It’s summer, the season when gaming life can seem to go on uneventfully for days or weeks. However, sometimes things happen to shake-up these doldrums. Sometimes, it’s a thing that ripples out from the game and makes its way to the news pages of the world wild web. If it has anything to do with the past, chances are that such an event will be discussed in depth in VALUE’s Slack channels.
That is what happened in the case of the Burning of Teldrassil, a recent but already infamous event in World of Warcraft (from hereon referred to as WoW). Of course it was already on the radar of our long-time WoW players, but when Doc Random read about the burning and player’s reactions to it on Kotaku, he thought he could have all sorts of hot takes (pun intended) on it and get away with it.
Is there a link between the Burning of Teldrassil and the destruction of heritage? Or is this just a case of an old-school ethnographer who was trying to tell “indigenous people” what their culture meant. You can decide for yourself! If you are already on the ball with this particular digital conflict (both within and outside of WoW), scroll on down to see a (long!) bit of VALUE banter.
However, some introductions may be in order. After all, not everyone plays WoW, has played Warcraft III, let alone heard of the main agent propelling this discussion, Sylvanas Windrunner. For that Jaromirr has you covered!
Start of Jaromirr's original piece
Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, also referred to as “the Banshee Queen”, is the Warchief of the Horde and supreme ruler of the Forsaken, one of the most powerful factions of undead on Azeroth. In life, Sylvanas was the ranger-general of Silvermoon. During the Third War, she bravely defended Quel’Thalas from a Scourge invasion led by the death knight Arthas Menethil (who would later become the Lich King). Ultimately, however, Sylvanas fell in battle. Rather than honor the ranger-general with a quick death, Arthas ripped out her soul and transformed it into a banshee: a cunning and vengeful agent of the Lich King empowered by hate.
There, that’s 16 years of character history in the form of an elevator-ride length resumé, courtesy of Wowpedia. Now before you read on, why not watch this cinematic. It will give some context to what you will be reading.
This cinematic created a lot of commotion in the WoW community. Since I am mostly part of the Reddit WoW community, that is where most of the material used and the opinions voiced in this article will be sourced from. However I can assure you that the community stands united, and even shows that in ways that I myself have never seen before.
The first signs of unhappiness started showing when posts appeared about how poorly this cinematic was written. Some people even wrote pretty lengthy pieces on the inconsistency Blizzard has been having with its main characters for the upcoming expansion, with some pretty compelling points as to how out of character some of the events unfolding actually are, like Sylvanas doing things “for the Horde”, or Anduin launching a vengeful war. It’s a pretty good ranty read, but it got a lot of support and created a good discussion.
You can kill us, but you can't kill hope...
Blizzard has stated that all of these plot twists and events are happening because WoW is “morally grey”, but this has been met with more frustration and it has been judged as a poor excuse for bad writing on many occasions. Especially the situation Sylvanas has created within the realm is not really grey, to say the least. This image summarizes perfectly how many feel about Blizzard’s ‘evolution’ of grey-tones from the difficult decisions of Warcraft 3 to today:
Unfortunately, just like Sylvanas, there are players that do not know where the boundaries lie, and end up dragging in-game violence into the offline world. One of the targets of this is talented writer Christie Golden, known for many masterpieces, two of them being the Horde and Alliance epilogue cinematics. Her Twitter has been harassed by many people saying pretty nasty stuff, from “your writing sucks” to actually telling her to “kill herself”. Luckily *objective writer mode off* people like this whose parents should have thought twice before creating offspring *objective writer mode on* are the exception to the rule, and the community reacted swiftly and just. Like the Reddit post states, it’s unbelievable that this actually needs to be said.
There is hope on the horizon for the Horde and its player community though, because just yesterday a cinematic was released featuring the troll Zekhan (aka Zappyboi, a nickname lovingly given by the community, they really like this guy) and Varok Saurfang, the leader of the Orgrimmar Orcs. This cinematic has had a really positive impact on the community and what’s been happening, and one thing is clear: they deem Saurfang to be their true War Chief, Sylvanas is without honor and does not deserve it even in the slightest. Hell, even I, as an Alliance member, think they’re right. Anyway, have a look at the cinematic, it is again an absolute masterpiece.
And lo and behold, a flint of hope. Heck, it has actually even sprouted a movement! A lot of people have stated they will not wear pauldrons until the Horde regains its honor. Call it cheesy or call it a rallying cry, this is something I can truly get behind, even as an Alliance player.
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, that’s for sure. One thing is certain: Caeda, Smoochy and I and all our WoW buddies are very much ready for our new adventures together. Caeda’s and my week off for the launch is booked, August 14th can’t come soon enough!