Know Your Lore: Ogres as an Allied Race
Allied Races are coming in Battle for Azeroth — six have been announced so far. But along with that announcement, Ion Hazzikostas noted that this was only the beginning for the feature. In theory, we’ll be getting more as time goes on. Of course, the six we’ve already been presented with are fascinating — and four are directly related to events in Legion. The other two, Zandalari Trolls and Dark Iron Dwarves, have been long-requested cosmetic options.
This left me wondering: What exactly is on the plate as far as more Allied Races go? We’ve traveled Azeroth and beyond and made a host of allies along the way. Which of these races or factions would be good options? Why, or why not? And really, the first place to look is one of the most obvious. People have been suggesting them as a playable race ever since Burning Crusade — Ogres.
Ogres originally came from Draenor through the Dark Portal, just like the Orcs. They were invited to be a part of the Orcish Horde by Warchief Blackhand, in an effort to increase the Horde’s numbers. Cho’gall was the most notable of these Ogres. Once, he lived a life of privilege in Highmaul and displayed a natural affinity for the arcane arts. However, there were those in Highmaul who feared his popularity would allow him to seize control of the city. Although they tried to assassinate him, he instead escaped — and he wanted revenge. The Horde offered him the means for that revenge.
Highmaul fell, and the majority of the remaining Ogres that refused to join the Horde were systematically wiped out. Eventually, the Horde traveled through the Dark Portal to Azeroth, and the Ogres went right along with them. They played little part in the First War, but were slightly more active in the Second — with the exception of Cho’gall. Gul’dan taught him the ways of fel magic and of the Burning Legion. Cho’gall was an apt student, but had little loyalty where Gul’dan was concerned. The Warlock was a means to an end — more power — and once Gul’dan ceased to be useful, Cho’gall had every intention of desertion.
After the Horde’s defeat in the Second War, the Ogres scattered far and wide in both the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Cho’gall traveled to the Tomb of Sargeras with Gul’dan, but deserted after narrowly escaping death delivered by Blackhand’s sons. He and his minions traveled to Kalimdor, where Cho’gall’s clan, the Twilight’s Hammer, continued to flourish. The rest of Ogre society dissolved into the scattered clans we see around Azeroth today, bearing little resemblance to the once-mighty Gorian Empire of Draenor.
Ogres have always had a presence in World of Warcraft, a presence that’s been largely antagonistic with few exceptions. The few that didn’t outright attack players were usually at least neutral with the Horde, if not allies. Because of their roots with the Old Horde, players expected that they’d eventually become a playable race for that faction. It makes sense — after all, some clans were already working with the Horde. We’ve already seen that Allied Races don’t need to be every example of a particular race — they can be a subset. The Stonemaul clan has been helping the Horde in both Dustwallow Marsh and Feralas. But although that seems the most logical option for playable Ogres, it isn’t the only one available.
In Burning Crusade, players of both factions traveled to Ogri’la, where they helped a group of Ogres whose intelligence was greatly enhanced by Apexis crystals. Because these Ogres were remnants left behind on Draenor, they hold no allegiance to either faction. They make no mention of the Gorian Empire, nor do they hold any hard feelings towards members of the Horde. They’re willing to ally with anyone that helps them out.
In addition, alternate Draenor offers another set of Ogres — intelligent, calculating, and incredibly adept with arcane magic. The Gorian Empire didn’t want to join the Iron Horde. They had no choice in the matter, they were forced to. However, given how quickly we managed to dismantle Highmaul and kill Imperator Mar’gok, it’s slightly less likely that they’d want to ally with any of us or travel to our world. But we did manage to defeat the Burning Legion and set the world of Draenor right, which might count for something — who knows?
Ogres as an Allied Race
While it seems like Ogres would naturally join the Horde if offered the option, they could join the Alliance just as easily, if given a good reason to do so. They might seem like an undesirable kind of ally — after all, they’ve been shown as big dumb brutes for years. But don’t let that fool you. In Warlords, we saw exactly where Ogres came from — and what they’re capable of. Given their display in Highmaul, one has to wonder if the Ogres from Azeroth are actually unintelligent, or simply working with a language barrier — or perhaps even pulling the wool over us all.
Regardless, they’d make excellent additions to either faction. Ogres are descendants of Grond — a Titan creation. As such, they have an innate arcane affinity that makes them formidable foes or worthy allies. Beyond that, Ogres are massive and possess the kind of strength that would make them ideal Warriors to stand behind in combat. They don’t appear to have any affinity for the Light, but they’ve proven they could master the fel arts just as easily as the arcane in the Shadow Council. Despite all appearances, they’d be a good addition to any fighting force.
Some might point out that there aren’t any female Ogres in game. That’s correct, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist in lore. There’s been evidence of female Ogres through the years; we simply haven’t seen them around. There’s even an Ogre Female Mask you can obtain through Hallow’s End. It’d be easy enough to add them in, in the event that the race is chosen to become a playable option.
In order to play an Allied Race, players must complete a brief series of quests to convince that race to become an ally. If Ogres are made playable, we can assume the same would apply. Ogres have been around for years, some working with the Horde, others not so much. We’ve spent just as many years killing plenty of them off for various quests and raids. In the face of that, one has to wonder — why would any Ogre choose to join one of Azeroth’s dominant factions?
In Battle for Azeroth, we’re fighting for more than just factional dominance. We’re also fighting for the survival of the world. Ogres are just as much a part of Azeroth as any other race. If Azeroth goes down in flames, so do the Ogres — that’s more than enough reason on its own. There’s also the fact that Ogres aren’t necessarily allied with each other. Some of them are involved with the Twilight’s Hammer — and others may not be too happy about that. They might want to take action, and need our help to make it happen.
Beyond that, there’s a larger story here — much like Trolls, Ogres are part of dying species. The old Horde ruined the Gorian Empire and wiped out a gigantic chunk of the Ogre population. Those that are left on Azeroth are remnants of a vast civilization, simply trying to survive. Meanwhile, we’re hunting them down and wiping them out, much as we’ve done with various Troll tribes across Azeroth. If the Zandalari, so opposed to the idea of working with other races back in Cataclysm, can be persuaded to join our cause…then it may not be so farfetched to assume that Ogres could do the same.
A likely option
Of all the assorted races on Azeroth and beyond, Ogres are perhaps one of the most plausible options out there. They were even on the short list for possible racial options in Cataclysm — Goblins won out instead. They’re as widespread and prolific as any of the playable options currently available. And given the care taken to flesh out their history in both Warlords and Chronicle, Ogres have a lot more story to tell. We’ll have to wait and see if they eventually make it to the list of Allied Races…but I wouldn’t count them out.
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