Let’s be honest here. There are a lot of things in lore that Blizzard doesn’t remember so well, or remember at all. But I need to call attention to one thing that I think Blizzard did completely right.
I’ve never heard someone complaining about the racism inherent to the races of World of Warcraft.
What? Is that a problem, you might be wondering? Is Tumblr’s social justice really worked up about WoW races? The answer is no. But that’s surprising to me. If handled badly, for example, the Tauren could have been the equivalent of naming your sports team the Sioux and thereby offending every Lakota and Dakota in the state and nationwide.
The Tauren especially merge extremely small, independent cultures (Tauren have many things in their culture and architecture based off Native Americans, as I’m sure you noticed) together without destroying any of them and without making them silly or trivializing. They put together totems (native to the tribes of the Pacific Northwest all the way up into Alaska) and tipis (native to the plains- the real world’s Mulgore) and created a spirituality that doesn’t offend its own inspiration. The Earth Mother is peaceful and gentle; comparative to the Great Spirit in many Native American myths.
Sadly, the races that have been introduced later than Classic are rather lacking in the serious mythos that is so well done in races such as the Tauren. Blood elves (and their Draenei opposites) especially have been made into joke characters. Goblins as well are used mostly for a “Look, explosives!” joke in a quest line. Worgen have so far fared better, but then again, I haven’t seriously leveled an Alliance in a while.
A tangent on my hopes and thoughts for Mists:
I would hope that unlike those races and more like the earlier mentioned ones, Blizzard handles the Pandaren with care and creates something beautiful in Mists of Pandaria. If it’s handled well, then Pandaren will not be a “weaboo” character, but rather something that takes the best of Asian cultures and merges them together all the while creating something new. At worst, it could be that streaked hair and Caramelldansen are the actual way Pandaren are going to be presented in their own expansion, and those aren’t the silly facets of a serious race the way Tauren names and Blood Elf jokes/flirts often are.
Thank for read.
The big issue with the worgen, is just their complete lack of integration into the all after their starting zone. The entire Gilneas situation is resolved in a Horde quest chain, and barley see any worgen for the next 70 levels.
I suppose it could be explained lore-wise as the relative lack of time between the shattering and a lingering mistrust on the both Gilneans and the rest of the Alliance, but given a number of other things (Deathwing’s human model used only in a single quest chain in the blasted lands, DW’s current model used in a cutsene that takes palace in the *past* in WoE) it really seems like Blizzard overextended themselves for Cataclysm.