reblogging nerdly things //
personal instagram spam found at: http://dailydarling.tumblr.com/
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Take a good look at this screenshot right here, folks. Shed a tear for a younger, more naive, more alive Nazgrim. Soak in the nostalgia of meeting him for the first time in Northrend as the tenacious sergeant in Conquest Hold, helping you overthrow the tyrannical leader of the Horde outpost and…
Wait, sorry, wrong orc. Nostalgia done? Cause we’re gonna talk about sexism in WoW, orc style. Or, in other worlds, how Blizzard likes to forget that they occasionally make really good female leaders.
Nazgrim will go into the annals of WoW history as a beloved character with a story line spanning three expansions, the players working with him through entire zones, battling enemies, surviving in vicious wilderness and charting unknown lands until they face him across the battlefield as a boss in Siege of Orgrimmar.
But he got his start as a non-descript, do-nothing special quest giver.
Gorgonna, standing beside him, was the predecessor for Nazgrim. The heroic NPC of the Conquest Hold story line that the players aid in unseating her sister, Krenna, from leadership of the base. Before he was even a Legionnaire, Gorgonna was busting ass and taking names in the interest of the Horde, right along with the player.
For those who have never played the quest chain out, or just have forgotten, you are sent to Conquest Hold via breadcrumb quest from Venomspite in Dragonblight with the quest To Conquest Hold, But Be Careful! where you are warned that Conqueror Krenna, the leader of the Horde fortress in the zone, is “aggressive, even for an orc”.
Krenna isn’t aggressive, she’s a flat out thug. She’s Garrosh before Garrosh was Garrosh. She threatens to split the player in two ON SIGHT when turning in the breadcrumb quest, and she only gets more pleasant from there. She’s proud - overly so - of her task: secure resources for the magnificent Horde war machine. And you? You’re a cog. So get to cogging.
Through the quest chain, Gorgonna is constantly keeping her sister’s thuggery in check. From pretending to break an npc’s leg to keep him safe to pardoning a to-be executed trapper to reveal the source of the worgen in the zone, the quest chain eventually culminates in the player and Gorgonna removing Krenna from power forcibly. Afterwards, Gorgonna replaces her sister as leader of Conquest Hold, sans the…questionably scantily dressed blood elf assistants. And then is promptly never ever heard from again.
Gorgonna displays leadership, tactics, compassion, and stone-cold resolve; enough to raise her blade against her own sister to keep her from sending the whole operation in Grizzly Hills to ruin in her lust for conquest. She’s intelligent, proactive, and is a rare gem of magnificent and even tempered Orcish leadership. She’s Thrall’s epixy to her sister’s Garrosh epixy…except she actually does something to stop her sister before she can go too far.
So here we have a character that the players interact with, who has a whole storyline displaying her leadership and command skills, her wit and intelligence. Then we have a non-descript quest giver that has no part in said story line. Yet Nazgrim is lifted out of npc obscurity, put at the forefront of two expansive zone quest lines, becomes a hero twice over, is promoted twice over; and even though we do eventually kill him, he is eulogized by none other than Varok Saurfang himself as a loyal soldier, honorable to a fault, and someone worthy of being remembered as a hero (despite the fact that Saurfang meets Nazgrim for all of two minutes).
The random npc becomes one of the most recognizable names in WoW history with a tragic, but commanding storyline that culminates in an emotional boss fight and memorialization by another major npc. A npc with history, story, agency, and characterization falls into obscurity, barring a little cameo in Garrosh’s short story.
Gorgonna represents a problem that Blizz has with its minor npcs, how they build them up with great storylines and player interactions, then subsequently leave them to rot, never trespassing the zones they were introduced in. Never breaking out into the overarching story. This problem weighs especially hard on the female npcs, who may be active and interact more with the players than most other npcs, but still vanish at the vital, important moments of lore. Gorgonna vanishes into nothingness. Both Sylvanas and Jaina - the two characters who have the deepest ties to Arthas - are never seen inside ICC. Garona, who has been abused and twisted and mind controlled by the Shadow Council and the Twilight’s Hammer, never appears to help take down Chogall, her mortal foe. Taoshi, right hand to Taran Zhu and the character who is always at the player’s side during dailies and the Isle of Thunder is completely absent in Siege of Orgrimmar. Nazgrim, Tirion, and Garrosh and other male characters are so often whisked away from obscurity and into the limelight as major characters over and over again. Often taking over the role of female npcs as the ultimate arbiters of the story line, while female characters are left as mere footnotes in the aftermath, not even worthy of having the players see them come in long after the battle and heroism is done. The conclusions to their stories are scraps to be picked apart in off-game short stories, if they’re even remembered at all.
If Blizz wants to address its sexism problem, it needs to stop shuttering out women characters from their own stories and plucking random male npcs to be elevated to hero status. It needs to stop being afraid of women in the final cinematics, standing as heroes at the forefront of the players. It needs to allow women characters to actually have conclusions to their plots, instead of dangling in obscurity.