Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Cultural Cowardice In Action: The Face-Heel Turn of the Holy Light in Warcraft

The writing for World of Warcraft is not known for being good, but there's mediocre and then there's Shit You Expect Out of SJW Writing Programs. This is the latter. It concerns the Scenario that a Horde player undergoes once he attains the opportunity to recruit the Mag'har Orcs of Draenor (as in Warlords of Draenor) formally into the Horde.

In an attempt to maintain some continuity with the worst expansion in the game's history to date, the Scenario presents the player with a timeskip of some 20-30 years (when, in game time, it's been only two or so since the end of said expansion's events) because Timey-Whimey bullshit, and now the Draenei girl you rescued from the Iron Horde--Y'rel, a.k.a. Joan of Draenor--has become The Prophetess and leads her legions of Lightbound against the Orcs in a war of conquest and subjugation akin to that of the early wars of Islam.

Blah, blah, blah. You defeat the attack and that leads to the Mag'har sending warriors to fight in Azeroth because it's less stupid a scenario than this one. Congratulations, you may now roll a Mag'har Orc as a Horde Allied Race (and play one of the worst races in the game; all that stupid bitchwork for weak-assed orcs), so the disappointment gets worse once you see how bad they are.

This stupid scenario got its setup with a sudden Face-Heel Turn for a specific Naaru (giant living crystal demigod), the Prime Naaru Xe'ra, when the Argus patch dropped and Edgelord Illidan refused Xe'ra's offer to be reborn as Lightforged "because I am my scars" and instead killed the not-angel. Illidan would go on to become the jailer for the Supreme Edgelord Sargaras (the Satan figure, to date) when the player would participate in defeating Sargy and his Burning Legion in their own HQ.

Yep, we suddenly got "Light Is Not Good" force-fed as the Correct Position instead of a possible misinterpretation (Scarlet Crusade) the devs as a culture can't avoid what is otherwise implied by their Totally Not Christianity cosmological roots for the Holy Light; it's a reflexive subversion and they carried it forward here. It's stupid and wrong, and the devs should feel stupid and wrong for signing off on it.

It's another in a stream of disappointing developments for Battle For Azeroth, and while most of them involve gameplay one should not disdain the aesthetics- and this qualifies as another unforced error that will push people away where other errors did not. Why? Because this entire shift on the Holy Light is cultural cowardice made manifest; a courageous company would've owned up to the implications, wore them as armor, and committed to them. That would make for something interesting to engage with. This? Relativist cop-out cowardice. Boring, weak, and lame.

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