Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Favourite playable race

Response to http://wow.joystiq.com/2013/06/25/community-blog-topic-what-is-your-favorite-playable-race/

EDIT: featured! http://wow.joystiq.com/2013/07/04/community-blog-topic-results-favorite-playable-race/

I see three tangents for this topic: Racials, Lore and Animations.

So let's start with racials. Each race has a passive ability or two such as a bonus to hit with certain weapons and/or a bonus to a certain profession. The profession bonuses only really have an effect at the beginning where instead of starting at 1 engineering (Gnomes) you start a little further up the profession ladder at 15, saving you at most a handful of copper bars. When new expansions hit you'll be a little higher up too, but those first few skill points often come easily creating things you'll need for later skill up's anyway so to be honest I see profession bonuses as holding very little to write home about.

Anyone serious about min-maxing their character will choose a Pandaren; quite simply with their racial that gives a double effect to food buffs they are the best choice for raid performance. No matter what class you play, the bonus to a primary stat will almost always out perform any other racial in game, I think with the exception of those who have the legendary meta gem where a Goblins bonus to haste out performs the food buff advantage for certain class/specs (and that'll only hold up whilst the legendary is current). The bonus to rested experience is also handy for those who want to level faster.

The next most popular and talked about racial is definitely Humans. Every man for himself is great for pvp, the bonus to reputation is noticeable and the extra spirit is good for healers/hybrids. Mace and Sword specialisation only really help when you just so happen to get such a weapon, but I don't think anyone would turn down an upgrade that doesn't benefit their racial.

Sticking with Alliance, Draenei have always struck me as having an odd combination of racials, the healing cool down is great (especially for healers and pvp) but the hit barely benefits healers at all.

Gnomes have a watered down version of every man for himself which I've found to be great for pvp as you can double trinket say a stun and then a snare. Their shortblade specialisation benefits casters and melee, but sadly expansive mind now only affects your mana pool and not your intellect.

The Night Elf quickness ability is without doubt the best for bear tanks, but sadly their other talents are rather lacklustre. Shadowmeld can be used to save on repair bills, or for rogues to re enter stealth when vanish is on cool down. Night Elves used to be a very popular choice for rogues as they had the highest base agility but I believe this is no longer the case.

I think the only thing to say about Dwarves would have to have the words Priest and Onyxia in the same sentence for vanilla players.

As for the Horde, Goblins have a very popular haste boost which is great for casters and their rocket jump can be great for hopping around, the bonus bank access is a nice perk too.

Orc Blood Fury is wonderful for dps, especially during execute and burn phases, the other bonuses are rather situational.

Blood Elves and Tauren both get an AoE stun/interrupt which was a huge advantage for Cho'Gall (and probably a couple of other fights too) but their other perks are exceptionally "meh!"

Trolls and Forsaken have a nice passive health regen, and Trolls get a dps cool down to boot.

Lore wise I have to agree Forsaken really stand out as having one of the most interesting backstories and I love being able to go into the throne room from the Warcraft III cinematic where Medeivh first appeared to Menethil and later Arthas committed patricide. However I hate Undercity and frequently get lost there. Real shame the battle at the end of the Wrathgate quest line was removed, that really was a great quest.

I always felt that the Draenei missed a trick with the Broken in lore, there are a couple below the Exodar and none in the Draenei starting area quests as they're almost exclusively in Black Temple. I think it would be nice if some are involved with the first few combat training quests as they're supposed to be good spies and warriors.
Female Draenai are definately one of the most asthetic models... their curvature, the horns and I had a guild mate who once thought that those tentacles sprouting from behind their ears were an erogenous zone!

As far as animation is concerned, Tauren are the largest of all playable races and due to model scaling their mounts appear much larger; always amuses me in glory of the raider screenshots. Bizarrely Gnomes also have enlarged mounts despite being one of the smallest races.

The vanilla races aren't as graphically up to date as the newest ones, Goblins especially look much better in my opinion as their models have the best shading.

So, what is my favourite playable race?

Definitely Gnomes.

The crazy hairstyles, their friendly demeanour, the oddball moustaches, the wonderful community-based insanity present in fan based comics and machinima, the odd in-game quirks like how in the Sapphiron fight if a gnome gets targeted by Ice Bolt, full size players must kneel or sit down to avoid getting hit by frost breath ("My, you're a tall one!"). It's incredible how a quirky race overcame the tragic loss of their city to emerge optimistic and unbroken by the ordeal, with a real sense of ambition that can sometimes backfire; who'll ever forget Willfred Fizzlebang's demise at the hands of Jaraxxus?

Operation: Gnomeregan was wonderful fun and really encapsulated the Gnomes sense of fun, adventure and the overuse of engineering gadgets to achieve their goals.

Then there's the comedy quest rewards such as the helm from Netherstorm that sends the user flying up in the air for onlookers amusement and probably lots more I can't remember... One things for sure, the game would be a darker place without Gnomes around.

Second place would have to be Goblins if only for the "Doom Juice" spiel that had me in fits of laughter whilst waiting for a zep to Twilight Highlands.

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