde attacks. The equivalent of Taurajo on the Alliance side is Southshore.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:31 AM

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    The Renaissance Man

    Redbeard, I would argue that Silverwing Refuge is probably closer to Turajo than even Southshore, except the Alliance doesn't really get any closure there. The Zone ends with the Horde still in posession of the post with the dead bodies of the various vendors still left strewn across the ground.

    Not to mention that while all of the casualties at both Southshore and Silverwing were directly attributable to the Horde, the overwhelming majority of the deaths at Turajo were due to the Quilbor which the Horde had been slaughtering since Vanilla. Sometimes chickens come home to roost at painful times.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:58 AM

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    I'd say that Silverwing Refuge is definitely closest to Camp Taurajo. Both were caused by the rival faction, both still have the dead bodies of familiar NPCs on the ground. I don't think (I'm not sure) that Alliance players get the same level of sorrow in their quests for Ashenvale as Horde do for Barrens, though? With ghosts and really raw feelings of vengeance?

    As sad as these two incidents (and Southshore) are to their respective factions, I think it is the grieving followup quests that really pushes Camp T past "sad" territory firmly into "heartbreak", just like the various survivor quests in Auberdine.

    Also, the slaughter at Taurajo was NOT caused by the Quillboar, but Northwatch forces from Theramore. This is verified by both Horde and Alliance quests and events.

    November 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM

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    The Renaissance Man

    I'm fairly certain that there's a Horde quest that recalls how the refugees who escaped through the gap left in the Alliance lines were set upon by the Quilboar, and many were captured or killed, and the player character was sent to slaughter more Quilboar and rescue those who were still alive.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM

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    Ah, I see what you mean, I thought you meant that the Quillboar had been the ones to attack Camp T, not the Alliance.

    That being said, I think to say that the "overwhelming majority of deaths at Taurajo" were because of the Quillboar, like it was entirely unrelated to the Alliance attack, is fairly skewed. Even if it wasn't Alliance swords that cut down the escaped refugees, their deaths are still directly on the Alliance's shoulders for destroying their home.

    As for what actually happened, some of the refugees that fled north were captured and imprisoned. Horde players free them in this quest: http://www.wowhead.com/quest=24529

    November 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

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    I've only done the Southern Barrens as Alliance so far, but I'll take my goblin priest there soon. Quite curious about that now.

    As a very minor nitpick, where does the Horde have ports in the Badlands and the Swamp of Sorrows? Those are Steamwheedle goblin settlements, not Bilgewater.

    November 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM

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    I had not heard of this until now. But I swear to god, if Theramore is destroyed, Garrosh is going to learn what its like to have everyone at this throat. Right now, he as the article said, is at odds with everyone in the horde except Lor'themar Theron who really isnt even doing anything. Now, if he destroys theramore, he pisses off Jaina, the most powerful mortal mage in existence, Varian, the leader of the human alliance. He pisses off Baine Bloodhoof even more, oh and Kul Tiras. The greatest military navy in all of Azeroth. Who, according to the RPG books have effing IRONCLADS! We know what happens to wooden ships who go against an ironclad. Yeah, nice job breaking it Garrosh.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:30 AM

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    Also, to answer Shintar. In Badlands the horde have New Kargath, which, at least during the main neutral questline, is underattack by the black dragon flight. In Swamp of Sorrows the horde have the town of Stonard, which actually gets ransacked by the alliance during a quest chain that is a complete reference to Warcraft 1: Orcs and Humans.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:32 AM

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    I feel this is a very bias outlook. Reading it, I could tell it was a horde player writing. Camp T was brought up way too much. If you play through Southern Barrens as an alliance player, the General there had left an opening in their lines for innocents to get out ON PURPOSE. Later, the same General is found dead, brutally murdered by the horde. Now re-read this WITHOUT looking at Camp T. Your argue,Emt is invalid.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:58 AM

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    @Rho - Thanks for reading, disagreement is always fair! I did bring up Camp T a lot, because I think it's very integrally connected to a Horde attack on Theramore (or it should be, at least.) Just like if the Alliance attacked, say, the Horde base on the Western end of Ashenvale, I think then the destruction of Silverwind Refuge would be a perfectly valid "reason".

    Now, you mention the General purposefully leaving an opening in his life for innocents to get out. I don't dispute this. However, another indisputable fact is that not all the innocents escaped, something Hawthorne even said.

    Sure, he probably did the best with his orders and what was a difficult situation. He's pretty conflicted about it. But the fact remains, he still ordered the attack and was responsible for the slaughter of innocent civilians.

    There's Alliance deaths that Ally players could call "brutal murders", but the Horde players wanting justice against the monster who ordered Camp T slaughtered is anything but, in my opinion.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM