Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Sides to a Coin: Part 3 -- On the Brink of Oblivion

The dark times will pass.
--Blood Elf NPC saying

The Naaru have not forgotten us.
--Draenei NPC saying

When a new Blood Elf player quests through Eversong Woods, there are a few themes running through the zone.  The Amani trolls are on the move, the Wretched seek magic –any magic—to feed upon, and there are malfunctions with the existing Sindorei magics.  Oh yeah, and there’s the Scourge.

The Sindorei live with the Dead Scar plowing straight through their homeland, and the Scourge rise up and assault the outskirts of Silvermoon and Fairbreeze Village with regularity.  Such is the life of the Sindorei, struggling with the constant reminder that racial oblivion is only a few Rangers away.

On the flip side, Azuremyst Isle is like watching a World of Warcraft version of Swiss Family Robinson play out.  You have the shipwrecked Draenei, attempting to survive and create makeshift living arrangements.  There are the interactions with the native, mutating wildlife, and there are first contacts with the Furbolg, Night Elves, and Humans (who also have their own ship up for repairs).

Then there are the Blood Elves in Amman Vale, the Naga close to Odesyus’ Landing, and the traitor in the midst of Odesyus’ crew.

The Draenei are clinging to the edge of survival, and all it takes is a little push and they teeter over the edge.

Both races have suffered near extinction as the Burning Crusade opens, yet they have shown remarkable resilience.  The Draenei are in an alien world, putting the pieces back together and forging new friendships.  By contrast, the Sindorei are forsaking their old allegiances (and the Light) that they believe failed them in their hour of need, turning instead to the Thrall-led Horde who at least offered a very lukewarm hand of friendship.* 

Even in Outland itself, both races have the will to keep going.  The Draenei ruins scattering the landscape are testament to what they have lost, yet Shattrath is still alive.  For the Sindorei in the form of the Scryers, they not only have to fight the Legion and Illidan, but their own people in what amounts to a bloody civil war.


However, their resilience and bitter experience has also given both races a singular focus on defeating their enemies.

Forget about Velen and Ishanah.  Seriously.  No matter what they say, pay attention to the Draenei out in the field in the BC zones.**  With very rare exceptions, they zero in on the Sindorei, whether they are allied with Illidan, Kael/Burning Legion, or the Scryers.  In Bloodmyst Isle, the elements of the Burning Legion (the Satyr) and the Naga are merely secondary to the Blood Elf incursion; nothing else really matters.  The Draenei in Aldor Rise are constantly spying on the Scryers, expecting this whole “fealty to the Sha’tar” thing to be a Trojan Horse.  And it’s not like the Scryers haven’t noticed that distinct lack of acceptance, either; like the Arcanist Adyria says while you’re given the tour of Shattrath, “I'm a Scryer, I always watch what I say. More enemies than allies in this city, it seems.”

Can I blame the Draenei for being so suspicious?  No, not really.  It’s very hard to accept having to fight alongside your enemy, and the Aldor no More quest chain really hammers that point home.

While the Draenei are watching the Sindorei, the Sindorei/Scryers have their eyes on the Scourge and their former friends in Kael’s forces.  Circumstances won’t allow them to forget –not with Undead showing up at their doorstep every five minutes or so—and they have no inclination to do so anyway.  The focus of the entire Ghostlands quest chain, to kill the Scourged traitor Dar’Khan Drathir, serves as a reminder for a new player as to what the Sindorei had to go through.  (Well, as if the Eastern Plaguelands being effectively impassible was enough of one already, that is.  In a post-Cata Eastern-Plaguelands-is-no-longer-L60 world, it’s still way too dangerous to make a run for it.  Believe me, I tried.)  If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the Blood Elf starting zones were designed for Wrath of the Lich King rather than for Burning Crusade.

Once a player gets to Outland and Shattrath, however, that focus turns almost completely on Kael’s forces.  Just like how the worst fights you get in are with siblings, the Scryers are locked in a do-or-die fight with the one group that knows them best:  their own kin.  The Scryers who set up shop in the Sanctum of the Stars next to the Kael led forces at the Path of Conquest did so by design.  Who better to watch and disrupt the plans of the Eclipsion forces than those who fought alongside them?  Just like in Netherstorm, who better to infiltrate the Sunfury forces there than their brethren?***

The specifics are different, but the results are the same.  You don’t see the Draenei or the Sindorei talking much about the Orcs (or Fel Orcs, for that matter) in Outland.  They both live in the present, against their very real enemies.  Ironically enough, such a focus and a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” helped with the creation of the Shattered Sun Offensive on Quel’Danas far more than any platitudes could have done.

*Yes, I’m well aware that the Sindorei abandoned the Alliance in favor of isolationism at the end of the Second War, but this is about their personal perceptions.  And besides, during the Third War, Garithos pretty much poisoned any residual feelings between the vast majority of Sindorei and the Alliance.  Never underestimate the power of prejudice.

**Quel’Danas excepted.

***There are some Scryer/Horde only quests in Netherstorm in which you infiltrate the mana forges to eavesdrop on the Sunfury leaders inside.  On the Alliance side, this is replaced by the Aldor No More quest chain.


  1. Excellent! I'm looking forward to your further posts as well. While I'm not very good at analyzing the lore, and I admit I've only got a level 85 Horde toon because of a faction change, I've still done an awful lot of these quests on some toon or another.

    A note: The quests you refer to in *** of the post above are Scryer quests - I did them on Alliance toon that allied with the Scryers. I'm not sure if the Aldor No More quest chain is available to the Horde or not, having not played Horde in BC.

  2. @shoryl-- Thanks for your kind words!

    I do know that Aldor No More is unavailable to Horde players who align with the Scryers, but given that it is an Aldor quest I believe that Horde players aligned with the Aldor could access this quest. If that's the case, the irony of, say, a Blood Elf aligned with the Aldor being the recipient of this quest would be very amusing.