Game idea: the Brotherhood of the Horse in Warlords of Draenor

Fittingly, I discovered my last post while writing this one. So this could be considered inspired by that – plus my all-time favorite Warcraft line: Admiral Proudmoore’s last stand on Theramore.

So Patch 6.2 is coming. Well, WoW may be a long-closed chapter of my gaming past, but I still keep up with the lore of each new expansion. And when Warlords of Draenor first took the stage, trucking more nostalgia than Instagram’s entire history of #throwbackthursdays, I was stoked to no end.

It also blew on the embers of an old idea I had – to bring a certain group from Warcraft’s misty past back to life and into the limelight.

The Brotherhood of the Horse: a great lore element, and a great missed opportunity.

Preamble

From all I’ve seen at this point, the time-travel angle is not unknown to those from the main timeline. Surely, even among the modern, progressive Alliance, there must be some who see in this an opportunity for vengeance – vengeance for crimes not yet committed.

And who better to embody this tragic, blinkered militancy than the ones who suffered the most by those crimes?

The Brotherhood of the Horse has been, so far, a footnote in Warcraft lore: relegated, I fear, to the bin where Blizzard dumps ideas deemed unworthy or no longer relevant. Theirs was a terrible lot. They lost their lives, they lost their kingdom – and then they lost even the simple right to rest in peace when Gul’dan raised the first Death Knights from their remains.

Were the order to be reconstituted, and probably officered by descendants of Lothar’s original knights, it would be a prime candidate for a (carefully concealed) hotbed of hardliner sentiment.

Friends to foes

I picture the Alliance welcoming them back into the fold at first, and directing their prowess and resources against the Iron Horde. The interesting part comes when their extremism becomes evident – and disruptive to the war effort.

Perhaps they begin massacring Iron Horde prisoners, and their Armsman publicly runs through a high-ranking Alliance official who protests. Or perhaps they break ranks to pursue one of Grommash’s warlords in a pivotal battle, riding down Draenei troops in their way and costing the Alliance the field. This prompts a concerned King Varian to order them to stand down.

A charged confrontation ensues, full of chronological debate and hate-fueled rhetoric, at the end of which the Armsman denounces Varian as a traitor to the House of Wrynn, his father’s memory, and all of humanity. Thus the Brotherhood is revealed as a rogue faction, hell-bent on exacting blind justice upon the orc leaders of the First War – after which, they will turn on the ‘traitorous’ Alliance and Vol’jin’s Horde as well.

Bad news for everybody. And so the race to stop the renegade knights begins.

In-game presence

By this time, the Scarlet Crusade/Onslaught parallels will have become too strong to ignore. Harking back to those guys a moment, they got a fine helping of airtime, didn’t they? Quest lines both low and high in level, a whole multi-winged instance, even a central role in what is arguably vanilla WoW’s single most well-written story.

The Brotherhood deserves no less. I expect they’d begin featuring in Alliance quests from the word go, to fill players in on the order’s backstory and heritage. They’d come off as this bunch of unstoppable badasses, each knight practically a raid boss. Players should want to join these guys; be swept along by their righteous fury.

Until the time comes to face that fury head-on in their own fastness. I have no thoughts on where on AU Draenor the order should have its base – there’s nothing that shouts out at me from its lore. No, it’s back on Azeroth that we should expect to find the Brotherhood’s seat of power.

The final raid

Karazhan. It was theirs before it was Medivh’s, anyway (some say that’s fanon, but I like the idea).

I’m not sure how it stands lore-wise as of now, but if it is still the haunted ruin I remember, perhaps the order could mount an offensive to evict the Violet Eye occupiers and reclaim it. To avoid rehashing the Kara instance itself, and to deal with the problem of the locked door (aren’t the player characters the only one with the key?), the Brotherhood raid could be set in their camp outside the tower’s walls.

Of course, the bosses and other NPCs would spout different lines to different factions. Where Alliance raiders might hear “Ride the traitors down!”, Horde ones might hear some rendition of Admiral Proudmoore’s epic “Death to the blackbloods!”.

And for the climax, I’m picturing something like this (warning: Game of Thrones Season 5 material!): an open-field defensive action against waves of mounted, highly mobile knights. With their Armsman’s death, the Brotherhood of the Horse meets its second, ignoble end, and the leaders of both Alliance and Horde are left to contemplate the cracks torn open by its reckless hatred.

But this is just my dream. The Iron Horde’s leadership has already been decimated. Blackhand the Destroyer – the great enemy of the first Warcraft game – lies dead. And the focus is back on the Burning Legion as the bad guys.

This ship has long since sailed. But that’s what roleplay and roleplaying guilds are for, right?

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