From the onset, let us just get it out of the way now that Vol’jin has not returned. Last we saw, he was passing on the Warchief mantle to Sylvanas and was on his way to hang with the Loa. Why? We’re honestly not really sure. The mantle of Warchief and the fallout of it played next to no major part in the overall Legion story. Khadgar and Illidan basically ran the show and we got to tag along. Anduin becoming king was a much bigger development and had more depth to his ascension. With the Banshee Queen she vowed to avenge Vol’jin and that was that. It rallied most of the Horde. And then Genn broke her nightlight.
But this isn’t about Sylvanas today. The focus is on the Warchief we barely had. When Vol’jin took over as leader of the Horde at the end of Mists it was an excellent moment and well developed (given all the crap he went through). Plus, it was the choice most players seemed to agree on after the whole Garrosh mess. Warlords came and we went back in time (in another time, no less) and left Vol’jin in the present. So he basically relaxed while we were gone. Then we came back and he died almost immediately. If that doesn’t leave a bitter taste in a person’s mouth, I don’t know what does.
At this point, we’ve established that him passing on the mantle to Sylvanas before he died (from a spear…) accomplished nothing. It has lead to nothing. But giving the benefit of the doubt, surely there must be a reason this took place and the writers have that mapped out for the next expansion.
“In our darkest time, you would be the one to save us.”
Those were Vol’jin’s words to the Forsaken leader as he died. Well, so far it’s been all the Mary Sue’s of Azeroth that seem to be doing the saving. Thrall, Malfurion, Illidan, Khadgar…heck, what has transpired to qualify as the Horde’s “darkest time?” Again, nothing. At least on the Alliance side, they lost their actual king. So is something coming in the next expansion? It has to, otherwise what’s the point.
There’s no disputing how fond I am of the Sylvanas character, but what had great potential has been underwhelming for an entire expansion because nothing was done with it. So in the next expansion something has to happen, as I just mentioned. But what exactly would it be?
Well, I still believe Vol’jin wasn’t necessarily talking to the loa at the time of his death. With the potential involvement of N’Zoth in the upcoming stories, part of me wonders if it was actually the whispers of an Old God that convinced Vol’jin to choose the successor he did. And if that’s the case, what else has the Old God been up to? I’m thinking much, but that’s a story for another day. But there’s definitely been manipulation going on. So as a result of that, our something major happening to the Horde should come from that source. And that’s where I see the proverbial prophecy coming true with Sylvanas.
I don’t think she’ll directly save the day. I think she’ll bring back Vol’jin to do it. Hear me out. First off Vol’jin wasn’t burned like most trolls are when it comes time for their funeral. Also, it wouldn’t be the first time Vol’jin came back from the dead (read Shadows of the Horde if you haven’t already). So at this stage the window hasn’t been closed yet. Not to mention, any time anyone asks who the leader of the Darkspear Trolls is the answer is more or less circles around Vol’jin.
While I love Sylvanas, she is not going to be Warchief for long. I think it’s great from a fanboy perspective, but all wrong from a somewhat realistic perspective. As pointed out, no one trusts her…and she has done nothing in this expansion to change that. She always has her own agenda, sometimes even revolving around her people. Windrunner is a great advisor or council member but she shouldn’t be leader.
As far as Vol’jin goes, again, he was never really Warchief. Garrosh was spared. That’s pretty much all he did. So are we just going to thank him for getting a Garrison? Seems very underwhelming. He was also the most respected of the Horde leaders. Even the Alliance held him under high regard. So you have his own people, his enemies, and the players all pleased with a leader and he was gone in a breath. Blizzard has even recognized the fans were not at all happy with this and it seems early on that some of the content that was written was done so based on Vol’jin just going MIA again and that clearly did not happen this go around.
As for the how or the why she brings him back, the circumstances could be one of dozens. Again, I think something or someone is going to push the Horde to the brink of disaster under Sylvanas’ reign and all the distrust she has earned will make it impossible for her to overcome. Instead, she’ll bring back Vol’jin as a beacon for the Horde because she knows they’ll rally behind him and that will be the “darkest hour” rescue. How she does it could be simple. A bargain with Bwomsamdi. Performing another act like she did with Nathanos Blightcaller. Eh, that one seems less likely. Doubtful the Trolls would be happy about that and the Forsaken don’t seem keen on bringing back non-humans.
The how and why could make for excellent questing on the Horde side in the next expansion and it really does need to happen. Vol’jin should have the chance to be a proper Warchief. Unless Blizzard goes to a Horde council, him leading the faction is the right choice to make because there’s no one else that should hold the mantle. As I said before, not even Sylvanas. That’s why I strongly expect it to happen in whatever expansion gets announced in a few weeks. And that’s why at some point, “Dee King Will Have Returned.”