I'll be honest; I wrote this week's column purely for brainless fun. You won't learn anything (not that you do normally), there are no insights to be gained (not that there are normally) and I don't have any new Cataclysm alpha information. I am very sorry to anyone who came here looking for a solid, informative column, and if you wish to excoriate me in the comments then I encourage you to do so.
Anyway. When it comes to druids, the deal with race choice is that you don't really have any. If you play Alliance, you have to play a night elf; if you play Horde, you have to play a tauren. We're the most race-restricted class in the game, and even in Cataclysm, that's not really going to change.
Some of you might recall a bug from a little while back that allowed you to model-swap between characters on the same realm by "choosing" two of them at once. I'm pretty sure it's been fixed now, so I wouldn't bother trying it if I were you, but I had lot of fun swapping non-druid races into our various tier sets and wondering what it might have been like to play them. I screenshotted like a maniac while doing so and then set them aside for a future column whenever I felt like doing something just for fun. That would be today.
With me today is a fashion institute-type friend who may or may not be based on someone I actually know. Let's call her, uh, Letitia. Clicking any of the pictures here should take you to their high-res form, in addition to a larger gallery with more versions of our "non-druid druid" races.
Letitia: She has terrible posture. D+.
Allie: They all do. Good posture means you're hip to The Establishment.
Letitia: Killer band.
Allie: The other establishment.
Letitia: Oh. Well, the weapon can't be helping.
Allie: Probably not.
Letitia: Nature can be totally interesting as the backdrop to a photo shoot, however.
Allie: And that's about as close to druidism as the blood elves will ever get.
Letitia: You could put a morbidly obese giraffe in that gear and make it look good.
Allie: I miss Thunderheart.
Letitia: Saying that 500 times over the course of writing this article isn't going to make it come back. Move the f^%* on, for f^%*'s sake.
Allie: The editors can't make me, and neither can you.
Letitia: But this is the worst gear combo. What happened to all the other draenei photos you took?
Allie: Lost 'em.
Letitia: This is why no one takes you seriously as a journalist.
Allie: I'm not a journalist, I'm a blogger.
Letitia: And when you need to get a laptop into a tech convention?
Allie. Oh. Well, then I'm a journalist.
Allie: I actually heard it was supposed to go into the game when draenei debuted in the Burning Crusade, but something-or-other graphics bug eighty-sixed it until just recently. Tons of players had it without even knowing.
Letitia: The Ghost Mustache. Retroactive whiskers.
Allie: Apart from that, I have to admit I wouldn't be against seeing draenei druids in a future expansion if for no other reason than how good they look in the gear, but there's no lore whatsoever to support it and --
Allie: /toasts draenei druids
Allie: No clue, but female dwarves are among the afflicted. So are female tauren, female humans, female trolls, female -- hey, wait a minute!
Letitia: It's a conspiracy.
Allie: At the moment I'm more concerned about having left a Dark Silk Shirt on the model in tandem with tier 5. A broad stripe down the middle is nobody's friend.
Letitia: You could land a 747 on that belt.
Allie: Female dwarves are the least-played race/sex combo in the game, in case you were wondering.
Letitia: Well, if you had to pick between the draenei/waggle and spending your life being circled by oncoming aircraft, I should think the choice would be clear.
Letitia: Yeah, but "dwarves" and "druids" just don't really go together.
Allie: Dwarves can be shaman in Cataclysm.
Letitia: It's not really the same thing. I mean, when I picture a dwarf walking through a forest, I can totally see him going, "Och, yer a bonny stag," or "What a beautiful wee bunny!", but it's followed immediately by the sound of a gunshot.
Allie: Appreciation of nature takes many forms.
Letitia: Which includes appreciating it medium-rare.
Letitia: The tier 7 version is a little on the scary side.
Allie: Nah, that's just because the helm's a bad fit. Seriously, I had an absurd amount of fun running around on a gnome druid, both male and female. And the race has such wonderful mental plasticity that I could completely see them picking up druidism just out of curiosity.
Letitia: I'll concede they would be awesome.
Allie: I would make their hair green and customize their cute little shirts for their cute little outfits while out of their cute little forms.
Letitia: Are you playing a combat class, or dress-up with your dollies?
Allie: In this article, it's a little of column A and rather a lot more of column B.
MMO-Champion or Blizzard does a tier set preview, it's almost invariably slapped on a human.
Letitia: And it doesn't always look good as a result -- but again, with Thunderheart's ability to make anything look good.
Allie: That's a scary amount of lordosis there.
Letitia: Oh, she's gonna have back problems for sure. Why didn't you include the helm?
Allie: I'm not sure. For whatever reason, both human models just looked better without it.
Letitia: They're both blond, and blond hair looks great with dark brown clothing.
Allie: Hrm. Good point. I wonder why night elves and tauren can't be blond.
Letitia: Tauren can sort of be blond, although I was surprised to see how few color combinations night elves and female tauren get compared to male tauren.
Allie: The form association thing for patch 3.2?
Allie: Trolls are kind of in the same boat. Worgen seem to get a lot of really cool hairstyle options, but I'm not sure about color yet.
Letitia: And you know this how?
Allie: He is looking around with the sort of vaguely distracted air you see on people in the pool sometimes.
Letitia: Well ... yeah, but it's the sort of expression you see on old Soviet statues, or murals in North Korea.
Allie: Stalinist realism? In my WoW?
Letitia: It's more likely than you think.