1. #1

    Casus belli that's actually morally grey

    ---Horde's fault---

    1. Sylvanas is rightfully concerned about the Alliance shipping Azerite to the Eastern Kingdoms via Teldrassil, lays siege to Teldrassil, and a terrible accident leads to Azerite burning it down.
    1b. Sylvanas is rightfully concerned about the Alliance shipping Azerite to the Eastern Kingdoms via Teldrassil, sets up a naval blockade in Darkshore while negotiating with Anduin, and a terrible accident leads to Azerite burning down Teldrassil.

    2. Kalimdor Horde faces a famine after the ravages of the Legion's invasion since war-time economy did not include sustainable resource practices. Sylvanas, unused to dealing with people who have physiological needs (food, water etc.) invades Ashenvale to secure more resources for the Horde and prevent riots from breaking out in Orgrimmar.

    3. Forsaken revanchists try to assassinate Greymane after Anduin fails to bring him to justice for Stormheim. The Alliance responds by laying siege to Lordaeron and the Horde is dragged into a war.

    ---Alliance's fault---

    1. Anduin is not yet old / experienced enough to rule so Greymane acts as a regent until Anduin comes of age. After the Gathering, Greymane lays siege to Lordaeron as revenge for Calia's death. He failed one Menethil, and now losing another Menethil to the undead scourge leads him to take drastic action. The Horde responds by burning Teldrassil.

    2. Greymane gathers Worgen revanchists and lays siege to Lordaeron. Anduin disavows the attack as the actions of a few extremists, but after the Horde responds in kind and burns down Teldrassil, he has no other choice but to go to war.

    ---No one's fault---

    1. Rising tensions in Silithus lead to both factions seeking revenge and attacking each other.

    2. Azerite is corrupted and plants the idea of war in both Sylvanas' and Anduin's minds and leads them to take aggressive action until war eventually breaks out.

    3. Twilight's Hammer false flag operations lead to both sides seeking revenge.

    Seriously. It's not that hard. Just pick any of these scenarios and we don't have to have a war where the Horde is morally black and the Alliance is pure moral goodness. The rest of the plot is not even affected. Sylvanas being morally black is a deliberate choice and until Afriasbi steps forward and tells me that I'm wrong, I'm not going to buy into any more of their "morally grey" memes.

  2. #2
    It is now apparent that Blizzard only pushed for the aspect of characters being "morally gray" to justify how major characters on each faction flip-flop their thoughts/feelings about the opposing faction to continue telling the story.

    How BfA started as Horde vs Alliance and will end with Horde + Alliance vs bad guys.

    Like it always does.

    THAT was the point of "morally gray" and I don't think it is working as Blizzard first imagined it would.

  3. #3
    Good suggestions. Sad thing this was never the goal but some smoke curtain to shove a MoP with possibly different ending (or not).

  4. #4
    Good ideas, although the desire for actually morally grey conflict probably never existed among the developers in the first place.

  5. #5
    What i like it should have been:

    - After Legion events Neutral forces (Cenarion Circle, Earthen Ring, etc) demands a truce between faction and help to heal Azeroth.
    - Both factions experiment with Azerite but the didn't achieve anything that can help to heal Azeroth but they discover it has a big military potential.
    - There is some Cold War between Horde and Alliance. Spy Games across all the world trying to know what's the other faction doing with Azerite.
    - SI:7 spies report big troop movement in Hillsbrad Foothills. Sylvanas moved troops there to secure a new source of Azerite and secret experiments.
    - Genn thinks Sylvanas is planning attackin Ironforge. Anduin isn't sure about that without proofs. Dwarves are worried about suffer a Blight attack inside IF and Genn keeps pushing Anduin to be the first to attack before it's too late, because if Ironforgo falls, Horde have free way to Stormwind.
    -Anduin agrees and send forces to the north to move through Hillsbrad, Silverpine and siege Undercity. Naval forces must blockade Tirisfal Glades to prevent Horde reinforcements. After Undercity falls troops must move to siege Silvermoon City but not attack them, forcing a negotiation about leaving the Horde.
    - All goes as planned but Undercity battle is tougher and longer than expected. Alliance Navy has problems to keep in line Horde fleet. At some point the Horde break the naval blockade in Silverpine and starts a counterattack behind Alliance lines. Undercity is lost for the Horde so with a escape route for the citizens and troops, Sylvanas destroys UC in the final moment and escapes. Alliance suffers massive loss and can't chase them neither continue to the Silvermoon siege plan, so they must retreat to south.
    - Alliance fleet was severed in the battle, and most of the Night Elves troops and ships are in Eastern Kingdoms. Horde troops outnumbers Alliance ones in Kalimdor, Sylvanas order a fast attack to Teldrassil. Alliance doesn't have the resources to move enough troops to defend Teldrassil.
    - Teldrassil burns.

    I will add more politic and spy games to the history, but i like the idea of Alliance be the aggressors.

  6. #6
    There are tons of good options and this topic has great ideas, but there's a bare minimum fix that could instantly make this conflict morally grey. When Sylvanas and Saurfang make their assumptions in A Good War, they're right.

    Genn really is a revanchist who means the best for Anduin, but this also means making decisions for him.

    The night elves really do want to prioritize their home if it were seized and would clash with Genn who'd focus on punishing Sylvanas.

    Anduin really is inexperienced and though he means for the best, he lacks control over the rest of the Alliance, especially the new Dark Iron and Void Elves.

    The races really do hold their grudges and won't let things fly.

    And most importantly:

    Once the tree burns, it really is a total war.
    Dickmann's Law: As a discussion on the Lore forums becomes longer, the probability of the topic derailing to become about Sylvanas approaches 1.

  7. #7
    Scarab Lord Maxrokur's Avatar
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    The only way to make this faction war more believable was if every leader hold the azerite which gave them visions of possible ways to enhance the QoL of their citizens. Theron wanting to capitalize Azerite to heal Quel'thalas and get rid of the undeads that plague that lands, Saurfang reviving his son or maybe curing the fel mark in the orcs, Baine finally getting balls to ask a marriage with Anduin. The alliance part you have Genn taking Gilneas and making a wall of azerite that no one will pass, Tyrande and Malfurion will have a child with the help of the fertility of azerite, dwarves probably won't get involved and the same with the gnomes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Varitok View Post
    No, she is my waifu. Stop posting and delete this thread immediately.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophenia View Post
    Voted Baine because... Well, Baine. Total nonsensical character, looks like World War II Italy, nobody really understands what role he's supposed to fill, not even himself

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxrokur View Post
    The only way to make this faction war more believable was if every leader hold the azerite which gave them visions of possible ways to enhance the QoL of their citizens. Theron wanting to capitalize Azerite to heal Quel'thalas and get rid of the undeads that plague that lands, Saurfang reviving his son or maybe curing the fel mark in the orcs, Baine finally getting balls to ask a marriage with Anduin. The alliance part you have Genn taking Gilneas and making a wall of azerite that no one will pass, Tyrande and Malfurion will have a child with the help of the fertility of azerite, dwarves probably won't get involved and the same with the gnomes.
    God, this idea is so cool that I decided to stop my read-only mode and register just to show you my respect.

  9. #9
    I'd argue that the destruction of Teldrassil or Undercity need not ever to have happened. For starters, it is a cheap emotional gut punch to illicit a response from players who invest in their characters, races, and cities. Yes, mechanically these areas do not serve much of a purpose anymore, but destroying them completely removes diversity from the world and limits future stories with these races. The Night Elves and Forsaken end up as refugees in other races Capitals. Their foreseeable prospects dim and depressed.

    Furthermore, it is a massive overstep that is essentially impossible to de-escalate convincingly afterwards. Surviving Night Elves will not be satisfied with a mere apology for the destruction of their homeland and the murder of their people. Once major population centers are being immolated it is inconceivable to believe that the victor of the war be content with leaving the opposing faction intact. Even if a contrived "Bigger Fish" sort of threat arises, after it is dealt with there is every reason for why the war to continue to its logical end of total victory for one faction and total defeat of the other.

    The Alliance really needed to start this war, to illustrate Anduin's youthful ineffectiveness and as a logical continuation of Genn's grievances. What's more, there was ample opportunity for Turalyon to lead this new offensive, as he had no concept of any Horde outside of the demon-fueled one and would be appalled at the state of Lordaeron. Not only that, but it would be a refreshing reprieve of the Horde being cast as the aggressor which is becoming increasingly more trite and contrived.

  10. #10
    Scarab Lord Maxrokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vineman24 View Post
    God, this idea is so cool that I decided to stop my read-only mode and register just to show you my respect.
    I am very thankful from your comment, there are some ideas that might work as well with some allied races in capitalizing azerite like Zandalaris wanting to revive their fallen loas and heal some places like vol'dun, KT maybe creating a more powerful armada or making their ships fly like Jaina does. However the bad thing about this is risking to boost the power levels of the races a bit too much, something the current writers aren't capable to deal
    Quote Originally Posted by Varitok View Post
    No, she is my waifu. Stop posting and delete this thread immediately.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophenia View Post
    Voted Baine because... Well, Baine. Total nonsensical character, looks like World War II Italy, nobody really understands what role he's supposed to fill, not even himself

  11. #11
    Twilight's Hammer false flagging would make it look too much like Cata. I like the idea of a preemptive strike from one of the factions to take control of Azerite, though. I think the Alliance should have made such a move. I'd think they would also have grievances, legitimate or not, with the Horde considering the events in Legion and they would want to settle them. In fact, I think they should have exploited the Horde's weakened state after MoP right away.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderaan View Post
    All it takes is an incel at the wrong place wrong time and we won't even know what hit us.

  12. #12
    The thing is those wouldn't lead to this level of animosity. Sylvanas is intentionally wanting the horde and alliance in a "total destruction" tier war, rather than anything that could be settled by conquering a bit of extra territory for resources and then going right back to the unstable ceasefire of yore.

    Especially 2 and 3 of "no one's fault" were common thoughts people had before the reveal, but they wouldn't have lead to any motivation from the players to actually want to fight each other.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerogue View Post
    The thing is those wouldn't lead to this level of animosity. Sylvanas is intentionally wanting the horde and alliance in a "total destruction" tier war, rather than anything that could be settled by conquering a bit of extra territory for resources and then going right back to the unstable ceasefire of yore.

    Especially 2 and 3 of "no one's fault" were common thoughts people had before the reveal, but they wouldn't have lead to any motivation from the players to actually want to fight each other.
    Players in-game don't need much of a motivation. PvP was quite active in Vanilla where the only faction vs faction warfare in lore were small-scale operations by proxies, and in TBC where the factions work together at the Dark Portal and otherwise barely exist at all. Games with pretty much no lore such as Fortnite still have players happily kill each other because, well, that's what the game entails. The lore in WoW doesn't need to support it.

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