Character Derailment Video Games Discussion

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05:25:53 PM Apr 19th 2011
Here is the deleted Warcraft section.

  • This has happened a lot in World of Warcraft. Players blame the inherent restrictions upon storytelling presented by a game where the player's perspective on NPC Character Development is limited.
    • The leader of the Blood Elves, Kael'thas, once a hero driven by the survival of his people and their honour in his initial appearance in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. He remains loyal to the Alliance up until the moment his people were about to be executed en masse (to satisfy a warlord's racism) and joined with Illidan Stormrage (whose only motive at that time was to take over the demon-dominated Outland and be left alone) because he believed it was the only way to save them from magic addiction. In World of Warcraft he is an Evil Overlord without any redeeming qualities, willing to sacrifice his entire people away to summon the very demon lord in charge of the forces responsible for the destruction of his homeland. When confronted for the final time, a horrifically warped Kael claims that he never was loyal to Illidan in the first place and calls Kil'Jaeden (the fore-mentioned demon lord) "master" with almost a loving voice. An often-cited explanation for the change is fel magic, which he keeps slurping down like water, but it's arguable whether or not it can entirely change a person's core being into its complete mirror image in six years or so. The game itself seems to consider Kael was always like this.
      • Kael'thas' story is a bit more complex; the original Warcraft tabletop roleplaying game lays out that while honoring his people in The Frozen Throne, what we didn't see was that he had turned into a Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar in his battles against the undead, and was already starting on a slippery slope towards becoming He Who Fights Monsters. We leave him off in The Frozen Throne having agreed to work for Illidan and Kil'Jaeden in exchange for magic to feed his race's addiction, which is like giving an addict a fix so they don't suffer from withdrawl, and then we fast forward five years later. That's five years off screen of addiction feeding we didn't witness. People tend to get more than a little screwed up after that long.
    • Oh god, don't get me started on Jaina. This strong-willed, kick-ass female protagonist who helped unite the shattered remains of Lordaeron and forged an alliance with the Orcs and Night Elves. This lady helped kill her own father to make sure she honored the truce forged with the Horde and keep the peace the world had just fought so hard to attain. Now, she's just a mindless pretty face who parrots pacifistic stock-phrases at Variann's elbow and cries over Arthas.
    • Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind experienced this in Wrath of the Lich King. In the comic series where he was the most characterized, he was a tolerant and compassionate person who was willing to put aside his views for the sake of peace. He was even best friends with a Blood Elf, a member of the Horde, and delivered a magnificent speech to his son about how kings who reign over peace are greater than those who reign over war. In the game, however, he's been reduced to a plot device for the purpose of reigniting war, charging into the Undercity and delivering a nasty speech to Thrall, a very popular character. Granted, many members of the fanbase feel that he was justified in his actions, but it's still quite contrived. Fortunately, in the recently released Icecrown Citadel raid instance, his persona from the Comics begins to show itself again.
    • Which ironically has players unfamiliar with the manga crying Character Derailment based on his persona in the rest of Wrath.
      • It's revealed that Varian, after fusing with Lo'Gosh, now has a split personality. Varian is calmer and kinder, if somewhat understandably distrustful of the Horde, and Lo'Gosh is considerably more aggressive and has the Defias as a Berserk Button.
    • Malygos, yet another boss that we're fighting because he "went crazy" or in this case "went sane." The Master of Magic and described in the lore as one of the wisest and noblest of all creatures, after his flight helps save the world during at the Sunwell, becomes sane again and decides the only logical answer to save the world is to kill everyone in it that uses magic other than his own brood and those who worship them. Yeah. Totally went sane.
    • Illidan Stormrage was a very multi-layered character in Warcraft III. He wanted power, but seemed to still have a heart to himself. However, in WoW, he's just "the Lord of Outland" and doesn't seem to possess any goals in his life except to pose a challenge to players between the levels 58 and 70. In WC3, he treated his minions with respect, but now he uses demons to keep them as slaves. He even attacks Shattrath City for no reason at all, even though they were both enemies of the Burning Legion.
      • It's implied that he started losing his sanity after being defeated by Arthas in Northrend. Your Mileage May Vary as to whether this adequately justifies his change.
    • Arthas + Ner'zhul = Lich King, total Badass and possible Villain Sue, right? Well, we can't have that. If this story made sense and he retained his clear competence (even Arthas was a pretty good general, even if he was way too rash and emotional), he would have beaten us down hard. So they appear to be have decided it's just Arthas in there now, and Arthas at his stupidest. And stupid in a way different than normal, sitting around and not actually doing anything. And more!
      • Latest Word of God is that Ner'zhul is still in there, after all. Two derailments for the price of one?
      • For those that make it to the end of the Icecrown Citadel raid to face him, the Lich King's Orcus on His Throne act is actually converted from Villain Ball to a work of genius. He truly doesn't care how many of his minions get mowed down by the heroes. Their primary purpose was to Darwinically eliminate heroes until only the best of the best of the best fought their way to challenge him. Then he would simply massacre them and raise them as his most elite Scourge generals, combining their proven power that no other force in the world could stand against them with the demoralizing factor of the world's greatest becoming its destroyers.
        • Not only that, but as 'derailed' as the character is, at the end of the day Arthas was a decent general, but had almost no experience, meanwhile Ner'Zuhl managed to lose multiple unloseable wars and took twenty years to claim his single real victory, killing a small group of sentient spiders in Northrend, and showed that for all his 'cunning' he's quite possibly the least competent character in Warcraft. It's not that surprising that mixing Arthas and Ner'Zuhl gives you the worst of both of them.
    • Garrosh Hellscream, who is introduced in Burning Crusade as depressed from being the son of Grom Hellscream, who is reviled by the orcs of Outland for having the orcs drink demonic blood and become corrupted, until he learns from Thrall that Grom sacrificed his life to save the orcs from that curse. In Wrath of the Lich King, he is hot-tempered, disrespectful toward Thrall's more moderate policy toward humans, and will not hear any criticism of his father. Let us demonstrate: Link
      • In the short story "Heart of War", which focuses on his development after leaving Garadar, it's revealed that he's quite upset to learn about Alliance encroachments on Orc land, especially since it reminds him of how the Mag'har were almost constantly under siege in Nagrand. Having not had any first-hand experience of the First or Second War, he believes the Alliance is inherently hostile to the Horde and doing this without cause, and he resents the notion that he, not having participated in the old Horde's atrocities, owes the Alliance anything.
    • On that note, Thrall. Garrosh was turned into a froth-at-the-mouth genocide, but really, Thrall is the person who dragged this sorry excuse for an orc from Outlands to Azeroth, with some help from us of course. Thrall is the one who told him about his father and revived his spirit. Thrall is the one who then, for reasons only attributable to his loyalty to the son of his dead friend and mentor, put him up as his second in command over much more qualified, experienced, and even tempered orcs, like Saurfang and Drek'Thar. Thrall is the one who, time and time again, merely growls a completely ineffectual "Garrosh" in warning rather than backhanding the arrogant son-of-a-Grom with Doomhammer. Time and time again, when Garrosh interrupts Thrall's attempts at peaceful meeting and negotiation, when Garrosh undermines Thrall's word and his teachings, when Garrosh openly mocks his mentor and his beliefs, Thrall just bristles and does jack-all. Talk about character derailment... what happened to the Warchief we knew and loved? What's Garrosh got to do for him to grow his spine back, force the orcs to drink demon blood like his dear old daddy?
    • Zul'jin was painted positively in several Horde quests in World of Warcraft, he was depicted as hero in the cancelled Lord of the Clans, the troll charge emote is "For Zul'jin." and the Darkspear have said vengance for Zul'jin since Warcraft III. Yet in the Burning Crusade he's turned into a hostile raid boss. As if that wasn't enough he isn't even treated seriously as an antagonist and his death is portrayed as a joke, utterly ignoring the previous lore on the character.
      • This is largely explained as Zul'jin still considering elves (as in all elves) to be his enemies and enemies of the trolls. Now that the Horde has welcomed Blood Elves into their forces, he feels that the Horde has essentially sold the trolls out and now considers them enemies.
    • Drek'thar(Thrall's old and peaceful shamanistic mentor who was willingly to negotiate with even Kul'tiras in Warcraft III) and the entire Frostwolf clan(one of the most peaceful orc clans) were randomly made into blood thirsty idiots for no apparent reason in the Alterac Valley Battleground. In the battleground Drek'thar is portrayed as physically powerful fighter dual wields Uruk-hai swords from Lord of the Rings and says stuff like "leave no one alive." The Frostwolf clan is portrayed having abomination members, shown as feeding human flesh to their animal familiars, and wanting to summon some sort of demonic elemental with vials of blood.
      • Adding insult to injury, Whitewolf, in a case of Did Not Do The Research and Armed with Canon decides to retcon the story without Blizzard input so that the Stormpike dwarves were there all along and the "Evul" Frostwolf clan is trying to steal their land(despite not even the Alliance disputing that Alterac Valley is orc territory in World of Warcraft and every other source saying the dwarves are newcomers). As apparently humanish races must always be morally superior to ugly, monstrous creatures.
      • Drek'thar's peaceloving nature is somewhat exaggerated here; he was a Proud Warrior Race Guy to the bone. He just wasn't an idiot, and was willing to stick to the treaties Thrall put in place. But at his tamest, he was a grumpy old man, and was fully willing to have Thrall killed if Thrall had turned out to be a brat. He was even pissed in situations where he was held back from participating in battles because of his value as the only shaman besides Thrall. In Alterac Valley, he's pissed about dwarves on his lawn(with reason, there are cases of dwarves wiping out natives so they can excivate) and, from his perspective, is using the resources of the Horde to fight off an enemy with superior weapontry. Using the abominations when you've got them against enemies with tanks is just smart, and using blood to summon an elemental(which is in no way demonic) is actually how shamanism works in warcraft; its brutal and ritualistic, but this gets glossed over due to, among other things, Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • Suffice it to say, "but now he's crazy and you have to kill him" became something of an inside joke among World of Warcraft players during the Burning Crusade expansion, given how many of the above examples fit the formula of "take old character, something contrived happens, new raid boss."
    • The entire Horde now. As well as Garrosh being an asshat, a number of quests in the Lich King expansion have gone toward painting them as evil. A number of people spying for the Horde are captured, and you're sent to kill them for failing, rather than rescue them. And Sylvanas, up to LK she was just trying to hold her people together, as part of the Horde; betrayed by the demon Varimathras, she fights to regain her city. In Cataclysm, now she's 'lulz evul'. The undeath plague created by Putress was done at Varimathras's orders, but during the worgen starting quests, she shows up and says to use the plague despite orders to the contrary.
08:22:15 PM Apr 22nd 2011
Aside from being large, why was it moved here?
09:52:33 AM Apr 23rd 2011
Several of the entries are in dispute. To add to what's already been pointed out:
  • It should be noted that Arthas was the one who destroyed Kael'thas' homeland to resurrect Kel'Thuzad as a lich, an act that favors the Lich King's agenda. Kil'Jaeden and the Lich King are enemies, so one might imagine that he worked for Kil'Jaeden to get revenge, and lost sight of his goal at some point.
  • Thrall sees great leadership potential in Garrosh, but also hopes to temper his aggressive and warlike personality traits by having good advisors serve him. Unfortunately, Garrosh doesn't seem to be getting much better.
  • Zul'jin also pulled the trolls out of the Horde in the Second War when they wouldn't help them slaughter the Elves. Orgrim Doomhammer was also disgusted by the trolls' barbaric ways.
  • The entire Horde's change may be the result of a shift in demographics. As Thrall and Eitrigg note in The Shattering, a good portion of their populace has fallen in recent conflicts, and with the older members of society (who may remember the First and Second Wars) dying out, much of the Horde, including Garrosh, is composed of young people who got used to fighting undead. Forsaken as a whole are noted as being quite ruthless and allied with the Horde only out of convenience in spite of their hatred for all living beings.
09:19:33 PM Apr 14th 2012
That stuff about Zul'jin never actually happened. In Tides Of Darkness, Zul'jin gets along with great Orgrim and never mentions attacking civilians.
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