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  #126  
Old 04-18-2019, 12:50 PM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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One of the common trends in Blizzard retcons was a sort "six degrees of separation." That is, the writers felt the need to make everything connected in some extremely important way.

A perfect example of this would be the development of Medivh.

In WC1, he accidentally opened the rift to Draenor but didn't control the orcs. Though he presumably planned to conquer them anyway due to his arrogance.

In WC2, he was working with Gul'dan the whole time by offering him the power of Sargeras as a temptation. Sargeras is just a generic demon lord here, but he was apparently traveled enough to have tutored Kil'jaeden at some point.

In The Last Guardian, Sargeras is retconned to be a god-like being leading the Burning Legion and responsible for the destruction of the Well of Eternity 10,000 years prior and for Medivh's corruption when his avatar was repelled by Aegwyn. Here Medivh mentions that "Tirisfal" is an unknown concept (this was later retconned to the Tirisfal Glades).

In WC3, Medivh comes back from the dead without explanation to warn Azeroth of the Burning Legion's return. Then he vanishes without explanation.

As far as retcons go, these weren't particularly extreme. These were kind of weird in that IMO they were too neat or uncreative by recycling concepts briefly mentioned in older lore by expanding them into new directions, but they didn't betray the spirit of the older lore like the later retcons would.

In fact, Starcraft suffered much more extreme retcons (technically internal contradictions) at the time as a result of Metzen seemingly changing his mind way too many times during development and then forgetting to go back and rewrite the rest of the lore to be consistent with the latest changes. For example, the SC manual explains that the Zerg were in Koprulu to assimilate humanity so they could R&D their latent psychic powers into a weapon against the otherwise invincible Protoss. In the game, however, this plot point is forgotten and contradicted: the Zerg seemingly stumbled onto Koprulu at random while searching for the Protoss to invade, rendering the entire terran plot tangential to the more important zerg/protoss conflict. These cumulative changes severely weakened and disjointed the final story, resulting in the Terran campaign feeling completely disconnected from the following two aside from cameos, the Zerg campaign being uninteresting, meandering and generally pointless, and the Protoss campaign feeling like it was taken out of context from a completely different trilogy. The BW expansion is full of plot holes that make it look absurd, presumably due to a combination of limited budget and even more rewrites during the drafting process (e.g. the BW website circa '99 made zero mention of the UED or 2nd Overmind in the plot synopsis, and recent interviews mentioned that at one point the Zerg were planned to invade Earth). As a result, the SC1 manual, the SC1 game, and the BW expansion all feel like they belong to alternate universes of one another.
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  #127  
Old 04-18-2019, 03:11 PM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Well, it's sort of a trend for Blizzard that games, manuals, expansions, and so on each feel like from a different alternate dimension.
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  #128  
Old 04-18-2019, 03:23 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Thanks for the good read, BoxCrayon. Have you read Day of the Dragon and The Last Guardian? They came out between WC2 and WC3 and share elements of both lore sets. They depict a very large universe, in terms of worldbuilding.

They also showcase the old understanding of orcs, before demonic corruption was in lore. The Last Guardian hits it deep, with Garona explaining a lot of orcish culture to Khadgar throughout the book.

That's when you realize the WC2 cutscene of an orc burning the row of human corpses might've actually been an act of respect for the fallen, worthy enemies.

EDIT: Wait, of COURSE you read them. You mentioned so in your posts.

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 04-18-2019 at 03:30 PM..
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  #129  
Old 04-19-2019, 05:57 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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Originally Posted by Marthen View Post
Well, it's sort of a trend for Blizzard that games, manuals, expansions, and so on each feel like from a different alternate dimension.
Still extremely aggravating. If they want to do something completely different, they should make an alternate universe.

Games Workshop has done plenty of huge retcons, but at least they justify it by stating that the lore should be viewed as in-universe accounts and thus subject to unreliability based on the biases and knowledge of the narrator. Of course, it helps that Games Workshop actually understands the scales they are working with and thus treat their universe as the enormous sandbox it is. If it wasn't for the fact that the Tyranids are utterly devoid of the brain bug politics that made the Zerg so interesting in the first place (as it was, and still is, a clever twist on the devouring swarm scifi archetype), I would have switched to 40K a long time ago.

What's to stop me from writing fanfiction that rewrites Starcraft to fix the problems or 40k to give the tyranids brain bug politics? Well, nothing. It's just that I like to write fanfiction to show off my ability and, hopefully, entertain others. When I try to write fanfiction where the Zerg are the big bad evil guys or the Tyranids have brain bug politics, the fans generally hate on it.

The Zerg are more interesting than Tyranids from a storytelling perspective because they have personalities, study tactics, have much more specific short-term goals, and aren't going to magically steamroll their way through most problems. That's why they're a clever twist on the devouring swarm scifi trope.

However, Metzen has poisoned the well so thoroughly that fans cannot think outside the insanely tiny box of Raynor, Kerry and Mengsk. Most fans are seemingly physically incapable of imagining Starcraft as a functional setting, rather than a shallow stage for a handful of recurring canon characters. For whatever reason, the franchise doesn't attract many creative fans.

I find this insanely disappointing because Starcraft, while full of scifi cliches, had enough novel ideas that it could have resulted in interesting, thought-provoking storylines. Unfortunately, Metzen totally botched it and destroyed that potential so thoroughly that even fans can't think beyond his tiny box.

This is in complete contrast to, say, Mass Effect. For whatever reason, Mass Effect attracted more creative and critical fans than Starcraft did. To the point that the vast majority of fanfiction dealing with the Reapers will generally rewrite their backstory completely because, for whatever reason, the majority of creative fans think the motivation "stop organics from creating and being destroyed by synthetics by creating synthetics to destroy them and convert them into more synthetics" was mind-numbingly stupid.

Contrast that to Starcraft 1 and Brood War, which were full of plot holes, inconsistencies, etc (especially in BW where all the key plot points are obvious phoned-in plot contrivances with no effort put into them), which the majority of fans seem quite happy to just ignore despite the fact that the writing is so bad that it makes the Twilight books look good. Stephanie Meyer is a terrible writer (not because she lacks command of the English language but because her plots are silly as hell), but she is still way better than Metzen because her plot follows a logical progression without constantly contradicting itself on key plot points and her characters while shallow and unlikable still act in a consistent manner.

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
Thanks for the good read, BoxCrayon. Have you read Day of the Dragon and The Last Guardian? They came out between WC2 and WC3 and share elements of both lore sets. They depict a very large universe, in terms of worldbuilding.

They also showcase the old understanding of orcs, before demonic corruption was in lore. The Last Guardian hits it deep, with Garona explaining a lot of orcish culture to Khadgar throughout the book.

That's when you realize the WC2 cutscene of an orc burning the row of human corpses might've actually been an act of respect for the fallen, worthy enemies.

EDIT: Wait, of COURSE you read them. You mentioned so in your posts.
It's speculating on that sort of nuance that makes Retrocraft more interesting to write compared to the absurdities of modern canon.

One of the multiple interesting bits of the proto-WC3 draft of lore is Medivh's account of the origin of magic. Supposedly all magic was originally concentrated in the Well of Eternity, and destroying it allowed magic to be accessible across the planet and to pool in various places (analogous to the concept of ley lines and such in real world occultism).

WoW isn't anywhere near as consistent. It has the Second Well of Eternity and the Sunwell being deliberately created from vials of the Well of Eternity, as well as the Nightwell being created spontaneously by ley lines. There's no explanation given for why things would work that way.

If you're building a magical cosmology, then you need to devise a coherent rational underlying basis for it. On Earth, all usable energy may trace its origin to the Sun or to the core, and undergoes transitions into many other forms. Similar principles should apply to "magical fields" or whatever the jargon would be.

WoW's explanation that magic is the blood of the "world-soul" doesn't explain why it's possible for vials from the Well of Eternity to create new wells when the only other times wells are created is as a result of digging into the crust to the access the arteries or the movement of ley lines (external arteries) across the surface. Dabbing a drop of your own blood somewhere else on your skin isn't going to spontaneous open a wound there.

There's also a blink-and-miss-it line where Medivh states that Sargeras was apparently imprisoned by the Well's explosion. I think this was supposed to explain why Sargeras was apparently orbiting Azeroth for the next 10,000 years when he could have left to find easier targets. The use of "prison" is weird, since the explanation that demons can't access Azeroth from the Nether without inside help isn't analogous to a prison metaphor. You could assume that the Nether isn't a physical place, at least not at this point in the lore. Prior to WC3 stating that Ner'zhul entered the Nether physically, WC2 only stated he opened portals to other worlds directly.

Ner'zhul traveling to another world, rather than the Nether (which here would be a non-physical plane), would have important implications for the backstory of the Scourge in a Retrocraft 3 storyline. What other world (or worlds) did Ner'zhul visit before he returned to Azeroth? How did he meet and seduce the Dreadlords? Who else did he meet? What are the other "extra-dimensional entities" that joined the Scourge? How did he become a suit of possessed armor encased in ice?

The tumultuous development of the death knight is of particular fascination to me. I'm partial to the idea of having multiple death knight orders in order to explain the differences between their multiple canon iterations.

The original death knights were created by binding the souls of former Shadow Council warlocks into the bodies of fallen knights of Stormwind, and gifting them with "jeweled truncheons" (phylacteries? soulstones?) containing the power of sacrificed necrolytes. (In terms of game mechanics, this explains why death knights replaced warlocks and necrolytes between WC1 and WC2.) The "jeweled truncheons" used by the death knights could be recycled into the phylacteries used in the creation of the liches (who are generally former warlocks, shamans, necrolytes, death knights, etc).

In the WC3 alpha, they used the model later used for revenants for some reason. The revenants have pretty inconsistent throwaway lore, but I think they could be worked into the alpha Scourge somehow. In canon, they are ghosts bound to elemental spirits that animate suits of armor. For whatever reason, they aren't controlled by the Scourge and resist domination. For the Retrocraft, I think they could be explained as the results of experiments by Ner'zhul's shamans to bind elementals. They went rogue and, among other things, stole and guarded Frostmourne.

Thinking on it now, there doesn't really need to be a one-to-one correspondence between the WC2 death knights and the WC3 undead heroes. Perhaps the warlocks, shamans, necrolytes, death knights, paladins, mages, etc joined those vocations that best fit their abilities. The new order of death knights would focus on martial pursuits and were granted "vampiric runeblades" forged by the tothrezim (a type of dreadlord from the d20 RPG), while the new order of liches would focus on studies of magic.
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  #130  
Old 04-19-2019, 11:50 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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Here's some more ideas for revisionist history i came up with:

Scourge revisionist history
Ner’zhul, the Shadowmoon clan and their remaining allies flee through one of the portals he created. Ner’zhul is drunk on the magic of Draenor and develops a god complex. Not simply prideful and greedy, but paternal and possessive; perhaps stemming from his feelings of guilt and self-pity over the Horde’s defeat.
The Shadowmoon clan ends up on a pristine world that they christen New Draenor. They rebuild a new Horde and form the precursor of what would become the Scourge. Ner’zhul and his followers consort with demons to acquire further power. He meets the demon lord Archimonde and makes an alliance; the demon lord in turn learns of Azeroth and suggests that they invade it.
Ner’zhul’s magic addiction takes its toll and slowly warps him into something other, creating the blight. Something that Archimonde finds useful for much darker purposes. Tothrezim forge powerful artifacts (possibly long before for a forgotten conflict): The Frozen Throne, Helm of Domination, Plate of the Damned, and Frostmourne. Ner’zhul’s mutating spirit is bound into this panoply, creating a powerful undead being named the Lich King.
The Lich King contacts the Nerubian King Anub’arak by astral projection and telepathy. Although the Nerubians lack a concept of worship, they do have philosophical schools that the Lich King is able to take advantage of. The Mortuary Cult of Azjol-Nerub summons the Frozen Throne to Icecrown Glacier and secretly assists the Scourge in gathering power.
Archimonde sends the dread lords led by Tichondrius to observe and assist the Lich King. Although initially planning to make the Lich King their puppet, the dread lords become infected with the blight and turncoat instead. Indeed, they eventually come to worship it.
Archimonde underestimates how alien and powerful the Lich King has become compared to its humble origins. After building a foothold on Azeroth, the Lich King betrays Archimonde and leaves the Burning Legion to rot in the Nether.
The Lich King and the Mortuary Cult wage the War of the Spider against the Nerubian orthodoxy. The Cult wins and rechristens itself the Cult of the Damned.
The Lich King sends out telepathic calls to attract individuals sympathetic to his goals, lured by promises of power, or tricked into servitude. The disguised dread lords scatter to the various polities and manipulate politics to create unstable conditions for the Cult to take advantage of.
Certain powerful individuals like Kel’Thuzad are converted to the Cult, providing inroads to the polities. The decline, disbanding and civil wars among the Alliance provide numerous opportunities to acquire converts. The blight slowly spreads over Lordaeron due to the Cult’s machinations.
Paladins and clerics attempt to halt the advance of the plague. The channeling of the holy light renders them immune to disease including the plague, but because of growing discontent and envy this results in accusations of deception and witchcraft. Rumors of the plague’s origin in Northrend incite several unsanctioned crusades being led there, but these ultimately fail and provide opportunities for the Scourge to gaslight and convert the erstwhile crusaders.
At the Lich King’s behest, the Shadowmoon clan’s mystics and their Mortuary Cult allies perform various horrific experiments with the goal of producing an army to conquer the world. The guinea pigs include both willing cultists, captured victims, and dark spirits called from the corners of the world and the Nether.
A new order of death knights is created, armed with vampiric runeblades and riding astride skeletal nightmares. The jeweled truncheons of the elder death knights are used to create the first phylacteries, and these empower lich mages.
The Cult’s shamans experimented with binding elemental spirits into undead forms. This results in the revenants, but disaster struck, and the creatures went rogue. In an attempted coup, they fracture the cursed Frostmourne from the Lich King and flee into the wilderness. Although bound to the Lich King, Frostmourne was a sentient being that hungered for souls. Realizing the power and danger of the demonic blade, the revenants enshrined it in a tomb and guarded it against plunderers.

Burning Legion revisionist history
Long ago the Eredar destroyed their home world after becoming addicted to magic. Now they are demons forced to invade and devour the life of other worlds. Although typically considered evil by mortal races, demons are more akin to tragic figures enslaved to their hunger. Not that this make them any less monstrous.
Archimonde is an Eredar warlock and the leader of an army he christened the Burning Legion. He met the rebuilding Shadowmoon clan during their forays into the Nether and made an alliance with them, creating the Scourge. However, the Lich King turned his dread lords against him and left the Legion to rot in the Nether.
However, Archimonde had hedged his bets and found other agents on Azeroth. Several demon-worshiping cults existed in the obscure corners of the world, including the corrupted ancients and the fel orcs. With their assistance, the reign of chaos was summoned.

Naga revisionist history
Shortly prior to the Third War, something dark stirred within the Maelstrom. It was attributed with the creation of the mutant murlocs and later the mur’gul. An emissary of this force, the Sea Witch, was encountered by the new Horde when Thrall sent expeditions to found new colonies. This force was the Naga.
The Naga are descendants of the Kaldorei. When the Well of Eternity was destroyed and Kalimdor sank beneath the waves, some of the Kaldorei survived when they were transformed into the Naga. They remained obscure for most of the last 10,000 years, believing the surface world had been destroyed by the explosion. All of that changed during the Second War, when the orcs sent large numbers of ships across the seas and Gul’dan investigated the Tomb of Sargeras.
Fearful of the interlopers and their warlike intentions, the Naga have decided to strike first and ask questions later.
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  #131  
Old 04-19-2019, 12:44 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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What about Arthas
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  #132  
Old 04-19-2019, 01:07 PM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales View Post

In the WC3 alpha, they used the model later used for revenants for some reason.
There was a reason for this; the death knights of the Scourge had formerly a different backstory, and this model was created for them. Only after they changed this backstory, this model was given to the revenants.

It's important to remember than in Warcraft III Alpha, the death knights and the corrupted vampiric runeblade wielding paladins were two completely separate entities. The death knights were a unit, and they were further transformed Warcraft II death knights. The corrupted runeblade knights, at that point called Anti-Paladin (possibly a work in progress name), were on the other hand a hero unit, their backstory pretty much the same as of the final (as in the release version of Warcraft III) Scourge death knights.

This was the original backstory for the Scourge death knights;

Death Knight
The nefarious Death Knights were created by Gul'dan during the Second War using the corpses of slaughtered Human Knights and the malicious spirits of the dead Orc Warlocks. Death Knights replaced the Warlocks as the Horde's magic-users, but their insubordination and apathy for the Orcish cause led them to be widely mistrusted. The Death Knights, along with their master, Ner'zhul, were captured by the Legion after the war on Draenor concluded. When the Legion remade Ner'zhul into the Lich King, the Death Knights refused to give him homage. As punishment for their insubordination, they were stripped of most of their power and bound to Ner'zhul's iron will. Now the mystical Death Knights serve as some of the mightiest warriors of the Scourge.


There was also another unit, the Cold Wraith, which had this backstory;

Cold Wraith
The few surviving Warlocks who were captured along with Ner'zhul by the Legion were transformed into spectral apparitions of living cold. Renamed Cold Wraiths, the damned spirits became twisted and evil. Filled with the desire to inflict pain and suffering, these former magic users now serve their Lich King without question and use their newfound necromantic powers in his name. Cold Wraiths can fly across any battlefield and rain down their terrible bolts of cold-fire.


Essentially, at that point, the idea was that some of the warlocks following Ner'zhul were transformed into cold wraits, some death knights stripped of most of their power and bound to sets of armor because of their insubordination, and those most loyal, be it shaman, warlocks, death knights, transformed into liches.
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  #133  
Old 04-20-2019, 12:33 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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I remember the Beta Scourge not having Acolytes.
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  #134  
Old 04-22-2019, 07:15 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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What about Arthas
I cannot imagine a reason why the Lich King would take a special interest in Arthas except to cement control over Lordaeron by turning its nobility to his side. Aside from his claim to the throne of Lordaeron, Arthas doesn't have anything particularly noteworthy about him. Especially not anything that would attract the attention of a self-styled god-emperor.

A running problem with Blizzard's stories is their reliance on the discredited "great man theory." The idea is that history is largely explained by the impact of a handful of "heroes." As anyone who frequents alternate history debates should know by now, history is a soupy mess of pin balls in which major events could go completely differently if something seemingly inconsequential changes.

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I remember the Beta Scourge not having Acolytes.
According to wowpedia, prior to that the Necromancer was the builder.

IIRC, corpses were originally supposed to play a much more important role in the undead similar to a resource. I can't find many details, but I suspect the idea might have been something along the lines of units being raised from corpses rather than produced from buildings.

Last edited by BoxCrayonTales; 04-22-2019 at 08:52 AM..
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  #135  
Old 04-22-2019, 01:52 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales View Post
I cannot imagine a reason why the Lich King would take a special interest in Arthas except to cement control over Lordaeron by turning its nobility to his side.
Nobility, and really the country. The Scourge would be "legitimate" if Arthas isn't seen as a traitor when he joins his kingdom to the Scourge.

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Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales View Post
Aside from his claim to the throne of Lordaeron, Arthas doesn't have anything particularly noteworthy about him.
He's a skilled commander, grand warrior, and adored by the populace. Even if not needed as a body, having him aboard would be no sillier than getting Anub'arak to serve.
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  #136  
Old 04-22-2019, 06:33 PM
Triceron Triceron is offline

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My take on the Legion in regards to WC1 and 2 are that of a Lovecraftian Horror. Sargeras and Kil'jaeden are almost biblical in their pursuits to manipulate Orcs and Humans into fighting each other. They do not personally interject themselves in direct warfare, they manipulate mortal races into destroying themselves from within. They sow mistrust in each other, and that is their biggest strength.

I think War3 turned this around by taking the barest hints at physical manifestations of Demons and making an entire tangible faction out of them. I mean, this isn't a bad thing either since this is what players wanted to see, but I think the spirit of WC1 and 2 were rooted not in the whispers of the Outsider.

We don't really have that now, and if we do then it's always in a 'baddy of the week' style confrontation of manifested evil. This aspect has mostly been rendered to the Old Gods, and TBH I think it's written terribly since their presence never comes as a twist or realization. It's so predictable that any Old God shenanigans are revealed in a Scooby-doo style 'it was Old God Yoggy all along!'

I think I would have preferred a Warcraft 3 that was less 'Us vs Evil!'. That's probably why I enjoyed The Frozen Throne that much more. Kil'jaedens appearance was a strong twist and motivator for Illidan's story, and it really sold me on how Kael's story was one of salvation, but through a greater evil.
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  #137  
Old 04-23-2019, 09:02 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marthen View Post
There was a reason for this; the death knights of the Scourge had formerly a different backstory, and this model was created for them. Only after they changed this backstory, this model was given to the revenants.

It's important to remember than in Warcraft III Alpha, the death knights and the corrupted vampiric runeblade wielding paladins were two completely separate entities. The death knights were a unit, and they were further transformed Warcraft II death knights. The corrupted runeblade knights, at that point called Anti-Paladin (possibly a work in progress name), were on the other hand a hero unit, their backstory pretty much the same as of the final (as in the release version of Warcraft III) Scourge death knights.

This was the original backstory for the Scourge death knights;

Death Knight
The nefarious Death Knights were created by Gul'dan during the Second War using the corpses of slaughtered Human Knights and the malicious spirits of the dead Orc Warlocks. Death Knights replaced the Warlocks as the Horde's magic-users, but their insubordination and apathy for the Orcish cause led them to be widely mistrusted. The Death Knights, along with their master, Ner'zhul, were captured by the Legion after the war on Draenor concluded. When the Legion remade Ner'zhul into the Lich King, the Death Knights refused to give him homage. As punishment for their insubordination, they were stripped of most of their power and bound to Ner'zhul's iron will. Now the mystical Death Knights serve as some of the mightiest warriors of the Scourge.


There was also another unit, the Cold Wraith, which had this backstory;

Cold Wraith
The few surviving Warlocks who were captured along with Ner'zhul by the Legion were transformed into spectral apparitions of living cold. Renamed Cold Wraiths, the damned spirits became twisted and evil. Filled with the desire to inflict pain and suffering, these former magic users now serve their Lich King without question and use their newfound necromantic powers in his name. Cold Wraiths can fly across any battlefield and rain down their terrible bolts of cold-fire.


Essentially, at that point, the idea was that some of the warlocks following Ner'zhul were transformed into cold wraits, some death knights stripped of most of their power and bound to sets of armor because of their insubordination, and those most loyal, be it shaman, warlocks, death knights, transformed into liches.
So my idea was that the revenants were a mix of the alpha/beta lore and their gold lore. Those who remained loyal to the Lich King were rewarded with more powerful forms, while those who proved disloyal were stripped of power and freedom. The revenants were created from disloyal subjects stripped of their free will, but the fusion with elemental spirits broke the Lich King's control and allowed them to flee.

Something I wanted to avoid was having Archimonde and his dread lords being solely responsible for the creation of the Lich King. So in my version of their story, Ner'zhul was doing most of this stuff himself but later received invaluable assistance from the demons. Since Kil'jaedan wasn't responsible for the invasion of Azeroth, he wouldn't be waiting for Ner'zhul and thus the Shadowmoon would have time to recover and rebuild before forming the proto-Scourge of their own volition.

What was your idea for the Scourge's backstory again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cacofonix View Post
Nobility, and really the country. The Scourge would be "legitimate" if Arthas isn't seen as a traitor when he joins his kingdom to the Scourge.



He's a skilled commander, grand warrior, and adored by the populace. Even if not needed as a body, having him aboard would be no sillier than getting Anub'arak to serve.
Agreed.

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Something I wanted to do was brainstorm campaigns for the Legion and the Naga, as well as campaigns for the other sides that don't involve fleeing to Kalimdor to unite against the big bad.

Something I wanted to avoid was writing the racial/faction campaigns sequentially, but rather write them as potentially occurring simultaneously similar to the later entries of Command & Conquer.

During, I don't know, the first part of the war, a number of different things are happening for each side. Unlike in canon, this probably goes on for years rather than weeks or however long it happened in canon. Basically, more realistic time scales.

Alliance: The Alliance is dealing with collapse, civil war, and the plague.

Horde: The New Horde is trying to rescue orcs from the concentration camps and explore the islands of the Maelstrom in hopes of finding a new homeland. However, this brings them squarely into conflict with the Alliance and the newly discovered Naga.

Naga: The Naga are leading a campaign of pre-emptive conquest and information gathering.

Legion: The Burning Legion is attempting to gather cultists on Azeroth and summon more forces from the Nether. Among other things, they take advantage of bandits, fel orcs, corrupted ancients, trolls, the ogre legion and anyone else they can manipulate.

Scourge: The Cult of the Damned is trying to gather power in Lordaeron. The Lich King's political plot is to gaslight/convert Prince Arthas (and other nobles) in order to gain legitimacy for the Cult and the prowess of its leaders. Meanwhile, the Lich King's court is full of politicians jockeying for power.

Sentinels: I'm not sure how to work a Night Elf campaign into this phase of the war.

SECTION BREAK SECTION BREAK SECTION BREAK

Since the Scourge's politics haven't been detail AFAIK, I'm going to try brainstorming on the various ethnic groups and factions that exist within it.

Orcish Shadowmoon Clan: The Shadowmoon clan is similar to their depiction in the WoD alternate timeline. They venerate the dark gods of the ancient Orcish religion, and venerate the Lich King as an incarnate god similar to the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Other clans: It is possible that other clans of the New Horde followed Ner'zhul into the portal, but that needs to be hammered out elsewhere.

Nerubian Mortuary Cult: Nerubian necromancers who assisted the Lich King in returning to Azeroth. They do not worship him as a god because the concept of worship is alien to them. This brings them into friction with the rest of the Cult of the Damned, who do worship the Lich King.

Darkfallen Elves: The darkfallen are actually several groups of elves that joined the Cult for various reasons. The banshees were created from the ghosts of elves that lingered since the destruction of Kalimdor. Isolated polities of elves in and around Northrend were annexed and converted by the Scourge. When the Lich King telepathically called for necromancers, some elves answered him.

Tol'vir: The Tol'vir were enslaved by the Nerubians long ago. They were emancipated by the Lich King, under the condition that they join the Cult. Few refused. Although not originally very numerous, the Scourge has been running a number of breeding programs to increase their numbers.

Vrykul: When the Lich King encountered the Vrykul, they believed he was the incarnation of their death god and pledged themselves to him. They are among the most fanatical of his worshipers, even holding contests to determine their ascension into undeath. The val'kyr are deified as the brides and angels of the Lich King.

Plagued dragonflight: Although the Scourge raised numerous dragons to undeath during their crusades in Northrend, they have experimented extensively with breeding their own dragonflight that carries the plague. I believe they could be explained as descending from dragons brainwashed by the Lich King to create a breeding population.*

* This faction needs particular attention since according to Warcraft Adventures Deathwing was Alex's son rather than her brother (and in WC2 they started as enslaved green-skinned offspring of Alex then escaped and became the followers of Deathwing), so the aspect system introduced in Day of the Dragon and WC3 may not apply in Retrocraft. WC2 didn't provide much in the way of info on the dragon's culture, as dragons were isolated from worldly affairs prior to the Dragonmaw clan enslaving Alex. They definitely weren't segregated into dragonflights until WC3's development.

Marthen, do you have any input?
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  #138  
Old 04-23-2019, 02:18 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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There should be a set for Scourge Humans as in Cult of the Damned, Arthas and other living Death Knights like Rivendare. And maybe low-tier living Lordaeronians who serve King Arthas without being cultists.
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  #139  
Old 04-24-2019, 06:09 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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What was your idea for the Scourge's backstory again?
I am just going to start with Ner'zhul's own path after the destruction of Draenor. Note, this is reposted from my discord, just to spare me some precious time. Also, pardon the form, it’s a number of different messages compiled together.

Quote:
At first, it is important to contextualize what happened after they left Draenor, and who exactly followed Ner'zhul there;

For the latter, it was no mere small group. What followed Ner'zhul forward was the core of the Shadowmoon Clan, including its necrolytes and necromancers, many Shadow Council warlocks who survived on Draenor, what remained of the death knights, and even a small number of ogres, trolls, dragons (the latter later become very important).
Now, as Draenor shatters behind them, this group descends into the Twisting Nether.

At first, they find themselves in the Outland (the Outland is not a remnant of Draenor in my work, but a separate place. It exists as one of the many "crossroads" within the Twisting Nether, a place where the boundary between the planes (including the physical plane) is very thin, and as such, demons use it heavily. Thanks to its nature and non-location, many of those who escape Draenor find themselves there, some (like Ner'zhul) moving further, some remaining. Even some fragments of Draenor end there.) although they do not remain here for too long unlike many other, and travel deeper into the lower planes through the Twisting Nether.

During this time, Ner'zhul further augments his necromantic powers, studying the nature of the Twisting Nether and the Lower Planes, his own notes of Medivh's book (the book is retrieved by the Alliance Expedition on Draenor, but not before Ner'zhul studies it thoroughly and even makes himself a copy of sorts), the Scepter of Sargeras, and so on. Already an extremely powerful necromancer shaman and alchemist on Draenor, his knowledge and power grows exponentially, and so does the power of his followers. The more they traverse the Lower Planes, the less mortal-like they become.

Ultimately, after several years, Ner'zhul reaches his intended destination, a place called Nathreza (Ner'zhul's quest for this particular location is rooted deep within the knowledge he gleaned from Gul'dan's skull and later Medivh's book.)

It's a place in the deepest of the Lower Planes, close to the very Endless Void, bordered by the realms of Hades.

There, Ner'zhul hopes he will attain his ultimate goal, shedding his mortal skin and achieving true mastery over death, believing the daemonic inhabitants of this place, the Nathrezim, capable of making this come true.

The Nathrezim are subjugated quickly, at least they appear so, as I said, the powers of Ner'zhul's followers grow considerably, and the orcs in general have hundreds years of practice in binding daemons. For several next years, these two groups work in tandem, utilizing the orcs' knowledge and powers next to the Nathrezim's finesse and craft.

The years Ner’zhul and the Nathrezim work in tandem bring forth many creations and advancements. Ner’zhul’s goals and aims are threefold in this particular case.

The first one is advancing necromancy to allow and simplify the creation of higher forms of undead (if you remember my three categories, you will understand the context), something not achieved well until the first death knights. Ner’zhul specifically sees undeath as a tool to escape the cold embrace of the Lower Planes forever, but only if his vision is fulfilled and he manages to mass create higher forms of undead with (relative) ease, something the death knights are not (this is one particular moment where my previous talk about “perspectives” comes in, daemons would never even attempt such a research, it would be contrary to their goals and nature).

The second goal is built upon the first, utilizing the daemons’ own soul
feasting and soul magik techniques. It’s a bit selfish as well, although there is still a bit more vision to it, and its source runs to the tales of an ancient civilization whose kings and nobility transferred their spirits and souls to construct like bodies mentioned in Medivh’s book. Although allowing any mortal to live forever on the mortal plane as undead would be an achievement in itself, any body can eventually be destroyed and its soul lost, and so, there needs to be another level of protection. And that would be soul storing and soul binding.

The final goal ultimately has to do with Ner’zhul’s own belief of self-importance and grand vision of future, and it is essentially about augmenting your own powers through the souls under your care (this is nothing new in itself, but provides something new when combined with the previous points) and redirecting chosen portions of the accumulated power onto those that serve you.

Among the fruits of these advancements are runeblades (specifically Frostmourne, crafted by the Nathrezim based on Ner’zhul’s designs), blades storing the souls of those they slain (but also of their wielders, binding them to Ner’zhul so that they couldn’t rebel), phylacteries, the plague of undeath (coming specifically from the orcish and draenei alchemy traditions and Ner’zhul’s own research on the fungus of Draenor), soul forges, and so on.
In the end, Ner’zhul’ attains his ultimate goal, crafting a design for his own ascension as well as the technique to do this. Yet, despite the best of his security measures and cunning, as the Nathrezim proceed with the ritual, they betray him (partially thanks to a number of death knights they sway), turning him over to a daemon called Kil’jaeden.

Kil’jaeden is not after Ner’zhul per se, he has little interest in the would be Lich King personally, his interest is in the artifacts and knowledge he possesses, the Scepter of Sargeras, the daemon’s own original master, the Eye of Dalaran, the knowledge of Medivh and Tirisfal. These artifacts and knowledge, he wishes to use to reach the world of the Tirisfallen and the Tomb himself.
(Kil’jaeden is a leader of a Sargeras loyal sect of daemons, one that made pact with Gul’dan during the Second War. He is also Sargeras’ own apprentice and the master of Gul’dan. Just like Ner’zhul had done, when Kil’jaeden and Gul’dan made their pact, Kil’jaeden linked their souls. This allowed him to follow the deeds of his apprentice, and later learn of Ner’zhul’s intentions. He had tracked him in the Twisting Nether until the point he was vulnerable.)

This is where Ner’zhul saves his skin. Even when stripped of his power and in the daemon’s hands, he correctly deduces his plans. And proposes a new pact. Let him finish his ascension, transform his followers, and travel back to Azeroth, to conquer it as the Horde original aimed to, only without the infighting and various ambitions, and he will help Kil’jaeden and his followers reach the Tomb. Kil’jaeden is intrigued by this offer, even though Tirisfal has fallen and Quel’thalas is ravaged, there are still the powerful nations of humans and elves found on the world, but does not trust the necromancer one bit. He allows him to finish his ascension, but while doing so, he ensures his loyalty by imprisoning him in a block of crystal, so that his agents can easily watch over him and destroy him if the need arises and also to use it as a bargaining chip.

Following his transformation, the new Lich King turns to his followers. His dragons, he transforms into the very first frost wyrms. The most loyal shaman, death knights, warlocks, he transforms into liches (a lich is essentially an improved and more powerful death knight, with much more vulnerable spirit containers in the form of phylactery and improved powers). Lesser warlocks, he transforms into cold wraiths. Those death knights who had betrayed him are stripped of much of their powers and clad in Nathrezim-made armor.

However, before they can pass to Azeroth, Kil’jaeden and his followers are too betrayed and captured by another, much more powerful daemonlord, Arkhimonde, who has also learned of the fall of Tirisfal and now seeks to invade the world out of his own motives. Long story short, Arkhimonde usurps the Scourge for himself, and sends it to the world with a large number of his own loyal dreadlords to command and oversee Ner’zhul while his armies prepare for their assault.
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Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales View Post
Marthen, do you have any input?
Well, this is not that different from my work. In my work, the Scourge is essentially a federation of various undead realms, the realms of the dead if you will, each with their own structure and leadership, but all following their god Ner’zhul and his teachings and religious tenets.

These realms/groups include:
Ner’zhul’s personal servants, primarily the Shadowmoons/Shadow Council/death knights. Essentially a new rendition of the Shadowmoon Clan.
Various human/vrykul polities in Northrend.
Azjol-Nerub led by Anub’Arak.
Zul’Drak.
Lordaeron led by King Arthas.
The Deadlands of Quel’thalas.
The Stormreaver Damned of Balor.

As for the dragons, I do not have them organized into the dragonflights either, though they still have different colors as seen in Warcraft II (with Deathwing) and Warcraft Adventures. These colors usually denote breeds/family lines. However, there are still different interest groups, and specifically, there’s a deep conflict between the followers of Alexstrasza the Dragonqueen and her son Deathwing. Deathwing is heavily opposed to mortal races and sees them either as tools to be ruled or obstacles to be exterminated, whereas Alexstrasza has more a live and let live approach. For ages, Deathwing had been in hiding, but all that changed with the great wars.

To further explain the context, here’s background lore for my Horde-affiliated dragons during the Third War (it is too inspired by Warcraft Adventures).

Quote:
Dragon
As the fires of the Second War of Orcish Ascension raged on, the great leviathans of the north were forced to serve the orcish Horde thru dark magiks and extortion. Even as the bonds of their enslavement had been broken, many dragons flocked to the banner of Deathwing, continuing their war upon the civilizations of Lordaeron and Azeroth. Seeing no difference between any of them, the vengeful Alliance relentlessly hunted down the mighty creatures. Already disdainful of their nations, the merciless dragon hunts have caused the dragons to develop deep contempt for these mortals. Now, after Thrall’s brazen assault against Lord Deathwing and oath to defend the beleaguered flights, what remains of Alexstrasza’s followers fights alongside the orcs once again. Tended by the Dragonmaw who work ceaselessly to repent their past transgressions, they make one of the Horde’s most destructive weapons.

Last edited by Marthen; 04-25-2019 at 12:30 AM..
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  #140  
Old 04-24-2019, 07:36 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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I see.

Then I suppose, as per the alpha previews, that the plague mutates to infect the dread lords and turn them to the Lich King's side. With their assistance, the Scourge is able to sever their ties with the Burning Legion. As a result, the Burning Legion receives their own campaign story in which they have to work around this setback.

I suppose Deathwing gets his coloring from his father's side, then?
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  #141  
Old 04-24-2019, 02:12 PM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Then I suppose, as per the alpha previews, that the plague mutates to infect the dread lords and turn them to the Lich King's side. With their assistance, the Scourge is able to sever their ties with the Burning Legion.
Severing these ties is a bit lengthy and painful process, but in the end, yes.

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Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales View Post
As a result, the Burning Legion receives their own campaign story in which they have to work around this setback.
Not exactly. I am not following a system of game defined campaigns when developing this history, since I am writing this as if it was a literary universe, not a game one (even though potentially, it could be adapted for a game campaign). It allows for more organic history/story and world building.

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I suppose Deathwing gets his coloring from his father's side, then?
He's the first black dragon, and all the black dragons are his spawn (they are not that populous, though).
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  #142  
Old 04-25-2019, 02:28 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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Neat how apparently the way to make the Scourge fit in a more retro world is to make them both Ner'zhul's dream (instead of just a demon scheme) and a legit empire.

I guess the Forsaken can be like those countries who broke away from the Central Powers in WW1?

Last edited by Cacofonix; 04-25-2019 at 04:33 PM..
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  #143  
Old 05-20-2019, 05:04 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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Your ideas are pretty neat Marthen. I feel like any of my suggestions are unnecessary since you seem to have the matter pretty well in hand.

I wish there were more people with your dedication in the Starcraft fandom. Well, there was ToxicDefiler who wrote a hundred page prospectus (a draft, basically) on rewriting the Starcraft story, but there wasn't engagement by the rest of the fandom.

The story of Starcraft has so many problems.

You know how Metzen changed his mind between Warcraft games and decided to retcon major events, until by Warcraft 3 and beyond the backstory was barely recognizable? And how World of Warcraft has a bazillion planetary wars in the span of a few years?

Starcraft suffered the same problem many many times during the development of the first game, and only got worse in subsequent games. Comparing the SC1 manual and the SC1 game script, they feel like very different universes despite having the same three races.
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  #144  
Old 05-20-2019, 05:15 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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So how about that Frozen Throne (the game)? Any suggestions for handling what it did (Garithos, Daelin, Illidan's antics, the Forsaken's genesis) or?
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  #145  
Old 05-21-2019, 05:19 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

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So how about that Frozen Throne (the game)? Any suggestions for handling what it did (Garithos, Daelin, Illidan's antics, the Forsaken's genesis) or?
I don't think Marthen has explained his version of the Third War yet, so it isn't possible to yet speculate about what happens during that stage of the Third War.

I don't fully understand what Marthen's goals concerning Ner'zhul and Arthas are. I understand that the AU Ner'zhul wants converts and not merely slaves, so gaslighting Arthas specifically gives the Scourge legitimate control over the throne of Lordaeron. I speculate Arthas also serves as a messianic figure in the theology of the cult and incarnating in his body would fulfill further religious prophecies as well as remove the remaining safeguards imposed by the frozen throne's construction.

But that's just Arthas' story arc. Everyone else has their own.

The Burning Legion plot cannot proceed the same way without the Scourge's help, but in this AU the Scourge has betrayed the Legion before the Third War even starts. Archimonde now has to rely on the remaining demon cults in Azeroth, who presumably are nowhere near as powerful as the Scourge.

To address your original question about the Forsaken... in canon it was composed of former slaves and led by Sylvanas who led the defense of Quel'thalas.

Since this AU Scourge is more reliant on cultists than in canon, it stands to reason that slave revolts would be less common since the Scourge could be more reliant on local necromancers to exert control than the Lich King directly. And that's assuming the Scourge is summoning the souls of those they kill into the undead, rather than bargaining with souls waiting in the Nether. (Incidentally, this would solve the plot hole in canon about the Lich King preventing the Scourge from rampaging. That only makes sense if the Scourge was hiring mercenaries from the Nether.)

Basically, you'd need more explanations than "former Lordaeron citizens angry at the Scourge but still evil for some reason." I imagine that there would be multiple breakaway factions taking advantage of the Lich King's power loss after his incarnation, each with their own reasons for rebellion. There might be heretics who believe this Lich King is a false god. Any number of reasons.
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  #146  
Old 05-21-2019, 06:57 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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Mayb the Forsaken can just be successors from Arthas Lordaeron. Humans and Undead who broke away from Ner'zhul not from the magic king losing lifeforce but from making an alternative Lordaeron.
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  #147  
Old 05-31-2019, 04:06 AM
Lucifer Lucifer is offline

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Mayb the Forsaken can just be successors from Arthas Lordaeron. Humans and Undead who broke away from Ner'zhul not from the magic king losing lifeforce but from making an alternative Lordaeron.
I don‘t think Lordaeron nationalism adds much to the story of the Forsaken. They are a fascinating alliance of undead Elves, humans and leper gnomes- thus, I prefer them to „think big“, rather than focussing on specific historical borders.
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  #148  
Old 05-31-2019, 11:37 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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The talk was about making a more WC2 friendly setting that had more serious geopolitics. The Forsaken, like the Scourge, would need to be revamped to fit. I'd argue you need to revamp them anyway to be more in line with their TFT version.
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  #149  
Old 05-31-2019, 11:41 AM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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The talk was about making a more WC2 friendly setting that had more serious geopolitics. The Forsaken, like the Scourge, would need to be revamped to fit. I'd argue you need to revamp them anyway to be more in line with their TFT version.
Why would scourge need to be revamped? They fit just fine as an overarching threat.
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  #150  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:25 PM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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They're supervillains trying to plague the world/Humanity. WC2 didn't have any, not for playable factions at least. Both the Alliance and Horde had solid enough goals rooted in their setting's geopolitics.

The Forsaken aren't better.
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