In November 2010, before Cataclysm hit, I wrote a series of articles on why (or why not) to play a particular druidic race for theorycrafting, lore, and roleplay purposes. These articles turned out to be a really big hit with readers, and you can find them here:
- Shifting Perspectives: Why (or why not) to play a night elf druid
- Shifting Perspectives: Why (or why not) to play a tauren druid
- Shifting Perspectives: Why (or why not) to play a worgen druid
- Shifting Perspectives: Why (or why not) to play a troll druid
The triumph of the Darkspear
The Darkspear are coming off the events of Cataclysm with a sense of unmitigated and even savage triumph. They have the Echo Islands back. They've added powerful druids and warlocks to their ranks. They led the charge into Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman and ended or severely crippled Zandalari meddling. (Given that the Zandalari are the spiritual leaders of the troll tribes, I think the Darkspears' willingness to confront them is a rather compelling sign of their confidence -- or perhaps arrogance -- concerning their place among said tribes. They've been on the short end of the stick for a while, and I wouldn't put it past them to indulge a well-nursed desire for revenge.)
Yes, they had a bad start when Garrosh unexpectedly banished them from central Orgrimmar and Vol'jin publicly fell out with him, but they've bounced back nicely. From the trolls' perspective, this expansion has been one solid win after another, which has some interesting implications for their druids.
If you play a troll druid, you are part of the sole druidic race that isn't approaching Mists of Pandaria in a state of severe preoccupation.
- You're not saddled with the night elves' introspection over the now-permanent loss of their immortality. In some ways, you probably think the elves and the dragons both got what was coming to them. Those useless lizards have been playing favorites with the elves for how many thousands of years now? Enough already, sneer the trolls.
- You don't share the taurens' unease over their future with the Horde or qualms about Garrosh's methods. (This is the distinction between the tauren and the trolls. The tauren don't like Garrosh or how he fights; the trolls don't like Garrosh, but they're not the people to talk to about improving his conduct in a war.) Vol'jin is quite explicit on this point; faced with a choice between the Zandalari and the Horde, he picks the Horde. That's a decision the tauren are glad they haven't had to make. Yet.
- Unlike the worgen, you don't give a rat's ass about Gilneas and never will. Oh, you don't have your homeland anymore? Boo-hoo. This is Azeroth. You don't get what you deserve; you get what you take. Thus saith the Darkspear.
Any sense of duty?
Personally, I have no idea, but here's why. Trolls and worgen share two things that night elves and tauren don't -- merciless pragmatism and a desultory sense of obligation (at best!) to the idea of a higher cause. For trolls, they're accountable to the loa, Vol'jin, and the Horde, in precisely that order. Why should they care about the Cenarion Circle or the Cenarion Expedition when the elves are still holding down the fort? The tauren have been content to play a secondary role in both organizations (more so the Circle than the Expedition) out of respect for the night elves' seniority and knowledge, but trolls will intrinsically rebel at the notion of playing second banana to the elves in anything.
"The elves are our friends," say the tauren.
Say the trolls, "How come elves have all the power in the Cenarion Circle and you guys occupy guard posts in Moonglade?"
"Uh," say the tauren.
Politics is personal, and that alone might keep the trolls from assuming a more important role in anything like the Guardians of Hyjal or organizations like it. The quiet power shift that's under way with the druidic population in the world is best exemplified in our cynical little jungle freaks. Is there an existential threat to the world? OK, they're on board. Something a little more esoteric? Eh. If they're not busy.
While there are individual trolls out there who take a great interest in the affairs of the world and brotherhood among the races (and you might be playing one of them), this isn't a sentiment that most are likely to profess.
What do the troll druids think of the pandaren? The pandaren are new and interesting, but are they relevant? The pandaren emphasis on balance is likely to amuse the trolls in much the same way that the paladins' belief system does. (Of note: Paladins are the only class that trolls can't be.) Balance? What balance? Have you looked at the world recently? Do you see a whole lot of balance out there? Stop fooling yourself and hand me that polearm -- something here needs killin'.
What is Azeroth's perspective on troll druids right now? "Young and more arrogant by the day. Underneath all the mumbo jumbo, tauren at least seem to care about doing the right thing, or at least paying lip service to it. Trolls don't. They'll do the right thing when it suits them. Otherwise, all bets are off."
A mixed bag of racials As with the worgen and night elves, nothing's changed since our original article on the subject (barring the subsequent loss of snare immunity for ferals), although a level 90 MoP talent (Disentanglement) will render Da Voodoo Shuffle completely useless once again. Otherwise, Beast Slaying is situational. Berserking is still the best troll racial, and Horde-side DPS players and healers will get more benefit from it than anything the tauren have to offer. Even then, bear in mind that it is not a haste increase and will have no impact on HoT ticks, merely cast speeds.
Neutral points No troll racial really has an impact on tanks.
Shifting Perspectives: Bear and Resto Edition takes a peek at healer balance in Dragon Soul, discovers why bears and PvP gear are a pretty good mix, lends advice on gearing up to hit the Raid Finder, and helps you level a druid in the Cataclysm era.