Off the top of your head, name a time in World of Warcraft where the players lost in the narrative sense. The Alliance didn’t lose anything with the bombing of Theramore, only Jaina did. Sure we felt sympathy over the incident but it didn’t defeat the faction in any sense of the word. How about the larger scales? Garrosh? Illidan? Deathwing? You can see where this is going. They all have grandiose agendas that we have to overcome and the thing is, we always do.
The idea behind this discussion is a result of me thinking about the upcoming Avengers movies. I’ve said all along if it’s a two-part story in any sense, then Thanos has to be victorious at the end of the first movie. I have a much deeper idea of how everything would play out, but that’s not relevant to this application of the idea. But I do agree with the idea itself: Azeroth has to lose once.
Realistically speaking, the idea of Azeroth losing isn’t so much the game is over. The game isn’t going anywhere. But the days of us overcoming anything that comes our way needs to have a serious hiccup. Characters like Thrall and Khadgar (either one at this point) need to lose. We need to live to see the bad guys come out victorious. To truly overcome adversity and defeat. It would make the story of the game even more enriched. Instead of dealing with threats as they develop, we have to rally and respond.
This certainly, though unintentionally, ties in with my thoughts earlier in the week about no longer needing factions in WoW. Whether they stay or go, this scenario is lost if it doesn’t result in the two sides working together to complete the comeback. You being the emissary in the quest to begin uniting the two for the fight could prove interesting. But I’m getting ahead of myself with this idea as the how isn’t important. What is important is we need to feel like we’ve been completely bettered. Like the players and characters gave it everything and came up short.
This could be as short as a patch or two, or actually be the beef of a complete expansion. I would prefer the latter to be honest. It just gives a better opportunity to tell the full story. You could have an expansion raid end with apparent victory for the players. However, with the launch of the last patch before a new expansion, you have a vignette showing things did not go entirely as we were lead to believe at the time and the subsequent fallout that creates. Heck, it could be as simple as the players following direction and doing exactly what we were supposed to do, but the whole while we’re being manipulated and mislead. Even if it was through misdirection, making it our fault is an even more powerful tool.
Going into an expansion oozing with insurmountable odds would be a scale we’re not used to. Instead of doing this or that to help the cause, you’re doing this or that just to survive. Imagine a town living or dying based on your decision on a quest that has options! The simplest things we take for granted could now be Holy Grail level goals as we slowly try to get Azeroth back on her feet and defeat said evil. But as we’ve already lost once we see the journey to not only win this time, but to figure out exactly how. And please don’t let Khadgar be anywhere near that solution. In fact, keep all the Mary Sues of Azeroth away. We’re sick of them and it should be someone else’s time in a situation like this. All the people of the kingdoms, not just the ones we’re supposed to bask alongside.
It’s like the song says, “I get knocked down but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” The problem is, we’ve never really been knocked down in World of Warcraft. We need to know what it feels like to have to get back up.