World of Warcraft (WoW)

Was the Fourth War actually resolved?

So the main concept of the Fourth War was that after the Burning of Teldrassil, the Alliance would never stop coming until the Horde was gone as an entity. No more second chances. Not after Theramore, not after Garrosh, not after Varian's promise after the Siege. Saurfang directly points this out in Old Soldier. The factions were going to pound each other until one was wiped out or, more likely, a new equilibrium is forced.

But with the second siege of Orgrimmar, I never felt that. And it's apparent now going into the first content patch of Shadowlands. It's distracting how much I want to see how things are shaking on Azeroth because the majority of the threads in that arc were left dangling and so little was tied up.

For one, helping hunt down and stop Sylvanas won't (and realistically shouldn't) cool the heads of the night elves. I feel there was no resolution to the frenzy the kaldorei were whipped into and I don't think anything that happens to Tyrande will make it any less weird if the NE go back to putting up with the Horde existing.

On top of that, the Alliance has had to stop two rogue warchiefs in five years after largely unprovoked massacres. I understand why the Horde would want peace. They're finally achieving stability. But I cannot understand why the Alliance would just stop with an armistice and never bother to immediately kick the Horde to the curb the next opportunity they get. In that way I feel the Horde's part in the faction war was never resolved – they didn't want total war and they have much less to pay the Alliance back for. The Alliance, meanwhile, never secured justice or catharsis for Teldrassil and it'd be kind of bonkers if they let these nations remain allied in a group called the "Horde" given everything that's happened since they showed up.

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Obviously, as it's an MMO, no one faction was or will be deleted. And so equilibrium is the next best option where borders change and old flashpoints like Southern Barrens and Ashenvale are settled. But we didn't get that. Instead, the situation feels even more unstable than it ever was before given the aforementioned lack of justice for the Alliance. Hell, the Horde had no high profile deaths at the Battle of Lordaeron that we know about and the city was destroyed by the Warchief, not the Alliance.

There was the kumbaya moment at the gates of Orgrimmar, obviously. As usual, there was now a greater threat to worry about in N'Zoth. But it all felt very strange, like a play comprised of only the first and final acts. How is an even bigger conflict not going to arise from this one, and fast? It can't because already did the faction war expansion and they're not going to retread that ground. But it feels like the uneasy peace we're heading into is downright silly because the Alliance has even less reason to show restraint than before the war.

It definitely feels like something was resolved between Anduin, Jaina, Thrall and Baine, which was a decently compelling watch. But what about everyone else? What about the people? The kaldorei refugees? The House of Nobles, the various factions-within-factions among the Alliance races like the Dark Iron or the Lightforged? Wouldn't there be massive pressure to finish what the Fourth War couldn't?

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I'm not sure what the resolution could have been. You can't destroy the Horde. So maybe once the Burning happened it was too late and the Fourth War couldn't be resolved. Equiibrium couldn't happen because the Alliance lost too much to the Horde and the Horde didn't even lose Undercity to the Alliance in the same way. Or maybe you disagree and believe the war was resolved? I'm open to that!

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