This week's topic is brought to us by Ringo Flinthammer.
For years, fans of the Horde have described them as noble savages or, at worst, misunderstood people trying to make their way in a hostile world.
But that may have changed in the wake of the Cataclysm. The Forsaken have rolled across the northern lands of the Eastern Kingdoms, slaughtering all enemies in the Hillsbrad Foothills and seek to claim Gilneas for their own. The orcish war machine is rolling across Kalimdor, unleashing fire and devastation in Azshara and the Stonetalon Mountains. Horde NPCs even argue amongst themselves about the brutality of their methods.
Has the Horde changed? Is Blizzard merely clarifying the way they've always wanted to portray them? Or is this merely the start of a story about the soul of the Horde?
As a fair warning, I am by no means the biggest lore enthusiast out there, but I have done some minor dabbling. I know generally who was jilted by who, why one faction may have a chip on their shoulder about the other, the reasonings behind why some races allied with which side, so on and so forth. When asked the question "Is the Horde the evil faction in WoW?" I'd have to be inclined to say no, even as a member of the Alliance. In order to convince you why I would say this, let me lay out my rational via giving a minor break down as to why the Horde is aligned the way that they are. Feel free to correct me on any points I may accidentally have gotten wrong.
Orcs - These guys are given a bad name mainly due to their tempers. They were enslaved, tampered with by demon blood, hunted by the Humans...they've been through some pretty nasty situations. I think they have some right to be rather defensive. Did they go overboard with some of their killing rampages? Probably. Thrall has done wonders to calm the blood lust of his people though, bringing them back to what can be considered "civil." It will be interesting to see what kind of influence Garrosh has over the Orcs. We may need to hide the Shaman while he's doing the leading.
Are Orcs evil: Depends on which branch of Orcs we're talking about. The one's in Hellfire Peninsula? Yeah, I'd toss them in the evil pile, but the last I knew they weren't a part of the Horde. The typical green guy we see strutting on Orgrimmar? Nah, not evil. Having a temper does not make one evil, demon blood on the other hand...yeah, that could do it. It may be possible that Orc Warlocks are evil, but you'd have to question one's motives before casting that judgment.
Tauren - Sweet, giant, land loving cow people. The Tauren needed help, the Orcs came to the rescue. Because of that simple act the Tauren are allied with the Horde. It seems to be an alliance out of a sense of debt more than anything else, but it's what you'd expect out of such a noble race.
Are Tauren evil: Not in the least. Except for those flower-picking druids who get a kick out of ninjaing nodes. Their moral values are debatable.
Trolls - These guys kind of have a sketchy past. They deal with da Voodoo mon. Trolls have been known to be vicious. The Horde's brand of Troll though? I'm not convinced that those guys are evil. They simply want a place to call their own. They needed help, the Orcs lent a hand, now the Trolls are allied with the Horde. Heck, they shared a home city with the Orcs for the longest time. That brotherly outreach from the Orcs was certainly compassionate in my eye.
Are Trolls evil: Dey may mess wit da Voodoo mon, but dey jus be wantin' a place to call 'ome. Dun cross der paths, and dey not be harmin' ya.
Blood Elves - Shunned by the Night Elves, cast aways who landed on the shores of northern Eastern Kingdoms, sufferers of a severe magic addiction, devastated by a vicious attack launched by the Scourge. They lost part of their beloved Silvermoon City, they lost Sylvanas and many of their fellow people, eventually they lost Kael as well. The Blood Elves have been through some stuff. They're a bit callous, somewhat vicious, and I can't help but have my heart go out to them. They have known suffering. They're the drug addicts of WoW who have witnessed their families being massacred by the undead scourge. They needed help, and because of the past actions of the Alliance, they turned to the Horde (whom they found out Sylvanas was a part of, so they reluctantly joined up).
Are Blood Elves evil: As much as one would like to hate their vicious beauty, you cannot really call Blood Elves evil. They've been wounded as a people badly, and they're defensive because of it. It's a coping mechanism, and I certainly cannot consider them evil for using it.
Goblins - They're sneaky, thrifty, shady little devils. They're the new kids on the block as far as team Horde is concerned, and quite frankly I don't know a ton about them yet. So yeah, I got nothing.
Are Goblins evil: Depends on if they steal your socks or not to make a quick buck. They're kind of shady, so they *may* be evil...but are they Deathwing evil? Nah.
The Forsaken, aka the Undead - Out of all of the members of the Horde, the Undead would be the group that I'd consider to be the most likely to be "evil." They're a sketchy, baggy boned bunch raised from the dead for one purpose: to be an army. Ever since Sylvanas has been brought back from the dead (again) and the Val'kyr have joined the Forsaken, the Undead ranks have been swelling. Frankly, I think something has been done to Sylvanas to cause her to raise resting souls unwillingly from the dead. Before she had a right to be miffed at the world; she was captured by the Lich King, killed, and raised as a banshee slave until she managed to free herself. Now though? Something bigger is at play.
Are the Undead evil: At best I give them a possibly. The vast majority of the Forsaken have been turned or risen from the dead unwillingly, and rallied under Sylvanas to take down the causes for their creation. There's something more sinister going on within the Undead ranks now though, and while many of it's people are not at fault, something fishy is definitely going on.
So, do I believe the Horde are evil? As a whole, no. There are some rather sketchy characters within their ranks, but just because you have a few bad apples in the bunch doesn't mean that the fruit as a whole is bad. The Horde are by no means more "evil" than the Alliance, who - I say this despite my great love for the Alliance, her people, and it's cities - have done some pretty incredibly shady things themselves because of politics and in the name old, terrible, pointless, and often misguided feuds.
Has the Horde changed as of late? Most certainly. Garrosh is now at the helm of the Orcs, Sylvanas seems to have been tainted somehow, Cairne is dead, and the Goblins have aligned with the Horde. Politics have changed drastically within that few year jump that Cataclysm gave us, so of course things have changed quite a bit for the Horde. I think Blizzard's story line is simply progressing very similarly to how things would change in real life had this political shift happened. I don't really think it has anything to do with how they want the Horde to be portrayed, nor do I necessarily think that the current or future actions have anything to do with the "soul" of the Horde as a whole. Each race has their own reasonings for choosing the side that they did, and even the NPCs are nervous as of late about the actions they are forced to take.
It all boils down to politics and misunderstandings, neither of which I'm a big fan of, but they seem rather unavoidable. The plot is thickening dear readers, and it shall be interesting to see how the Horde keeps its fragile alliance together.