THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS HEAVY SPOILERS AND ME LORE-NERD-ING ABOUT THEM. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
First of all, I must give credit to Availed on Anvilmar-US for the world first Garrosh defeat, Apophasis for the first horde Garrosh defeat, and Silencer for uploading the following videos.
Now, in a first for Blizzard, upon defeating Garrosh, the raid receives a different cinematic depending on their faction. Each version has a scene unique to the Horde/Alliance showing their perspective on what should happen after Garrosh’s defeat.
Now, in honor of the order they were unlocked:
Now that we’re all caught up, time for the fun part. Lore-nerding!
First of all, my thoughts on the respective cinematics.
The Horde version is better in my opinion. The scene where all the Horde leaders bow before Vol’jin, showing their support for him as Warchief, was one of those rare really-touching moments in WoW. It’s what they tried to do with the ending of Dragon Soul done right. The Alliance cinematic suffers from two big issues, aside from blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos from Moira, Tyrande and Gelbin, only human characters appear. Secondly, I have some issues with Jaina’s actions, but I’ll get to that later.
That all said, the Alliance ending is actually far better than I expected, and I am rather happy with it. The Alliance is shown as powerful and competent, they win the war, and Varian doesn’t mince words around Vol’jin. Of course there’s his gossip text afterwards, which reads like a love letter to fan requests about what the Alliance should do. He says they will 1. Establish a garrison near Theramore to watch over the Horde, 2. Send their forces to Gilneas and reclaim it once and for all, 3. “contain Sylvannas”, and 4. Varian swears the Alliance will no longer be reactive, but proactive!
So all in all, I’d say the Horde got the better cinematic, but the Alliance got an overall better ending. In other words, we even out, which is exactly how faction treatment by Blizzard should be: even.
Now, onto some other points of interest that aren’t a “review”.
-Vol’jin as Warchief. This is a very interesting, and at least in my case, welcome, development. It’s nice to see Blizzard moving away from the “Warcraft has to always have orcs and humans at the forefront”, more racial diversity could lead to some brand new storylines not possible before. How will the orcs deal with a non-orc Warchief? How will Vol’jin handle this position he didn’t even want? I’m looking forward to the Horde’s story in patch 5.x and beyond.
-Speaking of that, Garrosh is alive! I’m kind of in the middle about this. On one hand, Blizzard has done such a good job of making the players hate him and really want vengeance, his survival seems a bit like a cop out. But this ending almost certainly guarantees another mini story patch like 5.1 and 5.3, so I’ll withhold my final judgment until we see Garrosh’s final fate.
-Taran Zhu is great as a flawed character. He’s bigoted, hypocritical, xenophobic, but still likeable. His “pandaren have suffered more from Hellscream than any other” statement is incredibly debatable. However, I believe Kosak once said he’s supposed to be flawed, and when you look at him that way, it makes Zhu a character with more dimension and depth than many in the Warcraft franchise. Maybe he’ll get to kill Garrosh…
-Finally, Jaina. I have no problem with her wanting to dismantle the Horde, but… As many others have pointed out, there’s just something wrong with how she was presented. Her “Disney Villain evil face”, plotting, conniving tone, oddly manipulative word choice just don’t fit Jaina at all, especially after she calmed down and said she saw the non-Garrosh Horde in a new light at the end of 5.2. However, I have a theory. Her tone and word choice sound exactly like something Wrathion would say. I wonder if Anduin has introduced her to his little friend sometime before the Siege…
All in all the cinematics for the Siege of Orgrimmar went above and beyond my expectations. They’ve created some story hooks that make it look like both the Horde and Alliance have some really exciting development coming down the line, perhaps as early as the next patch. I for one cannot wait.