Monday, August 21, 2017

Kel'thuzad Coming to Heroes of the Storm

The next big event in Heroes of the Storm is called The Call of Kel'thuzad.

One of the things that's funny about the Lich King from the Warcraft universe is that he's not exactly a Lich. You could argue that because Ner'zhul's soul is bound to the armor that gave the original Lich King form (that Arthas wore. Bolvar's just wearing the crown) he was kind of pure phylactery to begin with, but the Scourge is host to a fair number of Liches, and Kel'thuzad was probably the first.

KT as I like to call him was the leader of the Cult of the Damned, initially a living necromancer who encountered the original Lich King and swore himself to his service. Kel'thuzad used his cultists to spread the plague of undeath around Lordaeron until he was confronted and slain by Arthas and Jaina. However, when Arthas was turned by the cursed runeblade Frostmourne, the ghost of Kel'thuzad approached him, calling on the Scourge's first Death Knight to take his remains (in the urn that had held Arthas' father's ashes) up to the Sunwell where they could use its energies to raise him as a Lich. That's right: the invasion of Quel'thalas, which killed 90% of the High Elves, was all just to raise this one Lich.

World of Warcraft players encountered Kel'thuzad twice in his floating necropolis of Naxxramas. After giving his captured phylactery to a secretly traitorous priest, he returned in Wrath of the Lich King along with the revamped raid. When we slew him there, he seemed permanently dead, though we never did get his phylactery, so there's a possibility that Kel'thuzad is still lurking in the shadows of Azeroth, waiting to make his next move.

In Heroes of the Storm, it looks like Kel'thuzad will be a control-heavy assassin.

Here are his abilities:

Q: Death and Decay: Launches an orb that explodes at a targeted location, dealing damage and then continuing to damage enemies in the area for the next 2 seconds.

W: Frost Nova: After one second, the targeted area explodes in a burst of ice, damaging and slowing targets within by 25%. Targets at the center will be frozen.

E: Chains of Kel'thuzad: Throws a chain that, if it hits a target, will deal damage to them. For 4 seconds afterward, Chains can be re-cast on other targets, and if multiple targets are chained, they will be pulled together and stunned for .5 seconds.

Trait: Master of the Cold Dark: Gain 1 Blight each time you root an enemy hero. At 15 Blight, the cooldown on all basic abilities is reduced by 2 seconds. At 30, gain 75% spellpower.

R1: Frozen Blast: Launches a blast of frost at the target, rooting and damaging them and anyone nearby.

R2: Shadow Fissure: Creates a fissure anywhere on the battlefield that erupts after 1.5 seconds, dealing damage to heroes standing within it.

Coming along with KT will be a number of Scourge or other similarly themed skins. Jaina gets a dreadlord skin (there's a common theory that Jaina is actually a Dreadlord in disguise or possessed that this seems to be winking at.) Sonya seems to get a Death Knight skin (actually looks like DK tier 8) and Zagara looks like she's getting a crypt lord appearance.

Interesting that both Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm are having Scourge-themed events.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Deaths of Chromie and A Real Time-Travel Expansion

Warlords of Draenor was a time-travel expansion. Except that it was not really a time-travel expansion.

Growing up, two of my favorite movies were Back to the Future and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. While I remember Back to the Future better (I probably watched it more,) I loved the idea of time-hopping the way that Bill and Ted did it.

In case you haven't seen the movie, it's about a pair of slacker Gen-X high school students (played by Alex Winters and Keanu Reeves) who are destined to be leaders of a utopian society in the future, but only if they pass their current history class, and so one of the representatives of this future society sends them a time machine to help them with their class project. (In case you couldn't tell from the title, this is a comedy.)

Anyway, time travel stories introduce the possibility of shenanigans of a complex sort. At two points in Bill and Ted, the pair run into themselves (it's the same meeting, actually, but seen from the perspective of the younger and older pairs.) And of course in Back to the Future, Marty creates a stable time loop by playing Johnny B. Goode in front of Chuck Barry's cousin, who holds out a phone for the originator of that song to hear it.

Right, so back to WoW.

Warlords of Draenor went far out of its way to avoid time-travel tropes. While we were going back to a Draenor that was 35 years in the past (wait, does that mean Thrall is only 35 at this point? If he was born right around the beginning of the First War?) the game made it clear that this was not the same Draenor, and that we were going to only one time-location. Essentially, other than having a lot of characters with familiar names, Warlords made it clear that Draenor and Outland may as well have been totally separate places.

But we've seen time-travel done in fun ways before. And in Legion, we got perhaps the most enjoyable instance of it in the Deaths of Chromie scenario.

In the scenario, after you defeat the four threats in the non-Bronze dragonshrines, you get portals that lead to other moments in Chromie's life - conveniently overlapping with existing content, of course, but still taking you into various parts of the past, from the recent like the Alliance/Horde conflict over Andorhal and Ragnaros' campaign to take over Hyjal, to more distant, the Culling of Stratholme, to far distant, the War of the Ancients.

The stakes here are, at least on the surface level, somewhat low. This is the life of Chromie that is at risk, not the world (though depending on what role she has to play, that could wind up being a big deal.) But it would not be hard to imagine a version of this that becomes an expansion-worthy concept.

In Legion, the zones of the Broken Isles were tied together by the idea that each held one of the Pillars of Creation, and so while each zone had its own independent plot (albeit some sort of Legion presence in each) they were unified in a way to make them work together toward the expansion's primary goal of stopping the Legion.

Imagine, then, a continent-sized area accessible through the Caverns of Time. The area would branch off into different places during different eras. A unifying villain, such as the Infinite Dragonflight, might have gone to each of these areas and disrupted history as it was meant to go, and before we can attack them at their source, we first have to rescue the timeline as it was meant to happen in each zone.

With a full expansion, Blizzard would have the resources to really do justice to certain historical settings. And unlike the Deaths of Chromie, they could do things we haven't seen before. Obviously, one could do something like the Second War, but you could also go less obvious places like exploring the past of the Tauren or the War of the Three Hammers. I'd also think it would be awesome to see something like a future Orgrimmar filled with modern-looking skyscrapers (you know, but with spikes.)

And of course, not everything has to conform to history as we know it because the whole point is that the timeline has been changed. Maybe there's a powerful Tauren Empire in Kalimdor that seems pretty good, but needs to be toppled for the sake of the timeline - introducing the moral complexity of preserving the "true" timeline.

And of course the fact that the Bronze Dragons eventually become the Infinite Dragons sets up some really interesting character moments. In fact, what if that "Infinite" corruption extends to other types of being. Perhaps we would encounter Infinite versions of ourselves and we need to find a way to prevent this corruption from occurring.

I think that after Warlords, Blizzard might be a bit gunshy about doing another expansion with time-travel as a major theme. And to be sure, the genre is a difficult one to write. But I also feel that, as a fan of time-travel stories, I felt seriously let down by Warlords of Draenor. The Deaths of Chromie is probably just an exercise in evergreen, repeatable content, but I think it could serve as a kind of proof of concept for a future expansion that would make me very excited.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Death Knights in Hearthstone: Control is King!

When Hearthstone was first released, one question I and I imagine a lot of others had was how classes that were added later to World of Warcraft: namely the Death Knight, Monk, and Demon Hunter (and potentially future classes in later expansions) would fit into the structure of the game.

Because the classes function much like the colors in Magic: The Gathering (though everyone is forced to play monocolored decks,) adding a new class would put them at an immediate disadvantage, as existing classes would have a whole library of cards to choose from while the hypothetical Death Knight would only have some starting in that expansion. Plus, it would mean accommodating a new class in all future expansions (and kind of committing to other classes in the future, which is an exponential problem.)

So the solution with Knights of the Frozen Throne is that we see Death Knight versions of each of the classic heroes. You can get a legendary card that replaces your hero, granting 5 armor off the bat along with some relatively powerful battlecry-like effect, and then changing your hero power into something more powerful that also fits with the theme of being a Death Knight.

There are also a number of Death Knight spells, though these are only generated by other cards, such as the Lich King (who actually seems to always die the turn after I play him - I cashed in a huge amount of dust to make a gold Lich King because Arthas is just so damn cool.)

Anyway, through luck and... er... dropping some cash on the pre-order... I've managed to get five of the nine Death Knight cards (you get one for free playing the "prologue" of the Adventure that comes with the expansion - they're doing things differently this time.

So far I have Thrall, Valeera, Gul'dan, Uther, and just today, Jaina.

Because many of these guys cost 9 or 10 mana, decks need to be built to last that long. I've found that healing and taunt minions are pretty useful here, and the new Lifesteal keyword (which already existed in non-keyword form) are very important tools to keep you around long enough to drop your DK.

(Oh, and yes, even if you start with an alternate hero, you get the DK version of the original. There's no DK Khadgar.)

Thrall's DK is built all around the Shaman "evolve" mechanic. He's pretty cheap for a DK at only 5 Mana, and when he comes onto the board he'll transform all existing minions into random ones that cost two more. His hero power then does the same thing to an individual minion, only raising it by one mana cost. I'd say building a deck with a bunch minion-generating spells and minions would be good for filling up your board, though it's tricky to keep a lot of minions alive in a control-heavy expansion.

Valeera is interesting. At 9 mana, the battlecry effect causes you to gain stealth next turn, which will give you a breather if you're low on health. The hero ability is then a passive that gives you a special card each turn that will take on the form of whatever you just played. Obviously this plays well into the Rogue's combo abilities, so card-draw and cheap cards are going to help a bunch here.

Gul'dan is the most expensive one I have, costing 10 mana and summoning every demon you controlled that died that game. The hero power becomes a targeted attack that deals 3 damage and has lifesteal, so if you've been spending a lot of health on Life Tap and demons that damage you, this will help you dig out of that hole. Obviously, it's also helpful to summon these guys directly and not have punitive battlecries hurt you again. I don't quite have the perfect strategy here (or anywhere, of course,) but I think you want to focus a bit on beefier demons in order to maximize the battlecry.

Uther has some interesting effects. It costs 9 mana and gives you a 5/3 weapon with Lifesteal, meaning that with the armor, you effectively get 20 more health, with 10 in the first turn. Your hero power gives you the ability to summon one of the Four Horsemen, which are 2/2. While having 2/2s on demand each turn is not terrible by itself, the thing that will keep your opponent scared is that if you get all four horsemen (the new ones, so if you haven't done the 7.0 DK campaign in Legion, uh... spoilers) you automatically win the game. Paladins have a lot of good control options, and stacking up taunt/lifesteal minions will help keep you in the game while also providing cover if you want to try to get all of the horsemen (though I've never had more than 2 up.)

Jaina actually plays into one of the big themes of the Un'goro expansion, which is elementals. At 9 mana, you summon a Water Elemental. But in addition to this guy, all your elementals - new and old, water and otherwise - now have Lifesteal. Your hero power still deals 1 damage to any target, but now, if you kill a minion with it, you summon a Water Elemental (which again, has Lifesteal.) Having so much Lifesteal makes the Mage suddenly feel far more resilient than it usually is, and so I highly recommend using lots of elementals from Un'goro - taking advantage of existing strategies that become that much more dangerous when you become far harder to kill.

I'm hoping that I'll eventually get Rexxar, Garrosh, Anduin, and Malfurion, but I burned a lot of dust on The Lich King, Uther of the Ebon Blade, and a couple other epics for my Paladin deck, so I'll have to work on it or keep my fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

First Two Attempts at Artifact Challenge

Well, I got impatient and attempted the Protection Paladin artifact challenge (after getting the last of the hidden appearance color schemes and Prestige 1 (though still 50 ranks away from the first of the PvP appearances, which... meh.)

First off, this is oddly hard to find on Google, so let me just say: You get one free challenge (for any spec) and then any subsequent attempts at an artifact challenge (even for other specs) costs 100 Nethershards. Not a horrible price, though if you keep wiping it'll add up.

I went in with an item level of 906 (equipped) and the four-piece tier 20 bonus. I used Prydaz (or whatever that legendary neck that gives you the shield is called) and Sephuz' Secret (on the recommendation of a guide.)

This challenge is tough. I was hoping that, given that it lacked the class-specific requirements of the Warlock green fire quest, it might be easier to kind of brute-force through it. That might still be the case, but I don't have the brute force to do it yet (the WoWhead guide recommended 915 as an item level.)

I think I'm probably going to wait until I have some Antorus gear (LFR at least, though presumably a couple pieces from World Bosses and such) before really trying again. I hope that the Mage Tower will be up with decent regularity in order to do this.

I honestly feel a little ticked at Blizzard for making so many of the artifact appearances hard to get. One of my fears with this system was that there would be little variety in appearance between players. Hidden Appearances can be relatively easy to get, but that depends heavily on the class (Beast Mastery literally just needs to purchase it, and some similarly just need to grind certain reputations, while some like Retribution Paladins, have to endure hours upon hours of extremely low droprates multiple times.)

I had also hoped that we'd get more appearances as the expansion went on, but the only "new" appearances, the challenge ones, were there in the Beta files.

The handling of artifact appearances (and mostly just the appearances, though I'm certainly not complaining about artifact knowledge becoming something automatically acquired over time in 7.3) has frustrated me a bit in an expansion that overall, I like a whole lot (it's hard to gauge if the expansion itself actually surpasses Wrath of the Lich King in my mind, as Legion has the benefit of several more years of WoW's evolution and my own personal experiences with Wrath were so good - having a guild that really raided a lot - something that we've been a bit better about this expansion, but my frequent absence this year has hampered that a little, as I'm the main tank.)

Anyway, when (when, dammit!) I beat the artifact challenge, I'll put more details about it in post form, but for now I've gotten the first major bad guy down to like 20% and haven't even faced Kruul yet.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Death of Kil'jaeden and The Endgame Begins

With Kil'jaeden available now on LFR, Blizzard has pulled the trigger and made the aftermath of the Tomb of Sargeras raid visible to everyone. Given that I've never been in a guild that downed raid end-bosses in a timely manner, I literally walked through Dalaran with my camera pointed down so that I wouldn't see the effect until I had finished the raid. It's not canon until I've done it! (For me, at least.)

Let's talk about the fight:

Kil'jaeden has a tank-swap mechanic, but it functions a little oddly. He gains a buff that causes his attacks to put a stacking debuff on the tank. It seemed to work fine to just let the other tank get up to five stacks, at which point the buff wears off but the tank is taking lots of extra damage. That's when you taunt. The trick, though, is that this debuff will hit anyone in front of the boss, so you'll want to get behind him when you're not tanking.

One of the real killers if not dealt with is Armageddon, where KJ will launch bursts of fire at the ground. This is something players will have to soak or the raid gets a long-lasting stack of raidwide damage. There are many little bursts that all need to be soaked (though on LFR there's no special tank one.)

There are transition phases where KJ flies to a corner of his ship and several raid members get debuffs. I believe the idea is to find the gaps between the circles of death they create, but this seemed like one of those abilities that was weakened enough in LFR to be more of a nuisance than a threat.

He'll also start creating rifts at the corners of his platform, which will try to suck you in but then eventually explode and knock you back - potentially off the ship. So you want to keep yourself right up next to the rift without getting sucked in.

The most interesting phase is when Kil'jaeden disappears and summons darkness that isolates you while shadow-entities teleport around the ship. At this point, you want to search until you can find Illidan, who lends everyone a spectral-sight-like ability, allowing you to find and kill the shadow creatures. This buff only lasts 20 seconds and does damage to you, but is needed to damage the monsters, so try to find Illidan quickly and then return to him to get the buff back when you need it.

Additionally, during the normal phases, certain players get big... for reasons that were not super clear to me as a tank. I think they either generate evil replicas of themselves or they need to be crowd-controlled, but I'll have to look more into that mechanic.

When Kil'jaeden is finally defeated, the cutscene pushes the story forward pretty dramatically.

Kil'jaeden bitterly tells your raid (plus Illidan, Khadgar, and Velen) that you're all going to crash and die on Argus, taking you with him. But Illidan still has his Sargerite Keystone and uses it to tear open a massive portal to Azeroth. Khadgar begins casting a mass teleportation spell while Velen goes to hear Kil'jaeden's last confession - that he had always envied Velen, and that he never believed Sargeras could be stopped, but that perhaps Velen would prove him wrong. Velen touches Kil'jaeden's forehead - perhaps even a gesture of forgiveness, or at the least an acknowledgement of their onetime friendship - and Kil'jaeden closes his eyes as the fel magic within him detonates, blowing up him and his ship as we teleport away.

But that's not the end. Velen and Khadgar look on in horror at the sky above Azsuna: Illidan did not just bring them home to Azeroth. He brought the entire planet of Argus with him. Argus now hangs in the sky above Azeroth, the home bases of both sides of this war now within striking distance of one another. Illidan is not willing to let this war end in a simple stalemate, like all previous conflicts with the Legion have done. Sometimes the hand of fate must be forced.

And now, all players, no matter where they are in Azeroth (I've checked Stormwind and Pandaria) will see Argus floating in the sky to the Southwest. Dalaran (the Legion version) now has Exodar representatives ministering to the panicked public while "Validated Doomsayers" hand out pamphlets about how they were right all this time.

The stage is set for 7.3. This war is coming to a head, whether we are prepared or not.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Who Wants Chromie Dead?

The Deaths of Chromie scenario is a repeatable activity that is meant to be "evergreen" content - it scales you to a particular level and item level (112, 1000, respectively) in which you contact Chromie - everyone's favorite Bronze Dragon who typically takes the form of a female gnome - and find out that someone is trying to kill her. Or rather, a whole bunch of people are trying to kill her. At the wrong time.

See, Bronze Dragons have a weird relationship with mortality. At least until the Hour of Twilight was averted, they had the ability to see through time as a kind of solid object - past, present, and future all existing simultaneously within the timeways. Nozdormu was given a vision of his own death when he first received his power (though the initial story - that it was given directly to him by Aman'thul - doesn't really check out anymore.) Chromie states plainly that she knows how she is supposed to die and when, and that this attack is coming too soon.

So who are the culprits? Well, much of the scenario takes place in the near future - presumably a year or two from now after the Legion is defeated and we hit level 112. Chromie, hanging out at Wyrmrest Temple (which must have been repaired after Deathwing's attack) is simultaneously struck by lethal bolts of magic from the Azure, Emerald, Obsidian, and Ruby dragonshrines - interestingly not the Bronze one.

There is a Satyr at the Emerald Shrine, a Void Lord at the Azure shrine, a Lich at the Ruby Shrine, and a Dreadlord at the Obsidian shrine. Generally, these aren't the types you typically see working together. Satyrs are demons, like Dreadlords, of course, but are more affiliated with the Nightmare - which we thought we had ended after killing Xavius. Void Lords also link to Satyrs through the Nightmare, but first they have to go through the Old Gods - they're a step removed from being directly tied to the Nightmare. On the other hand, if this takes place after we defeat the Legion, it might be that the Nathrezim, for the first time in thousands of years, are free agents once again, and might have taken up their old affiliation with the Old Gods and the Void. Meanwhile, the Lich looks very Scourge-like, especially as he has a death knight, a banshee, and an abomination as minions. But we don't really know what the Scourge is going to look like in the future (so far, the Death Knight quests in Legion have hinted that Bolvar is only somewhat better than Arthas, now that he's Lich King.)

But even halting those attacks reveals that there are another four planned in other time periods. Alliance and Horde forces are both seeking to kill Chromie in Andorhal. Demons are coming after her at the Well of Eternity during the War of the Ancients. The pre-Arthas Scourge is attempting to kill her in Stratholme during the culling. And fire elementals are attempting to kill her on Mount Hyjal shortly after the Cataclysm.

This is an absurdly well-coordinated, cross-temporal attack that utilizes agents who would be highly unlikely to work together without someone pulling the strings.

So who the hell is doing so, and why?

There is a note that we find in one of the Time-Lost Keepsake Boxes - these hold items that can allow you to quickly prevent the non-Dragonblight assassination attempts. The language sounds unhinged, but is most likely written by the person who has gone to all this trouble to have Chromie killed.

Whoever is in charge of this assassination attempt has some clear characteristics: First, this is a master Chronomancer. This is an operation that goes across five different time periods, and any one attempt would leave Chromie dead. That, of course, means having access to the magic needed to coordinate such an effort, which your average mage does not possess.

Not only that, but the killer is able to block Chromie's own power to arrive with more than fifteen minutes to prevent the attack. I imagine that blocking a Bronze Dragon from time-traveling means you have to be a real expert in the field.

We also know that they must really, really want Chromie dead. And there must be a solid reason for that. Chromie has pissed off plenty of bad guys by helping good guys, but given how distinct the various threats against her are, I am inclined to think that none of the represented forces are actually the one behind it.

So who is?

Given all of this, it seems like the most obvious culprit would be the Infinite Dragonflight. They never show their faces in the scenario, but given that they are corrupted Bronzes who have all the same powers, but want to shatter the timeways rather than maintain them, it would make sense that they have the means and the motive. And as a time traveler, you always have opportunity.

Going a step farther into weird territory: how does a Bronze dragon become an Infinite dragon? We see this process only once, in the Culling of Stratholme dungeon, where we see a Bronze dragonspawn (not technically a dragon) getting turned by Infinites into one of their own. But I had this bizarre theory: what if the way one becomes Infinite is by killing your own past self. You thus become a walking paradox, and perhaps in the Warcraft universe, this results not in a universe-shattering paradox, but in you having that kind of photo-negative look the Infinite dragons have and probably going apocalyptically insane. In which case, could this be Chromie herself behind the attack?

Alternatively, what if it's the Bronzes? Chromie has always been a good guy, but we know that all the Infinite Dragons were once benevolent Bronzes. Is Chromie safe from this doom, or is she destined to become one of the most dangerous Infinite Dragons in the new flight. Remember, while we've seen the Infinite flight, as far as we know, it hasn't actually formed yet at our point in history. Kairoz seemed likely to be the first, but Garrosh killed him before he did anything like transforming into an Infinite Dragon. What if that role is now Chromie's, and it's the Bronze dragons - perhaps even Chromie herself, though this time in a more noble and self-sacrificing way - who want her dead.

Which brings us to the weirdest possibility:

What if it's us?

We're not Bronze dragons, or any dragons, but we've become nearly unparalleled heroes of legend, and have enough experience (and potentially will have had enough experience) that we might be able to coordinate these strikes. After all, Chromie was in all of those places, but so were we.

What are our motivations? Well, perhaps we go evil, or perhaps we are trying to prevent a greater evil. Given the power our characters have achieved at this point, it doesn't seem that hard to imagine that we're capable of pulling something like this off.

I've always wanted to have a time-travel expansion - one very, very different from Warlords of Draenor, which took all the fun stuff out of a time-travel plot. In fact, if we could get an expansion that worked like this scenario, but with new locations and periods that we hadn't seen before, I'd be a very happy player.

I don't know how much to read into the lore of the scenario - for all I know, it's really just an excuse for Blizzard to try a different kind of mini-game for WoW.

But the details sprinkled in there are tantalizing. I know that there's basically a 99% chance that the next expansion is going to be a nautical one with Naga and N'zoth probably central. But if the Deaths of Chromie is a sign of things to come and not just a one-off with an anticlimactic ending, I'm very excited.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

So What is Going on With Jaina?

With yesterday's reveal of the "key art" for World of Warcraft being a picture of Jaina Proudmoore, the speculation engine (I suppose that's a similar device to the rumor mill?) has been kicked up into a new gear. I think there are a ton of implications for what this means and enough logical links that we could very well be looking at a N'zoth-based expansion even though Jaina has never been strongly linked to Old Gods or anything like that.

The question for now is what is going on with Jaina Proudmoore.

I'll say off the bat that I think the theories that Jaina is somehow "evil" now because of her distrust of the Horde are way off-base. Compared with other major figures in the Alliance/Horde conflict, Jaina's antipathy toward the Horde is probably better justified than anyone's. Jaina put herself out there, extending the hand of friendship to the Horde and even sacrificed her own father (who was much more of a Genn Greymane type when it came to the Horde) in order to secure a lasting peace. The destruction of Theramore may have looked to some like a logical military operation for the Horde to pursue, but given Jaina's efforts toward peace, Theramore certainly deserved better than that.

Given her experiences, there's no reason for her to trust the Horde again. She had already had the ideal situation, with a close friendship with Thrall and real assurances that there would be no serious conflict. Yet Thrall put Garrosh in charge, and all that went out the window. Vol'jin as Warchief could have been a chance for a real lasting peace, as he was more of the Thrall school of Warchiefdom, but with Sylvanas in charge now, those hopes are dashed.

So even though we players obviously know that Horde players are just other people at their computers, and we can see many heroic and sympathetic people among the Horde, Jaina would be a fool to ever turn her back on team red again.

But we have never gotten any indication that Jaina is truly malicious. She has never threatened to attack the Alliance over their willingness to work with the Horde. She has just said "I'm never doing this again, so have fun being betrayed by them. I'm going to go do my own thing." Garrosh, by contrast, began to treat his own people as enemies if they weren't blindly, suicidally loyal to his whims.

As Khadgar's agenda came to dominate in Dalaran (through a narrow vote, if you recall,) Jaina left the city and went to Stormwind. But when Anduin decided that fighting the Legion was more important than taking revenge on the Horde (who had abandoned, not attacked the Alliance - there's an important distinction there) she left.

With the Alliance and Dalaran as her two main hubs of activity, the only other logical place for her to go was Kul Tiras.

So let's talk Kul Tiras.

Kul Tiras was one of the original seven human kingdoms, based on an island that at least used to be near Tol Barad and Gilneas. It had the most powerful navy of the human kingdoms, and provided the main naval force in the fight against the Horde in the Second War.

The Proudmoore family is royalty in Kul Tiras, with the monarch taking the title of Grand Admiral. Jaina's father Daelin was Grand Admiral during the Second War, and her pursued Thrall's Horde to Kalimdor, but was slain by Rexxar at Theramore in the early days of Durotar's founding. Jaina had an older brother, Derek, but he was slain in the Second War. There is an apocryphal other brother named Tandred, who was in the RPG sourcebooks, but is not strictly canon.

If Jaina is the only surviving Proudmoore (no word on her mother. Hey Blizzard, how about letting some characters have moms?) that would mean she would have a claim to the kingdom. However, there's nothing to indicate that she's even been back there since the Third War, so that leaves a big question as to who has actually been running the place in her absence.

With the addition of Tol Barad in Cataclysm, a lot of people asked about where Kul Tiras was, and Blizzard kind of avoided the question by suggesting that the island had been moved by "something about tectonic shifts." If the island were canonically moved a significant distance, one would assume that it had also suffered an environmental catastrophe. Thus, the place could still be in crisis mode recovering from a shattering earthquake like nothing ever seen since the Sundering.

It's also possible that, like the rest of the world is implied to be doing, they've been fending off demons of the Burning Legion. I suspect that this would be downplayed in a future expansion, as they probably want to give us a break from demons after this expansion. Jaina might have gone back there for the rather understandable reason that she wants to save her homeland from demonic destruction.

Given all the hints at Old Gods being a major threat in the next expansion, there's a worry I have that Jaina might find herself manipulated or corrupted by someone like N'zoth. I personally hope she doesn't become a villain, but it would not be unprecedented in WoW. That said, I suspect that she is more likely to play the Tirion/Thrall/Khadgar role in the upcoming expansion, as the hero we kind of rally around as we deal with whatever threat is coming (my money is on Azshara, N'Zoth, or a combination thereof.)

But that scenario would require her to warm up a little at least to Horde players, and that means we're going to have to see some character development.

Blizzcon is still a few months away, starting on November 3rd. Gamescom, where they announced Legion in 2015, however, will be this month, going from August 22nd to the 26th. We'll be sure to get more details at least at Blizzcon, but possibly earlier at Gamescom.