[March 2012 Update: And we now have confirmation from various sources that Garrosh will be the final raid boss in MoP.]
In storytelling, there is an element known as the midpoint. Simply put, it’s the middle of your story.
And what does it do? Generally speaking, the exact opposite of your climax. In other words, if your story ends with the hero beating the bad guy, then at the midpoint your hero is going to somehow lose.
So… why is this relevant?
Go back to right before WotLK was released, during the “Zombie Invasion”.
One of the key points during that world event was when we actually got to see Thrall and Garrosh step into the arena and fight it out. Virtually all of us were shocked when Garrosh won the duel.
That fight was a midpoint. It was placed there for all of the exact reasons why one inserts a midpoint into a story’s structure. It casts doubt as to the fight’s actual outcome. Before that duel, most figured Thrall could swat Garrosh like an insect. Now, it’s a question. Could Garrosh really beat Thrall? Or did he only have the upper hand at that point in the fight when they were interrupted? Further, this will add depth when the real event actually occurs.
And yes, there will be a “real event”.
What that fight confirmed for us was one thing:
At some point in the near future, Thrall is going to beat the living hell out of Garrosh.
Initially, the question was, “Would this happen in WotLK?” But there really didn’t seem to be a clear opportunity for it.
Now with Cataclysm on the horizon, it all makes sense.
Thrall is gone, Garrosh left in charge. We’ve already seen plenty of what Garrosh is going to do with Kalimdor in Thrall’s absence, evicting most races from Orgrimmar-Proper, etc.. Couple that with Garrosh killing Cairne (whether intentional or not) and you can see what is going to happen.
Thrall’s current greatest weakness is when he looks at Garrosh, he sees Grom. A fanboy could even question whether or not this meant Thrall was pulling his punches during their original duel. With the events of Cataclysm, Thrall will finally see clearly, and Garrosh will be in trouble.
Yes it’s predictable, but frankly, who cares? An uninterrupted rematch is what we want.
So, will Thrall kill Garrosh?
Very doubtful. In fact… No. Thrall could not kill “Grom’s son”.
So what of Garrosh? Probably exile.
Why? Story reasons abound, but lets turn to game mechanics for a moment.
The answer is simple:
So we can kill him later.
If we want to follow a “sins of the father” theme, then Garrosh is destined to become a fel-orc. Whether he does or not, though, it is still likely that at some point in WoW’s future he will become a raid boss.
Would Thrall help us then? Doubt it, Garrosh is still Grom’s son. But don’t forget, there is one other orc who has already outright threatened to kill Garrosh, Saurfang.
A raid in which we get to help Saurfang kill Garrosh? Most of the horde fans would absolutely love it, and that alone is the best reason why Blizzard will probably eventually do it.
There is a current underlying concern being voiced throughout WoW that we’ll eventually run out of meaningful bosses… that the longer the game lasts, the better the chance we’ll run out of real bosses to fight.
This isn’t true. In fact, the opposite is the case.
The longer WoW lasts, the more time its creative department has to develop lore. This lore then turns into back-story as time passes, giving us meaningful depth for villains we’ll face in the future.
In other words, once WoW’s lore gains full momentum, meaningful boss encounters will become self perpetuating due to the “lore becoming back-story” process. The only real concern we could have had was whether or not Warcraft’s lore possessed a plentiful enough roster of bosses to hold out until WoW achieved full momentum on its own.
This means tomorrow’s raid bosses are very likely in the game today.
Garrosh is a given, and dare I say Varian Wrynn probably is too.
Ner’zhul will also likely turn out to have survived and be looking for a host…