After seeing this interesting topic in MMO-champion (…yes I still visit it,) I thought about a few things myself, such as factions working differently, Garrosh turning out different etc. But I also noticed these would also change the whole timeline.
So I decided a good challenge would be to answer the question: How can I keep the timeline more or less the same, but change Garrosh?
As a side note, in future, I think I’ll do fully re-envisioned timelines too.
Our timeline starts and continues more or less the same until end of Wrath. Garrosh becomes a hero in people’s, especially orcs’, eyes and Thrall decides to leave the Horde to focus on his orcish, shamanistic heritage.
Garrosh in the “Cataclysm Era,” is mostly the same as he is “in game”. He punishes the dishonorable, he hates the Alliance, he’s aggressive and he’s reckless. He does not trust Sylvanas one bit. He kills Cairne accidentally and regrets it.
However, one thing happens differently: The Mana Bomb on Theramore.
In this timeline, Garrosh actually plans to invade Theramore. He doesn’t care much about the “tree huggers” north, but finds a human base dangerous to exist so close to his seat of command. Even more so, considering the leader is the daughter of a famed “admiral”. Sylvanas protesting the decision because Undercity could be attacked just made it sweeter for Garrosh: He told her that she didn’t need to support the attack, and could pull some of her forces from the pointless invasion of the cowardly Gilneans if she didn’t think she could handle some humans and dwarves knocking at her doors.
As the invasion on Theramore continued, the leaders of the Horde voiced their concerns, similar to the main timeline. When they were arguing about what to do, something happened. It was so strong, that they all felt it.
It was indeed the Mana Bomb. However, it wasn’t on Garrosh’s command: It was the orcs loyal to the Shadow Council that has festered in Orgrimmar for a while. They had even enhanced the bomb with fel, and the whole area around Theramore looked like it’s one of the demonic planes. Covered in fel, barren and inhabitable. In addition, Jaina gets a fel-scar across her face instead of the silver hair. Not understanding what really happened, the Horde forces pulled back. Garrosh refused Baine’s request to help out survivors
The culprits find Garrosh and boast about their success. They promise him power, whispering how other leaders of the Horde are unfairly blessed with some magic powers. Being insecure about his position and indeed how all the others have some spiritual leadership, Garrosh keeps listening. Then they make a mistake. They mention his father Grom and how he was first to take the offering, to take the demon blood. Furious, Garrosh crushes one of the cultists skull with his bare hands. The leader grins and tells him to embrace the inner violence. Garrosh then stops and gets them arrested.
He plans to execute them in Undercity, both to set an example to everyone about dishonor, but also to give a message to Sylvanas.
Meanwhile, Baine talks with Jaina and explains how it wasn’t the Horde that did it. Jaina isn’t convinced. As Garrosh did not order the bomb, the Jaina in this timeline does not have the same fury towards the Horde. However, after Wrathgate, she does feel she might have been too forgiving and not suspicious enough. She sends word that if she’s allowed to witness the execution, she will consider this as an apology and reconsider her position.
Garrosh hears and he is furious out of pride. He can not accept apologizing to a human about something the Horde did not do. Even if he doesn’t invite Jaina, he has a bad feeling about it. Sylvanas touches the nerve in a letter, asking if he’s still proceeding with Jaina’s apology, to humiliate him. His pride is hurt even more, he just can not do this execution. However, he also can not just let the cultists go. Cursing the filthy humans and Sylvanas, he tells himself that when dealing with dishonorable allies and enemies, sometimes you need to make compromises for the “greater honor.”
Garrosh makes a plan. In secret, he gets Malkorok to disguise himself and arrange a group of Forsaken bounty hunters to attack the caravan that carries the cultists. The Forsaken are given false information, leading to think they are on a mission to aid Sylvanas. Their mission is simply to create a distraction without killing anyone. Meanwhile, Garrosh disguises himself as Shadow Council and “helps” the confused cultists to escape. Both the Forsaken and the cultists are lead to the same cave, where Malkorok and Garrosh execute both parties.
Garrosh rests well, knowing the dishonorable filth are punished, while putting the blame on Sylvanas, based on the reports of the caravan drivers. Sylvanas understands she was played, but also that it’s too late for her to make a move. Jaina is unsatisfied, and thinks something is off with the route of the caravan (chosen by Garrosh for “security”), and blames Garrosh for saving them and secretly working for the legion. She decides to stop giving second chances to the Horde.
A part of Garrosh knows the truth though, and he knows that this will haunt him forever.
Mists of Pandaria
Pandaria happens mostly to the letter with one big difference: Garrosh, already too proud for his own good, focuses on the pride even more against his guilt for his own dishonorable actions. As a result, as soon as he steps on Pandaria, he starts getting influenced by Sha of Pride, the most powerful of them all.
At the end of Pandaria, Garrosh’s trial happens and he’s found guilty… but to an extent. It is decided that he’s not allowed to be Warchief again and the Horde sends their best people, along with best naturalists and mages, to help rebuild the damage in Pandaria and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
Garrosh, now under a great mental and spiritual burden, reflects on his actions. He has failed his honor and his pride turned on him: What is he without his pride and honor? He keeps his tough image and does talk with Anduin in confidence, even if he can’t open up directly.
Warlords of Dreanor Era
Kairozdormu still tries to free Garrosh. But the orc does not accept this offer as accepting the outcome of this trial is the only action on his path of internal redemption. Angered by the insolence of the mortal, Kairoz still travels to the alternate timeline. Shapeshifting into an orc, he causes the exact course of events to take place for the Warlords of Draenor era. During this time, Garrosh will be in the Draenor Nagrand, refusing to be led by a troll and reflecting on his actions, depressed once again. However, he also blames Thrall for placing him in situation, and not even being a true orc. In the end, everything he did, he did for the Horde. The Horde that Thrall abandoned.
As soon as Garrosh hears about the Legion invasion, Garrosh heads to Azeroth. He refuses to be part of the Horde led by that clever bitch, Sylvanas. He’s found in the Halls of Valor, disguised. He even accompanies a hero of the Horde for a while, known as [the Orc] in Shrouds, or Shal’nag.
In the meanwhile, he observes the events. He’s full of hatred against Sylvanas: How can not only a non-orc, but an undead and out of all people, SHE can be the warchief? He decides that he needs to take action. For the Horde. He considers a Mak’gora, but there is no point for him to challenge the Warchief if he can’t be the Warchief. He decides it’s another one of those times where he needs to do something drastic for the “Greater Honor.”
Toward the end of the events in Legion, Garrosh finds a great opportunity. Sylvanas and the hero are having a talk. Feeling safe. Complacent. Inconspicuously, Garrosh moves in the throne room of the Warchief in Orgrimmar, in the room he built. He circles Sylvanas and with a swift move, he pulls out Gorehowl and strikes Sylvanas. “For the Horde, bitch” he says calmly, as the powerful axe brings down the Banshee Queen. The hero, as everyone else in the room, is shocked. Sylvanas is in disbelief.
However, Garrosh isn’t aware of Sylvanas’ dark secret. He watches, not understanding what’s happening, as one of the Val’kyr sacrifices herself and Sylvanas rises again. Garrosh does not even resist being arrested and imprisoned. He has failed. He assumes what comes next is torture, until Sylvanas is satisfied. Until she punishes him for every bit of breath, every gesture, every step he took against her. A torture to no end.
Battle for Azeroth
To his surprise, how Sylvanas approaches Garrosh is wildly different from what he imagines. Sylvanas tells him that she didn’t want the burden of leadership, just like him. She also tells her that the only way Horde could succeed was through conquest... just like him. “Our past is no secret to anyone, Garrosh. But you are the only one who sees how ridicilous this ‘game of peace’ others play with the Alliance. Varian will threaten to end the Horde in their face, yet Vol’jin and Baine will seek to hold hands. You and me, we see through it. We know what needs to happen. I do not blame you for what you did. But you must understand, what I do, I do for the Horde, as much as I do it for my people.” Just like him.
In this timeline, instead of Saurfang, Garrosh is the one who makes the plans with Sylvanas. Things happen the same way at the start of BfA with some exceptions. First of all, Saurfang and Garrosh will clash constantly, and having left out of the plan initially, Saurfang opposes the leaders from the start. Sylvanas fights Malfurion with Saurfang on her side. Garrosh enters the fray the way Saurfang did in the main universe, bringing Malfurion down with Gorehowl. Before Sylvanas kills Malfurion, Garrosh stops her. “Let him do it.” Garrosh says. His pride is once again in control. He needs Saurfang to obey him. He needs the respect. Sylvanas doesn’t like it, but lets it happen. Saurfang does not kill Malfurion out of honor and tells him they need to be stopped.
During the events of BfA, Garrosh will be on Sylvanas’ side. Neither of them trust each other. Both of them find each other useful. Garrosh can’t be Warchief but he can push his plans of conquest through Sylvanas. Sylvanas can get support from the living races via Garrosh.
This Garrosh should survive and be a pain in Thrall’s and peaceful leader’s back. He didn’t push the limits the way the main timeline Garrosh did, so Thrall can’t just kill him, and won’t want to. Meanwhile, Garrosh has support and will constantly criticize the acts of peace.