Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two Sides to a Coin: Part 4 -- I'm No Angel

Listen, don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right. [returns to the Germans] So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads.
--Basil, Fawlty Towers

I’m sure that you’ve done some questing in the Cata zones, and you’ve come across Twilight’s Hammer minions doing Deathwing’s work.  Or maybe you’ve been in Scourge infected areas where the Cult of the Damned gathered.  Ever notice how the so-called “goody two shoes” of the Alliance is well represented?

Now, that’s no real surprise, given that Blizzard wants to demonstrate both the global nature of the threat faced (whether it be by Scourge or Deathwing), and how no race is immune to the siren song of power.

What is interesting, however, is the reception given Tuluun, the sole Broken at Azure Watch.  The sneers and contempt from the surrounding Draenei are striking, given the constant exhortations from random NPC Draenei to “Open your heart to the Light” or “Be kind to those less fortunate”.

Oh really?

To say the Draenei are a wee bit hypocritical here is an understatement.  However, this disconnect between words and actions, particularly concerning the Broken, are nothing new.

The Broken and the Lost Ones represent a conundrum for the Draenei:  they have been corrupted by Fel energies, and are unable to contact the Light.  For most Draenei, that is a worse fate than cutting off both arms and legs.  I’ve often wondered if the Draenei expected the Broken to commit suicide or something should that happen, but the quest chains don’t really say.  What picture they do paint, however, is one that shows the majority of Draenei are unable to relate to their ‘cousins’.

There is the obvious racist contempt found in various Draenic locations throughout Outland, yet the Draenei’s belief in racial superiority manifests itself in other ways.  In the Alliance-only quest chain in Zangarmarsh, a player attempts to convince the Feralfen tribe of Lost Ones to join with the Draenei, yet they refuse and instead want to forge their own destiny apart from being “Redeemed”, as Elder Kuruti put it.  When informed of the Lost Ones’ decision, Anchorite Ahuurn at Telredor is confused:  “They refused? They are welcome to choose their own path, of course, but their choice surprises me. I would think that all the Draenei, including the Broken and Lost Ones, would still remember that we're all a part of the same people.”

The same motivation that pushes the Anchorite to disguise a player as an Arakkoa blinds him to the reality that if you stopped treating the Lost Ones (and the Broken) as less than an equal, maybe you would get a more desirable result.  Not everyone who has been corrupted wants to be Redeemed, but if they do, they want to do it on their terms, not someone else'.


If the Draenei’s blind spot is their racism toward the Broken and Lost ones, the Sindorei’s blind spot is to their own personal addiction, magic.

Oh, they know about it.  Everybody and their brother knows about the Sindorei’s addiction to magic and how it helped lead Kael and Co. first to Outland and then into the arms of the Legion.  From practically the first moment a Blood Elf player begins to explore Sunstrider Isle, they are forced to deal with their magical addiction and the consequences of failure in the form of the Wretched.

And yet, if there’s magic to be found and/or exploited, the Sindorei are there.

If there’s an easy way to cure their addiction, there’s some Sindorei working on it.  Remember Magistrix Elosai, the exiled Blood Elf in pre-cata Thousand Needles, who was working on her own version of methadone to cure herself of her addiction?  In the end, she accelerated the addiction process, turning herself into one of the Wretched ala Jekyll and Hyde.

You’d think that with the recreation of the Sunwell the Sindorei wouldn’t need to seek out more magic to slake their thirst, but the Reliquary proves otherwise.  You can find them throughout the post-Cata Old World, hunting down titan and pre-Sundering relics and fighting off the Explorer’s League in the process.  Sure, they're taking the relics for "safe keeping"; they wouldn't even think of using the magic held inside for themselves...

The sense of denial in the Blood Elf actions makes me roll my eyes at times.  I’m often reminded of a drunk pounding down shots of bourbon, all the while proclaiming that “I have willpower!  I’m fine!  Just one more drink and I’m good.”  In that respect, at least some of the Felbloods are honest in their cravings, like when Selin Fireheart drains one of the nearby crystals in Magister’s Terrace:  “My hunger knows no bounds!”


In the end, these flaws in the BC races’ character serve to make them more realistic, although the temptation to stereotype all members of a race remains strong.  Both races aren’t perfect, and neither race should be perceived as such.

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