Welcome to the inaugural edition of World of Warcraft: What If?, where a couple of long-time World of Warcraft fiends (Pat and I) look back at key moments in Azerothian history and wonder what might have happened had things gone down a little differently. First up:

What if Vol’jin had killed Garrosh?

The setting: Orgrimmar Throne Room at the conclusion of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. The Y’Shaarj infused Garrosh Hellscream has finally been defeated.

You are a disappointment, Garrosh. You are not worthy of your father’s legacy,” Thrall said. He lifted Doomhammer.

Thrall felt something pass his face, almost touch his cheek and he fell back, hands in the air as if he might fend it away. He was not the target, he realized.

Garrosh on all fours glared up at him. His right arm quivered, ink-dark filaments whorled about the great forearm veins — the last remnants of Y’Shaarj. Even in these final moments the Heart fed off the disdain. The hate. He had done so much for the Horde. Brought them from weakness to greatness; from cowardice to conquerors. And this was how they repaid him? No, he would not die like this; not at the hands of some relic whose time had long passed. When Thrall brought Doomhammer down it would be too late. The Heart of Y’Shaarj would make his hand a weapon and he would cut the self-righteous bastard’s throat where he stood.

A hissing sound. Thrall felt something pass his face, almost touch his cheek and he fell back, hands in the air as if he might fend it away. He was not the target, he realized. There was another hiss and Thrall saw from the corner of his eye an arrow enter Garrosh’s face and then reemerge in a great vomit of gore from the other side of his head, just above the one already lodged in his throat.

Thrall turned. A pair of bone-white tusks split the shadows on the far eastern wall, the painted face not far behind them. Vol’jin’s sinewy form slank into the torchlight silent, long legs spider-like, spindling like a dancer’s. His red mohawk like some legionaries’ crest. “Too dangerous to be lettin’ him live,” he said. “All you been knowin’ that. I’m the only one had the ‘eart to do it without ‘esitation.

vol'jin-kills-garrosh

Sylvanas’ eyes red as jewels. Smirking. As if she knew things would unfold like this all along. Thrall reached down, touched what was left of the fallen orc’s forehead. “Forgive us, brother. What other choice did you leave us?

This is how your Horde treats its own? Slaughtering them where they sit without a moment of counsel? Crazed animals. Unfit for assembly,” Varian said. He spat.

And… I’ll just stop myself there. Vol’jin wouldn’t have become Warchief if he did this, would he have? If he had executed Garrosh right then and there, Vol’jin likely would have been arrested on the spot?

Pat: Well, I don’t think Sylvanas would have been smirking. She can’t stand Garrosh, and is so vindictive she most likely would have wanted to be the one to end him herself (payback for calling her a b---h). Garrosh had a lot of enemies in the Horde, but possibly none greater than Sylvanas Windrunner. I mean, Garrosh even had the stones to say what SHE was doing was “against the laws of nature. Disgusting is the only word I would have to describe it.”

Sylvanas is hot-headed enough that Vol’jin getting the killing blow on Garrosh would have caused massive infighting amongst the Horde

Just for the record, this is coming from a guy who murdered Cairne Bloodhoof in cold blood, all but destroyed the most peaceful, welcoming landmass on Azeroth by exhuming the still beating heart of an Old God and wreaking the havoc of the Sha across all of Pandaria, and coerced a bronze dragon to alter timespace itself in an effort to create a pure, perfect Iron Horde. And Sylvanas wanting to perpetuate her race is disgusting?!

So yeah, Sylvanas is hot-headed enough that I’m relatively confident that Vol’jin getting the killing blow on Garrosh would have caused massive infighting amongst the Horde. And who knows, maybe the resulting ruckus would have been the perfect moment for Varian to take Jaina’s advice and put an end to what was left of the Horde once and for all.

I think a lot of respect for Vol’jin would be lost, as well. Varian didn’t even want Thrall to kill Garrosh on the spot like that, despite Thrall being probably the most level-headed guy in the room, with reason to feel especially betrayed by Garrosh’s actions. Alliance forces and Pandaren alike clamored for a fair trial, so any goodwill Vol’jin may have fostered during the Darkspear Revolution would likely be gone if he were to make a rash decision like that. And, again, would have probably resulted in more Alliance/Horde bickering and possibly even more violence and bloodshed right there in that throne room.

vol'jin

And let’s face it: The only reason the Horde is even still around today is because Varian had a strange, uncharacteristic change of heart upon seeing the Shadow Hunter taking the mantle of Warchief. Even Jaina wanted to just end it then and there! But amazingly, Varian’s cool head and rationality may just have saved the Horde. Never thought I’d say that sentence.

Really though, the decision to have a trial was the right one, especially in honor of the sacred land of Pandaria. If Garrosh were to die in that room—by anyone’s hand—it just may have resulted in the ultimate demise of the Horde altogether.

Would the execution of Garrosh Hellscream have led to the demise of the Horde right there in the Orgrimmar Throne Room following the events of the Siege of Orgrimmar? Sound off in the comments.