Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two BC Races - A Study in Opposites

It's been mentioned before on this blog that a race's starting area is designed to influence your thinking and enhance the viewpoint of that race.  That's what makes the Forsaken stand apart from the other Horde races:  enemies on every corner, they are consumed by vengeance; hemmed in and reviled by the living, they learn to give as well as receive; hunted by the Scarlet Crusade, they despise them as much if not more than the Scourge.  The Tauren have the lush, rolling fields, the spirits and hunting paths to guide them; and the Orcs and Trolls learn early that the world is a rough place and you have to claw and fight your way if you want to survive.

The starting areas are what make the two Burning Crusade races such a study in opposites.

Blood Elves are set in their old homeland of Eversong, learning how to cope without the Sunwell.  Some Blood Elves can't handle their addiction to arcane magic, and turn into the Wretched.  The Scourge and Arthas are to blame for this, we're told, but there's hope for the Blood Elves:  they know that there's an Eden awaiting them in a magical place called Outland.  You learn to deal with the Wretched, push back the Scourge from the infected forests of Quel'Thas (renamed the Ghostlands), and wreak vengeance on the necromancer Dar'khan Drathir.

By Contrast, the Draenei starting area is an unknown.  They've just crash landed on Azeroth, hunting for this "Alliance" to help them out with the Burning Legion, not knowing where the hell "here" is.  You start off thinking that your group is the only batch of survivors, and you pitch in to help the group survive.  After a while you discover other Draenei and you are led through the starting area by the hook of finding others of your kind.  You also learn very quickly that Blood Elves have followed you there to eliminate your threat.

Interesting, no?

Having played several Blood Elves, I know without a doubt you never hear about any of the following while you're leveling:
  • Draenei
  • Outland is in turmoil with the Burning Legion
  • You're the bad guy
Likewise, the Draenei haven't heard (as of yet in the toon I'm playing) of any of the following:
  • The Scourge
  • Arthas, Illidan and their relationship to the Burning Legion
  • You landed on the Blood Elves' homeland
When you play a Blood Elf, you have absolutely no idea there's something wrong in Outland until you reach 58 and can port to the Blasted Lands.  Then, right before you go through the Dark Portal, you have that conversation with the Draenei and the Orc leaders, you start to wonder WTH is on the other side.

I have no idea if the Draenei are fed a steady diet of "hate the Blood Elves", but if the BE model is transposed onto the Draenei, they won't have an inkling up until they reach Outland that a whole boatload of despised, evil Blood Elves are now fighting on your side.  Talk about hitting you with a 2x4.

I have to admit that Blizz has done a bang up job in creating stark differences between the two races.  If I develop split personalities later in life, maybe I can blame these two races for my malady.


  1. I noticed the same thing. The dranei starting area reminds me of a space horror movie. You wake from a deep sleep from your hibernation pod, and suddenly are on an unknown world and trying to salvage the pieces.

    I've made it to level 10 thus far.

    Though, if you want true polar opposites, level a night elf. Blood elves used to be night elves, and you could get a sense of the tree huggers you originated from.

  2. I rolled my first Draenei the other day - and you are so right. The differences and correspondences between the two starting areas are fascinating, and also the way it changes the way you think about the game and the world as you approach the Dark Portal.

  3. @Soul:

    Yeah, I've had to revise my opinion of the Draenei quite a bit. The Slavic accents are a nice touch, too.

    Do I have to roll a Night Elf? I can't stand the look of the males with the goofy beards. And that coming from a guy who's had a beard since college.


    Yeah, having only played Horde, I was unimpressed by the Human starting area and viewpoint. The Draenei, however, really fascinate me. Given that I already know some of the Draenei had turned to the Shadow in Outland, that might also come as a major shock when a Draenei player gets there.