Posted by: Jess Riley | August 20, 2008

Pet Peeves: Blood Elves

There are certain stereotypes which are particularly pervasive on World of Warcraft. Sometimes the ideas aren’t the problem so much as how common they are, while sometimes the ideas themselves just grate on me far too much. A couple related to Blood Elves are listed here.

Incidentally, I think it’s important to know that I play Horde for preference and my favourite race are the Forsaken, and so a lot of my pet peeves come from Horde-side. I don’t mean to target Horde or the Blood Elves at all, but because of my roleplay circles, these are the kind of things I see a lot.

Pet Peeve: Sexy blood elves. I touched on this in my previous pet peeves post, talking about physicality, but I’d like to go into a little more detail here.

Why People Do It: I think there are two main reasons for this. First and foremost, the blood elves are the most human-like of the Horde races meaning there’s just going to be a higher number of people playing them in general and thus a higher number of people who are going to play in a Mary Sue-ish way, simply due to the increased numbers. Secondly, as the blood elves are rather human-like and have quite attractive models (something that is a Blizzard pet peeve of mine, given they’re described in the canon as being long-term addicts and with the associared physical characteristics), people assume that blood elves being attractive is a reasonable default. I can’t fault them for that.

Why It Bugs Me: As I said above, this is as much a beef with Blizzard as it is with the playerbase: the Blood Elf models are far too attractive, and the males are far too buff, even though they’re canonically anything from almost-Wretched to struggling through recovery, and their appearance should reflect this. They should be pale, skinny, gaunt, and any number of other things. This certainly doesn’t mean they can’t be attractive as well, but I really wish people emphasized the physical problems more.

How Else It Could Be Done: Really, even if you want to roleplay someone who is attractive, you can describe them and indicate their attractiveness while still noting this is despite their less desirable physical characteristics. It’s perfectly possible (though I’d still recommend cutting the huge breasts. Really, now.)

Pet Peeve: My Blood Elf doesn’t have magic addiction.

Why People Do It: Most people probably just don’t give it a second thought, in all honesty.

Why It Bugs Me: Honestly, it’s not that big a deal. Magic addiction is something that is pervasive amongst blood elves canonically, but its absence in roleplay isn’t as ludicrously jarring as some other problems could be. I’d just really like to see it played up more, because it can be an absolute gold mine for roleplay if treated appropriately. At the same time, of course, caution should be used in roleplaying it so it doesn’t venture into ludicrous territory – as I’ve never seen that happen, however, I’ll hold judgement for now.

How Else It Could Be Done: My personal take on my first Blood Elf was to look up signs of crystal meth addiction and include the relevant ones in my roleplay. Of course, my first Blood Elf was also a junkie, so I wanted to play that up as much as possible, but I think that general idea can be incorporated into those who play at various stages of the addiction cycle – are they in the throes of addiction, are they recovering, have they transferred their addiction to something else?

One of the things that I have since learned more about is the psychological nature of addiction flares up more in certain contexts. If you always use heroin in a certain context, that context will make you want to use heroin more. If you leave that context, you will have a lower rate of relapse into heroin abuse than if you remain in that context. (This is something that has been shown in war veterans; there was a much lower rate of relapse amongst veterans who abused heroin while at war than amongst people who abused heroin ‘at home’.) This is something to consider, as well – does your Elf actively avoid ‘triggers’ that make him/her think of magic? Do their ‘cravings’ get worse in battle, because of the high level of magic?

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Responses

  1. “Pet Peeve: My Blood Elf doesn’t have magic addiction.”

    This one utterly gets me to. In spite of playing with blood elves who noted particularly that they didn’t have a magic addiction, in spite of knowing that there’s no such thing as “wrong” in role-playing as long as you’re having fun, I’m sorry, but I must say it.

    If you play a Blood Elf without magic addiction, you’re doing it wrong.


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