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The Loose Ends of Mists of Pandaria

Matthew Rossi

Since the expansion is now locked in its final patch, with no future storylines to come to change the status quo until Warlords of Draenor, we're free to look over the past year and a half and say Did that actually happen to some of the stranger moments in the story. Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of the story in this expansion, I think it had some really good twists and some nice back and forth between various NPC's (for instance, I love the Jaina/Vereesa team, I think Jaina's interaction with Lor'themar is fantastically catty, and the Baine/Vol'jin bromance is a lot more relatable than previous Horde leaders) but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some head-scratchingly weird moments in it.

These moments often take the form of unexplored consequences or loose ends to the plot. Let's look at a few of them now.

The Mogu Woman conspiracy

This one got really strange because the in-game lore for the presence of mogu women got really convoluted. The way I have it worked out, there used to be mogu women, but at some point after Lei Shen became emperor, something happened. We know there was at least one mogu queen, who died by Lei Shen's hand. It seems that after Lei Shen used the power and knowledge he stole from Ra-Den to 'reverse engineer' the Curse of Flesh, he seemingly eliminated women from his society since his people wouldn't need to reproduce any longer in the conventional sense. The only two women left were in fact the Twin Consorts, and they were literally just constructs carved into the shape of women, possibly as a last dig at Monara. This leaves a whole host of questions about Monara and her relationship to Lei Shen - were they related in some way? Was she his last queen, or perhaps even his mother, or just a rival he killed to cement his power over the mogu?

I found this aspect of mogu culture - their rejection of an entire gender as part and parcel of their rejection of being flesh, being alive at all, to be one of the strangest aspects of their culture. It's got some real world resonance, as well. The mogu end up not being just cruel and callous, they're also really creepy in ways we don't see often.

The plight of the virmen

I know I wrote a KYL that took a tongue in cheek look at the virmen, but the recent short story The Untamed Valley really made me feel like the virmen just get crapped on by everyone and no one cares. The pandaren view that as literal vermin, none of the newcomers to Pandaria give a crap about them, everyone seems to think murdering them is perfectly justified. The short story made it worse because I got to see them in the light of a people trying desperately to understand the ways of the people around them (going so far as to try and make coins to buy the carrots they so desperately want, but can't have, because the pandaren have taken all the good land for themselves) but failing due to a lack of context. It's not even that the virmen aren't smart enough, it's that they have no idea what the things they're trying to imitate even mean. In a continent where even the hozen and jinyu can find a place, the virmen aren't even treated like a people to be negotiated with or conquered, just pests.

I know that the kobolds get treated this way, but for some reason I find them less sympathetic, maybe because they're trying to murder me over candles and gold mines, whereas the virmen just want some freaking carrots and they'll even try paying for them. I just can't feel good about killing virmen.

Yeah, I know, I'm literally the only person who cares.

The Siege of Orgrimmar POW's

I still remember the first time I saw that there were Theramore POW's in Siege. My first thought was 'People survived Theramore? Did Captain Vimes survive?' followed by the unquiet realization that the Horde took prisoners, kept them for a year, and didn't make a peep about it. Where were those people being kept? What was the Horde doing with them? When I played my tauren warrior through the Theramore scenario before Mists came out, did I somehow help this happen? I was delivered to Theramore on a boat, did that boat take the prisoners back, or did we use the portal to evacuate them? As I recall the Horde scenario takes place before the mana bomb, fighting against the last-ditch defense of the city and sneaking out the Horde spy in the Kirin Tor ranks.

It was a moment that combined cruelty with baffling secrecy. Why take them in the first place? What could they possibly know of value? If they were hostages, shouldn't their existence have been mentioned to the people you're holding them hostage from? Heck, Garrosh says to Taran Zhu that he wants the Alliance and the Horde Rebels to come to Orgrimmar and be destroyed. Why not leak it to Jaina that some of her people were being held in Orgrimmar to motivate her? We see them being forced to fight for the amusement of their captors, so were they merely taken as prizes?

In the end, I'm left wondering why they were there at all. Why did Garrosh take them captive? What was he doing to them? Who else knew about them? How complicit was I in their capture? The whole thing's a giant question mark to me.

Many small changes equal a very different Orgrimmar

Is there anyone left in Orgrimmar who can train warlocks? Say what you will about Garrosh, but it sure looks like he took out the Shadow Council once and for all. Did Neebu Fireblade survive? Nope. He's dead, you can even see him hanging off of the wall as you descend. At least two of the warlock trainers are dead (one summons a big demon but dies after) and I can't find out anything about the third. It's strange to me to consider an Orgrimmar without the warlock trainers in the Cleft of Shadow.

Also, unless Vol'jin decides to just backfill it, there'a an enormous hold underneath the streets of Orgrimmar now. Ragefire Chasm is mostly gone - it looks like some of the rock ripped out to make Garrosh's base is filling up the old tunnels, but it couldn't all have gone there - the space the raid takes place in is many times larger than Ragefire Chasm once was. I have no idea where it all went - maybe the Dark Shaman took it to the Barrens to use as stone for construction there during the Battlefield Barrens event.

And then there's the goblins and pandaren - both were essentially evicted from their quarters and the Horde's pandaren leader was essentially tortured for information at the very gates of the city. Is he going to just set up shop again like nothing happened? Are the goblins going to just move back into Org? What happens to Gamon now, is he going to try and live up to the charge Nazgrim passed on to him?

The aftermath in Pandaria

Does anyone else find the idea that we plant a single tree as slightly unsatisfying for addressing the whole 'we let the Horde blow up the whole Vale of Eternal Blossoms' thing? I mean, we did prevent the Sha from further corrupting the waters, so the farms downstream should be okay - the farmers of the Valley of the Four Winds won't starve to death - but we left the Vale basically ruined. How are we going to fix this? Are we going to fix it, or are we just "sorry, hope it all works out" and then off to the next place we screw up?

It's also heavily implied that the destruction of Y'Shaarj's heart means the Sha are forever dealt with. Does that mean that Pandaria need no longer live under a kind of imposed emotional balance, forever afraid of negative emotions, sending those with the kind of fire and determination necessary over to the Shado-Pan? What does this mean for Pandaria's future? is it going to rejoin the world? The whole thing leaves huge questions for the future which we're not likely to see resolved any time soon since we're off to Draenor. I could sit here and list questions - are there enough mogu left to be a threat later? What happens to the mantid with almost all the Klaxxi Paragons gone and the Empress a larva? Did Oondasta and Thok have babies? Okay, that last one might just be me. I'll just point out that in T-Rex the females were usually the larger ones.

So yeah, there's a lot left unexplored. Grist for the future, I suppose.

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