It’s one of the oldest lore questions in WoW, “What the heck is up with Gilneas? What’s behind the Graymane wall?”
Well, unless Blizzard does something strange, the answer might be obvious.
Take a close look at the map. What is the one single zone that Gilneas connects to? Silverpine Forest, a Horde level 10 to 23 zone.
It only makes sense then that Gilneas would be levels 1-10. It’s an unused Horde starting zone.
When will it be used? Well, take a look at what else surrounds Gilneas… The Ocean.
It seems likely then that Gilneas is a Horde starting zone that will be put to use by a new race introduced in the Maelstrom Expansion.
Now yes, Blizzard could go all wonky on us and make the zone into something it doesn’t naturally lend itself to, but for now we’ll just have to wait and see. If it is a starter zone though then obviously our next question is, “What race?” Well, it could be Worgen, and that tends to be the most popular rumor, but my hope is the Naga. <dodges tomatoes>
The Naga were originally Night Elves altered by the Old Gods.
High Elves were derived from Night Elves who embraced the arcane and began living during the day.
The Forsaken are, of course, led by an undead High Elf.
If a faction of Naga have taken over Gilneas then the northern half of the Eastern Kingdoms effectively becomes a complete Elven territory.
Consider this then for Warcraft’s Future (we’re talking WC4/WoW2). Even with the events of WotLK, many of us still feel it’s only a matter of time before the Forsaken break off from the Horde. With the Naga in Gilneas, the Forsaken and Blood Elves could form a triumverate faction, the theme of which being their common elven origins. Not only that, it also provides a strong, necessary catalyst. With a faction of Naga now in Gilneas and the Blood Elves already available, the Forsaken would flat out no longer need the Horde, which is the primary (only?) reason they’re members of that faction in the first place. In other words, placing the Naga in Gilneas would lead to a great shove forward for the lore.
Consider then the landscape in WC4/WoW2:
The north half of the Eastern Kingdoms is now an Elven territory mostly ruled by the Forsaken/Blood Elf/Naga triumverate.
The south half of the Eastern Kingdoms is mostly Dwarf and Human territory.
And Kalimdor is the home of what one could consider a more “classic” Horde of Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren. Night Elves, Theramore Humans, and Draenei of course also inhabit the continent.
I’m admittedly as much a Worgen fan as the next guy, and it could be another option to have some sort of horror theme going on in the north half of the Eastern Kingdoms with Undead and Were-Wolves, but beyond that gimmick there really isn’t much depth to it.
As cool as I think Worgen would be in the short term, the Naga work much better when looking towards the long term.