Lore – Petoholics Anonymous http://wow.wolfdragon.net Because you can never have too many pets Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:57:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1574202 Tauren followers of the Light revisited http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/01/tauren-followers-of-the-light-revisited/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2011/01/tauren-followers-of-the-light-revisited/#comments Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:40:14 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=1082 Far too many times I have heard the one comment or another essentially proclaiming that tauren paladins and/or priests are a perversion of WoW lore, or those characters are going against the tauren culture/religion.

Now I’ve talked about this before but for whatever reason, people still seem to clamor about it left and right. This irks me, a lot. Mostly likely because it seems to stem from resistance to change and misconceptions. So this is going to be my attempt to identify and dissolve these misconceptions once and for all.

1. WoW Religions are analogous to Real World Religions

Let me just lay it all out on the table first.

Shamanism in WoWShamanism in Real Life
Druidism in WoWDruidism in Real Life
Following the Light (paladins and priests)Christianity

Really, it’s as simple as that. For whatever reason, people appear to think that because there are a few similarities here and there, they must be equal to each other. If you don’t believe me, I highly recommend visiting each of those links and reading those words with your own eyes. What I will do though is point out some key differences.

Shamanism in Azeroth is the closest to the real world equivalent out of the three. While shamanism IRL varies greatly from culture to culture, the majority of the focus is on the spiritual aspect, not the elemental connection. Shamans were also spiritual leaders and healers, never fighters or warriors. In addition, only a select few cultures used totems at all.

Very little is known of the ancient druids of Great Britain but there is speculation of animal sacrifices, if not human ones. Such acts seem a far cry from the peaceful Cenarion druids that we all know, yes?

And last but not least, the assumption that the Light and Christianity are somehow equivalent is the one that always throws me the most. One of the key beliefs in all the Christian sects is that there is a single God. Yet the very first thing that is said on the Wowpedia article on the Light is:

The Light, referred to as the Holy Light by some cultures, is a non-theistic religious form of philosophy

Non-theistic. Which means:

The followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods. Instead, it is a philosophy, training its followers to seek perfection within themselves.

There are no deities in the philosophy of the Light. None.

The article goes on to note that “most followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods”, and from that comment we can certainly say that some followers do in fact worship some god. Like perhaps…the Earth Mother that the tauren so reverently honor.

This leads me to the second misconception I have found…

2. Following the Light is against tauren culture/religion OR tauren paladins/priests are rejecting their old culture

As stated above, the idea of the Light is a philosophy, a way of life. Perhaps to some it is kin to a religion but it is not equal to one. Just as a warrior or hunter has their own way of life, so does a paladin or priest. Tauren paladins and priest don’t give up their beliefs of the Earth Mother and ancestor worship for the Light, instead all of them are part of their lives.

The tauren culture has always included shamans and druids, two “walks of life” that rely on different principles. Yet they have been able to have both peacefully in their society for who knows how many decades. There is no conflict or strife between these two ideals. So why is it that people have such a hard time accepting that the tauren could accept a third way of life into their culture?

In The Shattering novel, there is a moment when Auduin Wrynn gives Baine Bloodhoof Fearbreaker, a mace that has some connection to the Light. Baine then goes on to talk about the sun An’she and how it could be analogous to the Light. The high chieftain of all tauren is certainly not abject to the idea.

Of all the races, taurens are the ones I would single out as the least likely to resist change. They have been able to have shamans and druids coexist peacefully together, and they have gone from being a collection of small nomadic tribes to a single society that comfortably settled in Mulgore. They have always prided themselves in being close to the earth and nature, and if there is a single thing they have learned is that there is always change. Seasons change, all life is born then dies to provide the substance to new life. None of their core beliefs have changed by letting followers of the Light into their ranks. There is no reason for them not to adapt to their new world, and so they embrace it fully, the Light included.

Players who sneer at tauren paladins and priests need to stop thinking like humans and put themselves in the shoes (or hooves) of a Shu’halo. Humans in the real world may wage wars over religions but the tauren are not human in the least. Perhaps we can all take a page from their book for once.

Any comments, questions, or ideas are always welcome!

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Tauren paladins: More thoughts on Cataclysm http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2009/09/tauren-paladins-more-thoughts-on-cataclysm/ http://wow.wolfdragon.net/2009/09/tauren-paladins-more-thoughts-on-cataclysm/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2009 19:04:42 +0000 http://wow.wolfdragon.net/?p=691 Better late than never, am I right?

So over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had time to think about all I’ve heard about the next expansion. No, I don’t have any juicy new rumors to leak out to everyone. All I have are my opinions on the new content.

One that seems to have caused the most controversy is the new race/class combinations. Now gnome priests and dwarf shamans don’t seem to be that outrageous to a good number of people…but the very mention of “tauren paladins” seem to make everyone foam at the mouth. They cry out “lore rape” and that Blizzard has gone too far and whip themselves up into a frenzy.

I’d have to disagree. It makes perfect sense to me. Here’s my reasoning.

One thing people have pointed out is that taurens have never been paladins, hence the lore rape. But Blizzard isn’t going back and changing the lore to say “Hey, we found this rogue group of tauren paladins in Tanaris and they’ve come to join the Horde.” No, what’s happening here is that tauren culture is evolving. Think about it. After being isolated for who knows how many centuries on Azeroth (with only the centaur to interact with, and fight for that matter), in the last five years or so they have allied themselves with 4 other races and have found their possible ancestors (the Taunka) in Northrend. Any interaction with a new race and culture is bound to change anyone’s views on life.

I’m not saying that the tauren have turned their backs on what they’ve always believed in. They are not the type of people to do that. Nor are they like the blood elves, stealing Naaru for their own purposes. But they are a people always seeking balance, like the balance of nature. Now the taurens worship the Earth Mother, who they see as the creator of everything, including them. She is considered a sort of universal consciousness, a multi-faceted gem whose sides represent different elements or parts of nature. She is also seen in the sky. From Wowwiki:

The sun (An’she) and moon (Mu’sha) are her eyes.

Mu’sha, the moon, is often associated with the tauren druids (Moonglade, moonkin, the night elf druids worshipping Elune, etc.). An’she on the other hand seems to be missing from the various tauren classes. The aspect of the sun is missing from tauren culture. Don’t believe me? If you have a Horde character, travel to Elder Rise in Thunder Bluff and look for Tahu Sagewind and Aponi Brightmane. If you don’t have a Horde character, here is the conversation they have (P.S. the An Injured Colleague quests leads you to this pair as well):

Aponi Brightmane says: I see that thoughtful frown, Tahu.
Tahu Sagewind says: Sorry, sister. It’s nothing to worry about.
Aponi Brightmane says: But something is on your mind, right?
Tahu Sagewind says: I’m thinking about the front to the north. The one you’re so eager to return to.
Aponi Brightmane says: What about it?
Tahu Sagewind says: I know I’m counseling patience, Aponi, but I don’t like remaining here any more than you do. Times are bleak, and failing to act only makes me worry that my idle hand may have been the one to turn the tide.
Aponi Brightmane says: Talk to me, Tahu. Something. Anything! I’m going stir-crazy.
Tahu Sagewind laughs softly.
Tahu Sagewind says: All right, Aponi. I’ve enough on my mind to share. Have you ever spoken to the elves of Moonglade?
Aponi Brightmane says: Not much.
Tahu Sagewind says: The elves speak of a moon goddess, did you know? They put great stock in the light given by the moon.
Aponi Brightmane says: Like Mu’sha.
Tahu Sagewind says: Just like her. The parallels I’ve heard are interesting. And it’s no secret all druids, Shu’halo and elf alike, can call upon Mu’sha’s light.
Aponi Brightmane says: Where are you going with this?
Tahu Sagewind says: I wonder. Hamuul has guided us well, and I’ve learned so much from him. The legends say that our people were druids when time began…
Aponi Brightmane says: I hear the “but” in your voice…
Tahu Sagewind says: …but what Hamuul teaches is what the elves know. The night elves. They put such stock in their moon goddess, as creatures of the night.
Aponi Brightmane says: Do you think his teachings are wrong?
Tahu Sagewind says: No! No, nothing like that. He is an elder for good reason, sister. Mu’sha is one of the Earthmother’s eyes, and she watches over us. That isn’t sinister.
Tahu Sagewind says: But we’re nothing if not people who strive for balance. Our warriors fight only when there is need. Our hunters take only what the tribes require to live, and use all they can when they do. The shaman stand as guide and mediator to the elemental spirits.
Tahu Sagewind says: And while we, as druids, are guardians of nature, I wonder if we’ve overlooked a key aspect of balance in all things.
Aponi Brightmane says: So are you going to bring this up to the elder?
Tahu Sagewind says: No, no. No need for him to trouble about a student’s idle philosophizing while he entertains a friend.
Aponi Brightmane says: I suppose so. It’s not silly, though, what you said.
Tahu Sagewind says: Well, it isn’t exactly a new thought, sister.

During this conversation, Tahu summons images of first the moon, then the sun, overlaping them in an eclipse. I believe he has a very valid point. An’she has been overlooked and it’s time to change that. As he says, it’s not a new thought and has probably been in the back of some taurens minds for a long time. And now that the tauren have seen and fought beside the blood elf paladins, why not incorporate that into their lives in their own way?

I’ve heard some argue that paladins use holy energy, which makes a lot of people think of churches and crosses. I’m not going to delve into a religious debate but let’s just say that “holy” is a matter of perception. Taurens believe that the world around them is sacred, and part of that world is the sun. Why would that aspect not give them “holy” power in the form of light? Isn’t that what paladins really are, warriors of the Light?

So as you can see, in my mind tauren paladins are certainly not a stretch, but merely a progression of culture and ideas coming to life. I’d say that it’s about time that they’ve discovered that there was a imbalance in their lives.

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