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Roleplay > WoWOct 15, 2016 2:00 pm CT

Role Play: Druid roleplay in Legion

World of Warcraft Druid artwork

Legion has a slightly different dynamic than any other expansion before it. Rather than being grouped in hub areas according to faction, we’re being grouped by class. I’ve brought this up before, and mentioned that there are plenty of roleplay opportunities to be had…but what are they?

Each class has its own storyline this expansion. Each class also has its own set of priorities this expansion. Sure, everyone wants to stop the Legion’s invasion – but there are other areas of interest as well. As far as Druid roleplay is concerned, it’s not just the Legion we’re worried about — it’s the return of the Emerald Nightmare.


Cenarion Circle

The Druid class has been a part of Azeroth’s history even before World of Warcraft. Warcraft 3 and the War of the Ancients novels began to flesh out the class, at first only practiced by Night Elves. In World of Warcraft, a couple of significant changes were made for the sake of gameplay. First, Druids could be male or female – in WC3, druidism was male-only.

Second, the Tauren were also allowed to be Druids, so that both factions would have access to the class. This actually became part of the lore – we were told that Tauren were only recent additions to the Cenarion Circle. The Cenarion Circle is the main Druid organization on Azeroth, created to essentially train and keep watch over Druids.

And in Cataclysm, even more races were discovered to have Druidic affinity. Both Worgen and Trolls were added to the mix, making the Druid class far more diverse than ever before. But that diversity is tempered by the close watch and guidelines of the Cenarion Circle.


Druid motivations

The Cenarion Circle is vitally important to Druid culture. It was originally created to combat the Worgen threat during the War of the Satyr. After the conflict was over, Malfurion Stormrage realized a group was needed to make sure all Druids were properly trained. That way, there wouldn’t be any more disasters like what happened when Druids decided to experiment with pack form.

Night Elf Druids were bound to Ysera and the Emerald dream after the War of the Ancients. Other races didn’t come along until later, and didn’t have that pact. But all Druids have an affinity with nature, and all Druids want to protect it. By joining the Cenarion Circle, each additional race of Druid agreed to its purpose – protect nature at all costs.

Obviously, each race has its own connections with the Emerald Dream. But all agree that it’s an intrinsic part of nature, and of life on Azeroth. Unfortunately, the Emerald Dream has come under persistent conflicts in recent years, with the arrival of a pervasive enemy: The Emerald Nightmare.


Nightmare origins

The Emerald Nightmare isn’t just a case of the Old Gods randomly infiltrating the Emerald Dream. 4,500 years before the First War, Fandral Staghelm took branches from Nordrassil and planted them over saronite that had begun to appear across the world. This included a fairly large source in Grizzly Hills. Fandral named the resultant tree Andrassil, “Crown of the Snow.” Unfortunately, the tree’s roots burrowed so deep into the earth that they touched Yogg-Saron’s prison.

The result was a corrupted tree that had to be destroyed. Renamed Vordrassil, “Broken Crown,” the tree was taken down. Malfurion Stormrage and the Cenarion Circle were furious at Fandral – he didn’t have their permission or approval with what he’d done. But the tree did seem to halt the growth of saronite, which they were pleased with.

What they didn’t notice was that something dark had taken root in the Emerald Dream. Yogg-Saron used the trees that Fandral had planted as a doorway into the Dream itself. It was a door that could be used by the other Old Gods to gain access to the Dream, and corrupt it from within. Small seeds of corruption were strewn about Ysera’s realm – seeds that would eventually take root and begin the Emerald Nightmare in earnest.


Druids and the Nightmare

So how does this affect your character? If you’re playing a Druid, you’re likely affiliated with the Cenarion Circle, and you’ve been fighting the Nightmare on and off for years. It threatens the Emerald Dream, which means it’s threatening the very balance of nature itself.

And every time Azeroth makes a blow against it, every time it seems they succeed, it comes back. In Legion, we see the most persistent strain of the Emerald Nightmare yet. We also meet the one who appears to be responsible for it – Xavius. And then we defeat Xavius in the Emerald Nightmare raid.

End of story, right? Emerald Dream is cleansed, there’s nothing to worry about anymore. Or…maybe not. Because although we’ve purportedly defeated the Nightmare, we haven’t touched N’Zoth, the Old God supposedly behind the corruption. And as we’ve seen before, that Nightmare just keeps coming back.


Druid motivations and storylines for roleplay

Obviously, any Druid is going to be concerned about the Nightmare. And you can choose how you want to roleplay this story, and where you want it to sit within the timeline. You can also choose whether you’d like to acknowledge Xavius’ defeat with your guild or group, or save it for a little later in the expansion. But there are some things that might be concerning your Druid at this point in time.

What do they think about the Nightmare? What do they think about Xavius? Are they old enough to remember the days before the War of the Ancients, before Xavius was twisted into a satyr? Is your Druid concerned about how the Legion and the Nightmare tie together? Are they wondering how the two relate? Or are they simply trying to end the menace, end of story?

If you are acknowledging Xavius’ defeat, what comes next for your Druid? Are they content with the resolution? Are they confident that the Nightmare has ended? Or are they questioning the Cenarion Circle and themselves? Do they think Azeroth is safe at last from the Nightmare, or are they quietly pessimistic, simply waiting for the next attack, whatever it might be?

Your Druid is going to be focused on stopping the Burning Legion, of course. But the Nightmare and the questions it leaves behind, unanswered, are also a source you can use for character development. How your character views the events surrounding the Nightmare may differ from your fellow Druids. Those differences leave plenty of good openings for class-based roleplay opportunities – and room to make new friends and roleplay partners while you’re at it.

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