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7-27-2011 @ 3:58PM
I loved Warcraft 3. A lot. I think that the greatest tragedy to come out of that game is how big of a shaft the humans have gotten since that game. Thrall basically became the golden boy and Blizzard spent so much time building up the awesomeness of the horde and their heroes that they neglected the alliance. I think Arathor, Arathi, Stromgarde, and their line of ancient kings is probably one of the saddest things forgotten from War 2. I loved Lothar in The Last Guardian. And I think using those lost/wrapped up plot threads would be the best way to give the alliance a hero and story to match Thrall's. Also, Medivh is awesome. I hate that he's dead. Dangit. This whole article makes me want to scream or cry at all of the missed opportunities.
7-27-2011 @ 4:08PM
To me it seemed that even in Warcraft 3 Thrall was one of the main focal points. The major human character, Arthas, was associated with the Scourge for half the game. And Jaina acted more as a support character by being a side actor to the larger stories of Thrall and Arthas.
7-27-2011 @ 4:59PM
Playing WC3 I was stricken how much the plot resembled Lucas' abominable Prequel Trilogy. Arthas is Anakin, Jaina is Padmé, Uther is shoehorned into the role of Obi-Wan. I guess there's only so many ways you can play out the story of the hero's fall, but the human and undead campaigns really didn't grab me until I got TFT; largely because Kael'thas' story was something new and interesting, and because Anub'arak was so awesome. He reminded me of Megatron.I wish we'd had an Azjol-Nerub raid, five-man and quest hub instead of ToC.
7-27-2011 @ 5:20PM
Sorry, I meant that about War III. Warcraft III is when the story seemed to shift. It was also really disjointed. It was one story arc for the human and scourge chapters, and then one story for the orc/NE chapters. It basically means the humans got short changed on their hero. There is one central character per arc, except for those first two. It wasn't really a problem to me till WoW. The whole overall story frequently makes me go wtf now. It seems like Metzen was metaphorically writing LotR and killed off Aragorn in Act II with the killing of Lothar. He ripped off every other cheesy fall to the dark side with Arthas. And Uther is barely a footnote in that game. Medivh was redeemed and shuffled off scene. Don't even get me started on Me'dan. Varian seems like their attempt to make a great Alliance character, and they've pretty well botched that with the comics. (even if I actually like him) It's a crying shame. There is a lot of potential there, and it's totally wasted. I still keep hoping they'll go the route of the Númenóreans in LotR with Stromgarde and Arathi. Lothar was the MAN. Even Uther would have been a great champion. It's a shame they're gone. Same thing with Medivh. Spoilers! After the most recent book about Thrall where he shows up and the Last Guardian, I think he's awesome as well.
7-27-2011 @ 7:26PM
Well, if we're going to be honest about it? Warcraft 3 was when they started having a story as opposed to 'Lord Genericus fought against the orcs lead by Murderking Evilname who were in league with DEEEEEEEEEEEEMONS'Unfortunately for humans, as well as being really generic, they have most of their major backstory in the 'I guess we better have a story for our game' episodes of warcraft.
7-28-2011 @ 9:26AM
I think one way to look at warcraft III is that it is the time of the Horde. After all, look at what it was before. Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Warcraft II was all about the alliance. They had characters like Lothar, King Llane, Medieve, Turalyion, and others. The humans and their Alliance were the developed ones, the defenders of their kingdom from a great evil that poured from another world with no motive other than conquest and destruction. At the time, the orcs were just evil, brutal, and honestly just plain mean. The humans had their heroes standing up to evil, with big reveals like 'Medieve is actually behind the whole thing!' and 'the orc we thought we could trust just murdered the wonderful king!'. By contrast, the orcs had brutal Warlords like Blackhand the Destroyer, Gul'dan, and the Deathknight Teron Gorefeind. They allied with the bestial dragons and savage trolls, and their assasins killed the king. Hell, the player character was Blackhand's second-in-command, Orgrim Doomhammer, who betrayed his Warchief to become leader of the Horde, and was its last commander, captured by the alliance after a young paladin stepped up to fill his mentor's boots and save the world.That is where the story sat at the end of WCII, with the evil orcs scattered or captured, their allies fled to lick their wounds, the kingdoms ready to rebuild themselves, and the wicked, unrepentant orcs locked away. Then, the novelizations began.Richard (KNAAAAAAAK!) Knaak introduced us to such ideas as different factions of dwarfs with the Wildhammers, intelligent, compasionate dragons like Korialstraz, and the struggle of ancient forces like the wars of the aspects against Deathwing. It also introduced the kingdom of Lorderon as a major player, and allowed for political maneuvering by Deathwing as a compelling story-arc. This, along with our first real look at how an orc behaved outside a war-zone, was the beginning of the Horde's characterization beyond 'bloodcrazed evil from beyond the dark portal'. But it wasn't till the next book that we saw what the orcs could be.In Lord of the Clans, by Christie Golden, we see orcs exiled to the far reaches of habitable land for being conciseness objectors to the first war. They are approached by Doomhammer, not as a domineering overlord, but as an old, tired friend who is afraid of retribution by the alliance as the wars wind down. We follow those orc's son as he is raised by a brutal and cruel human, but also gets a taste of the good in humans that was present in the best of the alliance heroes in the past two games. We follow him as he grows, escapes, and learns of his people, how they weren't always the bloodcrazed horde, and we learn that what we've seen so far was only a small but important part of the Orc's history. For those of you keeping track at home, yes, this is something of a retcon, as it goes against the portrayal of orcs players had grown used to, but honestly, I consider it to be the story and characterization marching on.This young orc, Thrall, meets the greatest of orcish heroes and sees them at their strongest and weakest, he learns orcish tradition, and becomes the first shaman of his generation, something no orc had accomplished since well before Orcs and Humans. Why is Thrall special? Because he was raised away from the taint of demons, because he was shown compassion, and because he had to fight to survive. He was born with nothing but his orcish blood, still with a twist of pit-lord in it, and a blue child's blanket with his tribe's crest on it. He grew up, freed his people, lost much personally, losing his mentor Orgrim in a way both dishonorable and shocking, which taught him that the great die, just as the meek and the cowardly. He then lost Taritha, and in doing so learned the depths of cruelty that man could sink to. It was from there that he led the Horde, as Warchief, and where Warcraft 3 begins.Now mind, all this development, of dragons and orcs and shamanism, happened between WCII and WCIII, and when the game did come out, anyone who had ignored the books were faced with a new, reformed horde. They played as a new human, arthas, and watched as he destroyed and undid all the greatness of the humans that had been built up in the past two games. The humans, lost in their squabbling, ignored the undead menace and their wayward prince until it was too late, and the greatest surviving kingdom fell to the undead. meanwhile, the horde, in its new approach, left the lands it knew, and made a new home, made friends with trolls and tauren, and set about building a home. This was the new horde, and it was focused on because it was its time. It had its turn to take, and it chose to save the world, as the humans did twice before, and as the newly-introduced night-elves did long ago. In doing so, the orcs started their true path to redemption, but lost one of their greatest heroes, and greatest liabilities. THIS is why WCIII had such focus on the Horde, because it was the Horde's time. The humans had won the war, but then lost themselves in the squabbles of divided victors. The Horde, more united than the alliance, was the force that stood up, and said they would defend the world, and a blue-eyed child, raised by humans and with the blood of heroes, would lead them.
7-28-2011 @ 3:02PM
@ mibu.work1 That was very well put. That's an excellent summary.In my own opinion, the humans were interesting enough before WC3. However, it was a lot like LotR, or more specifically like the Númenorean tales and the latter Silmarillion ones. It felt somewhat derivative, but it was still cool in that it was in a game format and it was trying to honour that tradition. In Warcraft 3, my opinion of the humans plummeted. Caught up with squabbles and political dispute, they ended up only seeming to care about their own personal disagreements. I don't think they ever regained the heroic image of Tolkien's humans which they had in the second game. Instead they became something else, which is good in that it's different but I didn't have a taste for it. The Arthas story I found interesting even though it was cliche, mostly because at least they had to stop bickering and think of a greater cause.In the end, I think Warcraft humans are only interesting when they holding the line against legion of enemies. It is then that they show their virtues. Left to their own devices, they're squabbling aristocrats who seem to only care about themselves and tiny matters (I really hate human questing in WoW, though the investigation quest line in Westline is pretty sweet).On the flip side, the orcs also changed from being simply evil to a warrior culture of blood and honour. Their story became one of redemption. As far as I know, this was unique to WC and I thought it was a change for the better. Warcraft had found its own flavor in the high fantasy realm and its own voice.The Horde from WC3 was really a force in itself. It had high principles and larger story in the scheme of things. The Humans even in WoW today, seem to me to be very petty in their focuses and are the least interesting race of all right now. Their glorious nature in battle is lost and diluted by their politics. Anduin seems to be the only non-warrior not to fall into this pit. If he unites the humans under a single banner and makes them epic again, then there might be hope.I also have a small issue with Humans being more like mid-western famers scattered around European castles. Even though it's fictional, there's just a clash there.I do hope the Humans regain some more weight in the story, but I also don't think Blizzard's focus on the Horde's story is really a bad thing. Let's be honest, human stories have been done and are still being done. They're all pretty similar, even if they're still fun if done well. The Horde, the orcs and namely Thrall is Blizzard breaking out of the usual fantasy niche. Even if Thrall's characterization and development isn't wholly original, it's still different because he is an Orc.All the various races have values, cultures and beliefs that are very realistic and relatable EVEN the beast-like orcs, the fierce trolls and the peaceful native american cow men. There is an open-minded, cosmopolitan, anti-racist sentiment lodged in there, and Warcraft is *certainly* better for it.Going away from the black and white stories of other high fantasy is good. It's only sad to see the humans become a causality. Maybe because they had to be de-emphasized for the new Horde to shine. However, I think Blizzard is doing great work in that respect. They only need to find a better balance.
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