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The Story of Varok Saurfang in Patch 8.1

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Varok Saurfang's story continues in Patch 8.1. Check out what awaits the High Overlord in Tides of Vengeance! This article contains spoilers.

Foreword

Blizzard released a cinematic titled "Old Soldier", where the High Overlord reacts to the Burning of Teldrassil. He's not content with Sylvanas' decisions and does not like where the Horde is heading.

Saurfang becomes fed up with the events of the Battle for Lordaeron and is taken to the Stockades by Anduin. Later in the Stormwind Extraction Scenario, you find him locked up in a cell, but he does not want to return to Orgrimmar.

If you missed our first installment of Saurfang's story in Battle for Azeroth, you can check it out here.

Saurfang's Story in Patch 8.1

Blizzard added a new NPC called Varok Saurfang in Tides of Vengeance and the Orc received a new skin as well. He's no longer referred to as "High Overlord" and does not wear his usual armor.

saurfangnoarmor.png.5c49678bd368a5f904e3saurfangnoarmorhood.png.a61b50554d4d3615

Saurfang escaped the Stockades and Horde players are sent to investigate what happened to him. Sylvanas does not want him to fall into the hands of the Alliance and demands you to take him back to Orgrimmar. Our favorite Zappyboi makes an appearance at the end of the questline, joining him in battle.

Varok Saurfang Questline in Patch 8.1

The 8.1 questline starts with Dark Ranger Alina and "The Dark Lady Calls" quest aboard the Bahsee Wall and Sylvanas requests your audience in Orgrimmar.

The Dark Lady Calls

Champion, the Dark Lady has need of you. We cannot speak more of this here. Make haste to Orgrimmar at once. Best not to keep her waiting.

An Abomination Guard is guarding the door in Grommash Hold to ensure that your meeting with Sylvanas stays private.

The High Overlord

I have asked you here to discuss a matter of great improtance to the Horde. Varok Saurfang is no longer present in Stormwind. Let us discuss this turn of events.

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Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: Thank you for coming so quickly, <player name>. This is a matter I could entrust only to you.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: My spies report that Varok Saurfang has escaped Alliance custody. He'd been held in the Stormwind Stockades since the assault on Lordaeron.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: Should the boy-king's forces locate Saurfang, no doubt they will kill him on sight.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: While some within our ranks have questioned the High Overlord's loyalties, we cannot allow him to fall back into enemy hands.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: I expect you to find him before they do.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: Dark Ranger Lyana is an exceptional tracker. She will assist you on this assignment.

Sylvanas wants you to locate Saurfang, because the Alliance would surely kill him on sight. Some members of the Horde question his loyalty and consider him a traitor for his willing surrender at the Battle for Lordaeron.

A Way Out

My spies report that our High Overlord did not leave the way he entered, not any other way we know of. No signs were seen at any of the known exits to the Stockades or sewers. He simply was in his cell one moment, and not the next. Begin your investigation around the city of Stormwind. There must be another way out that we do not know of. Dark Ranger Lyana will meet you there, her tracking skills are second to none. Do not fail me, my champion.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: We will rendezvous just outside Stormwind's walls. Keep to the shadows.

Now, you must reach Elwynn Forest to continue the questline. The easiest way was to teleport to Dalaran, use the portal to Karazhan and fly there.

On Track

Keep your head down, we don't want to be seen out here. Our spies keep watching over Stormwind day and night, and saw no signs of Saurfang. Not did we notice any oddly-oversized carts or strange ships in the night, if that was what you were thinking. How then, did he make his escape? Let's look around.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: Let's keep moving. Be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

You're going to find a sewer exit outside the city.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: A sewer exit. Outside the city, away from prying eyes. Let's take a look at that lock.

Clicking the Old Lock will make the following text appear:

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This lock is old and heavily rusted. Scrape marks and flecks of loose rust are present around the keyhole and moving parts. It has been recently used.

Now that you've found Saurfang's escape route, the search continues...

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Dark Ranger Lyana: Seems we have found his escape route. Hmm, there is mud around the lake. We should check for tracks.

Dark Ranger Lyana: The mud has been disturbed. Someone tried to disguise their route amongst the reeds. Let's keep moving.

Dark Ranger Lyana: Heavy footprints. Too large for a human. It has to be Saurfang. His trail leads east...

You will be attacked by SI:7 Agents and the quest is complete when you defeat all three.

Quote

SI:7 Agent: Well, well... what do we have here?

SI:7 Agent: Seems a couple of Hordies got lost. VERY lost.

SI:7 Agent: Does this area look brown and filthy to you, Hordies?

SI:7 Agent: Sure seems green to me. Not like Horde lands at all.

SI:7 Agent: Let's send them back on their way then, shall we?

SI:7 Agent: My daggers can point 'em in the right direction!

You need to keep moving, because SI:7 Agents are probably looking for Saurfang as well.

Eastern Escape

It's not unusual to see SI:7 spies lurking around the city, but still, something about this doesn't feel right. We need to find where Saurfang's trail picks up. The last tracks were heading east, towards Redridge. At the entrance to Redridge is Three Corners, one of the more well-defended towers the Alliance has. I have an idea, meet me there.

The search for Saurfang continues in Redridge Mountains.

Corner Crossing

If Saurfang was headed in this direction, it would have been difficult for him to avoid the Three Corners watchpost. We could simply walk in there and demand information, but I have a feeling that they would not part with it willingly. So we will take another approach. I have procured this potion from our alchemists. It will turn us into--ugh-- humans for a while. We can then question the guards, perhaps someone saw something.

Use the Humanizing PotionHumanizing Potion to turn yourself into a Human for 10 minutes and ask guards for information. After you taken on the appearance of a Human, Lyana tells you:

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Dark Ranger Lyana: Look at you... how sickeningly sweet. It's perfect.

You're going to approach guards and tell them you've lost a puppy. Dark Ranger Lyana goes by the name "Marion Sutton" when transformed.

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Marion Sutton: Won't you please help us?

Marion Sutton: My poor sweet daughter lost her puppy!

Marion Sutton: It ran away last night. Did you see it?

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Last night? Don't much remember about last night, do we? Hah!

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Come on! No need to tell 'em about that!

Redridge Garrison Watchman: It's fine! Why, Mr. Shaw himself paid us a visit! It's not every day the leader of SI:7 gives you the night off.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Truth be told, it wasn't so much the night off as it was a full bottle of very fine rum... and a lack of orders that we shouldn't drink it all in one sittin'.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Next thing you know, this one's so deep in his cups that he can't hardly stand.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: They don't need to hear any more about that...

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Decides that he's gonna inform Miss Darcy Parker that he's gone and caught feelings for her.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: My heart couldn't take it n'more! A man ain't got no defenses when he's down in his bottles.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: He takes one look at the franks 'n beans she's got boilin' in the pot, and before ya know it, his lunch makes a repeat appearance.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Had the poached fish and taters. Not a meal I'll soon forget.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Instead of the wooin' ofa lifetime, poor Darcy had to put a sick man to bed and scrub the floor.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Let me tell you, nobody knows how to tuck in a man the way she does.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: Don't be givin' up on her, now! You got a big heart, and that counts for somethin'.

Redridge Garrison Watchman: So's to answer your question quick as I can, I don't think we saw any dogs last night. Least not that I can recall.

The guards were super drunk last night and they do not recall anything. It must have been fairly easy for Saurfang to pass by the Three Corner watchpost unnoticed. Now you question Darcy Parker about what happened last night.

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Darcy Parker: Oh sweet thing, nothing to worry about. Were you scared? One of the guards just had a little too much fun and he needed to lie down and take a nap. I put him right to bed in the inn, don't you worry.

The search continues in Lakeshire at Inkeeper Brianna. She informs you that guards are staying upstairs at the Lakeshire Inn. After searching the room for clues, you find an Official-Looking Note from Shaw:

Quote

<A hastly-scribbled note. It appears to have been intended for the captain of the guards.>

Our spies report the possibility of an attack.

Double the patrols between here and Burning Steppes tonight, pull your guards from other duties if you must.

- Shaw

Signs of Saurfang

With the guards drunk at their posts, Saurfang would have had little trouble passing Three Corners undetected. The path splits up ahead. The back roads of Redridge are poorly-patrolled and infested with gnolls and spiders. In other words, a perfect path for an orc trying to not to be noticed. His most likely path is Lakeridge Highway, we should continue our investigation there.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: These back roads would make an ideal route for someone trying to avoid attention. Let's look around. 

You'll find ripped webbing, ichor, and plenty of killed spiders in Lakeridge Highway.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: Ripped webbing. Someone definitely passed through here--and it wasn't a gnoll.

Dark Ranger Lyana: They're dead. Based on the print pattern, I'd say it was only a minor scuffle.

Dark Ranger Lyana: That's a lot of ichor. More than I'd expect rom one of these young tarantulas.

Dark Ranger Lyana: Which means that our quarry must have also encountered...

Dark Ranger Lyana: ...their mother.

Defeat the Injured Bristlequeen to complete the quest.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: Such a shame. I quite like spiders.

Ever Eastward

All signs point to our quarry heading farther east. To what end, Im an not sure, but I have my suspicions. I am going to scout the area from the air, let's meet up at Redridge Pass.

Tracking Tipoff

Look there, down the hill, one of the Alliance hunters that roams the area. No one knows these pathways like them. If our quarry passed through this area, they would certainly have seen the tracks. Their dogs may even have noticed. Here is another dose of the potion. Let us question this one while he is alone.

It's time to drink  Humanizing PotionHumanizing Potion again and question Hunter McAlister who is later killed, because his dogs notice you're not actual humans.

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Marion Sutton: My good sir, can you help us?

Marion Sutton: A filthy orc raided our farm in the night. He stole a priceless family heirloom!

Marion Sutton: Have you seen any signs of such a monstrous brute travelling over the pass?

Hunter McAlister: Found some hug tracks just this mornin'. They led over the mountains pass and into the swamp.

Franklin: Grrr...

Hunter McAlister: if that was your orc, he's a big one. Best watch yourselves.

Danger: Rrrrr... rouf!

Hunter McAlister: Must've been your orc that got my dogs all riled up last night.

Drooble: Ar-oof!

Hunter McAlister: They were barkin' and growlin' up a storm. They do that whenever one of those Horde scoundrels comes around.

Franklin: GRRRR...

Wallaby: Rrrrr...

Hunter McAlister: Come to think of it, sorta like they're doing right now...

Danger: ROUF!

Bernard: Bark!

Hunter McAlister: Hey! You're Horde, ain't ya!? Get 'em, boys!

Killing Hunter McAlister and his dogs makes Zappyboi appear! Zekhan offers the next quest while Lyana informs you she must return to the Warchief.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: I must report back to the warchief. You are to take no further action until you hear from me again. Understood?

Zekhan tells you that Saurfang's hiding at a nearby farm.

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Zekhan: Ey mon, over here! I be needin' your help!

Zekhan: Saurfang's hidin' out at a small farm nearby. We best be gettin' dere before dey do!

Grim Tidings

Ey mon, dat dark ranger, she lied to ya'! Saurfang knew they'd be comin' for him. He sent me to watch the pass, see who his assassins were, try to warn him if I could. She's not reportin' back nothin', she's goin' to kill him. Probably got a whole group of deathguards just waiting for her to give the signal. We gotta stop dem! You with me?

Dark Ranger Lyana lied to you and she wants to kill him. Better hurry and inform Saurfang who's located in the Swamp of Sorrows.

A Warrior's Death

She gonna try an' take him in, and then no one ever gonna see Varok Saurfang again. Dis was never a rescue mission, dis was about power, an' control, an' Sylvanas think she be holdin' all the cards. But she didn't count on us! Let's go.

Turns out Sylvanas actually tricked you and wants Saurfang dead.

Completing the quest rewards a fun cloak toy - Worn CloakWorn Cloak. A scripted event will begin as soon as you accept the quest and you must defend Saurfang.

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Dark Ranger Lyana: Varok Saurfang! You are guilty of treason against the Dark Lady. Exit the hut or I will burn it down... like that tree your Alliance friends loved so dearly.

Zekhan: Ya ain't got a shred of honor between ya! How ya gonna turn ya backs on Saurfang, after all he's done for da Horde?

Dark Ranger Lyana: Champion, you and that troll need to stay out of this. My orders come from the warchief herself!

Varok Saurfang: And what orders might those be?

Dark Ranger Lyana: You turned your back on your duty to the Horde, Saurfang.

Dark Ranger Lyana: And worse, after you abandoned your people, you conspired with humans against your warchief.

Dark Ranger Lyana: You will throw down your weapon at once and come with us.

Dark Ranger Lyana: Or you will die here, in the swamp, alone.

Zekhan: Not alone!

Varok Saurfang: I see you still have not learned to fear the impossible odds, my young friend. It is an honor to stand at your side.

Varok Saurfang: Enough of your prattling, dark ranger! If you came seeking a fight, you shall have it!

Varok Saurfang: For the honor of the Horde! Lok-tar ogar!

Dark Ranger Lyana: Kill the traitor--and all who stand with him!

Zekhan: Ey! We did it, mon! What a battle! You see all dem sparks I be shootin'?

Dark Ranger Lyana and her crew die, but now you must come up with something to fool Sylvanas.

Queen's Favor

I have two things to ask of you, and I do not ask them lightly. First, I need you to retain the favor of the warchief. She will undoubtedly have questions, and seeds of distrust may begin to grow, but she cannot lose you as an ally, not now. She would not so willingly part with one of her greatest champions. In order to do so, it will have to look like you faced me in combat, and lost. I trust you can take a hit. Second, I ask you not to follow me further. I must make this journey alone.

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Varok Saurfang: If you are to remain in the Banshee's favor, she needs to believe that I defeated you. But it has to look like you put up a good fight.

Varok Saurfang: Ready? Take a deep breath. I fear I lack practice in pulling my punches.

Talk to Saurfang and tell him to punch you. The screen turns black for a second and you will be afflicted with the "Convincing Blow" debuff for 10 minutes.

Quote

Varok Saurfang: Ah, good. You are still alive. Bruised... but alive.

Varok Saurfang: Return to the Banshee Queen. Tell her that I will be no one's pawn.

Varok Saurfang: Zekhan, I need you to remain in Orgrimmar. Let those who wish to restore the honor of the Horde know that they must not give up hope.

Zekhan: No way, mon. I'm comin' with ya! Where da high overlord go, I go.

Varok Saurfang: Not today, my friend. This path I must travel alone.

Varok Saurfang: Go with honor. You will see me again.

Zekhan: We betta'. We be countin' on ya.

Finally, go to Orgrimmar and talk to Sylvanas in Grommash Hold to complete the Queen's Favor quest that rewards Artifact Power.

Quote

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: Let me see if I have this right... Saurfang single-handedly slew my elite forces and a veteran dark ranger?

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: How fortunate that you escaped with little more than a bruise. Fortunate... but disappointing.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: Let me be perfectly clear. You will find the traitor Saurfang. You will deliver him to me. And you will not fail me again.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner: now go. Remember your duty to the Horde. We have a war to win.

The story ends here. Sylvanas doesn't know you defeated the dark ranger and her forces along with Saurfang and Zekhan. Let's see what the future holds for Varok. Let us know what you think about his story so far and Sylvanas wanting him dead.

Characters Involved in the Questline

Dark Ranger Lyana

Veteran Dark Ranger appointed by Sylvanas to help you track down Saurfang. In the beginning, it all looks like a rescue mission, but further down the questline you learn that she was deceiving you all along. She's later killed by the player, Saurfang, and Zekhan.

Varok Saurfang

Saurfang escaped the Stockades and you find him hiding at a farm in the swamps with simple armor and without the "High Overlord" title, indicating his discontent with Sylvanas' Horde. He probably works with Matthias Shaw who gave guards booze allowing Saurfang to pass by the watchpost unnoticed. You confront Dark Ranger Lyana and her forces as you uncover her vile intentions and learn that the rescue mission was actually a lie and Sylvanas wants him dead. He doesn't want you or Zekhan to follow him, because he clearly states that he must travel the path alone. The character of Saurfang remains the embodiment of the Horde's long-lost honor.

Zekhan

Zappyboi makes an appearance during the questline and fights alongside Saurfang. Blizzard did a really great job at portraying him loyal to Varok at times of need as we saw in the Old Soldier cinematic.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner

Another lie has been told by the Warchief. First, she makes you believe it's of utmost importance to track down Saurfang, who recently escaped the Stockades, so that the Alliance does not kill him. Later, she accuses Varok of treason against the Horde and wants him dead. After you kill Lyana and her forces, you fool her into believing that Saurfang did all that. Blizzard confirmed in an interview that Sylvanas will not be Garrosh 2.0 in Battle for Azeroth.

Gameplay Video

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But I'm sure Sylvannas fans will insist she's misunderstood and morally grey.    Saurfang had it coming, or something.

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In every patch someone escapes Stormwind Stockades - shouldn't the Alliance hire better guards? Unless they let Garrosh free on purpose, knowing he can split the Horde and may drive the faction into a civil war, whilst Anduin & friends can collect all the Azerite on the planet. Divide et impera!

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Man... this is super disappointing... she shouldve actually gone to save him. Then had a big argument in orgrimmar. Now this is exactly like panda... she sends an assassin and voljin pretends to die then saurfang leads a rebellion and sylv and sacrificed... this just sucks

 

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Sylv did nothing wrong, Forsaken moto is "trust nobody", and Alliance needed Horde only when world was at stake, or their blue a$$... 

I hope she wins over this rebel thing, I don't expect her to remain as leader of Horde, but F* Blizz if they keep on killing warchiefs... 

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On 10/13/2018 at 9:07 PM, Migol said:

But I'm sure Sylvannas fans will insist she's misunderstood and morally grey.    Saurfang had it coming, or something.

"Lok'tar ogar" - I guess that counts for nothing when you just submit to be taken into the Stockades. 

 

Regardless of Sylvanas' little schemes, any Orc would still stand up for their own brothers and sisters. Many died for the Horde, not for Sylvanas, yet he just submits defeat. And then whines about not getting an honorable death. What better way to overthrow a warchief than by showing you can do it better yourself?

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14 hours ago, Xhopeon said:

Sylv did nothing wrong, Forsaken moto is "trust nobody", and Alliance needed Horde only when world was at stake, or their blue a$$... 

I hope she wins over this rebel thing, I don't expect her to remain as leader of Horde, but F* Blizz if they keep on killing warchiefs... 

Thats exactly the text, i was waiting for. Finally someone with a clear mind, who is laughing about this "We are cool revolutionary Rebels, lets make some action and play bad/good superheroes" .. i guess some people are really lucky in their marriage - No Loyality. Besides this, they support an old, lonely and embittered Orc, who is still crying after his Son. "Honor", when Sylvanas sacrificed some of her Soldiers, the hypocrites where yelling "MoRaLlY GrEy", "GaRrOSH 2.0r1!1" but if an Old Orc, like i already wrote, kills some Guards of the Warchief (Siege of Orgrimmar Like) then its "COOOOOL!! LoKTaR OgaR!!"

 

In the end, the true Horde will win. Blizzard will not tear my beloved Horde apart.

 

Edited by Nusra
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19 hours ago, Yridaa said:

"Lok'tar ogar" - I guess that counts for nothing when you just submit to be taken into the Stockades. 

 

Regardless of Sylvanas' little schemes, any Orc would still stand up for their own brothers and sisters. Many died for the Horde, not for Sylvanas, yet he just submits defeat. And then whines about not getting an honorable death. What better way to overthrow a warchief than by showing you can do it better yourself?

If I remember correctly, he had just fought and was basically on his last legs facing the alliance invasion alone, begging Anduin to finish him off as his "warrior's death".    Anduin refused and took him into custody.     That's hardly submitting, that's being overpowered by superior numbers

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2 hours ago, Migol said:

If I remember correctly, he had just fought and was basically on his last legs facing the alliance invasion alone, begging Anduin to finish him off as his "warrior's death".    Anduin refused and took him into custody.     That's hardly submitting, that's being overpowered by superior numbers

Agreed. He begged to fight and die against an army. But Anduin saw it for what it would have been, a slaughter without honor. That's far from blaming Saurfang for "quitting".

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14 hours ago, Nusra said:

In the end, the true Horde will win. Blizzard will not tear my beloved Horde apart.

Sylvanas is the greatest enemy of the Horde right now.  She is enemy to all.  Nothing gray about it.  All of the Horde who follow her are fools, and most are being played for fools.  "The Horde" is only a means to an end for her and she is the one who is the betrayer to "The Horde" and to The Forsaken.

Edited by Sholto

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23 hours ago, Nusra said:

Thats exactly the text, i was waiting for. Finally someone with a clear mind, who is laughing about this "We are cool revolutionary Rebels, lets make some action and play bad/good superheroes" .. i guess some people are really lucky in their marriage - No Loyality. Besides this, they support an old, lonely and embittered Orc, who is still crying after his Son. "Honor", when Sylvanas sacrificed some of her Soldiers, the hypocrites where yelling "MoRaLlY GrEy", "GaRrOSH 2.0r1!1" but if an Old Orc, like i already wrote, kills some Guards of the Warchief (Siege of Orgrimmar Like) then its "COOOOOL!! LoKTaR OgaR!!"

 

In the end, the true Horde will win. Blizzard will not tear my beloved Horde apart.

 

Dark Lady watch over you.

 

I'm with her.

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So Shaw told the guards to double their efforts and then gave them spirits as High Overlord Saurfang passed by ? And we didn't figure that the Alliance is helping High Overlord Saurfang ? If we aren't the dumbest heroes then I don't know what to say(plus we do whatever we are told to, it is like we don't have a free will ).

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9 hours ago, Ancalagon said:

Dark Lady watch over you.

The irony of using this phrase in a pro-Sylvanas way is thermonuclear.  

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On 10/15/2018 at 2:45 AM, Nusra said:

"We are cool revolutionary Rebels, lets make some action and play bad/good superheroes"

You mean just like the entire end of the Panda expansion where basically the entirety of the horde fought their own revolution?  

On 10/15/2018 at 2:45 AM, Nusra said:

Besides this, they support an old, lonely and embittered Orc, who is still crying after his Son.

poor old guy, watched his son frickin die only to be resurrected in service of the the lich king as a mindless drone bent on his own father's (and the world's) destruction or submission?  

Man... what a whiner! amirite

On 10/15/2018 at 2:45 AM, Nusra said:

the hypocrites where yelling "MoRaLlY GrEy", "GaRrOSH 2.0r1!1" but if an Old Orc, like i already wrote, kills some Guards of the Warchief (Siege of Orgrimmar Like) then its "COOOOOL!! LoKTaR OgaR!!"

"some guards of the warchief" who had just literally made attempts on his life for doing the less than the same thing Sylvanas herself did with Garrosh...? 

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Sylvanas had no problems dropping plague to kill and resurrect her own troops as undead in a battle she set up as a trap. Sylvanas does not care about honor or the living. Saurfang saw the truth. The horde is nothing to Sylvanas but a tool for her own agenda. The horde leadership were fools to accept a delirious Vol'jin's decree at the cusp of death, and now they have Arthas 2.0 as warchief. I just don't know how this all goes down without another bloody coup in Orgrimmar.

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On 10/18/2018 at 10:57 AM, Durf24 said:

I still think it's rather stupid that Forsaken players side with Saurfang over Sylvanas.

yea, free will is pretty stupid.  Much more effective if they default to her no matter what. 

Not unlike the "lich queen" comments i hear made sometimes.

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Will his story be available for both factions? I don't like it when the main story is split between Horde and Alliance. Like what happened with Uldir when as Alliance I had no idea why I was there till I leveled my Horde warrior. At least make a short questline that explains what the other faction did or something. Is not that hard. :)

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      On November 3 at the World of Warcraft Q&A at BlizzCon 2018, players questioned panelists Alex Afrasiabi, Ion Hazzikostas, John Hight, and Chris Robinson. Many of the questions deserved a bit more time to fully answer than we originally anticipated, and in the end, eight attendees were left without the chance to ask their questions. Here are the questions that didn’t make it in time, along with our answers to each:
      Over the course of the last 14 years, we've killed many Warcraft villains. What is your strategy for introducing new characters and threats to this universe?
      While many of the iconic villains in WoW over the years were first established in the RTS games (Illidan, Arthas, etc.), WoW has been introducing new characters and threats since its earliest days (such as Onyxia or the Defias). We’re keenly aware of the need to begin building up future threats even as we confront existing ones. A major villain shouldn’t come out of nowhere and be a surprise. We plan our expansions out far in advance, so that we can begin foreshadowing and weaving narrative threads to connect them. Garrosh Hellscream is an example of a character born within WoW and built up to eventually become a major villain and then a catalyst that led directly to Azeroth’s confrontation with the Burning Legion. If you look carefully, there are seeds that have been planted and clues that point to who central foes might be in the future.
      When will the WoW Mobile App ever be complete?
      If you mean “complete” in the sense of integrating the social features currently missing from the app, like guild/community chat and the calendar, that’s actively being worked on and we’re aiming to get that functionality added in the coming months. Due to some tech infrastructure changes in Battle for Azeroth, we had to basically rebuild the existing Companion App from the ground up, but we’ll end up with a more robust foundation as a result.
      Do you have plans to make more reputation rewards account-wide?
      We feel that it’s important for characters to retain a certain element of distinct progression. Part of making an alt can be having a fresh set of goals and rewards to pursue once you’re starting to run out of accessible goals on your main, so we don’t make reputation globally account-wide. But some players feel compelled to re-earn reputations in a way that’s frustrating and we want to do what we can to help alleviate their specific concerns. We’re addressing some of that in Tides of Vengeance:
      Transmog appearances that have rep requirements will be unlocked account-wide once earned. You won’t need to re-earn a specific reputation on an alt if you want to use their tabard as part of your outfit.
      The achievements that require a certain number of Exalted reputations will now aggregate progress across your entire account.
      For Champions of Azeroth rep, access to the item level upgrades for the Heart of Azeroth will be account-wide. If you have at least one Revered character, any other fresh 120 alts can go visit Magni and collect all 45 item levels’ worth of upgrades right away.
      What can you tell us about your future plans for pet battles?
      Pet battles continue to be a fun system layered on top of the core WoW experience. As we introduce new zones and content, there will be new pets to tame or earn as reward. For players who are looking for a new challenge to overcome, we’re adding a new Gnomeregan pet battle dungeon in Tides of Vengeance. Beyond that, in the long-term, we’d like to take a fresh look at “PvP” pet battles to see if we can add a more structure to that system and elevate it beyond what is currently a niche pursuit.
      Will gear ever return to the way it used to be with no warforging and titanforging?
      That’s unlikely.
      Gear used to be only available from a handful of activities, such as raiding or rated PvP. Obtaining a specific piece of gear could be a months-long pursuit. As the quantity and variety of sources of gear increased over the years, increasingly the pacing of rewards wasn’t matching the pacing of the activity itself. By Mists of Pandaria, a guild progressing through a raid zone over the course of a couple of months could reach a point where they were fully equipped with gear from that tier, before having finished the zone. Lacking individual motivation or excitement about rewards when raiding, even if the encounters themselves were still fun, meant a lack of continued progression for the group. If you were stuck on Sha of Fear, there was no real expectation that your group would get any stronger week over week to help you overcome that hurdle. That gave rise to Thunderforging as a system in Patch 5.2, which evolved into the system we know today.
      We like that Warforging preserves a sense of possibility to most encounters, and it allows a group’s overall item level to continue to increase steadily. It also creates moments of surprise and excitement across all types of players and activities. Of course, we understand that when an exceptionally lucky player gets a perfect Titanforged item from a Raid Finder boss, that can feel like it undermines Mythic content, but ultimately, that’s just a single piece of gear. Overall, the Mythic raider will be better-geared than the Normal or Heroic raider, even if the latter gets lucky once. We restrict the ability of pieces like weapons or Azerite armor to Titanforge, and we’ve reduced the chance of extreme Titanforging in BfA. We used to see players who felt obligated to run content they’d outgeared just for a chance at lucky upgrades, and we now see far less of this behavior.
      Players will always want to use the best traits on Azerite gear for every situation. Why punish the player with a big gold cost to reforge?
      We draw a distinction between items and character attributes like spec or talents. Usually you can’t change the former at all, or there’s a destructive process involved like replacing a gem or enchantment, or Artifact Relic in Legion. A healer trinket is a healer trinket, and can’t be morphed into a tank trinket if you want to switch from Holy to Prot. If you want to perform at a given level in both specs, you need separate trinkets of similar quality for each.
      However, we’re mindful of feedback we’d gotten regarding spec flexibility. We want Azerite armor to be flexible, so that you could switch from Fire to Frost if you want to, or you could switch from Arms to Protection for a week if your raid’s tank was absent. Without some friction, the system would just turn into a secondary (and awkward) set of talents, and a mere cooldown could create situations where you switched from one trait to another, and then couldn’t go back at all without having to wait. We ultimately settled on a respec cost that started out very low (5 gold) and increased and decayed rapidly, such that periodic respecs would be essentially free, but swapping back and forth routinely would be unsustainable.
      Nonetheless, mistaken choices or experimentation can quickly spiral out of control and leave even occasional respecs feeling overly costly. In Tides of Vengeance, we’ll be doubling the rate at which the respec cost decays, so it will go down by 50% every 24 hours. Additionally, given the changes to several Azerite traits and the new ones coming with the update, we’ll provide a one-time reset of all respec costs when the update goes live.
      How will you motivate Mythic Raiders to raid, when Mythic Keystone gear can titanforge to such high item levels?
      Aside from prestigious titles and cosmetic rewards, Mythic raiding remains one of the most reliable sources of high-end gear in the game, with more ability to target specific pieces via bonus rolls and trading. It’s no coincidence that the best-geared players in the game are, almost without exception, Mythic raiders who also do other types of endgame content. Historically, raiding was the only way to get the best gear in the game, but our goal today is to provide parallel endgame item progression paths for different playstyles (raiding, dungeons, competitive PvP) to reward skill, dedication, and organization in various forms. Ideally, each of those paths also offers some unique benefits that set it apart from the others.
      How do you plan to accommodate new players who are overwhelmed by the size of the content?
      On one hand, the breadth and depth of World of Warcraft is one of the game’s strengths. A new player entering Azeroth gets access to fourteen years of content, with entire worlds to explore and stories to unravel. But that same content can also be a daunting. Including a character boost with our recent expansions is one way of making sure that players can always leap directly into the latest and greatest content, but that’s far from a complete solution.
      We’re taking a fresh look at our new player experience, with the goal of making it better reflect the quality and scope of the modern game. That’s a long-term project, but it’s an essential one as many brand-new players try out WoW for the first time every way, and we want to make sure we’re welcoming them into Azeroth and really showing off everything that is awesome about World of Warcraft.
      Thank you all very much for taking the time to participate in the Q&A. It was amazing to see so many players come to the Darkmoon Faire and submit questions (and sometimes, comments) for the development team. We read every single one of them, and we really enjoyed talking with everyone we could in Anaheim.
      (source)
    • By Stan
      It's time to celebrate World of Warcraft's 14 anniversary! Log in between now and November 30 to receive the WoW's 14th Anniversary achievement and a cache that contains 200 Timewarped Badges, a token that  increases your experience and reputation gains by 14% for 1 hour, and more.  
      Players can earn additional Timewarped Badges by answering trivia questions by talking to Historian Llore and Historian Ju'pa.
      Players level 60 and above can defeat Lord Kazzak, Azuregos, and one of the Dragons of Nightmare bosses each day to collect loot that only dropped back then and 50 Timewarped Badges.
      Here's a full list of items that can be obtained from the event:
      Loot
      Amberseal Keeper Acid Inscribed Greaves Acid Inscribed Pauldrons Ancient Corroded Leggings Belt of the Dark Bog Boots of Fright Boots of the Endless Moor Black Bark Wristbands Blacklight Bracer Blazefury Medallion Circlet of Restless Dreams Cold Snap Crystal Adorned Crown Dark Heart Pants Deviate Growth Cap Doomhide Gauntlets Dragonbone Wristguards Dragonheart Necklace Dragonspur Wraps Drape of Benediction Emerald Dragonfang Empyrean Demolisher Eskhandar's Pelt Fang of the Mystics Fel Infused Leggings Flayed Doomguard Belt Gauntlets of the Shining Light Gloves of Delusional Power Green Dragonskin Cloak Hammer of Bestial Fury Hibernation Crystal Infernal Headcage Jade Inlaid Vestments Leggings of the Demented Mind Malignant Footguards Mana-Frosted Pauldrons Mendicant's Slippers Mindtear Band Nightmare Blade Polished Ironwood Crossbow Ring of Ancient Arcana Ring of Entropy Ring of the Unliving Unmelting Ice Girdle Unnatural Leather Spaulders Sapphire-Encrusted Tunic Snowblind Shoes Staff of Rampant Growth Strangely Glyphed Legplates Trance Stone Typhoon Blizzard (Source)
      Celebrate 14 years of World of Warcraft with us! Log in between now and November 30 to earn the WoW's 14th Anniversary, then check your mail for a special Anniversary Gift Package.
      Inside the package you’ll find 200 Timewarped Badges, a Celebration Package item to increase experience and reputation gains by 14% for 1 hour, and a “Letter from the Timewalkers,” which will start a new quest leading you to either Orgrimmar or Stormwind.
      In addition, questgivers Historian Llore and Historian Ju’pa will have two daily quests that give players a chance to earn additional Timewarped Badges either by answering World of Warcraft trivia or by defeating some familiar foes. Collectors will also have a chance to pick up a few pieces of classic loot from defeating them.
      Players level 1–59 who didn’t get to complete last year’s letter from the Timewalker’s quest will still be able to receive and complete it.
      CLASSIC BOSSES TO CELEBRATE
      It’s been 14 years since gates opened into Azeroth and the heroes of the Horde and Alliance began their journey of discovery and adventure. To celebrate this momentous occasion, some familiar foes have returned to Azeroth—with some slightly updated abilities. Players level 60 and above can take on Lord Kazzak, Azuregos, and one of the four Dragons of Nightmare each day for some loot and 50 Timewarped Badges.
      NEW VENDOR ITEM
      In addition to all the many great items available for purchase, you’ll be able to use your badges to acquire a new item this year.
      New Toy! Overtuned Corgi Goggles: Change how you see the world around you when you use this new toy. While active, friendly NPCs will appear to be such good boys and girls all year round. THANK YOU!
      Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of this adventure so far. You represent the best aspects of the Horde and the Alliance, and you inspire and motivate us every day. We’re looking forward to sharing many, many more adventures with you in the years to come.
    • By Starym
      We have two major nerfs coming in on the PvE side of things, one from raiding and one from Mythic+. First off there's the massive nerf to Mythrax' Oblivion Spheres having them prioritize ranged targets, making the encounter much easier on all difficulties:
      Then the bigger of the two changes, the  Explosive affix in Mythic+ got it's HP cut in half and had it's trigger removed from crowd controlled mobs as well:
      That's a pretty big change to   Explosive, especially considering it's been around for so long, so it's interesting it's only now gotten some attention, presumably because of the higher and higher M+ levels players are getting to and the HP adjustments on them.
    • By Starym
      The official WoW forums are getting a makeover, following suit with the Overwatch, HotS and BlizzCon ones! After an 8 hour maintenance tomorrow we'll be getting improved functionality including real time thread updates, the return of the Blizz tracker, infinite scroll for the threads, a new advanced search option, as well as new notification options and more!
      Forum Upgrades (source)
      As some of you may know, over the last several months we've been implementing new forums for a few of our titles, including Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm, as well as BlizzCon. These new forums allow you to more easily navigate current topics, encourage more constructive discussions, and reward positive contributions to the community.
      We are now ready for World of Warcraft to transition to these new forums. This Thursday, November 15, the current World of Warcraft forums will be going into maintenance starting at 8 AM Pacific. We estimate this process should take approximately 8 hours.
      Note: We will be migrating over any active threads from the last two weeks to allow ongoing community discussions to continue as seamlessly as possible. Once maintenance is complete, the old forums will remain available in read-only mode for the foreseeable future, so you’ll be able to easily reference back to anything that wasn’t automatically transferred to the new forums.
      Here’s a few of the new features we’re excited about:
      Tracking and Updates
      • The Blizz Tracker has returned to help you quickly find official posts
      • You can now easily find threads that you’ve previously viewed
      • Better text formatting
      • Threads now update in real time without needing to refresh
      • Threads now infinitely scroll – no more navigating page by page
      • The forums will also remember what you’ve read and where you left off!
      Sorting and Search
      • A new “Advanced Search” feature will make looking for older posts easier
      • You can now sort posts by “Top” or “Latest” with configurable timeframes.
      Notifications
      • You can now enable notifications for when you are tagged in posts and replies
      Flagging
      • The “report post” feature has been upgraded to a flagging system with multiple options
      In another blue post today, we've found out when exactly the new ring of Azerite powers will arrive in 8.1, and it's pretty much as expected: it's coming with the PvP Season start/raid opening in January.
      5th Azerite Ring Release Date (source)
      The fifth ring of Azerite Traits is definitely coming in Tides of Vengeance. You’ll see it on new gear when Season 2 begins, on the same day the Battle of Dazar’alor Raid opens in January. At that time, the item levels of rewards from dungeons, PvP, emissaries, Warfronts, and everything else that drops Azerite gear will go up, and all of the new Azerite gear from those endgame sources will have a fifth ring of Azerite Traits.
      In the next few weeks, we’ll advance the state of the PTR to test Season 2. You’ll then see the new ring on rewards, the new Mythic Keystone affix, and other content that’s coming with Season 2.
    • By Starym
      War Mode has been improved recently, with a hotfix that will force a more even ratio of both factions present in each shard. While it's unclear when "some time ago" was exactly, this should help with the faction imbalance players have been encountering. It won't, however, be an instant nor absolute fix for the issue, as it still takes some time for the shard to balance itself out. There will also be more improvements coming with 8.1, including better rewards for the underrepresented faction in the shard.
      War Mode Faction Balance (source)
      Some time ago we made a hotfix to War Mode which enforces all War Mode shards that have both Alliance and Horde in them to have a stricter, more even ratio. We’ve been monitoring the results and so far we’ve noticed a significant improvement in “fair and balanced” shards. So much so that it’s safe to say that if you are Alliance, and you see Horde in the outdoor world in War Mode, you are a relatively even horde to alliance ratio shard. There are some rare exceptions, such as when a raid of 40 players enter a zone. It may take a bit for the “shard manager” to compensate and balance the shard.

      We do have some plans in store in Tides of Vengeance (Patch 8.1) to entice the underrepresented faction with greater rewards to increase participation and create more active Horde/Allianced mixed War Mode shards. The intent of those rewards is not to give the underrepresented faction some “compensation” for being outnumbered in a War Mode shard (since that really can’t happen anymore).

      We're also looking forward to what you all think about the Incursions in War Mode for 8.1, since it brings Horde and Alliance to the same location which should create some pretty fun skirmishes.