Theramore was an obvious misstep by Blizzard. As has been well documented, the problems are less to do with the scenario itself than with the story delivery, and more specifically with the expectations that were heaped upon it. We were all expecting a major pre-expansion world event, a-la the WotLK zombie invasion. I guess the ‘one week only’ news should have been an early warning, but really Blizzard could have hosed down expectations before making it available (rather than a meek blue post after the fact as spotted by The Godmother at ALT:ernative).
If it had have been promoted as a Scenario teaser, the grumbling might have been quieter – the failure to explain the lore would still have rankled, but who reads dungeon background details these days? Rades has the most positive take on it I’ve seen, using it as training ground for the Scenario runs to come. That’s exactly the right way to approach it, and how Blizzard should have sold it too.
When I played through Theramore on launch day I was completely nonplussed. Why were we here? What was going on? Are we the invading force? It was all over so quickly. As Horde, the last thing we did was rescue some kind of spy who proceeded to flirt with the players. Totally bizarre, especially not knowing who this spy was or why we were rescuing him. I guess this means we’ve taken Theramore for the Horde?
Then came the cut scene.
I was horrified. We were nuking Theramore? Killing everyone and everything? I had no idea this was coming – why didn’t we invade, fight the honourable fight Orc vs Human?
It reminded me immediately of the denouement to Stonetalon Mountains, where another Horde bomb is used for similar evil. I had the same sinking feeling, the same horror that I had participated in this act. But in that case it was severely denounced by Garrosh as dishonourable. His stance there was so strong that it made me rethink my previous Tauren-based hatred of the Warchief.
Stonetalon set us up to think that honour is Garrosh’s saving grace. In a masterful article at Stoppable Force, Stop nails it: Garrosh is “a jerk, but he’s a jerk who represents “old school” Horde values, such as honor above all.” Read his whole article – for Theramore background and deep speculation on the next Warchief.
Now, thinking back on it, I wonder, did he really turn a corner in Stonetalon? Or was it all just a show for the player? He knew there was a bomb. He knew we were trying to secure it. Maybe he didn’t want it set off just then, but he knew the potential. It was just a practice run for the Theramore monstrosity.
And behind all this catastrophic behaviour are the Goblins. The Theramore cut scene has them hooting about what they’re about to do with typical misguided enthusiasm – cheering about mass murder basically. Same in Stonetalon. And in every quest and every zone they’re in, they are basically strip-mining or deforesting or some other environmental depravity. I hope they never get to Nagrand.
Playing through the Goblin starting zone drives home the point – Kezan is ugly, polluted, the landscape riven with smokestacks and paved with hideous racetracks. Horde players are complicit in all their scheming, often assisting with promoting their profit-above-all agenda. I hate playing the first few quests in Azshara now, as it forces you to ravage and plunder before eventually slaughtering an innocent Talrendis Ancient in a Goblin engineered tree killing machine. Aborcide? Murder more like.
There was an excellent question buried in the recent Warcraft Reddit AMA which asked why Thrall would let the Goblins into the Horde given their history of slavery. The answer was enlightening:
Thrall’s vision of the Horde is a refuge for people in need. He’s a helpful guy. The Bilgewater Goblins just had their home destroyed, and they were refugees (he can certainly relate to that). They helped him in the Lost Isles, so he offered them a home. Presumably he’d put a stop to any slave trade (the player characters don’t remain slaves once they join the Horde.)
Of course… afterwards he was no longer the Warchief. Garrosh was probably a lot more hands-off of the goblins, so long as they showed their usefulness – as they demonstrated immediately in Azshara.
‘Garrosh was…a lot more hands-off’. Let the Gobbo’s off the leash, see what happens. Mana-bomb development, I’m guessing.
They’re the pits.
In a final indignity after all my Goblinish pondering, our guild is named after them. Kezan Cartel. Created before Cataclysm and inspired by Gazlowe, denizen of Ratchet and self-styled saviour of Orgrimmar (he dug the Ragefire caverns to deliver water to the parched city). We figured it was a fun semi-RP name before the Goblins arrived in force. And it was for a while, as we gleefully hunted for treasure under Gazlowe’s auspices.
But after Azshara, Stonetalon, and now Theramore, I think it’s time for a Guild name change.