wrote an interesting post
on the subject of short races in MMOs, citing several and wondering why exactly most seemed to be cute, friendly, benevolent or otherwise downright childlike. From gnomes in WoW
to the Taru-Taru of Final Fantasy Online
, Raging Monkeys wonders why small creatures in magical worlds automatically equal friendly and cute. Apparently, there's a race in the upcoming Guild Wars 2
that might break that impression, which is all well and good -- but oh goodness, did that post get me thinking.Warcraft
is full of short races -- and the moment gnomes were mentioned as being friendly and cute, my mind leapt to the goblins, who are only friendly if it somehow presents a profitable advantage, decidedly not
the standard definition of cute. But then I started to think a bit more about that and about the other, non-playable short races of WoW
We have the gorloc and the wolvar, both introduced in Wrath
and both pretty much primitive races with odd and charming cultures as demonstrated by the Oracles and the Frenzyheart. We have the pygmies of Cataclysm
, who seem to be a primitive sort of heavy-metal-inspired dudes with rocks for brains and no intelligible language. We've got murlocs, who on the one hand seem to be dead set on killing players; on the other, we're given a weird, serious storyline in the Blasted Lands that was uncharacteristically out of place.
Not all of these races are cute, adorable and friendly. Some of them are mean, kind of ugly and not exactly intelligent. But what they all have in common is the joke factor -- there's something about them that makes them charming or endearing or otherwise funny.
They don't appear in cinematics. I remember a giant uprising by the gnome fans of WoW
to have a gnome included in a cinematic. It's not bound to happen
-- because while gnomes are cool, they just aren't epic enough to be taken seriously.
Which made me wonder ... Why is it that height seems to be a requirement for being serious? Is this a normal thing? Does a race need to be tall to be taken seriously, and is this just a video game thing or a reflection of society in general? Now before you pull out the pitchforks and skewer me for taking a game too seriously, let me point out I'm not particularly offended by this phenomenon in one way or another. I'm just sort of perplexed
So I'm opening it up for discussion, just to see what the general public has to say and whether this is just a commonly accepted fact of game design. Is it possible to have a small race that's presented completely seriously and taken as such, too?