Saturday, March 6, 2010

Those Female Leaders in WoW

Let me just start out by saying I do not consider myself a feminist (mostly because modern feminist come across as male hating individuals more ASHAMED of their femininity and jealous of  those with the dangly body parts than anything else.) However, WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THE  FEMALE LEADERS OF WOW?!?!?

It all started with Jania Proudmore.

When we were FIRST introduced to her in the games and even in the books she was a STRONG character. Someone who put PRINCIPLE before sentimental considerations. Her intense desire to study coming about because she was pretty much ignored by her father and brother unless as a political tool. She overcomes that to become one of the most noted mages of the age, gaining attention and instruction from members of the KirinTor's Seven (not to mention a few love lorn others). This is a young woman who pretty much single handily saved the human race while others were denying that the world was falling apart around them.

I know players who when they first encounter her at Theramore were going "that's JANIA PROUDMORE!!!" Their voices filled with awe and reverence that she was standing before them STILL doing her duty. Even when she showed up in the Ulduar Cinematic her thoughts were all about trying to maintain a balance and find solutions.

Back when Jania had her more "innocent" model she was someone members of the Alliance looked up to....but what is she now? Give the girl some bedroom eyes and turn her into a weeping soggy hanky....she sets my teeth on edge. Lets watch the idiot go chasing after her first lover demanding to know the "truth". (Honey he is a lost cause and EVERYONE has been telling you that for a while.) Varian shows some compassion to an Orc (because he is a father too and can emphasize, besides we all know that Surafang can kick butt) and you start bawling.

What happened to her SPINE?!?! This is the SAME gal who told Rexxar "go ahead and kill my father, he is about to destroy our hard won peace." Jania worked with those responsible for the death of many of her people because it was the ONLY way to save them all. Head held high the entire time. Now she is bursting into tears every other minute? What did you guys GIVE her when you changed her model?!?! Can we PLEASE get the strong Jania back rather than this mush pile we have now?

Next we have Tyrande Whisperwind, de facto leader of the Night Elves. Here is a woman who when you are first introduced to her has NO desire to be a leader, but she stands by her convictions even to the point of betraying some of her own people to get done what SHE thinks is best for them all in the long run. She was a fighter, a healer but most importantly of all she knew what her job was and was committed to doing it to the best of her ability no matter what the personal consequences. Her devotion to her goddess was equal to her devotion to her lover.

So what do we have now? A woman who went from making difficult and controversial decisions to cheerleader. Someone so over committed to her man that she waits around bouncing while he takes a 10,000 year long nap. (Come on the guy can't take the time to MARRY her first?) The changes you see in Tyrande from Warcraft III to WoW, and even more when you see her in the books are striking. Most notable to me is they removed ANY hint of her abilities as a fighter in game. Of all the faction bosses she is the EASIEST to take down. What happened to her constant companion white tiger mount? Her weapons (when she has them) consist of a  TEENY TINY little bow that looks as crappy as a level 5 weapon and a VERY plain three point glave. There isn't a HINT of her age about her, she looks more like a love struck teenager than the centuries old leader of her people. Someone who has seen her home destroyed several times and been forced to rebuild again ALONE should have SOME hint of that about her.

Soon we are going to have good ole Malfurion back, the question is will Tyrande just be tamely stepping down or will Horde now have DUAL bosses when they go after the Darnassus leaders?  If you look at the book Stormrage, Malfurion is aware that he has no clue how to lead his people, not like Tyrande anyway, who has had WAY to much practice at it. In the end the hint is they will be co-rulers. One can hope, she has earned it after all these years wearing a Mooncloth robe.

The only female leader who has really come out ahead is Lady Sylvanas Windrunner aka The Banshee Queen, but even SHE is not immune.

In their quest to make her every teenage boy's fantasy she went through two complete model changes. Now I am not saying she didn't need an update. First of all she was suppose to be one of the greatest archers of all time yet before she held not a bow in her hand but a staff. There were always questions about the fact that her model was that of a Night Elf but she was a High Elf. When the Blood Elves were introduced, her getting a model change seemed a given, if nothing else to have her appear more as she aught and less like they were to lazy to create a specific model for her.

What problem could I possibly have with Sylvanas? I mean come on she kicks butt right? Thankfully they scrapped the second model they used for her which looked more like a prissy fashionista than a fighter. Yeah, at least they had her looking like a High Elf but it just didn't fit Sylvanas's "eat arrows" and "bend to my will" attitude. The third and final model is MUCH better, only complaint I have is that they really just used the same thing for her that they did for Alexstrasza just different helm and coloration.

The major issue I have with her is that she went from being a methodical planner to a vengeful obsessive who no longer takes the time to consider her actions. Sylvanas has ALWAYS been a planner. She ALWAYS thinks five steps ahead, plotting and planning even when she was a slave to the Lich King and had no control over her actions. Do you REALLY think she would so TOTALLY lose her head that she would go running after Arthas, abandoning all her assistance on the SLIM chance she could take him out alone? She couldn't even take him out by her self  BEFORE and she KNOWS he is going to be more powerful now than he was then.

Sylvanas has ALWAYS been intelligent, methodical and  focused. Sure she wants her revenge, so much so that the very fact that she would jeopardize it all on an enraged impulse just doesn't ring true for me.  This is the same reason I can't buy the whole "Sylvanas had NO IDEA what the Royal Apothecary was doing". Of COURSE she knew what they were doing, the whole "New Plague" was no surprise to her, she told them to create it. The only problem was they didn't use it when SHE wanted them to so now she will have to start all over again, dodging her keepers all the while. She is a banshee, she can manipulate with the best of them.

We have an expansion coming in which we know the dragons are going to play a central role. Of the five aspects, only the two female leaders, Alexstrasza and Ysera are still standing. At this point in time they are besieged but strong, based on what they have done so far with the other female leaders, please pardon the anxiety I have regarding their fate. I can only hope they allow them to remain pillars of strength and inspiration rather than turning them into fragments of their former glory like they did with Jania.

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