Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

All the World's a Stage: Half a man

Anne Stickney

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

When creating a character for roleplay, there are a ton of things to consider. So far, we've gone over making a general background for your character, giving him distinct memories, how to fit him into lore, and avoiding the dreaded Mary Sue syndrome. While looking through the latest Ask a CDev threads on both the US and EU forums, I noticed a question that popped up frequently that applies directly to roleplaying: What about half-breeds? What races can be half-breeds? How many half-breeds are out there?

It's a hot button topic for most roleplayers -- generally speaking, you're roleplaying as your avatar. However, through the use of RP addons like MyRoleplay and FlagRSP, you can create a background template that describes your character pretty much however you'd like. This opens the door for roleplayers to dabble in the world of half-breed characters. But how much is too much? Where do you draw the line?

Examples of half-breeds in World of Warcraft

This is the inherent problem with playing a half-breed: To date, in Warcraft lore, there exist only a handful of known half-breeds. It is extremely rare to run across a half-breed, and most of them aren't really looked on favorably by the rest of society. While Warcraft sometimes touts a happy-go-lucky universe in which Horde and Alliance can hold hands and defeat the Burning Legion, in lore, there is still a general mistrust of the other races -- and even if the races are allied, it seems a little odd to the general public that one race would wish to produce children with another. So the odds are already stacked against another full-grown half-breed making an appearance, right off the bat.

The known half-breeds in Warcraft are as follows:

Half-elf The product of a human/elven pairing, only one of these "exists" in game that we've seen: Arator, son of Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner. Others have been referenced in various novels, including Giramar and Galadin, the twin sons of Rhonin and Vereesa Windrunner. Alodi, the first Guardian of Tirisfal, is also listed as being a half-elven mage in the Warcraft Legends manga.

Other than that, there really aren't any other references to half-elves, save for a small handful referenced in the RPG books. All half-elves were high elf/human pairings; as the night elves didn't make themselves known to society until the Third War, any night elf/human pairings wouldn't be more than 10 or 11 years of age at this point in Warcraft's timeline.

As for blood elf/human pairings, there are none on record. The blood elves are high elves, but they are the high elves who survived Arthas' assault on Silvermoon and the subsequent destruction of the Sunwell. During that Scourge attack, over 90% of the high elven population was destroyed. Given that, it can be assumed (though not taken as fact, of course) that the blood elves are far more interested in repopulating their own dwindling numbers.

Half-orc Now half-orcs, on the other hand, are pretty plentiful. There's actually a whole tribe of half-orcs living in Blade's Edge: the Mok'Nathal. These guys are half orc, half ogre; the most well known of these half-orcs is Rexxar.

The most notorious half-orc in Warcraft's history is Garona, who makes numerous appearances throughout the history of Warcraft lore and makes her first in game appearance in Cataclysm. While it was thought for the longest time that Garona was half human -- she herself even believed this -- it was revealed in the Warcraft comics series that Garona is in fact the product of an orc/draenei pairing, and it wasn't a pleasant one. Gul'dan essentially forced a draenei woman to breed with an orc, producing Garona for his own purposes.

Then we have Garona's son, Med'an. Med'an's father was human -- making him half human, one-quarter orc, one-quarter draenei (and terribly confusing, to boot). Other than Garona and Med'an's father Medivh, there aren't any records of orc/human pairings in game.

This makes loads of sense when you think about it. Humans and orcs have been enemies since the orcs first poured through the Dark Portal in the original Warcraft RTS. While it's possible that orcs may have taken advantage of helpless human women during the original fall of Stormwind, any children resulting in that pairing probably wouldn't have lasted long, given the method of their conception.

Half-draenei There are three examples of this in Warcraft lore: Garona and her son Med'an (who is technically only one-quarter draenei) and Lantresor of the Blade, who makes his home in Nagrand amongst the ogres:

Who so boldly stands before Lantresor of the Blade? Do you not know death by sight, <girl/boy>?
I have killed many of your ogres, Lantresor. I have no fear.
Then you are a fool. Do you not know what I am?
Should I know? You look like an orc to me.
An orc...
<Lantresor scoffs.>
I am a blademaster of half-orc descent.
And the other half?
Draenei... And because of this, I am neither. Not orc, nor draenei. My own kind are a rare breed. Most having been killed decades ago... I live because of my strength of will.
In the instance of draenei, the only option they had for crossbreeding was with the native orcs of Durotar. Given the orcs' treatment of the draenei, it's a situation similar to orc/human pairings -- even if conceived; it's unlikely the child would live very long.

Half-troll There are no known records of any half-trolls. There's a vague reference to the possibility in a story in the Warcraft Legends manga, but it may simply be a "your mom" joke rather than an actual reference; it hasn't actually been confirmed as truth.

Half-gnome/-dwarf/-tauren/-goblin/-worgen There are no known records of any crossbreeds with these species in Warcraft lore.

Developing a half-breed character

Taking all of that into account, the likelihood of any further half-breeds existing in the Warcraft universe is a small one. The few examples we have are major characters in lore -- and the lore makes it incredibly clear that it's a rare occurrence. If you do want to play a half-breed character, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. None of them are particularly positive.

Reputation As a half-breed, it is unlikely that you are going to be accepted by either of your parent's races. As Lantresor so eloquently summed up: If you are part of one race and part of another, you are part of neither. Random people on the street aren't going to look at you with a favorable light. Your very existence is a disadvantage to whatever social relations you wish to have.

Origin Most half-breeds aren't from sunny, loving couplings between two races. The human/high elf pairings are rare; the two that we have record of were sisters from the same family, even. Draenei/orc pairings are extremely rare because the two races were at war; the same goes with orc/human. Half-breeds in Warcraft are generally a result of unpleasant acts of violence. In the case of your character, not only do you want to look at what your family life was like, but also how do you cope with the nature of your conception?

Background I'm not talking about the background of your character; you have to pay attention to the background and existing lore of your originating races. Gnomes are far more interested in science and technology (which makes sense, given their robotic origins) than love and the creation of offspring. The tauren race has long been described as nomadic in nature and generally reclusive. Night elves have been around for thousands of years, but it wasn't until recently that they started interacting with the rest of the world. When trying to create a half breed between two different races, you need to ask yourself: Realistically, is there any way that pairing would work from a logical standpoint, given the history of both races?

The other point to consider if you're going to create a character from two different races is that you have to take into account not only the background of your character but the background of your parents. Why did your character's orc mother get together with a human, when the humans and orcs have hated each other for so long? Why did your high elven father decide getting together with a human was a superior alternative to pairing with one of his own people?

Asking for solitude

Most importantly, when developing a half-breed character, you have to look at what kind of RP you wish to create. Roleplaying in Warcraft is a fairly free-form activity, and I personally don't like to discourage anyone from playing what they wish to play. But -- and this is a big but -- if you choose to play a character that is "out of the box" like a half-breed, you should know in advance that it is likely he isn't going to be very well accepted by the roleplay community at large.

By playing a character like this, you're automatically shutting yourself off from people who don't want to roleplay too far out of existing lore. So what you have to ask yourself is this: Is it worth it? Will I get the type of roleplay experience I'm looking for if I choose to create this character? Am I okay with deliberately limiting the roleplay I get? If the answer to these questions is no, you may want to look into rolling a more conventional character.

While half-breeds may exist in Warcraft lore, they are limited in number and exceptionally rare. When you're creating a character for roleplay in a game with an existing storyline and set of "rules" like Warcraft, you have to take that lore and story into consideration. In the case of half-breeds, not only do you have to come up with a compelling backstory, but you also have to come up with a valid reason for your character to exist. It's a lot more work than simply coming up with an idea and story for a character from an existing race.

There's nothing wrong with playing a half-breed -- indeed, there's nothing wrong with playing whatever you want to play. But half-breed characters take a lot more work to evolve into a successful character; even then, the very nature of your background may cause other roleplayers to veer away from any interaction with you. The half-breed's road is a bumpy and often lonely one, especially in Warcraft, so think very carefully and weigh the pros and cons before you give it a shot.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr