Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Grimtotem Conundrum

One of the engines that a game and story like World of Warcraft can use to perpetuate its conflict (and given that it functions in a comic-book-like world of infinite continuity, that's what you want) is the judicious use of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" with the addendum: "for now."

The Alliance and Horde do this all the time. While there's some seriously bad blood (and we really might have to consider leaving the Forsaken out) the general moral of Warcraft is that if people (specifically the mortal races, though to be fair we are kind of excluding non-playable ones) could just get over themselves and their grievances, they could all get along. Hell, the Orcs and the Humans, who have the most conflict-per-years-they've-known-the-other-existed, are actually pretty much the equivalents of one another for their own worlds (this is a weird tangent, but I think technically Draenor's elves are the Arrakoa and their dwarves are the ogres. Moving on!)

But while that's a theme we've seen over and over, I'm thinking about it on a more individual level.

Some mild 7.2 spoilers here.

In 7.2 we're all getting new class hall champions (and I think we'll also be able to have one more active as well.) While a lot are pretty straightforward (Thisalee Crow, for example) one that was pretty surprising is Magatha Grimtotem.

Now, Magatha's one of those characters who has been around since Vanilla but her story hasn't really gone anywhere since Cataclysm. The Tauren are almost entirely good people - one of the most benevolent playable races. But Magatha represents the exception to that rule.

Magatha was always a rival to Cairne back in the day, and even though she was allowed to live in Thunder Bluff, many of her tribe were openly hostile to Horde and Alliance alike even then.

When Garrosh became Warchief, Cairne challenged him to Mak'gora - a duel to the death to challenge him for the position. I don't think Cairne expected to win, but he was resolved to make Garrosh earn the position and, hopefully, teach Garrosh to respect the power that was handed to him.

But Magatha, who had always sought to undermine Cairne as the leader of the Tauren, had Garrosh's weapons poisoned. This did two things: it ensured that Cairne died (even though it was only a superficial wound) and it also robbed Garrosh of legitimacy. People were already concerned about this brash, inexperienced and bullheaded new Warchief who had come into a leadership position with a seriously simplistic and outdated understanding of the very system he was now supposed to run, and now doubts were cast on his ability to even live up to his claims of personal skill and strength. The Mak'gora, though brutal, was meant to be fair. Not only did the poison suggest that the new Warchief was a murderer with no respect for the traditions he claimed to represent, but it also raised the question of whether he even would have won had the fight been fair.

This was a master plan, and even though Magatha's machinations were discovered, it still left Garrosh with the Horde in an uproar and with Cairne, her old nemesis, dead.

After Cataclysm came out, Magatha was understandably no longer in Thunder Bluff - and would presumably be killed on sight if she returned. But players encounter her in Thousand Needles, where she guides you in dismantling the Twilight Cult's operations there, but in doing so, also has you grant her an artifact of incredible power.

Magatha is a master manipulator and also a very powerful shaman. And she's going to be working for us!

Incidentally, my Shaman is a Tauren who has an all-consuming hatred for the Old Gods, the Twilight's Hammer, and very very much Magatha Grimtotem, so this will be interesting.

Given that we are fighting the Burning Legion, this is a time for strange bedfellows. Already Death Knights have allied with the Lich King (on one hand, Bolvar's a very different sort of Lich King than Arthas, but on the other hand, he is still absolutely the Lich King.)

Given that the Legion was founded to defeat the Old Gods and the Void Lords, it makes sense that, among the people aiding us in the fight against the Legion are members of Twilight's Hammer.

Members plural.

Magatha Grimtotem did help us defeat Twilight's Hammer in Thousand Needles, but she's also a member herself. It's implied that she wishes to take over the cult. And with Cho'gall and Benedictus dead, she's probably in a decent position to do just that.

Milhouse Manastorm is already a class champion, but remember that he was also affiliated with Twilight's Hammer, working for them in Deepholme. One gets the sense that Milhouse is less ideological and more just maniacal. He did fight against a minion of the (other, non-Azerothian) Old Gods in the Arcatraz, but there isn't really anything he's done to suggest that he isn't still very much in the "let's blow up the world" camp.

I don't know that there are any other class champions who are members of Twilight's Hammer, but then, we didn't know that Benedictus was for a long time.

Given the theories about the Old Gods manipulating the Legion into invading in order to get us to use the Pillars of Creation to unwittingly set them free, it would actually make a huge amount of sense that our class orders are being infiltrated by people in Twilight's Hammer.

In the face of the Legion, though, we have to take any help that we can get. But I think we should keep our eyes open. Once the Legion is defeated, we're going to have to watch our backs.

Because someone might be getting ready to stick a dagger in it.

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