Disclaimer: Some of the stereotypes mentioned here are not personal beliefs of mine and I may not agree with some of them so please do not be offended. If you have any questions concerning my personal views: do not be afraid to ask me in class – I assure you I hold no prejudices against anybody and I am not a bigot although I am afraid many people in the United States are.
World of Warcraft:
Social Commentary of Modern Stereotypes
Many people discard the notion of academic studies concerning themselves with video games. In many cases that is certainly a valid position to have because many video games have no relevance to society and academic analysis is impossible when narrative elements are lacking (i.e. Tetris). However, World of Warcraft (WoW), which has become a rather large cultural phenomenon, could prove itself worthy of vigorous academic examination. The designers of WOW have carefully shaped a universe that mirrors our world today, with subtle but sometimes obvious metaphors to represent concepts and stereotypes that people have today. This is significant because it can help people of the future (or people from other cultures) learn about the predominantly Caucasian American youth of this current generation and their respective beliefs, manifested by various stereotypes.
The Tauren are fictional race of bull-like humanoids in the World of Warcraft. Very peaceful in nature, these creatures live in the hilltops of land called Mulgore. Mulgore’s geography represents that of the Midwest of the
Orcs in the World of Warcraft are also humanoids, with large fangs. They are green in color and slightly larger than humans at around 7-8 feet in height and around 300 pounds in weight. They reside in the land known as the barrens which looks like a stereotypical savannah with its respective wildlife (Zebras, Giraffes, Lions and Hyenas). Their homes are small huts made of mud with straw roofs and they live in small groups, although their largest city, Ogrimmar, is the capital of the largest alliance (the horde) in World of Warcraft. Their values lie in strength and prowess in combat. Their leader’s title is “warchief” and their sayings included “War first…ask questions after humans are dead.” and “blood thirst is the only thirst” clearly reflecting their warlike and barbaric culture. The unique Orcish racial abilities include an expertise in wielding axes, bloodthirst (increased strength in combat) and hardiness (resilient to stunning effects). These traits represent the Orc’s toughness and strength. Thrall, the leader of the Orcs has worked hard to abolish slavery and that no Orc would ever be a slave again to anybody else, which shows their hatred of oppression. The combination of these qualities matches the modern stereotype that many people hold about native Africans: Warlike, tough and barbaric people that once sold one another into slavery but now vehemently oppose the notion of slavery and value their freedom. These stereotypes are again clearly faulty because we know there are warlike people in Africa and very peaceful people in
In the World of Warcraft there are also humans that look just like us. Some Humans live in farms surrounding Elywnn forest (a stereotypical central European forest with its respective wildlife consisting of bears, deer, boars and wolves) although most Humans live in the mighty city of
Dwarves in the World of Warcraft are similar to those seen in Lord of the Rings. They are short but muscular, usually with long beards that are braided in various ways. Their favorite past time is drinking mead and living in homes that resemble mines, usually dug underground or into the mountains to shield them from the cold and harsh weather of their homeland. Dwarves speak with a very thick Scottish accent and their writing looks primitive like Norse writing – very jagged and simple. The unique racial abilities that dwarves possess include frost resistance, which apparently helps them against the cold nature of their home. Ironforge (the dwarven capital) is a large city dug into a volcano. The center of Ironforge has a lava river flowing through it and is surrounded with a series of forges where blacksmiths can master their trait. The Dwarven stereotype represents the drunken Scottish stereotype on the northern British isle where it’s cold for a majority of the year. Their accent coupled with their excessive drinking and Norse writing has a clear resemblance to the 12th century stereotype of the various people living in modern day
Our misconceived modern stereotypes are each manifested in the various races in the World of Warcraft. This is certainly interesting to see and perhaps even study in the future because it is like a book of ethics and beliefs. However, the real interesting part of our social commentary comes with the complex interaction between the various races. There are two major alliances, the Horde led by the Orcs and followed by the Tauren (Trolls, Undead and Blood Elves). These are represented as the savage, unsophisticated force of brute strength and barbarity. The other major alliance is simply called the
However, to further complicate issues of morality the brute, barbarian forces of the horde are not necessarily evil while the sophisticated west is at times outright arrogant and evil. A great example of the barbarity of the alliance can be seen by the generation prior to the rise of the horde alliance. The leader of the horde, the mighty warchief Thrall is held in a camp called Durnhold by human captors. Durnhold is clearly an extermination camp as those seen 60 years ago during the Second World War employed by the Germans. Small huts that have beds without bedding, surrounded by armored guards that are forcing Orcs to work slave labor is how it is portrayed in the video game. There is no question about the barbarity that takes place at Durnhold and the war crimes committed by humans just a few generations earlier.
We are therefore proposed with a very complicated problem of conflicting views and stereotypes. On the one side we have the barbarian hordes that are examples of the primitive world, and on other side the
I have a few questions that I would like to propose here:
I looked up some things at www.wowwiki.com but the information was available and I have seen it before in the actual video games: What should I cite and where? I am not trying to plagiarize!
I did not cite modern stereotypes, should I? I personally do not have these stereotypes but from the time I have spent in the united states it seems like many people have these beliefs (at least before they enter higher levels of education)
Should I include more examples? If so, of what and where?
What should I write in my conclusion?
How long does the final paper have to be?
Are my points clear or do I use video game lingo that some people may not understand?
Should I talk about more races or should I write more about the Horde
What should I add if anything at all?
Thanks for reading!!