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New World of Warcraft cinematic grooms a replacement Warchief

Saurfang is back

Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Blizzard released another World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth cinematic, the second this week. Unlike the Warbringers’ drawn look, Old Soldier is a fully rendered cinematic featuring Saurfang, one of the Horde’s oldest soldiers.

The cinematic begins with Saurfang remembering the death of his son. While standing on the walls of Lordearon, an old city that the Alliance plans to sack in retribution for the burning of Teldrassil, he is confronted by a young troll.

Zekhan — lovingly referred to as “Zappy Boy” by the community — talks to Saurfang about what it’s like to be such a legend, and how he hopes to fall in honor and glory in the coming battle. Saurfang responds gruffly (even for an Orc) and declares that the following battle will offer no glory for the Horde.

In this cinematic, Saurfang is battling with his own disenfranchisement with the Horde after Sylvanas’ recent decision to burn the home of hundreds of innocent Night Elves and Worgen. He brushes past Zekhan after removing his massive pauldrons and begins walking toward the Alliance army alone.

Zekhan eventually joins Saurfang on the battlefield, and convinces him that the Horde is more than the actions of a single Warchief. The troll reminds his commander that, for some, the Horde is all that they have. Saurfang returns to the walls of Lordearon and prepares for the coming battle, ready to fight alongside his Horde allies.

We won’t spoil what happens during the Battle of Lordearon scenario, but it seems clear that Blizzard is leaning into Horde players’ ideals of honor and glory. Saurfang represents the player base’s desire for a honorable Horde, not the desire to play the villain.

A few players on the World of Warcraft subreddit have even started an in-game movement to support Saurfang. After the cinematic went live, multiple posts went out suggesting that players remove or hide their shoulder pieces in support of the true Horde Warchief, Varok Saurfang.

Nobody know how Battle for Azeroth will end, or what will happen to Sylvanas Windrunner, but Blizzard seems to be preparing Saurfang to finally step up and lead as Warchief. The question isn’t if Saurfang will step up, it’s when. Players will have to wait and see until World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is released on Aug. 14.

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