Deep psychological analysis inbound!
World of Warcraft’s been out for over a decade now, and the newest expansion Legion is on the horizon. New expansions are always a good time to get into an MMO, and I’ve personally been wandering around Azeroth as a newcomer for the last couple of weeks.
If you’re starting out, there is one choice that is more difficult than any other. One that follows you wherever you go, and directly impacts which bits of the world you get to access: your race. If you’re struggling to pick which species you want to stride out into the world with, this handy-dandy guide should help make your decision a bit more obvious.
The Alliance Races
The Alliance are a collective of proud and noble species who joined together to hold off the oncoming storm of enthralled Orcs. Built on their hierarchies and traditions, the Alliance strut around the world in their gleaming armour and riches. If you want imposing strength and flashiness, the Alliance is the faction to be in.
Humans scream “bland.” Choosing to roll a human character suggests you wear corduroy and crocs in your daily life, munching on cucumber sandwiches in your nice little beige house. You’re not particularly exciting and like to maintain a sense of normality. You’re as milquetoast as you could possibly get, and you’re happy with that.
Dwarves are the mid-life crisis of World of Warcraft. They suggest you might’ve previously been a human player and are becoming aware of your blandness, but don’t quite know what to do about it. All the other races look so different and scary! Some are even blue! And so you pick the dwarves, that race what you saw in Lord of the Rings one time. They’re distinctively short, hairy, and brawny, and in a world of towering, lithe elves, that does help somewhat. But it’s hard to deny that they’re still a safe choice.
Gnomes are an interesting one. They’re basically cute dwarves, which may seem like yet another safe choice. After all, why risk being mistaken for a hairy leather daddy dwarf when the Gnomes offer sweet sideburns and cute, Disney-big eyes?
But the Gnomes come with an extra caveat: they’re daft as shit. Picking the Gnomes suggests you like to have a joke at your own expense, because it’s hard to imagine anybody would seriously see the gnomes and think “Yep. This is who I’d like to be.” Have a bit more confidence in yourself!
You’re a randy teenager practically teeming with angst and hormones. Night Elves embody that dark and edgy aesthetic you’ve grown to appreciate from years of Papa Roach and Shadow the Hedgehog, but they’re also hot as hell. Night Elf dudes are tall, have broad chests, and their eyebrow game is on point, while the ladies are buxom and curvaceous.
Don’t think we won’t notice when you sneakily remove your armour while “changing it” to cop a good ol’ eyeful of Night Elf man flesh, because we’ve all been there.
Draenei are a difficult race to place, mainly because telling what they are can be a bit of a nightmare. They’re squid-bull-alien-thingies with tentacles on their faces, so I think what that says about you may be better left unsaid. On the plus side, Draenei work tirelessly to undo the damage their arrival caused in the world, so you’re also probably a friendly tree-hugger too? Draenei are weird, so let’s just say “you’re freakin’ weird” and move on.
Worgen are for people who graduated the Night Elf teenage angst phase and went straight on to full-blown death metal fanaticism. Life is one big mosh pit; you probably wear nothing but band tour t-shirts, and you spend your free time decrying the loss of “real music.” I bet you listen to various Swedish black metal bands with names like Cannibal NightRage screaming at you while you play.
As a Horde player myself, I owe it to all of you to be as unbiased and fair about this as possible. Horde players are perfect beings, forged in the heart of a thousand burning suns. We are the survivors, the people who were strong enough to stand apart from the ‘nobility’ of the Alliance and say “no.” We are the beautiful monsters and the perfect rejects who have huddled together to protect ourselves from a world who hates us.
That, or we all just want to bang Thrall’s brains out.
Picking the Orcs means only two things: you like ‘em big and rough. Orcs are the great big brutes of the Warcraft world, quickly establishing themselves as the most powerful of the Horde races. Two of the three most recent warlords of the Horde have been lumbering Orcs made of muscle and anger who wore very little clothing, and something about that just… fascinates you. You probably got excited for the Warcraft movie as soon as you laid eyes on Durotan.
You’re a bit of a doofus. Unlike the Gnomes, though, you’re an endearing-but-also-scary sort of doofus. Sweet, kind, gangly, dorky, but also with an edge of being able to rip someone to shreds if they cross your path. People struggle to take you seriously, but you know deep down that you’re a force to be reckoned with. People both want to be your friend and run away as fast as they possibly can.
Furry. Tauren are adorable Shaman Moos, but let’s be honest: you’re a massive furry. Take pride in that!
You’ve got a bit of an inferiority complex. Goblins are the smallest of the Horde races, and you struggle to see yourself as an equal compared to the big mountains of muscle that seem to make up the rest of the Horde. You compensate for it by being loud, crass, and vulgar, and people seem to be drawn to you because of that, even if you can’t quite figure out why. Oh, and your ears are something legendary.
You’ve stopped giving a shit. You used to really care about fitting in, but with age you’ve realised that it isn’t particularly important to you anymore. While some people see this as refreshing, it also means you’ve burned a lot of bridges in your time, and now others don’t want much to do with you. You probably get into arguments about religion on Facebook.
You’re an Indie rocker. You picked a Horde race so you could be different, and then when it came to deciding exactly how different you wanted to be… you chose the most human-looking race in there. You’re desperately longing to stand out, but struggle to find your own niche and so jump at the tall, gorgeous Blood Elves. Your favourite band is the Ting Tings.
See the Tauren, because that totally applies here too. You also like making people angry about inane shit, because people get very irate about the Pandaren for some reason. People would describe you as “cute.”
So, that’s all of them. I hope those of you just starting out in WoW find this helpful, and I hope those who’re already at level 100 and ready for Legion learned a few things about yourself! For the sake of total transparency, I play as a Goblin and am considering making a Tauren alt. Make of that what you will.