Monday, November 12, 2007

029: On being human

As a sidenote in his comment to my previous post, Dammerung snarks a little on the fact that I play a filthy Human. (Then he promptly goes back to his blog and throws flattery at me to make up for it - at least he's a smart Orc.) It reminded me of the times I've browsed my realm forum and seen people with their panties in a knot use this as an insult in arguments. "Well I'm not the person who bought a fantasy game and rolled a human" type thing. I've never bothered to get involved in pointless arguments like that but you know how you sometimes read something you take offense to in whatever way and you know it's futile to reply so you compose a scalding response in your head for your own satisfaction/entertaintment? Orrrrrr maybe that's just me. Anyway! I've done that re: playing a human and will now treat you to my (tl;dr) point of view on the matter:

When I began playing, I was in the (probably very small) group of people who've never played it before and have never seen anyone else play it, but who have read through an entire official guidebook multiple times. See, I decided I wanted to play this Warcraft thing but knew my computer wouldn't be able to handle it. Not having a video card at all was merely one of the clues. However I'm a practical girl when it comes to money, and the next time I had plenty of the stuff I picked up a copy. It'd take me a few months to put aside enough for that shiny new computer and I didn't want to find myself having just bought it... and not having enough left over to buy the actual game. I also picked up the official Bradygames guidebook (with the awesome Penny Arcade comic strips in it) so that I could figure out the very basics of the game before buying the new PC and installing it.

It took some 4-5 months (my savings fund got distracted by this thing called Christmas), but finally the new PC arrived and the game was installed. I'd had plenty of quality time with the guide and had a fair idea of what the different races and classes were like. I'm not ashamed to admit that I immediatly went for the Hunter class. Quite typical, I know, but the reason I'm not ashamed is because I never actually did join the legions of not-all-that-great-players-who-rolled-a-night-elf-hunter. See, for some obscure reason that I don't even understand myself I romanticised the idea of the Night Elf race and I romanticised the idea of the Hunter class, but point blank refused to combine the two. Don't ask me why cause I honestly have no idea. I wanted a human hunter. Not a Night Elf, not a Dwarf, and certainly not a Horde (I was too much of a good girl to play the 'bad' side).

What do you do when the combination of race and class that you want don't exist? You roll a Human Warrior. It made sense at the time. I think I remember having picked up on the fact that Night Elves were the typical choice of female players and I wanted to avoid being like everyone else. How I'd picked up on that I don't know. To this day the only races I haven't touched are Dwarves and Trolls (and Trolls only cause the Horde in general doesn't seem to work for me - I can never get past level 10ish) so for whatever reason Dwarves have never appealed to me at all. I liked the idea of a Gnome Warlock, seeing it as a sort of tiny pack of pure dynamite, but realised that this too was quite a common thing when someone mentioned to me that they were drawn to that class/race combo for the exact same reason. Having exhausted all the (then) options, the only race left for me to roll was Human. I couldn't think of any good reason not to and the race wasn't unappealing, so off I went.

The reason it was a Warrior was simply that I couldn't be a Hunter and it seemed to me as an 'easy' class to start with. You bang stuff over the head with a weapon, right? How hard could it be? Everything else seemed so technical with spells and healing and summoned demons and all these fancy abilities. Warriors, I decided, couldn't possibly be that complex. Give me a sword and a shield and I'll go around killing things until I've figured this Azeroth world out enough to brave something tougher!

Some 42 levels later I only had my Warrior and one other character, a level 6 Undead Rogue that I never quite figured out how to play and thus abandoned. Friends happened and OMG roll on my friends server! She'll help us out! and shortly after I had started fresh with a human Warlock on a PvP realm. Human because I still hadn't gotten over not wanting to do anything common.

(Mind you the actual numbers might show that there were and are more Human Warlocks than there are Gnome Warlocks. I have no idea, to be quite honest. Not to mention that Human in general is probably the most common class of all. This was all about what I believed in my head to be common and not, you know, actual facts. Afte rall, what I roll is 100% about what I feel happy playing and once I'd latched on to the idea that something was typical it'd take some time to let go of that.)

Around level 20ish my friends and I realised that our combo of Warrior, Warlock and Warlock weren't optimal for getting PUGs to instances and group quests. It seemed at the time that there were hardly any healers at all on our realm and since I hadn't fallen in love with the Warlock class I volunteered to re-roll Priest. Human, again, because I had good experience with the race and because my friend fully supported my belief that 'Night Elf = Stupid 12 yearold' was pretty much fact. (This was confirmed over and over with every single PUG group we ever touched.) I have now graciously adapted this belief to 'Night Elf = Stupid person that will wipe your group UNLESS it is someone you know not to be an idiot, or is level 70 and in a respectable guild'. And even then there are exceptions.

It took some time to catch up with my friends, obviously, and when I finally did the 'Lock died off on us (too busy with his raiding Druid on a different server) and the Warrior went SQUEEE DRAENEI and re-rolled Shaman the moment the expansion was out. I ended up leveling my budding Shadow Priest alone through most of her levels but didn't really mind. The first time I ever touched any other Alliance race was when I created my Gnome bank and when I, very guiltily, rolled Night Elf just to try some class. Probably Druid, but I really can't remember. As the months have gone by I've gotten over my dislike for the other races though, and I now operate a small army of Humans, Draenei and Night Elves. There will probably never be any Dwarves in it, but maybe some day I'll try something with a Gnome. It's unlikely though, as the only classes I lack are Shaman and Paladin, and as far as I can remember Gnomes can't be either.

Anyway, to get to the point of most Human insults out there: I really don't see why it's a not-cool thing to roll a Human in a fantasy game. I bought this game to play in a medieval-ish fantasy world and I'm quite content to play a Human living in this world. It's still very much a fantasy to me since this Human wanders around with Elves and Gnomes and Spacegoats, which obviously doesn't exist in real life. She travels through landscapes we'd never see here on Earth and battles magnificent monsters. To me the game is more than fantasy enough and I see no need to play a made-up race to make it a proper 'valid' fantasy. The argument that if you want to play a fantasy game you shouldn't play the race you actually are in real life is moot in my opinion. It's still pretty damn fantastic.

Then again, if I'd known then what I know now, I'd have re-rolled Draenei Priest when the expansion came purely for the racials. I mean, come on, Desperate Prayer? Crit heals me for around 600hp. What the hell is that about? At least I'll get Fear Ward tomorrow. Now that's a 'common' I'll whole-heartedly embrace!


Julia said...

My first two main characters were humans. And I think it makes perfect sense to play a human in a fantasy game, 'cause my priest and my pally could do a LOT that I can't in real life. I can't melt someone's face or bash their head in IRL. I can't shield myself with a bubble, fly around on a gryph, or pal around with elves or gnomes. That's why I rolled humans, really, and made them look a little like me - so I could (in a sense) be me, but the fantasy me that will kill you with spells. Isn't that the ultimate fantasy? To do all these things "yourself"?

Dammerung said...

Humans are actually spiffy. When playing alliance I end up human 6 times out of 10. Simply because I can't stand my character being a dwarf, the night elf guys look like magazine models, I don't have BC, and being a gnome is the other 40% of the time.


Filthy pinksins. Always complainin cus we're beatin on their heads with axes... what exactly do they think they were created for anyways?

*ghost wolf*
/sprints back home before the gnome mage corp can burninate his smexy green hide.

Doomilias said...

heh. laugh at the people who make fun of your being human with taunts of "most powerful racial in the game, WUT NOW?!"

seriously, diplomacy friggin rocks as a racial, since so much really good loot can be had from rep rewards.

the only reason i've never rolled a male human is beacuse i just cant stand their gait. they dont move their shoulders when the run!!

Kestrel said...

I'm with Doom on the human male model--it sucks. We look like we're on 'roids. I'm reminded of the human fodder in Deadmines--"Duhhhh...."

That said, when I rolled my priest, for some reason (maybe I forgot NE's could be priests?) I rolled hooman. Put enough cloth on him, and he almost looks decent. Except for the Neanderthal-like head.

I simply can't play the short races. I've tried, and I hate not seeing through grass. :p

Mana Battery Bitch said...

@Julia, exactly! I don't have to play an elf or a dwarf for this game to be fantasy.

@Dammerung, this pinkskin killed some Hordies today in your honor ;) (I envy you ghostwolf form - the dance, omgsocute!)

@Doom, I KNOW! I made up my mind very early on that I'd grind rep with everything worthwhile, and being a Human helps so much. My human priest racial may suck sweaty donkey balls but I wouldn't trade off Diplomacy for the world. And honestly, I don't think I'd have braved starting the Wintersaber rep grind if I weren't Human.

@Kestrel, I've never played an Alliance male (in fact my only male at all is the Belf Rogue eyecandy) but that's something that'd have irritated me, too. Thankfully the Human females look pretty okay - I just hate their dance :x

Ratshag said...

I had some fun with savory deviate delight for a while, 'cause I liked bein' a pirate, but I got really tired of how dorky I looked when I ran. Guess it ain't just me what thinks so.

Hum fems don't look bad, once ya get past the pasty-looking skin. Heeey, Macarena!

evilplaidkitten laundro said...

My, well, former as of last night, guild (who has banned me and Dave from the vent server apparently, and probably kicked our alts out but I can't find out until the servers come back up from the patch) gives shit to those who roll blood elves and play horde. Apparently if you're going to play horde, the uglier you are, the better. I'm sorry, but I can't help it if I'm a girl and I like pretty. Not to say that I don't love my jawless undead mage, or running around as a large female cow hunter, but there's something about the blood elf warlock of mine that I love. Yes, I'm vain. I would never roll an orc cause they're so damn ugly. It's actually the only horde I've never played.

As for allies, I think I've done human, night elf, and draeni. Draeni I only did because I wanted to see exactly where they started out at. (back before like everyone in the world knew this).

Granted I don't know the practical purposes behind humans at all (aka racial abilities.) so I honestly can't speak to what your being a priest and a human is accomplishing for you. I just know that will of the forsaken has to be one of the best racial talents ever.