The history and early origins of the tauren are still largely a mystery – but there is enough information available out there to answer a few basic questions surrounding the quiet and peaceful race.
1. Aren’t the night elves the ones that are supposed to be the first druids?
Yes and no. The Night Elves are the first recorded students of Cenarius, but I like to think that’s in a large part due to the fact that the night elves are much, much better at record keeping. The tauren race is old, older than the night elves by a very large period of time, and it’s possible that the time period in which Cenarius trained the tauren in druidism took place before the night elves even existed. In which case, of course the night elves would say they were the first students – Cenarius never taught the tauren in any of the night elf history because he did so before night elf history even began.
2. So the tauren are pretty much good guys, right?
Yeah, pretty much. They were placed on the earth to protect it, not to destroy it – and any wars or battles that they waged were done out of defense, or because it was part of their ‘programming’, if you want to call it that. They’re a deeply shamanistic society, connected to the earth and nature in ways that most races can’t really begin to understand. The only real recorded ‘failings’ they had in that aspect were vague tales of the Old Gods influence.
3. Then why the HECK did the Tauren join the Horde?!
Much like any other alliance, it was partially a matter of convenience, partially a matter of timing. Had the Alliance shown up before the tauren met with the Horde, they may have joined the Alliance forces instead. But circumstances had Thrall and his Horde show up at just the right time, and Thrall, being a good sort, helped the tauren fight the centaur and lent his aid to the nomadic people. There’s also the fact that they’ve got at least a little in common – the orcs were shaman to begin with, way back in time on Draenor, and the tauren could sense this and warmed to it. Perhaps they saw that the trolls had allied with the orcs as well, and given the history of that violent race, for them to turn around and ally with anyone was a big deal – so there must have been something about the orcs that the tauren wanted to see more of.
4. Okay so if the tauren are such goody two shoes that have the best interests of Azeroth at heart, why exactly are they working with the Forsaken?
There’s an old saying that goes ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’. The tauren are more than likely well aware that the Forsaken are up to something, and they’re keeping them close by to keep an eye on them. Well…some of the tauren. See, the tauren have their own factions and tribes within their race, and while some have good intentions, others are…flawed. It is surprising to note however that even the ‘bad’ tauren (the Grimtotem), are allowed representation in Thunder Bluff, and are treated with the same respect as any other tauren.
The Grimtotem have their own plans with the Forsaken, although the span and breadth of these plans are currently unknown. I’m hoping we’ll see more of this situation addressed soon – the tauren, much like the orcs, are experiencing a mild period of civil upset, though nowhere near as violent as the orcs tend to be. There are factions of tauren that are growing tired of being peaceful, and tired of other races encroaching on lands that should rightfully be theirs, and they are quietly working to do something about it.
The other theory I came up with that’s a little more out there is this: the tauren have a large amount of respect for the spirits and for their dead. The Forsaken are undead, and not allowed the final rest that all other living creatures are. This is fascinating to the tauren, and also more than a little saddening – the Forsaken are spirits that were never let go, doomed to roam the earth and never truly alive. So perhaps the tauren are keeping them close by because in a way, they feel sorry for the Forsaken and their tragic fate.
5. So that’s it? There’s no ulterior motives, no massive struggles for power, no corruption by higher beings, no big explosions?
Yep! I’m afraid that as a whole the tauren are a little dull in terms of blowing up planets or consorting with demons. They may have started out as instruments of the titans, but they developed their own lives outside of that – however for the most part the tauren have avoided the mass amounts of strife that plague the other races.
And that’s it for Tauren History week – stay tuned for more RP Tips and Tricks this weekend, and a new Character Focus – this time I’ll be taking on the winner of the Alliance’s Biggest Jerkface Of All Time award, King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind.
As always, keep reading - next week I’m going from the largest Horde race to the smallest Alliance race. It’s the origins of the Gnomes, on Shades of Grey!