Thursday, March 31, 2011

Off to the Races!

This post is in response to the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic of the week.

PVE Rogues asked:   What is your favorite race in WoW?

Lucky for me, Blog Azeroth doesn't hold bloggers at gun point and force us to go with the first thing that flits though our minds in response to a prompt. If they did, this would be a very short post because my immediate thought was, "I don't have one."

After some time mulling over the playable races and my stable of toons on various servers, well, I still don't think I have a favorite playable race in WoW. There are things I like and dislike about all of the races for reasons from lore to RP to racials to game aesthetics.

Human racials like Every Man for Himself and Diplomacy are highly useful. Humans are average in height, which I like, and I find the female model aesthetically pleasing. The human female dance gives me an eye twitch of irritation, but it's something I've learned to live with. And it doesn't get easier to role play a race than it is to RP a human. After all, we all know exactly what if feels like to be human! They have the shortest lifespans, and memories, of any race on Azeroth, so even if you don't know jack about lore you can play a human. If you do know lore, there are just so many different subcultures, former Kingdoms and potential backstories available among the various human factions. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Dwarves have a special place in my heart. I'm 99.9% certain (it was a long time ago) that the very first toon I ever rolled in WoW was a female Dwarf Paladin. Back in the days when we were autoattackadins. I remember being almost literally bored to tears in the early days.... But, back to topic. I've found the Dwarf racial Stoneform somewhat useful, the extra Frost Resistance comes in handy at times, and Explorer just freakin' rocks if you're into Archeology at all. I find the Dwarves aesthetically pleasing and their rich history provides a wealth of RP opportunity. If there's anything I dislike about Dwarves it's playerss tendencies to go overboard on the accent. I hate having to spend time deciphering what the hell someone is trying to say when I could be spending that time reacting to it!

Night Elf
Female Night Elf's had the best dance in Vanilla (IMO) and they're nice 'n tall. The female model is aesthetically pleasing and the male is tolerable (why do they have to hunch over like that?). As for racials, Shadowmeld's usefulness outside of RP is highly situational, Elusiveness is a nice bonus for Rogues and Druids, Nature Resistance doesn't hurt (though I've yet to roll a toon because of it) and let's be honest, Wisp Spirit is just nifty. The Nelfs' greatest draw for me has always been the lore. Not many races on Azeroth offer the opportunity to give your character 10,000 years of backstory!

Gnomes have useful racials, especially for mana users, dagger wielders, and Engineers. Arcane Resistance certainly doesn't hurt either. Their lore has always seemed to revolve around the fall of Gnomeregan... or there's a huge gap in my lore intelligence. Either way, it takes a special personality to successfully role play a Gnome, IMO, and I just don't have what it takes. That and I can't stand the shortness. All I can see are kneecaps! Still, I have a fondness for Gnomes. Their laugh can brighten my day though it loses some serious sunshine when coming from a 'lock standing over my corpse. >.>

Ah, space goats. The race with the name few can spell. (Yes, I looked it up to make sure I spelled it right.) I remember the hype prior to BC's release. It seemed all anyone Alliance side could talk about was how awesome Draenei Paladins were going to be. And they are pretty awesomesauce. Draenei have some of the best racials in the game, IMHO: Gift of the Naaru, Heroic Presence, Shadow Resistance and Gemcutting. At BC's launch, at least for Paladins, is was like, "Daaamn, jackpot!" Unfortunately, I've never been able to get into role playing a Draenei. Even though they're from Draenor and existed in lore as the Eredar long before Burning Crusade, their history always felt... tacked on and canned to me. That's not to say I haven't come across some exceptionally well-played Draenei over the years, because I have. I just could never get into them much myself. And the hooves. There's something about the hooves that just turns me off, despite the female model being the most overtly sexy in the game IMO. Still, they're nice and tall and I think the Draenei dance (male and female) is just win. :) There's at least one space goat lurking around in my stable of alts.

Our new, flea-infested friends, the Worgen. At long last the Greymane Wall has come down and the Gilneans have rejoined the Alliance. Being fond of dark characters, I was highly anticipating rolling a Worg or three. And, oh, the racials: Darkflight, Viciousness, Aberration, Two Forms and Running Wild. Hot damn! Unfortunately, I do not find the Worgen model aesthetically pleasing in the least. It's not even something I can point to and say, "If Blizz would just fix this they'd be great!" (Though they should definitely have tails. Seriously. What kind of werewolf doesn't have a tail?? And the way they run all hunched over. That could definitely go.) It's more just a Pink Pally thing though. I've never been fond of the wolf-man werewolf. I prefer my Lycans to be either human or direwolves, not wolf-men. (Oh, and Druids should totally have a direwolf form instead of a cat form. C'mon! A werewolf that turns into a cat?? Pfft.) I do have a Worgen on Moon Guard. A sadly neglected Druid - so I don't have to look at her in Worg form. She's either human, or a fighting cat! /hiss If you haven't read it yet, I thoroughly enjoyed James Waugh's Lord of His Pack.(Oh, and Worgen should totally be able to be Paladins, danmit!)

Big, buff, green (or brown) skinned humans. Well, that's what the in-game model looks like IMO anyway. The male model is one of the few I can stand to play. I like the Orcs as a race. They have a rich and tragic history and are great fun to play (and role play) as a melee class. With racials like Blood Fury, Hardiness and Command how could they not be? I love Thrall as a character (especially how he contrasts with Varian). I totally hated Grom until I read The Shattering. Now, he's not so bad and in a lot of ways is probably archtypical of most younger Orcs. I do not care for the female Orc dance in the least.

AKA Forsaken. /shudder  I never was a zombie fan. I just can't play them. I mean, the racials are great: Will of the Forsaken, Cannibalize, Underwater Breathing and Shadow Resistance. The lore is great for those dark characters I like. But I get hopelessly lost every time I go to Undercity and I just can't do the zombie thing. The in-game model turns me off and annoys me. If I could make an undead that looked more like Sylvanus or that one undead-looking DK face option, then maybe. But the whole bones sticking out and flesh falling off thing.... Ugh. (I can't watch zombie movies either.) /ponder They might be rather fun in fanfic though. The fact that undead can be Priests and not Paladins has always annoyed me as well. Don't tell me their weren't any infected Paladins in Stratholme who died trying to protect the other infected and uninfected civilians when Arthas and his troops showed up. Seriously, am I missing some vital piece of lore here or is this just Blizzard being obtuse and stubborn?

I've always thought of the Tauren as the pacifists of the Horde. Well, maybe not pacifists exactly, but they're certainly not warmongers or haughty isolationists like the Belfs. They're nice and tall, I like both the male and female models and War Stomp, Endurance, Cultivation and Nature Resistance are decent racials. Even so, the Tauren are another race that I've never been able to get into. I mean... they're cows. >.> I don't like cows. Unless they're dead, properly butchered and medium-rare on a plate. Filet Mignon preferably. Though ground sirloin burgers smoked over a mesquite woodfire grill are quite tasty too.Yes, I'm poking fun, but it's all in good spirit (if poor taste). The Tauren are a noble race and I was saddened by Cairne's death. I like Baine so far and I'm very glad that he and Prince Anduin seem to have started off on the right foot in their relations. I object to the Tauren being Paladins for two reasons. One, the whole undead thing I mentioned above. Two, it doesn't fit their lore (at least not that I know of) or history. And three (yes, I know I said two, but seriously), the holy cow jokes. /facedesk

The Trolls seem to be getting their due this expansion what with all the Troll lore. I've never been able to get into the Trolls, despite their rich history and pretty sweet racials: Berserking, Regeneration, Beast Slaying and Da Voodoo Shuffle. I think it's the wanna-be-Jamaican-accent thing. Just doesn't appeal to me. And the feet. Like hooves, and paws, their feet just kinda turn me off. And they hunch. What's up with the slouching?? Trolls are akin to Gnomes and Draenei in that when they're role played well, they're freakin' awesome. I haven't run across many well-played Trolls, but that could be because I don't hang out Hordeside very often and when I do it's usually in Silvermoon where the population tends to be largely Belf.

Blood Elf
Yup, you guessed it. Most of my Hordies are Belfs. What can I say, I like the pretties. And it's fun to be aloof and elitist at time. I still think the Blood Elf starting zone is the most beautiful in the game. I love the history and lore of the Blood Elves and the duality symbolism of Silvermoon City. Their racials aren't anything to write home about, although Arcane Torrent is wonderful for silencing mobs, Arcane Affinity is sweet for Enchanters and some extra Arcane Resistance certainly never hurts. I do not like the Hawkstrider mount and I don't like the way the male model runs all hunched over. Their dances and jokes amuse me. As much as I love the whole Dark Paladin Blood Knight thing, I find it annoying that Blizzard went to such great lengths to justify the existence of Belf Pallys and yet Belf Priests were considered par for the course. I don't get it. They both draw their power from the Light, why were Pally forced to draw on M'uru and yet Priests were able to just draw directly upon the Light? Did I miss something else somewhere or was this just a glossed over and neglected plot gimmick for everything that happened with M'uru and Kael'thas and the Sunwell?

Man, I was psyched about rolling a Goblin Rogue come Cata. I didn't even make it out of the starting zone before I deleted the toon. Nothing about the Goblins appealed to me and I'm still disappointed. I don't' know what I was expecting, but the whole gangsta thing wasn't it. Like the space goats spaceship crashing on Azeroth, the gangsta thing didn't fit my idea of WoW as a sort of medieval fantasy world. Yes, I know that viewpoint is not entirely accurate, but that's how I think of it and the Goblin zone, the entire characterization of them, just didn't fit with my mental image. That said, I'll no doubt try them again sometime in the future. After all, the beauty of RP is playing your toon however you want. The whole Trade Prince thing definitely holds some interest and RP potential for me. And talk about sweet racials - Rocket Jump, Rocket Barrage, Time is Money, Best Deals Anywhere, Pack Hobgoblin, Better Living Through Chemistry. (Alchemy is one of the professions I've always enjoyed, though I confess to being surprised there's not an Engineering racial instead.) /whistle.

/blink  Wow. That turned into something of a disertation didn't it? And I never even answered the intial question! Favorite race in WoW.... If I had to pick one, just one, race as my absolute favorite, it would have to be Dragons. Does it get any more awesome than Dragons? Appointed by the Titans as guardians of Azeroth. Freakin' kick ass powers. And they can shapshift at will to pretty much any race they choose. Oh, yeah. If I have to choose, I choose Dragons!


  1. Really good points about the discrepancies with the Light concerning Priests and Paladins. I mean, you'd almost think they were channeling two completely different power sources! It really doesn't make sense.

    It was interesting and fun reading your varying perspectives on the various races. Good reasons! :D

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Rades! I'm glad you enjoyed it and that I'm not entirely alone in my bafflement over how Blizzard handles different users of the Light. :)

  3. Fascinating analysis. I appreciate all the work this required. You provided your impressions and opinions, but really did more objective thinking than the others, Thanks!

  4. Glad you liked it, Kallixta. It was more work than I'd anticipated when I started, but it was fun to write. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!