Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Diplomacy - The Alliance, the Horde, or The Good, The Bad, and The Butt-Ugly

"Respect is the first rule of diplomacy." - Hamuul Runetotem, from my stories.

So yeah, I've already commented about this in the past in a few different ways in passing, but today, I'm gonna get down to honesty - the Alliance is a hypocrisy and the Horde is giving it the excuse to be as such. This is what I see when I look at things between the Alliance and the Horde at first glance. Mind you, I started in on the Warcraft universe when Warcraft 3 was semi-new. I've learned a lot about the lore since then, and while I still don't know everything without the help of Wowwiki and such like that at times, I know enough off the top of my head to form a decently biased opinion.

And I warn you, this may make you tl;dr, but eh.

Simply put, at first glance, the Alliance, especially Varian Wrynn, holds a grudge against the Horde based on what happened while the Horde of old was corrupted and evil. What the old Horde did was bad, yes, I know that, and you can blame monsters like Gul'dan for this. What Varian believes is... Horde is Horde. It doesn't matter how much they redeem themselves, and it never will. If you are Horde, you will be deemed evil. Thrall has tried to be respectful and diplomatic in the past, and by hook or by crook, one of two things has sabotaged this - Varian's skewed perspective. In the comics, there's a meeting between Varian, Magni, Thrall, and Garrosh in Theramore. Thrall is respectful and considerate, Garrosh is hothead Garrosh, Varian is passive-aggressive, and if I recall right Magni simply backs Varian's opinion, whatever it may be. At one point, Varian is actually starting to rethink his opinions and maybe try to lessen the tensions and be a bit more friendly. Naturally though, something comes along and ruins it all, and in this case, it's Garona, the murderer of King Llane, which was witnessed by none other than our good King Varian. Note, Garona was not in her own mind in Theramore, but she was being controlled by Cho'gall. This was later found out, but of course, the damage had already been done. Varian believed it to be a Horde-orchestrated assassination attempt and threw out all attempts to listen to reason and be diplomatic.

And for all it's worth, I'm sure there's plenty who know what happened at the Wrathgate, and who know how things went down in The Undercity.

And now we come to the events which have been taking place in Cataclysm.

I want to touch on 4 key points which I see as being factors in what will shape things to come, or have already done so and galvanized opinions one way or another, for better or worse. I'm gonna try and not give too much away because there are some events that really need to be experienced personally.

1. Stonetalon Mountains - this is the main one I don't want to give away, but I will say this... the Horde war machine veers into some real badness, and innocents do suffer in the process, but while the ending is positive, it will still leave you feeling apprehensive, and a bit angry. If Varian is predictable, he WILL latch onto this, and unfortunately, so will the Night Elves.

2. Southshore - anyone who's seen my writing and knows me well enough knows I will not and do not have any interest in Forsaken affairs, and I see them, in general, turning down an evil path. I don't condone what has happened in Hillsbrad. I haven't seen Southshore yet, and I honestly haven't done any questing for the Forsaken besides one simple set of quests in the Barrens and the meeting between Garrosh and Sylvanas. The last quest made me look like *I* was being a bad guy, and that alone put my bias against the Undead, right at the start. Garrosh and Sylvanas put a cap on it. I truly believe that if he were still leading, Thrall would have had something to say about this, but because we're talking about Garrosh and his loosened views on battle, on the war, it'll slide. Tied into this thought is...

3. Taurajo - and anyone who knows me even reasonably knows this puts me into a righteous rage. I haven't gone reading into why the heck the Alliance, namely the humans, have gone attacking a peaceful Tauren settlement and then prepped themselves to attack Mulgore. Of all the races least likely or deserving to be attacked, they attack and slaughter innocent Tauren. If they had any motivation to do so based on Southshore's destruction, why not attack the Forsaken, the ones responsible for the atrocity in the first place? I wholeheartedly support that. What I don't agree with is the attack on Honor's Stand and the attack on Taurajo. It's dishonorable to kick someone when they're down, and this was simply a vicious attack taking advantage of staging point that already has plenty of hardships around it - The Overgrowth, the chasm that splits the Barrens in half, the Quillboar, and the recovery efforts in Mulgore after the loss of their leader and the Grimtotem's treachery. It was a cheap shot. Throw in the fighting in Thousand Needles to the south, and it's really just an area that exemplifies the simple phrase I've used plenty of times, "Nothing is sacred anymore." I know it's asking too much, but if some Alliance actually spoke up and apologized on behalf of their faction, I might have a sliver of respect. This will not happen though, and because of this, I have no desire to play the Alliance.

4. Garrosh - frankly, this is the one that gives me the most doubt that the Alliance and Horde tensions will ever truly be resolved. Yes, he has intense charisma, yes, he is a smart player in the strategies of war, but when it comes to that key focus I made - diplomacy - he's a bull in a china shop(moo). In The Shattering, he makes a brazen move based on a key point in the tenuous treaty made between the Alliance and the Horde at that time, not long after Arthas' defeat. In truth, yes he had the right to do so, but it was not a move made on wisdom and mercy, but rather made with the intent to instill fear and respect based on that fear, and it was actually a cruel move because of the circumstances. In the Twilight Highlands' initial fly-in, he makes another one of these decisions. All it does is cause more tension, and probably makes everyone's jobs that much harder. There is one other surprise to be had in that little scene, but I'll keep that to myself. In any case, Garrosh, for all intents and purposes, represents something that is both rallying and dangerous - The Old Horde's ferocity with the New Horde's unity, which, to be frank, is its own sort of tenuous. Relations between Garrosh and Baine and Vol'jin are tolerant to amicable at best, leaving Sylvanas to shoot herself in the foot with her own devious choices. The Goblins... well, they know how to scheme their way into things, make their money, and make things go boom. Garrosh will favor them because of the simple fact that they will get him the supplies and weapons he needs to wage war with the Alliance. Both he and Varian have a score to settle, and Varian's split persona as Lo'Gosh + Garrosh's pride as a warrior and the son of Grom(not to mention an unhealthy desire to prove himself worthy of more than his father's shadow) will make for lots of big, angry fireworks, guaranteed.

One thing I wanted to touch on as well, as it came to mind... Silverwind Refuge. Yes, it was attacked by the Orcs, and yes, Night Elves died. The Night Elves have also attacked Splintertree Post and the logging camps in and around Ashenvale. Frankly, this is a contained fight and I feel the back and forth is honorable. I haven't finished the parts that involve Astranaar, assuming there are as such, BUT... losses on both sides dictate fairness. Do I find them acceptable? No, war is never truly acceptable. It just is what it will be - cruel, unforgiving, and a necessary evil. That said, I will give Garrosh this - he's also acting based on the desire to see his people survive and flourish. Varian doesn't want to see this happen because of his past prejudices, and therefore, Garrosh will respond accordingly and then some. Issac Newton's laws of motion apply here.

At this moment, there is an immense amount of chaos going on in Azeroth, and the vision of good and evil is blurred. Baine's quote really does fit in this case. If anything, I would like to see the good races in the world get together and make a stand between the two angry tyrants - Tauren, Trolls, Draenei, and... heh, MAYBE Gnomes(really?) should get together and try to be the voice of reason. They all have their reasons to be on the side of neutral. Less likely but also possibly Blood Elves and Dwarves should be in this mix. Why all these races? Shamanistic roots and traits, all have a side of honor to them even with the struggles they've faced and their own personal demons(Draenei + Eredar, Trolls with their savagery, Kael'thas and his twisted mind, Dwarves being forced to 'allow' the Dark Irons a voice, the Grimtotem, uhm... Thermaplugg(!?) going wacko...).

Heh, I started on this almost two hours ago. I guess I had a LOT to say about all this that's been building up. If you made it this far, you deserve a gold star. Now close your eyes for 5 minutes and just give 'em a break.


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