The Cenarion Circle has had a presence in WoW ever since day one. Though the Cenarion Circle does have its own reputation grind that allows any player to join the ranks, the Circle itself is pretty much a druid-only organization. This has less to do with exclusivity and far more to do with the Circle's original purpose. It's that purpose that defines a druid, no matter what race that druid happens to be.
... sort of. The Cenarion Circle was originally founded by the Night Elves, thousands upon thousands of years ago. While they accepted the Tauren into their ranks, it wasn't without some contention among the Night Elf druids. These days, the Trolls of the Darkspear are made warily welcome, as are the Worgen of Gilneas. It's the Worgen who are the most interesting new addition to the Cenarion Circle, however, because without the Worgen, the Cenarion Circle simply wouldn't exist.
In Cataclysm, the Cenarion Circle is just as active as ever, and for good reason -- the looming threat of Ragnaros the Firelord and the devastation wrought by Deathwing have done much to unsettle the natural balance of the world.
The Cenarion Circle is named after the druid demigod Cenarius, son of the Ancient Malorne and Elune herself. But don't let the name fool you -- the Cenarion Circle was originally created for a far different purpose than it serves today. After the War of the Ancients, the Night Elves were still battling the satyr, remnants of the Burning Legion's army and former Night Elves. Malfurion was in the middle of sharing Cenarius' teachings with more and more Night Elves who were interested in the druidic arts, but some Night Elves decided to follow their own path.
These Night Elves were the Druids of the Pack, taking the form of wolves and embracing the fury and rage of the Ancient Goldrinn. After this group of druids went rogue and disappeared into the forests, Malfurion forbade any other from taking this form. However, one druid was not content with Malfurion's decision and decided to try his own method of mastering pack form. This druid, Relaar, came up with what he thought was a foolproof plan to combat the natural savagery of pack form.
He used the Fang of Goldrinn and the Staff of Elune to create something wholly unique out of the two items -- the Scythe of Elune. The Scythe was meant to temper the ferocity of pack form with the power of Elune, but it backfired. Instead, the Druids of the Pack mutated into the savage Worgen we know today and turned on their Night Elf allies. With every bite, more and more succumbed to what is known today as the Curse of the Worgen.
Cenarius' son Remulos stepped up to help with this process, and these days he can be found in Moonglade. Moonglade's only city, Nighthaven, is the capital of this druid organization. Though the Circle's roots were embroiled in the heart of the struggle with the Worgen issue, they grew far beyond their original purpose. These days, the Cenarion Circle is dedicated to the protection of nature and its creatures and preserving the balance of the world.
Night Elves were the primary and only members of the Cenarion Circle for thousands of years. It's only recently that the Tauren were allowed to join the ranks; Hamuul Runetotem is a highly notable figure in the Cenarion Circle, as he is the only Tauren who has attained the rank of Arch Druid to date. In Cataclysm, the Night Elves and Tauren are joined by the Trolls of the Darkspear and the Worgen of Gilneas -- a tricky situation in and of itself, given the Circle's history. Needless to say, members of the Cenarion Circle have a ton of plot points to consider this expansion.
What happened Deathwing's return to Azeroth tore the world open, causing all kinds of chaotic distress. The world has been forever altered, and the balance of nature is crumbling as a result. In Hyjal, druids work frantically with Azeroth's heroes to defend the peaks from the incursion of Ragnaros' forces and the Twilight Cult -- but the effect of Deathwing's return has been felt worldwide.
How this affects your character Any druid out there, regardless of race, is attuned to nature in a far deeper manner than most. For Trolls, Worgen and Tauren, the rending of the world is unsettling, to say the least; for Night Elf druids, it is a haunting reminder of the Sundering that tore the world apart during the War of the Ancients.
What to consider How is your druid dealing with the affects of the Cataclysm? Is he weakened by the weakening of the world, sickened by the devastation? Is he more determined than ever to protect the world as fiercely as he can? Are his efforts focused in Hyjal, or does he tend to the other areas of the world? How does he cope with the sheer scope of the chaos wrought by Deathwing?
What happened Cataclysm saw the arrival of two new races associated with druids -- the Trolls of the Darkspear and the Worgen of Gilneas. The Trolls seem to have their own ideology about the loa and the Emerald Dream, which is odd by the druid standards that the Night Elves have been following for centuries. And the Worgen ... well, their existence is pretty much the fault of the druids and the foundation for the beginning of the Cenarion Circle.
How this affects your character It depends on what kind of druid you're playing, really. Night Elves and Trolls have not been the closest of friends, ever -- and the Worgen are a reminder of why the Cenarion Circle came to be. Tauren are probably the most unaffected by this; however, as they joined the Cenarion Circle centuries after the Night Elves founded it, their ideology is much more along the Night Elf way of thinking.
What to consider What kind of druids are you playing? If you are playing a Night Elf, how is your character handling the new additions? Does he find the Trolls strange? Is he upset about their inclusion? Or is he interested in their beliefs and putting any differences aside? How does he feel about the Worgen, given that their existence is not only the fault of the Night Elves but the reason for the Cenarion Circle's existence?
If you are playing a Worgen, how does your character feel about the Cenarion Circle? How does he process the fact that his existence was the result of the Night Elf druids in the first place? Is he glad to be a member of the organization, or is he bitter toward the Night Elves for his fate? Is he concentrating on healing the natural order of the world, or is he bothered by the constant reminder of the reason why he exists?
If you are playing a Troll, how does your character feel about joining a Night Elf organization? Is he wary of the Night Elves, or eagerly trying to teach the ways of the loa? Does he feel separated and foreign in comparison to the other druidic races of the Cenarion Circle, or is he embracing his differences in the hopes of teaching new ways? How does he feel about Remulos and Cenarius?
If you are playing a Tauren, how does your character feel about the new additions? Does he have an opinion on their inclusion? Is he curious to find out more about them? The Tauren and Trolls have been allies in the Horde for quite some time. How does your Tauren feel about the sudden emergence of Troll druids? Is he interested in how they work with the loa, seeking to find out more? Or is he simply indifferent to the whole matter and focusing instead on the devastation wrought by Deathwing's return?
Betrayed by a leader
What happened Fandral Staghelm was the Arch Druid of the Darnassus in Malfurion's absence. In classic WoW, Fandral was collecting Morrowgrain supposedly in the name of the Cenarion Circle, yet those who were members of the Cenarion Circle didn't seem to know what Fandral was collecting the herb for. In Stormrage, Fandral spiraled into madness; the Morrowgrain he was gathering was a deliberate attempt to murder Malfurion Stormrage. He was imprisoned in Hyjal for his crimes but later set free. Now, Fandral Staghelm waits in the Firelands, and he's formed a new group of druids -- the Druids of the Flame, granted their powers by Ragnaros.
How this affects your character Night Elves are far more likely to be affected by this than any other race. Fandral was a respected member of society, a formidable druid and Malfurion's successor. His betrayal was one thing -- but the transformation into a servant of Ragnaros is something that is altogether far more horrifying. The Druids of the Flame are something that should generate interest in any druid player, however. They aren't just servants of Ragnaros; they seem to have harnessed the element of fire in a way that is closer to the nature of a shaman than a druid.
What to consider How does your character feel about the Druids of the Flame? Does he view them as an utter abomination, something that is the antithesis to the druidic arts? Or does he find them horrifying, yet ... fascinating? Does he think they should be destroyed, or is he wondering if perhaps the other elements could be harnessed as well, creating Druids of Earth, Air, Wind? If your druid is a Night Elf, how is he coping with Fandral's betrayal? Did he formerly admire the Arch Druid, only to have his role model destroyed? Or did he distrust Fandral from the start?
These are just a few plot points for Cenarion Circle players, but there are countless more to be explored. In Cataclysm, the druids of the Cenarion Circle come face to face with not only the devastation of the world but a host of other elements as well. Whether it's the haunting reminder of past transgressions, the struggle to incorporate new ideas and ways of thinking into druidic society, or the downfall and emergence of a new type of druid, the Cenarion Circle definitely has its hands full this expansion. Keep in mind, as with all other organization guides, that these points should not be the entire basis of your character -- but adding them to your character's background will help round out your story and root you in the world.
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