It's no secret that some races generally get shafted by Blizzard when compared to others. Moreover, this can lead to scenarios where you feel that one race that isn't getting much focus could add a lot to an expansion's story if given the chance. So this got me wondering, what is one expansion, for each playable race, that you would give them a larger role in if you could go back in time? What would this role entail? How would it improve the story? Here are mine. I won't be including Allied Races because many of them are newer additions anyway.
The humans and the orcs are both hard to do this for because they get a ton of attention in every expansion anyway. So for lack of a better choice (imo) I'm going to go with the Burning Crusade. The Burning Crusade was partially about reuniting with the Sons of Lothar who went through the Dark Portal awhile ago. One of these characters was Danath Trollbane, who later goes on to become the leader of Stromgarde. However, in this expansion he's just a kind of nondescript questgiver. So maybe make Hellfire Peninsula deal more heavily with Danath and the lore of Stromgarde. Give this expansion the opportunity to partially be the "big reintroduction" of a human kingdom like Cataclysm for Gilneas or Battle for Azeroth for Kul Tiras. Build up Danath as a character more and maybe even start a questline after the completion of Hellfire Peninsula that deals with bringing Danath back to Stormwind and getting him involved in the Battle for Stromgarde.
Again, it's difficult because the Orcs are important all the time. But I'm going to say Legion could have had some interesting potential dialogue had the Orcs been more involved in the revisit to Argus. Something about how the same race that became blood-crazed and killed the Draenei and destroyed their home so many years ago is now going to their original home. There could be some neat dialogue about Orc opinions on old Draenei architecture, the feeling of being outsiders on their planet rather than the other way around, etc.
Cataclysm. So much happened to the Dwarves between Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm and it was all just told through tie-in material. Why couldn't we see more of it in the game itself? Why couldn't we at least have more questlines dealing with the difficulties of all three clans sharing power? There were parts of this admittedly. The Dun Morogh questline ends with the reveal of a Dark Iron traitor and a brief moment where the others accuse Moira of betraying them as well. Some Dwarves in the surrounding areas express a bit of racism(?) towards Dark Irons. And the Twilight Highlands has a whole subplot of getting Wildhammer support. But are you telling me there wasn't anything else that could be done regarding Magni's diamond form, keeping the peace in Ironforge, maybe actually involving Bronzebeard and Dark Iron Dwarves in the story of the Twilight Highlands. I just feel like you can't do something so significant to the Dwarven way of life and tell it entirely in novels and short stories.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like a lot of the potential interesting Darkspear material in Battle for Azeroth was introduced and dropped very quickly. Maybe I'm missing some dialogue. Maybe I'm missing whole questlines. I don't know. But from what I've seen, all you get is Rokhan in the opening quest showing trepidation at working with the Zandalari and then it's basically dropped once they prove useful. I mean, there is so much history between the Zandalari and the other Trolls. Why was there not more time given to the Darkspear's varying reactions to bringing them into the Horde?
Wrath of the Lich King. One of the examples that made me want to make this post in the first place. Aside from the main Scourge plot, a large amount of time is devoted to the Titans and their creations. So many questlines are focused on the relationship between the Vrykul and the humans, the role of the Earthen and what the Dwarves think of them, etc. But the Gnomes get one section in the Borean Tundra where they discover Mechagnomes turning other Gnomes into them and it's just not really touched on again in any other zone. The Mechagnomes return later, but the actual Gnome involvement in their history is gone. There's already so much story potential there. When you turn some Gnomes back into flesh, some cry out that they were perfect, so some clearly want the upgrade. Explore that. Of course, this was somewhat explored in BfA much later on, but the disparity between them and the humans and dwarves is wild in this expansion.
Cataclysm. Same reasons as the dwarves. The Tauren have so much upheaval between WotLK and Cataclysm and it's just not really explored in the game. Can we have Baine settling into his new role? Some Tauren doubting him? More from the Grimtotem than just missions that refer to their role in Cairne's death rather than actually dealing with it? My god. The retaking of Thunder Bluff would've been a fantastic Tauren-centric storyline but it just happens in a book. Such a shame.
BfA. Despite starting with the Burning of Teldrassil, not much was actually given to them in terms of plot. Everything with Tyrande becoming the Night Warrior was interesting…but a side quest that only factors into Shadowlands ultimately. There isn't anything like the remaining Night Elves being some of the most furious fighters throughout the various conflicts; their typical calm and collected demeanors replaced with a reckless hatred for the Horde. Tyrande isn't present (in the cutscene) where Sylvanas is "defeated" at the end. I know they're getting some revenge now (hopefully) in Shadowlands, but BfA really should've been more about the raw aftermath of that for them.
Legion. This is the expansion where Sylvanas becomes warchief, so we should have maybe seen how the Forsaken feel about this. Their Dark Lady now leads the entire Horde. Are they taking this as an opportunity to expand their influence? What if a section of Orgrimmar finally becomes "the Forsaken section" because Sylvanas either lets the Forsaken do this or they take it upon themselves. What if a lot of Horde missions have more Forsaken than anyone else because Sylvanas is giving her people a greater voice and importance? I know they already had a decent role in Legion what with Gilneas taking their revenge and everything, but I feel like Sylvanas' promotion should've been a bigger deal for both them and the Horde.
Cataclysm. With the world revamp and everything, this should have been the opportunity to add in more Draenei towns and content to the base two continents. And this sort of happens. A Draenei town appears in the Swamp of Sorrows and some Draenei appear in other zones as quest givers, but overall not much happens, and they are still one of the races with the least amount of influence in the base two continents of the game. With this you could have shown how they're getting along on Azeroth after all this time. Their short story established that the Exodar is working again. What if we actually saw it in action in some zones being used to evacuate refugees from places being destroyed by Deathwing? Or we could always see the Exodar being further built up into a more expansive and long-term city.
Cataclysm. Exact same reasons as the Draenei. From a story perspective, again, show how they're settling in the wake of the Burning Crusade and everything and maybe have them get more involved in the arcane side of the Cataclysm that a lot of zones deal with. BC also ended with the purification of the Sunwell. With the world revamp, this was the time to show how that has changed the Blood Elves in current times and they just…didn't do that.
BfA. In the lore, Gilneas and Kul Tiras are pretty tight due to geographical proximity, so Gilneas should've been more involved overall in getting Kul Tiras to rejoin the Alliance. We get a bit of this with Genn specifically, and a lot of his lines show his development and how he's using his learned lessons from Gilneas to help out Kul Tiras, but I would have liked to see more of this influence the story itself. Have the main force accompanying Jaina to Kul Tiras be Gilnean, maybe including some familiar Gilnean characters like the Crowleys or Mia. Have a lot of the Alliance forces in Kul Tiras wear Gilnean armor to signify that they're the main force there, have Genn give some speech to some gathered Kul Tirans about how Gilneas failed due to stubbornly refusing unity and he's seeing the same play out here all over again. There's a lot that could be done. There's also the fact that Teldrassil was their home too. This does play a part in the Night Warrior storyline, but as I said previously, that too didn't get as much time as it should've.
Mists of Pandaria. Considering Garrosh's disdain for Goblins was made very clear the minute they joined the Horde, it's a bit odd that they didn't play a larger role in the "Garrosh shows his ass" expansion. Again, in what seems to be the repeated phrase here, there was some of this. One mission shows the Goblins being refused payment and then demeaned and insulted by being told they are nothing to Garrosh and his true Horde. This is ultimately what leads to them joining Vol'Jin's resistance. But again, the Goblins really were the first victims of Garrosh's racist attitude in a way. Before he confined the Darkspear to their section of Orgrimmar and the Echo Isles, he confined the Goblins to the slums. I think this would have been a great expansion to showcase Gallywix in particular. Show his intelligence in removing Garrosh's support behind his back. I mean, one of the MoP short stories outright showed a fight between Garrosh and Gallywix, so it seems like at least some at Blizzard knew there was material there.
BfA was basically the perfect expansion to give these characters a prominent role again. Let's look at this. First, we have the intensified faction war. The Pandaren are the neutral race. They chose a side based on differing philosophies, but we're shown time and time again that they don't hold ill will towards the others. From their uncomfortable response to their respective leaders' strict faction-centric ideologies to Ji and Aysa working together in Legion regardless of faction divides, they would seem to be total proponents of peace between the factions. So why weren't they involved in the expansion all about the war and later (apparently) "final" peace? We could have either seen them somehow get swept up in the conflict and fight other Pandaren in a horrifying moment for them or be the ones advocating for peace before the others decide to. And also, on the Huojin side, you deal with bringing the Zandalari into the Horde as well as fighting the Mogu once again. It's insane to me that we didn't get some pushback from the Pandaren joining up with their former slavers and fighting against their other former slavers. It's barely acknowledged, and when it is, it's glossed over quickly. Why?
Anyway, those are mine. What are yours?
- Who would you say are the best matches for Alliance vs Horde?
- I think the devs need to make more of an effort moving forward to have the stories/lore of their playable races advance in some meaningful way with each expansion
- Why didn’t the undead try curing themselves after Wrath?
More about World of Warcraft (WoW)Post: "Increasing Story Involvement of Playable Races in Past Expansions" specifically for the game World of Warcraft (WoW). Other useful information about this game:
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