The Good Guy(s)

Draenei Shaman - Tigglesworth

I recently heard someone (I’ve forgotten who – sorry!) on The Instance mention the Draenei in the context of the other Alliance races – what is their deep, dark secret? Every other Alliance race has a tarnish, from the gnomes’ senseless forays into uncontrollable technology to the elves’ storied flirtations with dark forces. But the Draenei seem to lack a shadow; they come across as big, blue, hammer-wielding teddy bears.

As a kind of answer to that question, I offer two narrative points: that the Draenei don’t need a dark history and that they probably shouldn’t have one.

Shortly into your first quests as a Draenei, you are faced with your first encounter with the other races of the Alliance, a Night Elf. She, and the others you meet on Azuremyst, are instantly suspicious. See, your people are also known as a race of evil, marauding demons. Sure, your specific faction of eredar fled your homeworld specifically to avoid becoming demons, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. The Draenei are going to have to spend a lot of time proving themselves to the Alliance, not because they have a dark history but because their relatives have done some questionable things. Thus, I submit that the Draenei require no tarnish (as the other races do), because everybody expects them to.

Secondly, I proffer the idea that it’s about time for an Alliance race to actually possess the purity and goodness that the rest of the “good” races aspire to. Just as the Forsaken are pretty much as evil as a race can be, the Draenei are about as good as a race can be. They equal the spirtual balance between the two factions, with the other eight races occupying the tenuous middle hump of a morality-measuring bell curve.

Sometimes, the good guys have to be good and the bad guys have to be bad. Why should Blizzard’s little corner of American fantasy mythology be any different?

12 Comments so far

  1. Krianna (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

    For the love of Pete, THANK YOU.

    This is the point I’m trying to get across to a surprising number of folks.

  2. Mojo (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 10:53 pm

    They are intolerant alien invaders, and this orc for one doesn’t trustthem.

  3. Shalkis (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 12:47 am

    It’s just that with Warcraft 3, Blizzard had been moving away from black-or-white morality. Orcs were not raging bloodlusted madmen, humans were prejudiced, overconfident and even blatantly racist. Night Elves massacre humans and orcs, not knowing why they were even there. Dwarves invade Alterac for profit. Gnomes irradiate their own city. Trolls give up cannibalism, and taurens have the Grimtotems. Forsaken have people like Leonid Bartholomew the Revered. Even the current token bad guy (Illidan) has motives and reasonable goals (from his point of view).

    Simply put: Thanks to Blizzard introducing more gray in the morality scale, it’s now easier to identify with any race. All of them have their good and bad traits, and you are not forced to pick your alignment together with your faction or race. This makes the world more plausible and thus helps to maintain immersion.

  4. James Foreman (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 4:17 am

    I don’t dispute any of that, Shalkis. I understand and agree with Blizzard’s decision to round out the races and their motives. But I also think that it’s perfectly acceptable for players to want their good guys to be good.

  5. Xoruka (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 8:35 am

    Let them be the one good guys.

    This orc totally understands. I trust a Draenei a thousand times more then the Belves. I feel like the Draenei are the example of a race that really transcends the archiac ideas of Factions.

  6. phoenix (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 8:41 am

    Word, James, word. :) Between being known for your not-so-nice former kin who were marauding demons and on top of that instantly causing chaos and corruption upon your arrival, I think the Draenei have enough to worry about without having to have a deep dark secret.

  7. Mojo (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    After playing WC III I honestly didn’t understand why people kept saying Illidan was a villain. Didn’t he help, y’know, save the world?

  8. Xoruka (unregistered) on January 26th, 2007 @ 6:49 am

    Honestly, as a player, I don’t want to fight Illidan. He isn’t a bad guy to me.

    The game better convince Xor that he is. Thus far, he isn’t.

  9. Jonas M Luster (unregistered) on January 30th, 2007 @ 6:13 am

    No tarnish? Let’s see…

    You’re an advanced race, capable of traveling space. You meet your match in an evil force, something capable of killing all of you at a second’s notice. So you flee. You enter your spaceship, align with a second, even more powerful race, the Naaru, and run. You run to the edges of your known universe until you find a planet suitable for hiding out.

    Only problem is… that planet isn’t empty. It’s inhabited by a peaceful, shamanistic, people. The Orcs are quite unaware of the evil out there, living their lives on this – as Nagrand shows – lush green and very beautiful marble in the sky. Your first act of business is to erect statues and buildings in the name of your gods and leaders, the Naaru, and to hide from the Evil that still seeks you out.

    Until it finds you. Now would be a good time to walk over to that Hellscream dude or to Gul’Dan and tell them what you’re really about – but, no, you admit evil into the world. The Orcs aren’t quite the space savvy travelers you are. They are happy not knowing much about the Universe and the inconceivable evil out there. Evil arrives. It finds fertile soil in a world that’s just not ready for that kind of inter-personal dealings. A strong, mentally and physically, race that’s easily lured into Darkness. “Hey, Orc, join us and we’ll help you get rid of the losers who just built a temple to their god on top of your ancient burial grounds”.

    By selecting the planet you did, you doomed an unsuspecting race, you exposed a tribal, peaceful, race to nastiness above and beyond everything YOU, a much more advanced civilization, could handle, even with the help of the Naaru, the most powerful beings in the Universe. The “light”, the same thing that allowed later for Humans to watch another peaceful race, the Tauren, to be slaughtered by Centaurs, said it’s OK to come and occupy someone else’s land, expose them to generations of slavery, generations of bloodshed, generations of internment camps, murder in captivity (through the hands of the same “Light”, see Lordamere) and to run like a pussy once you doomed the Orcs.

    If anything, the Draenei are successors not to a righteous but a self-righteous group of Crusaders who had no qualms condemning or tolerating the extinction of other, perceived “lesser” races, in the name of the “Light”. Ring a historical bell?

    “Hey Joe, someone’s over in Garadar telling the Orcs to drink blood and shit.”
    “Are they saved?”
    “Nah, they’re, like, totem-huggers. Remember, those primitive dolts who lived here before we kicked them out to build Auchindoun? Those guys. Get this, they don’t even have interstellar travel, lolz. And do you KNOW what they did when we took their land in Nagrand? They fled into the marsh. Fucking pussies, that.”
    “Ah, fuck ’em. Kill ’em all, let the light sort ’em out”
    “Roger that. Now, where’s my mass whine, I need a drink.”

  10. Depa (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 6:07 am


    So basically what you’re trying to say is the Draenei are the TRUE responsible for the Burning Legion’s invasion of Draenor, rather than the Burning Legion themselves?

    That’s great logic!

  11. Jonas M Luster (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    The Legion chased the draenei for many thousands of years. The draenei visited many worlds and explored much of the known cosmos in their quest to find safe harbor. Still the Legion would not give up its pursuit.

    Oooh, oooh, the Burning Legion is on our tail. What only shall we do, we strong and righteous defenders of the light. Quick, let’s hide under that rock over there. Hmmm, not a good rock, I am a Man of the Light, I deserve lush forests, plentiful food, great sunsets, and some locals to feed me grapes between my sermons about the Light and how it commands us to be humble, strong, and brave.

    At last Velen and his draenei settled upon a remote and peaceful world that seemed an ideal refuge. They named it Draenor, or “Exiles’ Refuge”, and there they quietly cultivated their society once again. Ever wary of being discovered again by Kil’jaeden’s forces, Velen and his mystics kept their magics hidden for generations.

    Yes, Sireeee. Finally. Praise the Light, a planet fit for my manifest destiny. Orcs? Give ’em some pearls, that place is now ours. After all, we’re the good guys.

    In spite of the draenei’s caution, Kil’jaeden discovered their secret refuge on Draenor.

    Oh, shit, we’re found out. Quick, let’s run again. Fuck the Orcs, sooner or later he’d have screwed them either way, so better now than later, right?

    He learned more of the world and its inhabitants, and he grew intrigued by the mighty orc race.

    Sucks to be you, Orcling. Tadaa, now, we gotta jet in our spaceship, have fun being a patsy to the bad guys, thanks for letting us invade and use your planet for a while, it’s time to move on.

    Some operative words, here: Remote, peaceful, fled, ran, hid. Yes, the Eredar are responsible for the perversion of a peaceful race, and if you want to find the truly good guys in this look no further than the Mag’har, which were never perverted, never drank the blood, never were part of the Burning Legion, AND didn’t condemn another peaceful race.

  12. James Foreman (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

    I have it on good authority that the Mag’har crack their eggs on the fat end rather than the narrow end.

    That’s says enough about them for me.

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