What the Hell, Emperor?

Or: Why Shaohao's decision to purge himself of evil, creating the Sha, was stupid.

So, Everyone should know the story by now. Shaohao was the Last Emperor of Pandaria and the one who, ultimately, created the Sha. Long story short, he saw what the Highborne were trying to do at the Well of Eternity and despaired. In his long search for a way to avoid the impeding doom, Shaohao went to the Jade Serpent, who counseled him to purge himself of all evil within, to become a pure spirit. The Emperror didn't know how to do this, but his companion the Monkey King inadvertently provided him with a solution - Provide his doubts with a physical form and wrestle it down. Shaohao then did the same thing to his fear, despair, anger, hatred and violence. The Sha were then beaten and imprisoned beneath the earth.

And this was stupid.

You see, what Shaohao did was to actually empower the evil aspects of himself he was trying to defeat in the first place. By giving them shape and independent existence, he provided the Sha with more opportunities to harm Pandaria, not less. Now, instead of struggling with doubt, fear, despair within, the Pandaren have to do actually ignore these feelings, under penalty of awakening the Sha and destroying their homeland.

Before, each mortal being would struggle with his or her own shadow, and then, if victorious, come back better from the ordeal. Now they have to live in perpetual denial and vigilance. It was a futile effort, in the end - Fear, Violence, Hatred, all still exist, and now are harder to beat.

One of the guys in Paw'don village (The brewer, can't recall his name) tell us that their emperor told them not to live in fear... But that's what they do. It's not a constant presence, but it's there, in the background. Keep constant watch over yourself, or you'll release the Sha. Don't feel anger, Don't feel fear. Don't ever doubt yourself.

And that's, of course, is all without going on about some og the things he took from himself were not that bad.

See, Violence can be bad. But it's necessary, sometimes. You can't trade in diplomacy with Deathwing, or Arthas, or the Legion. You have to beat them back, full force. This leads us to the second point - Anger is also not necessarily a bad thing. Righteous anger can be a powerful tool for good. The Draenei are one of the most goody-goody races out there, and their main military force are called Vindicators. Vindictiveness. Revenge. Anger. Also, Varian's quote about rage in defense of family and land.

Then doubt... Look, doubt is good. Doubt makes us moral. Arthas didn't doubt about taking up Frostmourne. Illidan didn't doubt about allying himself with demons. Thaurissian didn't doubt about summoning Ragnaros. Hesitation is a good thing. Actually, since Doubt was the first thing Shaohao diverted himself of, he couldn't see the evil he was doing, even if he wanted to - He had effectively removed his ability to admit he was wrong.

Even fear can be a good thing. Fear helps us survive. Fear makes us cautious. Fear for our families and friends is what makes us care for them. Fear from becoming a monster, like Tyrande fears becoming Azshara Mk II, is also a good thing.

I'm sure Despair and Hatred also have their part, even tough it's hard to see. Like a wise Naaru said, without the Shadow, the Light cannot exist.

So, yeah. Nice job breaking it, Emperor. And now it comes to us the duty of not only beating back the Sha, but convincing the Pandaren to embrace the full emotional spectrum, to allow themselves to live and feel fully.

And no amount of finger-waging is going to keep us from that.
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100 Blood Elf Death Knight
11915
From what I understand, the reason the Emperor purged himself of the negative emotions was that it was the only way to protect Pandaria from the imminent disaster that the WoE could cause (at least as far as he knew). It's not likely he could fully comprehend what a threat the Sha could become.
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91 Tauren Death Knight
12965
The Emperor didn't create the Sha. Purging himself of his negative emotions summoned them, similar to how the Alliance and Horde's raging emotions have summoned them again.

Get Exalted with the Klaxxi. You'll discover the real origin of the Sha.
Edited by Abal on 9/27/2012 12:55 PM PDT
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The Emperor didn't create the Sha. He brought them out into the open.

Get Exalted with the Klaxxi. You'll discover the real origin of the Sha.


Oh, yes, I know. Yet another Old God plot. Y'saarj, is it?

Still, what Shaohao did effectively created the Sha as we know them today. It empowered them.

My point is that, in the end, the Shado-pan and the more isolationist Pandaren are not right. The way they go, the Sha are ignored, neutered, and not effectively defeated. That all this finger-waging at the Alliance and Horde are going to be proven wrong in the end.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
6685
What's the experission, "Hindsight is 20/20?"
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100 Orc Warrior
5825
It's easy to judge someone's actions after you see the consequences of it.
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09/27/2012 12:56 PMPosted by Layam
What's the experission, "Hindsight is 20/20?"


Not hindsight, no. Purging oneself of Doubt? It leads to bad things, and everyone should know. One who doesn't doubt is one who follows all kinds of plans without any regard for the consequences.

See: Arthas and Frostmourn.

What followed was the result of that particular bad choice.
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91 Tauren Death Knight
12965

My point is that, in the end, the Shado-pan and the more isolationist Pandaren are not right. The way they go, the Sha are ignored, neutered, and not effectively defeated. That all this finger-waging at the Alliance and Horde are going to be proven wrong in the end.


Those emotions, unchecked, are not healthy. They are conducive to never ending war. Those emotions need to be controlled, tempered, and focused. That is what we are going to learn. The Pandaren will likely learn, from us, that those emotions serve a purpose. We are going to learn from each other. Hell, even Taran Zhu discovers this in Kun-Lai Summit. Trying to justify that all of those emotions are a good thing is ridiculous. I cannot think of anywhere where hatred or despair are good emotions. The only thing fear is good for is to spur courage. Anger is a different emotion to righteous fury and is often destructive. Doubt doesn't just lead to hesitation; it can also lead to indecision. This can be just as dangerous, possibly even more so, as choosing the wrong path.

As for it being another Old God, was I the only one who read way back in the Warcraft III manual that there were five Old Gods on Azeroth? Why are you surprised when they keep coming up despite that we haven't met all five yet?
Edited by Abal on 9/27/2012 1:12 PM PDT
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My point is that, in the end, the Shado-pan and the more isolationist Pandaren are not right. The way they go, the Sha are ignored, neutered, and not effectively defeated. That all this finger-waging at the Alliance and Horde are going to be proven wrong in the end.


Those emotions, unchecked, are not healthy. They are conducive to never ending war. Those emotions need to be controlled, tempered, and focused. That is what we are going to learn. The Pandaren will likely learn, from us, that those emotions serve a purpose. We are going to learn from each other. Hell, even Taran Zhu discovers this in Kun-Lai Summit. Trying to justify that all of those emotions are a good thing is ridiculous. I cannot think of anywhere where hatred or despair are good emotions. The only thing fear is good for is to spur courage. Anger is a different emotion to righteous fury and is often destructive.

As for it being another Old God, was I the only one who read way back in the Warcraft III manual that there were five Old Gods on Azeroth? Why are you surprised when they keep coming up despite that we haven't met all five yet?


Of course, being ruled by fear or anger is a bad thing. This is so obvious it didn't need to be mentioned. But to ignore these emotions altogether is just as bad as. Harmony is one thing, but Apathy is a different one altogether.

Say, how familiar are you with the Star Wars franchise? You know the Old Jedi Order? They had a similar philosophy to the Shado-pan, and look at where it lead them, Does it mean that Sith are right, no, it doesn't. But when Luke Skywalker recreated the Order, he made sure to removing these neutering, stifling precepts about feeling emotions. When you're not used to something, it can easily overpower you.

And yes, there are supposed to be five Old Gods. And IIRC, one of them is supposed to be dead.

That doesn't mean that EVERY bad thing that happens to Azeroth should have Old God presence. It cheapens the story. If Shaohao was the sole responsible for the Sha, it would be a good thing. It would created ambivalence. Thrusting the Cthulhu look-a-likes in, it becomes a Manichean thing - of course it's evil. And there's no conflict, it wasn't the failure of an arrogant but benevolent emperor, it was yet another pawn in their game.
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86 Undead Death Knight
3690
And yes, there are supposed to be five Old Gods. And IIRC, one of them is supposed to be dead.

That doesn't mean that EVERY bad thing that happens to Azeroth should have Old God presence. It cheapens the story. If Shaohao was the sole responsible for the Sha, it would be a good thing. It would created ambivalence. Thrusting the Cthulhu look-a-likes in, it becomes a Manichean thing - of course it's evil. And there's no conflict, it wasn't the failure of an arrogant but benevolent emperor, it was yet another pawn in their game.


The one that died was Y'Shaarj and his remains are the Sha. And technically non over the Old Gods are really Cthulhu look-a-likes but more inspired by. If one of them actually does end up looking like Cthulhu that would be awesome.
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91 Tauren Death Knight
12965

Of course, being ruled by fear or anger is a bad thing. This is so obvious it didn't need to be mentioned. But to ignore these emotions altogether is just as bad as. Harmony is one thing, but Apathy is a different one altogether.

Say, how familiar are you with the Star Wars franchise? You know the Old Jedi Order? They had a similar philosophy to the Shado-pan, and look at where it lead them, Does it mean that Sith are right, no, it doesn't. But when Luke Skywalker recreated the Order, he made sure to removing these neutering, stifling precepts about feeling emotions. When you're not used to something, it can easily overpower you.


That is why I said we would be learning from each other. Taran Zhu becomes consumed by the Sha in Kun-Lai Summit and realizes the error of his thinking. However, that doesn't suddenly mean that we, the aggressors, are vindicated and are complete right in our thinking and ways. That is arrogance.

And yes, there are supposed to be five Old Gods. And IIRC, one of them is supposed to be dead.

That doesn't mean that EVERY bad thing that happens to Azeroth should have Old God presence. It cheapens the story. If Shaohao was the sole responsible for the Sha, it would be a good thing. It would created ambivalence. Thrusting the Cthulhu look-a-likes in, it becomes a Manichean thing - of course it's evil. And there's no conflict, it wasn't the failure of an arrogant but benevolent emperor, it was yet another pawn in their game.


They. . .don't? The Burning Legion, the Scourge, hell, the war we're currently fighting with each other. All of them have, at most, very little Old God influence. That also doesn't mean CDev should just straight up ignore the Old Gods. It makes a lot of sense for an Old God to have had influence in Pandaria, even though it has been destroyed. Some of us actually want the Titan and Old God storylines to continue.

Also, the Sha, from what I can tell, don't have any sort of agenda other than reveling in their nature. Unlike the other three Old Gods we've fought, Y'Shaarj has been utterly destroyed, and the Sha are simply his remains. Y'Shaarj's intelligence and capability for planning is gone, but its malevolent, corrupting influence lingers on.
Edited by Abal on 9/27/2012 1:46 PM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
5780
You do realize that the Pandaren have lived in a golden age of peace and prosperity for, like, 10,000 + years, right?
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90 Human Death Knight
6980
09/27/2012 02:05 PMPosted by Velarin
You do realize that the Pandaren have lived in a golden age of peace and prosperity for, like, 10,000 + years, right?


And I can't wait to end it
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90 Night Elf Rogue
11450
Oh you
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100 Tauren Druid
11055
Not hindsight, no. Purging oneself of Doubt? It leads to bad things, and everyone should know. One who doesn't doubt is one who follows all kinds of plans without any regard for the consequences.

See: Arthas and Frostmourn.

What followed was the result of that particular bad choice.


"and everyone should know"? Because... why, exactly? One can just as easily argue that the presence of doubt causes one to be hesitant and apprehensive and inaction itself can lead to negative consequences.

So how is it that this Pandaren in particular should have known what would happen?
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100 Night Elf Druid
9035
What I think the primary issue with Pandaria and its society isn't so much "Don't give into fear" or "ignore the sha" it's more like balance.

Living in balance doesn't mean solely excluding one aspect of your emotional spectrum that's not balance, quite the opposite (as has been proclaimed the Emperor did). Balance itself is attained through understanding that we have feelings of doubt, but we should not let it rule. We have hatred, but it should not stop us from showing mercy or forgiveness. We have fear, but should be couragous in the face of that fear when the time comes.

The point of all of this is balance. Balance in the way you carry yourselves, balance in the way and mode you deal with others. Sure you can be deceitful, but be honorable at the same time (Honorable Rogue), and don't be deceitful all of the time. Be forward, but not imposing.

The Sha (want to spell that with a 'w' >.<) themselves are manifestations of one end of the emotional spectrum being enforced over others. These being the 'negative' (See Subjective) ones. Pandarian's existed for thousands of years by appling the principles of balance to their lives, thus keeping the shaw from little more than ghost stories to help teach their cubs about balance and harmony.

The Alliance and Horde, have no such views on balance and harmony (save for some specific races, but to the faction in general... no.), and thus are more willing to give into rage, anger, hatred, and doubt because those emotions are not tempered by anything. Up to this expansion Alliance side has been given quest and Non-quest NPCs that talk about "That dirty Horde" (they killed my brother. That dirty Horde, ooooh) and such. And after the various exchanges between the Alliance and Horde (Ashenvale, Stonalton, Camp T-somethingerother, Theremore, Southshore, ect) the reaction between the factions is less than friendly and breaking out into flat out war spawned by hatred, doubt, and fear.

The reason this is happening, despite the Emperor wanting to remove himself of these feelings in order to help his people survive the future, is because the Alliance and Horde are letting their emotions get the better of them. Granted, in the heat of the moment, its hard to temper your anger against someone that you're unsure is actively trying to kill you for the same reason.
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85 Tauren Shaman
6230
Oh, yes, I know. Yet another Old God plot. Y'saarj, is it?


Actually he's dead-dead apparently.
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Not hindsight, no. Purging oneself of Doubt? It leads to bad things, and everyone should know. One who doesn't doubt is one who follows all kinds of plans without any regard for the consequences.

See: Arthas and Frostmourn.

What followed was the result of that particular bad choice.


"and everyone should know"? Because... why, exactly? One can just as easily argue that the presence of doubt causes one to be hesitant and apprehensive and inaction itself can lead to negative consequences.

So how is it that this Pandaren in particular should have known what would happen?


Because having no doubts is never admitting you could be wrong, or considering the conseequences of your actions. Again, see Arthas, Illidan, even Grom... Doubt, hesitation is what makes us moral. This is such a basic thing it's hard to explain.

The first thing Shaohao did was to purge himself of Doubt, From there on, he didn't question any of his actions, just went along with it. This is bad.
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13 Undead Mage
130
Suddenly being positive is a bad thing?
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90 Night Elf Rogue
11450
09/27/2012 07:33 PMPosted by Airsunmage
Suddenly being positive is a bad thing?


Yes.
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