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Old 11-04-2017, 12:02 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Alright, so with the pleasantries out of the way, I should get to what you all came here for.

It should be no surprise to anyone that when I saw this, I felt both hurt and angry in a more visceral way that I ever have with this franchise. For all of the apoplectic rage I have expressed over the years, there was no singular point where I felt worse about a story development than I do now. This is after I had pretty much accepted that Blizzard would never give the Night Elves good content and accordingly, moved on from being invested in the franchise.

I used to inwardly snicker at people who said that they were "literally shaking", but then I learned what that felt like.

In a sense, having some time to cool off about it, I feel vindicated for leaving when I did. I knew that the writers didn't like the Night Elves, and I could not have asked for more definitive proof. Burning down Teldrassil is the most definitive statement the company could have ever made against the idea that the Alliance should be an interesting, multipolar, heterogeneous entity, instead of the bland human-led blue and gold faction for, by, and of humans, and no one else.

Those Alliance fans who are hoping for non-human Alliance content, this was a statement: we don't care about you, and we will destroy everything you care about in the name of making our narrative easier to write and program for. In summary: "Fuck you".

I will now address some of the arguments seeking to find a silver lining.

1. "But this will free the Night Elves from their stagnation!"

Blizzard had since 2004 to do that. There are many ways that Blizzard could have iterated on the race, shown them making progress to catch up with the rest of the world. They chose this instead. That choice reveals a lot about their priorities and intentions, which leads me into the second expression of this argument.

There is a strange optimism that this should lead to a better Night Elf story afterward. Why do you people think this is? Is this the bargaining stage of the five stages of grief? You can take this tree, but I'm sure you'll give us a good interesting story? They have no reason to do that, and based on their behavior so far, no desire. You are hoping for a long-established trend to magically reverse - don't hold your breath.

2. It will still be available to lowbies.

So what? The Night Elves still abjectly failed to halt a Horde advance from going through all of their territory, and then getting to the point where they could successfully destroy the capitol. The fact that the zone is gone is immaterial. The fact that the race and its identity are gone, save for those what will be thrown into blue tabards and turned into discount high elves, is what matters.

3. No one ever went there. It's not a huge loss to the Alliance.

No one ever went there because Blizzard chose not to make the place more interesting. Again, this was a problem they could have corrected anytime between now and 2004, and they could have done it by making the city more appealing rather than burning it down. Again, Blizzard's choices reveal their priorities and their prejudices.

4. You just don't want the Night Elves to ever lose.

I haven't explicitly seen this one yet, but I know its coming.

First, it's awfully hard to root for someone who can't stop losing. The Night Elves have been Blizzard's punching bag for a very long time. This is little more than the ultimate expression of that.

But I can see someone coming up and saying "But Kyalin, the fact that you're angry is the point. You're supposed to be angry at the Horde for doing this. If you're upset, then the story is doing its job."

The problem is, I don't think the story has earned it.

If that sounds strange, let me elaborate. When I played Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I could never get the pacifist achievement, and the reason for that can be summed up in one word "Malik". She was your pilot in the game and one of its more 'human' characters, and during my first playthrough, I let her die.

You see, you are returning to Hengsha and are being rerouted by Chinese air traffic control. Little do you suspect that this was a trap being set by Belltower Associates. Who shoot you and Malik down, leaving her aircraft trapped in a courtyard, being shot at by Belltower mercenaries. If you're good, you can kill the mercenaries fast enough to save her, but this is hard to do and during my first run, she got killed. I later saw her body in a harvester den, being vivisected for any spare parts that she might have in this society of mechanical augmentations.

From then on, and in every subsequent playthrough, any time I ran into anyone even remotely connected to Belltower, after knocking them out for the 'peaceful takedown' points, I put a silenced round into their foreheads. That's how angry I was at what 'they' had did.


But 'they' didn't do anything, right? 'They' are pixels, whose actions were written and programmed by the writers and the devs. Shouldn't I be pissed at them, as I am in Blizzard's case? Well, I wasn't because the illusion was strong enough for me not to make that connection. Belltower took Malik and myself by surprise. It was a bad situation that I was quick to rectify once things were back on my terms. Primarily, they established how we got to this point and didn't make the loss seem arbitrary. They also didn't make the characters we were rooting for bumbling incompetents who, frankly deserved it and were unlikeable as well, as Blizzard has repeatedly done with the Night Elves.

I also think that this applies equally to the Forsaken. There's no reason in my mind that justifies a massive Alliance army being in the Tirisfal Glades. The Forsaken should be a very difficult land power to overcome given that they have necromancy and blight, and substantial geographic advantages coming up from the south. Neither of these victories seem in any sense deserved. They just happened because the writers for whatever reason decided that they should happen - that reason probably being: "we don't want to work as hard." (Which may have something to do with Activision-Blizzard's strategy to avoid paying US Income Tax by diverting and not repatriating earnings to/from foreign tax havens)


So, what's the takeaway? Well, for me at least? It was a wise financial and emotional decision for me to cut ties with the series when I did. I knew that Blizzard hated the Night Elves, wasn't serious with their attempt at a push for content in Legion, and now I have the best piece of proof that I could have ever asked for, as much of a gut punch as it is.

For the rest of you, starting with human fans: congratulations, you are in for expansion where you get to try and probably fail to retake Lordaeron. Well done, you. For the Horde, I do hope you enjoy Kosakesque fanfiction about Sylvannas and being portrayed as villains again. You know it's coming. For non-human fans of the Alliance? Give up. You will never get the content you want, because Blizzard does not care about you and does not want your business. It is time that you realized that, and stopped funding them.

Your money, your time, and your investment is better spent elsewhere.
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