As many of you probably already know, in the next expansion, the existing races will have one or two new class options (except Draenei, who already have plenty). Many of the new options make sense from a lore perspective, but some of them are a little…odd. So I thought I’d try my hand at explaining some of the choices, to try to peer into the minds of Blizzard’s loremasters and try to understand why they are allowing these options now.
Orcs already have a strong proficiency at wielding various types of magic. As shamans, they can command the elements: lightning, fire, frost, and so on. As warlocks, they can use demonic magic. It makes sense that they would learn to use arcane magic from the blood elves, who share a similar demonic taint. The orcs don’t have an aversion to the arcane like the Tauren do.
This change relates more to the marksman/ranger aspect of Hunters than the beastmaster aspect. The ranger tradition is probably being pushed by the Forsaken’s own leader, Sylvannas Windrunner, the former Ranger-General of Quel’Thalas. That also explains all the Dark Rangers we’ve been seeing all over Northrend. There’s also Nathanos Blightcaller, another former Ranger-General (who was once human).
Tauren Paladins & Priests
These ones make much less sense to me, but probably because the lore is still being written for this.
Regarding paladins, about all we know about tauren becoming paladins comes from the story of Aponi Brightmane, and there’s not much there. The tauren race has never been able to use the Holy Light like normal paladins and priests, and they certainly aren’t going to siphon it from a captured Naaru like the blood elves used to. Apparently, tauren paladins will be called “Sunwalkers”, and will draw their power from their sun god (An’she), just as druids draw some of their powers from the moon god (Mu’sha/Elune). It seems likely that Brightmane will become the first of the Sunwalkers when the Cataclysm comes.
Tauren priests probably won’t use the Holy Light either, and will probably also derive their powers from the Sun, like night elf priests draw their powers from the moon. Still too early to say on a lot of this though, an I hope Blizz adds lots of neat new lore on this subject.
First, the trolls have always had an affinity with nature and the arcane, and traditionally they’ve lived in forest and wilderness areas. Further, shapeshifting is something that many powerful trolls can do – just look at many of the bosses in troll-based dungeons. However, the Darkspear tribe (which is the tribe that all Horde trolls belong to) is much more island-based, so they probably have lost those magic traditions. It makes sense that the tauren have probably taught them the druidic arts, and that the trolls have taken so easily to them.
Blood Elf Warriors
This one’s a no-brainer. If you can swing a weapon, you can be a warrior (though I still think that gnome warriors are ridiculous). The only reason why there haven’t been any blood elf warriors so far (from a lore perspective, at least) is because they all became Blood Knights (paladins). Now that the blood elves have mellowed a little, the appeal of forcibly drawing martial power from the Holy Light probably seems less appealing to many elves.
I had forgotten that humans haven’t been able to be hunters yet. It makes pretty obvious sense though: we’ve seen plenty of human hunters in Grizzly Hills, after all. Maybe the High Elves have been teaching them the art of the hunter, or something. Not much to say on this one, I guess.
Dwarf Mages and Shamans
In Northrend, we’ve gotten to see that the dwarves once had a great affinity with the natural elements of the world, especially since they themselves came from the stone. Essentially, dwarf mages and shamans have rediscovered lost aptitudes, and will be able to wield the elements once more. I guess they’ve learned to wield the arcane somewhere else.
Night Elf Mages
This one goes very deep into elven history. Arcane magic is what transformed the night elves into their current form (from trolls), so has always been a part of them. After they nearly destroyed Azeroth in the Sundering, they gave up arcane magic and switched to druidism. Obviously, some of them are overcoming the taboo against the arcane, especially since the night elves now have regular contact with other cultures who use arcane magic freely. Like the dwarves, they’re learning to use it once again.
Gnomes can basically do whatever they want, and they’re willing to try anything. There’s no reason why gnomes couldn’t be priests, besides just being uninterested in it. Perhaps they now see how useful it can be to be able to heal others with magic.
The Goblins and the Worgen are very versatile races, and most of their class choices make a lot of sense. The defining characteristics of a race seem to come from whether they can be a druid, paladin, or shaman.
Goblins can’t be druids of course, since they clearly have no affinity for nature – they view nature as being there for the taking. They also can’t be paladins, since they’re far too undisciplined and crazy. But I wonder why they can be priests and shamans. I suppose they’re especially good at commanding various magical forces to do their bidding (like a warlock), and probably don’t bother to “ask” like shamans and priests traditionally do.
Worgen are naturally proficient at shapeshifting, which makes them naturally good at druidism. They, like humans, have no shamanistic tradition, and the Worgen Curse probably prevents them from accessing the Holy Light in ways that the humans do. In fact, they may even be drawing their powers from Elune light the night elves do, since it’s the night elves who save them from their curse.
Ok, there’s a lot of unfounded speculation there, but I was surprised by how much lore was available to support these conclusions. We’ll see if I’m right eventually, I’m sure.