[Cataclysm] Women of Cataclysm

One of the things Blizzard has done with this expansion is brought in some stronger female characters, or made more of the ones who already existed in the game background. To those who wonder why it’s such a big deal, all I can say is that as a female player it makes me happy to see them, love/ hate them, and fight alongside them in game.

Here are some of my favourites:

cata_zaela

Zaela, Warleader of the Dragonmaw Orcs, at least after the PCs have gotten involved. She’s badass but inexperienced and needs PCs to help her out. She likes the simpler things in life, evidenced in that she shows some interest in Garrosh. He may like her too, but it’s hard to tell.

Far more female characters seem to have love interests or romantic sides than male ones, I think. I assume Blizzard is going with the meme that it’s unmanly to be romantic, a particular heinous thing that society tends to tell young men.

cata_dragonqueens

The dragon queens, Ysera of the Green and Alexstrasza of the Red (we don’t know what happened to Alexstrasza’s consort in Cataclysm, he was with her during Wrath.)

I’m intrigued that dragons seem to like see through cloaks and string bikinis, who knew? If it was just Alexstrasza then you could accept it as a personal fashion fad but when it’s both of them it starts to look like a uniform.

Despite taking such a central place in Blizzard lore, none of the heads of the dragon flights tend to come over as remotely interesting. That doesn’t really change here, but it’s nice to see Ysera up and about.

sylvanas

Sylvanas, leader of the Forsaken, has been the poster girl for tough women in WoW since the game was released and continues to be pretty much front and centre.

If it’s unmanly for male characters to have love interests, it’s pretty much unwomanly for a female character not to. But then, she never really did conform to expectations. Although I do wonder if Koltira will emerge as a consort/ deputy of some description when she’s done with him.

I’ve seen other posters argue that she’s going insane in this expansion but frankly she and Garrosh actually do seem to have their shit together at the moment. She knows that with no way to reproduce, the forsaken will surely die out through attrition. And she’s found a way to replenish their numbers and is leading their armies to take back their old lands of Andorhal and Hillsbrad.

She also meets with an unfortunate (and fairly dumb) accident along the way, but hey, it was only a flesh wound.

The forsaken always raised an interesting issue for me as to who has the better claim on a piece of land – the guys who lived there before they were turned into undead, or the living guys who claim to be their heirs. Sadly WoW is not a great backdrop to explore this kind of legal hairsplitting.

And not only is she a strong leader, she’s controversial (does she mind control the new forsaken?) and she’s also ready to challenge her warleader by ignoring his commands whenever convenient. Will she make it to the end of the expansion? We can only hope. I’ll be gutted if she dies (again).

cata_therazane

Therazane, the Stonemother is a friendly demigoddess whose favour you win via reputation quests.  Given that PCs may have killed her daughter in Maraudon, she’s remarkably forgiving. And possibly even more.

I love what Blizzard have done with the character model here, she looks to be modelled on ancient earth goddess figurines, with the big boobs and big belly symbolising fertility. I’m not so sure that boobs really work on an earth elemental but hey, whatever works.

I also like that she’s one of the few examples in gaming of a friendly, powerful female figure who doesn’t have a supermodel/ porn star figure.

 

Also (screenshot added)  I rather liked Lorna Crowley, who leads you in an commando assault on an airship in the worgen starting area. Did you know that the name Lorna was invented by R D Blackmoore when he wrote Lorna Doone? (edited to add: Or not, thanks Dragon for pointing this out.)

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38 thoughts on “[Cataclysm] Women of Cataclysm

  1. Interesting article.

    Slight amendment though – it’s a misconception that Blackmoore invented the name “Lorna” for his novel as there are quite a few occurrences of the name in the 1841 England Census (28 years before the novel was published).

  2. I was pleasantly surprised to see a figure like Therazane represented. I immediately thought of an fertility goddess I’d seen in the Baltimore Museum of art, very similar in shape. I’ve made jewelry using that symbol too.

    I’m definitely happy to see strong females represented in this expansion. I tend to choose strong female characters when I do have a choice in the games I play. My favorite female toons are Orcs. :)

  3. Actually the string bikini thing for dragons make sense. Dragons in dragon form are naked. Drakes, whelps are naked too. They wear no power-enhancing artifacts, armor or weapons. They don’t seem to need it, or humanoid armor doesn’t work for them.

    I assume they are naked humans when shift human form and just pick up/conjure dresses to fit in more to the humanoids. The dragon queens has little need to fit in, so they wear the absolute minimum needed for decency.

    What is actually weird is that Ysera chanells whatever spell she does in human form. She should be in dragon form.

    • Let’s just take a moment to be grateful that Deathwing doesn’t show up in a bikini too. And that shapeshifting druids seem to be able to keep their clothes on as well.

    • Let’s not forget that Therazane is wearing even LESS than Alexstrasza or Ysera. I think all she’s got is a loincloth and some stone ring jewelry.

      • This is true. What I guess I was noting was that the dragon ladies both wear exactly the same style of clothes, and I’d kind of expected that they’d be a bit more different.

    • I don’t think that explanation makes a whole lot of sense. After all the whole point of the humanoid form is to fit in. Seems dragon queens are just a lot worse at it than everyone else (seeing how they also keep the horns)…

      I also noticed last night that Alexstrasza actually wears jewellery in dragon form too. Rather bizarre.

    • Yup, good call. I should have remembered Garona — I think she gets less story backing in game than the NPCs who came first to mind, which is a shame really since she’s quite core to some of the lore. In general, they’re not always doing a brilliant job of sharing the stories between the game and the books.

      I didn’t know Boss Mida was inspired by players either, neat.

      • No kidding about the disconnect between books and other media, and WoW itself. I had to explain the Staghelm backstory to just about every guildie questing through Mt. Hyjal. ‘Huh, why is he a bad guy now?’

        Garona is suffering from the same disconnect. I myself only vaguely know her lore. I know her part with King Llane, know that she gave birth to some kid in the comic and that she hates Cho’gall with the fire of a thousand suns.

  4. Isn’t the Horde Goblin faction headed by a female? Also, the Blood Elf Pallies if I recall, though I haven’t seen her since the end of TBC.

    That said, I think it’s a bit curious that all of the female characters in Blizzard’s lore tend not to play strength-based roles. You’re more likely to see a female lore figure doing ranged DPS or healing than actually hitting something with a weapon. If a female does have to go melee, they’re probably going to go with a more rogue-like fighting style (short knives and agility) or to complement their attacks with spell power (previously mentioned BE Pally).

    It just seems a bit odd in a world where female player characters are free to do anything that the NPC’s tend to be relegated to more traditional fantasy-genre female (support) roles.

    • Well, the actual goblin faction leader is Galliwix, who is a guy. And although the chief paladin is female, the head of the blood elf faction is also male. (Plus we’ve really not seen much of the paladins since TBC.)

      I think having NPCs in traditional fantasy roles isn’t necessarily awful in a fantasy game but you’re right, there’s really no need. Although once you start considering non-humans, it’s probably more ‘realistic’ to have female night elf warriors than male ones.

    • The Bilgewater is indeed led by Gallywix, a bastard of the 1st degree. *However* the Goblin Slums in Orgrimmar are led by an enterprising lady named Boss Mida, also known as ‘Her Tallness’!

      Great post btw.

    • Chromie’s gnome form is female, but “Chromnormu” is a male dragon name suffix. I like to think that Chromie just swings that way.

      • @Nina – Yeah, there was an article about Chromie’s gender-bending form on wow.com a few months ago. Up until then, I hadn’t realized the discrepancy.

        I decided to back away slowly and let it be. :)

      • Ah yeah, I remember reading that.

        I always figured that if a being was capable of shapeshifting from a gnome or elf into a dragon, surely changing gender would just be a minor issue in comparison.

  5. What? No Garona?

    Okay, so far all she does is hide in the Twilight Encampment in TH, doling out a bunch of kill quests, but she’s bound to show up later on in the expansion surely.

    • I am probably more intrigued to see what happens with Koltira than I am about Deathwing :) But you’re right, it would have been awesome if they could somehow have ended up together (although, what with both being dead death knights and all…. )

  6. Zaela looks like Kadomi’s dark-skinned, tatooed twin sister! I want tatoos too, she should hook me up with some Dragonmaw artists. I helped her become a leader after all! I thought it was fairly obvious they’re setting her up with Garrosh.

    Stormcaller Mylra was one of my favorite recurring characters in Cataclysm. I loved that you met her again after Deepholm, in the Earthen Ring quests in the Twilight Highlands. Continuity, what gives? :o

    How did you like Lirastrasza? Aside from baring her midriff, she was properly clothed, unlike Alexstrasza, and I thought she kicked some ass. Unlike Calen, who I felt was a big sissy baby. :)

    I think Cataclysm has given us a lot of fantastic characters, I already find a lot of them more memorable than in WotLK.

    • I really liked Lira, she was so much cooler than Calen I thought. I thought it was great that she was suspicious of you when you first go to their sanctum and that you’re able to win her over.

      And you’re right that they did do a nice job with the continuity. I think I will notice this more with future alts because all the shaman were tending to merge together for me by the end. Except for the little goblin dude and his fire elemental, which was awesome. I never in a million years expected them to show up again.

  7. Garona is pissed off at Cho’gall because he tried to kidnap her son, and she was mindcontrolled into trying to assassinate Varian Wrynn, just like she was pressured into betraying King Llane Wrynn in the First War. Enough is enough.

    Fandral’s fate was also a surprise for me. I’m only halfway through the Stormrage book and he seems like he’s always been: A tragic, well-meaning arrogant idiot.

    • I haven’t read the book but I always felt more sorry for Fandral having played through the opening of AQ. Once you realise he lost his son in there, he seems a more tragic character. And certainly more interesting than Malfurion.

  8. Pingback: Tuesday Art Day: Wildhammer and Link Love « Manalicious

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