Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Old Fashioned Way of Doing Things

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnameable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
--Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.
--The Jedi Code*

In what feels like a lifetime ago, I wrote about how corruption was a major theme in Blizzard's work.  A couple of expacs since that time, Blizzard hasn't really changed their tune very much.  In fact, you could argue that Blizzard is simply coming up with new ways to use corruption.

Okay, Twilight's Hammer was a gimme.  You're tempted by power and who looks like the winning side, and you join with Deathwing.  Even the Sha are pretty blatant.  You open your heart to those non-Zen Buddhist emotions such as fear, anger, and hate** just a tiny bit, and the Sha sneak right on in and corrupt you.  In a very real sense, the Sha are the ultimate excuse for bad behavior:  "I was possessed by the Sha!  They made me do it!  Somebody release the Sha that's inside me!!"

But the war between factions?  Garrosh?  Well, Blizz has gone on record for saying that Garrosh is simply a "bad egg".  Oh, he may eventually become corrupted by the power within Pandaria (/cough 5.4 /cough), but he was evil and/or power hungry to begin with.

O really?

Has everybody forgotten the kid in Nagrand who was so afraid that he'd turn out like his father that he let the Ogres and evil-aligned Broken walk all over his tribe?  The kid who only began to grow a spine when Thrall showed him how his father redeemed himself?

Even though that questline has pretty much dried up due to conflicts --Thrall not being Warchief these days-- that's pretty telling that Garrosh wasn't exactly a "bad egg".  He became a bad egg due to his experiences.  He saw when he first arrived in Orgrimmar that bluster worked.  That aggression worked in Northrend.  He took a strong offensive stance and freed the Dragonmaw from their Legion tainted leaders, learning that putting pedal to the metal worked.  He surrounded himself with "yes men" and marginalized those who would provide better counsel:  Saurfang, Cairne, Baine, Vol'jin, Rexxar, Eitrigg, and Lor'themar.***

In short, he became corrupted with power just like any number of despots.

If he'd had different experiences, if he'd have learned something by the way he was duped into killing Cairne, or if he'd have learned something about power and responsibility after Stonetalon, Garrosh would have turned out differently.  But he didn't.

Seduced by the Dark Side, he was.

*Good thing that the Tao espouses a lack of passion, because some lawyer somewhere would have a field day on this.

**You can hear Yoda saying this, can't you?  "The Dark Side are they...."  That said, the one thing that TOR has that Blizzard doesn't have is romance in the questlines.  The world's biggest generator of fear, anger, and hate is romance/relationships, and Blizz simply refuses to examine that outside of, say, the books.

***I didn't throw Sylvanas into the mix because I'm not convinced she'd give good counsel, and she's also too far gone with her version of total war.  If Liadrin were not consumed with rebuilding Quel'Danas and managing the Blood Knights, I'd have put her in the list as well.


  1. I think--when they say Garrosh is a bad egg--Blizz is differentiating between corruption from an outside source (a la Frostmourne or the demon blood the orcs drank), and simple falling to temptation.

    1. The thing is, though, that with the exception of the Sha, all of the other forms of outside corruption had to happen if you were tempted and succumbed anyway. The Death Cult attracts those interested in power, and the same thing with Twilight's Hammer. Arthas would definitely fall into the "bad egg" that Garrosh is, based on this logic. The same thing with most others who end up being corrupted, with the possible exception of Neltharion and Loken. Even then, the whispers were temptation, and they could have chosen to resist it.