Theramore: An Alternate Theory

In a vaguely worded drive-by comment on the official forums, community manager Zarhym (aka talking head) dropped an incredibly vague hint ((And be sure to follow all the links in that forum post back to point of origin, because a non-English site in Taiwan is not what I consider to be a good source for this sort of thing, and I need you to share my feelings on this. Sharing is caring.)) about something getting leveled. There was somehow a rumor that Theramore was going to get trashed by the Horde in 5.0, people were upset over obvious Horde favoritism, and Zarhym stepped in with this.

So, at BlizzCon we provided a few details about a new expansion and how it’s going to have an ever-growing focus on the fight between the Horde and the Alliance in the wake of dispelling many very powerful threats to all of Azeroth. Then we find out a vague detail that some sort of unrelenting attack by the Horde on Theramore is to come. The Horde, to remind you, is currently a faction with an overzealous ruler and significant turmoil among their faction leaders; while the Alliance has almost never been quite so unified and far removed from the days of imprisoning orcs.

The first pawn on the chess board of what is to be the story for Mists of Pandaria is being moved, and you’re angry at whose turn is first? I only offer that maybe there’s a little more to the Horde and Alliance story lines in Mists than an Alliance town being leveled… like the entire expansion story you don’t know about yet. 😉

This was interpreted, far and wide, as absolute confirmation that Theramore would fall.  Let’s dissect a little.

Then we find out a vague detail that some sort of unrelenting attack by the Horde on Theramore is to come.

DID NOT SAY that Theramore was to fall. DID SAY, "unrelenting attack".  I’m not gonna look up "unrelenting" for you but I assure you it does not mean "Theramore falls."

The Horde, to remind you, is currently a faction with an overzealous ruler and significant turmoil among their faction leaders; while the Alliance has almost never been quite so unified and far removed from the days of imprisoning orcs.

Really, why did Zarhym put that in?  What does that have to do with anything?

Well, since we’re guessing, I’ll guess that it means that Theramore does not stand alone.  Why would Zarhym say that? What does it matter unless Theramore does NOT fall?  I mean, if it falls, it’s a sure bet that the entire Alliance will stand with Jaina Proudmoore.  There is no doubt. So it doesn’t make sense to go out out of the way to say this, unless it means something. I’m gonna guess, Theramore stands, and the Alliance stands with it, and the war front between Theramore and Orgimmar becomes a key part of the next expansion’s PvP game, at the very least.

The first pawn on the chess board of what is to be the story for Mists of Pandaria is being moved, and you’re angry at whose turn is first?

Again, implying Theramore is the first pawn in the game (or Org’s armies are the first pawn, depending on point of view), is not saying that it falls. Theramore might be like Pearl Harbor, or it might be like Lexington and Concord. This is as noncommittal as you can get.

I only offer that maybe there’s a little more to the Horde and Alliance story lines in Mists than an Alliance town being leveled… like the entire expansion story you don’t know about yet.

In other words, this isn’t all there is to see about this situation. And AGAIN, Zarhym went to great pains not to reveal anything or confirm anything with this statement.

I did not come away with conformation of anything. Other than, duh, war. In Warcraft. Holy coincidences, Batman!

Recently, Dave "Fargo" Kosak published a "Dev Water cooler" article about faction favoritism.  Besides a clear indication that, yes, Alliance has taken a serious pounding, were a few more interesting things relevant to the above.

Garrosh Hellscream has a vision for the Horde, a vision of a united Kalimdor that can only be realized over the ashes of the Alliance. He’s craftier than any of his foes realize, and his grim determination to win at all costs — even at the expense of his own people — is plunging the world into chaos.

If nothing else, this is clear indication that things are heating up in Kalimdor and confirmation that he’s going to stop at nothing to raze anything in his path to make it happen. All hail the King of Ashes. /spit

I digress.

I’m not going to try to deny that war is going to happen. I’m just not sure that Lady Jaina’s going to roll over.

Makes no sense from a gameplay perspective, either.

Suffering is the gasoline that drives our story engine.

Remove Theramore, and the only remaining war front for the Horde on Kalimdor is the Night Elf front, and it spreads down the entire length of the western side of Kalimdor. Plenty of room for suffering there.  But the thorn in the Orcs’ side, no doubt about it, is, and always will be, the Humans that humiliated them time and again in the East. The game NEEDS this conflict to fuel Garrosh’s hatred.  He’s a hater, and he’s gotta have something to hate.

The Taurens are also not likely to allow genocide of the Night Elves given their commonality across the Druidic arts.  But they can’t possibly feel as kindly towards Humans that rampaged across their borders and slaughtered entire villages. They won’t stand for all-out war on Elves, perhaps, but I bet they’d at least be willing to tolerate all-out war on the Humans. I’m sure Garrosh, despite his thick skull, will see the advantage of a war on the Humans.

All of this falls apart if Theramore falls, though. There is no war because there is nothing to make war upon. This is the peace of the Orcs, brutal and nasty business, but neither the developers or the players want PEACE. They want war, and war upon Theramore – sustained war, with many opportunities for "honor" (/spit) is the perfect excuse for Garrosh to whine about resource shortages to keep the Warsong offensive going. I can’t imagine a more perfect opportunity to not only keep the fires burning, but to plant the seeds of the next "great" war upon Ashenvale as they grasp for more trees to burn and fluffy woodland beasties to grind into nutritious paste.

Conflict is necessary

Fargo makes quite a few good comments in his post. Fact is, you need conflict of some sort to have a compelling story arc. And expecting the faction balance in one expansion to be completely even is, while *seemingly* realistic, in practice ridiculous. One side winning and one side losing provides inspiration to the former and desperation to the latter, itself a form of inspiration. And holding out the possibility that it could all turn around just further fuels the losing side to fight harder. Again, destroy Theramore and you turn the possibility of defeat into actual defeat, and that’s a lot harder to draw inspiration from – for either side.

I’ve asked around. I’ve asked may times, of people that I am told are pretty solid in lore, what the source for this certainty is. Everyone keeps pointing back to Zarhym’s post on the forums. So, barring a better, more conclusive source, this is all still guesswork.

I’m going to take a no doubt unpopular position here until I see something more concrete from an actual Blizzard source that, yes, Jaina Proudmoore is in the market for a new apartment. 

Show me the Monet.

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Posted on December 5, 2011, in Lore, The future is scary. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The leak about Theramore didn’t come from Zarhym. It came from Tom Chilton, the Lead Game Designer for World of Warcraft. He gave a press release to the Taiwanese press

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1006135-Pandaren-Gameplay-Video-Theramore-Destroyed-Free-Diablo-3-12-Months-Offer

    “The whole war will be ignited during the world event which leading the game into Mist of Pandaria. Theramore will be destroyed and the leaders of Alliance were outrageous at this matter and completely devote themselves into the war, which reach its peak on the continent of Pandaria. The Horde and the Alliance literally fought on the homeland of Pandaria, which pissed the pandarens off.”

    “Destroyed” is a very strong word.

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    • @TRM –

      My point is that everyone’s referencing Zarhym, which is not (IMO) a credible attribution. I do mention our far Eastern friends in there.

      The quote that is given is somewhat vague as to source. It comes from an event that Chilton *attended*, but would it kill anyone to use the words “Chilton said …” in front of a quote? No, it wouldn’t.

      Having said that, I did miss the Chilton reference altogether. I’ll be updating at some point that my boss isn’t breathing down my neck 🙂

      Menethil was “Destroyed” in the Cataclysm. Last time I was there, they had a snow cone machine on the mezzanine and free continental breakfast in the Atrium. If I had to guess at what “destroyed” meant, “soggy” would not have been my first guess.

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  2. “I only offer that maybe there’s a little more to the Horde and Alliance story lines in Mists than an Alliance town being leveled… like the entire expansion story you don’t know about yet.”

    Leveled – to bring (something) to the level of the ground: They leveled the trees to make way for the new highway.
    Informal . to knock down (a person): He leveled his opponent with one blow.

    Zarhym was pretty clear on the fate of Theramore. It will be leveled. Theramore will not stand, because you cannot stand when you’ve been leveled.

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    • @ Nandi – You’re missing my point, in that Zarhym spends a lot of time NOT saying “Theramore is destroyed”. I’ve been DMing long enough to suspect when someone’s breaking out the DM Weasel Word Dictionary. Maybe it’s a false positive, but he says a lot of words yet avoids a clear statement on the fate of Theramore. “An alliance town” could be anything, and, might I point out, would it kill anyone to have said “Theramore” right there? No. It would not. And someone in his line of work so long would know a bit about the economy of words.

      I’ll post an update on this later on, maybe I can express my suspicions more clearly.

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