The latest World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth patch, Rise of Azshara, takes players to the watery lair of the titular Naga queen to unravel the secrets of the kingdom of Nazjatar. But I’m here to tell you that none of that matters.
I need you to listen to me now and listen to me closely: Something is fully fucked up with the World of Warcraft as it currently stands, and every NPC is lying to the players. Straight up.
It’s time to stop asking big abstract questions — “can peace truly exist in a world defined by multigenerational warfare?” feels beside the point right now — and start focusing on the fact that Azeroth is a nightmare carnival and we need full governmental reform if this “World” of Warcraft is going to work out.
Hitting the history books
A visual aid will be helpful here. Let’s start with a quick timeline of the Warcraft universe:
That’s one global crisis every singe year since the launch of the original World of Warcraft. There are eight massive global crises over eight years, including one where a guy went back in time and invaded from an alternate timeline, and that alternate timeline would later descend into religious fascism. That’s not great!
That being said, we’re dealing with some pretty abstract concepts here, so let’s try to come up with a real-world comparison to help. This is what an equivalent timeline might be if our planet worked like Azeroth:
Imagine if every single year for eight years in a row, there was some massive horrifying crisis, and at least 60 percent of them came from the power of horrific corrupting artifacts or portals to other worlds that people just kept finding and picking up. Imagine if there was a whole other timeline, with alternate versions of your relatives, showing up in the modern day because a war criminal had escaped prison.
Your gut reaction would probably be “oh, what the fuck” if you saw this in a history book. There’s no way that this should be the normal state of affairs for any kind of civilization, but that’s how Azeroth has been trucking along for years now.
We can all agree this is no way to run a society, right? I’m pretty sure the only reason any city in Azeroth has a sewer system is so people can stage dramatic invasions or escapes using them. There’s no infrastructure! There’s a guy in Redridge who has been trapped under a rock for five years! Where’s the government agency handling this kind of thing? Where is the government agency handling anything other than bloodshed, and even that seems pretty ad hoc!
That’s right, the real enemy that’s plaguing World of Warcraft isn’t serpent ladies or demon men or giant, angry dragons. It’s a lack of government regulation. Stormwind looks like a grand fantasy city, but all of its territories are places you go to get murdered, corrupted, sacrificed by cultists, or recruited into a class revolution. It’s a great place to die, but not to live, and certainly not to visit if you just want to relax.
It’s clear to me that the choice between Sylvanas Windrunner and Anduin Wrynn, Horde or Alliance, red or blue, is all a lie orchestrated by the elite ruling classes of Azeroth in order to distract us from the fact that none of them are capable of running any kind of peace time government. We just don’t notice as long as we’re always killing each other.
Anduin Wrynn is presumably the good guy, but consider this: he succeeded his father in the position of High King of the Alliance because of family line. He’s like 18 years old! He’s hanging out with a couple of 10,000+ year old war veteran immortals, a democratically elected genius in a mech, and some wizards. But he gets to be in charge because this is an absolutist hereditary monarchy?
There is one solitary scene in which we see Anduin seriously consider the logistical challenges of running a kingdom, and it’s when he’s hanging out with his best friend, who is a racist werewolf. Then he gets so sad he lets an enemy of the state out of prison.
Why is this happening?!
None of this makes sense — until you realize the horrible conspiracy at the heart of World of Warcraft. No one actually knows how to run a government. Think about it: have you ever seen someone in the Warcraft universe deal with a civilian petition, hold a town hall, or sign a bill into law? Everyone’s just really good at murder and building statues. It’s the only way forward.
Why is there no player housing? Because that would require our leaders to understand concepts like zoning laws. Why are there a bunch of Night Elf refugees just standing in the street? Because no one prepared for possible refugee housing; they were too busy building a giant monument to a dead king that takes up a sixth of the city.
Why did Vol’jin instantly die at the start of Legion? He thought about trying to wrangle all of the Horde races into a peaceful arrangement where they’d have to focus on things like knitting and building civil infrastructure. Why did Sylvanas start a war in an act that many fans considered out of character? She realized she would never have the technical skills to institute a universal basic income, and all of the mechs and spaceships in the setting means that all labor could be automated.
No one in Warcraft knows anything about anything productive. This solves the answer to every single “plot hole” and inconsistency in the World of Warcraft.
In Rise of Azshara, both factions are going to call us under their banners for another long campaign of war. I’m urging everyone to stay home instead. Do we even know if Anduin Wrynn knows how to do math? Has that ever come up? I feel like we should probably know that! We know he’s literate, but that’s a really low bar!
Blizzard doesn’t want you to know about this conspiracy, but I’m lifting the veil. It’s time to wake up, people! Azeroth doesn’t need a war, it needs a bunch of civics teachers to teach our leaders some super basic concepts about living in a society. Until then, we’ll never actually advance, even if we do have sweet spaceships and golden cities.