Mantid Society and Gender Roles

Story Forum
I've become increasingly obsessed with the Mantid and the Klaxxi since questing out there. I love them! They're fascinating, snarky, the architecture is gorgeous, they look amazing, and I would roll the HELL out of them if they ever became playable.

I've been thinking about their society, what we know about them, and what we know about insect societies irl. Mantid are a really interesting blend, taking inspiration from a number of species as well as just being their own thing. Which got me thinking about gender.

Mantis species are not social, which the Mantid obviously are, and when I think of swarming insects with queens I think of ants and bees. In ant and bee colonies the vast majority of the population are females. The males are a tiny minority, hanging out with the Queen. All the workers and soldiers are infertile females.

With bees a queen is selected and fed 'royal jelly' which causes her to grow and develop to breed. Check it out - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_bee
Ants are more complicated and less studied, and how the queen is 'selected' seems to vary more. Some even being ALL female and clones! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_ant

So what I'm wondering is how is a Mantid Empress 'selected'? Is it genetic? Alchemical? Is there a special amber she's fed? What is the Klaxxi's part in that? They supposedly oversee the transition from Empress to Empress, but I wonder what that entails.

Are most of the swarm we're encountering male or female? Or both? Is there little to no sexual dimorphism? I know Blizzard tends to not make female models if they can avoid it but I really love the idea of 'worker' Mantid not being very dimorphic with the exception of the Empress. It'd be a nice change of pace from all the very mammalian races we currently have.

Also, there's this from Wowpedia: The cycle of Mantid birthing and building revolves around the Kunchong, a colossal insect large enough to threaten whole towns by itself. The Mantid revere this enormous creature, and when instinct compels it to stampede throughout the continent, eating earth, trees, and lakes, they follow behind, collecting the amber-colored resin it secretes, birthing their young and creating their homes in its wake. If other races’ homes are trampled by the Kunchong, it is of little consequence to the Mantid. Where the Kunchong's shadow falls, they walk. Where they walk, the land is transformed.

Which suggests that the Empress in Mantid culture -unlike actual insects- is a mother symbol rather than the literal mother of the swarms? Which is quite interesting!

Thoughts?
The Mantid are pretty cool, altho for servants of the Old Gods. Its odd, they speak more highly of their Empress and barley ever mention them. Granted their particular one is dead, but it has to be more then just the Klaxxi believing they will rise again.

I gotta say its a nice rather then just"ALL HAIL THE OLD GODS" for them to have a diffrent icon in their empress.
To my knowledge, all of the mantid who aren't empresses or in line to become one are men. What I mean is, we haven't seen an explicit female. We've seen men and those that are implied men.
The Old God aspect is particularly interesting! It seems like they only care about that one particular God. Like if that Old God specifically returned they would align with it otherwise they're very independent and don't care about the others. Their culture, in the absence of their God, does seem very centered on the Empress. As if she fills that void.

Also, how can we be sure of the gender of worker/soldier Mantid? I definitely get the impression the Klaxxi are male but there's little to indicate that all the mobs are absolutely male.
Think the Klaxxi said each Empress is succeeded when their progeny becomes strong enough to kill them and claim the throne for themselves.

The Sha of Fear threw a spanner into the works however, and the next Empress isn't strong enough to kill Shek'Zeer herself so the Klaxxi needed to intervene.
We certainly need clarification about the reproduction process and the how they are selected. Their society might not require more than a single female. Maybe the Empress lays eggs to be fertilized later or just mate with a male to lay these eggs, then the Mantid proceed with the Kunchong march.

They don't seem to be very hive-like. The Klaxxi have individuals, even despite they communicate in a very intimate way. So, they might have females around.

The Mantid are pretty cool, altho for servants of the Old Gods. Its odd, they speak more highly of their Empress and barley ever mention them. Granted their particular one is dead, but it has to be more then just the Klaxxi believing they will rise again.

I gotta say its a nice rather then just"ALL HAIL THE OLD GODS" for them to have a diffrent icon in their empress.


I think that's an interesting aspect. Cataclysm was the most oversimplified story possible. Really generic. Old Gods and anyone related to them were portrayed as a bunch of crazy people, urging to kill and destroy everything, literally.

Mantid, Qiraji and Nerub? All of them had societies highly developed, all lived and existed under the Old Gods, serving and worshiping them. Totally opposite to the other idea.

12/02/2012 04:39 PMPosted by Roulette
Like if that Old God specifically returned they would align with it otherwise they're very independent and don't care about the others.


I don't know about that. Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver, used plural, not a single one. And since even lore-wise it seems their god really died, it wouldn't make sense for them to state such things if they never had intention to follow other gods. Y'Shaarj probably just happened to be the one closest to them and the one that their society was built around.

Also, how can we be sure of the gender of worker/soldier Mantid? I definitely get the impression the Klaxxi are male but there's little to indicate that all the mobs are absolutely male.


Hard to say. Blizz tends to make models for non-playable races as males. But if you look at the Empress we might have an idea of how females would be and since they already created a female model, why weren't any mob with a modified version? I'm just assuming, of course, but I guess they aren't many female out there on the field. Maybe all females are responsible for importan tasks like leadership and reproduction.
I'm guessing that when the Empress knows her time is to pass, she'll make one female that will become the new Empress. Otherwise, its boys to feed and protect her. Unless they indicate a female Mantid, that's my theory.
12/02/2012 05:23 PMPosted by Osiria
Hard to say. Blizz tends to make models for non-playable races as males. But if you look at the Empress we might have an idea of how females would be and since they already created a female model, why weren't any mob with a modified version? I'm just assuming, of course, but I guess they aren't many female out there on the field. Maybe all females are responsible for importan tasks like leadership and reproduction.


Their female model was just a modified male Nerubian Vizier model.

The female concept art for Mantid was...not that great. I did't think it was physically possible for an insect-person to have huge breasts.
I stand corrected on the Old God situation! Interesting. And agreed, they're definitely not a hive mind.

Dear Lord... there's concept art of Mantid females with boobs? D: Blizzard... I am disappoint.

EDIT: I looked it up... so much facepalming. I like the lack of obvious dimorphism idea better. :P
I'm not really sure why, but I have a feeling that the mantid's society doesn't really have any truly defined gender roles in the 'insect colony' sense. I think that they're similar to most of Azeroth's races in that the male-to-female ratio is pretty much 1:1, just that there really isn't much in the way of dimorphism between the two genders at all, at least externally.

I also believe that the Empress is not so much selected, but is rather a rare subspecies of mantid. -SPOILERS- Upon hitting exalted with the Klaxxi on my DK and getting shown around underneath Klaxxi'vess by Kil'ruk, I couldn't help but notice the level of security and almost ceremonial placement and decorum of the egg incubator-like thing in the middle of room. As a result I've been led to believe that the eggs in there are essentially 'Empress Eggs' that have been preserved and nurtured in a bath of sap to make sure they develop properly.-END SPOILERS-

This works with my theory that the Empress has only a small role in, or absolutely nothing to do with, maintaining the mantid's population. A journal found near the Terrace of Gurthan states that each kypari tree is host to it's own mantid colony or city-state which is entirely self-sustaining, but they're all united beneath the Empress. This, combined with the fact that Tai Ho identifies a mantid the player kills during the quest The Motives of the Mantid as "definitely a breeding male" in the northern Townlong Steppes (a not insignificant distance from where Shek'zeer lives!), suggests that every mantid is capable of reproducing and probably has to in order to keep each city's numbers up.

Exactly how each colony/city-state/xyz'vess goes about dealing with eggs is unclear (I personally think that most kypari have an egg chamber that all mantid can place their eggs in to be cared for), but it is entirely possible that a couple could rarely find that they've produced one of these 'Empress Eggs' and have it transported to Klaxxi'vess for proper care. An Empress would have a very long gestation period compared to your normal mantid and very specific requirements to be met in order for her to fully develop and hatch. Afterwards, she'd be raised by both her predecessor and the Klaxxi'va until it's her time to ascend to the throne.

This is all pretty much just speculation and headcanon based on what little hints and oddities I've found while running around the Dread Wastes and Townlong, though.

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