What we know so far
From the internet we know fairly certainly a few things:
- Garrosh is going to be final boss
- Theramore is going to get attacked by the Horde (and likely sacked)
- Jaina is not going to like that
- The Horde are going to need a new leader
- Garrosh is power-mad, he wants Kalimdor to be all Horde and Theramore has always represented a sort of "unity" that he does not believe in...so he attacks out of nowhere; possibly he is attacking even as the final Dragon Soul cutscene plays out....players could be sailing back from the Maelstorm only to find Orc ships blockading the harbor.
- Alliance players will end up fighting a losing battle, with their primary goal being attempting to evacuate the civilians. The Horde players will get to run around taking out defenses and eventually may attack Jaina directly.
- I suspect Jaina, even if a boss, will survive by escaping at the last moment, we know she is REALLY good at teleporting (she demonstrates doing it long-distance and instantly in several cinematics).
- The Horde "OCCUPY THERAMORE!" operation succeeds, Alliance may lose its quests in the area.
So there we have it...but what next?
Hell hath no fury like....
This is a familiar trope in WoW, Blizzard really likes the "Woman Scorned" (always by a man, if there is female/female disdain I have not seen it)...now the scorning does not always come from love. However we have Sylvanas, Lilian Voss, Zaela (sort of), Moira Bronzebeard...all who have vendettas against male characters (and Blizzard has struggled with giving these characters their own definition outside of "Hates _____") even Sylvanas has struggled to develop post-Wrath now that her primary enemy has been defeated and she is somewhat turning into him.
Jaina however is different; she's been scorned many times in the story (Kael, Arthas, Thrall) through love and war but every time it has only made her dedication to peace that much stronger. During the Wrathgate event she ensures peace, during the Ulduar cinematic she goes lengths to try and enforce peace (though Rhonin, ever the spotlight grabber, does it for her cause..apparently she can't?). Rather than give in to the Dark Side she's always held onto hope.
Also, unlike Sylvanas and Lilian, Jaina is a character that players have known a long time. For the majority of these "scorned" characters (male and female) we meet them shortly after they are set this way; in Warcraft 3 we met and killed Sylvanas in the same few missions. Lilian we meet after she's been left for dead. Jaina we've known since she teamed up with Arthas; we've seen her grow as a character and we've been beside her in good and bad times...this is new for the players, this is the first time a character we've known this long and this intimately will go over the edge.
Which leads me to the last tidbit we got out of Blizzard: This time she doesn't. Theramore is basically her baby, it is her symbol. To Jaina it is the symbol of the potential for peace and it is a symbol that the races CAN come together. She allowed her own father to die to ensure it remained a relatively neutral place. She condoned the killing of other humans to maintain that peace.
And Garrosh is going to step on that symbol, and that will be the last straw.
In the mind of Jaina, Garrosh hasn't just sacked some Alliance city (as has happened before) he just destroyed HER city; the city that has stood for years a symbol of peace, the city she has devoted herself to running. This would signal to her that the noble Horde that Thrall and Cairne created is mutating, becoming a twisted, violent entity in the likes of Sylvanas and Garrosh.
I suspect that we're going to see a side of Jaina that we've not seen before, the wrathful one, as she leads players against Garrosh....she might even lay the final blow like Maive did. Based on Jaina's past history I would suspect that after this she'll return to peaceful mode but this is something new; this is taking something that truly means something to her and ripping it apart...who knows, she might be on track to be right beside Bolvar as "next villain". Part of this I think will hinge on how the Alliance reacts to this...there is already division between Jaina and Varian, if he turns a blind eye to Theramore during all this that might seal her separation from the Alliance.
A Hole in the Horde
For the second time in as many expansions the Horde is going to find itself leaderless, which is strange for the Horde. While the Alliance has always presented (to me) an image of being a union of a bunch of nations with their own leaders, the Horde has been shown more like a group under Thrall/Garrosh's flag (Sylvanas and sometimes the Blood Elves not withstanding).
So what is next for the sons and daughters of Hellscream? Who could take up this mantle?
I have a few theories:
Overlord Saurfang: Ever since Wrath he has been hanging out in Northrend, and he chose to remain there to keep away from Garrosh and to maintain watch on the undead. He is depicted to be as powerful as Garrosh but with the tempered nature of Thrall...he is an honorable warrior and favorable leader; everything the Horde needs. Perhaps the siege of Ogrimmar from the Horde side might actually have him escorting players instead of Jaina. He'd fit perfectly in the role; but perhaps a little too well, which is why I am not in favor of him taking over. I love him as a character, but him taking the reins basically just puts the Horde back to where it was in Wrath.
Baine Bloodhoof: Son of Cairne and a natural leader; during the Shattering when Magatha
And the craziest one, but also the one I think I like the most:
In all realism I see one of the first two being more likely, though I suspect that the other races will start to play a bigger role; the TBC and Cata introduced races have always felt like they took a "back seat" to the original roles, it would be nice to see Lor'themar (Who?) actually DO something for once...and the Goblin leader, well he might count his money but I'd like to see the Goblins get a REAL leader, not their money grubbing meat-head.
So what do you think? Where do you think we'll be an Expansion + 3 Patches from now?