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Stereotyping the Horde 217

Posted by Zonk
from the zug-zug-indeed dept.
Terra Nova is having a discussion today entitled Cultural Borrowing in WoW, looking at the cultural references made in relation to the Horde (Jamaicans for the Trolls, Native Americans for the Tauren) and what that means given the Horde's reputation as Evil. From the article: "I want to talk about how science fiction and fantasy often engage in this type of borrowing -- most 'new' things are just old things recoded. For instance, the Wikipedia entry on Klingons points to the Soviets, Mongolians, and Japanese Samurai. In most cases, I think this whole process of cultural encryption, mash-up, and recoding is fun -- perhaps what good art is all about. Looking particularly at WoW, though, I have to wonder sometimes..."
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Stereotyping the Horde

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  • Ugh. No. Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:38PM (#15354281) Journal
    Terra Nova has absolutely no clue what the word "lore" means. The entire premise of both the links in the story are patently incorrect. The Horde is not inherently evil, nor is the Alliance inherently good; yes, there are definitely cultural stereotypes behind many of the races, but attempting to dredge up bullshit by making this link is insane.
    The only inherently, directly "evil" race in all of WoW is the Forsaken (undead). As an Alliance player, I don't know the Troll leader, but I can vouch for both Thrall (the Orcs) and Cairne Bloodhoof (the Tauren) as wise, intelligent, brave leaders. Both kick ass, and neither are severely vulnerable to hubris. The same goes for King Magni Bronzebeard (the Dwarves). However, the leader of the Cenarion Circle (Stormrage), linked to the Night Elves, is arrogant, self-righteous, and condescending. The leader of the Undead is cunning and greedy.

    I suppose what I'm trying to say is that this story starts out by implying Blizzard is racist by saying Native Americans and Jamaicans are evil, yet if anything Terra Nova has the entire thing backwards.
    • Re:Ugh. No. Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by linvir (970218)
      So it's been fascinating to me to see the counterarguments. For example, it was said that because Warcraft's orcs have some noble features, and humans some ugly features, the two races are ethically equivalent. And there were many other, similar arguments, which to me have had very little merit.
      And anyway, one man's "dredge up bullshit" is another's "start a discussion".
    • Re:Ugh. No. Wrong. (Score:2, Informative)

      by ezeri (513659)
      Just a little correction, Malfurian Stormrage is not the current leader of the Cenarion Circle, he is in hibernation. Fandral Staghelm is the current CC leader, and the arrogant, self-righteous, condesending bastard you refer to, and he has a decent back story explaining how he got that way.
  • Pay more attention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:42PM (#15354301)
    The horde isn't evil, they're just alien. That's part of the entire point of the game! The horde is a player race, and if you're a member of the horde then you're the "good guys" and the Alliance is the "bad guys". Of course the horde has all of these strange, "other" cultural identifiers tagged to it-- that's why the Alliance hates them. If you see these cultural identifiers as negative, that just means you share the Alliance's prejudices.

    I imagine the author of this article stumbling through the woods, complaining loudly that he can't get a good view of the forest because all of these trees are in the way.
    • "The horde isn't evil, they're just alien" Um, the Tauren and Trolls have been in Azeroth for, oh, a while. Tauren are one of the few races who actually care about the planet. Besides the Elves of course - oh except the Tauren didn't blow up the planet like the elves did.
      • You are misunderstsanding the OP's use of the world "Alien". He didn't mean they came from outer space. Rather, he was suggesting that they represent "the other", that their culture is vastly different from ours. Contrast with the Alliance, where the culture is very similar to our Western culture.
    • The horde aren't the one with the "internment camps".

      The horde aren't the ones who are trying to commit genocide (except maybe for the undead, but they're a special case anyhow -- their attempts are more bumbling and comedic than anything else)

      The horde aren't the ones who spawned the religious nutjobs (scarlet crusade)

      So, yeah. I never even played a warcraft game before WoW and I can point out 3 lore things that says the author is a bumbling idiot. Sad.
  • by cinnamoninja (958754) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:46PM (#15354329)
    [My son] was afraid of the Undercity. And that's just from the imagery ... as his father, my only defense in this frightening choice would have to be that I am just trying out evil, just getting to know it, just using evil instrumentally for some greater purpose. He abviously can't grasp that now, but even if he could, these are the only possible justifications for me to inhabit such a wicked being.

    The author is confusing ugly with evil. Perhaps he should be teaching his son not to judge people on appearances?

    Not that undead isn't somewhat evil, but a 3-year olds fear at unfamiliar faces is not a spectacular judge of this. And, I certainly don't know anything evil about trolls! They are downtrodden, and ugly, for the most part, but not evil. The author seems to be reading his own preconceptions into this a lot more than Blizzard is.
    • I find it interesting that my own son (age 9) doesn't like to play "the bad guys" in any of these games. He didn't like City of Villains (despite being a huge City of Heroes fan) because you played bad guys. While he messed around with horde characters in WoW, all of his main toons were alliance. In EQ2 he wouldn't make a character on the Freeport ("evil") side.
      Maybe at some point when he becomes a teenager this is likely to change and he will make some evil PVP ganking toon and spam "lolrz" everytime he wh
    • And, I certainly don't know anything evil about trolls! They are downtrodden, and ugly, for the most part, but not evil.

      Plus they have the best accent and the coolest laughter.
    • The author is confusing ugly with evil. Perhaps he should be teaching his son not to judge people on appearances?

      Good point. His kid would probably be scared by a real life person who suffered massive face injuries too. I would probably be a little bit scared by that too.

    • The author has a point about the undead. The Forsaken have suffered horribly, it's true, and they are fighting for their survival against an even worse evil, the Scourge, it's true, but... take a good walk around Undercity sometime. Hang out in the Apothecarium. The Forsaken are evil, and not just a little evil, but a lot evil. From the Big Plan to make a new plauge that will kill everything on the planet to their cultural tendancy towards sadism, the Forsaken are a pretty bad lot.

      I disagree that the Ho
      • Look at the way the Scarlet Cruisade attacks the Forsaken though. There are plenty of quests in the Scarlet Monastary where you see the evil that humans do. There's the quest lines starting in the torture chamber with the stolen ring. You can also see the Forsaken many times still have feelings for their living relatives, despite having their hearts ripped out. Some are hopeless romantics.

        There are evil undead, but they're also working towards a greater good. Look at the Hero in Eastern Plaguelands. H
        • Except that the Scarlet Crusade is controlled and corrupted by Balnazzar, a member of the Burning Legion (demons).

          They don't prove anything.

          We do know that the Forsaken are evil. They have quests that send you off slaughtering farmers to get innocent blood for plague experiments. Just how can you possibly NOT call that evil?
  • False Assumptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheap_tibet (964336) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:46PM (#15354335)
    To anyone that gives a few minutes of thought to the story of WarCraft, it's clear that the Horde isn't evil.

    I think WarCraft, if anything, is posing a criticism against the entire Western mindset from the Medieval period up through Modernity. The Orcs have ceased being manipulated by demons and have returned to more peaceful, shamanistic roots. The Tauren are in a similarly peaceful mindset. The article also notes that some aspects of the Alliance represent technology and capitalism, but a lot of the technology depicted in the game is faulty or untrustworthy. Note, for example, the harmful effects of many of the failed experiments of Gnomeregan.

    The articles in question cite appearance and old mythology a lot; I think Blizzard is attempting to turn the stereotypes of Orcs, Trolls, and Undead as evil on its head. My experience in the game is that they have successfully taken fantasy races long considered to be evil and made them noble.
  • by eobanb (823187) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:54PM (#15354394) Homepage
    It seems like most so-called 'racism' out there isn't blatant and deliberate, but rather subtle and unintentional, made by everyday people who believe themselves not to be racist but occasionally come across that way. In the strictest sense, what could be percieved as 'racism' in WoW is racist insofar as the developers' consciousness of what they were doing. I mean, if someone at Blizzard observed Jamacians (well, actually Rastafarians, as not all Jamacians are as their stereotype makes them out to be) and then said to themselves, 'well I'll make a character out of that' ...then I'd say that's racism. But if the resemblence was concieved at an unconscious level or was just a coincidence, well, that's not racism at all. I'm not sure we'll ever know which it was. Another great example is Jar-Jar Binks. On one hand, he looks like he's straight out of a minstrel show. On the other hand, maybe he's just a bumbling alien.

    My own take on it is that it signifies not racism, but just some lack of creativity on Blizzard's part.
    • "But if the resemblence was concieved at an unconscious level or was just a coincidence, well, that's not racism at all."

      In the case of the trolls the language references ("eh mon") where definately concious. For example the "kill two dwarves in the morning" /funny emote is reworked lyrics to the song "Smoke two joints" (and NO the Sublime versions was NOT the original - it was done by a reggae group called the Toyes).
      I don't consider this to be racist, although it is a bit stereotypical. I think it's just
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @05:21AM (#15356003) Journal
      "I mean, if someone at Blizzard observed Jamacians (well, actually Rastafarians, as not all Jamacians are as their stereotype makes them out to be) and then said to themselves, 'well I'll make a character out of that' ...then I'd say that's racism."

      No, not really. You forget one essential ingredient: for anything to be racism it also has to carry some kind of negative connotation. If it just presents or borrows from some race, but does _not_ pass any kind of judgment of it being "evil" or "inferior", then it's simply not racism.

      E.g., Star Wars borrows heavily from the Japanese, but noone would call it racist for that. E.g., Jade Empire isn't just borrowing from ancient China, but is outright set in an exaggerated fantasy version of China. Yet noone would call it a racist game.

      And the Horde are just a different bunch of cultures. (You can't even say it's one different culture, because each of its tribal components has a different culture of its own.) They're neither good, nor evil per se, and in many aspects they're not even that different from the Alliance cultures.

      E.g., they still live by the same honour rules. They lose honour for attacking civilians, just like the Alliance does, and they gain nothing from attacking weaker opponents, again just like their Alliance counterpart. I.e., it doesn't look "evil" to me in that aspect. There's nothing in there that says "you're great if you go slaughter their women and children and gank their newbies", and which thus could be judged as "evil".

      And Blizzard certainly passes no judgment there. You're not asked to choose a "good" or "evil" side, like in EQ2 or COH/COV, you're simply asked to choose Alliance or Horde. Each one thinks they're the good ones and the others are the enemy, and each one is just as guilty of crimes against the other. E.g., it's damn hard to say "Dwarves are good, Tauren are evil" with a straight face, when the dwarves are the ones desecrating the taurens' cemeteries and such in the name of archaeology.

      Basically if you can view one of those cultures as "evil" or "inferior" just because they're different from the RL western culture, then you've just discovered your own bias. Not Blizzard's.
      • There are 8 races in WoW and only one of them is human. If you look at the humans and the human cities, they definitely appear to be inspired by Europeans. Stormwind City sure looks like it was inspired by a European castle.

        So, Europeans = humans, Jamaicans = trolls, Native Americans = tauren. So... minorities are monsters. This is quite literally de-humanizing minorities.

        If the human race embraced, say, Japanese culture, and European (or American) culture was obviously present in the form of some race
  • If you're confused about whether or not someone is a member of the horde, this fine Megatokyo [megatokyo.com] T-shirt [megagear.com] should make it obvious.
  • Uh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ryvar (122400) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:59PM (#15354446) Homepage
    Speaking as a white male caucasian and die-hard fan, Star Trek is pretty fucking offensive in its borrowing of racial stereotypes.

    Klingons - black skin, brutish, unintelligent, hyper-aggressive, extremely athletic and possessed of a mystical earthy wisdom that's a direct rip of the "magic negro [wikipedia.org]" phenomenon. They're a condensed version of every stereotype about Africans.

    Romulans - intelligent, devious, amoral, harsh semi-collectivist government, yellow skin, slanty features, related to 'emotionless' creatures. Condensed version of every stereotype about Asians.

    Ferengi - greed-obsessed swindlers of the lowest sort with bulbous ugly noses, comical ears, and they are constantly lusting for Federation (read: Caucasian) women.

    It's all there, plain as day. Obviously in the Klingon case there's been importation of 'good' cultural elements like an honor system, etc., but the basic stereotypes are glaring. Tolkein doesn't score much better, either. At least Dune, as the nerd classics go, has the decency to glorify a non-European race.

    --Ryvar
    • by Minwee (522556)
      I think you left out all the crap that the waspy white guys who run the Federation have been involved in. Doomsday weapons, kangaroo courts, secret police, political asassinations, and the episode "Spock's Brain".

      Now THAT'S evil.

    • Re:Uh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rakarra (112805) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:00PM (#15355329)
      Romulans - intelligent, devious, amoral, harsh semi-collectivist government, yellow skin, slanty features, related to 'emotionless' creatures. Condensed version of every stereotype about Asians.

      You're probably right about the Klingnons and maaaaybe the Ferengi, but I disagree with your trying to add Romulans to the racist stereotype list. Intelligent, devious, amoral? Sure, all those were true. Harsh semi-collectivist government? I don't remember the Romulan government, other than it was harsh, but I'll go along with that assessment. Yellow skin? Erm, no, the Romulan skin pigment was the same as that of their white-bread cousins, the Vulcans. Slanty features? Certainly not in the facial features and eyes. The closest you might come is they all have bowl haircuts and long, straight eyebrows. Hell, all the Federation needed to do was give Deanna Troi a bowl cut and long eyebrows and she fit in in appearance with the Romulan society. So no, I don't think the Romulans fit into many asian stereotypes.

      • Re:Uh (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sesshomaru (173381)
        The Romulans were supposed to be Romans.

        That's why they were called Romulans. In fact, the relationship between the Romulans and the Vulcans was probably conceived as similar to that of the Romans and the Greeks (during the time of the Roman empire.). The Vulcans are utopian intellectuals, while the Romulans are warmongering imperialists.

        I mean the Romulans had Senators and Consuls, Romulus (and Remus) were the fictional founders of Rome. It's extremely explicit. They may have been intended to fill

    • by masdog (794316)
      Klingons - black skin, brutish, unintelligent, hyper-aggressive, extremely athletic and possessed of a mystical earthy wisdom that's a direct rip of the "magic negro" phenomenon. They're a condensed version of every stereotype about Africans.

      Actually, the Klingons were meant to represent the Soviets with a Mongolian twist to them. Later incarnations included elements of Japanese Samurai. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon [wikipedia.org]
  • by Johnso (520335) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:00PM (#15354454)
    Ooh, I hope all of the Slashdot trolls chime in with their Jamaican accents!

    "Slashdot is teh suck, mon!"

  • Cultural borrowing happens in almost every fantasy game, book, and movie. Read some David Eddings novels if you want examples that knock you over the head. The only fantasy races that AREN'T based on real-world culture(s) are the ones that are completely inhuman like demons, undead, etc. Even then, the styles associated with them are generally a mock-up of a real-world culture.

    Frankly, I liked Warcraft better when the orcs and trolls WERE evil. No one could say the games were out to make a political point;
  • Others == animals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:06PM (#15354493) Homepage Journal
    I think it's a part of human nature to think of 'those guys over there' as bloodthirsty, uncivilized animals. My bachelor's is in anthropology, and in my reading, time and time again, all over the world, any ethnic group, society, or culture refers to itself as 'the people' -- that's literally what names like 'Navajo', 'Hopi', etc. mean. The implication is that anyone who is not in your group is not exactly human. It doesn't matter whether you are a large kingdom or a small group of hunter gatherers. Those guys over there are bloodthirsty savages with long penises, one step up from animals, who are just salivating to come over here, kill us, and rape our women.

    This kind of racism is by no means limited to white Europeans conquering other groups. When the first White Australian prospectors encountered native New Guineas, the New Guineans thought that these whites were going to rape and seduce their women with penises so long they had to wrap them around their waists! What a reversal of stereotypes -- blacks afraid of over-sexualized white guys with long penises.

    It should come as no surprise that these motifs are repeated in fantasy and science fiction. I'll admit that I'm not widely read, but you rarely find some truly creative and outlandish descriptions of extra-terrestrials. Mostly they are some kind of 'Noble Savage' humanoid with bumps on their head, or a mask, etc. Non-intelligent life forms are some re-capitulation of Earthly life forms, be it plants, insects, reptiles, etc.

    For instance, in Star Wars, you have Chewbacca, who is some kind of Bigfoot Woodsman who growls to communicate, wears no cloths, and has a crossbow for God's sake. A crossbow. Same deal with Ewoks -- cute pygmies, naked, furry, with wooden spears and magic.

    Same deal with warcraft. The Humans are all white guys, with medieval clothing, architecture, and religion. They build churches and practice alchemy and magic. They speak with various British Isles accents. The 'Others' set up tents like Mongolian raiders, have shamans, which is the name for a non-European witch, live in tribes, have cheifs, etc. Orcs are basically Big Scary Black Men in green skin -- muscular, wide notrils, thick lips. Taurens have Totems like North Pacific Native Americans. The Orc Hero Blademaster is obviously a samurai -- people might doubt that orcs are stereotyped blacks, but no one can seriously argue that the Blademaster is not a Japanese guy in green skin. He even has a Japanese accent! "I Hear-O and Obey!" Trolls are voo-doo practicing Jamacans, etc.

    This is the basic fantasy paradigm that we inherited from JRR Tolkein and the racist perspective of the world he lived in. It's called the White Man's Burden -- it was Europe's job to bring civilization and culture to those poor, dark-skinned people inhabiting the rest of the world. This was the justification for the resource explotation of Asia, Africa, and the Americas that fueled the wars and industrialization of Europe, finally culminating in WWI and WWII. The Hobbits were the British, "A nation of shopkeepers" as Churchill put it. The warring factions of humans, elves, and dwarves were the various European nations that couldn't stop their infighting to face a common threat. The Orc armies that Saruman raised represent the vast resources marshalled from the colonies to finance the new European war machines.

    Your honorary anthropology degree in a nutshell. For more detail, check out _Guns, Germs, and Steel_.
    • Yeah, sure... 'xcept Tolkien always denied strenuously that such references were made on purpose or simply were there at all. But hey, let's not let facts get in the way of our honorary anthropology degree...
      • Maybe you should re-read the grandparent post. Tolkien grew up in rural England, served in the army, fought in one World War and wrote the Lord of the Rings in the shadow of another. While I don't disbelieve his claim that he was not conciously trying to draw paralells between the events in LoTR and the real wars he had experienced, saying that he wasn't influenced by what was going on around him is just silly.
    • by meringuoid (568297)
      The Hobbits were the British, "A nation of shopkeepers" as Churchill put it.

      Actually, I believe that was Napoleon...

      I think all the protagonist races of Tolkien's world were actually aspects of British society. So Hobbits are obvious: the idealised green-and-pleasant notion of England, a rose-tinted version of the Warwickshire in which Tolkien grew up. The Dúnedain are the imperial British: ancient and still immensely powerful but aware of their decline from past glory. Dwarves? Industrial society,

    • None of that is really suprising, humans do not invent new ideas, all they do is synthesise all of the information and ideas they have been exposed to and put it together in new ways. If you spend enough time with any fictional race you can eventually pick apart what influences the author had in the back of his head when that race was created. Some times this will be obvious, some times it won't.
      Also, JRR Tolkien didn't just make up all of his races, most of them existed in various folklore and mythology
    • Great post. I was also going to come in here and say how the portrayal of the orcs seems like the idea of some noble savage; good at heart but unsophisticated and unintelligent. But I see you've got it covered nicely, and better than what I would have done.
      I had been thinking about reading that book, but now I think I've finally been convinced.
      • FWIW, Jared Diamond doesn't really get into the ideas behind White Man's Burden, Noble Savage and all that, even at a debunking level. He just does a superb job of providing an alternative explanation.
    • While I'm not denying the insightful anthropology observations, methinks you view WoW a bit one-sided. WoW actually lets you play both sides.

      Sure, you can play Alliance and view the Horde as a bunch of primitive superstitious savages with their witch-doctors (shamen) and carved totems, just waiting to be civilized by the White Man.

      But the gist is, you can also choose to play one of those tribesmen and try to see the world through their eyes. And I mean not just play an orc for the knock-down protection and
      • The problem isn't that the Horde are evil. The problem is that the Forsaken are evil.

        Creating plagues to wipe out all life? Check.
        Experimenting with said plague on humans? Check.
        Killing farmers to harvest their blood? Check.
        Second in command of the race is a Demon (the most evil thing in Warcraft lore)? Check.

        The rest of the Horde races are no more evil then any other race in the game, they just get called evil because they associate with the Forsaken.
      • I don't think it addresses the situation at all that you can play the other side. The racism here is that humans are white Europeans, and that other animalistic races are various non-European. It's basically saying that non-Europeans are animals.

        I never agreed with the 'evil' thesis of the article. But I think it's hard to argue that the horde is not the embodiment of the noble savage. And they are animals to boot.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Horde is not evil. The Tauren (native american) are actually extremely peaceful nature lovers. So there premise is completely wrong.

    The only stereotype in the game of Horde vs Alliance is that more mature people play Horde. Now an in depth study of that would make a much more intesting read.
    • "The Tauren (native american) are actually extremely peaceful nature lovers."

      And of course stating that the Native Americans were extremely peaceful nature lovers is just as wrong and stereotypical as saying they were cannibalistic, war mongering rapists. It's only bad to stereotype when the stereotype is negative I guess.
    • The only stereotype in the game of Horde vs Alliance is that more mature people play Horde.

      How do you explain Barens chat?

  • by Senzei (791599)
    Borrowing ideas from a culture is not intended as a means of social commentary. That the tauren borrow from native american culture and are allied with the orcs reflects on changes in the orcs' culture as they freed themselves from demonic possesion. It says something about the orcs not native americans. That the trolls sound like jamaicans is a unique cultural attribute, not some vague allusion that jamaicans are evil.

    Look, if we went out of our way to avoid offending anyone when borrowing cultural attri

    • To me, the issue isn't with what they're saying about the cultures, but that they're reinforceing stereotypes about them. Every time a player sees the troll and associates it with a Jamaican (sorry if I matched those up wrong, I've only played a little Warcraft), the stereotype is being reinforced. I don't think anyone will take things specific to the trolls and believe that they must apply to Jamaicans as well. What does happen is that each time the player thinks, "Oh, that's Jamaican," the stereotype alre
    • Another thought:
      You mention "borrowing ideas from a culture." That's not really what they're doing. The devs are using their own (frequently misguided) ideas about another culture as a base for their game. Better than that would be to do the culture justice by including an accurate portrayal of it, if they like it enough to use it. They're not just basing aspects of the game on other cultures: they're putting caricatures of other cultures in their game. Everything we know about the rest of the world, save t
    • OMG you want the game to be racist against people from Michigan!!!
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:11PM (#15354530) Journal
    One of the best bits of that game (and there were many) is how things where not always as they seemed. There was one part of the world where zombies, ghouls and skeletons had formed a society of their own and not for once to wage war on the living but just to live their own lives.

    It was too me very refreshing. The entire "series" had this element of turning stereo types upside down. One of the games allowed you to forge an allience between a village and some gnolls. You could have easily slayed them to complete the quest but making an allience made for a far better game in my opinion.

    Nonetheless stereo types are the norm. It is not that suprising really. I have talked to other Torment players who never "discovered" the undead village because they immidialty went into slaughter mode upon spotting the skeleton guards.

    It is easier to be able to spot the goodies from the baddies in an instant so you know who too hit with a big sword and who to heal in the confusion of battle. It is kinda the reason why soldiers were uniforms, in some ways zombie is just a uniform that identifies the NPC as an enemy.

    But why use real world races in a fantasy setting? Well two reasons, first the Star Trek reason. It allows you to discuss real world politics without immidiatly having all the real world baggage. The klingons were like the soviets but were not the soviets. Be symphatethic with a klingon is okay (Kirk does it several times) be symphatitic with a communist is not.

    Sci-Fi often uses this tool the most classic being the case of the two alien races fighting each other tille exstinction. One black and white, the other white and black. Obviously a reference to our black vs white struggles BUT without at any point having to deal with wich of the characters is the white person and who the black.

    The second reason wich I think WoW took is because it safes time, copy and paste a culture is easier then making up your own, plus it increases immersion. People will be adding their own knowledge to your game making it seem deeper then it really is.

    I don't really think there is that much meaning behind it except perhaps the general kinda low level racism that is so common among all of us it is just part of live.

    Could you really picture a jamaican like culture in control of advance tech? Be honest. For that matter could you imagine a troll with the bearing of a british gentleman?

    The predator had dreadlocks. Could you imagine him with a Beatles haircut instead?

    Like it or not but we are all prejudiced. We can overcome it but at a basic level we expect certain behaviours from people with certain looks. It is as simple as that fat people have good humor and thin people have none.

    You can read to much into things.

  • by Dr. Mystery (896982) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @06:51PM (#15354767)
    To anyone that thinks the creators of WoW are racist: YOU come up with even TWO cultures for use in a fantasy game, then tell me that you didn't draw anything real-world cultures, and that you aren't a racist hypocrite.
    • Sure. We have these two exciting cultures:

      The rectangles. They are rectangular and generally move in a two dimensional fashion. They have no language but when they bump into each other it goes "bonk". They are available in all colors including ultraviolet. They have a very sophisticated culture entirely based on the nature of two rectangles bonking each other.
      The invis-ee-ooos. They are invisible. They also have no language and apparently no mass. They're culture is invisible so know one can appreciate it's
  • Let's face it, every 2 sided battle is geared towards "good" vs. "evil". We've been taught that time and again, in every movie, game, whatever. It's always "good" vs. "evil". It's never "one good side" vs. "another good side". Good doesn't fight good. Never seen a script that didn't suck where good fought against good.

    Let's look back on the Warcraft line (which pretty much is the setting for WoW). Remember the name of the first "Warcraft" game? "Orcs vs. Humans"

    Now, pick the bad guy in that makeup. If my me
    • Well, typically minotaurs(Tauren) are evil, but not always. Just look at the Minotaur in the recent Wonder Woman comics. But in WoW context, they are the only truly good guys.

      I can think of many cases where undead are the good guys, though they tend to be the exc eption to the rule.

      I remember one Forgotten Realms book were an Orc, was a Paladin (ya know the quintessential good guy). Again exception to the rule.

      As for Trolls, go check out the webcomic Digger.

      Besides, as for a good guys vs god guys war, th
  • The only good thing about The Horde are the Blood Elf females.

    But that's a very good thing indeed!

  • Alliance Plotline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lord_sarpedon (917201)
    If you follow from Westfall all the way up to Onyxia, it becomes apparent that the Alliance is thoroughly corrupt. TFA has it backwards.
    • Specifically, the Humans are very fractured. Unlike some of the other races (there is no questioning the authority of Thrall as the leader of the Orcs), Humans are fractured and scattered and are presented in game as having complex political issues. There is no Human leader even though there is a "king" (but the reagent runs things, who seems like a level headed nice guy) there are very few who pay anything more than lip service to their leader (the Priests claim they should be running the spirtual things
  • TFA is interesting enough. It makes some definite points. The races in the horde CLEARLY have their roots in extreme cultural stereotypes. Even without a "good" or "evil" side, one has to wonder about the value of such stereotype-based icons. (How would people feel if there were a "black elves" race, with dark skin, giant lips, short curly hair, and a love of watermelons and fried chicken, for example?) You could argue that even just having stereotype-based icons around reinforces the stereotypes, and
    • I agree completely. The problem isn't whether the stereotypes are being associated with good or evil races, it's that they're being used at all.
  • For fuck's sake, it's a damn game. So what if the races of the Horde - fiction - are based upon racial stereotypes in real life? So what if the world in World of Warcraft really is biased toward 'western' cultures? It's not the end of the fucking world if the trolls have Jamaican accents or if the Tauren culture resembles that of the indigenous tribes of North America. The writer of the article needs to remove whatever quantity of sand that has found its way into their vagina and get on with their hopefully
    • Is it a problem if people have huge misconceptions about those cultures? I think so. I can't think of any way that cultural misunderstanding is beneficial (unless you're trying to start a war). It's not about whether the trolls are just like Jamaicans. It's about whether people have any idea what Jamaicans are like. I'm not an expert on Jamaica, but I suspect that when we see a troll and think it's "just like" a Jamaican, we're pretty damn wrong. We're seeing something that's just like our distorted concept
  • by DerWulf (782458) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @05:04AM (#15355919)
    unfortunatly the author and the author he quotes have no clue of the game. The one thing that sticks out in WoW is that you basically get to kill every "race" in the game. As alliance you kill human members of "evil" rogue syndicates (defias), you kill evil dwarfs (darkiron), evil gnomes (shadowcouncil), evil orcs, evil elves, evil dragons etc etc pp. At the same time you work for good trolls (zandarla), good undead (argent dawn), good tauren (cenarion) etc. In WoW, no race is good or evil. At the most, factions are. Even then, often it's ambiguos at best.
  • One thing that you see over and over is the persecution of the other races by the Humans. The Humans mistakenly see themselves as the premier race of the game. They have made allies with the three other 'most human' races out of convience. They're mostly lead by the 'Light' (which is an allusion to Christian religion) in their actions, and see anyone who stands in their way as defying the light. Look at the book by Shadowpriest Allister (Holy Bologna, What the Light Doesn't Want You To Know). The Undea
  • The important thing that I see here is the blatant use of stereotypes. In the end, I think which races are the evil ones is less important than that all the races are expressing stereotypes. Resorting to stereotypes is just laziness, and it's harmful to both the group being stereotyped and to the group being misled. When you use a stereotype you're neglecting to accurately portray the culture you're using as inspiration and you're also neglecting to make up your own ideas. You're spreading misconceptions th
  • I think the author didn't do enough research because if you actually play in the game you quickly see that neither side is "evil" and that there are many factions that cross the lines. Tuarens and Night Elves who don't care much for The Horde who put the natural world first are in Centarian Circle. There are evil Dwarves and Orcs up to their own monkey buisness (they are evil because the goal of their monkey buisness is entirely *evil*) that will attack Horde or Alliance characters with equal hatred. Ar

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