Theramore's Fall: Scenario Preview and Interview with Christie Golden
is now live on US servers! It will run from September 17th to the 24th for level 85s. We've got previews of the scenario for each faction, all rewards, and an interview with Christie Golden, author of
Tides of War
, who worked with the quest team to design this scenario!
This post is pretty spoiler-heavy, so turn back now if you don't want to learn the outcome.
September 17-24 only
, players can queue up at 85 for
, a new scenario. The scenario can be later completed by level 90 players in Mists of Pandaria.
Theramore will eventually be changed permanently to its post-battle state in a future patch--but you'll only see it now if you've completed the sceanrio.
Jaina has a new in-game model after the attack on Theramore: the harmful magic from Garrosh's bomb on Theramore turns her hair permanently white. Check out the
Theramore will still be a zone players can quest in. However, the former interactive version of the city with NPCs and questgivers will be removed at a later point.
Upon completing the scenario, you will get a Feat of Strength for participating in this scenario at level 85:
You will also find a reward mailed to you:
for Alliance and
Spoils of Theramore
but has a small chance to contain an Everlasting Firework (
) or one of the following ilvl 384 epics:
Theramore's Fall: Horde
Lore put together a video showing the scenario from the Horde's PoV! We have the Alliance perspective under the cut.
Click here to see Theramore from the Alliance's perspective, as well as a list of rewards and interview with Christie Golden!
Theramore's Fall: Alliance
The scenario starts after the following events have happened in
Tides of War
Garrosh wanted to declare the supremacy of the Horde and devised a plan to destroy Theramore. He stole the Focusing Iris from the Nexus and dropped it on Theramore with lethal results.
Many members of the Horde, including Baine Bloodhoof and Vol'jin, were unhappy with Garrosh's plan to attack. Baine even went so far as to tell Jaina the Horde's plans. The mana bomb was kept a secret from all Horde members.
He waited until Jaina had amassed an impressive number of forces, including sorcerers from the Kirin Tor to protect the city. After defeating the Horde in a fair fight, the Alliance were taken by surprise when the bomb was dropped.
Everyone in Theramore perished except for Jaina, who was shielded by Rhonin.
Stage 1: Welcome to Theramore
You find yourself on a ship under attack, after watching a cutscene of the mana bomb destroying Theramore.
Stage 2: Sweep the Harbor
Defeat 3 Horde captains, 20 Rok'nah Invaders, and torch 3 ships. This takes place on the docks--make sure not to fall into the water getting onto the ships.
Stage 3: Into the Ruins
Defeat Gash'nul, a Horde shaman, 2 Vicious Wyvern, and 8 Rok'nah invaders.
Stage 4: The Lady Proudmoore
Find Jaina at the center of the destruction. She's surrounded nearby Horde soldiers in ice, with the power of the Focusing Iris.
Stage 5: Destroy the Destroyer
Retrieve 3 Stolen Standards and defeat the siege engine Gatecrusher.
Stage 6: The Last Stand!
Jaina summons water elementals to help you fight Warlord Rok'Nah. He periodically emotes that he's switched his weapons, signifying that he's taking less damage or dealing more.
After the scenario takes place, Jaina uses the Focusing Iris initially for evil, wanting to use it to wipe out the Horde using illegal magic. But instead of falling prey to corruption, she does the right thing and gives the Focusing Iris to the Kirin Tor.
Tides of War
, Jaina also begins a relationship with Kalecgos--the two meet when he's searching for the Focusing Iris that was stolen from the blue dragonblight. The book ends with Jaina leading the Kirin Tor and Kalecgos joining the council.
Interview with Christie Golden
We also have an interview with Christie Golden, author of
Tides of War
, a Warcraft novel that traces the conflict and culminates in Theramore's Fall and Jaina's violent grief.
Tides of War
is especially notable in that
was a collaboration between Golden and the quest designers--a first for a novelist. Players have felt in the past that they're missed out on details when doing quests that were elaborated upon in a past novel.
The in-game scenario covers the major plot arc, but spoilers below for book-only details! Read on to learn about the challenges of writing Jaina, Garrosh's transformation from respected leader to villain, and what it was like to work with the quest team in creating Theramore's Fall.
Jaina undergoes great changes in Tides of War, and with it, positive personal growth out of a difficult situation. So many characters crack under pressure in the Warcraft universe--what was it like to write about Jaina's positive transformation from Theramore diplomat into Kirin Tor leader? Many other characters in Jaina's position would have permanently stayed bloodthirsty, using the Focusing Iris as an artifact of great destruction. Countless such objects of power from past expansions come to mind. It's refreshing to not only see how she pulled herself back from the abyss, but demonstrated her continued capabilities as a leader.
It was a real challenge because initially, one's first reaction is "Jaina would never do that"…but people will surprise you. People are living breathing things even if they are characters. If you don't treat them that way, they won't come across that way. I really looked at this as a step by step thing, building up to the actual crisis. When you take someone who has lived through and--she knows she shouldn't but she acts rashly--has survivor's guilt on top of everything, and she has seen everything she has believed, everything she has espoused, everything she has gotten behind--in one terrible blow it's all gone...
It's all shattered, not just Theramore--but everything she has held to be true. When people undergo things like that, it's tearing you down except what's at your very core. Jaina's core at the end was able to be stronger than her anger and her hate and her fear. She was able to go deeper. Part of the reason she was able to go deeper is that people are caring about her, who love her, who want her to be who she truly is, even if who she is has been battered and broken. It's there, the heart of who she is. It's still there. And I think that does eventually come through.
What other story arcs and characters are you interested in exploring, or served as an inspiration for
Tides of War
There's a lot of characters in WoW I would love to continue doing things with. I got very very found of (and created) Taretha, specifically with Thrall. He gets insight that there's a human he could reason with. Especially after being raised in such a brutal way--he needs people like Taretha to show there are people he can actually work with. Anduinn is one of my favorites too. I enjoyed watching him grow up in
as well as this. It's not really possible in this world to not pick a side. It's gotten to the point where conversing and negotiating are to the point where something has to be done. It's kind of like our world through World War II, you couldn't not take a side. you had to get involved, the stakes were too high. So it's been interesting watching those two reacting against things--Varian, who used to charge into the fray immediately, is learning how to have a cool head.
There are some other characters out there I want to explore, I don't want to say too much because I'm pretty sure there's spoilers right now, but I've also enjoyed Baine. I felt I owed it to him after I killed his dad, to give him a good positive role.
Yeah! I was going to ask you about Baine, how it was important to show a variety of Alliance and especially Horde reactions, that not all the Horde were like Garrosh. His interactions with Jaina are awesome.
Jaina was also a major character in the Icecrown Citadel storyline--what was it like writing about her then for
and now for
Tides of War
? Has your concept of Jaina changed over the years?
Only in that she's grown up and that she has changed. I still think if you go back and read
, which is our first introduction to her, right from when they were children, she's been pretty true to who she is. One of my favorite and saddest scenes in
is when Arthas cancels their engagement right before they're supposed to make a big entrance into the ball and interact with everyone all evening, which is a jerky thing to do. Jaina gets very pale and very quiet, and then she's making the best of it--it's time to go out there and be different at the dance.
She's pretty tough and she can roll with things, even when she's hurt, Watch her grow, see what she's done and what she's suffered--and see what it too to finally break her, to get down to the raw core of emotion that's been there, covered and protected by rationality and strength. I think only in that she's changed...she's grown up. I think she's still recognizable as the same character.
Jaina isn't the only one going through a transformation--Garrosh is too. We've seen him previously as a brash but well-meaning leader in past stories and in-game, and it's been announced that everyone will band together to take him down at the end of MoP. What were the challenges in writing about him in this interim period, where he still has Horde loyalties, but is acting more power-hungry than before?
Garrosh is very interesting character and had to write. A lot of players really don't like him. My task, when I first started working with him back in
was to have someone--you don't necessarily have to like him, but you can understand him and respect some of his decisions. He has been very steadily going down a negative path since then.
He doesn't have the strength of will that Grom had, the same convictions that lead to being right and courageous. He doesn't really have that, he's not been trained for that. He got too much power, too quickly, and now he's surrounded himself with bad advisers. He's definitely no longer someone that you can talk to or reason with. He sees his path as the only one--"If you're not with me, you're against me." That's eventually going to come back and bite him.
The actual details for the in-game Battle of Theramore (both pre-release events and MoP scenarios) have been kept under wraps. Did you have any input in the pre-MoP event? I know Invincible's grave was added in Tirisfal Glades after Arthas.
This was actually one of the most exciting this about writing this book. I worked very very closely with quest designers. We wanted to do something that I thought had never been done--create a scenario in the book that the reader gets to participate in from both Horde and Alliance perspectives. You can see a little part of what happens to Theramore. There are references to it--we see it play out in the book, you're a part of it--there's even a part in the book saying "Jaina turns to her friends" and that's you. She has 5 compansions, we keep them very vague as to what races they are or class, and these people are involved, they are a part. I don't think that's ever been done before, and it was very difficult to go back and forth, back and forth. I must have written the part of Theramore's Fall like four or five times to incorporate each new thing they wanted to put in, that it dovetailed correctly. I'm really anxious to see how it goes and play it myself!
Players have made much about Jaina's hair permanently changing color from blond to white. A lot of people initially thought it was from emotional grief, but reading the book, it's clear it was a toxic product of the arcane bomb. What was the inspiration behind adding this detail which caused such controversy?
That was something Blizzard wanted to show, and the rationale behind it is to have a lasting physical mark that was clearly visible when you see her in game of what had gone on. The blast certainly did change her, and for a while, she has the glowing eyes, and my understanding is that it faded, but the hair will stay. That makes sense, once a hair follicle has gone to white or to grey, it doesn't go back. It's permanently changed. And so, that actually made a lot of sense, whereas her power faded, the artificial magic in her eyes would fade. I like the choice. It's a clear demarcation and a battle scar, if you will, of a mark of what happened.
Several things stood out to me about Jaina and Kalecgos' relationship. They're also both long-time lore figures with different sets of heroic agendas: we've known them for expansions already as powerful independent leaders (in contrast to Aggra/Thrall).They're also both characters with past romantic partners and heartache--something that is rare in the Warcraft universe, where many characters have one partner for life or are long-time widowers. How did the pairing come about in the first place and what was fun or challenging about it?
I really enjoyed the romance because of these characters! It was Blizzard's suggestion that they get together, the first time I read that I went "hm that's perfect, that's really perfect!" Because if you pay attention to their personalities, they mesh together very well. There's been a lot of fan longing to pair Jaina up with Thrall, and there's of course Arthas… Jaina is a very intelligent, calm, practical, compassionate, friendly, negotiator. And a lot of the same can be said about Kalecgos. I'm glad I had a change to write him, especially next to Thrall--and we know his personality already. It just seemed to be a really logical pairing, and one that grew from friendship and respect, rather than sudden chemistry or instance romance.
They work together, they like each other, they admire each other, and when things get dire, you start thinking about what's important to you. And they realize that this other person was very important to them.
I think they will have, as opposed to a cliched over-the-top tempestuous passionate romance, they will have a very sweet love affair, based a lot of laughter and good conversation. That whole thing where he tells her that "magic is math" and that's what he finds exciting, that's what she finds exciting--he can share that insight with her, with a real connection with her.
It's a very logical pairing, Jaina would say it's very sensible. I don't think it's without it's magic as well, there's a lot of tenderness and sweetness there. If I were Jaina, I'd take Kalecgos in a heartbeat!
Yeah! I thought it was particularly well done. It's great how the player has gotten to know them both before the romance--through several expansions as powerful heroes with their own agendas. It makes the actual romance so much more vibrant.
We're really looking forward to checking out Theramore's Fall as soon as it hits live--thanks for the interview, and again, enjoyed reading
Tides of War
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