Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ray of Light

Big Rock. There's a reason this is here, just not yet.

I know I keep banging on about this, but this will be the tenth year of Warcraft. That doesn't simply mean almost a decade of gaming, it represents a vast, VAST amount of Lore that's been presented to us as part of the gameplay, and even for those of us who try and resist the pull of being enthralled by all the possibilities, it still happens. Take my fiction series, for instance. It arose as a direct result of what was happening in game clashing with what I believed SHOULD have happened with the storyline, and became a way for me to cope with what was presented. The story remains the same, only my perception of the details has changed. What this has meant however is that coming into Warlords I find myself utterly and totally devolved from the upcoming storyline, with absolutely no interest in Orcs whatsoever and even less concern with the fact I'm going back in time to meet them... until I realised that actually, Garrosh's agenda should be one side of the story.

My interest, as has been the case with a number of people I know, began to move towards the Draenei, and more specifically the Light they worship.

Sparkly dudes. Back to you in a sec.

As an Alliance player I'm going to be starting in Warlords in what was Shadowmoon Valley before the Orcs threw a ton of Fel Magic at the place and reduced it to a wasteland. What the Orcs are doing there is frankly of little or no importance: what I'm hoping (and I'll have to wait and see) is if we are given any glimpse into the Temple of Karabor, which is of course what becomes the Black Temple in TBC. I'm already writing fiction in which the Temple itself plays a key part, and only when I was listening in the week to some of the datamined music that plays (presumably) when I arrive there for the first time had something of a minor epiphany. When the trailer for Mists posed the question 'why do we fight' I realised that my motivation has changed in the ten years since I began this journey. Just vanquishing a Bad Guy after a while isn't actually enough. Being the victor isn't satisfying either, it becomes almost self-defeating, because there has to be something more for the individual in terms of motivation. Just saving the World is all well and good, but how does one reconcile the personal trauma that creates?

In the end the personal cost of war is something Blizzard has spent pretty much the entirety of Pandaria presenting us with to consider.

We are about to leave an Expansion for the first time ever without a scalp of a Big Bad to brandish, because the Pandarans prevented Garrosh's end-boss execution and suggested he be tried for his crimes instead. This is completely new territory for the storyline: normally the sword has only ever been the answer to the long-term problems of tyrants and monsters. The concepts of compassion and justice normally never walk hand in hand, but the lesson Pandaria has taught us isn't just that our own hearts are the compass of our actions, but we are only heroic sometimes when we do NOT do as we always have, but we stop and think about what might happen if we try something different. However, it appears that the consequences for our compassion are going to push us back to a time where war appears to be the default state for just about everything with a pulse, and that mass slaughter will be only answer. For someone like me, who baulked at the events at the Jade Statue, this is enough to make me want to run away screaming. Therefore, to find a means to reconcile myself with the upcoming events, I need some kind of motivation.

That's where the Naaru come in.


There will be those that argue that, for the second time of asking, the Draenei are having to take minor billing behind a Horde aggressor (last time it was the Blood Elves that stole all the thunder) In Warlords they will be the ones being slaughtered by the Orcs we than have to slaughter to make the whole exercise have some kind of relevance. For me personally, however, this isn't the destruction that will ever drive me. I want to learn more about this race of peaceful beings, and more importantly about the motivation that comes from their spiritual guides, the Naaru. There are those who have already speculated that the Light of Elune could have more than a little to do with the Naaru's influence and when I read this for research I was immediately reminded of the quest that Tirion Fordring sends you to in Northrend to try and save the life of a fallen Crusader, a man called Bridenbecker, who inevitably cannot be saved by your actions and is taken by A'dal into the light. It is a quest that touched many people and moved even more to tears, myself included. If you want to know the story behind the man who inspired it, Wowhead has you covered.

What it left me with, and what I still carry, is that the Naaru and the Draenei are a cause worth fighting for.

And so I go into the NEXT Expansion really not caring about the Dudebros of Draenor, except that they exist to further a storyline that, if I'm lucky, might find a way to touch me and change my outlook. However, if it doesn't I have my own chronology to fall back on, and in that the Light remains something that is enough to maintain my momentum. Even if I do not have a character who uses faith as an inspiration I respect those who do, and understand the significance it carries in their lives. You don't need to understand something to fight for it, but it helps if you can start with something like respect, and there's plenty of that here.

I'm ready for whatever Warlords has to offer, even if I'm not actually thrilled about what that entails.


catinglasses said...

Totally agree with this! I am so tired of orcs! I would love this to be us stomping them into the ground and leaving the Draenei in control of the planet.

Grimmtooth said...

"In warlords they will be the ones being slaughtered by the Orcs we than have to slaughter to make the whole exercise have some kind of relevance."

That sounds ... /sunglasses ... savage.


Katherinne said...

It makes me sad that this is the first expansion which I find myself dreading the story.
I dreaded what was going to happen in Cata to Azeroth but was interested in the story and where we were going.
But this time I find myself not caring a whit about the Orc story. I could easily go 2 expansions without dealing with orcs.
I get their tie in to original Warcraft for their anniversary and to the upcoming movie but I'm sorry, I am sick of orcs.
And I'm sick of the "savage/brutal" buzzwords. I have seen so much brutality and savagery in the real world over the past few years that hearing devs throw it around so eagerly and with pride just makes me wince!