Friday, 28 October 2011

Pay attention in class!

The announcement of the new Monk class has me stoked! Taking it beyond Pandas... what does this mean for other classes? More importantly - what does it mean for race lore...]

For Dwarves, the brewmaster tank brings a perfection in synergy. Finally our diminutive battle masters will be able to do what they love best, DRINK! FIGHT! DEFEND THE KEGS!

Ork Monks seem awesomely suited in lore as well. A fusion of the shamanistic harmony some of the less war-like orks embrace, coupled with a more disciplined but no less physical form of honourable combat.

However, not unexpectedly, there have been some knee-jerk reactions to the announcement of Monks and Pandaren classes amongst some parts of the community. On the back of that - I wanted to look at what I think works well, or poorly in racial classes, and touch on some of the less obvious combinations some players may not get if they don't delve deep into the lore:

Druids: I honestly don't believe there is any controversy here... The Tauren and Night Elves where inducted into the Druidic teachings directly, the Trolls were natural adopters with there existing living world based beliefs. The Worgen would obviously have Druidic leanings, not only are the experiments of the Druids Of The Pack the underlying cause of their curse, but without Druidic teachings the closed off humans would not have been able to produce enough food to survive. Many Guilnaens call these "the old ways" and some players have a problem with the idea druids could have taught the humans behind the wall... something rather odd when you remember, druids can turn into birds! Sure their wall was high, but not that high. I imagine curious druids interested in Pack Form, dropped in now and then and helped teach the fated humans how to get the most from the land.

Hunter: Playing a hunter myself, I realise it's the most important class in the game! Why... if a race can't hunt, they can't live (well, the Nelfs probably could have some veggie thing going on, but no, they like their bacon too)! The only race that can't hunt, is gnomes....
I guess there is the issue that if a gnome tried to tame a bear, the bear would simply assume someone threw him an appetiser, but that wouldn't stop an intrepid gnome, he's have a hundred new ways of taming pets and launching traps, only 98 of which would explode!...

The race that needs looking at for Hunters is Forsaken. No way they can tame wolves, cats, bears... well... mammals, smelling of rotting flesh, carrion animals would try and eat them, mammals would vomit around them... only insects undead and magical pets would make sense for Forsaken hunters law wise.

Mage: Now this is a controversial one... The Nelfs learnt it and it split the world apart, the Highbourn are still addicted to it, the Blood Elfs are in denial about being addicted to it, the humans are unnaturally masters of it, the gnomes love it as a tool to make even nuttier machines. The Trolls I guess learnt it because it was arcane power that nearly wiped out their race. The Orks learnt it from ork warlocks and troll mages I assume, I don't think this is clear...

Even the Pandaren have experimented with the Arcane, which at this point seems to be like experimenting with water, its everywhere and very easy to get soaked in.

Honestly I expected Pandaren to be more like Tauren, more aware of what the arcane powers do to screw up their users and the balance of mother earth... but apparently if it doesn't mess up ones inner peace, then for a giant panda-man, not a fuck is given. (Having said that - that is probably one of the many pollutions the Alliance and Horde bring to Pandaria... addictive, stupidly potent, responsibility-less power!)

This is of course an important distinction to make between Warlock, for Pandaren, which we will come to later.

On the Nelf issue, if I was to have my say - I would have Highbourne as playable Alliance, and Naga as Horde, that... or change the physical set available when selecting an Nelf Mage, so they can only appear Highbourne... we have yet to see in lore normal violet skinned elfs re-learning arcane arts.

Paladin: This is one class where I believe they totally and utterly messed up... The desire to get two balanced races out in BC really shafted Horde lore, something they only fixed in Cata'. For my money, Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes and Worgen should be Paladins on the Alliance side... Using holy power should to my mind give Worgen a stacking de-buff that prevents them turning into their wolf form, as the Holy Light cleanses them.

Similarly I have no idea why Belfs got Paladin, when the race established as being Sun Walkers where over looked... the Belf Paladin lore to this day feels shoe-horned in, where as the the Tauren sun walker paladin make perfect sense. I would argue Forsaken Paladins are the next most sensible, after all they can be priests, and they used to be paladins in life... again I would argue for a stacking debuff, that forsaken take damage over time when using holy healing.

Priest: The Orks can't be Priest of the Holy Light... wow... surprise. The Goblins can, which is bloody odd.. what do the Goblins know about The Light?! - Gnomes makes sense, they finally found the faith via their companion races, but why the hell do the Goblins care?! That one is new on me.

The Pandaren can be priests, which makes sense, the discipline and enlightened message of The Light would be well adopted by their people (but then you would think Druidic teachings would too?)

Rogue: The only class that can't be are Draenei and Tauren, which makes sense, because they stand nearly as tall as most houses. Besides, we all know Tauren Rogues are all over Azeroth, they are just so good we never see them.

Pandaren are almost the same size as Taruen I would guess, but they have had an entire lifetime of practice in ninja skills, where as Tauren have had a life time of being very rare fillet stake.

Shaman: A lot more Horde can be Shamans than the Alliance, this makes a lot of sense. The Alliance races are much more focus on mastering the world than harmonising with it. The alliance races I'm surprised aren't Shaman are Worgan and Nelfs, who have a growing affinity to the elements... I suspect this may come later.

It's no surprise that Pandaren are Shamans they seem naturally atune with the earth and it's Chi / Sha balance... having said that, I don't know why they can't be Druids, I suspect Cenarius might be teaching them next.

Warlock: For me this is the least useful or sensical class in the game, as if any race that have seen first hand, or seen in BC, what happens when you start dealings with demons, would make it their occupation... There are some exceptions. The Forsaken, obviously, would have no problem dealing in the dark arts, at this point what the hell do they have to lose?

Gnomes and Humans also make sense, curious buggers, to interested in what could be gained to care about the risk. The Horde races taking Warlock make a lot more sense, their main body the Orks, still hold powerful Warlock traditions, although again the Belfs are an odd choice - their life dedicated to the arcane arts, ruined by the Burning Legion, that they would so willingly go back to the demons that totally F'ed the entire world thanks to them? I don't get that.

Pandaren and Tauren quite understandably have nothing to do with demons.

Warrior: Every race has it's warriors, this makes 100% perfect sense... we are at war.

Death Knight: Could only make sense for races that where in Azeroth during Warcraft 3, Worgen and Goblins were, we just didn't see them. The plague of undeath would have got into Gilneas and people could have been snatched out, by gargoyles, again Gilneas was only covered by a wall, not a roof.

And so finally we come to:

Every Race except Worgen and Goblins can be Monks, which makes perfect sense when you think about it... I'll elaborate:

Dwarf: Already a master of martial arts, and meditative skills of Druids and The Light, as well as legendary Brewmasters , dwarves make the Pandaren's perfect pupil

Gnome: A less obvious choice, but given their ability to sit back and reason out complex machines, and a new found faith in The Light, Monks make some sense, certainly a Gnome can find inner peace... it is probably 3.14159...

Human: Humans are, and always have been, jacks of all trades, there is no real reason why humans shouldn't be every class in the game, the shortest lived of the races they are renown for their versatility

Nelfs: Obvious choices for martial discipline and meditation. I wouldn't be surprised if Malfurion didn't have Chen over for Tea

Worgen: Naturally bestial and cursed to an animalistic heart that wishes only to rend and tear... while the most dedicated of Gilnean could learn the peace and harmony of the monk, most are to feral to ever contemplate it - it makes perfect sense this isn't for them

Belfs: Although more tempted by the instant power of the Arcane, the Naru have helped the Sin'dorei learn of The Light, and the peace and healing it brings, I imagine their are those strong in The Light that might find Monk teachings suitable, but I would hardly think many Belfs would go for it.

Goblins: As a race motivated by selfishness and greed, I can't imagine a race less receptive to the teachings of inner peace. The path of the monk would seem far to much work for far to little reward compared to learning the arcane arts for example!

Orks: Although a martial race, only some Orks are blood thirsty... Those who are not warriors at heart often become Shaman, the new Monk class gives them a combat option, that is more intellectual and disciplined, but with as much potential for breaking alliance jaws!

Tauren: Again, a wise race of warriors and faithful, the idea they would embrace the teachings of inner peace is almost a given.

Troll: This is an interesting one, but with their recent teachings in shamanism and druidism, I can see willing Troll scholars, especially when de brew masters come round mon, ah yeah....

Forsaken: I have seen the most opposition for this, when it makes the most sense... They have nothing in their un-life, some don't get out the grave at all, some only because the Dark Lady's will gives them something to strive for. The teachings of the flow of energy, the balance of life, the inner peace - would be hugely attractive to them! It would give them everything to 'live' for again!

The Pandaren might be quite taken aback by the presence of corpses who wish to learn their arts, but they are balanced, focused individuals... a little deviation from balance is fine, they would treat all as equals... no matter how bad they smell!

This has become quite the post, with quite a lot of things covered,. There is all sorts of Lore/Class arguments to be made, but over-all I think Blizzard are bang on top of race/class combos. There are some colour points I think they could indulge in, but over all, I think WoW lore is right on the money!

So, the choice is all yours, roll something, love the lore, and

...Swear Allegiance

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