Role Play: Roleplaying Nightfallen or Nightborne
I’m a huge proponent of roleplaying whatever you want within the context of World of Warcraft. So when someone asked me whether or not it was feasible to try roleplaying Nightfallen or Nightborne characters, my immediate answer was “Of course!” Knock yourself out. There’s no reason why we should feel like our imaginations or creativity are constrained by what our character models happen to be.
That said, if you want to roleplay a Nightfallen or a Nightborne, it’s not going to be an easy process. As a new race, we don’t know a lot about these elves. All the information we currently have, lore-wise, is pretty much limited to what we’ve discovered so far in this expansion – because they’re brand new.
Nightborne vs. Nightfallen
The current residents of Suramar are the Nightborne – former Highborne who evolved over the last 10,000 years or so into what they are today. The outcasts of Suramar are the Nightfallen – they’re the allied faction we’re currently working with in Legion. All Nightfallen were, at one point in time or another, Nightborne – and technically they still are. It’s their loyalties that have placed them outside Nightborne society.
If you’re a Nightfallen, it means you’re against the current situation in Suramar. You don’t agree with the choice to surrender to the Burning Legion, and you’ve been cast out. If you’re a Nightborne, you can play it two ways – you’re loyal to the city and the Grand Magistrix. You’re perfectly happy with her decision to surrender to the Burning Legion. Or you can play a Nightborne who isn’t happy with that situation, but is currently flying under the radar.
Because the Nightfallen have been cast out of Suramar, it means they’re no longer able to feed on the energies of the Nightwell. Over the last 10,000 years these former Night Elves changed dramatically. Cut off from the outside world, they turned to the Nightwell for sustenance and it altered them as a result. At this point, the Nightborne need the Nightwell to survive.
Withered vs. Wretched
If this sounds similar to the Blood Elf story, it is – to a degree. The major difference is that the Blood Elves were addicted to magic, and the Nightborne feed off of magic. The Nightfallen aren’t going through withdrawals so much as they are simply starving. They can’t sustain themselves without that magic energy.
The Wretched are Blood Elves that have succumbed to their addiction and overindulged to the point of deformity. They’ve lost their sanity, and continually chase after more magic to keep themselves going. The Withered have been starved for so long that they wither away. They’re consumed by their unquenched thirst for the Nightwell’s energy.
Both have lost their sanity, both are shadows of their former selves. But the Wretched suffer primarily from overindulgence and a loss of control, while the Withered have simply starved away. All Nightfallen are in danger of becoming Withered. They can stave off that state by getting access to Arcwine – the Nightwell’s energy in liquid form. We’ve seen that they can also use Ancient Mana for the same purpose as well.
The Nightfallen are somewhere between that Withered state, and full Nightborne. If they get access to enough Arcwine, they can go right back to that Nightborne state. If they cross the line into Withered territory, however, there’s currently no cure for that. Nightfallen have been shown to feed on Ancient Mana, but they’re not going to feed on other creatures for sustenance. The idea of doing that is a little repugnant.
The Nightfallen are currently dedicated to getting their city back, and kicking the Legion out. They’d like to overthrow the Grand Magistrix and restore Suramar to what it was before the shield came down. They aren’t opposed to working with outside races, and they don’t really show any fear or suspicion while working with them.
If anything, they’re likely curious about the goings-on in the outside world. The Nightborne were isolated, and believed the rest of the world had been destroyed after the War of the Ancients. Criminals in Suramar were punished not by death, but by being kicked out of the city. Cast out into what they presumed was an inhospitable world, with no Nightwell to sustain them.
As for the Nightborne, they’re remarkably self-sufficient. They devised a way to keep the entire race alive for centuries. They’re exceedingly skilled in magic, incorporating it into pretty much every part of their society. They place great value on their structured society and their reputation within it, essentially continuing the society that developed in Suramar back during the height of Night Elf civilization.
And as far as they’re concerned, that’s exactly how it should be. They’ve essentially lived in a timeless bubble, with no knowledge or understanding of the outside world. As far as the Nightborne are concerned, they are still the height of kaldorei civilization. Other races don’t need to be understood, they are beneath understanding – lowborn.
But those who have seen what the Grand Magistrix is doing and disagree with it are a little more lenient towards working with outsiders. They know what will happen to them if their doubts are discovered. They know they can’t overthrow the Magistrix on their own, and they can’t really trust other Nightborne. And just like the Nightfallen, they may be curious about that outside world as well. Although for both, any curiosity is pretty low on the scale of important priorities right now.
Suramar and travel
Neither the Nightborne nor the Nightfallen are likely to be seen anywhere outside of Suramar. Their physical dependence on the Nightwell and Arcwine is too important to jeopardize by travel. If they could take a truckload of Arcwine with them, they might venture outside of Suramar’s borders. But that’s a pretty unlikely set of circumstances.
For roleplayers that want to take on one of these unique roles, that means the majority of your in-character actions are going to be taking place somewhere in Suramar. It could be in the city itself, or in the surrounding lands, but never too far from that Nightwell. And absolutely never too far from a steady supply of sustenance. Any leveling you might do should be considered out of character action – strictly for game purposes, with no reflection on your character.
This means that for the most part, roleplayers are going to need to come to you if they want any roleplay. It also means that they’re going to have to have gained access to Suramar. This means, in turn, any roleplay with low-level characters is out the window — at least for now. At some point, we might see the Nightborne and Nightfallen venture to other parts of the world, but for now, they’re still pretty isolated.
The downside to unique characters
Playing a Nightfallen or a Nightborne might seem like a cool idea at first, but I’m not going to lie – it’s not an easy task. Roleplay in Suramar proper means that everyone needs Nightborne disguises, and you constantly have to be on watch for any NPCs that might break that disguise and interrupt your roleplay. Roleplaying in the wilds means you need to watch out for any high-level mobs that might be wandering around.
Beyond that, there’s the usual caveat that comes with all “unique” forms of roleplay. You’re perfectly free to roleplay whatever the heck you want. But that doesn’t mean every other roleplayer on the server is going to be cool with that decision. Just as you can choose to roleplay whatever you’d like, other roleplayers can choose whether or not they want to roleplay with you. Because the Nightborne and Nightfallen are so new, that pool of willing roleplayers isn’t apt to be very big.
You may be better off just reserving your Nightborne or Nightfallen as an alt. Keep them as someone you play in certain instances, let your friends or your group know that the character is available for contact if necessary, and continue playing your main in the meantime. But that decision, of course, is totally up to you.
If you want to spend your days in Suramar, by all means make it happen. Suramar is easily one of the best designed cities in the game, and it’s no surprise that people want to spend their time there. The Nightfallen and the Nightborne are some of the most interesting characters we’ve seen in a long time – we’ll have to wait and see just where their story ends up once Legion is over.
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