Skip to Content
7-24-2011 @ 5:57AM
Because, of course, more WoW novels about humans and night elves will resolve the issue of faction bias. Of course. Not like that isn't more than half of the books anyway.There is no Horde bias, plain and simple. There is only the perception of Horde bias because theirs is a faction that needs more explanation as to why it is the way it is. Think about it. The Alliance is the same stock standard good guy league that exists in damn near every work of sword-and-sorcery fantasy ever written. The stalwart humans, the prideful dwarves, the aloof nature elves, the halflings, we've all seen it before and it needs no explanation. It's the same alliance of men, elves, and dwarves that we've all seen about a hundred times in as many incarnations. The Horde, on the other hand, is a tougher pill to swallow. Six typical fantasy bad guy races depicted in a protagonistic light? As fully fleshed-out cultures with decently balanced virtues and flaws just like the usual good guy races have? That aren't depicted as mindless forces of pure evil as they are just about everywhere else? Who are ultimately only opposed to the usual good guy troupe as a result of unfortunate old grudges and cultural differences? That takes more explanation to get people to buy into it, and so Blizzard has to take those extra steps to keep it in our heads that in their world, orcs are a stern, wisened race of warrior-shaman and not the usual dimwitted man-eating monsters we see in, say, D&D, Warhammer, and the works of Tolkien. They have to do a little more to remind us that their minotaur are downright peaceful worshippers of nature and not virgin-devouring savages at the center of a maze. They don't have to do that with dwarves, for example, because their dwarves are almost no different from dwarves you see anywhere else. You can take them at face-value and have that be that.There is no Horde bias because the Horde is NOT being glorified. Hell, this entire expansion has basically been about its slow disintegration at the hands of an inexperienced dictator and the abhorrent war crimes of one of its key races, while the Alliance is largely depicted as a still-unified and virtuous faction (dwarven civil wars and King Wrynn's economic incompetence aside). Rather, instead of a bias, there may in fact be more Horde EXPOSURE simply because Blizzard has to work harder to make us buy into the fact that in their lore, races that have been depicted for centuries as irreconcilably evil in the vast, vast majority of other fantasy works are, despite their flaws, essentially another band of good guys here.
7-25-2011 @ 2:56PM
THIS!Another reason that there is no bias: both factions are Blizzard's creations. Blizz knows that WoW players are pretty evenly split into the factions across their whole userbase. (If anything, there are more Alliance players, but I haven't checked lately.) So of course Blizz is not going to cater to one faction over the other because they want their players to be happy with the game either way. I don't understand where this idea of faction favoritism on Blizz's part originated.
7-25-2011 @ 4:14PM
While I do respect your argument, the whole thing hinges on the one fact that every player who plays or experiences Warcraft has to have preconceived notions about the nature of Orcs, Minotaurs, Goblins, Trolls, and the Undead. If such was the case, and such exposure was required to constantly remind people that Our Orcs Are Different, then you have a point.The argument starts to fall apart when you start to consider that, maybe, someone doesn't have preconceived notions about Orcs, because they never played D&D or they didn't care much about the Orcs of Tolkien's writing (or maybe they've just never read the books or seen the movies, which is still possible). Maybe someone honestly has no true idea what a Minotaur is and why they're different from the Tauren. Or maybe someone can already tell by their appearance alone that the Goblins of WoW aren't going to be at all like the Goblins of Labrynth, so they toss out any preconceived notions at the very start on their own.Once you remove that requirement, that people have preconceived notions about the Horde races and need to be constantly reminded otherwise, then all the focus on the Horde does come off as favoratism and bias. It comes of as Blizzard constantly focusing on a single aspect of their universe and neglecting to give the other side the same treatment.
7-26-2011 @ 6:55AM
At the same time, though, I would think the reasoning behind it would be that Blizzard understands--or at least assumes--that their core audience are going to be, well, nerds. Nerds that are familiar with more than just Warcraft in terms of fantasy settings. While I don't doubt that within WoW's 11 million subscribers, there are those who've never picked up a work of Tolkien or never played a single tabletop roleplaying game (hell, I'M guilty of the latter), a major portion of the people who would even give a game like WoW a second glance are nerds who love fantasy stories. For those people, there are indeed preconceived notions of what an orc or a troll is supposed to be, as well as preconceived notions of what a dwarf or elf is supposed to be. The fact that Blizzard plays so much against those notions of the former and so much with those notions of the latter is something that I think they're conscious of, and knowing their core demographic, something that they try to stress in order to make sure that core demographic understands what they aim to do with their setting.While gaming has certainly become more mainstream in recent years, it's still a safe assumption on anyone's part that a major part of the audience for gaming--especially games in a fantasy setting, roleplaying games that rely heavily on stat-math, and games that require a considerable time investment--would be the exact sort of nerds who have at least a passing familiarity with standard fantasy tropes before ever setting foot in Azeroth.Ultimately, if there is a bias in Blizzard's creative development, I would suspect it to be more of a racial one than a factional one. When Blizzard does emphasize the Horde, they don't emphasize all of its races, just the orcs. When they focus on the Alliance, they don't focus on all of the Alliance races, just the humans and night elves. There are never novels written about great troll or gnome heroes. Hell, the most spotlight the Darkspear trolls EVER got prior to the Echo Isles event and the Zandalari patch in Cataclysm was the tapping of a keg at Brewfest (the bad guy trolls we raided got more lore than the Darkspear!). Dwarves and gnomes never got a nod until the dwarves' turn to archaeology in Wrath of the Lich King and the retaking of Gnomeregan. The draenei and blood elves have been completely left out in the cold ever since The Burning Crusade, and even there we spent more time on Karazhan, the Amani, and the mag'har (more orcs!) than on the storylines for those two races. The tauren and the Forsaken have fared somewhat better, but the tauren have spent most of their major lore moments riding orcish coattails, and the Forsaken mostly got a starring role in anything as a side effect of the last expansion's Big Bad being the guy that created them. And once Cataclysm's over, I highly doubt the goblins or worgen are going to get any attention whatsoever because, well, they're not orcs, they're not humans (anymore, in the case of worgen), and they're not night elves.What only makes it sting more is that much of the draenei and worgen's introduction into the Alliance and starting zones is focused on, wait for it, night elves!Things have gotten better since Wrath of the Lich King, to be sure. Other races have gotten...at least a little more attention. But humans, night elves, and orcs still run the show, and still get the most blatant glorification and forced idolization of any race in Warcraft. When novels are written, they always center around the Thralls and Malfurions and Rhonins and Arthases of Warcraft (the tauren and dwarves only got a big role in the Shattering by spending the entire time fawning & fretting over what certain orcs & humans were gonna do next). When expansions have a major lore figure as a central hero, it's always a Tirion or Maiev or Varian or Garrosh or Jaina or, yet again, a Thrall or Malfurion, save for maybe a handful of questlines or a patch. If there's a bias, it's there, not between the Horde and Alliance.
First time? A confirmation email will be sent to you after submitting.
Members enter your username and password.
Enter your AOL or AIM screenname and password.
Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.
When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.
To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.