Know Your Lore: Could Tuskarr be an Allied Race?
Way back in October of last year, we did a brief series on potential playable races in whatever the upcoming expansion happened to be. At BlizzCon, Battle for Azeroth was announced — along with Allied Races. Unlike the traditional concept of playable races we’re used to, Allied Races are unlocked over time. The four that we’ve since been able to unlock all start off life at level 20, accessible after a series of requirements have been met. Allied Races are allies, after all, and their trust needs to be earned before they’ll agree to that kind of alliance.
Out of the three races we looked at, one turned out to be correct – the Nightborne – albeit different in scope. Since BlizzCon, eight Allied Races have been revealed. Void Elves, Lightforged Draenei, Nightborne, and Highmountain Tauren are all playable right now. Dark Iron Dwarves and Zandalari Trolls were announced at BlizzCon, but won’t be an option until sometime after Battle for Azeroth launches. Two other new additions were recently announced – Kul Tiran Humans, and Mag’har Orcs.
Blizzard was very clear during their reveal that more of these Allied Races could potentially be added over time. But what’s interesting is that the existing Allied Races aren’t all brand new. They’re a mix of races from distant lands we haven’t seen – like the Kul Tirans and the Zandalari – and races we’re already familiar with. Dark Iron Dwarves have been around since WoW’s original launch, just never playable, while we encountered the Mag’har Orcs of Draenor during Warlords of Draenor.
Nomads of the north
The Tuskarr are in some ways similar to the Tauren. They’re a nomadic race, kind-natured and peaceful, for the most part. But just like the Tauren, the Tuskarr are capable of fiercely defending themselves if threatened. By and large however, they’re content to keep themselves to themselves, dedicating their lives to fishing and whaling. Originally, the Tuskarr weren’t found anywhere in the southern continents – they restricted their travels entirely to Northrend’s coastlines.
Although some might consider the Tuskarr a more primitive race, that’s not the most accurate call. Tuskarr are simply more inclined towards taking their place in nature rather than trying to dominate it. Tuskarr boats are fairly ingenious in design, perched as they are on the backs of turtles led by carrots on strings. They’ve managed to not only survive, but thrive on some of Azeroth’s most inhospitable land. They have a keen sense of justice, but more importantly, a keen sense of reverence for the natural world.
And they’re attuned to that world in a way that is most easily compared to Shamanism. They serve the elements a little differently than the Shaman we’re familiar with, but they’re incredibly skilled. The Tuskarr worship their own deities, similar to the Loa or the Wild Gods. They communicate with their ancestors much like the Orcs do, and they’re protective of these ancestral spirits. According to the Tuskarr, all souls are one with the magic of the world. Magic is known as “Silap Inua” – the power of life, of souls both living and dead. To the Tuskarr, magic connects us all.
The Tuskarr in Wrath of the Lich King
We first encountered the Tuskarr in Wrath of the Lich King. Much like everyone else in Northrend, the Tuskarr aren’t having the easiest of times. Between the ongoing threat of Ice Trolls, Nerubian, Kvaldir, and undead Scourge, the Tuskarr can’t really seem to catch a break. But the largest threat the Tuskarr are concerned with is the Blue Dragonflight’s attempts to harness and control all magic. In doing so, the Tuskarr believe the Blue Dragonflight will do tremendous harm to the souls of all living and dead – Tuskarr and strange southern allies alike.
Over the course of Wrath, both Alliance and Horde manage to deal with almost every issue plaguing the Tuskarr. By the end of the expansion, the Blue Dragonflight has been dealt with. We’ve fought back against the Nerubians and Kvaldir. And the Lich King, leader of the undead Scourge, is dead – well, in theory anyway. As far as the Tuskarr are concerned, we’re all good people. We helped them out, we asked for nothing in return… well, maybe some fishing tips, but nothing truly daunting.
The removal of all those threats meant that the Tuskarr were free to travel again, if they wished. While rumors suggested the Tuskarr wouldn’t be able to survive for very long away from Northrend, we’ve seen plenty of evidence to the contrary. Tuskarr have been quietly making appearances all over the world in the years after the Lich King’s fall. However, these appearances have been largely focused on fishing – not so much on indulging in combat.
How the Tuskarr could fit as an Allied Race
The main issue with the Tuskarr as an Allied Race is that they’re by and large a peaceful folk. They haven’t really demonstrated an interest in matters of petty vengeance. Justice, yes – when they are wronged, they will retaliate. But they don’t seem the sort to go out of their way to indulge in frivolous squabbles. A conflict between two factions could be considered one of those frivolous squabbles.
Yet despite the focus on more relaxing pursuits like fishing, the Tuskarr are fully capable of defending themselves. They have a deep connection with the spirits and an equally strong connection to the natural world. Both of these things lead one to believe that the Tuskarr would absolutely step up and fight – if the fight was considered a worthy one to pursue. The defense and protection of Azeroth? That’s something the Tuskarr would absolutely be interested in.
Tuskarr don’t seem to have a connection to the Light, at least not outwardly. But they’re strong survialists, and they’ve got that natural connection with the world. A Tuskarr could easily be a Shaman, Warrior, or Hunter. It’s possible they might pursue the ways of the Monk – it’s not too far out of their wheelhouse. Mages are also a possibility, simply due to the way the Tuskarr view magic. The arcane isn’t something they’re unfamiliar with. Warlock seems out of the question – they have little experience with the Burning Legion, but they’re smart enough to know evil when they see it. Rogue also seems a little far-fetched, as the Tuskarr feel more suited for brute force combat than dexterous stealth and subterfuge.
Alliance or Horde?
Of course, the biggest question regarding their potential as an Allied Race is which faction they would choose. It’s a complicated question, and it doesn’t have an easy answer. Both Horde and Alliance alike helped the Tuskarr in Northrend. They were neutral in Wrath, and they’d have to be given good reason to choose one side over the other. In order for them to seek some kind of retribution, deliberate offense would have to be given. One faction would have to be actively working against their interests. Either that or one faction would have to be actively working to disrupt the natural order of the world.
Both situations would draw the disapproval of the Tuskarr. They don’t ask for much out of the world, they simply want to live and let live. Anything that disrupts or threatens their survival is something that would need to be dealt with. At this point, neither Alliance nor Horde has demonstrated any kind of behavior that threatens their survival. There’s no reason for them to lean one way over another.
That doesn’t mean one couldn’t be created, however. And that’s the beauty of Allied Races – with Azeroth undergoing so much chaos, lines are being drawn in the sand. It’s easy enough to craft the narrative and build reasons for choosing sides, if need be. As for the Tuskarr – they aren’t an Allied Race just yet. But they could be, in due time, given good enough reason. Some have already been spotted on distant shores. Although they could just be there for trading goods, the potential is there for more, if warranted. We’ll have to wait and see if the Tuskarr continue their peaceful existence undisturbed, or get drawn into the war to come.
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