Let's talk Broken Shore Cinematics – World of Warcraft: Legion

Finally, the Broken Shore went live along with the cinematic cut scenes that no one had seen beforehand, not even on the PTR/Beta servers. Today I thought I’d take a look into the Broken Shore cinematics and what they mean going forward for the Alliance and the Horde.

~ Spoiler Alert ~

The Legion has returned and Azeroth needs its heroes now more than ever (old, but relevant cliche). The Battle of the Broken Shore is fantastically scripted and if you were impressed by the Warlords of Draenor zone cinematics, you’ll be even more so with the Broken Shore cinematics. Everything about the dialogue, visual effects, and cut scenes made for something I haven’t experienced in World of Warcraft for a long time. It was a sense of danger, a feel for how much we’re royally screwed and to see with our own eyes, how easily we were broken.

Let’s talk about the Alliance version first.

Alliance Cinematic

The Alliance are fending off endless waves of demons, while suddenly, Varian sees Sylvanas and her archers flee. The rest of the Horde do the same.

Now this is when I began to slightly despise Sylvanas and the Horde for turning their backs and fleeing, leaving the Alliance in a very difficult position. Although, even if they stayed, the outcome would have been similar. Except with even more potential casualties. At this point, I hadn’t played through the Horde side of the Broken Shore, and coming from an Alliance player, you can understand my confusion!

We then see the Alliance retreat to the airship, but knowing Gul’dan…he rips open the sky to bring down a fel-infused meteor (because that’s all he knows how to do) onto the airship and misses. From the meteor wreckage comes a fearsome Fel Reaver, grabbing with one hand onto the airship to stop it from getting away.

Varian contemplates on what to do next, and decides on giving a letter to Genn Greymane, before jumping down to destroy the Fel Reaver in one single blow. Varian is alone. Surrounded by the Legion, he makes his final stand by tearing through as many demons as he can. His attacks are halted as his torso is pierced by two polearms.

Gul’dan approaches and mentions that his sacrifice is all for nothing. Varian replies, “For the Alliance”. An irritated Gul’dan infuses Varian with fel-energy and dies…

What’s particularly obvious is that Varian no longer trusted the Horde from that moment, witnessing their supposed abandonment of the Alliance. Especially now that Genn Greymane is fueled with vengeance. This will give him and Jaina an excuse to deal with the Horde. It almost seems inevitable that the faction war will greatly intensify and that’s not good for either when we also must deal with Sargeras and his Legion.

Varian’s death was not in vain like Gul’dan said. It allowed the Alliance to retreat from the Shore and fight another day. This is what made his death, truly heroic and you could feel it while watching the cinematic.

I’ve played through this cinematic on all my characters and it still gives me chills because of how fearsome the Burning Legion have become, since the Burning Crusade. We’ve underestimated them and paid a heavy price with the loss of Tirion, Varian and countless soldiers. The cut scene gave off a sense of true fear, which hasn’t been felt since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. It’s a mark of great story telling, one that Warlords of Draenor severely lacked….an emotional connection and a very real threat to the world. It’s almost like Game of Thrones where major characters are dying left, right and centre!

Horde Cinematic

The thing about the Horde cinematic is that if you’ve seen the Alliance version first and/or haven’t seen this one…you’re in for some serious salt. First off, from the Alliance point of view, the Horde abandoned them, but in actuality…they had to retreat in order to survive. There was no need for anymore leaders to die.

Sylvanas looks over to Vol’jin as a polearm is driven into his body. Sylvanas shouts out “Warchief!” in shock and with haste, rides to his aid. She looks across the dreaded wasteland and sees Horde soldiers and even their leaders struggling to fend off the demons. Vol’jin tells Sylvanas “Do not let the Horde die this day” before passing out. Sylvanas has no choice but to call on her Val’kyr and issue a full retreat, leaving the Alliance on their own.

It’s almost impossible to blame the Horde once you’ve seen both sides. Would Varian have lived if they had stayed? Or would there have been many more casualties?

Vol’jin is poisoned by fel-magic from the blade that pierced him. In his final moments, he names Sylvanas Warchief of the Horde.

I’m really on the fence with this one. On one hand, Sylvanas is volatile and we all know that she has her own plans. Can she truly be a more suited leader than Lor’themar or Baine? But on the other hand, she seems like the best choice because of her power and experience. I can see why Vol’jin said “Many will not understand”.

But right now things aren’t looking good for the Horde either with Genn Greymane on a mission to avenge Varian. What’s even worse is that we don’t know what Jaina will do, since she’s even more volatile than Sylvanas at this point. We’ll have to find out how it unravels over the course of the Legion expansion.

What do you think of the outcome of the Broken Shore? Do you agree with the Horde retreating? Or has your hatred for them grown?

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