A new Pandaria faction story has been uploaded the official World of Warcraft site, this time focusing on everyone’s favorite farming, Harvest Moon-esque pandaren, the Tillers!

“The Untamed Valley” was written by Robert Brooks, who has also authored “Death from Above”, and the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls story “The End of her Journey”. Writing about simple farmers may appear a far cry from Brooks’ earlier focus on giant Old God worshiping insects and demon-slaying, light-blessed warriors, but to bring out a cliche, appearances can be deceiving.

Who would have thought a story about the Tillers would in fact be the return of fan favorite characters Lyalia and Vindicator Maraad (well, some people did since we knew there would be a story with them, and it was clarified on Twitter that it was the Tillers one but that’s beside the point) while also giving us a view of what’s happened in Pandaria post Siege of Orgrimmar? Instead of just summarizing the story or telling you if you should read it (if you like WoW lore, you should), I’m going to talk about some interesting implications that “The Untamed Valley” offers.

-Aside from some nameless Shieldwall Vindicators and SI:7 operative Mishka, the draenei haven’t been involved in the Pandaria campaign, which makes Maraad’s appearance a pleasant surprise. It’s mentioned that he came here with Velen, who’s dealing with troubles in the north, presumably Hellscream’s trial. Aside from reacquainting players with Maraad, as he’ll be traveling back to Draenor with us in the next expansion, this indicates Velen might have a big role in the upcoming War Crimes novel. Christie Golden had previously mentioned Velen would be testifying against Garrosh, but between his presence on the novel’s cover and the mention here, I think Velen and the draenei might be far more integral to War Crimes‘ plot than we would expect.

-It’s nice to see a semi-resolution the vermin storyline, they were hilarious here and perhaps have gained a new friendship with the Tillers, having taken on Mashok and learned what money and “buying carrots” are.

-Speaking of Mashok, here we have an ardent Garrosh loyalist, and dark shaman who survives the story. I would not be surprised at all if he were to show up somewhere in Warlords of Draenor, maybe in the revamp of UBRS, which is stated to be the “Iron Horde’s foothold on Azeroth”.

-The specific mention that the Alliance and Horde have a “ceasefire” rather than peace is rife with implications, but I’ve gotten some conflicting answers on Twitter about what ceasefire means in Azeroth, so I’ll steer clear of that until War Crimes comes out.

According to Twitter, the next story will focus on the August Celestials, and three dwarf characters, two of which we’ve seen before and one who is related to a dwarf killed in Blackrock Depths…

Ian Bates

WoW lore fan, aspiring writer, video game player, fish keeper, maybe employee of Blizzard one day I hope?