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Tauren paladins: More thoughts on Cataclysm

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.