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Old 12-17-2017, 08:47 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Night Elf Icon (War3) Night Elves: What Could Have Been?

As threatened.... if you were following my discussion with Marthen in the Druids and Sentinels thread, this thread should not be a surprise.

So there's some discussion right now about what should happen to the Night Elves after Teldrassil burns down. Not a lot, but some. Personally I don't see a way forward for the Night Elves as a society. Their husk will shamble about for as long as the franchise needs them, but to me the Night Elves are dead, and there's no going back now. This is why I maintain that Night Elf fans should leave the franchise. There is nothing left for you here, and the writers at minimum do not care one bit about what you want to see in the game.

That doesn't mean I don't think that it would be fun to talk about how it could have been different, how Night Elves could have been portrayed that would have preserved their identity and maintained their respectability. What follows is one of my ideas about how that could have been done, but I'd love to see others.

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When Admiral Perry turned up in Japan, it was a wakeup call for that peculiar, traditional, and xenophobic society (sound familiar?). They quickly brought on advisors and modernized. The results for Japan were, shall we say, mixed, but until they decided that Pearl Harbor was a great plan, this was working. So what does that have to do with the Night Elves?

There was a quest in vanilla Stonetalon where a gnome expressed an interesting idea. With magic and technology, the Night Elves could continue to preserve their forests. Magic should be a nonstarter, but technology, especially for a society that's ignorant of it? That's doable.

In Warcraft III, the Wardens found goblin land mines and brought them back to their dens. Tyrande later finds them in her mission there, I recall a voiced line about the cache, and depending on what the player wants to do, she can use them. Night Elves would go on to use guns in some situations, as well as sniper cannons. Gnomish advisors were also there at Stardust Spire.

Hopefully you can see where I'm going with this, and it helps the classic problem of gnomes not getting lore either. The Night Elves, after Warcraft III, ally with the Alliance because the Warsong Clan is not leaving Ashenvale, and because Thrall is doing jack all about it. Gnomish advisors are brought in, and treated lavishly. They create settlements in Ashenvale, working side by side with druids to manipulate wood, stone, and metal according to gnomish schematics. Goblins quickly get involved on the side of the Horde because - they're not going to take this sitting down!

Ashenvale becomes a sort of proxy war between Gnomeregan and the Undermine, with both sides lapping up the benefits of the new technologies.

As for the Night Elves themselves, this kind of adaptation raises a host of internal controversies. Pollution wasn't well understood by the druids before, but now that they can see it, some are raising concerns. They are typically blocked though, by the more hawkish elements, who want to see the Horde expelled from Ashenvale forest by any means, and are not above rhetorically shoving dead babies in the faces of their ideological opponents. Kaldorei nationalism also rears its head - also much to the consternation and objection of the more druidic elements.

The fundamental question for the Kaldorei becomes one of expansion versus preservation, and to what extent expansion and adaptation can be said to actually support preservation, and which part is the old Azsharan impulse of empire being reincarnated as "this is what we have to do to survive"?

Of course, despite these controversies, I wouldn't strip out the Night Elves natural allies from the equation, or druidism that matter. The Night Elven embrace of technological elements isn't a choice between druidism and development, it's a shotgun marriage. If you can imagine the barrel end of an artillery piece held in place by large roots and vines, you're on the right track. These kinds of sacrileges are viewed as necessary to permit the Night Elves to save Ashenvale forest.... if after the fighting stops, there's an Ashenvale left to save.
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Old 12-17-2017, 10:04 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Ah, I've given this quite a bit of thought over time, usually on a few different avenues.

A: "Natural Enemies and Natural Allies"

Night Elven natural allies continue to aid them, as the Wild Gods of Hyjal, Druidic forces, and Elunite influence pair off against the Horde's elemental ties, decay aspects, and Loa. Eventually beginning to symbolically mirror the natural cycle of destruction and regrowth in nature.

In this 'canon' the tauren would've been a bit more split in their opinion of the Nelfs, many feeling that they and Cenarius should've reigned in the Centaur more. Troll and orc spirit magics would've played a bigger roll, developing ties with other animals in Kalimdor. Finally, the Forsaken would've represented fungal growth and supplemented shadowy magics.

Furbolg would've also been solidly Night elf, due to Tyrande aiding them in WC3, Dwarves would've explored the titanic aspect of the Nelfs ties with Mountain Giants and green dragons, and Nelfs would've helped the moonkin repopulate. We also would've explored Elune's influence on Water Elementals to counter the Horde's uses of fire elementals.




B: "Fire with Fire"

Similar to your proposal with the Gnomes and Goblins, this would see the night elves bring in gnomes to help counter the goblin shredders and such the horde utilize. Though it'd be mostly in the vein of gnomes serving as 'techslayers' and teaching night elves the basics of how to tear apart goblin tech (ironically operating much as I envisioned goblins working with orcs and tauren vs. dwarves originally).

We'd also see gnomes building into some of the mountainsides and working with dwarves to salvage titan stuff, while the Horde salvages legion stuff from the third war.
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Old 12-18-2017, 10:24 AM
TerrorhoofMayo TerrorhoofMayo is offline

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Night elves could have been a mentors and guides to the lands of Kalimdor to their younger allies. They could have also started policing magic after WC3.
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Old 12-18-2017, 03:30 PM
Icefrost Icefrost is offline

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The most common logical error made when people start suggesting fixes for the elves is to take the wrong things for granted.

Can't defend against tech/magic stuff without employing their own?
Why not? Who decided that?

Warcraft is high fantasy, not dystopian cyberpunk nor detail-oriented science fiction where the most common plothole is the inconsistency of whether transporter beams can be used through a starship's shields or not.

You can just slap 10,000 years of experience and unique druidic knowledge on those problems and call it solved. You can just decide to do that and get away with it. You just have to want to see it as simple as it could be. You just need to remember how far one can actually go with nothing but a simple change of perspective and a little adjustment to the scope of some things. No whacked-out insane-genius ideas required. Save those for where to go next, not for solving a problem that never needed to be, until we all decided to take one guy at their word when they said so, instead of questioning it.

Lost their will, their self-determination, their "fangs" as it were?
Unlike blizzard's faction-war writing would suggest, there's no need to take that skin off the horde's nose, if that's too much for the larger balance of things.

Instead all we need to do, once again, is to go back and dare to reorganize a bit deeper than most people would.
Mages invited into the ranks of the ancient warrior-clerics and druids?
F*ck that. That's the antithesis of keeping that warrior identity sharp and their ideology focused. Far more so than people blinded by the commonality of magic elsewhere in the setting give it credit for. You don't stand out from that by trying to one-up everyone else at their own game, no matter how much desperate, misguided justification you think you can dig up from ancient times. You do it by standing up to what everyone else is doing. Because as stated above, we can just do that and we can just say it works, too.
Kick those suckers out and let them go grovel for asylum from the king of Stormwind instead. Then have night elves show up to round up alliance mages and place them under watch, like the templars from Dragon Age - all the way down to the bit where sometimes the paranoia gets out of hand and bad stuff happens.
Going a bit far? Tell that to the next Lothar-wannabe commanding an alliance force in battle and ask him if he'd go for that deal in exchange for an elite huntress squad making a literally invisible approach on that enemy gun emplacement under moonlight's shadows. Now multiply by a dozen at least.

As a result, disagreement, friction, actual issues to discuss between allies who all bring a set of balls to the table, figuratively or otherwise, instead of yes-men as substitute delegates?
I'll have another one of those, pronto. Make it a double, chief.

Presence, motive, philosophy, and their mark on the alliance they'd be a part of, instead of exclusively the other way around.
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Old 12-18-2017, 05:16 PM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Just wanted to point out that the Burning Legion has been defeated, meaning that draconic measures against magicians should become a thing of the past instead of seeing a re-emergence.
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Old 12-18-2017, 06:21 PM
Icefrost Icefrost is offline

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Just wanted to point out that the Burning Legion has been defeated, meaning that draconic measures against magicians should become a thing of the past instead of seeing a re-emergence.
I was under the impression that we were discussing ideas of a what-if scenario in the past. Although I suppose I personally didn't exactly go and carefully word everything in the past tense, so...half my bad too, I guess?

That said, I think you're also a bit beside the point. Although necessity tends to make a better case for something than just plain old fear and revulsion, letting the night elves have their own effect on what the larger narrative of WoW is actually allowed to do in the first place, in order to not completely invalidate something important about them in the process, is pretty much the bigger point I was making.
After all, you can't tell me that the other races haven't had lease in the past to have something about the setting redefined to better justify current circumstances and creative decisions. That same effect over the years has seemingly done nothing for the night elves but go against them in more ways than I care to list.
Suffice it to say that there's a reason I hate and blame the blood elves' popularity in particular for a lot of what has happened to the details of the arcane as well as elves in general.
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Old 12-18-2017, 07:52 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Just wanted to point out that the Burning Legion has been defeated, meaning that draconic measures against magicians should become a thing of the past instead of seeing a re-emergence.
Two things about this.

First, this is not a "what should the Night Elves do now"? thread. That ship has sailed as I previously mentioned. This is a "what could they have been" thread.

Second, the fact that arcane energy acted like a beacon to the Legion is only one reason for the Night Elves to have issues for it. Arcane magic demonstrably has mental and physiological effects on elves that the Night Elves should want to avoid.

Quote:
Can't defend against tech/magic stuff without employing their own?
Why not? Who decided that?
Technology is not magic. I would be very careful about conflating these two.

Technology can be something as basic as applied knowledge of fire, which by itself introduces the sort of moral quandary I'm proposing. IIRC, in Wolfheart they proposed torching Ashenvale forest just to prevent the Horde from taking it - like the Russians doing the same to Moscow to doom Napoleon. Surely every Sentinel who fires off a searing arrow - which turned up in Warcraft III and a certain prominent piece of art - has to consider as well that she may burn down the fortification she's targeting, but she could also cause a forest fire. Using even basic technologies at times can present a sort of trolley problem for the Night Elves - I think that's an interesting thread to push on.

Before the Orcs showed up, the Night Elves could be called the technological masters of Northern Kalimdor. Who else had the know-how to build and operate glaive throwers? Who else had access to the smelting and forging techniques required to create their glaives and armor? Don't think that these either couldn't have had externalities, such as exhaust, smoke, and other byproducts that are very bad for the environment. In World of Warcraft we even see them using rockets to celebrate the Lunar Festival. Where did those come from? ... and if Night Elves were really turned off by rocketry or combustion, then how could they tolerate, let alone celebrate this?

The answer in my mind is that the Night Elves have not yet found the "line" that causes them to go from "this is completely okay" to "this is a problem and we need to stop".

The other thing is that I don't see the adaptation of technology as reason to alter their identity. Keep the ideology, keep the tactics, keep the mission, definitely keep their independence, update the implements. As I said, I do not see the adaptation of new technologies as replacing druidism, I see an interesting opportunity to see how this particular society would approach industrialization.

The big controversy in all of this is where the line gets drawn, because I would imagine during this process that druids would eventually find out that there are negative consequences that they don't necessarily see now. This wouldn't start as "we have to abandon our principles to save ourselves". It wouldn't be seen as anything close to that, at least at first. It would only be later that people would start to ask about what this is costing them, when they begin to understand the side-effects of this development.
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Old 12-19-2017, 02:04 AM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Night Elf Icon (War3)

My bad.

That said, I don't think that a night elven inquisition would really work well in a game like WOW or fit any iteration of night elves we've had since WC3.

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Old 12-19-2017, 02:50 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
First, this is not a "what should the Night Elves do now"? thread. That ship has sailed as I previously mentioned. This is a "what could they have been" thread.
That's a weird thing to say seeing how there clearly are people who'd like to discuss that.
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Old 12-19-2017, 07:07 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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That's a weird thing to say seeing how there clearly are people who'd like to discuss that.
Well, the great thing about that is that there are a lot of BfA threads and several Night Elf threads where they can do (and have done) just that. This just isn't one of them.

Edit:

Eh, I should reply to this too:

Quote:
My bad.

That said, I don't think that a night elven inquisition would really work well in a game like WOW or fit any iteration of night elves we've had since WC3.
I'd love to know why it couldn't work in WoW, why we couldn't have quests or text showing a climate of fear in Kalimdor for mages, fueled by the looming reality that a warden could pull magic users off of the streets, and no one would know about it or hear from that person again. I don't think you need to have a mage specific mechanic or something like that - just some flavor content.

As for "since WC3" - that again ties back to the purpose of this thread. It's a "do over". We leave Warcraft 3 the same, we go from there. What could WoW have done differently?
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Old 12-19-2017, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
Who else had access to the smelting and forging techniques required to create their glaives and armor? Don't think that these either couldn't have had externalities, such as exhaust, smoke, and other byproducts that are very bad for the environment.
I am with Icefrost on that one.

Here is how night elves extract gold from a mine :


I imagined that every other bit of extracting, smelting, crafting they did would have been along the same line. Making armor from magic bark as though as iron, growing spears and arrows from trees, extracting and shaping metal with the help of wisps, treants and ancients, imbuing them with the blessings of Elune, "clean" arcane magic, druidic power and such.

At worst something akin to what we can see in the LotR movie from the elven smiths.

"Magic tree punk" I guess ?

As for "what ifs", well I would start with night elves not even considering the red vs blue paradigm.

( I mean that's true of pretty much any factions in WoW )

Something along the line of "Oh shit, the world ending threat that is the Legion came back, we pushed them away, but the World Tree blew up, Cenarius son of Elune is dead, half of Ashenvale is still fel tainted, furbolgs are going mad, satyrs are running amok, nagas are coming out of the sea, Maiev is missing, Illidan is in the wild, and there is probably a massive bunch of undead amassing in Northrend."

In that situation, I don't see a 10,000+ year old civilizations giving much fuck about a petty war between a bunch of fel tainted barbarians and careless arcane users. At best they are children that need to be taught the way things are and may help better the current situation. At worst they need to be exterminated right away before they make everything even worse than they already did.

And none of that really goes toward millennia old elf leaders bowing to a less than half a century old orc or human.

I would have like to see more of the Watchers too. The wardens questioning Tyrande/Malfurion leadership due to both Maiev and Illidan disappearance. They may not be as numerous as the Sentinels, but they do seem to have some pretty strong support. And they hold the key to 10,000 years worth of caged criminals. One could only wonder what would happen if they were to get ideas from Tyrande.

So in a mmorpg perspective I guess they would be split in neutral to hostile factions ? With their new neighbours attempting to further gain their trust and maybe get some benefits in return for their respective faction ?
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Old 12-19-2017, 03:46 PM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
I'd love to know why it couldn't work in WoW, why we couldn't have quests or text showing a climate of fear in Kalimdor for mages, fueled by the looming reality that a warden could pull magic users off of the streets, and no one would know about it or hear from that person again. I don't think you need to have a mage specific mechanic or something like that - just some flavor content.

As for "since WC3" - that again ties back to the purpose of this thread. It's a "do over". We leave Warcraft 3 the same, we go from there. What could WoW have done differently?
Well, under the assumption that the night elves would still have joined the Alliance, it would be a tad strange that the other Alliance members would ignore such incidents.

With "since WC3" I meant including WC3, in which night elves were shown to not really have issues with mages as long that they were no night elves and not clearly abusing magic. In fact, if we only consider the pre-WOW lore, the Kirin Tor had far more issues with the blood elves than the night elves.

Of course, you could start the "do over" even earlier, but at that point I would question whether it's really night elves you (or in this case Icefrost) want.

That said, I don't want to ruin your thread with my negativity.
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Old 12-19-2017, 04:02 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I am with Icefrost on that one.

Here is how night elves extract gold from a mine :


I imagined that every other bit of extracting, smelting, crafting they did would have been along the same line. Making armor from magic bark as though as iron, growing spears and arrows from trees, extracting and shaping metal with the help of wisps, treants and ancients, imbuing them with the blessings of Elune, "clean" arcane magic, druidic power and such.

At worst something akin to what we can see in the LotR movie from the elven smiths.

"Magic tree punk" I guess ?
I have to say that I like that term.

As to the rest of your argument, while I would point out that it leaves other parts and the general dillema standing, I can only plead that I've been conditioned into not advancing the idea that wisps can form other sorts of metals. Every time I advanced the very same argument that you did, I had people calling it a game mechanic, and calling the idea ridiculous.

Of course, this was often because I was advancing, at the same time, that Night Elves, with the right schematics and know how could theoretically grow tanks and artillery pieces to update some of their existing weapons. Call that magic-tree punk if you like, but this is why I personally think that the Night Elves had the potential to provide a very interesting story on how that particular culture would industrialize - a bizarre synthesis of the natural and the artificial along the lines of the Night Elves' existing synthesis, rather than a conflict.

That's not to say that I wouldn't want to see a less outlandish route either, but I do think that the possibilities involved with druidic construction were criminally unexplored.

Edit:
Quote:
With "since WC3" I meant including WC3, in which night elves were shown to not really have issues with mages as long that they were no night elves and not clearly abusing magic. In fact, if we only consider the pre-WOW lore, the Kirin Tor had far more issues with the blood elves than the night elves
You are right of course. In Warcraft III, Maiev and Tyrande were more than amicable to Kael'thas.
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Old 12-19-2017, 04:55 PM
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Just wanted to point out that the Burning Legion has been defeated, meaning that draconic measures against magicians should become a thing of the past instead of seeing a re-emergence.
The Burning Legion is defeated, but don't demons still exist? Rampant arcane usage would still be a problem since demons would be attracted to it on their own regardless of the Burning Legion's status.
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:40 AM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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The Burning Legion is defeated, but don't demons still exist? Rampant arcane usage would still be a problem since demons would be attracted to it on their own regardless of the Burning Legion's status.
Yeah, sure, but no big invasion follow-up, it wouldn't really be that big of a deal.
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:40 AM
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I'm not sure where to start, because turning Warcraft into an MMO was inherently destructive to the story. For example, the only reason the gender divide was retconned was to accommodate the players. The furbolg genocide occurred just to give low level night elves questing content. The same Horde soldiers that desecrated Ashenvale were then allowed into Moonglade for mechanical reasons.

Of all the playable races in WoW, night elves were far and away the least adaptable. Like with fitting a square peg into a round hole, Blizzard shaved some things off the night elves to make them fit. If we're doing everything over, let's start with making high elves the fourth playable Alliance race rather than night elves.

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Old 12-20-2017, 06:43 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I'm not sure where to start, because turning Warcraft into an MMO was inherently destructive to the story. For example, the only reason the gender divide was retconned was to accommodate the players. The furbolg genocide occurred just to give low level night elves questing content. The same Horde soldiers that desecrated Ashenvale were then allowed into Moonglade for mechanical reasons.

Of all the playable races in WoW, night elves were far and away the least adaptable. Like with fitting a square peg into a round hole, Blizzard shaved some things off the night elves to make them fit. If we're doing everything over, let's start with making high elves the fourth playable Alliance race rather than night elves.
I'm not sure I agree with either of these. Sure, the writers made certain decisions in putting the Night Elves in the Alliance and in writing their MMO, but arguments like these almost presume that there was something determined about what they did, like nothing else at all could have taken place. Without descending into the broad range of possibilities available, I just don't buy that claim for a second.

The writers chose what they chose - there was nothing impossible about the task set before them, they intended this.

Now, could I see a WoW with the Night Elves having not been an Alliance playable race? Sure. I honestly think they would have done better in the Horde, but if races in the Horde are allowed to retain their identity and look fine without subordinating their themes to the Orcs (see Blood Elves and Forsaken), I see no reason why the Night Elves could not have done the same with a different narrative direction.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:02 AM
Shandris Shandris is offline

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Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
I'm not sure I agree with either of these. Sure, the writers made certain decisions in putting the Night Elves in the Alliance and in writing their MMO, but arguments like these almost presume that there was something determined about what they did, like nothing else at all could have taken place. Without descending into the broad range of possibilities available, I just don't buy that claim for a second.

The writers chose what they chose - there was nothing impossible about the task set before them, they intended this.

Now, could I see a WoW with the Night Elves having not been an Alliance playable race? Sure. I honestly think they would have done better in the Horde, but if races in the Horde are allowed to retain their identity and look fine without subordinating their themes to the Orcs (see Blood Elves and Forsaken), I see no reason why the Night Elves could not have done the same with a different narrative direction.
I'm surprised you'd want the elves in the Horde. I don't think it's fair that the elves should just forgive the orcs for killing Cenarius. In my opinion, the orcs sealed their fate as the elves' eternal enemies when they invaded Ashenvale.

There's no way to reconcile Warcraft 3 night elves with a playable race in WoW. Blizzard originally tried restricting the druid class choice to only male night elves, but that just isn't feasible for obvious reasons. Not to mention the lack of potential enemies/questing content for low level elves.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:08 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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There's no way to reconcile Warcraft 3 night elves with a playable race in WoW.
There's an easy way. They shouldn't have been written the way they were in Warcraft III.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:41 AM
Shandris Shandris is offline

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There's an easy way. They shouldn't have been written the way they were in Warcraft III.
I dunno what the point of this post is in a thread about continuing Warcraft 3 night elves.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:48 AM
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I dunno what the point of this post is in a thread about continuing Warcraft 3 night elves.
The OP says nothing about continuing the Warcraft III night elves specifically. Therefore, it is as valid a could have been as any other.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:50 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Originally Posted by Shandris View Post
I dunno what the point of this post is in a thread about continuing Warcraft 3 night elves.
It's about what could have followed Warcraft III that wasn't what we got. Simply continuing in lockstep with Warcraft III is absolutely an option, a better option if you ask me, but it's only one of many.

Continuing on your point on the gender divide, I'm not sure if it would have been as much of an issue if it was handled well. Male sentinels, for example, are rare. Do you see any in Darnassus? No, but some exist in some parts of the world. Similarly, you do not see many male priest NPCs. They could have done similar things with the druids, indicating that while the restrictions were lifted as of five minutes ago, this is still a heavily male dominated order, and if you choose to play a female druid, you are a rare exception, not the rule.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:00 AM
TerrorhoofMayo TerrorhoofMayo is offline

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Was the gender restriction ever explicitly stated? We know from WC3 that all druids are males, but was it ever mentioned that was the case because of a rule they made up?
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:43 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerrorhoofMayo View Post
Was the gender restriction ever explicitly stated? We know from WC3 that all druids are males, but was it ever mentioned that was the case because of a rule they made up?
I don't recall if it was explicitly stated in Warcraft III, but I remember that Metzen had an issue with it, and they later confirmed with the Druid and Priest archeology set that it existed and was a big deal when it was removed.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:22 AM
Cacofonix Cacofonix is offline

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The concept art had them with seperate roles for men and women.
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