The Importance of WoW’s “Warbringers” Shorts

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In the weeks surrounding World of Warcraft‘s seventh expansion, Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard Entertainment released three animated shorts. Entitled “Warbringers,” these snippets of select characters’ lives depict three important relationships within the WoW narrative.

Jaina Proudmoore — The Alliance and Kul Tiras

The first short depicts Jaina raising a ship out of the water, while reflecting on the death of her father at the hands of The Horde. Unlike the rest of the shorts, the lyrics of the song play a large role in moving the brief moments forward. 

The lyrics of the song would seem to suggest that it was written by citizens of Kul Tiras, where Jaina’s father, Daelin Proudmoore, ruled. As shown in an in-game cutscene, many Kul Tiras citizens blame Jaina and The Alliance for the destruction of their army and death of their leader.

Jaina Proudmoore is one of the most influential characters in WoW. She’s been named multiple times as the most powerful human mage alive and in all of Azeroth. Kul Tiras actually hasn’t been very relevant to the game’s story in a while. However, with a reintroduction into the game, it’s very possible we could see another major player for the Alliance.

Sylvanas Windrunner — The Alliance and The Horde

Released a few weeks later, “Warbringers: Sylvanas” animates the burning of Teldrassil and a rushed version of her origin story.

Teldrassil, a sort of city/living monument of the night elves, represented their connection to magic and nature. Sylvanas burned it down, reigniting the Alliance-Horde conflict and acting as one of the catalysts for the Battle for Azeroth storyline.

Sylvanas has been a key player nearly as long as the game has been around. She leads the Forsaken, an undead faction of the Horde. This short is an obvious landmark for her character arc. Although it doesn’t necessarily change her as a character, it more changes the world she lives in, therefore affecting her and the Horde’s relationship with the Alliance.

Queen Azshara — Mortals and the Old Gods

Of the three Warbringers shorts, Queen Azshara was the outlier. Her animation depicted the flooding of her city and her deal with the Old God, N’Zoth.

The Naga, the race Azshara rules over, have long been very simple enemies. Azshara herself actually only showed up ingame a few select times, which is what makes Blizzard’s decision to make the short so strange. The Old God shown in the video, also has yet to make an appearance outside of the Hearthstone card game.

With the teetering amount of options for World of Warcraft, it would make sense for Blizzard to make better use for their races to further deepen their world. By mentioning the Azshara, the game devs could be hinting at a possible re-emergence of the Naga, maybe even making them comparable to the Scourge.

Takeaway from Warbringers

The return of Kul Tiras. Another chapter of Sylvanas’ character arc. A soft reintroduction of the Naga. World of Warcraft is definitely still kicking after all these years. For some, Battle for Azeroth in some respects may have been a slight disappointment, but many can rest assured that Blizzard still seems to have a lot up their sleeve.

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