Should the Alliance have High Elves as an Allied Race?
When the headline asks a question, it’s extremely tempting to answer the question in the first line of the article. I have only managed to avoid doing that this time through ruthless suppression of my natural tendencies. I would appreciate a little credit for my self restraint, because that was probably the last time I’m going to engage in any for the remainder of this piece. In a way, it’s a question I personally view as self-evident, and one I’m a little baffled even has to be asked. Much less asked over and over again.
Yes, High Elves should be an Allied Race for the Alliance
The fact that we do not have High Elves as an Allied Race already has always seemed baffling to me, from the very moment the concept of Allied Races was first introduced. Every appearance of High Elves in game has essentially treated them this way. Their role in Wrath of the Lich King and in Vereesa Windrunner’s Silver Covenant in subsequent expansions — we see them in Cataclysm and again in both Mists of Pandaria and Legion — means that not only do they have a predetermined leader in Vereesa, but they have an actual presence and reason to ally with the Alliance.
In fact, with Sylvanas as big a deal as she is right now an Alliance Allied Race with not only a connection to her story, but a leader who is conflicted about her, seems to make a lot of sense.
Instead, we got Void Elves, which had a story crafted for them to make a connection with Alleria Windrunner, although it’s really Master Umbric who serves as the racial leader for this group. Either way, while there’s nothing wrong with them, exactly, it does feel like Blizzard let a long established group go the wayside for the new hotness here.
Admittedly, I can see that allowing playable High Elves might have a few problems.
Pros, cons, and Elves
First off, playable High Elves would be extremely hard to differentiate from Blood Elves. While the Nightborne have this problem to a degree with Night Elves, they have enough differences — different ears, posture, and their arcane tattoo marks — that they’re not indistinguishable from their former cousins. But High Elves and Blood Elves only have one physical difference, whereas Void Elves got that shadowy upgrade that makes them distinct from their former people, even if it does leave them all kind of looking the same. One solution would be to simply make them look different from the Blood Elves — they have, after all, been spending their time without either the Sunwell or any other means to suppress the addiction to magic their people endure. Perhaps it’s changed them.
The second problem is simply that, for all intents and purposes, the High Elves are already in the Alliance. But Allied Races are based around the idea of the Horde and Alliance reaching out and forging pacts with these disparate groups. Why would they have to do anything to get High Elves? It could well be a boring questline. Now, I think that’s easily dealt with — instead of having to jump through hoops to get the High Elves to join up, Vereesa instead tasks the player with helping her come up with a way to deal with the magical addiction of her people and that becomes the big questline that ends with them as a playable option.
Third issue, however, is a bit trickier — do we need a fifth group of Elves?
The delay is understandable, but it’s time
I mean, I love High Elves and I think they should be playable. But from Blizzard’s perspective, what do High Elves bring to the game that we don’t already get from one of the four other Elf options currently in the game? World of Warcraft started out with only one group of playable Elves, and for most of its existence it had two, and for many players two was more than enough — the introduction of the Blood Elves meant that the Horde went from we’re all monsters here to we’re all gorgeous here in a really short span of time. If High Elves — the classic Elves of Warcraft 1 and 2 were playable, would the Alliance suddenly be overrun with them? And would they be distinctive enough from Void, Blood, Night and Nightborne Elves?
I personally think they could be, and considering we now have three different flavors of Human — Original Recipe, Extra Beefy and Wolfy — I think the Alliance could handle High Elves just fine. But there are also a lot of potential Allied Races who aren’t another flavor of Elves, so I can understand why Blizzard hasn’t leapt on this idea just yet. Still, I really feel like High Elves are a pretty safe choice that would make a lot of players very happy, and it’s surprising to me that we haven’t seen it happen yet.
Then again, I’m the guy who wants Vrykul as a playable race, and that’s just extra extra beefy Humans.
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