WTF Blizz? Not Sylvanas!
With the looming World of Warcraft expansion only a few days away, Blizzard Entertainment released part 2 of their Warbringers animated shorts out on Tuesday. This week’s video featured the undead banshee queen and Horde warchief Sylvanas. Once that video began its circulation around the net, an uproar could almost be heard.
In this video, Sylvanas heartlessly orders the burning down of the World Tree in Teldrassil, even though only Night Elf citizens were left. All in the name of war. What…the…actual…f***?!?! Fans and veteran players were shocked and horrified after witnessing their beloved Dark Lady being so malicious and, yes, even childish. Her dialog with a dying night elf (her former racer) appears to be filled with hatred and rage for the living and not just another war.
For those who may not be familiar with World of Warcraft lore, in Warcraft 3, Sylvanas Windrunner, then a living high elf ranger, was a mighty and skilled hunter for her faction, the Alliance. She was one of the first powerful female heroes that many women of all ages looked up to. In this game, she battles the Lich King, who was formerly Arthas Menethil, Prince of Lordaeron and heir to the throne, and was also romantically involved with him.
After his corruption by the runeblade Frostmourne, Arthas becomes the Lich King and a death knight. This is where it gets ugly. In the battle in W3, Arthas kills Sylvannas and rather than giving her an honorable death, he turns her into a banshee. Sylvanas was strong enough to fight the demonic possession from the Lich King and aided in battling against him. How her soul must have been tortured to have not only been betrayed and killed by her love but then to be part of the disposing of his evil. After Arthas’ death, Sylvanas realized that her eventual demise would only lead to an eternity of darkness and torture in the afterlife.
Hers was a very heavy burden. After becoming the leader of the Forsaken, former humans that were turned undead in the hellish war with the Lich King, she reluctantly took this role but knew that someone had to look out for her people. (Their own people turned their backs on them. Sylvanas was determined to seek a higher purpose for her people who had already died once.)
Long story short, she, despite the knowledge of her eventual fate, worked towards helping the Horde who aided her and her people and bettering her own kingdom. She remained loyal despite her own faction questioning her motives. These were not the acts of a petulant, spoiled, and maniacal leader. However, in the video, Blizzard portrays Sylvanas much differently. She even seems to relish torturing the night elf by forcing the dying hunter to watch as her home burns to a cinder.
The two most significant concerns and complaints are pretty straightforward. One, this portrayal is so two dimensional and so out of character for Sylvanas that many feel Blizzard is getting lazy in creating new villains for players to battle in this new expansion. In the video, it does seem that Blizzard is ignoring Sylvanas’ own backstory by merely portraying her as angry at the world (or just the living). Throughout the game’s 14-year history, she’s literally been to hell and back, yet remained a strong, determined, and selfless leader. You can certainly see why those who love her best are upset. This is not the Sylvanas that we’ve come to know and love.
The other huge concern is that they are afraid Sylvanas will become Garrosh 2.0. What do I mean by that? Garrosh was another long-term character that became warchief. In the expansion when this occurred, Garrosh seems to suddenly become a crazed warmonger. By the endgame, he ended up being the villain and killed by former warchief Thrall. Garrosh was definitely no Sylvanas as he wasn’t nearly loved as much nor was he a tortured soul. He always had a leaning towards being power hungry, so it wasn’t a big stretch in his character to go full on warmonger. Those that love Sylvanas simply do not want her to share the same fate. Her character has been there since nearly the beginning, and with Blizzard’s habit of getting rid of leadership, her future is definitely undetermined yet scarily familiar to Garrosh.
Does Blizzard have some additional secrets about Sylvanas that they’re keeping close at hand? Will they continue with the same predictable villainizing of a veteran character? Who knows yet, but the wait is nearly over as Battle for Azeroth will be available August 14, 2018. Stay tuned folks.