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1-19-2009 @ 1:46AM
"Other classes, such as warriors, or paladins, come as a sort of pre-defined archetype in fantasy games that don't seem all that different from their original forms in other fantasy settings."And you could argue that Shamans are the only class in the game that have any true real-world counterpart. There simply aren't Mages or Paladins in the real world, but there are Shamans.Personally, I think Blizzard has dropped the ball with this class. There could be so many great in-game events and features centered around Shaman lore, but the game designers seem to have forgotten about that aspect past the initial low-level quests and the final totem quests. Seeking out spirits and having vision quests as a low-level Shaman in Mulgore was awesome. It would be great if some of that stuff extended into mid- and late-game. I don't think anyone would complain about having to do a quest to master Spirit Wolves, for instance, if the questline was well-written and adventurous. The Earthen Ring should be an in-game faction. And lastly, the historical background for Shamanism comes from Mongolia, with Native American shamanism seen as a parallel. There are lots of interesting books on this stuff, from historical to fictional. If anyone's a fan of David Mitchell, there's an amazing scene in his first book, Ghostwritten, in which a disembodied spirit takes its host to see a Shaman. I'm talking candle-lit ger, communing with the spirits type stuff here. Anyhow, good post, and I hope Blizzard doesn't neglect Shaman lore for much longer.
1-19-2009 @ 4:34AM
Shamans exist in the real world but warriors, rogues and priests don't?
1-19-2009 @ 8:21AM
I didn't mention Warriors, Priests and Rogues. But in any case, Rogues don't exist. They may be based on a composite of different professional assassins throughout history, but there's a big difference between, say, historical ninjitsu and WoW's Rogues.The word Warrior is a bit general to get into semantics about it, but suffice to say the modern version is a Marine with an M4.And Priests? Well, attending a seminary for eight years, working in an archdiocese and saying mass every day of the week doesn't fit the WoW mold of a healer-slash "shadow magic" wielder.So yeah, we're left with Shaman, who to this day can be found in Mongolia, do function as tribal leaders, and do "commune with the elements" as far as they're concerned. I think that's a bit different than the stretch between WoW's version of Priests and theologians in the Vatican, ya know?Anyhow, I've also got to say thanks again for this article -- I followed the link to the "Unbroken" story and read the entire thing from start to finish. I won't say it wasn't without its flaws, but overall it was a very good backstory explaining why the Draenei took an interest in Shamanism. It's something I think could be conveyed much better in-game through cinematics rather than quest text. Even if Blizzard didn't increase their budget for CG cinematics, they could easily do something along the lines of the Wrathgate quest, using the game engine to show short cinematics on important, lore-heavy quests. That would go a long way in helping players visualize places like Shattrath as real cities with deep histories, rather than just a place to bank and queue for PvP. Just my $0.02, but I really enjoyed the story.
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