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Wrathgate Revisited in Polygon Interview
11/01/2019 à 20:38
Polygon recently conducted an interview with Senior Narrative Designer Steve Danuser and Senior Designer / Assistant Quest Lead Steve Burke, in which the topic of Wrathgate was revisited.
Click here to read the Polygon Interview
What is the Wrathgate?
At the start of Wrath of the Lich King, the Alliance and Horde attacked Northrend from different zones, gradually meeting up in Dragonblight. Here, the two factions agreed to work together to attack Angrathar the Wrathgate, a key location that served as a gateway into Icecrown. Led by Highlord Bolvar Fordragon and Warlord Dranosh Saurfang, the troops made some progress fighting the early waves of the Lich King's forces--although it all went south very quickly when the Lich King made an appearance, summoned by Fordragon.
In short order, the Lich King killed Dranosh Saurfang, and before he could fight Bolvar, the Forsaken rained down plague upon the battlefield. Many Alliance and Horde troops perished, and the Lich King was seriously wounded. The red dragons from the nearby Wyrmrest Temple purified the area, cleansing the entire battlefield. Although Bolvar, his body badly burnt by the purifying flames, survived in a limbo between life and death, he was captured by the Scourge.
Players then completed the special
Battle for the Undercity
questline, which can no longer be completed in Battle for Azeroth.
fought through the Undercity to unseat Varimathras and Putress, restoring power to Sylvanas.
, suffering major losses as a result of the plague, viewed the battle as a betrayal by the entire Horde, and attacked the Undercity with the hope of reclaiming it for the Alliance. Along the way, Varian discovers mutilated human corpses and realizes that the Forsaken were secretly creating a plague during years of the faction truce. The Battle for the Undercity ended with a declaration of war and clash between the faction leaders, only stopped by Jaina teleporting the Alliance out.
Why is there Controversy?
The Wrathgate was back in the news following an
interview with Alex Afrasiabi
confirming Sylvanas' involvement. This sparked a wave of controversy and discussion as to how deeply she was involved and her motivations. Pre-Cataclysm, Sylvanas mainly seemed interested in defeating the Lich King instead of controlling both factions, even going so far as to commit suicide in Icecrown Citadel after his death.
"I've heard these discussions on the internet about 'she's going off the rails', but is she? I've been writing Sylvanas personally since 2006, and this is pretty much - the Wrathgate and the Blight and the Forsaken - in character. Those were all under Sylvanas' orders. What we're seeing now is an escalation of the plans Sylvanas has, clearly, and we're in the middle of that."
We've analyzed this statement, providing our own thoughts on her motivations, in
Polygon flat-out asked Blizzard
"Was Sylvanas behind the Wrathgate?" Blizzard was a bit of a tease in the reply, providing a few more details while not answering the question directly:
“Sylvanas engineered the Blight in the first place, but she wasn’t the one who deployed it,” said Danuser.
“There are interesting story threads behind the question of who was at fault,” Danuser says, suggesting that the ultimate order might not have come from Putress at all. He notes that Varimathras, a long-time advisor of Sylvanas who betrayed her and was slain during Wrath of the Lich King, only to return during Legion, had some “interesting” things to say about Sylvanas.
“We’re not saying one way or another,” Danuser said. “We want you to see how the story plays out in the chapters to come. Sylvanas has certainly had an interesting history, and looking back at the choices she made is something we want the players to look back at and revisit.”
Varimathras is a bit of an unreliable narrator, as he's ended up tortured as a boss in Antorus, but here's what he has to say about Sylvanas:
Varimathras: So, your Alliance still endures. Longer than I expected, though she has already planted the seeds of its downfall. She is patient, that one.
Varimathras: When your thrones run red with betrayal... when your holy places burn and the shattered mask hangs above your hearth... only then you will know. And it will be too late.
Varimathras: It matters not. You are blind to the true darkness closing in around you.
Varimathras: So, she found me at last. Sent her underlings to finish the job.
Varimathras: Tell me, when she seized your throne of hides and bones, was your allegiance forced? No... I'd wager you surrendered it willingly... or were convinced you did.
Varimathras: It matters not. You are blind to the darkness in your midst.
The "No... I'd wager you surrendered it willingly... or were convinced you did" line could refer to the upcoming Vol'jin questline, in which characters delve deeper into
why Vol'jin appointed Sylvanas Warchief
and discover things may be complicated. During the investigation, multiple characters refer to "darkness," echoing Varimathras:
Vol'jin: A darkness in me mind be keeping me from remembering what happened da day I named Sylvanas warchief.
Dere be dark powers at play here. Powers dat be hidin' something from us.
While we don't know the extent of Sylvanas' involvement in the Wrathgate, it's clearly something Blizzard wants us to re-examine, as well as Varimathras' dialogue from Legion. If you'd like to read our interpretation of the recent Wrathgate statements, check out our article
Interpreting Alex Afrasiabi's Statement on Sylvanas and the Wrathgate
. Whatever your interpretation, it's fascinating that in-game events from a decade ago are so vibrant, generating such passion and discussion within the community.
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