So, I’ll speculate about another scenario for the future of WoW that just caught my fancy today:
Yrel’s followers as a morally gray faction that will be a mortal long-term antagonist, as only the player factions were before. I came upon this idea while posting in the Horde lore discussion, and it kind of starts with the assumption that the factions will stop their warring after BfA. I’ll go over some of the usual speculative story beats, but will mostly gloss over the death stuff, since I have no idea how it would fit, yet.
So let me try to paint the picture. Things go to at the end of the addon. N’zoth, and possibly the other Old Gods weren’t fully stopped, although we kept big N from just taking over Azeroth’s world soul somehow. The black empire is planning out its comeback tour.
But where there is Darkness there shall be Light, and thus a fanatic army of Lightbound soldiers comes in and saves the day. They come in with some new portal or some new Naaru dimensional craft powered by alternate Nozdormu-batteries, or something, and smite a few evil fiends, fighting at the side of the united armies of the world. We get the Old Gods to retreat a bit and get some breathing room.
Yrel and friends look around the map and decide on a nice little place where they can smite some evil and where the Light is really needed and so they take the Plaguelands for themselves, burning away everything that is corrupted and “inviting” the surviving Argents into their club. The player races only really know what is going on when Argent survivors, who weren’t keen on the lightbinding thing come to seek help.
But the factions don’t really have the ressources to deal with the Lightbound, and rather send very angry letters to Yrel, advising her to cease and desist, because otherwise they might get really angry, and Yrel wouldn’t like them when they’re angry. Yrel agrees to mediation, meets with the great leaders, some who are more kindly inclined towards her, others who hate her guts (waves at the Mag’har). She gets most to agree that the Old Gods are the real threat that will have to be prioritized and promises not to attack anyone if she isn’t attacked first, and her soldiers are allowed free movement for joint military purposes, as long as the void crisis lasts…
And so they can establish their own realm in the Cleansed Lands, build up their defensive positions and work with the player races to save Azeroth, all the while sending missionaries everywhere that recruit volunteers to the Lighbound.
At some point, either after the OGs seems defeated or when the Mag’har or Void Elves or somesuch finally lose their cool, fighting with the Lightbound starts again, and Yrel shows that she hasn’t given up on her plans for long-term domination plans in full. And thus begins an age of border scirmishes between the player races and the expansionist Lightbound empire with peace talks in between, because many people actually think that both sides want what is best for the world and that peace shouldn’t be impossible.
Esentially this new dynamic would replace the faction conflict. The playable races would stand for freedom and self-determination, while the Lightbound would stand for unity against evil and common values. Both sides would have their share of “morally gray” deeds, as well as true heroism. Both sides would have members of all races, though the Lightbound would, of course, have a unified culture. Characters could actually be converted from one side to the other during the story.
The idea as it came to me today was actually to have the Lightbound as an NPC-faction. No need to balance out wins and losses, no need to pit players against each other over the main story. But, different from other NPC factions they would be a permanent fixture of the game, and actually have kind of relatable motives, and comparable power levels to the player races and heroes.
But I guess they could as well order pvp around these two factions, since the whole premise was that the factions would work together to save the world, although they would fight over domination of that world on the side.
Well, it’s a half-baked idea, whatever. You do the baking.
That’s the first time that I really had fun with the idea of what they could do with Yrel or Lightbound Undead, who I usually see as abominations that should better be forgotten, so that might be why this speaks to me for the moment. So don’t take it too seriously.