How Did We Get Here: The Azerothian “Once in a Lifetime”


And you may find yourself living in a Shado-pan shack

And you may find yourself in another reality of Outland, and it may kinda suck

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a goblin excavator

And you may find yourself on a beautiful island, lit ablaze with a beautiful flame. That’s green for some reason

And you may ask yourself… how did I get here?

The answer is simple, but it may confuse you just ever so slightly. I don’t think anyone really knows how we got here. We just sort of let the days go by, and let the Blizzard hold us down and force feed us shovel loads of refuse over and over again. This has been going on pretty much since the Cataclysm. But how did we still end up here? Picture it with me now, in just a few short weeks the Broken Shore will finally be opened to the denizens of Azeroth to pillage and squabble over what’s rightfully theirs. I mean from the Legion, of course and only later will they slaughter each other for it when the Legion is gone, because, let’s face it. That’s what the Warcraft story has become. Every. Expansion.

*Lets out exasperated sigh*

In fact, in this quick step-by-step “how to” guide, any pleb with a brain can roll a level 100 and continue to rinse and repeat the fundamentals of good Warcraft lore. Warning: Exaggerations may be imminent.

Step one: Raid the new land mass.

Step two: Fight your way through forces of evil and maybe team up with the enemy of your enemy to thwart said evil.

Step three: After you see some hardships and heartaches, go ahead and blame it on the other faction because scapegoat.

Step four: Go after the other faction in a race, knightly tournament, war-crime like action, or straight-up murder spree in the attempt to prove to the other you’re superiority.

Step five: After thousands die to demonstrate the absolute waste of life that the people of Azeroth, for some reason or another, consistently perform, blush because you felt silly that you got mad because they killed your husband and then go ahead and try to get your sister to help you kill who you really thought killed your husband the whole time, even though you got the Sin’dorei banned from Dalaran, and slaughtered a few hundred here and there. Oh, and don’t forget to pretend that none of that happened when you go help the Marks hunters get their artifact weapons, because for some reason you’re important.

A systematic loop for World of Warcraft. Although effective, it’s pretty much the same rising action, climax, and falling action every single time content gets added to the game. Except for step five. That was added because some Windrunner sisters just need to die. Now moving on to more important things because Vareesa sucks.

Hope you’ve a few minutes and spare brain cells, because we’re going back to the true beginning, how we got here chronologically from launch all the way up to patch 7.0 in three distinct parts. Let’s dive back 12-13 years ago, when the only thing we knew about Warcraft was goofy and cheesy RTS clips and the original DotA. Here we are at launch day, Patch 1.1 in November 2004, (list of dates patch wise) with the Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair open for business. As I write these words, I am halfway between the both of them, ridding the world of the Fire Lord Ragnaros and half hoping there will be drops of the Sulfuras quest starter. He didn’t deliver. I take a gander at my surroundings within the Molten Core and think back to the last time I was in here, during the 10-year anniversary. The 40-man raid finder group, which only met with one wipe, found the Fire Lord, the very insect in which he pledged to the champions that faced him. In lament’s terms, we extinguished him like he was nothing but a burning ember on a candle. He promptly dropped for me the rarest battle pet achievable in game at the time “Hatespark, the Tiny”, in which I dubbed him proudly “LOLGotThisYouDidnt”.

I think of how easy it was at the time and feel how many hours spent back in the days of old Vanilla, that people were in here week after week trying to pillage the treasures of the Fire Lord, and how useless their time spent must seem now. A lot of dedication went into these fiery caverns and a lot of broken hearts probably came of it. It’s known that WoW used to ruin relationships and how people used to not see the light of day, but my oh my were those times bittersweet. I never got to experience Vanilla for myself and never understood what dedication meant until early Wrath when I finally decided to try raiding out, but I can tell just running through these places that it must have been a feat when you finally downed the final boss for the very first time. Sweet, sweet victory. My journey must continue. It is time for the brood mother of the Black Dragon flight to meet her end.

I finally arrive at the mouth of the dungeon to den of the Broodmother. I stand there looking dashing and heroic, because Blood Elf Paladin, and I think why the hell am I even here? Lore wise what significance does killing Onyxia prove for me? Did the horde ever have a reason? I know the alliance went in to get Anduin back at one point but why does the Horde care if the Human prince dies? Well guess what, they don’t. According to the Lore the Alliance was responsible for Onyxia’s death. In fact, it was Varian himself who slayed her, so the Horde took not a single drop of satisfaction from her death and story wise, probably did not even know that such things were going on. Strangely enough though we were still invited back to the reboot of her dungeon at the end of Wrath to oogle her goodies. What does that mean for the players and their time? Just digital currency and armor with tiny ounces of stat increases.

Now where does all of this put us? We’re geared to fight through Black Wing Lair and Naxx now as they opened a half of a year later, we’re one of the lucky few that get to even see Kel’Thuzad much less kill him. Someone in our group managed to both ring the gong at Ahn’qiraj, we’re speaking hypothetically here, and the Burning Crusade is about to launch in a few weeks. I want to state that going back through Naxx, I never even thought about how hard it might have been back in Vanilla days. Apparently it took weeks to even clear one wing for the highest rated guilds, and I don’t even want to think about all of that time wasted, and especially as a healer, putting up with peoples mistakes because even the slightest would mean a raid wipe. As I dwell on it, I can understand now why a lot of hardcore vanilla players left after the launch of Burning Crusade. All of that time they put in was wasted when they got to outland, feeling as if though the gear they bled over to get, was just thrown away as vendor trash and replaced with Uncommon green text. I wouldn’t even want to fathom the disappointment. Heroes met at the end of Vanilla were Bolvar Fordragon, Varian Wrynn, Staghelm the elder and the younger (cept’ he ded), Tirion Fordring (sort of), and a few others that dotted the landscapes. These heroes will have a great destiny before them in the coming expansions.

Now here we’ve come to the Burning Crusade, where Illidan and his Illidari threaten Azeroth again by the reopening of the Dark Portal. The story is pretty straight forward and to the point and it has a wonderful execution to how it is to be performed. The Horde and the Alliance both brave the haunted halls of Karazhan, in search of ancient and powerful trinkets and weapons left behind by the last Guardian of Tirisfal, Medivh. If there was anything that could stop a demonic army, it would be items horded by a great demon killer. Now outfitted with their new toys, they take on Lady Vashj and her Naga warriors in the Serpent Shrine Cavern, and then make their way to Tempest Keep where the newly renounced Lord of the Blood Elf Kael’thas is planning to unleash an ancient Naaru power that he and his Blood Elf had been sucking the energy out of the Netherstorm to bring online. Defeating the both of them would mean that the Horde and the Alliance could finally mount an assault on the Black Temple where Illidan Stormrage lurks, plotting something much larger then both of them could anticipate. With the help from Akama and his broken, which I still deem as the real Draenei, and the Warden Maiev Shadowsong. After his defeat in an epic battle in which he was totally not prepared for, Illidan fell and cursed the Huntress Shadowsong that she is nothing without the Hunt, where she finds herself now in the deepest and darkest pit of despair, and Akama just kinda wanders off and we don’t hear from him again, because Blizzard doesn’t want you to know that Activision controls their ideas and that the real Draenei were ugly people.

With Illidan’s death, the Burning Crusade was all but finished. Every demon had been vanquished and Outland was saved! . . . kinda. Then suddenly, on the Island of Quel’danas that floated away from Quel’thalas for some reason that they never really officially answered how it did so, Kael’thas, almost like reborn Phoenix, emerged once again with a plot to bring the demon lord Kil’jaden into Azeroth, and a plan to rebuild the Sunwell with Fel energies in which to get him here. The Blood Knight Matriarch Liadrin and the followers of A’dal rose up, put aside their squabbles, and formed the Shattered Sun offensive to stop him, purify the newly built Sunwell, and kill Kael’thas once and for all for being a crappy king and for shaming his father and grandfather. Oh yeah and they also did a this is Sparta moment and kicked Kil’jaden back into the hell hole he tried to crawl out of. Heroes that rose up in this expansion will take part in future installments as well. They were Lady Liadrin, Regent Lord Lor’themar Theron, The Prophet Velen, Vindicator Maarad, and Garrosh Hellscream.

After the Crusades, Azeroth was once to have thought been safe once again. No visible threat had been present until suddenly reports of people getting sick started to occur, and then those who turned sick started to die, and then reanimate themselves into ravaging Ghouls. Thus started the second scourge plague that for some reason or another didn’t actually do nearly as much harm as the first, but I don’t think that was Arthas’s intention. His intention was to throw the Horde and the Alliance off with the plague as he mounted an assault. Suddenly Scourge Nexus’ started to pop up all across the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor following with it were the Undead scourge, restless and bloodthirsty. Players from all over Azeroth, the ones who didn’t turn into ghouls already, would amount an offensive to fight back the hungry dead and avenge their fallen comrades in battle. Amidst the battles, champions were given the unlucky privilege of delivering a plagued head to the  that whispered sweet nothings of death and demise to you.

Finally the night has arrived when we first walked onto the frozen tundra of Northrend. With an icy chill in the air, we marched our respected paths up through to Dalaran, gaining small victories against an army that never ends. We conquered the threats of the Drak’ari, an Ice Troll empire that eventually swore an oath to the Lich King. We tackled the Ancient Kingdom of Azjul Nerub, taking down the first of the Lich King’s generals with Anubarak, and then set our sights skyward to an old nemesis that we greatly wished vengeance on, Naxxramas. After putting Kel’thuzard permanently in the grave, our heroes fought the corrupted Malygos of the Blue Dragon flight, then they made their way through Ulduar, saved the complete “cleansing” of Azeroth and vanquishing the embodiment of an Old God that was imprisoned there known as Yogg’Saron. The Argent Crusade, by this time, had finally made its way through to start its siege against Icecrown, and established a tournament just outside of Arthas’s reach on the icy cliffs of the eastern coast. It is there that our heroes made a name for themselves and competed in a friendly tournament to see if they were worthy enough to march onto Icecrown Citadel with the Argent Crusade and the Ebon Blade. We finally earned our rites to fight the Lich King and marched into the frozen gates of Arthas’s citadel. It was there were the Lich King met his fate, and where we learned a more grim one was to take place. Notable heroes of mention Varok Sarufang, Rhonin, and Vareesa Windrunner who sucks.

Just as soon as the Lich King fell did we get barely a moments rest, before Deathwing emerged for the fifth or sixth time to shape the world as he saw fit. With the power of the dragon aspects behind them, our heroes would race to stop a most grim future. By fighting in the past, the present, and the future, the champions of Azeroth claimed victory finally with the Dragon Soul and green Jesus said “Hey this is our chance now” and the dragons were all “Oh right, its time for the age of the mortal”. Then you see Nozdormu, with his goofy looking model staring at the sand pouring out of his shoulder armor. Then Thrall is like “YAY I HAD A BABY” then the expansion ends. Quick recap about the Cataclysm though, there were a lot of beautiful changes made to the game, the first underwater area was a flop, even though it was pretty damn cool, and we got Goblins, because what says awesome like loudmouthed New Yorkers hacking cough I mean Goblins. A lot of the Cataclysm was left unfinished. The entire underwater raid that was planned in hopes to stop the Old God N’zoth, resulted in nothing. A lot of speculation was created from the many holes that Blizzard left behind in the story line and it seems like this was the very first shift in story that was going one way and then some how ended up going another.

The long rumored Pandaren expansion came next, and along with it was the rise and fall of Garrosh Hellscream. The return of a favorite hero Chen Stormstout definitely was a miss for a lot of people, but for those who were loyal to the original Warcraft games stories, they were the best moments this expansion offered. Along with the beautiful landscapes that the mists covered, the expansion had by far one of the best story lines since Wrath, but fell slightly short with small bits of grab-assing by Blizzard and its subscribers. The ultimate balance between heroes also fell short in this regard, and there were a lot of issues with getting people to care until they found out that they got to kill Garrosh Hellscream at the end of it all. Once the first final blow was sent to the Sha infested Hellscream, his life was sparred by Thrall and everyone who watched just died a little on the inside. Deathwing’s son also appeared for some reason and also for some reason played a big role in wanting to help stop all the bad stuff that happened… or he was trying to instigate it all. I find it important to say that his involvement was pretty much pointless at the end of it, and he wasn’t even back in Warlords in a big role at least, to confirm our suspicions about his dabbling.

Finally we’ve made it to now, Warlords of Draenor, the expansion that will go down as the worst expansion in WoW’s history, and for good reason. Not to say that it didn’t try because Warlords of Draenor had by far the most interesting leveling story that I’ve played in this game. Even Wrath dragged a bit here and there in regards to leveling because of the grinding that came with it. In Warlords however you got to sort of feel involved as you watched proud heroes sacrifice themselves for other heroes that had no business even being there. I’m looking at you Yrel, you’re sort of worse than Vareesa and Maarad died to save you which was stupid as you play no part in helping with anything from here on out. The only reason for WoD’s existence it seems was to resurrect Gul’dan so he can just die all over again.

So where does that leave us? Where are we now? Today, the Legion pre-event will start. Heroes will actually get to rush the Broken Shore and fight demons to their heart’s content, and ((SPOILERS)) they’ll be able to watch Varian die, which I can’t wait to see personally. This is a sink or swim moment for Azeroth. Legion just may be the final nail in the coffin or the savior that Tirion Fordring should have been, because seriously, I’m probably going to cry when that man gets taken. Over the course of the next week for the event, I will break down everything that is going on, and tell you what I think leading up to, and yes, even leveling through all the way to 110.

About braybraybraylinhal 25 Articles
I've been in the industry for 8 years come March 9th, 2016, and I've seen the evolution of it on the front lines, if you will, via the retail side of things. I've always had a knack for writing, anything that I find of interest that is, and I hope to one day establish myself as such. Boring, professional stuff, aside. I do enjoy me some vidja games and nothing does my enjoyment better than when that said vidja game has a big whole extra scoop of lore to create the conspiracy theory of what might come next in the series. It's all a big mystery, and the story and the things that go on in between, help expand our very imaginations from the new beginnings to the epic sagas. More to share later, included the possible addition of my Xbox Live tag, which you'll be able to follow all my latest exploits, and for those of you that have already seen me roaming the lands of the World of Warcraft, from the future or the past, I just wanted to let you know I'm sorry.