What If: Purge of the Aspects

Anne Stickney
A. Stickney|07.18.13

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What If: Purge of the Aspects
What If Purge of the Aspects
In case you missed it earlier this week, Matthew Rossi and I are playing a little game that Sacco brought to attention on the latest podcast. In the game, we choose an unlikely figure for the antagonist of an entire expansion, and try and puzzle out what that expansion looks like. Rossi went first, so he got to choose his own antagonist and went with Velen -- and then decided to drop Alexstrasza on me for the subject of mine. It's okay. I'll have my revenge a little later.

But how does the former Aspect of Life, the Lifebringer, the Dragonqueen Alexstraza suddenly turn to evil? Oh I guess we could go with the corrupted by Old Gods route ... but that would be far, far too easy. Instead, let's look at the interesting premise of the Aspect's charge -- and what happens when we fail our duties as mortals.

You are Azeroth's true guardians, and the future of this world is in your hands. For the dawning of the Age of Mortals...has begun.
Alexstrasza and the rest of the Aspects were created to protect Azeroth. This is pretty much an irrefutable fact brought up in Dawn of the Aspects -- the Aspects were created because they wanted nothing more than to protect the world. Their charge was to end the Hour of Twilight -- and they only managed to do so through the assistance of mortals. Pleased, at the end of the Dragon Soul raid Alexstrasza mentioned the dawn of the Age of Mortals -- a time in which we would take the precious world the Aspects had carefully watched over for centuries, and watch it on our own.

But we, as mortals, have failed in our responsibility. The devastation that rocked Pandaria was only the beginning. When left to our own devices, we immediately set to war. Alexstrasza saw this happen, and it concerned her. After all, as a protector of life, the Dragonqueen can hardly condone a war that results in unnecessary deaths. Yet there is a common thread to this madness, a common enemy that Alexstrasza is far too familiar with -- the orcs of Draenor, and the Burning Legion.

The Aspects were created to protect Azeroth. Beings from Draenor have no place on this world -- and they have proven themselves unworthy. For every Thrall, a thousand thousand Hellscreams stand in defiance. In order to truly protect the world she so loves, the orcs must be removed from it. But they aren't the only foreign entity ... lest we forget the draenei, their otherworldly origins, and their unique connection to the Burning Legion. Much as they've tried to separate themselves from their brethren, the eredar are still not of Azeroth.

What If Purge of the Aspects
Now the last thing Alexstrasza would ever want to do is simply murder thousands of creatures -- and so she would push for a purge. Scour the orcish race from the world, remove the draenei and send them home, Azeroth is no place for them. Were it not for the arrival of the orcs and the antics of the Burning Legion, Azeroth would be a pure paradise of peace, and more importantly, a sacred haven of life. And if these foreign races did not agree to leave ... well the loss of life would be regrettable. But necessary.

After all, even the harshest forest fires still bring about new growth.

Alexstrasza has not been corrupted by the Old Gods, her decisions made from hushed whispers and madness in her head. She is, after all, a creation of the Titans -- and therefore possesses a unique connection to the world that mere mortals cannot comprehend. She can see the world for what it could have been -- and she can see where the corruption in the world's life cycle originally spawned. The Burning Legion is an infestation that has constantly threatened to ruin the world, the orcish race, the draenei race are merely viruses, foreign elements introduced into what should have been a natural cycle.

And given that argument, Alexstraza could easily convince the other Aspects to join in the fray. Nozdormu has seen what horrors lie at the end of time, and would surely be dedicated to preventing their emergence. Ysera has lived the wilds of the Emerald Dream and seen what Azeroth was like before the insurgence of mortal life -- she would understand the importance of preserving it. Kalecgos and his odd affinity for mortals might become problematic, but I suspect if she pointed out what Hellscream did to Theramore, he might sway to her side.
What If Purge of the Aspects
And, oddly enough, she would have almost immediate support from the most unlikely of sources -- Wrathion. In Mists, Wrathion was far more concerned with protecting Azeroth than the back and forth of the mortal races, even trying to speed along the war and declare a victor. This wasn't out of concern for us -- it was out of concern for Azeroth, his keen interest possibly born of the strange purification that cleansed his egg via Titan artifact.

The orcs would never leave Azeroth willingly. Where would they go, back to the near-ruined remnants of Outland? The draenei might be more willing to leave -- but the rest of the Alliance might have a problem with their allies suddenly taking off at the whim of a dragon. It's a conflict the likes of which Azeroth hasn't seen before, in which the benevolent creatures of the Titans have suddenly decided to turn on the world. And Wrathion has some knowledge that might help Alexstrasza's mission, considering he's spent so much time in Pandaria learning about Titan technology.

Consider this -- the Aspects are not the only Titan-created races on Azeroth. Imagine the dwarves and gnomes taking a stand against the Alliance -- imagine the chaos that would ensue if Titan keepers suddenly began to run rampant. What would we do if the creations of the Titans themselves rose up to remove us from the world? It's a civil war of epic proportions as Titan-generated deities struggle with the fundamental truths of who they are, the choice to stand with the decisions of their creators, or the bonds they have built with their allies -- but given Wrathion's deft skills at the arts of manipulation, they likely may not have a choice.

What would we do if Azeroth's greatest guardians suddenly turned on us? Would we stand by our allies, Alliance and Horde alike, and fight for their right to coexist? It's a very different direction for an expansion, but it's one that could feasibly work -- and one that would raise all kinds of questions about the origins of Azeroth itself.

Oh, and before I forget to add a new challenge -- Rossi? Build me an expansion around Shandris Feathermoon. I dare you.

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