There are many Warcraft players out there that claim that orcs are evil, terrible creatures and that the Horde are obviously the Bad Guys of WoW. But in looking at this brief repost of orcish history, is this really the case? Let’s look a little more closely at some of the more common refrains sung by players with this idealogy in mind:
1. The orcs killed all the draenei!
They did. Absolutely, without a doubt, they senselessly murdered and attempted to hunt an entire race to extinction. But they were under the influence of one of the most powerful demon lords in history, and under the influence of the Blood of Mannoroth. This doesn’t absolve them of their sins, but it does shed some light into why they chose to do what they did – the original lead in this play, Ner’zhul, was convinced that the draenei were out to get them. And he’d been told so by a vision of his dead wife – who was he to know that this vision was nothing more than a lie?
2. The orcs knew what they were doing when they drank that blood! They did it on purpose!
Well…yes and no. They knew the Blood of Mannoroth would give them power, which is why Gul’dan urged everyone to drink it. There were a few orcs that were wary enough of its influence to avoid the Blood altogether. Ner’zhul tried to warn everyone that this would be an incredibly bad thing to do, but on one side, the orcs had an incredibly powerful sorcerer with the words of the Great One backing him up saying this would be peachy-keen, on the other they had a former Warchief, stripped of his powers by the Great One he’d been lauding for so long because he’d dared turn his back on the Great One’s words.
To put it in more modern terms – you have a terribly popular group of people, led by one person and his terribly popular sidekick. The sidekick does something that gets himself shunned from the group, and immediately turns around and starts badmouthing Mr. Popular. Are you going to believe the sidekick, or are you going to assume the only reason sidekick is badmouthing is because he got the shaft in the first place?
3. The orcs invaded Azeroth just to kill all the humans!
Of course they did. And they were instructed to do so by a human that was possessed by the spirit of arguably one of the most powerful beings in the universe. But this was all at the behest of Gul’dan, who was without doubt one of the most selfish, power-hungry orcs out there – and he was doing it as a means to an end. He didn’t care about the humans or whether they lived or died, what he cared about was the Tomb of Sargeras, and the body contained within that would make him a god. If he had to kill a boatload of weak looking pink-skinned twerps that were standing in his way? So be it.
What we have here is a failure to communicate
While it can be argued that the orcs should have known better, what has to be looked at is this: The orcs were originally a very quiet, spiritual people that were highly attuned with the spirits. They had their own religion and society, a society that was primitive at best. Power was something that was key to moving up in the world, and most orcs had the same base craving for power that all beings did – they just weren’t smart enough to realize they were being led astray.
Had the world remained untampered, had the draenei never landed on the planet, the orcs would most likely be quietly continuing just as they’d began – a quiet race of creatures with a penchant for shamanism and communion with the spirits that would never have thought about senselessly murdering an entire race of beings. With no demon vendettas to guide them, they’d have no reason to leave the simple path they’d carved out for themselves.
It could be argued that the only thing the orcs are all-out guilty of is simply not being terribly bright.
While the orcs are commonly thought of as the Bad Guys of Warcraft, and were probably written as being so at first, the orc race has evolved into something much more complex. A group of…well, not Good Guys, but just guys that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The development of the orc’s origins has transformed them from being a simple bloodthirsty group of savages into a relatable group of beings. Beings that have their own heroes and villains in spades.
Stay tuned for more Warcraft lore and analysis – the orcs are just the beginning! Next week, I’ll touch on the origins of one of the so-called Good Guys – the night elves, and boy is that one going to wear my typing fingers out!