The room is lit by a dimmed goblin lantern whose filament has seen better days. "Azeroth's next top dictator" is ringing on the gnome visor and there are several lost cereal bowls and whiskey bottles on the coffee table. Edwin van Cleef is cracking a can of dwarf beer and toasting with Yrel. The armored draenei lady barely fits on the couch, but the apathy in her eyes speaks volumes. In the background, Darius Crowley keeps fit by doing push-ups. Since he is in his worgen form, he just arrives at three thousand five hundred and seventeen push-ups. Suddenly the door of the small living room flies open and Vol'jin stands in the door frame! Its ghostly shape glistens like morning dew and its tusks are so white that they blind the viewer. Dark war paint paints his noble face, which is currently distorted with frustration and disappointment. Every movement in space freezes instantly. Vol'jin shakes his head bitterly. "If I didn't float, I'd have to wade through trash, man! What's the matter with you brothers and sisters?" Yrel shrugs her broad shoulders, causing a tectonic rumble from her crystal plate armor. "It's easy for you to talk. You can play again before they finally mothball you." Van Cleef struggles to get up and knocks a small avalanche of potato chips out of his clothes. "She's right. You can stretch your legs in the Shadowlands and we will sit around in nirvana and do nothing."
A heavy sigh escapes the troll, who leans his ghost figure wearily against the door frame. "Have you already forgotten, man? I wasn't allowed to do anything before I was poisoned by a demon on the beach. It's only fair that I can run it again." "We. Want to. Also. Out." Every word from Crowley is accompanied by a strained grunt as the big worgen is already pulling down one push-up after the other. In the background, the light-forged terror lord Lothraxion looks up from his game of Animal Crossing and nods heavily. "Be patient, maybe it's your turn next!", Vol'jin encourages his fellow sufferers. Yrel climbs awkwardly from the couch and grabs her heavy crystal hammer. "Well, we may be messed up again as raid bosses." From the room her general nods and murmurs of approval strike back. "So let's go to the training room, maybe we'll be needed again!" As the squad of forgotten characters retreats from the living room, attentive observers can spot a proud smile on Vol'jin's ghostly features. Whether in the next expansion or the next but one – good characters just can't be killed. But what is it? A gush of hot steam is blown into the room and a well-known figure shuffles into the living room. Only wearing a towel, ex-King Varian Wrynn falls onto the crumbly couch and yawns. While he is still drying his full head of hair, he freezes in motion and looks at the troll in confusion. "Did I miss something?"
Forgotten and wasted
Welcome to the siding, make yourself comfortable. The water dispenser is over there, the coffee machine is in the kitchen – you could spend a long time here if you are one of those poor characters Blizzard put to the scrap heap. In this article we look at the great makers, leaders and warriors who were removed from the game too early or too unspectacularly by Blizzard. Don't get us wrong, some of these characters got quite an epic story.
Often times, the problem with Blizzard stories is that they only last an extension and then get filed away. For example, according to Ion Hazzikostas, Bwonsamdi should only appear in Battle for Azeroth. Due to the enormous popularity of the fans, the (of course, objectively) best of all loa gods received a comprehensive additional appearance in Shadowlands. From Westfall to Draenor to Teldrassil, there are tons of top-notch stories and characters that fizzle out too soon. But even worse than the simply forgotten heroes and villains are those who are torn from life unceremoniously. For example, there are tons of interesting dungeon bosses that have deep roots in Azeroth's history. But instead of giving them a proper finish, we beat the poor bosses like a birthday piñata until they fall over and scatter colorful loot all over the floor. So follow us on our walk through the gallery of scorned characters. Try not to point your finger and be respectful – the poor guys have suffered enough.
Edwin VanCleef – a villain you understand
We start our list with a long-running hit that makes many lore fans extremely angry: Edwin VanCleef has been wasted and it's a crime! The charismatic master stone mason was commissioned to lead the rebuilding of Stormwind after the Second War. An almost impossible task, but one that was carried out by the craftsmen under VanCleef's direction with great speed and incomparable precision. Visitors to Stormwind should take a short detour to Cathedral Square after strolling through the market square. Do you like what you see? No wonder, because the streets you walk on, the bridges that span the canals and even the Cathedral of the Holy Light itself were all designed and built by Edwin VanCleef. The performance of VanCleef and its craftsmen cannot be emphasized enough – without him there would be no storm today.
What happened next was to go down in history as a chain of betrayal and misfortune: When the stonemasons demanded their fair wages after their work was done, the nobles refused to hand out even a piece of gold. Part of the blame for this was Onyxia in her guise as Lady Katrana Prestor – the dragon lady did not have to do much, however, because as it turned out, the nobles had invested so much of the royal budget in armament that there was no money left for stonemasons anyway. Angry and disappointed, VanCleef and his followers started a riot in the course of which an unfortunate stone thrown killed Queen Tiffin Wrynn – Varian Wrynn's beloved wife. The situation escalated and the craftsmen were driven back at gunpoint. Years later, the Defias Brotherhood was formed in Westfall, disguised with their characteristic red masks, which symbolize the shed blood of innocent people. Edwin VanCleef became increasingly bitter and radical in his exile, but at his core he always fought for the justice that was denied him and his wards at the time. VanCleef's ideals carved in stone can be recognized very well during the quest "The Collector" in Elwynn Forest (79/67). In a letter VanCleef writes here: "Ultimately, it is also up to each member of the Brotherhood to see to it that they play their role carefully and with discipline. Remember, my brothers, we were once proud artisans. We become just as careful in our present duties fulfill how we went about our craft in the past. "
So how was this character passed out of life? He is knocked down in a brief scuffle in the dead mines. The fight is certainly worth remembering on Classic servers, but it doesn't do justice to the underlying story. VanCleef would have been an excellent permanent character because he meets a criterion that all lich queens, demons and Hellscreams are far from: we understand him. The best villains are heroes who made a wrong decision. Our wish for the future is that we will see VanCleef again in the Shadowlands – and that Stormwind will finally make peace with the Brotherhood of the Defias and above all with the residents of Westfall.
Yrel – far too short a story
Uff, where do we start? It is clear, even for absolute lore-refusers, that the story of Warlords of Draenor has been shortened dramatically – and that when the expansion was already a few months old. It all started very dramatically and cool: Maraad got his heroic sacrifice, as did the alternative prophet Velen. Then suddenly the war criminal Grommash Hellscream stands next to us and has the audacity to shout "Draenor is free" while we stroll back to Azeroth. However, among all the things that have been cut in WoD, it is the story of Yrel that makes us most angry. We got to know a young draenei and accompanied her on her way to becoming an exarch – who had a clear beginning and a clear end, but no middle! We just give Yrel courage and tell her about our adventures, then she is already wearing full plate armor and fighting side by side with Durotan. The young exarch says goodbye at the end of the expansion with the words "Should you ever need us … we will be there for you."
That's very kind of Yrel. And it is therefore all the more incomprehensible that afterwards the Nether-damned Burning Legion rages like an elephant through the china shop, and Yrel was so completely and extensively forgotten by the scribes that she did not even send a short message. The next blow follows immediately: instead of knitting a story around a new threat that is dealt with along with a careful approach to the Mag'har tribes, Blizzard tiredly waves it aside. The Mag'har recruitment scenario only briefly mentions that the Draenor draenei have invariably transformed into fundamentalists and that we may see Yrel again as a villain at some point.
In a subordinate clause of a scenario, mind you. For a character who was sold to us as one of the pivotal points of a complete expansion and had a gigantic load of potential, Yrel was criminally neglected and then quickly messed up to avoid open questions.
Fandral Hirschhaupt: The creator of Teldrassil
As a tough political opponent to Tyrande's friendly and cosmopolitan government, Fandral Hirschhaupt had a lot of fans since Vanilla-WoW. At that time he embodied the primordial wrath of the night elves, the rage of a people who had known nothing but loss since the first invasion of the Burning Legion. During the War of the Sandstorms, Fandral watched as his son was executed before his eyes by the giant Qiraj General Rajaxx while defending the city of South Wind. Hirschhaupt was also responsible for the planting of Teldrassil, which took place against the express advice of Malfurion and several demigods. The result was a rotten tree, far from being able to restore the night elves to their lost immortality. In this way, the once tough but fair druid became a revenge-eaten and extremely powerful spellcaster who later joined the henchmen of Ragnaros and founded the Druids of the Flame.
Lothraxion: a dread lord of light
As old, internally weathered veterans, there is little in the WoW lore that could surprise us, but Lothraxion made it back then. The concept of a light-forged terror lord is at first completely absurd. Isn't the devil energy the antithesis of the holy light? But far from it! Lothraxion proves that it is not the so-called "Fel", but the light and the emptiness that really pull the strings in the background of the WoW universe. As the so-called Mother of Light "we could especially admire Xe'ra performing morally marginal acts. The Burning Legion was terrifying and yet nothing more than a pawn of cosmic powers – which leads us to the justified assumption that the holy Dread Lord was not quite voluntarily changed sides. The result was a strange and great character that we would love to see more of, because like his paladin colleagues, Lothraxion is an absolute bastion of dignity and morality. Right, the Dread Lord is not only touched by the light, he is is a true warrior of light – and has been for millennia. Did you know that it was Lothraxion who recruited Turalyon and Alleria for the army of light? The Light Lord even ingested a soul-destroying poison when Turalyon was dying lay – and was subsequently saved by Alleria when she used the void to tear the poison from Lothraxion's body Dreadlord is not only a loyal soldier to the light, he has the absolute conviction that only kindness and willingness to make sacrifices will ultimately illuminate the way of the light.
Seriously, a lightforged dread lord? If it were a series, Lothraxion would have its own spin-off. There are very few characters in Azeroth who are so contradicting and interesting, and at the same time work so well in the lore. There is no reasonable reason why Lothraxion should perish in the cathedral bunker of the Silver Hand. Give us more background! Make him do things, but for Nether's sake, don't make him one of the great characters to be literally promoted to the closet after a single expansion.
For the underdogs and fan favorites!
We understand that characters like Illidan Stormrage like to be sent back onto the field by Blizzard from the offside. And hey, when it comes to stories of salvation, there are far worse stories than our favorite Edgelord's. However, with Shadowlands at the latest, it's time to bring back the real fan favorites and give them some hard-earned time in the spotlight. We realize that there is only room for a limited number of characters on the stage of a new expansion – but we would like more recurring characters and fewer new faces that disappear with each new expansion. After all, the legend of Azeroth lives just as much from its warriors, kings and magicians as the events with which we interact. And if that doesn't work: Just send us a sign of life from one of our favorite characters every now and then and we'll be satisfied. Because when old friends contact us again, the Azeroth suddenly becomes a much livelier, more believable world. With that in mind, we stick to an old Irish proverb about our impending Shadowlands death: "If you go to Hell, you have so much to do with shaking hands with old friends that you can't get around to yourself to care."
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