Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The 7th Sha

We know the Sha are the last breath of the Old God Y'Shaarj. Y’Shaarj had seven heads, so it follows there would be seven sha. So far, only six have been revealed. Those six are Fear, Doubt, Hatred, Despair, Anger, and Violence. We don’t know the seventh.

However, I think Blizzard may have accidently let the name of the seventh Sha out in a preview of the new 5.2 raid. Community Manger Draxxari was interviewing Lead Encounter Designer, Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas. You can read the entire blog here.

What I want to concentrate on is their preview of Tortos.
Ion: Along with asking why we fight, and learning that our true enemy is war itself, a major theme of the Mists of Pandaria has been killing turtles. This raid encounter elevates that motif to all-new heights, presenting players with the chance to fight a huge turtle, and small turtles, and also the ability to kick one of the small turtles into the big turtle. What more could you ask for?
Emphasis added. Our true enemy is war itself. What if the seventh Sha is the Sha of War. Crazy? Maybe. We know that in order to meet the new accelerated patch schedule, the developers are working on multiple patches simultaneously. Since 5.2 is releasing today, Ion must be knee deep in 5.3 and 5.4 content. He might have lost context and exactly which patch which piece of lore was released. He's an encounter designer, not a lore nut.

But there are other indications that also indicate that the seventh Sha might indeed be the Sha of War.

Warlord and the Monk
We know all six Sha are mentioned in The Warlord and the Monk. This scroll can be found on the south side of the upper level of the Scrollkeeper's Sanctum in the Temple of the Jade Serpent in the Jade Forest. It tells of a time when the mogu fought the Pandaren. The Pardaren tricked the mogu into turning on each other.As the mogu turned against each other, it says: "War waged before the temple as the mogu destroyed themselves, unleashing the full weight of their doubt, anger, fear, hatred, violence and despair."

Six for six. What else is mentioned there? In fact, what’s pretty much the only other things mentioned there?

The Seven Burdens of The Seven Burdens of Shaohao
Some of what we know of the Sha comes from the Lorekeepers scrolls that make up the The Seven Burdens of Shaohao. These stories tell how the Last Emporer defeated his fear, doubt, anger, hatred and despair. Yet, despite having defeated all these negative emotions, when he tried to move the land, he failed. There was one more Sha he had to defeat.
The Jade Serpent came to him and said "Your enemies to the west are as much a part of this land as your empire behind the wall."
Shaohao had to embrace his enemies. He had to let go of his conflict with the Yangol and the Mantid. He had to defeat his desire to war against them. When he did let go and defeat the desire for War in his spirit, then, and only then, he became one with the land. At that point, he could save it from the Sundering.

Garrosh Hellscream
We know the Sha try to inhabit hosts. The more powerful the Sha, the powerful the host it wants. We know the Sha use the negative emotions present to inhabit their host. The Sha of Hatred used Teran-Zhu’s hatred of the Horde and Alliance to take over the master of the Shado-Pan. Teran-Zhu was a powerful warrior, and the Sha was attracted to his hatred.
We have seen Garrosh Hellscream try to weaponize the Sha. Each time he does, the intended host is not strong enough. The Sha takes over and the Horde soldier, from simple Grunt to powerful Blade Master, must be put down. What if Garrosh finally decides that he and he only is strong enough to merge with the Sha and become the unstoppable weapon he dreams of for his Horde.
What is Garrosh if not the epitomy of War?
Look at what Garrosh tells Thrall when Thrall taps him for leadership of the Horde.
"I understand battle, yes," he said. "Tactics, how to rally troops -- these things I know. Let me serve that way. Find me a foe to face and defeat, and you will see how proudly I will continue to serve the Horde. But I know nothing of politics, of ... of ruling. I would rather have a sword in my fist than a scroll!" -- The Shattering
The seventh Sha must be the most powerful Sha of them all. Garrosh would provide a suitably powerful host.

Opening Cinematic
That brings us to the opening cinematic for Mists. Perhaps it really did show us a bit of the final boss just as every cinematic before it had.
To ask why we fight, is to ask why leaves fall. It is in their nature. Perhaps there is a better question.
Why do we fight? To protect home and family, to preserve balance, and bring harmony.
For my kind, the true question is ‘what is worth fighting for’?
What are the Horde and Alliance fighting? A war. The question isn’t why we fight the war, but what is it worth going to war over? If we fight for home and family, to preserve balance and bringing harmony, is it still a war? Or has it become something more. Something better. Something higher. Something nobler.

We know our friend Wratharion is out to end the war. He has stated as much. His only question is which side to allow to win the war. At the end of Mists, we defeat Garrosh Hellscream, and the Sha of War. We defeat War itself. Wratharion’s purpose is accomplished. The Horde and Alliance will be ready to begin the process of preparing for the Burning Legion by taking care of the remaining threats on Azeroth (the 90-95 expansion) before finally becoming part of the Army of Light that Velen prophesied and taking down Sargeras and the Burning Legion once and for all (the 95-100 expansion).

I know there is a Maelstrom sized hole in this theory. War is not an emotion. At least not in the same way we think of Fear, Hatred, Doubt, Anger, and Despair. But would you say Violence is an emotion? Violence is an act much like War is an act.

So what do you think? Am I crazy, or could the seventh Sha be the Sha of War?


Ross Fale said...

I think it's valid speculation. One that also crossed my mind is the Sha of Lies, especially when thinking about the potential for story in having someone we've been led to trust turn out to be someone not trustworthy at all. I know Wrathion's the easy target for that theory, but I'm a bit hesitant to focus on him.

Also, something that made me perk up recently. When finishing the Klaxxi story arc, you're taken underneath Klaxi'vess and your tour guide is relating to you how the pandaren are a very young and naive race, but they serve their purpose well (culling the weak mantid every 100 years). I don't know why the events there have stuck with me, but I hope they are expanded upon in this patch and beyond.

Rohan said...

Solid hypothesis, and fits really well with Garrosh.

The only issue I see is if Blizzard wants to continue the Horde/Alliance war in the next expansion. It's going to be hard to do that when we've defeated War itself.