A Handbook on High Elf Argumentation

General Discussion
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1. High Elves are not playable in-game, and are separate from Void Elves or Blood Elves. This is noted multiple times in-game, recently by Elisande where she addresses Sin'dorei, Quel'dorei, and Kaldorei all individually. Most recently, High Elves are also established separately from Void Elves and Blood Elves in Alliance Warfronts and in Island Expeditions.

2. "High Elves don't have enough population to be playable!" is no longer an argument. There are markedly less Void Elves than there are High Elves, yet Void Elves are playable.

3. "We can't give Alliance the Blood Elf skeleton!" is no longer an argument. Void Elves are a playable Alliance race now.

4. "Just giving them different eye color and tattoos isn't enough!" is no longer an argument. Lightforged Draenei exist, and those are their two most differentiating visual factors. "But Lightforged Draenei are on the same faction as Draenei!" , they may shriek -- refer to points 3 and 5. If all else fails, remind them that Pandas exist and have been on both factions with the same exact silhouette and animations for 6 years now. Void Elves double down on that design philosophy being alright in BFA.

5. "We can't give Alliance two of the same skeleton!" is no longer an argument. Horde have Nightborne and are getting Zandalari Trolls, both of which use the (Alliance) Night Elf skeleton.

6. "Alliance Thalassian Elves are playable already!" is not an argument. Void Elves were a failed attempt at compromise, one that has visibly failed with the uprising of High Elf supporters as a result of their implementation. It is not the community's fault or High Elves fault that Blizzard massively misinterpreted their community's wants. Avoid blaming the player.

7. "Ion already said no!" is not an argument, it is an appeal to authority -- a logical fallacy. In addition, if Ion's word was final, Classic WoW wouldn't exist as a concept. It does, because they walked it back. Flying in current content only exists because they walked their "no flying" decision back. After Ion's statements in April, the BFA Beta saw further changes differentiating the High Elves from the other race's military's, notably "Jaina's Angels" being renamed to "Auric's Angels", as in Auric Sunchaser -- Captain of the Allerian Stronghold in Terokkar Forest, and literally titled "High Elf Representative", a completely separate entity with completely separate forces from the Silver Covenant. See below the line for a dismantlement of Ion's argument.

8. "They'll take the spotlight away from Blood Elves/Void Elves!" is not an argument. Not only is it an entirely subjective thought, but Blood Elves and Void Elves have been leading major parts of the story since the end of Legion and that leadership is going to continue well past BFA. Blood Elves recently received a major cosmetic update including an entirely new eye color for their entire race, Liadrin leads in a Warfront, Lor'themar made many appearances in the Battle for Lordaeron, and the Void Elves are rooted in with Alleria's story which was part of the entire Legion story and is going to be part of the future Void storyline. Neither race for as long as they have existed have been overshined by High Elves -- but Hig h Elves have always been presented separately alongside both of them.

9. "They'll take too many Horde players away!" is not an argument. They would have to be the most popular race in the game to have such a massive effect on the population, and none of the Allied Races are even close to that level of population. If that exaggeration were true, it would be an argument FOR High Elves and not the other way around, since as "the most popular race in the game" it's only logical that they be added. On the other hand, the high-end raiding and PvP scenes (the two faction reliant end-games) are seeing a massive Horde bias. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw3oSzxc5tU for a detailed explanation.

10. "We have too many Elves already!" is not an argument. Not only are elves a staple in any fantasy setting (take Elder Scrolls Online for example; 2/3rds of an entire faction are Elves, and they make up 1/3rd of the entire playable races. By comparison, roughly a fifth of the playable races in WoW are Elves.), but they are one of the pillars of World of Warcraft. Even this expansion, we'll be fighting the Highborne Queen Azshara, who's crimes were the reason we have such a massive split between the physiology and cultures between Elves today.

11. "Well THIS High Elf poster said something non-sensical so High Elf supporters should are ALL like that and THEIR point is what I'm going to raise issue with!" is not an argument. People who advocate Silvermoon being the HE capital or want High Elf Demon Hunters are not the majority and cannot realistically be used to attack the High Elf argument, unless arguing specifically with that person.

12. "You can't take our Horde race!" is not an argument. The Alliance already has actual, literal Blood Elves gone traitor on the Alliance in the form of Void Elves. We're discussing High Elves here, and High Elves are one of the founding races of the Alliance.

13. "I am tired of discussing High Elves so stop discussing them!" is not an argument, it's a huge problem (exhaustion) that people on all sides are feeling, including myself. It's spurred on by a lack of knowledge about the actual discussion, leading to tired argumentation on an already 14 year long subject. This thread hopes to fix that by making it so that when someone uninformed shows up with an uninformed argument, you can paste a point down to shut them down instead of typing out how High Elves have more population than Void Elves for the hundredth time. (CTRL+F XIII for more info)

14. "High Elves are just being turned into Void Elves!" is entirely untrue and physically impossible. If you play through the Void Elf unlock scenario, you know that the Void Elves are a small group of Sin'dorei scholars studying the Void. They become trapped by a relic on Telogrus, ensnared by the Netherguard who are trying to convert the scholars into Ethereals. This almost-conversion and influence from the relic is what causes the playable Void Elves to look as they do-- it's why Alleria looks nothing like the Void Elves we play. All High Elves shown in Telogrus Rift and in Stormwind are explicitly shown with Void Elves, and not as them. Even if a High Elf studied the void, they would not become a Void Elf in the playable form that we have -- they'd continue to be High Elves.
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The Ion Argument

On April 26, 2018, Ion Hazzikostas (Game Director of World of Warcraft) issued a statement in a Q&A about World of Warcraft about High Elves.

The transcript is as follows:

Question:
"When deciding on Allied Races, why did you choose Void Elves when High Elves seemed a much more organic (and popular) choice?"

Ion: Basically, Blood Elves kinda ARE High Elves, with slightly different eye color, different backstory in terms of their relationship with magic and the sunwell, but they are -- if you want to be a fairskinned, light blonde haired, y'know, tall majestic elf -- that is a Blood Elf. And, giving that race directly to the Alliance, I think would've blurred a lot of the lines between the two factions, but also there isn't a clear example of who or what High Elves are as a larger group that still remains in Azeroth. There's a couple, y'know, we just met Alleria, but they're not out there in the same way. And so we're looking to, when we add Allied Races, there's a desire to have things be a bit more distinct, especially between the two factions, with the faction conflict being so prominent. And so the Void Elf angle, as it's tied in to the story of Argus, the power of Alleria awakened and was able to train others to harness, was able to give something that felt a bit like a Blood Elf but had a unique flavor of its own to the Alliance. That said, obviously I understand that if you love Alliance and you're an Alliance player, and you just want to be a fair skinned, light haired, blue-eyed elf... sorry? The Horde is there waiting for you -- eye color is not quite the same, but there might be contact lenses in the future, you never know. Anything is possible in the future, but no plans I think in the near term to add High Elves as an Allied Race.

Ion's main points can be separated out and argued with individually, to show this is a very weak response. In his defense, it was supposedly off-the-cuff, but since it is so often used to attack the High Elf argument, it becomes mandatory to dismantle the entire thing.

Point 1: "They look too similar to Blood Elves".

It's an easy argument to make, but it very quickly becomes a soggy answer for a number of reasons. For one, most Allied Races are another race with minor tweaks. If all High Elves are is Blood Elves with a different eye color, then all Lightforged Draenei are is Draenei with a different eye color. All Mag'har are is Orcs with a different skin color. All Nightborne are is Night Elves, period. But there are a number of ways to differentiate the race that are canon to High Elves (eye color, hair colors, tattoos) , and several that could be added without the help of canon at all (stance, idles, voice). In this sense, Void Elves are a much bigger poster child for this problem -- they have the EXACT same silhouette as the Blood Elves. If the two were fully armored, the difference would be the color of their ears. Even this pretends that the problem exists at all, which is arguable -- Pandaren have existed in the game for years with no issue on target identification from the player's side of things, and the only Blizzard employee to have ever spoken out against the concept no longer works with Blizzard.

Point 2: "By creating a High Elf playable Allied Race, we are giving the Alliance Blood Elves".

Another easy argument to make if you're not familiar with the story of the world. High Elves came first, and were originally aligned with the Alliance. The race was forced to splinter after a handful of political and ideological disagreements, as well as pressure from the Alliance itself. The group that continued to call themselves High Elves have always been Alliance, and continue to be so for every expansion they've been a part of, even Battle for Azeroth.

Point 3: "It blurs faction lines".

No more than adding Blood Elves to the Horde did after High Elves had been established both in the original Warcraft series and then Classic WoW onward as an Alliance race. No more than Void Elves do. No more than Pandas did, in the absolute worst case scenario where no unique customization is offered to High Elves save for eye color, which is undesirable for all parties.

Point 4: "There isn't a clear example of who or what High Elves are".

This was the line that led a lot of pro-High Elfers early on to thinking that Ion was "trolling" a bit -- an overwhelming number of threads, polls, suggestions, and even tweets made at him during the Q&A included different factions and origins for THE group of High Elves that would join the Alliance. The Silver Covenant, Auric Sunchaser's High Elves, Hinterlands High Elves, etc. were all listed consistently in an effort to provide flavors of High Elf for the community and Blizzard to choose from. As far as leadership, Vereesa has been a character in WoW since Wrath of the Lich King, with a plethora of reasons to throw her lot in with the Alliance -- and she has, both in Dalaran and elsewhere like the Isle of Thunder.

Point 5: If you want High Elves, you want a fair-skinned, light-haired, blue-eyed elf, and the Horde is waiting for you.

This was a way for Ion to push the idea that anyone who wanted High Elves were vain and superficial, solely chasing after an aesthetic. He chose to word it in a way that also made a connection with Hitler's master race concept, in a way that cannot be easily dismissed as accidental -- this has the added benefit of turning the community on each other, and gives the anti-High Elf crowd an incredible source of ammunition in numerous ways.

It's now politically correct to attack anyone who is pro-High Elf because if they like High Elves, they're "sharing an ideology with literally Hitler".

Since the line itself is solely in relation to looks and is his only direct attack on the High Elf argument itself, to the anti-High Elf crowd it is easily seen as an attack on the "core" of the argument, as if Ion was calling out High Elf fans for "what they're really after". Anyone who says they like anything about High Elves other than their looks is now dismissed as being dishonest, because the Game Director implied that they were.

It goes an additional step by making it very demoralizing to talk about High Elves, even in a casual setting, because anyone regardless of how informed they are can parrot Ion's argument and feel righteous by shutting it down in a "politically correct" way.

The community now blames each other, instead of Blizzard's response (blaming the player instead of the company), taking any Blizzard response out of the equation much to the company's convenience.

It isn't the player who wants High Elves' fault that Void Elves were added to the game. It isn't the player's fault that 2 of the Allied Races added (of 8 confirmed so far) have been Elves. Yet, the points that are entirely out of the player's hands are used to attack the High Elf argument retroactively more than anything else at this stage.

This all ties into the last, and biggest point against High Elves.

The result of Ion's response: It is now exhausting to talk about High Elves in any capacity. (XIII)

Even seeing the word "High Elf" in a thread title, whether you are for or against High Elves, is exhausting. It is the closest thing I have ever experienced to a physical manifestation of the phrase "oh boy, here we go again".

People who advocate the inclusion of High Elves feel like they're exhausted defending why they should have a place on the Alliance time and time again, over dozens of threads and hundreds of comments. People who advocate against High Elves feel like it should've ended when Ion said his piece.

The aftermath where people who were for High Elves still wanted High Elves, because Ion's argument intentionally avoided touching on any part of the actual High Elf discussion. Where people who were against High Elves still had to see thread after thread of High Elf discussion, for and against, day in and day out for weeks afterwards, discussion still cropping up even now -- it was, again, something that was undesireable for both parties. And the result is exhaustion.

Even with this thread, the chances that you read through the entire thing is pretty slim -- not only is it lengthy, but it's about High Elves. Chances are, you've read most if not every single point there is to make here on both sides.
Think of how many people would feel differently about them if they had been part of the series since the original Warcraft -- think about how many people would feel differently about them if advocaters would showcase lore instead of wasting time trying to defend against a point with absolutely no weight. How many people would feel differently if this wasn't the 400th time they've heard something about it?

So, I have a request:

If you're for the inclusion of High Elves, help improve on this post. What could use reinforcement? What points have you seen people make that you've had to defend against (that were meaningful)? Post them and we can talk about them. I will be using this post to copy from for arguments and discussions since so many of the anti-High Elf crowd use a same handful of arguments that can be addressed fairly easily to avoid this "exhaustion" the community as a whole is feeling, especially for people who are new to the discussion.

If you're against the inclusion of High elves, again, I could use your help to improve this post. Are there points here you think aren't so easily dismissed? Are there points you have that have not been addressed in any capacity? How could your issues with High Elves be solved, realistically and civilly?

Edit 8/31/18: Added handbook point 14 after a few dozen people were confused over the origin of the Void Elf story and why High Elves would not just be assimilated. It is my hope that it covers why the Void Elves are not just suddenly much larger than what the scenario implies they were as well.
It is so nice to see something so well put, clear and thought out. As someone who was very offended by Ion's aggressive dismissal of High Elves as an allied race I really appreciate the community still pulling forward and still going after something that should have been in the game from the beginning.
You already made this exact post about a week ago. I even commented on it, got a few pages. What happened to it? Because if it was locked or deleted you aren't supposed to just put it back up.
08/30/2018 04:20 PMPosted by Arron
You already made this exact post about a week ago. I even commented on it, got a few pages. What happened to it? Because if it was locked or deleted you aren't supposed to just put it back up.

It was taken down because people were, apparently, trolling to the point of breaking the ToU and the forum mods took down the entire thread instead of infracting individuals.

No worries, I made a ticket to see what was up before I posted again.

It's nice seeing a face that was in the previous discussion, though. Lots of it was very good and it's a shame the GMs couldn't get me a transcript for the discussion I wasn't around for.
Just came by to say "Hello High Elf here" ;)
08/30/2018 04:26 PMPosted by Rosaire
08/30/2018 04:20 PMPosted by Arron
You already made this exact post about a week ago. I even commented on it, got a few pages. What happened to it? Because if it was locked or deleted you aren't supposed to just put it back up.

It was taken down because people were, apparently, trolling to the point of breaking the ToU and the forum mods took down the entire thread instead of infracting individuals.

No worries, I made a ticket to see what was up before I posted again.

It's nice seeing a face that was in the previous discussion, though. Lots of it was very good and it's a shame the GMs couldn't get me a transcript for the discussion I wasn't around for.


Alright, as long as it wasn't deleted because of the topic itself that you made then you shouldn't get into any trouble the mods.

As always, I completely disagree with the premise of adding high elves at all but that doesn't mean the discussion about them can't remain civil.
High elves are not physically, socially, or nationally different from blood elves.

Having a differing political opinion dosen't mean your willing to fully betray your people and nation to turncoat to your enemies.

If you want to use the silver covenant as an example they are allied to Dalaran first. Dalaran is neutral and has only sided with the alliance when the Sunreavers were expelled and its leadership was under Jaina.
08/30/2018 04:50 PMPosted by Khileeha
High elves are not physically, socially, or nationally different from blood elves.

Having a differing political opinion dosen't mean your willing to fully betray your people and nation to turncoat to your enemies.

If you want to use the silver covenant as an example they are allied to Dalaran first. Dalaran is neutral and has only sided with the alliance when the Sunreavers were expelled and its leadership was under Jaina.


Also, considering Vereesa is absolutely nowhere to be seen in BFA, it feels like she may taking that "neutrality" approach to heart, same as Khadgar.
Here is what it boils down to. High Elves have been the most requested new Alliance race since vanilla WoW. Blizz and Ion hate the Alliance and its players. They aren't going to give us something we actually want.

All the excuses given are just that, excuses and are already contradicted by the various other allied races as you pointed out. But they can't just come out and say 'we don't want to give the Alliance something" so they invent all these other reasons during interviews to not say what they actually mean.

Blizz doesn't like Alliance so Alliance doesn't get HE's. It really isn't any more complicated than that.
This post is fantastic in all the right ways, it's detailed, informative, and even calls folks out who didn't bother to read the whole thing because it was long, detailed and informative.
08/30/2018 04:26 PMPosted by Rosaire
08/30/2018 04:20 PMPosted by Arron
You already made this exact post about a week ago. I even commented on it, got a few pages. What happened to it? Because if it was locked or deleted you aren't supposed to just put it back up.

It was taken down because people were, apparently, trolling to the point of breaking the ToU and the forum mods took down the entire thread instead of infracting individuals.

No worries, I made a ticket to see what was up before I posted again.

It's nice seeing a face that was in the previous discussion, though. Lots of it was very good and it's a shame the GMs couldn't get me a transcript for the discussion I wasn't around for.
It's spam and it's reported as spam. All of this crap is reported as spam because you fanbois were supposed to stick to one thread.

You're not getting Helfs. Go away. Reported again.
08/30/2018 04:50 PMPosted by Khileeha
High elves are not physically, socially, or nationally different from blood elves.

Blue eyes, obviously, and the only High Elf with a unique model in the game has tattoos as well, which were a thing in WC2 High Elves. Those are some prominent physical differences that are already used as an excuse for other Allied Races, so we're safe on that front.

Can you elaborate on what you're viewing as social and national? "Nationally", the Blood Elves consider themselves allied with the Horde and consider their nation Quel'thalas, where as in an example you yourself give in a minute here, a good chunk of High Elves consider themselves to be Dalaran's people, Vereesa included.

Having a differing political opinion dosen't mean your willing to fully betray your people and nation to turncoat to your enemies.

It did for the Blood Elves... and then the Void Elves. Not really an issue with the High Elves anyway though, as they've always been Alliance.

08/30/2018 04:54 PMPosted by Arron

Also, considering Vereesa is absolutely nowhere to be seen in BFA, it feels like she may taking that "neutrality" approach to heart, same as Khadgar.

There are many High Elves in the Warfronts (and Island Expeditions), but the Island Expedition High Elf squad is of Auric Sunchaser's, not the Silver Covenant's. Vereesa very well may be neutral at this stage, though she hasn't been in the story as far as her personal opinions go since Rhonin died in Garrosh's mana bomb.
Just a minor clarification regarding your reference to ESO, because I happen to really love the Elder scrolls universe.

In that universe, "orcs" are actually a form of elf. This means that, out of the ten races that are playable, four tenths of those races are elven. That's larger than one-third.

If anything, the fact that orcs are elves in the elder scrolls universe is evidence that you can add a new race, have it be elven in origin, and yet still have it be remarkably different from its elven kin that it feels like a brand new race.

That's what needs to be done to the High Elves. They essentially need to take the concept and rework it into a brand new race, distinct enough from from the blood elves so that they don't step on their toes. I believe Blizzard tried to do that with the void elves, and they succeeded from my point of view (I frickin love them!), but I also understand that a subset of the fandom would much prefer something more... woodsy and less.... sinister.
08/30/2018 05:04 PMPosted by Rorrand
Just a minor clarification regarding your reference to ESO, because I happen to really love the Elder scrolls universe.

In that universe, "orcs" are actually a form of elf. This means that, out of the ten races that are playable, four tenths of those races are elven. That's larger than one-third.

If anything, the fact that orcs are elves in the elder scrolls universe is evidence that you can add a new race, have it be elven in origin, and yet still have it be remarkably different from its elven kin that it feels like a brand new race.

I actually didn't know that about the Elder Scrolls universe. That's hilarious. It's also, like you said, proof that you can have an elvish race and not have it be traditional elf.

That's what needs to be done to the High Elves. They essentially need to take the concept and rework it into a brand new race, distinct enough from from the blood elves so that they don't step on their toes. I believe Blizzard tried to do that with the void elves, and they succeeded from my point of view (I frickin love them!), but I also understand that a subset of the fandom would much prefer something more... woodsy and less.... sinister.

I definitely like all of ercarp's interpretation of High Elves, as being very woodsy and rune magic-y. I could see Blizzard go that route. One of my favorite pieces is visible here: https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/8h18mm/high_elf_runeblade/
08/30/2018 05:09 PMPosted by Rosaire
08/30/2018 05:04 PMPosted by Rorrand
Just a minor clarification regarding your reference to ESO, because I happen to really love the Elder scrolls universe.

In that universe, "orcs" are actually a form of elf. This means that, out of the ten races that are playable, four tenths of those races are elven. That's larger than one-third.

If anything, the fact that orcs are elves in the elder scrolls universe is evidence that you can add a new race, have it be elven in origin, and yet still have it be remarkably different from its elven kin that it feels like a brand new race.

I actually didn't know that about the Elder Scrolls universe. That's hilarious. It's also, like you said, proof that you can have an elvish race and not have it be traditional elf.


Dude elder scrolls lore is... weird. The various racial differences that exist in that universe basically boil down to the whims of pseudo-deities, known as "daedra," that love to toy with the mortal plane. The hideous appearance of the orcs, iirc, is actually due to the fact that the daedra they worshipped was killed by another daedra, consumed, and then re-emerged under a new name after being defecated out. Since then, they are treated as pariahs by their own kind, so they don't live as elves traditionally do, but they still are.
08/30/2018 05:13 PMPosted by Rorrand
08/30/2018 05:09 PMPosted by Rosaire
...
I actually didn't know that about the Elder Scrolls universe. That's hilarious. It's also, like you said, proof that you can have an elvish race and not have it be traditional elf.


Dude elder scrolls lore is... weird. The various racial differences that exist in that universe basically boil down to the whims of pseudo-deities, known as "daedra," that love to toy with the mortal plane. The hideous appearance of the orcs, iirc, is actually due to the fact that the daedra they worshipped was killed by another daedra, consumed, and then re-emerged under a new name after being defecated out. Since then, they are treated as pariahs by their own kind, so they don't live as elves traditionally do, but they still are.


That is so neat. Thanks for the ESO lore tidbit!
This is amazingly well written and fantastically clear. When the previous thread was removed I was taken aback, so I'm very, very happy to see it back up. This is very informative for those who don't have all the pieces, and covers literally all the arguments against High Elves I've seen so far. Thank you for putting this together, its really inspiring to see the High Elf community is still going strong ^_^
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/uoDRvbMlgck/hqdefault.jpg
if you want to play a high elf the HORDE is waiting for you ion said blood elves and high elves are the same thing so go on roll horde and hit a dab 4 jesus
08/30/2018 04:50 PMPosted by Khileeha
If you want to use the silver covenant as an example they are allied to Dalaran first. Dalaran is neutral and has only sided with the alliance when the Sunreavers were expelled and its leadership was under Jaina.


Silver Covenant is also allied to the Alliance. In fact the 7th legion has the majority of its battle mages from the Silver Covenant. So you cannot really call them neutral when they supply the most elite fighting unit in the Alliance given the most dangerous missions its battle mages.

Also even when they are peacekeepers in Dalaran they are deployed around the Alliance embassy almost exclusively.

It appears to be the case that they are willing to respect neutrality when employed by neutrals, but otherwise they are enemies of the Horde.

08/30/2018 05:25 PMPosted by Rellazurin
if you want to play a high elf the HORDE is waiting for you ion said blood elves and high elves are the same thing so go on roll horde and hit a dab 4 jesus


If you want to play Night Elves the Alliance is waiting for... *looks at Nightborne*

Oh right, its either Horde favoritism or that argument no longer counts due to precedent.

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