Friday, March 31, 2017

Velen the Prophet

This week with the launch of 7.2, Velen came to mind. This is unusual for me because although he's been in game a very long time, he hasn't done much of anything but stand in the Exodar.

And that is my problem.

He is, so we are told over and over, incredibly old, vastly wise and powerful, except that you rarely see it.

Velen came to Warcraft in Burning Crusade's launch by crashing the Exodar starship and contaminating the islands with radiation to the extent that flying remains impossible a decade later.

Rumors of the Dranei preceded the race however, in the form of a book where his people were described as galaxy conquering, evil destroyers. Who wrote the book or how it got to a tabletop on Azeroth we likely will never know, but now know it refers to the corrupted majority of his race who joined the Burning Legion.

Born to a highly adept and long lived race, Velen's first known vision was of a dying red skinned dranei during the birth of his son, which he prompt ignored and forgot about until it occurred,  much too late to stop it.

His second known, and most famous, prophecy is actually a vision sent to him by a naaru, not a prophecy at all, where he sees what his life will be if he accepts the offer of Sargeras to become a General of the Burning Legion with his fellow Triumvirate members, Kil'Jaedan and Archimonde.

He declines and taking a small group of his people, he abandons his wife and child to flee Argus and roam the galaxy for the next 20,000 years or so, settling on planets and abandoning them at the first sign of his fellow dranei, now corrupted into Eredar, finding them.

Establishing another home on Draenor, he failed to notice the local race of nomadic orcs forging armies until those armies began decimating his cities and culling any dranei present, or capturing them for use by the orcish warlocks to power a vast gateway.

After months and tremendous losses, ever retreating, Velen abandoned Draenor and set sail yet again, to land thirty years later on Azeroth.

The ship shattered upon impact, pieces scattering far and wide across the two islands and contaminating areas with radiation or escaped ravagers.

The local night elves established a ferry to the islands nearby and presumably introduced Velen to the Alliance, where his people were accepted into the assault that had just begun against old enemies, strangely enough, on Draenor.

While Velen's people traveled through space, the orcs and their Eredar masters had sacrificed captured dranei to open the Dark Portal to Azeroth and launch an invasion that eventually led to the internment of the captured orcs and loss of the King and heir to the human kingdom of Arathor.

The Dark Portal was reopened however, allowing contact with the forces trapped on Draenor to be re-established and also with the dranei left behind who had survived the orcs, now allied with the war criminal Illidan.

Velen's second  ( or third however you count it ) prophecy concerned these Dranei, now known as the Broken.

Velen himself played no part in the campaign, or in world affairs over the years that followed. Any prophecies or visions concerning the rise of the Lich King, the devastation wrought by DeathWing and by Garrosh Hellscream, kept to himself though he did teach Prince Anduin something of the Light when Anduin decided to become a priest, and Velen made some attempts to enlighten the worshippers of Elune on the Light.

With the death of the Aspect of Time Nozdormu, and the Bronze Dragonflight no longer maintaining time as one single pathway, any effect upon Velen as a Prophet is also unknown but when a rogue bronze dragon began altering time by meddling in the past in Draenor, Velen either failed to notice or did not care, leaving it to others to brief Leaders on the orcs and ogres as they had been during his time there.

Velen's interest was seemingly roused upon the next Burning Legion invasion, although no prophecy seemed to be forthcoming, when the demonic forces invaded the Exodar and began slaughtering his people and the naaru at the heart of the Exodar.

Unaware of that, he maintained a protective dome that protected a few dozen dranei for over a day before adventurers randomly stopped by to consult his mystical knowledge and joined the defense.

Remembering the defenceless naaru, Velen went to its defense, watching helplessly as it's final life force was extinguished while he stood on the sidelines watching.

In the ensuing battle between the adventurers and the General leading the slaughter of the Exodar's people, Velen continued doing nothing, until turning on the adventurers and attempting to kill them, as he realized the Eredar General was in fact his long abandoned son.

Failing to save his son, and to kill the adventurers who had just saved the remnants of his race, he refused even to help them despite the importance of their errand.

After they had gone, he ordered the Exodar be mended, after a decade sitting broken and remains still in the Exodar, taking no part in the war against the Burning Legion except when summoned, where he vents his anger but offers nothing of use to the war effort.

( Note: I have not read every book Velen may be in, just two of them, but am a Loremaster and dranei player )

Anne Stickney rose to his defense on this week's BlizzardWatch podcast and pointed out his recent single handed bubble defense of the Exodar and his purging of a corrupted Naaru in Warlords which I admit I had forgotten. And she pointed out many other appearances, in books, over the years. Thank you Anne!

But those incidents almost make things worse and I still question the Wise part, but first the Prophet.

His prophecies aren't very useful and he doesn't seem to share them with others much.

As for being wise, he did get off of Argus, literally being chased up the hill to the ship by a howling mob out to kill the escaping dranei but didn't notice his closest friends or wife and child were already corrupted.

He led the dranei remnants on their Exodus for thousands of yesrs, and never seems to have made alliances with the native races or warned them of the Burning Legion, or helped them form an Alliance, or gear up to defend themselves, nor even try to teach them of The Light, that we know of.

Or rescue any of them when he inevitably fled again to the next world.

Or research whatever technology they might possess, or seek out whatever Titan technology might have been left behind.

Or build or find more starships.

Or actually hide their presence when they came to a new world.

Accidentally or on purpose, he managed to lead his people to the most demon invaded planet in the universe, and crashed on it.

And then didn't attempt to fix his one and only ship for over ten years. Nor help the natives in their various trials, nor offer any wise advice beyond Kil'Jaedan is a bad person.

We know. Thanks.

The problem with Velen, and with most racial leaders in World of Warcraft, is that very few do very much in game, which is very odd if you think about it.

A small quest line somewhere each expansion couldn't hurt?

Most development occurs in the many novels or short stories instead.

I'm very hard on Velen, because if he is as powerful as we are assured that he is, I wish he would show it, or be a better leader for the remainder of his people, and the universe in general.

He has great potential both as an arcane practitioner ( can dranei be mages? ), as the emissary of the Light and as one of the few who can deal with the nature of time outside of the bronze dragonflight,  and after he beat me up pretty thoroughly with his bare hands, I'm not buying the weak old frail man Defence.

Velen, I hope we see more of you soon.

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