ith all of the racial diversity available in the World of Warcraft for players to choose from, why be a Dwarf? You have the option to be a fierce Orc, a mysterious Night Elf, a noble Human, or even a powerful and unique Tauren! As of this writing, not all of the races have yet been revealed. Speculation has been made about the Naga or the Trolls. With choices like that one wonders what could possibly attract a player to the humble Dwarven Race.
In the vast world of fantasy writing and fantasy gaming, the enigmatic Dwarves have for the most part been overlooked as a race (perhaps because of their short stature?). Longtime allies of the humans, the stoic Dwarves have oft been portrayed as sidekicks or afterthoughts thrown in simply for a little variety. Many times they are used as mere comic relief. The portrayal ofGimli in the movie LoTR-TTT, for example, as comic relief was artistic license on the part of the director, certainly not what was conveyed in the books. True, Dwarves provided comic relief in The Hobbit but that was originally written as a children's book and not as a 'serious' work. Often times in games, Dwarven characters are under-utilized and over-simplified. They are the 'hired muscle'. Rarely is there any depth to the characters. Their most distinctive trait is a thick brogue, and their most endearing quality is their love of ale. The World of Warcraft looks to change the image of the Dwarves. Dwarves will finally be portrayed as a viable, vibrant, and valid race. The creators of WoW have even created a rich history for the Dwarves of Warcraft:
"Due to a recent discovery that uncovered fragments of their ancient origins, the Dwarves have undergone a remarkable transformation. The discovery convinced the Dwarves that the mighty Titans created them from stone when the world was young. They feel that their destiny is now to search the world over for more signs and proof of their enchanted heritage and to rediscover the Titans' hidden legacies. To this end, the Dwarves have sent out their Prospectors to all ends of the world in the hopes of discovering new insight into their shrouded past. These journeys led to Dwarven excavation sites all over the known world, some of which serve as outposts and some of which serve as potential hunting grounds for enemies of the Dwarven race."
This history provides the impetus for creating characters with purpose beyond hack 'n slash, and beyond the loyal, gruff, sidekick. These 'Prospectors' search for more than ore, they search for their very past. Now we can see the Dwarves in an entirely different light. They are more interested in digging up their past than digging up ores and gems. Now they are motivated by a quest for knowledge of their history instead of a quest for riches. This promises the opportunity for players to seek out so much more than monsters to destroy, or old alliances to support. Instead of simply following along in others' stories, the Dwarves now have some of their own. And in searching for their history, they may just make some 'history' in the process. The outlook for Dwarven characters has never been so bright.
Built for strength and stamina the Dwarves have long been portrayed in the fantasy gaming world as fierce and untiring warriors... and rightly so!! But now, with the advent of WoW, we will also be able to see that they are well-rounded (not just round) characters with a penchant for mining, craftwork, engineering, blacksmithing, prospecting, and more. No longer is your only goal to go out and kill, kill, kill (though of course you can still do that). With the plethora of skills available to WoW characters, you will be able to mold your Dwarf into any number of fascinating and intriguing roles. With such a massive playing frontier and the literally thousands upon thousands of players and characters that will exist in WoW, the need for variety in those characters is paramount. Your imagination is the key element for creating a Dwarven character like no one has seen before. Blizzard has even provided us with a bounty of potential stories and quests right from the start for our Dwarves:
"The jagged, snowy peaks of Dun Morogh provide the Ironforge Dwarves with a limitless supply of ore and stone for their ambitious engineering endeavors. From the city of Ironforge, dug deep into the mountains, to Anvilmar in theColdridge Valley, the marvels of Dwarven ingenuity mark the land. Not all is at peace in Dun Morogh, however. The Dwarves' insatiable digging at the Gol'Bolar Quarry unleashed a menacing tribe of Rockjaw Troggs from their subterranean den. While the massing Trogg invasion looms over the lands of King MagniBronzebeard, the Frostmane Trolls have taken advantage of the distraction to attempt to reclaim their ancestral home. Life is harsh in the white-powdered mountains of DunMorogh, but what the Dwarven people lack in height they make up for in heart and valor."
'Heart and valor' are at the core of any great warrior. They are also a prime requisite for adventuring. We already have our enemies emerging with the Troggs and Trolls. Certainly many stories and quests will spring from these conflicts. Perchance quite a fewthat revolve around defense of the Dwarven homeland. To meet these threats you will need more than just warriors though. Blizzard recognized this fact and has responded accordingly. The classes and skills available to a Dwarven character in WoW is more diversified than you'll find in most other MMORPGs. As a Dwarven character in WoW you will of course be able to be a WARRIOR, with exceptional strength and combat abilities, plus skills. Shield Bash, Defensive Stance and Whirlwind are currently at the warrior's disposal. Forge out on your own or go ahead and follow your allies and help them to victory. But it doesn't end there. As a HUNTER, you will be able to commune with animals and even tame them. Certainly not something usually associated with Dwarves. A hunter's skills include: Beast Tracking, Beast Soothe, and Beast Taming. Just imagine the possibilities for uniqueness! Another aspect of the hunter that has been raised is the prospect of rifles as their ranged weapon. Since Dwarves in Warcraft3 have rifles, it only follows that Dwarves in WoW will have that option as well. It's just one more way for the Dwarves to exhibit their unique abilities.
And finally, in WoW, a Dwarf can even be a MAGE! Yes, a mage; wielding magic spells like Fire Shield, Frost Armor, and Fireball! Many debates exist around how a Dwarf can be a mage and Blizzard seems to have found (or created) an answer. Dwarf as mage seems to me to be a matter of balance. Each race in WoW has at least three classes available to them (so far) and each race has at least one class rooted in magic. In Warcraft, all races have always had SOME semblance of magical prowess. The Mountain King Hero was capable of 'Bash' and 'Avatar'... what are these if not magic? Still the question lingers whether the Dwarven mage will be as powerful in his magic as a human mage. Will he still have his inherent Dwarven strength and therefore be a more balanced character than a 'straight' mage type character? Only time will tell. Hopefully, there will be sufficient capability for players to determine this when they create their characters. Note: Blizzard has realized their error and Dwarves can NO LONGER BE MAGES.
Now couple all of these with the huge variety of promised skills and you can control a very specialized or a very diverse character. Whatever your heart desires! Even, *gasp* a FEMALE Dwarf! To some this is no big deal, no big surprise. It's even been done before in other games. What makes it unique is, for those (like me) who were brought up on J.R.R. Tolkien's version of Dwarves, females were virtually unheard of. According to TheSilmarillion, the Dwarves were created by Aule, one of the Valar, in defiance of Iluvatar's grand plan. He awoke them and began to teach them and Iluvatar came to him and chastened him for this. Aule resolved to destroy the Dwarves but Iluvatar had compassion for Aule and stayed his hand, requiring only that the Dwarves be made to 'sleep' under the mountains until such time as the 'First Born', the elves, were awoken unto Ea. So in a nutshell... no females were needed. Allusions were made to females but none were ever seen. There were certainly never any female Dwarf characters. They were a great mystery. But again, Blizzard has created their own history for the Dwarves, so why not include females? It simply provides for even more options in creativity, even more diversity. And that CAN'T be a bad thing.
So while so many others are rushing to create characters in the more popular races, the opportunity presents itself for us to further the role of Dwarves in gaming. Even better, the opportunity presents itself for us to create truly distinctive and intriguing characters apart from the collective norm. Be different, be ambitious, be a Dwarf. The Few, The Proud, The Dwarves!
Note: This article was written during beta
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