Ah, World of Warcraft. There’s everything you’d expect from a fantasy world: armies clashing outside stone walls, warriors using humble swords or maces, and oh, yeah, there’s a spaceship capable of orbital bombardment.
There’s no simple way to explain it, but World of Warcraft has a spaceship problem. Sometimes my husband will catch me in a reflective moment, and he brushes hair away from my brow. “What are you thinking about?” he asks.
I’m not going to lie: I’m usually thinking about the spaceship.
Wait, seriously, a spaceship?
Technically there’s been a spaceship in World of Warcraft since the game’s first expansion in 2007. The new Alliance race, the Draenei, showed up on The Exodar, a giant crystalline spaceship. The Exodar crashed, and is now a permanently-grounded city.
But in Legion, players got access to a whole new spaceship. Basically, two characters from the Warcraft strategy games, Turyalon and Alleria, went missing. Turns out they were in a pocket dimension of space, formed a fighting force called the Army of the Light. The Army of the Light has spent 10,000 years finding people willing to fight, infusing them with so much Light it changes them on a physical and psychological level, and then loading them up on a spaceship to go fight more demons.
This spaceship is called the Vindicaar, and it’s a mean mother capable of things like orbital bombardment and going toe to toe with a demon army. The Vindicaar survived Legion, and is still in Battle for Azeroth. You can, in fact, head there any time if you play the new Lightforged Draenei. It’s just chilling out, watching over Azeroth.
That’s kind of nice in a way, isn’t it?
No. It’s not. This spaceship has haunted my every waking moment. This spaceship is a real problem and Blizzard won’t answer my calls.
In which I weep about the spaceship
World of Warcraft is a place of mystery and intrigue. Here’s the biggest question that drives the wonderful world of Azeroth forward: Why is no one using the giant magical spaceship for anything?
Let’s run down some handy moments in which the spaceship could have changed Azeroth’s history.
- The War of the Thorns. Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner cunningly feinted south with her armies before heading north. What if someone gave the Vindicaar a ring-a-ding and was just like, hey, man, what’s up? You want to help with this genocide at all? That’d be cool.
- The battle for Lordaeron. The Alliance move in defense of the burned World Tree of Darnassus, looking to avenge thousands of dead civilians. This is the home of the original human Alliance, claimed by an evil undead elf. No one brings the spaceship capable of orbital bombardment and the Alliance nearly lose.
- The battle for Dazar’Alor. The Alliance storm an ancient troll temple city, the heart of a once-proud empire. Hey, Anduin, buddy, I’m just going to throw this out here: Have you considered the spaceship?
- Literally anything. Hey, did you know that the other side of Azeroth is completely unknown? Anyone who tries to sail west of Kalimdor or east of the Eastern Kingdoms is swallowed by something unknown. Maybe we can check that out? You know, with the SPACESHIP?!
In a previous interview with Polygon, senior narrative designer Steve Danuser had an explanation for the Vindicaar’s unexplained absence. “We have this broad palette to draw from when we’re coming up with these conflicts,” said Danuser. “But what we need to do whenever we’re crafting these stories is to say ‘OK, what are the big things and key characters we want to focus on? To pull in everyone would dilute the experience.”
On one hand, this makes a lot of sense. With a massive ensemble cast, I can see why certain characters have to step back. Khadgar, for instance, bounced at the end of Legion because he was upset with the looming war in Battle for Azeroth. But a spaceship seems like a pretty big deal! Did anyone in Azeroth see the new Shadowlands cinematic? Is there any chance the spaceship can fly through the shattered hole in reality?
Listen, it may seem like I’m overreacting, but this is Blizzard’s own Chekhov’s Gun. If you show that someone has a spaceship, I expect that spaceship to start orbitally bombarding things.
And if World of Warcraft’s story has no room for the Vindicaar right now, that’s no problem. There has to be an elegant way to put it on the shelf. Perhaps two characters could take it on a road trip throughout time and space, in which they’d learn a little about the galaxy, but a lot about themselves. Maybe some teen Draenei could stink the place up by sneaking in there to vape until the place is uninhabitable.
Things are pretty turbulent in World of Warcraft right now, since everyone who dies is going to an incredibly upsetting double hell. I’m just saying: Look, if I had a spaceship, I’d try to figure out if there’s any way it could help. At the very least, I hope that the next time you see a gorgeously rendered World of Warcraft cinematic you remember: Oh, huh, that’s right — off in the distance, there’s a whole spaceship just kind of doing nothing.