Humans: A Discussion of Race Representation

Story Forum
I see a lot of meme talk about humans in Warcraft and the Alliance, either A) Being the most powerful class users ever, or B) the over representation of them in the Alliance. I, myself, have gotten annoyed at the sheer abundance of humans we've seen prior to BfA, but I've still loved a lot of their history, story, lore, characters, etc. Despite that, there has been a LOT of human representation in the Alliance, but I don't think its either unjustified or as horrid as many (a particular person comes to mind) claim it is.

Firstly, I think the reason why Blizzard shows off humans a lot in WoW is because they were, and by enlarge still are, a core part of their world building. The first two races in the Warcraft Universe were Humans and Orcs, and humans, even before the MMO, hold some of the greatest storytelling blizz has ever done to their name. The Path of Medivh, the Fall of Arthas, the Second War (I'm a bit biased to that game), etc etc. With that in mind, I think Blizz has just seen the humans of WoW as something very unique from other fantasies, or at least, something they personally enjoyed about the Alli for years because of all the depth there is to them. Also they have some REALLY fun characters, so at least I can see why they'd dig humans a lot.

With the Why out of the way, lets going into how blizzard shows off humans a lot. Firstly, there are a LOT of important human wow characters. Varian, a personal fav of mine, Arthas, Khadgar, Jaina, the list goes on. With so many characters, especially ones with names that have weight behind them, blizzard tends to show humans and their storylines a lot more. BfA had some of the best storytelling in WoW imo as well, with Jaina getting a ton of cinematics to help guide her tale a long. The problem we get to however is that Blizz can forget other races have very interesting characters too. Tyranda, Velen, the Three Hammers, again the name goes on forever. And of course when blizz DOES remember, there is only so much time to reflect so much of one thing in a patch as a major plot, blizz often going to favor humans more. I do, however, think this attitude has shifted a LOT lately.

In legion, we see tons of characters getting some big and minor screentime, but as the expansion goes on, we delve into two very interesting characters when Argus comes rolling around. Illidan and Velen. We spend a lot of time on these two, with only a SINGLE cinematic and questchain going into Anduin's plot, while we have a ton with these two. At the end of it, we see Velen grow as a character, even forming a friendship with Illidan as the expansion comes to close. A lot of plot for none humans. Then come bfa, where once against Alli side we see a lot of detail going into Jaina, yet we get other Alliance Castes playing larger rolls then before. Night Elves got focus, and now not the best, they are getting even MORE time to them then other races atm. We see a lot of different races and characters showing up for bfa as well, with Allied Races and now heritage armors for each old race coming out, characters getting time on screen to do epic things, etc etc. So much show I feel it downplaying all with the "Stormwind Human" trope that we've been seeing. Hell, even humans in general are shifting away to focus on a completely different culture that doesn't even have old trope like Paladins and the Light! Something I find grand.

So, in conclusion of this massive ramble (that probably has no real point to it) I feel blizz has had many issues of different representation of races and characters in wow, not using their full potential, but as we broke from Legion and into BfA? Honestly, I feel blizz is doing a lot better with how they represent the Alliance.

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the problem is that blizzard just give us so many named human characters.

since the start of wc1,wc2 and wc3 we got a worrying amounts of humans.

The solution would be start closing their characters arcs, especially those from wc2 and wc3 and give us new blood.
While i do enjoy a lot jaina's character i hope she gets the spotlight she deserves this xpac and close her character arc, maybe losing her powers, or an heroic sacrifice, or just staying as the kultiran leader.

And then, we start seeing more named characters, let's say, named nelfs mages, or more named draenie mages. the point is, the fact that they still haven't close the arcs of those human characters is what is hurting the representation of other races.
in wod and legion we had a lot of khadgar, and now this. because blizzard failed to create new named characters who could fullfill those roles.
so hopefully, we can slowly start seeing more characters that aren't humans. we need new blood.
and we need it fast.
I mean, and I hate to say it, but it's probably just easier to write for Humans.

For example how would a Human approach an all out Legion invasion?

Well, as we saw with Varian, head on with confidence and gusto to inspire his troops.

Now, how does a 10,000 year old Elf that has seen basically the birth of Civilization, the shattering of the world (twice) this same type of invasion (twice before, making this the third time), and literally every war in between.

Gets a little trickier. Lots more variables to take into account.

Now, that being said, I would much rather see how the 10,000 year old Elf responds to the situation, but I'm not surprised why we get the Humans side instead.
First of all, orcs don't get anywhere near the amount of attention the humans do AND when the orcs are getting attention most of the time it's them being smashed in the face repeatedly with the villain bat like in MoP and WoD.

Secondly, Humans have like a billion big named characters while the rest of the Alliance has 1 or 2. To make matters worse, they actively get rid of characters that have potential for other races like Maraad, Yrel, Delaryn, etc.

11/07/2018 12:01 AMPosted by Hortonn
we see Velen grow as a character


And then it was instantly erased to have Velen prop up Anduin.

11/07/2018 12:01 AMPosted by Hortonn
Honestly, I feel blizz is doing a lot better with how they represent the Alliance.


They really aren't though.

The Alliance didn't do much of anything in Legion, and what little it did do was human dominated.

And then BfA is more of the same, Alliance story is human dominated.

Yes, we get night elf or draenei stories as part of the over arching neutral storylines, but they aren't really involved in Alliance storylines.

Draenei just straight up don't feel like an Alliance race. Their issues are never addressed in Alliance story and the draenei solve their issues on their own as part of neutral content. The best draenei ever get is Velen being Anduin's sidekick which is just insulting. This issue is very much highlighted in Blizzard not using the Vindicaar.

And night elves don't feel like much of an Alliance race either. But at least that's actually being addressed in the Alliance story. But I'm afraid that's going to end up with Anduin being right and Tyrande being wrong.

Gnomes and dwarves are little more than the human's sidekicks. Yes, they feel like they belong in the Alliance, but they don't really feel like their own, separate, independent races. They feel like an extension of Stormwind.

And we STILL don't have ANY reason why Anduin is High King.
11/07/2018 12:28 AMPosted by Jrake

Now, how does a 10,000 year old Elf that has seen basically the birth of Civilization, the shattering of the world (twice) this same type of invasion (twice before, making this the third time), and literally every war in between.


Blizzard has not, nor have they ever, taken age and maturation or experience into account when writing their multi-milennia year old characters. They are all written with the same impulsive, emotional responses you'd expect from someone in their mid 30s.

The reason they don't prop up more non-human characters is because they don't want to. They have a decent sized cast of characters and aren't keen on adding new ones, and the only ones they kill off are Horde and thus non-human.
Lol. No they’re not. And I’ll give give a quick example. In Cataclysm, when you ran through Zul’gurub Or Zul’aman, there are a large number of neutral Troll villagers or refugees scattered about. You can easily slaughter every single one of them and no one will make a comment.

If you try to slaughter say..the buried Humans in Hillsbrad, it might not speak it so plainly, but everyone in and out of story certainly treats that ‘choice’ slaughter of non hostiles as more worthy of attention. After all, Trolls are big, muscly, and usually treated by the narrative as evil savages. Why would killing these non hostiles possibly stand on the same level as caving in the heads of a bunch of Human farmers?
11/07/2018 12:34 AMPosted by Lena
First of all, orcs don't get anywhere near the amount of attention the humans do AND when the orcs are getting attention most of the time it's them being smashed in the face repeatedly with the villain bat like in MoP and WoD.

Secondly, Humans have like a billion big named characters while the rest of the Alliance has 1 or 2. To make matters worse, they actively get rid of characters that have potential for other races like Maraad, Yrel, Delaryn, etc.

11/07/2018 12:01 AMPosted by Hortonn
we see Velen grow as a character


And then it was instantly erased to have Velen prop up Anduin.

11/07/2018 12:01 AMPosted by Hortonn
Honestly, I feel blizz is doing a lot better with how they represent the Alliance.


They really aren't though.

The Alliance didn't do much of anything in Legion, and what little it did do was human dominated.

And then BfA is more of the same, Alliance story is human dominated.

Yes, we get night elf or draenei stories as part of the over arching neutral storylines, but they aren't really involved in Alliance storylines.

Draenei just straight up don't feel like an Alliance race. Their issues are never addressed in Alliance story and the draenei solve their issues on their own as part of neutral content. The best draenei ever get is Velen being Anduin's sidekick which is just insulting. This issue is very much highlighted in Blizzard not using the Vindicaar.

And night elves don't feel like much of an Alliance race either. But at least that's actually being addressed in the Alliance story. But I'm afraid that's going to end up with Anduin being right and Tyrande being wrong.

Gnomes and dwarves are little more than the human's sidekicks. Yes, they feel like they belong in the Alliance, but they don't really feel like their own, separate, independent races. They feel like an extension of Stormwind.

And we STILL don't have ANY reason why Anduin is High King.


I love how you omit Worgen from this list of races that need attention, when their role in the story as the Forsaken's rivals has been dismantled and served over to the Night Elves, all because your petty grudge towards Humans has bled out over to another race because some Q&A said they're a curse and not a race.
11/07/2018 12:34 AMPosted by Lena
And we STILL don't have ANY reason why Anduin is High King.


Didn't they explain in BtS that it was because Stormwind has the largest army?
Because the Alliance does not need a military commander for High King, that role is already fulfilled by Genn, Tyrande, Jaina, etc.

Anduin is serving the role of High King as a diplomatic figure who is holding the Alliance together. He is essentially Terenas 2.0.
11/07/2018 07:05 AMPosted by Rendford
Anduin is serving the role of High King as a diplomatic figure


yeah, anduin is a great diplomat, apparently the best way to open negotiations is to capture the princess of a superpower and put her in a filthy cell,not trying to talk, and then apparently attacking them is the best thing to do to cut their ties.
11/07/2018 07:22 AMPosted by Etheldald
11/07/2018 07:05 AMPosted by Rendford
Anduin is serving the role of High King as a diplomatic figure


yeah, anduin is a great diplomat, apparently the best way to open negotiations is to capture the princess of a superpower and put her in a filthy cell,not trying to talk, and then apparently attacking them is the best thing to do to cut their ties.


In fairness, the Zandalar people were beyond diplomacy until Blizzard decided they wanted them to be a Horde allied race.
And we STILL don't have ANY reason why Anduin is High King.


Stormwind is a hereditary monarchy and the most powerful faction in the Alliance. The end.

Humans are the foundation of the Alliance; they're the most powerful and active faction. Saying they shouldn't be in the spotlight is like complaining the USA shouldn't have the prominence it does or that Germany shouldn't have so much influence within the EU. It's a valid opinion, but unrealistic. The armies of Stormwind are consistently the majority of the forces out in the world doing what needs to be done; in the last cinematic it's human soldiers we see getting ready to go die against the Horde and human corpses we see draped in flags.

Arguably only Dwarves could rival them on that front as they've never suffered the massive losses that they other races have but they've never as far as I can remember, in the entire history of WoW, chosen to take on the responsibilities and burdens that the humans have. A Dwarf-led Alliance would be interesting, specially with the losses Stormwind has accrued and the destruction of the Night Elves.
This is something that’s not unique to WoW. It’s kind of ubiquitous.

The overwhelming majority of media we consume is self-aggrandizing human propaganda. Our stories are about how awesome and special we are.

It makes sense since all of us are human beings.

If you look at WoW player statistics, you see that the most played race at max level for Alliance is Human. Again, this makes sense because if WoW is a power fantasy, then playing as a human character allows for greater immersion into that fantasy.

The trope or meme of Human Potential is that it’s a Deus Ex Machina that allows for people to triumph when logically it shouldn’t really happen.

For those of us that enjoy playing as non-humans, it gets a bit tiring when everything tends to revolve around and focus on human characters and civilizations. Sometimes because it’s boring - more of the same - and sometimes because it’s stupid.

Excuse the brevity of this response but I’m at work. Might write a follow up later.
11/07/2018 07:38 AMPosted by Koroun
Stormwind is a hereditary monarchy and the most powerful faction in the Alliance. The end.

Not anymore.
kultiras is now the stronger nation in the alliance.
So.. jaina for high queen?

that sounds like a really weird way to chose the faction leader.
11/07/2018 07:25 AMPosted by Rendford
In fairness, the Zandalar people were beyond diplomacy until Blizzard decided they wanted them to be a Horde allied race.

true.
11/07/2018 12:34 AMPosted by Lena
Secondly, Humans have like a billion big named characters while the rest of the Alliance has 1 or 2. To make matters worse, they actively get rid of characters that have potential for other races like Maraad, Yrel, Delaryn, etc.
8.1 is going to be exciting for Gnome fans, because they will be going from 1 major lore character to 0.

On the upside, there is a new gnome king in 8.2...that we kill.
that sounds like a really weird way to chose the faction leader.


Might makes right; the powerful lead. What's so odd about that?

All the other races need and rely hugely on Stormwind so it makes sense that it's king should have more power and influence than the other leaders. Anduin is not leader because his merits, he's leader because of the the power that he represents.

kultiras is now the stronger nation in the alliance.
So.. jaina for high queen?


We know the Kul Tiran fleet is pretty important due to current circumstances but does that translate into military and economic power? Has Blizzard actually shown that Kul Tiras is more powerful than Stormwind? We've all read Wowpedia and have our own head canons but at the end of the day what matters is what Blizzard shows us.
11/07/2018 08:40 AMPosted by Koroun
but does that translate into military and economic power?

Considering that stormwind is now recruiting farmers and kultirans had years to recover their army i would say yes. at least in military maybe in economics as well, all those treasures,ships and weapons from pirates and the ashvane company from their attack on boralus not even mentioning the azerite confiscated.

maybe stormwind would be in a better shape if anduin didn't send them to die in lordaeron. and it seems like the stormwind fleet has been wipe out.

stormwind is really weakened, and kultiras is now the most powerful alliance nation.
11/07/2018 07:39 AMPosted by Rhuna
This is something that’s not unique to WoW. It’s kind of ubiquitous.

The overwhelming majority of media we consume is self-aggrandizing human propaganda. Our stories are about how awesome and special we are.

It makes sense since all of us are human beings.

If you look at WoW player statistics, you see that the most played race at max level for Alliance is Human. Again, this makes sense because if WoW is a power fantasy, then playing as a human character allows for greater immersion into that fantasy.

The trope or meme of Human Potential is that it’s a Deus Ex Machina that allows for people to triumph when logically it shouldn’t really happen.

For those of us that enjoy playing as non-humans, it gets a bit tiring when everything tends to revolve around and focus on human characters and civilizations. Sometimes because it’s boring - more of the same - and sometimes because it’s stupid.

Excuse the brevity of this response but I’m at work. Might write a follow up later.


I think this is mostly the entire root of the issue here myself. Some examples, Star Trek (Humans Dominate the Federation and Starfleet despite so many races being a part of it). Star Wars... like 80% humans on both sides. There are lots of other examples, but that is just 2.

Notice how most other races in either Fantasy or Sci-Fi also have a shape that is roughly human and somehow also can cross-breed?

This is just part of the human psyche I expect.
they're backstabbing lords, that only want to rule over the other races.

other races are just disposable to them. look at the blood elves, how many times they were betrayed and used. the night elves, the worgen even.
I don't think it is intentional (maybe it is, idk) but the Alliance is defiantly being portrayed as human-centric Imperial regime. After SoO, we saw Varian "allow" the Horde to keep Azshara, which is something that should have been Tyrande's decision. We see non-humans wearing human armor. Hell, the flag of the Alliance and the flag of Stormwind is the same thing.... Like, how is the Alliance not just The Stormwind Empire, with all other races serving as Stormwind's vassals?

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