Forsaken: Paving a Way Forward

Story Forum
This thread is mainly to discuss what should be done in the future for the Forsaken.This thread is mainly for those with an interest in the Forsaken. All opinions are welcome, but please try to not derail too much into a different topic, if you can.

The Forsaken have been going through very tumultuous times in terms of story development since about Cata. They have been being used primarily as a replacement for the Scourge in the story, and it has had drastically negative effects on the lore, stories, and themes of the race.

As of Before the Storm, these problems got even worse, as that book involved a series of severe retcons towards the themes and lore of the race, as well as further villainizing their leader.

During this expansion, the Forsaken have continued to become more and more similar to the Scourge, and still do not realize or notice this fact. This is compounded by the Forsaken being put in a major role for the Horde. They have become such villains in the current plot that many players wish the race could just be killed off like a villainous group, such as the Burning Legion or the Twilight Hammer.

The Forsaken were originally sold as a race of outcasts, of people that were turned into monsters against their own will, and shunned upon regaining themselves. They were always dark, but they retained a sense of who they were. They didn't exist solely to cause death and destruction, they wanted revenge on the man who turned them into monsters, and to fight for their right to exist in a world that despised them for who they were.

What I would like to discuss here is...what would you like to see done about this? How do you think the forsaken could be returned to their original themes, the themes that were unique and gave them their fans? Because honestly it can be difficult for me to see how we can get there.
11/12/2018 10:23 PMPosted by Verlius


The Forsaken were originally sold as a race of outcasts, of people that were turned into monsters against their own will, and shunned upon regaining themselves. They were always dark, but they retained a sense of who they were. They didn't exist solely to cause death and destruction, they wanted revenge on the man who turned them into monsters, and to fight for their right to exist in a world that despised them for who they were.


Lillian Voss and Zelling seem to fit this exact Paradigm you seek. If you mean how to return to those themes with Sylvanas? That I don't have answer.
11/12/2018 10:28 PMPosted by Saiphas
11/12/2018 10:23 PMPosted by Verlius


The Forsaken were originally sold as a race of outcasts, of people that were turned into monsters against their own will, and shunned upon regaining themselves. They were always dark, but they retained a sense of who they were. They didn't exist solely to cause death and destruction, they wanted revenge on the man who turned them into monsters, and to fight for their right to exist in a world that despised them for who they were.


Lillian Voss and Zelling seem to fit this exact Paradigm you seek. If you mean how to return to those themes with Sylvanas? That I don't have answer.


The problem with Voss for me is that she is practically a completely different character than who she was initially. I do like the new Voss far more than the old one, but it still very strange, she didnt really develop...just suddenly was different. Zelling is nice...but I would really like if the forsaken could be restored to their roots without having to add a bunch of newly created forsaken to fulfil that role.

And the Sylvanas comment is part of what I mean, I think. They have so villainized the forsaken that I don't even know how they can fix it.
<span class="truncated">...</span>

Lillian Voss and Zelling seem to fit this exact Paradigm you seek. If you mean how to return to those themes with Sylvanas? That I don't have answer.


The problem with Voss for me is that she is practically a completely different character than who she was initially. Zelling is nice...but I would really like if the forsaken could be restored to their roots without having to add a bunch of newly created forsaken to fulfil that role.

And the Sylvanas comment is part of what I mean, I think. They have so villainized the forsaken that I don't even know how they can fix it.


I would say Lillian has changed through development. Her changes in her character occur over time, and show different stages of exactly the themes you are asking for. They have not villianized the entirety of the forsaken, their themes are still their for them.

As a question to examine things critically, how much do you believe a faction leader should personify or embody the entirety of the race? Should it represent certain aspects or should the whole of the race be reflected in the faction leader?

Edit: To Clarify Lillian's development, she changes over time, each major interaction the pc has with her reshapes her character, and helps add additional context to her.
If I'm being honest, and in my opinion, it would be to remove Sylvanas (and the Forsaken by extention) from the spotlight.

For me, what gave the Forsaken their charm was the fact that they operated in the shadows, and it worked, really, really, well for them. It fit their characters. They still did some messed up things, like making blight, Abominations and poisoning various farms (granted, the belonged to the Scarlet Crusade), but the scale was so much smaller that, to me at least it made it fun. It didn't impact the entire game as a whole. You were working against the Scarlet Crusade, the Scourge, Murlocs, Gnolls, etc.

Now the problem is with the Forsaken at the forefront, is that all their evil and dastardly deeds are coming to light and on much larger scales. They're not avoidable if you choose. It's not some random quest in Trisifal or Silverpine, or in Howling Fjord. It's the whole Horde story for BFA.

In addition to this, the Warchief position is unique in that an oath of loyalty is sworn to said Warchief, and as a member of the Horde, you are typically expected to follow said Warchief's orders blindly and without question. This doesn't necessarily sit well with a number of people when you have the Warchief ordering the mass burning of a mainly civilian population because of spite. It was jarring for both Horde and Alliance players. It was so... petty and predictable, but it was painfully within character for Sylvanas.

Sylvanas and her plotting and scheming and arguably short sighted goals really put everyone even slightly associated with her at risk. The story they are also telling with her works much, much better as a third party faction, such as the Scourge and Legion, than it does for the Horde. For years the Horde tried to re-imagine itself, to show it wasn't the Horde of old. At this pace it's becoming worse than the old Horde, worse than the Legion, and worse than the Scourge, and that doesn't work with a two faction system where you can't have a winner and loser.

The best was for this to end for the Forsaken, and I will reiterate, this is in my opinion, is the death, and I mean final death, of Sylvanas Windrunner, and moving the Forsaken back into their "we operate in the shadows" roll.

And this is not me saying "remove the Forsaken from the story." Quite the opposite actually. The Forsaken serve much better as a precision tool, and not the blunt instrument that they have been turned into.
11/12/2018 10:33 PMPosted by Saiphas
...

The problem with Voss for me is that she is practically a completely different character than who she was initially. Zelling is nice...but I would really like if the forsaken could be restored to their roots without having to add a bunch of newly created forsaken to fulfil that role.

And the Sylvanas comment is part of what I mean, I think. They have so villainized the forsaken that I don't even know how they can fix it.


I would say Lillian has changed through development. Her changes in her character occur over time, and show different stages of exactly the themes you are asking for. They have not villianized the entirety of the forsaken, their themes are still their for them.

As a question to examine things critically, how much do you believe a faction leader should personify or embody the entirety of the race? Should it represent certain aspects or should the whole of the race be reflected in the faction leader?

Edit: To Clarify Lillian's development, she changes over time, each major interaction the pc has with her reshapes her character, and helps add additional context to her.
I do like the changes to Lillian Voss, but any actual personal development that led her to changes her views happened off screen. I get what you mean, but nothing happens to develop her really, she just kinda is different when they put her back in the story.

I would also say that a races leader doesn't haven't to represent their core themes much as long as those themes are adequately represented. The only non evil forsaken we are shown are Zelling and Voss. Aside from them and a few other cameos, the forsaken are shown as pure evil in the current plot.

And to Jrake, I get where you are coming from but I don't see how killing Sylvanas would fix anything. She isn't responsible for the forsaken goi g down this road, blizzard is.

I know we are coming at this topic from completely different perspectives, so I appreciate you guys understanding where I am coming from.
Shoutout to the SF Discord, but here's a general idea of mine I've been spouting over the last few months on there on how to fix/grow the Forsaken narrative without being "lolevil" or the very least inoffensive to the Alliance narrative, and I shall now share it with you all. And most likely will be lost once this forum migrates to its new state in a couple of days.

Plan A: Northrend is Still a Thing

You know what would be great instead of pissing off your allies and enemies in raising their fallen dead? How about freeing the bunch of Scourge still wandering about in Northrend? Not only would this bring the LK back into an overarching narrative light, but also, the Scourge was and is primarily made up of the Lordaeron populace. It isn't that wild of a hypothesis to think that plenty of Lordaeron folk are still undead and are still held up in the frozen roof of the world. There's a nice family element here yet to be tapped.

Plan B: Bring me you Poor, Wretched, and Wicked

You know, raising fallen soldiers isn't really a bad narrative element, if Blizzard ever wrote it correctly. If I may bring real life in here real quick, never in history have soldiers been steadfastly loyal to their nation, they tend to pride more personal things such as welfare, family, and income. The stories of fierce loyalty to the nation? An exceptional few only made known because, go figure, they were of leadership status who had more incentive to ensure longevity of their respective nations.

But since Blizzard insists on not delving into that interesting topic and insists on playing the stereotypical "muh faction pride" and "all soldiers are loyal to the death", here's another simpler yet even more interesting idea. Raise the dead from the enemies' (or even your allies, put primarily the enemies) disenfranchised.

No society is a utopia, every society will have their poor/looked down upon. Why not have the Forsaken use undeath as a persuasive/marketing tactic for these people in rebuilding their life from the groundup? Plus this will also help for perpetual faction conflict (that Blizz loves to push) in that you already have these people who rightfully scorn their original nations.

TL;DR Make Defias Brotherhood into undead, moar faction war.
And to Jrake, I get where you are coming from but I don't see how killing Sylvanas would fix anything. She isn't responsible for the forsaken goi g down this road, blizzard is.

I know we are coming at this topic from completely different perspectives, so I appreciate you guys understanding where I am coming from.


Oh no, I completely understand that at the end of the day it's all up the the writing team. I'm just saying that given what we have in game and with source material, for me, personally, she's gotta go. And that's for the betterment of the Forsaken and the Horde as a whole. I feel like the Forsaken as a group are too reliant on her for any story telling.

Forsaken players pop up on this Forum all the time listing off other Forsaken characters that need to be developed. Time for Blizzard to take the chance and go for it.

I'm personally not a fan of hating an entire faction and having no desire to play it because of how one character is written, however, it happened with Thrall, and it has happened again with Sylvanas. For me, she's polarizing for all the wrong reasons.
If we're being completely honest, turn back the clock on BfA with time travel shenanigans. Just bring things back to the Broken Shore, save Vlo'Jin and Varian, and have Legion play out mostly as-is. Basically, make it so that BtS never happens.

I say this because I truly don't see how the race can go forward at this point in a sensible manner. The whole shtick about being survivors of Lordaeron doesn't really work when the zone's reduced to shambles. They've also neglected to really develop the faction or its characters, so we have no one as a practical successor to Sylvanas. Characters like Voss and Nathanos don't really have any overarching plot or ambition. Finally, a faction like the Forsaken really requires a specific type of villain / enemy for it to work. The Alliance will never work for this because Bliz keeps writing them in such a blindingly pure good fashion. So, the faction's currently at a narrative dead end.

Truthfully, I don't know if resetting to Legion really "fixes" anything either - they pretty much gutted the faction in Wrath when they gave its narrative to the Ebon Blade, and - excluding Cata low lvl questing - stopped developing the faction in any capacity afterwards. Forsaken somehow have the distinction of being the only Horde faction to have no real role in the MoP storyline. So, I'm really not sure how they can fix a faction that they basically abandoned several years ago. (And, truthfully, the faction still feels abandoned in BfA - I'm still baffled that they straight up flattened Brill with no backstory or anything.)
11/12/2018 11:01 PMPosted by Vivette
Plan B: Bring me you Poor, Wretched, and Wicked

You know, raising fallen soldiers isn't really a bad narrative element, if Blizzard ever wrote it correctly. If I may bring real life in here real quick, never in history have soldiers been steadfastly loyal to their nation, they tend to pride more personal things such as welfare, family, and income. The stories of fierce loyalty to the nation? An exceptional few only made known because, go figure, they were of leadership status who had more incentive to ensure longevity of their respective nations.

But since Blizzard insists on not delving into that interesting topic and insists on playing the stereotypical "muh faction pride" and "all soldiers are loyal to the death", here's another simpler yet even more interesting idea. Raise the dead from the enemies' (or even your allies, put primarily the enemies) disenfranchised.

No society is a utopia, every society will have their poor/looked down upon. Why not have the Forsaken use undeath as a persuasive/marketing tactic for these people in rebuilding their life from the groundup? Plus this will also help for perpetual faction conflict (that Blizz loves to push) in that you already have these people who rightfully scorn their original nations.

TL;DR Make Defias Brotherhood into undead, moar faction war.


Isn't that essentially the Cult of the Damned though?
11/12/2018 11:27 PMPosted by Kurogasa
Isn't that essentially the Cult of the Damned though?


Sure, except without the overarching LK goal, or maybe you can throw it in there but with a more benevolent twist. Fact of the matter is while its similar to the Cult of the Damned, the Cult of the Damned wasn't really explored in Warcraft so I don't see the harm in exploring these themes in a protagnist light.

Ontop of that, unrelated to the Cult of the Damned, is the concept of seeing what a society based on undeath would work beyond what we have which is "CONSTANT WAR RAWR". The Forsaken/sentient Undead represent an myriad of narrative potential regarding the theme of "beyond the grave" that's just waiting to be tapped but is instead ignored.

I don't know about you, but this is what I originally rolled Forsaken as back in the day, even beyond the whole "muh vengeance against the LK" plot. I wanted to see how Blizzard could take a never-before-seen (relative to video games of my time/I've played) concept of playable protagonist undead and work with it.
11/12/2018 10:23 PMPosted by Verlius
As of Before the Storm, these problems got even worse, as that book involved a series of severe retcons towards the themes and lore of the race, as well as further villainizing their leader.
I would appreciate a precise approximation of the retcons in question, to be honest.

Apart from that, I can't say that the book technically "villainized" Sylvanas more than is in character for her, besides her arbitrary restrictions on her people being allowed to reminiscence in the ruins of Capital City above.

As for preferences on where Forsaken go from here, Jrake pretty much has a lot of my thoughts on paper. Sylvanas doesn't need to die per se, but she definitely shouldn't be leader anymore, and I feel that should be uncontroversial given the fact that she is demonstrably self-interested and on the whole not healthy for the Forsaken. She's been established to have been that way since before Cataclysm. Hell, I say we establish a new Desolate Council, maybe bring some old fan favorites or new up and coming stars take over.

In addition to allowing the darker aspects of Forsaken characterization to be more subtle and tolerable by everyone else in the narrative, personally I think that the likes of Calia and Alonsus can bring some interesting flavor to the Forsaken, make for an interesting sub-culture of light-worshippers entirely unlike any other order on the subject. Not even talking about a takeover, I think it'd actually be cool if the shadowy aspects of the Forsaken and this theoretical movement acted as allied rivals. Something like nostalgic martyrs contrasting pragmatic realists. Apply the Vitriolic Best Beds trope to the Forsaken.

Though I seem to be in a minority that doesn't immediately cringe in revulsion at the mention of Calia.
11/12/2018 11:33 PMPosted by Vivette
11/12/2018 11:27 PMPosted by Kurogasa
Isn't that essentially the Cult of the Damned though?


Sure, except without the overarching LK goal, or maybe you can throw it in there but with a more benevolent twist. Fact of the matter is while its similar to the Cult of the Damned, the Cult of the Damned wasn't really explored in Warcraft so I don't see the harm in exploring these themes in a protagnist light.

Ontop of that, unrelated to the Cult of the Damned, is the concept of seeing what a society based on undeath would work beyond what we have which is "CONSTANT WAR RAWR". The Forsaken/sentient Undead represent an myriad of narrative potential regarding the theme of "beyond the grave" that's just waiting to be tapped but is instead ignored.

I don't know about you, but this is what I originally rolled Forsaken as back in the day, even beyond the whole "muh vengeance against the LK" plot. I wanted to see how Blizzard could take a never-before-seen (relative to video games of my time/I've played) concept of playable protagonist undead and work with it.


That is very similar to why I initially picked forsaken as well. The idea of a society of sentient, free willed undead that are feared for the monsters they were turned into seems open to so many interesting narratives and stories.
I'm not sure how to articulate it, but Chadwick Paxton's squad was everything I ever wanted from Forsaken, and not so much as a spray bottle of blight in sight!
11/13/2018 05:47 AMPosted by Kirango
I'm not sure how to articulate it, but Chadwick Paxton's squad was everything I ever wanted from Forsaken, and not so much as a spray bottle of blight in sight!


Dark sense of humor, check. Competent and efficient, check. Genuine care for eachother, check (though they do sass eachother alot).

Combine that with Voss, Stone, and Zelling's storyline and Faol's ideology (which is interesting, its not what you are, but what you do that defines you) and the Forsaken have become increasingly more diverse recently. TBH, the only missing link in Nathanos IMO. If he can just crack that shell of Sylvanas worship, I think despite being a prickly curmudgeon he could be a great asset to the Forsaken (the only time he ever really got upset with Sylvie was when she attacked her own people after all).

Personally, ever since the Edge of Night I've sort of seen Sylvanas as a bit of a dead end for her people. She may care for them in her own twisted way, but she also limits their potential and growth; because at the end of the day (as its portrayed) she still cares far more about them being useful tools for her goals, then she cares about them as individuals. Even if she doesn't mean to, she'll inhibit their development to conform to her expectations of them. She's bluntly gotten too used to using them.
What I'm looking forward to is mostly embedded in what is already being said:

If I'm being honest, and in my opinion, it would be to remove Sylvanas (and the Forsaken by extention) from the spotlight.

This is gonna happen without a doubt, its one reason why I'm okay with the Forsaken and Sylvanas in the spotlight for now. Having another race outside of the orcs and humans being brought to the forefront has never happened in franchise history and I'm enjoying just about every moment of it. Sylvanas and the Forsaken will be put on the back burner again by next expansion.

Not even talking about a takeover, I think it'd actually be cool if the shadowy aspects of the Forsaken and this theoretical movement acted as allied rivals.

We need more of this shadowy aspect, I've said this for years. Cult of the Forgotten Shadow teaches balance, balance would be the perfect aspiration for any Forsaken. Lorewalker Cho mentioned the Forsaken are suffering under a terrible darkness and we've seen mention of their struggle with their inner demons. Struggling while trying to regain some resemblance of themselves is a pretty massive motivation.

You know what would be great instead of pissing off your allies and enemies in raising their fallen dead? How about freeing the bunch of Scourge still wandering about in Northrend?

I remember saying this while in our transition from WotLK to Cata. If the Forsaken were freed from the LK losing power, how many more would be freed after completely destroying the the LK. That ship has sailed and interestingly enough I love Forsaken necromancy. I feel like giving newly raised corpses free will should be mildly acceptable among the Horde and is actually a good argument for this "morally grey" that Blizz talked about.

Time is short but I'll revisit this thread later.
It would be so much easier to address this if the Horde, as a whole, had more competent leaders ready to take the reigns as Warchief which would allow for Sylvanas to sink back into the shadows, where she likes to be.

I don't particularly mind what she and the Forsaken do, its what the Forsaken have done since their conception. While I do think there are far more narratives to explore with them (recruiting former Scourge into their ranks, rebuilding and doubling down in Lordearon, pick a few more fights in Plaguelands, focus on other parts of their society other than blight) what they currently do is more or less fine as Forsaken.

My issue is that there is no strong presence to replace them, especially with what they're doing with Saurfang. "I want my Horde back!" It was never your Horde. The Horde as it is, is our Horde, the tauren, trolls, elves, Forsaken, goblins, pandaren, and orcs. Saurfangs 'Horde' is some romanticized version of the past which he'll never get back. Its kinda like the 1950s. It looks all nice and pristine, simpler times, good times, until you realize how bad it was for literately everyone else not in those soda fountain shop photos.

Away from Saurfang, Baine is worthless. We've all covered him more than enough times to know why. Rokahn is getting there, but is still very new. Gallywix is laughable, I'd rather have Blackfuse back. There aren't any other 'big' orcs, though I wouldn't mind a properly done return of Thrall. Although, thats more spite at this point than anything. The only good option I can see at this point is Lor'themar, and even he runs the risk of upsetting a lot of the Kalimdor Horde fans despite being one of the best options.

Until we can find someone to properly lead, and Vol'jin admitting that she really wasn't his choice, Sylvanas stays in charge because it is the best we have.
I second bringing back the Cult of the Damned.
This is a link to the discussion on the ptr forum for those interested: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20769719759
I’ve been saying it for months: Exile Sylvanas from the Horde.

She literally doesnt even have to die, give her a last fistbump moment with them. The new Warchief lies to the Alliance and claim they killed her even though we actually didn’t and it’s least we can do for her at this point if only to end the war.

Then have Sylvanas command Ol’ Nate step up to the plate and lead the Forsaken in her abscence and i can almost guarauntee everything will fall into place. Nathanos and the forsaken officially join the Horde, after being “allies of convinience” since vanilla. Without Sylvanas to constantly glorify, Nathanos will have to do something else like develop some individuality and be his own character. Then the Forsaken can go back to being exactly what they’re supposed to be, a shadowy force that works in secret away from the prying eyes. A broken yet enduring people who still remember who they once were and find comfort amongst eachother.

The thing about the Forsaken is they still are the same person they were in life, but they bare a terrible curse that they must continue to endure and cope with every day. Willing to do good for the world, while occasionally succuming to their dark temptations.

But alot of people hit the mark with the word Balance. It’s a perfect way to describe them constantly walking the line between good and evil, the constant struggl with controlling their own nature.

But yeah, i just think with an actual Forsaken character in charge i believe the race as a whole can move on from simply being a hive mind and strive to become their own people.

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