Finally got a pandaren off of Turtleland

| Monday, April 14, 2014
Their quests made me angry. I'd make a monk, because frankly, a non-pandaren monk and non-monk pandaren just don't make sense to me. Then I'd play the monk for a bit. Then I'd get bored by the wonderful mix of "you are the greatest person ever" and "you must learn humility" and go play something fun.

I finally decided to go for it. I'm on my new server, so I have no shortage of character slots. I struggled through it all, until finally, I got in a balloon and talked to a turtle. This confused me for a couple of reasons. First, it was a bit out of nowhere. "Our turtle island is dying" didn't seem to come up much. There was some issue with the little element guys, but that struck me as being their own version of Cataclysm aftermath. Second, why had no one talked to him in so long? Surely a little check up would make sense. Maybe some small talk. Or big, slow talk. Perhaps ask permission to mine the copper nodes.

Then I went to a forest and suddenly... the trailer made sense. This was the strange island that the Alliance and Horde washed up on. Of course I then was wondering what ever happened to Turtle Island. Did it just go on its merry way and ignore all the problems in Pandaria? Did it get lost? Maybe I missed a bit of quest dialog somewhere along the line.

I greatly enjoyed getting to Stormwind and talking to Varian. He sold the Alliance very well, as what appeared to be an Azerothian NATO (an attack on one is an attack on all). The brawl, or the aftermath, was perfectly done.

It did leave me wondering through, is Pandaren society screwed? From the sound of it, there are a lot of Pandaren who are leaving to join the Horde or Alliance. Clearly joining one faction or the other, or being totally neutral, strike me as safer situations. In the former, there are allies to back them up. In the latter, each side has an interest in avoiding a conflict, since that could force them into the other faction. Being mostly neutral but losing new recruits to the factions surely must be causing some terrible societal divisions. When no one is joining anyone, then opinions about the factions don't matter too much. But what about when someone's offspring, siblings, or parents, want to leave to join a faction? Just the notion that they can leave, that they can abandon all they knew, can shake a society. Now make where to go not just a matter of choice, but of division, and things get messy. Even without outside manipulations, there would be those who want to promote or disparage a particular faction, and those people surely will not get along well. It isn't yet a civil war, but what is to suggest that it will not be?

Perhaps that's a good sign, when I'm left with more questions and caring what happens afterward.


Ninjasuperspy said...

I agree with you about it not making sense & really being counter to their own interests for the Pandaren to split between factions. On a similar tangent: If I was going to define a more modern group of nations in Azeroth following in-game plot development I would have:

Humans, Worgen, High Elves, Draenei = Alliance
Dwarves, Gnomes = Council of the Three Hammers
Trolls, Orcs = Horde
Tauren, Night Elves = Cenarion Circle
Pandaren = Neutral
Goblins = Neutral
Blood Elves = All NPCs (Fel Corruption/Followers of Kael'thas)
Forsaken = All (re)dead because they are the dang Scourge

flosch said...

'the wonderful mix of "you are the greatest person ever" and "you must learn humility"': you clearly simply haven't learned how to be the greatest ever at humility!

When it comes to the division of the Pandaren, it doesn't make much sense, indeed. All other solution (joining one of the factions, or staying neutral) would have been better for the group, probably. Maybe Blizzard wanted to give us a twisted aesop on the freedom of choice?

... nah, it's actually just an artifact or their weird two-faction setup. The world is threatened by some primeval evil and might end if we don't defeat it? Let's just fight among ourselves!

Klepsacovic said...

The dwarves and humans have been through far too much together to split any time soon. Similarly for the tauren and orcs, even if some orcs have forgotten.

Neutral goblins are entirely sensible, though for gameplay reasons we end up with a group that join/work for the Horde, to have a counter to the gnomes. A neutral blood elf faction will be the subject of an upcoming post, because the idea intrigues me and I have my own newsletter.

Until I actually saw how it turned out, I'd expected that they'd create a more noticable division in the form of a civil war over how to save Turtleland. That ends up killing it, so all the other Panadaren have good reason to reject them, and then the sides of the civil war can each pick a faction. That leaves the majority of the Pandaren neutral with no particular draw to either side, since the only breakaways are the violent jackasses who killed their home.

"The world is threatened by some primeval evil and might end if we don't defeat it? Let's just fight among ourselves!"
And why not? It happens all the time. Britain killed a lot of French servicemen in the early years of WWII. Russia was torn apart by civil war during WWI. It's surprisingly hard to get people to neatly arrange themselves into two groups and only kill the other group.

Within the game, it make some sense as well. Every faction has some dark undercurrent that could, with the wrong situation, turn them into an enemy. It may be tempting to join the unimaginably powerful enemy rather than fight them, as we saw with Kael'thas' blood elves and the Eredar.

Dàchéng said...

I can't figure out why any Pandaren would join the horde: they first meet with Tauren, who are the first cousins of their enemy the Yaungol, and then they join with Orcs, who first managed to destroy their own home world of Draenor, and are now trying their best to destroy Azeroth.

And where is the Pandaren leadership in all this? Paralysed?

Klepsacovic said...

It annoys me enough when there is the "you're part of the bad race, so we should automatically hate you" mentality, but now you're extending that to a different branch too? Wouldn't that keep the Pandaren out of the Alliance, due to those awful demon-related Draenei and Vrykul-descended humans?

I imagine the leadership, at least early on, didn't think much of it. A few Pandaren wandered off. That has happened before.

Dàchéng said...

"Hate"? I'm sure you didn't mean to put words in my mouth. In war, it is not necessary to hate your enemies, but it is necessary to kill them before they kill you. The Yaungol are at war with the Pandaren.

Incidentally, I tried talking to the Yaungol when I first met them, by Binan Village near Kun-Lai summit. I had hoped to make peace with them, to be an intermediary between them and the Pandaren of the village. They quickly reminded me of my foolishness, and only blink+invisibility saved my life.

Pandaren adventurers would be wiser than me, though. They already know how dangerous the Yaungol are, and know not to arm them.

As for keeping our of the alliance, the Pandaren should indeed be smart enough to keep themselves neutral. They've enough to be dealing with, without fighting on both sides of somebody else's war.

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