Back before the winter break, I took a look at how the various class orders are going to handle the increased conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The short version is “in a variety of ways.” Some of them are going to care a lot and it’s going to make a big difference; some of them are just going to continue on or split up. Or, at least, they would if the developers felt like giving them a proper send-off.
They definitely deserve one, mind. The question remains whether or not they will get one.
But regarldess of that, there are still a half-dozen class orders that I didn’t cover before, and they’re just as important as the first batch. So let’s finish up the second part of this particular series looking at the other half of the class order halls, starting with one that really seems like it ought to be renting office space in Dalaran most of the time anyhow.
This one seems almost comic in how it’s going to end. The Tirisgarde had a purpose: Fighting against the demonic threat to Azeroth. They did that. They won. They’re done. Thank you and good night. It might seem a bit silly, but it was always an eleventh-hour addition to the organizational soup in existence. Removing it feels like it needs some quests more to satisfy formality than any other reason.
Mages have never been unified so much by discipline as by shared devotion to knowledge, and that devotion can easily be split once again once people are no longer trying to ensure that the world is not coming to an end. The nature of mages tends to be rather private or secluded, or funded by a larger organization outside of mage-specific groupings.
Now, if this had been some sort of school, maybe… wait, that would have just been Harry Potter. Never mind.
Priest: The Conclave
Even further on the silly meter is this particular organization, which has shades of the Celestial Chorus from Mage: the Ascension. That was widely panned as a kind of silly idea because the fact is that when you can have ideological splits within a single religion and with a unified holy book, the idea that you could cram seven or eight religions into one place and have them all work together without a problem just… doesn’t really work.
Yes, mechanically, these are all priests. But by doctrine, you have priests belonging to some really diverse backgrounds with the game never acknowledging that some priests might have issues with a supposed champion of the Light being an undead archbishop. It’s just sort of glossed over that you’re bringing in priests of wildly different backgrounds, and those backgrounds cease to exist the second they’re back in your order hall.
So this temporary arrangement isn’t going to work much past the expansion, nor was it ever going to extend forever. That’s just the nature of the organization. An awful lot of the conflicting ideals don’t even work within a single faction, and it’s not going to override the pressure of factional conflict.
Warlock: Council of the Black Harvest
Oddly, out of the orders we’ve discussed so far, Warlocks seem the best-suited to weathering out the cross-faction conflict. The reality is that Warlocks don’t have an order aiming at bringing together all Warlocks; the very nature of the class means that half of their potential enemies are other Warlocks who see a different path to power. And the Council is very willing to go where the wind is blowing, regardless of its membership.
So I think the Council, if it survives, is going to wind up with the Horde. Not because there are more Horde Warlocks or anything, but because that class philosophy meshes more nicely with Sylvanas. There will always be Warlocks willing to give up factional identity in favor of greater power, and Sylvanas is always willing to embrace extreme tactics if it means a path to victory. And if some members are unwilling to jump ship… well, fine. So what? You’re out; if you live, you can come back if it becomes relevant later.
The Council of the Black Harvest is basically the quintessential organization of always being on the winning side. That hasn’t changed and likely still won’t post-Legion. It’s arming Warlocks with power stolen from savage enemies, but it has always been prone to conflict and fractures.
Death Knight: Knights of the Ebon Blade
The Knights of the Ebon Blade will not associate with a faction. That’s not surprising because the Knights consider themselves an entirely separate faction. They always have. The class hall quests make it very clear that the organization is willing to work with and exploit almost anything if its members deem it necessary, and that includes just sitting and waiting as long as necessary. Koltira alone makes that pretty much clear.
It’s been back and forth for a while, but at this point, the game seems to have come down on the side that the Death Knights are working with the factions, not for them. They don’t have permanent loyalty, just the temporary sort, and if they wind up not being welcome for a while, that’s fine too. Sooner or later, everything returns to death; the Ebon Blade will be there when necessary.
And someone should really be nervous about the Lich King through all of this, honestly. The order hall quests also make it clear that while he’s not the omnicidal maniac that Arthas was, he’s still dangerous and playing the long game. Things are stirring with the Lich King, and the fact that he and the Ebon Blade are now on reasonably friendly terms ought to send a chill down someone’s spine.
Monk: Order of the Broken Temple
Several orders are either naturally inclusive or implied to be so. The Order of the Broken Temple, however, doesn’t require players to be even remotely invested in the organization; if you want to leave, you’re free to. The organization is based around teaching and shared meditation, but it doesn’t really prevent you from heading off to do your own thing.
The one thing that I kind of hope happens for my own edification is that another Monk takes up the role of Master within the temple because that sort of bookends the story nicely from its rather surprising opening.
Demon Hunter: Illidari
Traditionally, the Illidari have neither been part of both factions nor above them; this is a group that’s been roundly despised by both sides, and in the wake of the Legion invasion that made them wholly necessary, I imagine both factions have leaders rather nervous about the allegiance of the Demon Hunters. This is compounded by the fact that the Illidari sort of, well, won already. The Burning Legion is defeated, and while it’s possible for more organization to form again in the future, the leaders of the organization are gone. They’ve been killed as firmly as possible, and any future resurrections will be more about individual lords gathering forces rather than a full crusade.
So yes, you sacrificed everything. And you won. What do you do now?
The story of how the Illidari cope with the post-Legion environment could itself be a fascinating story, simply because this is the eventuality that the Demon Hunters never really planned for. They forged themselves into weapons to fight a specific war, and now that war is over they’ve got an interesting identity crisis to resolve. Splitting and factionalizing seems as realistic as any other outcome, frankly.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or by mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, this is all pure speculation; it’s quite possible the Class Orders will never actually be addressed. But since we’re addressing the issue of artifact weapons, there’s at least the vague possibility.