In the new expansion World of Warcraft Dragonflight gives players access to new race and class combinations. The Tauren villains are particularly popular with the fans, as they have long been a running gag in the community.
What happened? Observant players spotted a new NPC in Thunder Bluff on the PTR, and subsequently updated their discovery reddit.com posted. There, the post received over 4,200 upvotes in a short time.
The community is amused by the role of the newly found NPC. This bears the name “Boarton Shadetotem” and is a rogue trainer. This is nothing unusual in Azeroth, some players might say. Yet! Because “Boarton Shadetotem” is rogue trainer and tauren!
Brian Holinka, Lead Combat Designer at World of Warcraft, had already announced new race and class combinations in the spring. All peoples of Azeroth can now choose the classes magician, priest and rogue. So the new NPC will be implemented as part of these adjustments. WoW makes old joke true: Bring playable Tauren villains.
WoW is giving night elves a set they’ve been waiting for for 18 years
Why is this combination so unusual? Since the release of World of Warcraft, tauren have been more commonly known as shamans, druids, or warriors. Due to their size, they seemed rather unsuitable for the job as villains.
When WoW was still in its infancy, developers still had to decorate the game world. This included the decision that certain races could only choose a certain number of classes. Tauren seemed unsuited to the role of villain due to their lore, which revolves much around living in harmony with nature or honor and respect.
In the current raid “Vault of Incarnations”, among other things, a tauren shaman plays one of the villains. Watch the video if you want to know how the story continues at the end of the raid.
Developers are relaxing restrictions on race and class combinations
Were there any other restrictions? Similar to the tauren, the developers also dealt with other races in the past. For a long time, night elves could not become mages, having forsworn the arcane after the War of the Ancients.
Gnomes could not become priests, preferring to tinker with their machines and contraptions to spiritual matters. The blood elves could not provide warriors, the reason being that all blood elves warriors had fallen in battle against Arthas and the Scourge.
With the Cataclysm expansion, many restrictions were then lifted. In addition to the examples above, the tauren paladins should also be mentioned. They have also been playable since Cataclysm.
In recent expansions, Blizzard was similarly liberal with classes and races. For example, with the addon Battle for Azeroth, druids were introduced as a class for the allied peoples of the people of Kul’Tiras and the Zandalari trolls. The druids were initially reserved only for the night elves and tauren, with the cataclysm Worgen and trolls were added. By the way, that’s how strange the moonkin form of the Kul’Tirans looks.
More freedom for the players
Why did the developers change their stance on races and classes? The reason for this is actually quite simple. They want to accommodate the players’ requests. While restrictions like these can strengthen a game’s narrative by reinforcing the ideas behind certain races and creating distinct identities, they also prevent players from expressing themselves freely. That’s why, after 18 years, the silliest WoW class is now a reality: The Tauren villain.
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How is the community reacting? The community has mostly responded positively to the changes to classes and races. There were initially a few critical voices, but now hardly anyone is bothered by the fact that tauren can play paladins, for example, or that a blood elf can also be a warrior.
The Tauren villains have also been well received. Underneath the Reddit post are numerous funny comments reminiscent of old jokes and thigh slaps from World of Warcraft’s last few years.
For example, tauren villains have been in the game since the beginning. They were so good at stealth as rogues, though, that it just took a little longer for mere mortals to spot them.
There Chris Clarkie, an NPC in Ashran, will look stupid. He had vehemently denied the existence of tauren villains to the very end. Not that hooves are good for sneaking!
Blizzard is trying to do a lot better with Dragonflight. The developers don’t shy away from updating ancient quests and NPCs: After 18 years, the orc Mankrik is looking for a new wife.