Share Your Opinion: Removing Restrictions

03 Jun

It’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, but it’s one worth talking about. We’re talking about restrictions today, specifically those of which classes are available to which races. Even more specifically, we’re talking about how much I’d love to see those restrictions thrown out the window.

I know some of you will stop reading at that last sentence there, and that’s fine. I’m going to keep going though as I take a look at each race, and discuss the classes that are, and are not, available to them. Some of these combinations do not exist for Lore-based reasons, and while I can respect that as a generalization, I can’t rationalize that for…well, you’ll see.

You’ll see down below that I bring up religion a lot as being the reason for the restriction, and that I feel it’s rather ridiculous. For the sake of clarifying my stance on religion in the real world, I am a dually ordain priesthood holder. I’m not here to attack real world religions nor to infer anything about the two churches that I mention below, I’m simply saying it’s a rather weak argument for a video game as people of real world religions are free to chose to leave that religion at any time for another or none at all.

Brainless Restrictions
Human Hunters: This is the first one that just jumps right out at me and shines as a glaring example of brainlessness. Seriously!? How the crap can you not justify a human being a hunter? Thankfully, this one is getting fixed in Cataclysm, but to be quite honest I have no idea how this one wasn’t taken care of to start with or in Burning Crusade at the very least.

Dwarf Mage: Ok, I don’t get this one. Maybe there’s a small snippet of Lore sneaking in here that say Dwarves have fat fingers so they can’t make the proper hand motions…maybe? Maybe I haven’t been reading my quest text close enough or something, but after having leveled two mages to level 80, I don’t recall ever having to wiggle my fingers a certain way to cast my spells. Thankfully, we’ve got a Cataclysm fix for this one too.

Dwarf Warlock: Just because Tolkien’s dwarves couldn’t handle the Balrog doesn’t mean the WoW dwarves can’t summon an Imp. To my knowledge (limited though it is), there’s no Lore preventing a Dwarf from being a Warlock other than the the religion of their race overall being the worship of the Light. But you can’t tell me that there’s not a single dwarf in the world that wanted to go out and learn the dark arts. No fix for this one in Cataclysm and the only reason I see for it is a limp argument of religion.

Dwarf Shaman: One of the most iconic races of fantasy, closely tied into the element of earth, and they can’t be shamans. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, Bliz? They worship the Light, yeah we got that in the Warlock blip up above, but this one makes that argument even more limp. Cataclysm fixes this one for us, which I know thrills a lot of other players that I talk to on Twitter.

Undead Hunters: See Human Hunters as Forsaken were either Human or Blood Elf in origin; one race that should be hunters and one that already is. I suppose I could see why someone wouldn’t want to be a hunter when you just eat whatever you kill, but again I see no reason why this wasn’t already in place. Like the humans though, this one also gets fixed come Cataclysm.

Gnome Priest: As per Lore, Gnomes place faith in themselves, their friends, and their inventions. So per Lore they woudn’t become priests because they don’t have a deity to follow. Yet also in their Lore some of them actually do pay their respects to the Light. If they can pay their respects, then why can’t they become priests? Blizzard saw that logic too it seems, so we get it fixed in Cataclysm, though this is another issue where I feel it should have been open to us already.

Tauren Priest: This one might not be quite so glaringly obvious, but it’s one that bugs me. Saying that this race cannot be a priest because they only follow religions of shamanism or druidism is like saying a white guy has to be either Baptist or Catholic. Racial restrictions are bad enough, but did you seriously need to add a religious restriction as well? Again, this one gets fixed with Cataclysm. Thank the Light! You’re telling me that simply because “everyone else” worships one or the other deities that you can’t branch out and do your own thing? Please.

Troll Warlock: We fight a Shadowbolt-flinging troll in our starting area for crying out loud. We fight them throughout the whole stinking game for that matter. Where the crap did this one come from, and why wasn’t it fixed the day after Vanilla was released? The only reason this one isn’t even more brainless than the human hunter is because human hunters exist in the real world.

Weak Lore-based Restrictions
All Shamans and Paladins: Here we have a “simple” matter of religion. Yeah, I know as far as Lore is concerned these are “secrets” or some such, but still. I don’t think “it’s a secret” is a firm enough argument to keep it restricted. What does keeping that secret really have to do with the overall story of Warcraft? Does the Lich King care if humans can be shamans or not? Does Deathwing care whether the paladins he faces are gnomes or trolls? Did Ragnaros care? Not that I’m aware of, no. There’s one exception I found for the Paladin which I’ll cover in the next section, but that’s it.

Night Elf Mage: This restriction does have some basis in Lore, so I can understand to a certain extent. I’m not a huge Lore fan, so I’ll let my buddy Tharion Greyseer give you the Lore details in his post: Lore Has Been Sundered: Part I from September of 2009 shortly after the year’s BlizzCon event. So the Night Elves shunned arcane magics for damage it caused thousands of years ago, I’ll give you that. And there’s no chance that a Night Elf would ever feel the least bit curious/rebellious and go study it anyway? I didn’t think so, so grats to Bliz for fixing this one come Cataclysm.

Night Elf Warlock: Once again we come back to religious restrictions. Why can’t we be Warlocks? Because we worship the Ancients such as Elune and Malorne; though some also worship dragons. So, tell me again why we can’t be Warlocks? Oh, because it seems too mean for our race? Ok, umm…sure. No fix for this one has been mentioned yet.

Draenei Rogues and Warlocks: More religion, anybody? These are probably the most ridiculous of them all. We can’t be evil, because our race is good… Uh, no. Alright, so we praise the Light and love our little floating symbols, that’s fine. You’re telling me I can’t get pissed off at crashing onto this horrible, plague-infested planet and change my mind? If I can decide to worship elements rather than the Light, but by Fel I can decide to summon a freaking Doomguard, and if I’m starving and broke you can bet I don’t mind lifting a few coins from someone’s belt pouch.

Orc Priests and Paladins: Another religious restriction, who’d have guessed? I don’t buy into any of these in case you haven’t noticed. Forcing races into or out of certain classes based purely on generalized religion doesn’t work. I call Bravo-Sierra on that one, Bliz. Maybe Lore tells us that the Orcs are still tied to closely to the Fel energies from their Outlands origins or something, but if baby Orcs can be born, then they can be brought up to worship the Light, and if the Light is anywhere near as “good” as it’s supposed to be then it would accept them.

Tauren Rogues, Mages, Warlocks: Alright, so cows are the most dexterous race in the world; I’ll give you that. But I’d fear a Taruen Assassin over a Gnome Assassin any day of the week. Besides, Byron breaks all of those rules and does a great job of it. Mages and Warlocks – do we go back to the whole “my fingers are too fat” thing here, or are we still stuck on the whole religion thing?

Strong Lore-based Restrictions
Worgen Shaman and Paladin: I’m going to back off on these and simply accept them for one reason. If we assume that these people have been locked away in their little town for a long time, then I’d say its acceptable to assume that they’ve simply had no one around to teach them how to be either of these classes. For that reason alone, I’ll not argue against these two. However, if we assume that there will be another expansion after Cataclysm, then I fully reject these restrictions.

Undead Paladin: This is the one exception where Lore has is strong defense against allowing the combination. When the scourge plague hit it was only the Paladins that were able to withstand and resist it. That plague is what created the Forsaken “race”, and as such it’s fair to assume that no paladins became undead.

But if you take that just one step further, are you telling me that they couldn’t simply choose to become a Paladin? What if I hadn’t chosen a “class” to become yet? Heck, I was still in my high school years trying to figure out which college classes to take when the plague hit me. Now that I’m a couple years older, I think I’d like to become a paladin. You’re not going to discriminate against be just because of my race now, are you? If you check some of Greyseer’s other articles you’ll see he’s found in-game Lore justifications for Undead Paladins as well.

Druids In General: While it’s not especially Lore based, though at the same time it is, you’ll see that the races who can become druids have a natural closeness to Nature. Perhaps the Worgen not so much due to the nature (pun) of their’s, but they are all much more closely tied to nature than races such as Gnomes and Undead. I can see why Blizzard would not want to allow races turn into animals that aren’t at all tied into nature, but at the same time I don’t see why one of those races couldn’t go out and strive to strengthen that bond.

Wrap It Up
So what I’m trying to say here is, I would love to see Blizzard drop all of this silly racial restriction crap on the classes. I see their reasons why and I’ve told you how I feel about them here. For the most part I don’t think there’s a strong enough reason to keep the majority of the restrictions that exist.

Having played every edition of Dungeons and Dragons that has been released to date, I can tell you from my experience there that in the early days the racial restriction (after races and classes weren’t the same thing, at least) were kind of cool because of how that defined the world and the setting. But eventually it just became an annoying hassle that needed to be done away with, and eventually they were discarded.

You do lose a certain amount of uniqueness when you open things up and remove restrictions, but at the same time you add more uniqueness as well. If someone tells you they’re a druid then you only have to ask which faction they are no know right away which race they are. They’re made rather bland because of their uniqueness.

When Cataclysm comes out we’re going to see a flood of Worgen Druids. “Everyone” wants a worgen druid; heck even I did at first. They already are not unique because there’s finally a second option for the class. More variety lends itself to more uniqueness.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. Anyone else care to share theirs?


Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Class, Races, Share Your Opinion


23 responses to “Share Your Opinion: Removing Restrictions

  1. Bryan

    June 3, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    I totally agree with you. That’s one of the reason’s I’m looking towards other games now, because WoW is getting too old, boring and restrictive.

    Also, Lore basis for Undead Paladins = Sir Zeliek from Naxxramas. :)

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM

      Yeah, Sir Zeliek is the one that Greyseer points out in his other article, I believe.

      I don’t find WoW boring or old yet, but the restrictions do bug me sometimes. When I roll a new character it’s almost always the class that I decide on first and then I look at the races. I like Warlocks, but I can’t stand playing gnomes and I’ve already got too many Humans. I want to play Alliance, but I have to dislike 1/2 of what makes my character in order to do it.

  2. DarthRegis

    June 3, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Tauren Paladins will be the best thing ever. End of story.

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 10:20 AM

      Tauren Paladins will indeed be cool. An Undead Pally would totally own the cow’s face though.

      I might not play Horde anymore, but Undead beats all.

      • DarthRegis

        June 4, 2010 at 11:23 AM

        Saying that is like saying Bones > Siege Engine.

        Just not the case. Tauren Paladins will be siege engines with swords and shields. They will be able to break down walls all by themselves in Wintergrasp. They will be awesome! :)

        • Psynister

          June 4, 2010 at 3:34 PM


          I like my steaks raw. :P

  3. Rades

    June 3, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    Really well-thought out analyses! I think there’s some solid reasons as to why some of the limitations exist though:

    Dwarf mages – I think there’s actually a lore reason for this, it’s because arcane magic is frowned upon in dwarf society, and why only the outcast Dark Iron dwarves dabble in arcane magic.

    Dwarf shaman – this didn’t really make a lot of sense to me, especially considering the Shamanistic Wildhammers. Unless it was just like the mages, and that the “cousin” dwarf races weren’t considered as viable player race options, thematically.

    Undead hunters – agreed! ESPECIALLY since their leader is basically the world’s most famous hunter/ranger/archer.

    Draenei rogues – no real reason why ANY race shouldn’t be able to be warriors, hunters and rogues – all classes that just require martial training and no special magical ability.

    Draenei warlocks – I think this is a bit more logical, as to Draenei demons are like the absolute worst societal symbol of evil. Wouldn’t using demons/Burning Legion/etc. be like embracing the Hitler of their history?

    Orc Priests/Paladins – there’s no real reason for this as far as I know, like no latent fel energy or anything like that, but I think it’s more of a case that Orcs simply do not embrace the Light. Ever. I don’t think it’s a matter of that they CAN’T worship the Light, they just feel no need to since they have the Elements/Ancestors.

    Tauren Rogues – no reason why not, plus it’d be AWESOME.

    Tauren Mages – I can’t see why this would break any sort of religious/spiritual taboo either, but…

    Tauren Warlocks – trafficking in demons goes over the line though, imo.

    Undead Paladins – this is an odd one, especially since there are many undead who are part of the Silver Hand, Argent Dawn, Crusade, whatever. Maybe Blizzard wants these NPCs to remain special cases though.

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 10:36 AM

      Thanks for the epic reply, Rades!

      Dwarf Mage: I think even with that lore that it’s a weak base. Sure it’s frowned upon by the masses, but that’s not reason enough to say they don’t exist in my books.

      Undead Hunters: Yeah, I didn’t even bring her up, but she’s the only in-game hunter figure that even comes to mind.

      Rogue/Warrior/Hunter: Agreed, there’s no reason at all why these shouldn’t be allowed. I apparently missed listing the BElf Warrior, I’ll go add that one.

      Draenei Warlocks: Not necessarily. Being a Warlock doesn’t have to be about embracing the demons, it’s not like you ask your demon to come over and play with you, you’re taking control and forcing it to bend to your will. It’s not so much giving Hitler a hug as it is forcing his best friend to shoot him in the face for you.

      Orc Priest/Pally: I agree that they don’t feel the need, but again that’s not reason enough to say that they can’t for me. It’s like Blizzard has made that decision for us, that we’d never want to play anything other than the societal norm.

      Tauren Warlocks: Again, I think it’s in how you view the way a Warlock works. It doesn’t have to be jumping into the dark arts because they’re pretty and they have cookies, it can just as easily be that you’re going to conquer that weapon in order to use it against them. You don’t avoid using guns in war because you think they’re evil, you go get your own.

      Undead Pally: As I said, this is the primary lore-based restriction that I could actually agree with simply because of how they’ve written the existence of Forsaken into being. However, my argument up there still holds; Paladins weren’t turned into Forsaken, but there’s nothing stopping a Forsaken from becoming a paladin. Except for the restrictions, of course.

      • Dolar

        June 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM

        In Beta for Vanilla wow, Dwarfs were allowed to be mages. The only reason they were taken out was because allies had 1 too many races that could be mages. Dwarf Mage

        In the end, I really think that most of the race restrictions are very arbitrary, but some i think should stay. I think it adds a little bit of flavor to the races.

        However, I do think all classes should be able to be Warriors and Rogues, its not like it takes skill to poke someone with a metal stick, all races are able to do that. Hunters kinda make sense in that way well, all of the races had to hunt for food at some point after all.

        When you get to the holy classes, pallys and priests, druids, shamans. And the casters Lock, Mage. I can see where the restrictions start to make some sense. Like an orc pally… that would just be silly. Orcs don’t fit in that roll. Just like I think personally a dwarf Druid would be equally nutty. An Orc Druid? Now that fits. A Dwarf Shaman? There are a good deal of lore Dwarf Shaman that’s a no brainer.

        As to the subject of undead pallies, considering there are undead priests, saying they could not be pallies seems odd. But for lore reasons, I like that they are not pallies.

        • Psynister

          June 4, 2010 at 6:07 PM

          Well there you go, now Dwarf Mage is even more brainless than before.

          The restrictions do add a little bit of flavor to some races, but couldn’t that just as easily be done in game by having the their key classes represented by NPC’s, or by having it play some role in their quests? For only having two races that can be druids, how many of those druids do you really see representing that class in game outside of Moonglade?

          Warrior/Hunter/Rogue are all examples of things that exist in cultures, so restricting them is just wrong in more ways than I care to list really.

          I don’t see the Orc Pally being silly and not fitting into the role though. The most honorable race in the game seems like the best fit to me to be quite honest. Humans seem natural from my D&D background, but if you really think about it Human’s are the most easily swayed race there is (except maybe gnomes since they’re easily distracted).

          Dwarf Druids, sure it might be a bit odd thinking of a dwarf becoming a cat, but not a bear. And if a freaking cow can turn into a cat, then so can a dwarf. ;)

  4. Jake

    June 3, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    I thought I saw a blue post about dwarf and troll warlocks being included in Cataclysm.

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 10:21 AM

      I saw the Troll Warlock mentioned, but I haven’t seen anything on the dwarf. I’ll see if I can find a reference to that somewhere.

      • Rilgon Arcsinh

        June 4, 2010 at 10:40 AM

        It was posted by Ghostcrawler. I saw it in the brief period when the Alpha forums were viewable by anyone.

  5. anexxia

    June 3, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    If I could play gnomes and only gnomes Alliance-side, you know that I would. I am glad I can finally have a gnome shadow priest before the end of the year.

    P.S. Undead paladin would be pretty funny tho…

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 10:25 AM

      Undead Paladin tops my list. Following that, I want a Spacegoat Warlock.

  6. Saga

    June 4, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Hmm, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. While I do enjoy reading the lore to get the story behind bosses and NPCs I’m not a complete stickler. Some of the classes have no real reason behind their restriction. As you say, just because your race may not be that into X doesn’t mean that some of them still don’t do it.

    In lore it’s not like warlocks are exactly loved by humans. They’re kind of outcasts, but seen a necessasity – hence human warlocks are allowed. Nothing says that some wayward tauren can’t run off and love demons instead of nature.

    Also, I love the idea of gnome druids. Bring on kitten-form, cub-form and twig-form! But seriously.. would their forms be smaller? :P

    The one thing I can’t quite consolidate myself with – but mainly because of the mental image I get is draenei and tauren rogues. The only reason being their size and hooves. I keep getting this mental image of someone standing there picking their flowers or something.. and hearing behind them “clop.. clop..clop..” They turn around.. and how the hell could a tauren or draenei hide from sight? :P

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 5:10 PM

      I would imagine that their forms would be smaller, but I don’t think that they would be younger as in kitten/cub/twig forms. I think the big difference would be the hair color; actual pink and green cats instead of just little accessories. And as far as that goes…now I want to be a green bear, dang it!

      The hoofed races might not be quite so good at moving silently, but that’s easily handled with a racial trait, “slightly increased chance of being noticed while stealthed”, where you’re essentially considered 1 level lower than you are for the sake of being noticed. Not all rogues are about being sneaky though, there’s also the brute force, thug style rogue that just doesn’t bother keeping himself hidden, he just walks up and jumps you on the spot.

  7. loveandwarinazeroth

    June 4, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    I agree with you whole-heartedly. Personally, I may never be able to bring myself to make a Draenei Warlock, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

    In my experience playing WoW I have found that class and race combinations are the key to a successful character. I can’t tell you how many Dwarven Hunters I have made and deleted just because it didn’t feel right to me. Opening up the class/race combinations would make all that many more characters “fit” for me.

    Perhaps, it’s time to go petition Blizz for this change. ~wanders off to the official forums~

    • Psynister

      June 4, 2010 at 5:52 PM

      That’s the case for me as well. I can’t play gnomes any higher than their teens or maybe low 20’s because I just can’t bring myself to take the character seriously. It’s like they’re just there for a quick little bit of silliness and then I need to log onto something else. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, even to me, but that’s the way it is.

      I’m very much the same on the dwarves. There’s just something about them that makes me not want to keep playing them. I don’t know if it’s their animations, or what it is.

      The big point I’m making here though is that removing these restrictions doesn’t hurt the game. Sure, some of them might seem a bit off to some people (like the Tauren Rogue for Saga up above), but it doesn’t take anything away from the game. If we can pretend that a cow can walk on two hooves, then we can pretend that they can do it silently as well. What it does do is open up a whole new level of customization which is what a lot people really want.

  8. Tesh

    February 17, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Sorry I’m sort of necroing this, Psynister, but I wanted to add a voice of agreement… and point out something that has bugged me for a while. If a Paladin is basically a Warrior Priest, why are there races that have Warriors and Priests but no Paladins? (And thinking backwards along the same lines, why did Blood Elves not have pure Warriors?)

    Oh, and I’d love a Dwarven Druid. That just has Wildhammer role playing written all over it.

    • Psynister

      February 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      I don’t mind necro comments, it keeps things interesting. ;)

      Why can’t races with Warrior and Priest be Paladins? “Because.” That’s about the best answer we’re going to get I’m afraid.

      The majority of the restrictions make little or no sense at all, and the few that do aren’t very strongly reasoned anyway. It makes sense for the Undead to not have Paladins to start with for example, because when the world was fresh and new none of the Paladins had been hit by the plague because they were immune to it. But now that we’re a good number of years into the future there’s no reason an Undead person couldn’t have trained to become a Paladin.

      Worgen can be druids before they actually become inflicted with the worgen curse, which is to say that they’re human druids. They already exist, we know it’s possible, so what’s the holdup on normal humans?

      I still hate these restrictions.


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