Over the course of this weekend, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the #RiseofAggra tag on Twitter. If you’ve not already seen it, I heartily recommend that you go take a look. The premise was quite simple – exploring ways in which Aggra could both be a central, fleshed-out character and be a parent at the same time. I’m not a parent myself, but I’ve seen several people expressing their views on this. Warcraft itself is 20 years old, so it’s not a surprise that many of the people who play or have played the series have children by this point.
There are several factors that led up to the creation of this tag. I was part of a consensus, however large it may be, that there was incredibly little representation of women in Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard have already stated that the dwarves won’t be making an appearance, so Moira is out of the question, as are many of the other non-orc/draenei faction leaders. Furthermore, within these races, there has been a very limited conscious effort to actually show women – not necessarily as leaders, but in the story. Zaela and Aggra for the orcs compare to Thrall, Saurfang, Eitrigg, Garrosh, and Malkorok in terms of notable orcs shown within Mists of Pandaria, and the numbers for Draenor look to be even more heavily skewed.
Seven chieftains. Grommash, Kilrogg, Durotan, Ner’zhul, Gul’dan, Kargath and Blackhand.
This image, taken from the Warlords of Draenor official site (property of Blizzard) is a fine indicator of exactly how many women Blizzard seems to have thought about putting in.
Getting back on topic, when these concerns were raised, Aggra was mentioned. As Thrall’s partner, a mag’har orc, a mother, a shaman and a native of Draenor, there are oodles of reasons why Aggra would want to go to Draenor. It’s her home planet. The chance to see it once more – even in a false timeline – would be too good a chance to pass up, especially if she could pass that knowledge on to her child. Speaking of this child, why would Aggra not also take them to Draenor? She’d be able to meet her own parents, Greatmother Geyah, Thrall’s parents. If the timeline isn’t real, then why wouldn’t she introduce them to their own grandchild? It could well be the push needed to break apart the Iron Horde and save the timeline.
Additionally, I doubt Aggra is even old enough to remember the Orcish race before it was corrupted by the blood of Mannoroth. Again, a major historical opportunity. Aggra is also a shaman. The chance to speak with the elements of Draenor, to know what they were like before it was destroyed – another major opportunity, and as a native of Draenor, Aggra should be more adept at speaking with them than Thrall. Thrall is used to Azeroth. Azeroth is his home planet more than Draenor. But it is Aggra’s home planet. Why shouldn’t she get to go there?
Well, all of this in mind, those questions were asked. And we were informed that no, Aggra would not be coming.
This is highly disappointing, because it means that the only confirmed female character from the present who will be involved is Zaela – whose story so far has included nothing but rabid fanaticism over Garrosh. While Draka and Geyah are also both slated to make an appearance within the expansion, we must bear in mind that it will be in an alternate timeline. Neither are important characters in the present narrative, so while their being included is a bonus, they aren’t going to be sticking around afterwards or experiencing much in the way of character development.
Oh, and there are the draenei. As his second-in-command, I would expect Ishanah to play a role alongside Velen, but there is no guarantee. For the most part, we’ll have to keep an eye out.
The fact that Warlords of Draenor’s ‘boy trip’ adheres to the male-only conventions of many a fantasy story is intensely disappointing, because on other occasions Blizzard have proven at least slightly proactive in pushing for change. Their fast responses to the Razor Hill rating-dude-orcs and the inappropriate dialogue of Ji Firepaw shows that Blizzard do not want bad publicity – so why avoid the good press that would result from a wide range of fleshed-out characters that aren’t just one gender?
The problem is that until we see beta, we can’t get a grasp on how what we’ve seen at BlizzCon will or will not be mirrored in the expansion’s quests, zones, and dungeons. And for the most part, the first impressions have been quite poor.