Posted by: Sean | November 24, 2008

Theme Week Trolls: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trolls

OK, OK. So my last two troll posts seem to have generated a bit of confusion. It appears people don’t quite get it when I state that playing trolls nasty, and the funny, are both my favourite way of playing them. Well, first of all, it was an attempt at humour. But more-over, it’s perfectly logical!

A while ago, Jess pointed out to me that my favourite race was clearly gnomes. I adored my gnomish rogue, and clearly had a lot of time for gnomish NPCs. A large percentage of my character concepts were gnomish. But no! I observed, defiant. As I have clearly said, time and time again, my favourite two races are the humans and the orcs, the original two races of Warcraft and, in fact, the only two races I feel it would truly ever need. I’m serious: You could make World of Warcraft work even if the entirety of the game were orcs on one side, and humans on the other. Just give them both all the classes (except for paladins on the human side and shamans on the orcs side) and it would work just fine. Their lore is deeper than any other race; yes, Jess, even deeper than that of the Forsaken. The humans have the coolest city in the game; the orcs lose out to the Forsaken but still have a nice rambling bazaar feel to their own. (Nope, not the blood elves. Sorry, Sin’dorei, but I’ve always found the blood elf capital to be a bit flat when it’s all said and done.)

Jess’s response was interesting: Yes, she said, that’s all well and good. But emotionally, you’re most definitely a fan of the gnomes. Intellectually, you know they’re one of the shallowest races, with barely a hint of a mention in Warcraft II as their only claim to the Warcraft universe. You know, intellectually, that they really should probably have probably not been the fourth Alliance race. But you love the idea of them.

And, well, Jess has always been more emotionally attuned than me. She’s dead right – I love the little guys. They’re egalitarian and rational, humorous and fun. (And much like Grover, they’re cute, too.)

So for trolls? Well, to be honest, before I began this week the answer was: I liked them best when played not at all. For me, trolls were as how gnomes are for many others: Bleh. I had no time for the lanky things, they seemed to be a one-note string of stoner jokes and even though trolls were firmly enmeshed in Warcraft lore, they seemed poorly placed within World of Warcraft. Why should this group of trolls be so seemingly minor in the scheme of the Horde compared to the tauren, a group of Johnny-come-latelys?

In short, intellectually I disliked the trolls, and emotionally I had no real connection with them. That has now changed.

I now see the Darkspear tribe as less a group of stoner jokers and more the savage, primitive fury that once defined the orcs. This works for me, it explains why despite their closeness with the orcs, they’re viewed as a potential liability; they’re the friend who you’ve been through thick and thin with but wish he’d stop acting to make the thin times happen so often, the friend who needs you to bail him out of jail a few too many times. It makes them compelling and lets me start imagining role-play concepts for them a lot more easily.

Yet my favourite troll concept I’ve seen of late is a bad troll stand-up comic. And I thought it was brilliant. I will probably always have an emotional leaning to humorous role-play above serious role-play; it’s just more fun. Which the trolls do well, it’s true.

In the end, I’m probably more glad for this week of our racial theme weeks than any other. I’ve definitely learned more than any other week.

This afternoon, I’ll try to get the Play File finished, and then we’ll shift to Theme Week Undead to wrap up the series of racial weeks. After that… well, we’ll see what Blogatelle wants.


  1. I always though Silvermoon was the perfect example of ‘style over substance’. It seems to me it’s more of the idea of what a good city should be than an actual city that people can live in. In much the same way that some very rich people need to have beautiful houses full of beautiful stuff but are more art museums than actual *homes*.

    I’m an eye-candy junkie, so I adore Silvermoon, but I also feel it fits well with my in-game perception of the blood elves.

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