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Bandwagon bandwagon go vote go vote hope your candidate wins, so on and so forth.

There, now that that's out of the way...

Pull up a chair for Uncle Zephie's Tale-Tellings.

World of Warcraft showcases the conflict between two sides, the Alliance (led by the Humans) and the Horde (led by the Orcs). For many who don't have any idea at all, most would see the Alliance as the good guys, the ones to cheer for. After all, the Horde is filled with savage races. The Orcs were a ruthless race dominated by bloodlust and cruelty. Well, once, anyhow. The humans were victorious time and again against the Horde forces and fought desperate battles to save their home from the vicious invaders...and many see them as the heroes and to be valued.

But let me tell you a story.

This is a story of Dezco, a paladin you run into during your questing through the Pandaria continent. Dezco exhibits all of the qualities of paladins: courageous, thoughtful, dutiful, and of The Light. He's a strong character and a strong warrior.

Yet, when you come across him again in the Krasarang Wilds zone, you find him in trouble. His wife is extremely sick, having caught a disease on the way to Pandaria. She is laid low in their quarters and needs help...because their unborn child is due soon. Dezco pleads with you to help, to aid in any way that you can. The next few quests show you dashing all over that zone, finding herbal remedies (courtesy of the Pandaren monk who is in the area), natural cures, anything at all...until after the last quest you turn in and after you defend the area from an invasion of dark forces, Dezco's wife goes into labor.

He asks you humbly to guard the tent while he looks after her. Doing so shows a cutscene of your character assuming a watchful guard...and it feels like a small honor.

The next scene shows a funeral pyre being lit, shedding her earthly remains behind. For she did not make it through the birth...and the camera ends its sweeping shot of the camp as your character looks in on Dezco, standing watchful over his newborn twin sons.

Heartbreaking, isn't it? Dezco has taken a tremendous loss that many would be crippled over for a very long time. Yet his sons have given him his purpose, even as he grieves for the loss of his cherished mate. Looking in on it, I saw a true soul being bared, one that's immensely strong and full of compassion and wisdom. A True Paladin.

So why do I bring this up?


Dezco...is a Tauren Paladin.

Dezco is a member of The Horde.

Many of you not in the know for this questline are probably at least a little surprised. "Aren't the Horde supposed to be evil?"

No...not necessarily. And likewise, the Alliance isn't always so pure and noble either. Just look at their leader, King Varian Wrynn, who if he had it his way would commit the very same genocides that he has perceived the Horde to be guilty of upon them. All for a slight against him so very very long ago that isn't really applicable anymore.

Dezco's questline stands as definable proof that when viewed without prior knowledge, the labels stop applying completely. Many of you hurt at least a little reading about Dezco's painful and helpless loss. And yet, had you been aware of his being a Tauren, would you have viewed him differently? Would the staunchest of Alliance supporters have sneered and said he deserved it?

I don't know...but it stands as a good valid point that labels shouldn't be used to define people because, in the end, we all have things that hurt us and uplift us. We all have good points. Even those who we view through a label. Chances are high that we have no real clue or basis for comparison to what they're REALLY like, only what our instincts and our presuppositions have told us.

Want a clear example?

Democrats v Republicans
Liberals/Left-Wing v Conservatives/Right-Wing
Gays v Straights
Atheists v Fundamentalists
White v All Races Not White (gods, I feel dirty writing that)
Hell, even Cats v Dogs fits this somehow (in a very loose sense)

We can't allow labels to define our peers before we ever know them.

Because we don't know them. Period. And were we to *try* to know, we might be surprised at how very much we can have compassion for them and for what they stand for, what they fight for. At how much we have in common with them, what beliefs we really share.

Because without those labels, they might just be someone we could call an ally. Maybe even a friend.

Something to think on as the election comes and goes.
Viewed: 20 times
Added: 6 years, 3 months ago
6 years, 3 months ago
First, let me just say that I completely agree with the message you bring up at the end of your post.

That being said, I do take some issue with one of the things you mentioned in your post.  Specifically, I’m curious which slight to Varian you’re referring to.  Would it be when his father was murdered by a half orc who was being magically manipulated by another orc?  Would it be when his city was ransacked and his people slaughtered by orcs during the first war?  Or how about the death of his surrogate father at the hands of an orc at the end of the second war, this time with no magical manipulation to blame.  Maybe it was when an orc captured him and forced him into gladiatorial combat against his will when he was suffering from amnesia.  I probably shouldn’t mention when he was ambushed by the same assassin that killed his father during peace talks with the orc who was in charge of the Horde (not to mention the presence of the orc that had forced him into being a gladiator as well), seeing as how the assassin was being magically manipulated yet again but I feel that this event should be included for completeness’ sake.  Maybe it was when the Horde’s second in command, naturally an orc, attacked him in what was supposed to be neutral ground while the leader of the Horde just stands there and watches.   Perhaps it was when the same second in command made baseless accusations against the honor of the Alliance at the Argent Tournament: and before you make an argument of honor before reason, I’d like to quote another orc, “honor, young heroes… never forsake it.”  Or maybe it was when that second in command, by now the war chief of the orcs, effectively nuked a major human settlement, nearly killing the woman (incidentally the one woman who was also probably the Horde’s biggest supporter in the Alliance ranks) who was virtually the only mother figure his son had.

But perhaps I’m being presumptuous.  This slight may have come from some other group in the Horde.  The undead Forsaken perhaps?  Never mind being filled with morally bankrupt individuals working to create an uber plague (which they tested on helpless Alliance prisoners btw), the group of Forsaken responsible for a little indiscriminate murder at the Wrathgate in Northrend, combined with the ‘death’ of the man who had been like a brother to Varian had to make Varian a little upset.  The fact that the leader of the Forsaken didn’t seem to concerned about it save for getting her city back from the demon usurper doesn’t really help their case.  Another fact that probably didn’t help Varian better about the whole thing was that the city the Forsaken had so painstakingly made their own was Varian’s home while the orcs were busy occupying his city and the Forsaken had really let the place go.  I’m talking creepy green slime in the waterways level of basic home neglect.  Maybe it was the Forsaken’s completely unprovoked invasion the human country of Gilneas.  Granted, the Gilneans weren’t technically members of the Alliance so Varian wasn’t really obliged to help out but he did, and while I know he was trying to get them to join the Alliance to make it stronger, I’d like to believe he also wanted to help prevent fellow humans from being totally slaughtered by the undead.

However, the Horde is more than two races.  There are a few others, but honestly, I’ve seen no substantive evidence to suggest that Varian holds any ill will towards the other member races of the Horde beyond the fact that they’re part of the Horde.  And any ill will he does have will probably fade a bit as the current warchief continues to alienate the other races at break neck pace.  Also, he’s good friends with at least one Blood Elf so I can’t see him actively trying to, as you claim, commit genocide on them.  His son is also fairly good friends with the Tauren leader, so genociding them probably won’t happen either.

(character limit kicking in read
6 years, 3 months ago
(continued from last paragraph) That leaves the trolls and the goblins, who he could probably care less about, seeing as how they really haven’t done anything even approaching what the orcs and the Forsaken have done.

Also, I don’t see how Dezco being a Tauren Paladin makes that tragedy somehow more moving than if it had happened to any person of any other race.  As you yourself said, “we all have things that hurt us and uplift us. We all have good points.” All races react to tragedy in similar ways.  There is good and bad in both the Alliance and the Horde and that applies to all their component races, even the undead (see Leonid Bartholomew for a prime example of an undead who is clearly a good person).  But I would argue that, until Garrosh is gotten rid of, the Alliance are way more on the side of good.  Maybe that’s just because I’m biased towards the Alliance and Humans in general.

Then again, my main for about three years now has been a Hordie, so there’s that.

Anywho, good post, very thoughtful.
6 years, 3 months ago
Hm...seems my own biases played my words more than I'd intended. Good on you to call me out on it, Blues. Really!


The point stands true in that a number of these instances that color Varian's perceptions are because of a smaller group of people or one in particular, that being the orc everyone hates, Garrosh. And by everyone, that includes the vast majority of the Horde players (least as far as I've researched, so take that as you will). You even said that Varian's beef only really includes the Orcs and Forsaken.

Yet, I've seen enough of the conflict in Pandaria, especially the brutal way that Jade Forest ends, to know that the Alliance is operating under "Kill ALL Horde, regardless of species". It's...tough to tell whether or not that comes from Varian, but I'll admit that Garrosh wants to destroy the entirety of the Alliance, even though the Draenei and Worgen have really done very little to have any impact on us. But given his speech to starting Horde Pandarens, he commands you to destroy any and all Allies, including family members if they've pledged that way. I can only make an assumption that Varian's doing the same, which says that he wants them all to die, regardless of impact they have actually had on him.

As well, most of the Horde players are still upset about Theramore as well. No player had a hand in stopping it from happening because we weren't allowed to. The choice had been made and that scenario was a race against time to save ONE Blood Elf before the town was destroyed.

Continuing on with that point, most Horde missions involving the alliance have been at the behest of the bloodthirsty quest givers. The horde members, like Dezco, who have more important matters to attend to, like the Mogu invasion, the Sha ripping everything to pieces, and the Klaxxi going bonkers, are actively working to SAVE Pandaria, not destroy it or the Alliance.

So far, at least. The Alliance may be on the side of good, but you might be shocked at just how much the Horde is on that same side too...and it's only the loudest and brashest (read: stupidest) members who are fucking it up for everyone else. My point is that NEITHER Garrosh or Varian is in the right currently, because they're too busy trying to off one another (for glory or whatever reasons they may have) to realize that things are about to explode into something far greater if we don't work together.

You bring up the attack Garrosh made on Varian. I know that Rhonin is the one who stopped it, but as well, he also wanted them to work together to stop Yogg'Saron. Because, in the end, that mattered more than some stupid chest-thumping thing. Watch that scene again. Watch how Varian smirks, knowing he'll get to fight Garrosh and WANTING it. He's no pure soul and he's definitely in it for more than just protecting the world.

Both of them are run by destructive emotions and reasonings. And the rest of us are helpless to stop it.

THAT. Is why labelling one side or another is not useful. Because I know for a fact that a lot of the Alliance are just people trying to get by or do their own thing (Nat Pagle, Hemet Nesingwary, Malfurion, even Velen if you take it liberally). I know that the Alliance is JUST as equal. And Dezco, paladin or not, proves that the Horde can suffer the same as any Alliance.

His being a paladin may indeed not really factor into it. I'll grant you that. But consider: how heartbreaking is it to serve the light...and then be helpless as you try to use it and still can't prevent your loved one from passing? A death knight having this same problem would be different. Warrior too. But Paladins can heal, by their very nature. So keep that in mind as well.

Maybe it's just because I'm a bundle of nerves about the election right now. But hey, this was still some very good points.
6 years, 3 months ago
Upon a Pandaren character meeting with Varian for the first time Varian says the following, “Not all pandaren have chosen the same path as you three.  Some have sided with the Horde.  They, along with the other barbarian clans of the Horde, are your new enemies.  Those whom you once considered friends, or even those you might have loved, are now your sworn adversaries.  I am deeply sorry, but the battle lines have been drawn. I will NOT tolerate any fraternizing with the enemy as you could expose our Alliance to danger.  Do I make myself clear?”  Granted, calling the Horde a clan of barbarians is fairly off-base but is nowhere near as bad as Garrosh’s “the minute they put on that Alliance tabard, they died.”  Varian understands that he’s asking a lot from the Pandaren who join the Alliance but if he doesn’t make his position clear it could lead to breaches in security which would possibly compromise his strategies and cost the lives of many good people.  Also, Varian is not advocating the wholesale slaughter of the Horde, as Garrosh is towards the Alliance.  I’d like to think that Varian wants to avoid sending allied Pandaren against their Horde counterparts as much as possible: Varian knows what family means to a person, having lost a majority of his throughout his life.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the majority of the Horde is working on the side of good.  Thrall’s entire tenure as warchief of the Horde was all about seeking peace between the two factions.  It may be that Garrosh is the biggest reason that the chances for peace are being completely fucked up, but there’s also the matter that Garrosh inspires some pretty terrible people to do pretty terrible things.  In Cata, there was Overlord Krom’gar who oversaw the slaughter of a bunch of essentially helpless druids.  Yes Garrosh ‘dismissed’ him for it but I have to believe that that sort of thing wouldn’t have happened if Thrall had been in charge of things.  There’s also that fact that he did precisely nothing after the Forsaken pretty much blatantly ignored his order not to use their blight in combat.  The only person I know of in the Alliance that even comes close to that is General Hawthorne in the Southern Barrens, or, as the Horde calls him, the ‘Butcher of Taurajo.’  He was behind the Alliance attack on Taurajo and was vilified by the Horde despite explicitly instructing his men to leave a gap in their lines so that civilians could escape.  So yeah, not really much of a comparison.

I haven’t played any of MoP yet so it’s with a lot of trepidation that I talk about the stuff that’s going on in it, but the stuff I’ve read on Wowpedia seems to indicate that Varian is fighting more to protect Pandaria from Garrosh then otherwise.  Taking this from Varian’s article on Wowpedia, “Varian assures Anduin that he is fighting the Horde not out of hatred but for a love of what's right. Both Varian and Anduin resolve to work together to protect Pandaria.”  Now, I suppose he could just be totally lying to Anduin so that he doesn’t try to sabotage his plans, but I get the feeling that that just isn’t the case here.

At your behest I watched the fight scene in the Violet Citadel again, and I have to say that I’ve seen enough smirks to know when a smirk isn’t a smirk.  If anything I’d say Varian has a determined scowl on his face when Garrosh charges him.  The kind of expression you see in, for instance, a martial arts movie when the someone has really pissed off the protagonist and he’s ready for fighting.  I’ll admit that, for quite a long while actually, Varian was totally being run by his rage and other negative emotions.  However, with the help of Genn, Jaina, and most importantly Anduin, Varian has almost completely gotten a hold of himself and found the balance within himself.

(character limit kicked in again)
6 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps the most important point that differentiates the two faction leaders is Varian’s actions after the fall of Theramore, when he refused to help an enraged Jaina in her plan to use the Focusing Iris to drown Orgrimmar and all it’s citizens.  Instead, he and his advisers came up with a tactically sound plan that, if it had gone well, would have resulted in the assassination of Garrosh with as little collateral damage as possible.  Upon embarking on said mission, Varian stated that, “they will fight the Horde for justice, not genocide, and would never stoop to the monstrous tactics that the Horde has committed. They will embody the ideals of the Alliance and will gain victory on their terms.”  This is what makes him a better leader than Garrosh, and I dare say it makes him a better person by leaps and bounds.

You’ve got a very good point when it comes to the feeling of helplessness that one would go through when one’s abilities are unable to prevent tragedy.  But I’m positive there are priests, druids, and shamans that go through the exact same thing in that sort of situation.  A warrior might not be strong enough a rogue might not be fast enough, a mage might not have enough magical power: what it really boils down to is one’s abilities not being enough to deal with the situation, and that’s something that everyone can relate to.
6 years, 3 months ago
Points made. I've revised myself to say that Varian "isn't as bad as Garrosh." Not to say that he's good...but at the very least I can admit he's largely better than Garrosh. One could say that his only equal could be Thrall for sheer leadership.

Thrall wasn't perfect either, but this kind of bullshit we see now in the horde is just...gah.

I dunno about the smirk. It still looks like it's probably the balance between our interpretations (watched it all again myself). Part grim determination, part gleeful battlelust. In hindsight, Bruce Lee's smirks could be considered this too (in a way). It really does depend on how you look at it and how you've looked at leadership in the past.

Maybe that's our difference: we've both seen different types of leadership and it makes us look for differing variables when seeing it. We can both agree wholesale that Garrosh isn't going to be killed quick enough. But I'd like to propose this truce: Varian's far better than I've given him credit for...but he's still dangerous. I look at him and the phrase that comes to mind is "fighting the urge constantly". That need to fight and win or kill or whatever. But that might just be me. Thrall comes off as softer, but somewhat more composed, balanced.

I'll also admit that my drive to play Alliance after all these years is still lackluster, but that might be because I see it falling into some of the same traps in Outland that the Horde does (played a Worgen DK on another server to really see). And...well...there is the hint of arrogance there, same as the Horde.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just recovering from last night's victory and today's denouement of the election cycle, but I'm in a thoughtful way. And you'll pardon me if a lot of years watching Varian forget about his son or want to push his son into being a warrior when Anduin wanted to be a priest (see "The Shattering") makes me edgy. Yes, he went right after to defend his son, but...I don't know. It's a hard call for me to just let go and instantly see things in a more positive light.

On that same note, Paladins.

You described my point better than I could, thanks. That in and of itself was why Dezco's tragedy was harsh. Paladins have that healing ability, that power and it wasn't enough. Any other class would find it the same. Maybe I find a paladin having this problem more poignant is because, when you come right down to it, they're pretty much good at everything in game. Seeing one exposed as weak and unable to do anything is pretty jarring.

Kind of like seeing the most powerful paladin in the world turned into an ice cube moments before the enemy of everything living starts breathing down your neck, right?
6 years, 3 months ago
Nicely said. I do my best to hate ideologies I disagree with, but let my opinion of individuals come to me through what they show via their actions.

As an example, I recently did an experiment where I signed up on two different online forums, both of which are considered pits of vileness by the other one. I took an openly questioning stance, letting everyone know in my first post that I disagreed with some of their core ideas. I did my best to not say anything at all about who I was, not even race or gender, but I was accused by both sides of being aligned with the other one (and thus a 'troll'). In the end, one of the forums was indeed a bit better about meeting my arguments with counterpoints instead of just offense, and also being consistent in their ideology and actions. But both forums failed the biggest test: when I was bullied on either forum, the moderators took the side of the bullies. In both cases, I was reprimanded for behavior which, even if the accusation were true, other people were openly engaging in it far more than I was. But it was easier to label the outsider the cause of the trouble, so both forums banned me. My conclusion was that neither had any right to claim the moral high ground.

I think it's absolutely true what Seraph said in The Matrix Reloaded: "You do not truly know someone until you fight them." I never expected to be liked by these people; I took a disagreeing position because I knew that how both forums dealt with disagreement was the best test of their character. On one forum I had people who I had good, productive discussions with at first, but they turned on me as soon as the group consensus did, despite their own experience with me. Group agreement was more important to them than reality. On the other forum, there was an admin who made it clear that he openly hated me and thought I didn't even deserve to be acknowledged, yet despite this, he listened to other users who insisted I had not broken any rules so I should not be banned, and suggested a new board be created for discussions like the one I'd created. This admin had the power to censor me, but would not, because he understood that there were more important things than his personal whims. To me, the one example shows hypocrisy, the other honor. (BTW, it was a different admin on the same site who ended up chucking me out.)

Hypocrisy or honor. Nearly everything else is less important to me than how much of those two qualities any given person has.
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