The Nicest of the Nice, the Baddest of the Bad, Part 1
I was thinking recently about “good guys.” In Star Wars (don’t worry; this isn’t a Star Wars post!), it should be clear that jedi are good guys and empire are bad guys, though Bioware screwed that up with having evil jedi and good imperials (a debate for another day). In thinking on that line, I started to think about WoW and its playable races, and it struck me to do a breakdown of what races appear as bad guys more often and what races appear as good guys.
This would be an enormous endeavor, though, and I’m relatively lax when it comes to doing posts simply due to the fact that I teach 6 writing classes and thus do my fair share of reading already. Still, I figured one simple way would be to look at bosses in dungeons and raids. That would satisfy who the “baddest of the bad” were as well as who’s vastly underrepresented. This will be another series, starting today with raid bosses, then looking at the dungeons over a correspondence or two.
The undead are a majority of playable-race raid bosses. It’s really no surprise that no one trusts them, it turns out, since about half of the playable humanoid raid bosses are undead. One could argue that it’s not fair to lump all forsaken in with all undead, and it’s really not clear if they’ve got the free will to stop fighting if they wanted to. Still, just to count, Naxxramas has 3 wings of undead bosses, plus the last two bosses at the end, totaling 14 (counting the horsemen separately), and even if you cut all the weird undead that are no longer really humanoid, you have Razuvious, Heigan, Noth, Gothik, and the Four horsemen, totaling 8.
Then there’s ICC. Once again, it may not be fair to lump undead in with forsaken, and since this is ICC, I can see that these goons might have been more under Arthas’s sway than they were in Naxx (which initially existed before even the Burning Crusade, before Arthas was really relevant in WoW). For instance, I would hardly count Saurfang as having free will, but what about Arthas himself? Being exceptionally generous, we’ll only chalk Arthas up to being an undead raid boss in here, because otherwise the whole place would count against the undead (10 if we count them all, though only Saurfang and Arthas are really “humanoid”).
Then, again, we have Karazhan. There’s a lot of undead in here, but are they free willed or under the control of Prince? From the story of Nightbane, my guess would be that they’re not really free willed. Still, this is another raid where the undead are made to look pretty bad, whether they have free will or not (5 if we count all the undead, including the Opera Event, but that’s kind of weird one. Of those 5, though 3 are playable races and classes).
Lastly, there’s Teron Gorefiend. Once again, it’s not fully clear how under his own control he is; he’s the leader of the death knights, but he’s on another world, after all, away from the Lich King and working for Illidan, so I assume he should be counted as free willed. It’s tricky to tell with undead, though.
So overall, the undead are by far made to look the “baddest” of all the races, with 30 undead raid bosses (but only 14 really as “playable undead humanoids”) but with an asterisk: how free willed are they, and if they’re not free willed, should they be counted?
Trolls come in second in the “baddest” category, as they had two raids directly related to them: Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman. Unlike the undead, it’s clear that these trolls were in full control of their mental facilities, so this clearly is a “racial” issue. Yes, they were under bad leadership (and still are, apparently), but they chose to worship Hakkar and their totem spirits, so they really only have themselves to blame. The troll count for raid bosses totals 13, even if a lot of them have since been downgraded to dungeon bosses.
Coming in third are our favorite “drug addicts,” the Blood elves. While they are third, they are still significantly less than the previous categories, no matter how you count them. Again, there’s an issue of choice, since addictions can certainly lead to poor life choices, but I’m going to toss them all in and say they’re free willed enough to count. First, we have our famous repeater, Kael’thas, final boss of Tempest Keep. With him are all his council goons, totaling 5 blood elves in TK.
Additionally, we have the Illidari Council in Black Temple. Again, four blood elves are guarding further infiltration of their master’s lairs. Apparently blood elves make great councilmen (and women). This brings our total up to 9.
Lastly, we have Leotheras the Blind in Serpentshrine Caverns. Though he has dark hair, he is in fact a blood elf, making our final total 10 blood elves in only 3 raid encounters.
Orcs have two raid bosses, though one of them fooled me and looked like a Worgen. Hagara the Stormbinder and, technically, High Overlord Saurfang.
Night Elves also have two raid representations. Illidan, for one, represents the night elf raid boss population, though he’s barely a night elf by the time he’s a raid boss. Secondly, Fandral Staghelm. He of all the “humanoid” raid bosses is one of the worst, I feel, for his betrayal and cowardice (sending Leyara to do his dirty work).
Then we get down to the slim pickings. There is only one living human raid boss, the Grand Widow, Faerlina. She apparently just loves spiders and death so much she voluntarily agreed to work with Kel’Thuzad.
When beginning this, I was under the impression that the Tauren would be the “nicest of the nice.” Sure, they’ve got Magatha and the Grimtotems, but they don’t have any raid bosses, right? Wrong. Apparently they slipped one by me, another I’ve never met. Warmaster Blackhorn, the sixth boss in Dragon Soul, now represents all the “bad” tauren out there.
It’s a stretch, but technically there is a dwarven raid boss: Muradin Bronzebeard. He commands the alliance gunship in the eponymous battle to the top of ICC.
So in the end, there are four “good guy” races on Azeroth who haven’t yet done enough bad things to warrant becoming raid material: Gnomes, Draenei, Worgen, and Goblins. However, two of those appears pretty heavily in dungeons, as we’ll see tomorrow, leaving really a competition for nicest of the nice between Draenei and Goblins. I guess the scores will out who’s on top shortly.
It is clear that the horde are massively over-represented as raid bosses, though, as no alliance race has more than one to their name. I wonder if that will change in the coming battle. Additionally, apparently females are far nicer than males on Azeroth, because of those raid bosses listed here, a vast majority are males around the order of 75%. This discrimination is, of course, pretty typical to fantasy fare, but I’d have expected more from Blizzard. Ah well.
Stubborn (and nice, sometimes)
Edit: fixed some mistakes pointed out by Repgrind (thanks!)