World of Warcraft: Legion saw players boarding a spaceship and traveling to a distant planet, but Battle for Azeroth has taken a step back in terms of absurdity. The latest expansion’s conflict again focuses on the Horde versus Alliance and large-scale fantasy battles. The high-tech sci-fi devices and spaceships from Legion are now completely absent.
But after such a massive leap in technology, there are some serious questions to be asked about where it all went. Many players, including at least three members of the Polygon staff, have been left with the same question since Battle for Azeroth’s Battle for Lordaeron: Where the hell is the Vindicaar, the giant spaceship made out of light that players rode in last expansion? And why didn’t the Alliance use it to their advantage?
When we sat down to talk with Steve Danuser, Warcraft’s senior narrative designer, and lead artist Ely Cannon about the Horde’s identity in Battle for Azeroth, we made sure to bring up World of Warcraft’s missing spaceship as well.
“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. We wanted to focus on key characters like Sylvanas, Anduin, Saurfang, Greymane, the embodiment of their sides, and really show that gritty, in-your-face, toe-to-toe, siege-towers-against-tower-walls [action]. That was the story we wanted to tell. It was a choice to focus on those elements instead of the situation we just showed off in Legion.”
Based on what Danuser said, it seems as though the Vindicaar is simply sitting on the story bench, waiting to be picked back up again when the time is right. However, it’s interesting that Blizzard didn’t choose to somehow damage the Vindicaar at the end of last expansion, especially if they didn’t intend to use it in Battle for Azeroth.
In a world that’s 24 years old, plenty of characters and items get left by the wayside. However, players can account for many of them. Illidan, for example, is alive but locked in space in the Seat of the Pantheon. The Ashbringer and many other powerful artifacts were corrupted and destroyed at the end of Legion. The Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon, is encased in ice, awaiting his chance to return.
Players have reasons for these absences, while the Vindicaar is just completely missing in action. It seems as though Prophet Velen picked a poor time to lose the keys to the giant spaceship made of light, the Alliance could have really used it — athough it’s nice to see that Jaina had his back with a flying ghost ship that can fire arcane missiles from its cannons.
Correction: Steve Danuser title has been changed to be more accurate, and now displays as senior narrative designer.