WoW Factor: The fate of WoW’s class orders post-Legion, part 1
In the lull between expansions, I’ve been hard at work bringing my alts up to the level cap, unlocking all of the class mounts, picking up the occasional appearance that I really want from the Mage Tower challenge… you know, the usual stuff. And the result is that I find myself asking a question that surprises me a wee bit in the context of World of Warcraft: What is going to happen to all of the class orders?
I neither had an answer nor cared about one when it came to garrisons. Presumably, they’d continue to sit there, a testament to what happens when designers try to make housing that isn’t housing and don’t understand why people like housing in the first place. But the order halls are different. They’re cross-factional, they’re important, and perhaps most importantly, they represent something that makes different use of the resources of the world.
So what’s happening to these orders? How are they changing? How does this play into the war between the Horde and the Alliance becoming properly hot? And might we get some extra lore about these things?
Warrior: The Valarjar
Every order is going to react differently, but the Valarjar is probably the only order that will react to active war with a reply of “awesome, great news!” Because, well, the Valarjar aren’t there to make peace.
To gloss over a fair number of details, the Valarjar are functionally in place to fight back against the Legion (or other planet-destroying disasters) by picking the most valorous warriors out of the offerings on Azeroth. As far as they’re concerned, more active warfare means more valorous warriors, which means that they’re actually having a better time. So the prospect of the Horde and Alliance going at it isn’t really a bad idea for them; they exist outside of factions.
Of course, Odyn will probably be a bit cranky if he has to separate champions across faction lines. But if you can’t put that to one side, you’re not really fit to be Valarjar, are you?
Rogue: The Uncrowned
War isn’t exactly good news for the Uncrowned, but it’s also not particularly bad news. If they really thought that the Alliance or the Horde were a major problem, they would probably be causing active problems for one or both sides. They don’t take sides like that; they’re outside of that system.
Rogue players may have been champions of the order, but the Uncrowned will likely continue to exist just fine without the champion. Think of the champion as a temporary leader put into place to deal with a particular problem, and now that the Legion is gone, there’s no longer a need for the “fight the demons” initiative. For that matter, it’s more than likely that the Uncrowned have enough operatives in the various clandestine organizations associated with the Horde and Alliance anyway that it’s functionally irrelevant to them who’s on top and what’s happening.
Hunter: The Unseen Path
The Unseen Path is in a similar but not identical place to the Uncrowned, but with different overall motivations. This is an old organization that’s long been serving as a sort of meta-sentry group for a very long while; it predates any sort of factional alignment. Trying to force it into a faction would likely result in the whole thing just falling out of contact. Hunters of both factions are still welcome in the order, but that’s because the order is about helping those it sees as worth, not fighting for one group or another.
Unlike prior orders, though, there’s the possibility for a real schism here; while the Uncrowned and the Valarjar both exist outside of the conflict, there’s a lot of backstory tying this particular order to the Night Elves, and I can see what’s left of Teldrassil pushing hard to recover its hunters. Of course, that also draws in a conflict with the Highmountain Tauren, so a de facto state of detente might work best for everyone.
Paladin: Knights of the Silver Hand
The Knights, first and foremost, are a human organization. Many of the great champions of the Knights are human, and the return of Turalyon is just more fuel for the fire. The Sunwalkers and the Blood Knights are the outliers here, not the rule, and the addition of the Lightforged Draenei (and possibly other groups) makes the Knights of the Silver Hand an Alliance group that happens to include Horde members more than anything.
There’s no way this ends well, and I don’t foresee the Knights of the Silver Hand remaining in place as they currently exist; they can’t even properly take up arms against the members of the order that work for the other faction. But it seems like this could properly use some extra explanation before the expansion, because this split will be nasty.
Druid: The Cenarion Circle
I’m not sure, at this point, if we’re going to get more Alliance options for Druids in Battle for Azeroth. But as it stands now, there’s going to be an odd disconnect; there are twice as many Horde Druids as Alliance Druids, and yet the whole order is borne out of Night Elf traditions. Malfurion Stormrage is pretty garbage at everything he tries to do, but he’s kind of important to druids as a whole and the Cenarion Circle in particular.
And then Teldrassil burns, and the Circle is going to have its hands full.
Unlike the Silver Hand, I can see the Circle constantly being in flux and being pushed in multiple directions; there’s too much commitment from members of both factions to just let it splinter, but Moonglade is going to be hard-pressed to keep both factions from playing for sympathy. Ultimately, I think it’s going to require a question of loyalty, whether some of its members are Druids first or faction champions first… and I expect some people are going to lose something important when they have to decide. Again, this could use some more explanation and questing.
Shaman: The Earthen Ring
You might think this is the opposite number of the Knights of the Silver Hand, what with the Horde’s strong connection to Shaman as a class, but the Earthen Ring has always been more of a focused shamanistic task force. It doesn’t really work as a long-term major organization with political power; it sorts out troubles with the elements, then it sort of dissolves again. There’s a reason that Magatha Grimtotem can be a part of the organization when both the Horde and the Alliance dislike her.
So the larger-scale group is going to dissolve again. It seems almost inevitable. What’s really going to be interesting is how the smaller factions react; I can see Magatha using this as a ploy to get back in the good graces of Sylvanas, for example. But the larger organization will split up once more, because it always has.
Whew! That’s just half of the batch, and we’ve still got more to go with other interesting alignment issues. You can feel free to leave some feedback down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, but I’m going to work on speculating about the rest.