Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore, Tides of War

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

SPOILERS

Tides of War starts right off with flashbacks from World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects through the mind’s eye of Kalecgos in Coldarra.

The first chapter lays the main plot of the novel and of what’s to happen to Theramore. Garrosh Hellscream has somehow managed to learn tactical details surrounding the moving of the Focusing Iris toward a secure location.

Five dragons escorted the Focusing Iris in humanoid-form to transport the magical item by land to prevent catching attention toward themselves.

They were ambushed by Garrosh’s special teams. After watching the cinematic revealed at GamesCom 2012, you can see the Focusing Iris is the object hanging from a Zeppelin’s hull to lay siege to Theramore.

Chapter two describes the summoning of all Horde leaders to discuss the plan. One very much limited in scope, as most of it remains secret from them. Garrosh Hellscream wants their support to destroy Northwatch Hold, then Theramore — in order to cut off all Alliance reinforcements. The ultimate goal: to slay the isolated Night Elves in Ashenvale and Teldrassil, to take their resources and riches, and to claim all the Kalimdor continent for the Horde.

This is definitely not the same Garrosh who merely sought to take Ashenvale’s resources, as seen in World of Warcraft: Wolfheart.

He learned from the shameful defeat in Ashenvale that the Alliance quickly dispatched reinforcements to through Theramore. The same strategical point that allowed the Alliance to assault the Southern Barrens, Ashenvale and Stonetalon Mountains.

Garrosh got smarter this time.

This is a more power-thirsty Garrosh who will roll over anyone to reach his goal. At all costs.

This is a Garrosh who is fed up of getting humiliated by his nemesis Varian Wrynn and the Alliance.

This is a Garrosh who is fed up of getting Horde territory occupied and contested.

War is coming. One that will shake the foundations of the entire world of Azeroth. The cautiously elaborated plans of Garrosh Hellscream in Tides of War will serve to annihilate all Alliance from the face of Kalimdor.

This is a World War. All the Horde troops are to come to Orgrimmar to rally toward Northwatch Hold and Theramore.

From what we have seen in the Theramore Scenario previews, and datamined imagery … it’s plain and simple total onslaught. The isle will be nuked out of existence — a crater — and that’s just the first stage of the plan.

The presence of the Blackrock orc bodyguard seems a red herring. Garrosh has transcended to be more dangerous than Warchief Blackhand, and as treacherous as Gul’dan.

Christie wastes no lore resources. With the fall of Blackrock Mountain and the death of Warchief Rend, we never got to find out exactly what happened afterwards.

Malkorok and other Blackrock orcs have sought amnesty in Orgrimmar and pledged to serve Warchief Garrosh. They are now part of his elite Kor’Kron team. Bad things are brewing.

Christie Golden exploits the tension that has slowly grown between Baine Bloodhoof and Garrosh Hellscream since the death of Cairne — as seen in World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm. Those who missed reading it, Cairne Bloodhoof challenged Garrosh to fight the Mak’gora — a traditional orcish duel to the death. Magatha Grimtotem volunteered to bless his axe: Gorehowl; but she tricked Garrosh by applying poison instead of oil, causing the honorless death of Cairne by betrayal. Ever since, tensions have risen between Baine and Garrosh. Readers will be pleased to see this constant interaction throughout the novel.

It’s a pleasure to read the confrontations between Baine and Garrosh. Baine is truly pissed off, but manages with the patience of a saint to hold back his fury, and to obey his Warchief for the sake of his people. If he provokes Garrosh, the Tauren would be at the mercy of a Garrosh-supporting Tauren — or even the decimation of the Tauren race for treason.

Even Sylvanas and Vol’jin step forward to confront Garrosh, openly opposing his plan.

Vol’jin is playing Garrosh’s tune, though. The trolls are not far from Orgrimmar, and could be easily wiped out of existence by the orcish army.

However, one can sense Baine has something brewing in the back of his mind as the story progresses. He won’t lift a finger against the Warchief in public, but there are other means to accomplish the same end.

Chapter three. There is a secret meeting between Jaina and Thrall where she basically blames Thrall for what Garrosh has done. She acknowledges his role as leader of the Earthern Ring, and what the rumors say he accomplished along with the dragon aspects during Deathwing’s fall.

Things don’t go well between Jaina and Thrall, when Thrall refuses to do anything about Garrosh. It’s certainly going to bite him later.

Rhonin asks Jaina to guide a female gnome apprentice named Kinndy, and a tidbit about the mysterious night elf Pained is revealed.

Kalec arrives to Theramore to seek help from Jaina to figure out where the stolen Focusing Iris was taken to by the yet unknown thieves. All he knows is its trail brought him to Kalimdor.

Garrosh and the Horde leaders march toward Northwatch Hold, and decimate it. First, Blackrock orcs. Now something even more dire … it seems Garrosh might have recruited Twilight Hammer survivors? Or are these Blackrock Warlock-like Orc Shamans commanding the elements to do his bidding — in straight defiance of the Earthern Ring? And, the theft of the Focusing Iris from under the blue dragonflight’s nose. Tools and questline plots from previous expansions merge together in an elaborate plan. The Focusing Iris is used to create the biggest mana bomb ever created.

Note: Players first learned of a mana bomb in the Terokkar Forest questline where the Sunfury blood elves (under Kael’Thas order) detonated one at Cenarion Thicket.

Garrosh is become a dangerous tactician using everything at his reach. He’s reckless beyond comprehension. One can hate his guts and yet truly love his cunning and cold blood.

This character evolved tremendously in the pages of World of Warcraft: The Shattering, World of Warcraft: Wolfheart and World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Dragons.

We have seen his tactician side flourish in unexpected ways, but what Christie shows us in Tides of War is the culmination of all Garrosh has been planning all along.

After the Cataclysm, Garrosh has wanted resources to fuel his war against Stormwind. In order to do so, he must first take all of Kalimdor and its resources, and this is it.

Christie Golden knows how to flesh out Garrosh Hellscream’s complex personality, and to show what makes him tick. In this novel, however, the Garrosh that shoves orders to the leaders of the Horde in the thick of combat has a new aura to him. He’s turned cynical, machiavellian, tyrannical, and worse of all, megalomaniac … he’s brewing something horrible in secrecy that will scare not only the powers of the Alliance — the Horde leaders will tremble in fear and revulsion as they witness what Garrosh intends for Theramore.

Something that was not revealed to any of them. An ace off his sleeve.

The outcome of his actions will utterly justify the Horde and the Alliance clashing against Garrosh and his Kor’Kron in the the Mists of Pandaria’s end-game.

The price paid at Theramore was too high for both factions. Many — so many known Warcraft figures — such as Generals of each Alliance race and the Kirin Tor — rallied to Theramore. Including Rhonin, and Vereesa.

All duly expected, and anticipated in Garrosh’s plan.

I can’t think of a Warcraft novel that have left such an emotional impact, and shock in me as a reader at the magnitude Jaina Proudmoore, Tides of War has.

Surely, the death of Krasus hit home in Twilight of the Aspects. While many people despised the character, I had grown fond of him. His apparent demise hurt. I wanted to see more of Krasus.

Tides of War, on the other hand … it triggers a vortex of raw emotions at the realization of what the events here herald for each leader of the Horde, and the Alliance. The loss of so many characters that players have interacted with in the past eight years. The suffering of Jaina, and her complete change: mind and soul.

I have been a Horde player since 2004, and putting myself in Baine and Vol’jin’s shoes at the atrocities made by Garrosh, hit like a brick. All the trolls and tauren sacrificed merely for Garrosh’s sport and ego. The honorless deaths inflicted upon the Alliance, the reckless manipulation of elemental forces, and the desecration of the Horde’s corpses who deserved proper burial rituals.

What happened at the Wrathgate? The sense of loss of Saurfang Jr. and Fordragon for both players and the faction leaders? That was child’s play in comparison.

The author set throughout each chapter the ingredients that turn Jaina Proudmoore from a diplomat into a force of nature full of justified rage.

It is unknown what Jaina’s stance will be after this book, but she will surely be a herald of reckoning aimed straight at Garrosh Hellscream and his new Horde.

There will be changes soon in Dalaran, and Theramore. Or at least fans should make sure to remind the developers to execute those changes in-game.

I have been in the future — experienced most of the quests in Mists of Pandaria beta. I have now read the Tides of War novel .. events that will be experienced by players in Patch 5.0.4, and in the Theramore Scenario.

Reading Tides of War has given me a sense of loss, damn — so much loss. Characters I have interacted with countless of times since beta 2004. Gone.

There’s no doubt in my mind, this new Jaina is justified in whatever she decides to do from this moment forward. Let’s just say, she ain’t no damsel in distress. Jaina will turn into a reckless spirit of vengeance — and that doesn’t mean she will be hurling around fiery chains like the Ghost Rider — she’s going to dispense indiscriminate justice at Warchief Garrosh Hellscream in kind. The Light have mercy for those who get in her path of revenge, and rightful justice.

This is the decisive moment in her life that will change her forever. The time for diplomacy and the “turning her other cheek” is over.

It reminds me of her nightmare in the manga — Warcraft: Legends Volume 5 — featuring the Emerald Nightmare, where Jaina sees herself as the Lich Queen had Arthas not taken Frostmourne, but she instead.

The Culling of Stratholme was the pivotal point that drove Arthas into insanity and a path of revenge. Tides of War will do for Jaina a profound domino effect of change and pain.

Will Jaina’s nightmare turn reality following on the steps of Arthas? Will she come to senses eventually? This is no longer the lovely and sweet Jaina we have known and become fond of since Warcraft III.

In that sense, Christie Golden can proudly tell Chris Metzen and the Creative Team: “Mission accomplished!”

Tides of War are coming. It’s World War Azeroth.

Criticism

I have a strong memory of the World of Warcraft (2004) beta finale. Lady Jaina Proudmoore raiding Razor Hill. I fought bravely and died more times than I can remember.

Tides of War portrays a Jaina casting her signature spells like Frostbolts, fireballs, freezing people into blocks of ice, and Blizzard.

There was just one I didn’t see in the novel, that I truly enjoyed in-game. In that awesome beta finale, Lady Proudmoore was summoning countless hordes of Water Elementals who at unison frostbolted and punched the lights off of many players. It was nigh hilarious to see like 20 Water Elementals — yuxtaposed on top of each other — chasing a single player, and dying in one strike. She single-handedly beat the #@$% out of dozens of players.

Make no mistake, Christie portrayed an epic battle in Theramore, but I missed Jaina summoning Water Elementals. The strongest image of Lady Jaina I have from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was: Jaina approaching as a Footman asks Prince Arthas if they should help her from an Ogre. Arthas told him she is able to handle herself, as she summoned a Water Elemental to slay her predator.

Is this truly a criticism? Half-true. I wrote this barely forty pages away from the end of the novel. I chuckled when Christie made me take my words back. Oh well!

I was confused to see Cannoneer Whessan and Cannoneer Smythe make cameos in Northwatch Hold. Both character’s names are an easter egg in reference to the Smith & Wesson firearm manufacturer in the United States. That’s not the point. In the 2004 World of Warcraft classic MMO, gilnean high elf Captain Thalo’thas Brightsun in Ratchet wanted players to kill Cannoneer Smythe, Cannoneer Whessan and Captain Fairmont in the quest [20] The Guns of Northwatch.

Probably Blizzard retconned their in-game deaths because with the launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm the quest was scrapped, and replaced with [28] Run Out the Guns. After Tides of War, I guess they are officially dead … again.

I’m personally not liking the killing of Richard A. Knaak’s core characters. Not this often, and so soon. The previous novel marked the death of Krasus, and another dies in Tides of War. In her defence, both were glorious, meaningful, and heroic deaths to remember. Fuel for trolls, though, who will likely laugh and celebrate in forums.

I had envisioned Jaina to fall in love with King Varian Wrynn, seeing how she has grown fond of Prince Anduin. The kid even calls her Aunt Jaina. In Tides of War, Jaina finally has feelings for one, and by the end of the novel it’s clear they are planned to become a couple. It was never expected, but ultimately makes sense.

After the theft of the Focusing Iris, the blue dragonflight calls it quits. What remains of the blue dragons decide to take their separate ways to become individuals. Each can go anywhere in the world, and live their lives as they see fit without a leader or affiliation. Some will join the younger races, which makes me wonder if Blizzard might be seeding the idea of a playable Dragonkin race in a future expansion.

There are some inconclusive plots in Tides of War that probably needed some sort of wrap up. Most of it was slowly filtered to the reader’s mind-eye through Garrosh who kept these plans secretive until the very end, but eventually when the secrets came to light, it should have been explained. Not much was told on how the Blackrock orcs managed to join Garrosh’s Kor’Kron guards, or their background. Who created the mana bomb or where was its technology taken from? Exactly who, and how the Focusing Iris was stolen? Or … How did Garrosh’s forces managed to find out about its transportation through Northrend? Who was responsible for the manipulation of gargantuan beasts and how was that accomplished? Concerning the Kirin Tor Sunreaver traitor — he was rescued, which means Garrosh had a spy within the Kirin Tor (this was not fleshed out). Loose ends that were not addressed and we won’t have an answer for. It would have increased Garrosh’s portrayal of a great tactician if the reader had learned more about these loose ends.

Jaina asks help from Thrall, Stormwind and Dalaran to defend Theramore, and after its destruction asks Dalaran and Stormwind for an army to wipe Orgrimmar. Understandable. The question is, why did Jaina not seek her brother’s help in Kul’Tiras? There’s a very emotive scene with Jaina at Admiral Proudmoore’s statue in Stormwind. It would have been a nice touch to include the reason she wouldn’t go to her brother Admiral Tandred Proudmoore for help considering Kul’Tiras is closer to Orgrimmar than Stormwind. Was Kul’Tiras destroyed after the Cataclysm? Is she too ashamed to look at him to the eye after she let the orcs kill their father? I would have liked to see that angle.

Characters

Kalecgos
Kirygosa (Malygos’ daughter)
Narygos
Veragos
Teralygos (one of the oldest blue dragons)
Alagosa
Banagos
Uragos (dead)
Rulagos (dead)
Rulagosa (dead)
Pelagosa (dead)
Lurugos (dead)
Garrosh Hellscream
Malkorok (Blackrock orc)
Baine Bloodhoof
Sylvanas Windrunner
Lor’themar Theron
Trade-Prince Jastor Gallywix
Eitrigg
Vol’jin
Prince Anduin Wrynn
Lady Jaina Proudmoore
Go’el (Thrall)
Kinndy Sparkshine (gnome)
Archmage Tervosh
Captain Wymor
Ol’ Durty Pete
Corporal Teegan
Hannah Bridgewater
Admiral Tarlen Aubrey
Signal Officer Nathan Blaine
Kelantir Bloodblade (female blood elf)
Captain Frandis Farley (Undead)
Dockmaster Lewis
Cannoneer Whessan
Cannoneer Smythe
Shaman Trainer Kador Cloudsong (tauren)
Perith Stormhoof
Captain Zixx Grindergear
First Mate Blar Xyzzik
Margolag
Captain Gharga
Archmage Rhonin
Vereesa Windrunner
Archmage Modera
Archmage Aethas Sunreaver
Archmage Ansirem Runeweaver
Archmage Karlain
Khadgar
Mrs. Jaxi Sparkshine
Mage Windle Sparkshine
Tari Cogg (gnome magi)
Amara Leeson (human magi)
Thoder Windermere
Thalen Songweaver (Sunreaver magi)
Captain Garran Vimes
Captain Evencane
Marcus Jonathan (General of Stormwind)
Thaddus Stoutblow (Wildhammer)
Horran Redmane (7th Legion)
Draenei General Tiras’alan
Shandris Feathermoon
Adolphus Blastwidget
Doctor Gustaf VanHowzen
Lieutenant Aden
Pained (Jaina’s night elf bodyguard since the Battle of Mt. Hyjal)
Priest Allen Bright
Theramore Guard Byron
Innkeeper Janene
Nobundo
Rehgar Earthfury
Muln Earthfury
Aggra
Arch-druid Broll Bearmantle
Emissary Taluun (draeni)
King Genn Greymane
High-tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque
Jovial Thargas Anvilmar
Dark Iron Drukan
Kurdran Wildhammer
Telda Stonefist
Giramar Redhair
Galadin Redhair

Locations

Coldarra
The Nexus
Dalaran
Orgrimmar
Thunderbluff
The Undergrowth (Barrens)
Theramore
Northwatch Hold
The Great Gate
The Crossroads
Ratchet
Fields of Blood
Chamber of the Air
Sentry Point
Fort Triumph
The Quagmire
Razor Hill
Fray Island

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