Thursday, October 1, 2009

Icecrown Lore Predictions: We Will Have a Lich Queen [updated]

UPDATE 2 (10/8/09): It would seem that Jaina is here to stay in her current form, given that the latest PTR patch gave her an updated, hi-res character model. We all know that Blizz wouldn't bother if she was just going to die in the 5-man or require a remodel. C'est la vie.

Well that was quick! Here's the beginning of the quest line to help Mograine create Shadowmourne! It appears that he reforges the base axe by combining Arthas's old paladin hammer, Light's Vengeance, with some super-saronite. Then, it seems clear that parts of Frostmourne are used to complete the weapon. This points pretty strongly to Frostmourne being broken; perhaps we discover in the Halls of Reflection that this is the key to defeating the Lich King. My theory was fun while it lasted, but clearly things are going in another direction. Sadly, sources are pointing to some seriously bad stuff going down in the HoR. Doesn't look good for poor Jaina or Sylvanas. Do they really have to kill (or reduce to "damsel in distress" status) the only famous women in Azeroth? Please be more original than that.
[/end update]

As we all know, I love making predictions. Even though I'm wrong more often than right, I find speculation about the future to be a great joy. Trying to predict it is a riveting puzzle to me. I'm the kind of person who nerds out hardcore for shows like Lost.

So naturally I locked onto yesterday's information about the upcoming Icecrown 5-man dungeons like a Democratic Senator locks onto failure. That is to say, hard.

You can read the dungeon reveal in full here. The part I'm most interest in is:

Halls of Reflection
With Jaina and Sylvanas leading the way, adventurers who make it as far as these frigid halls will quickly recognize the weapon that lies ahead: Frostmourne, the corruptive, legendary device of the Lich King himself. The Lich King's private chambers are within reach, although they may be the death of anyone who ventures there.

Boss: The Lich King: Sylvanas, thirsty for vengeance against the corrupted prince who sentenced her to an existence as an undead monstrosity, and Jaina, eager to find a flicker of Arthas's soul locked somewhere within the Lich King, have brought their hand-picked allies to this final confrontation. Arthas's true power may only now be discovered. Is there any hope in this mission, or does only death await?

So we'll be following Jaina and Sylvanas into the room where Frostmourne is. Before I get into that, let me remind you of a few other things we know from Blizzcon:
  1. Arthas will not drop Frostmourne in the Icecrown raid. He instead drops an Axe, heretofore unknown, called Shadowmourne.
  2. Blizzard has "very special plans for Frostmourne".
  3. Jaina Proudmoore was not mentioned at all in the lore spoilers revealed for Cataclysm.
  4. Sylvanas is mentioned in Cataclysm as leading a Forsaken assault on Gilneas, which serves as the basis for the new Battleground.
And as the final part of my setup, consider the following facts about the Lich King:
  1. He never goes anywhere without Frostmourne. It's one of the key fonts of his power.
  2. He keeps letting us live because he's got "plans for us".
  3. He needs a "win". He hasn't done any major damage to us since the Wrath Gate, and he needs something to establish him as a more threatening enemy, and not some comedically mustache-twisting cartoon villain.
  4. Arthas used to love Jaina. The original Arthas is mostly or completely gone, and even his heart has been destroyed. But perhaps the Lich King still has some remnants of feelings for her.

All of the above, taken together, leads me to believe that, at the end of the Halls of Reflection dungeon, Jaina takes up Frostmourne (for noble reasons, of course). She most likely presumes to use it as a weapon against him in a desperate moment, but it is in fact all part of his plan to corrupt her over to his side. I think it's the Blizzard writers' intent to continue the legacy of the Lich King after Arthas is killed at the end of this expansion, and I think the way to do that is to start Jaina on a path of being corrupted by Frostmourne (where Ner'zhul's spirit desperately survives), and eventually to becoming the Lich Queen, even after the King is dead. His plan is to bring her to stand at his side, but in the end she actually becomes his successor.

C'mon, you know the sexist Blizzard artists wouldn't be able to resist giving her a skull-bra.

But what of Arthas in Icecrown? If Frostmourne is so powerful, how could he risk giving it up when his enemies crowd his doorstep? Simple: he's forged a mothertrucking UPGRADE.

The first two wings of the dungeon are the Forge of Souls, which gathers and forges souls for some unknown purpose, and the Halls of Saron, which is the core of Arthas's saronite mining operation.

Now why would they have us go through a forge and then a mine before assaulting the very location where Frostmourne is stored?

To give us some context for Shadowmourne. The soulforge was already used to empower a rune axe constructed from the mined saronite.

So that's my prediction: that we'll see Jaina take up Frostmourne while Arthas wields Shadowmourne. After we kill Arthas, Jaina will continue to be subtly corrupted by Frostmourne before emerging as the Lich Queen.

I can't wait to see just how completely off the mark I am! But at least I had fun speculating.


Beej said...

That, good sir, would be awesome! I don't even get into Warcraft lore, but I would certainly love to see a twist like that shake up the raid game.

Or make Arthas the main boss or normal and make Lichified Jaina the Algalon of Icecrown. Ooooooh....

Zupa said...

I love your predictions also, keep it up! Also, it's not like this is your most far fetched prediction, and it's not like you haven't been DEAD RIGHT before as well ;)

time will tell, speaking of which, hows about a prediction for the launch date of Cataclysm?

I was thinking they would have it in stores in time for christmas, what do you think?

Jormundgard said...

They've been cut-and-pasting plots from other stories for years. It's about time they cut-and-pasted from Starcraft too :).

Hirvox said...

Well, the comic recently started the plotline about the new Council of Tirisfal, and Jaina is one of the founding members, so she's going to be busy there. Granted, the comic predates the Northrend invasion so something might happen to her later.

My guess is that Sylvanas gets Frostmourne. She was among the first to resist Ner'zhul's influence in the first place, and if Jaina reawakens some sort of decency in Arthas (which he supposedly got rid of in the titular book), which would weaken his evil side enough to make him defeatable by players. Sylvanas might capitalize on that opportunity to ninja some loot.

It also fits neatly into the plans of making the Horde unambiguously evil again. Garrosh and Sylvanas would be free to wreak a lot of havoc, while the more good Horde members get recruited into the Council of Tirisfal. The roster already includes Rethgar Earthfury, Hamuul Runetotem and Meryl Winterstorm. Thrall is only holding back because he's busy leading the Horde. When he's deposed by Garrosh, he would be free to join the Council and make his relationship with Jaina official.

Rem said...

My suggestion: Varian and Garrosh pick up Frostmourne together and melt into one mighty being to spread terror on Azeroth - the Douche King!

Hatch said...

Stealing Larisa's method of replying to everyone:

@Beej: I definitely want to see a twist!

@Zupa: thanks! I'm leaning towards a May or June release for Cataclysm. I'll try to get some meat on that prediction and maybe post about it soon.

@Jorm: /facepalm...didn't even realize that I was rehashing Kerrigan! D'oh!

@Hirvox: You're right that Jaina is one of the founding members of the new Council of Tirisfal, but she wasn't mentioned in any of the spoilers about Thrall becoming Guardian, so her continued memberships is still up in the air. I initially had my doubts about Sylvanas taking up the sword because she just hates him and the sword so much, but maybe that would be the motivator that would drive her to do it. I also thought her role in Cataclysm precluded that, but as you point out, it might actually facilitate her being an aggressor. If Sylvanas takes up Frostmourne, that puts the odds pretty high that Jaina is just plain dead, which would be disappointing given that she's one of the few major female characters, and the only one given enough respect to not have a bare midriff in-game.

@Rem: that would be some highly-concentrated douche right there.

News about Quel'derar that came out after I posted this makes me sad, because it sounds like they are probably going for some kind of "use Quel to kill Frostmourne" type of boring, predictable storyline. Sigh.

Hirvox said...

Neither Thrall or Malfurion is going to be the Guardian, that job is reserved for Garona's and Medivh's son, Me'dan. I'm alaotsikko hoping that they keep Jaina, she's definitely one of the better characters in the lore, reasonable, strong and compassionate.

Hatch said...

Med'an is clearly being groomed to be a Guardian, and is clearly gifted in every single possible school of magic to the point of being a deus ex machina, but I get the impression from the comics that the Council doesn't think he's ready. With the elementals and the aspect of earth being the key villains in the expansion, and the planet clearly needing healing, it seems like the world's best shaman would be the one for the job, lending creedence to the "Thrall as Guardian" rumors. On top of that, 3.3 datamining has revealed quests that already point to Garrosh as Warchief soon. Not 100% certain evidence, but definitely leans toward him at least taking temporary Guardianship, most likely until the crisis of Deathwing is over.

Oliver said...

Granted, the last council didn't think Medivh should be Guardian, either.

Tesh said...

"the only one given enough respect to not have a bare midriff in-game."

Wait, Jaina *doesn't* have a bare midriff? The updated model fixed that. Next step? Skull bra.