Alliance High Elves as a Playable Race · An Open Letter to Ion Hazzikostas
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Dear Ion Hazzikostas,
My name is Rodrigo dos Santos Ferreira. I was born in 1998 and my history with the Warcraft setting started in 1997, with my pregnant mother playing Warcraft II.
Nowadays, I’m representing a fan group of the first version of the thalassian elves, also known as “High Elves”. Our group is managed by 13 people and has 167 members. Its objective is to discuss and create content for high elves. This is a marvelous endeavor for all of us.
I’ve dedicated my time and effort to keep the voice of this community active and clear. My work has been to find and publish concept art; to search and gather the most relevant articles of our supporters; to manage projects related to high elves, such as “The Alurna Manifest of High Elves” and the “Destiny of the Quel’dorei” survey; also to moderate our discord group.
There were times in which I skipped classrooms, avoided to sleep or ignored studies so that I could have some article ready to send to our reviewer, or because I had some problem to solve in our discord.
There was a lot of passion in it, and, each time I got a caring message or thank-you note, my resolve to that community got stronger.
We've followed your speech on April 26th Q&A. We always knew that we could get a “no” to our playable high elves request. However, what really upset us was how it was denied. It would be perfectly understandable if the answer was “sadly, we can’t” or “we decided against it, but we will try to make things right in other ways”. Instead, you just repeated the same fallacies that were refuted countless times over the years.
You said: “Blood Elves are basically High Elves. Slightly different eye color and backstory, but if you want to be a light-skinned elf, that is basically a Blood Elf.”
We can’t agree with that reasoning. Sure, if a player wants to be a light-skinned elf, he needs to go Horde. But look at nightborne and night elves. There’s no difference between them that couldn’t be applied to high elves to make them visually distinctive from blood elves; such as darker/different skin colors; different hair, tattoos, piercings, and jewelry; share the same skeleton with small changes in animation and proportions.
Why couldn't something similar be done to the high elves? Include unique skin tones, including black or brown skins to signify possible half-human ancestry? Include warpaint? Change their idle stance? Make their proportions slightly different? Give them their own hairstyles and jewelry?
And then you claim: “Giving that to the Alliance would blur the line between factions.”
Such changes in no way would blur the line faction lines, as this kind of adaptation were applied successfully to the Nightborne, thus making the night elf concept no longer Alliance-exclusive. Void elves themselves prove that, as they made the blood elf model no longer Horde-exclusive anyway.
But, no doubt, the worst part of your reasoning was: “There aren't a ton of High Elves out there in WoW”, as it is contradicted by the very lore of the game. Unless there was a huge retcon, we can conclude there are more high elves than void elves.
THE HIGH ELVEN REASON
Over the last few months, the effort of our community was more than just campaign and press Blizzard for high elves. We tried our best to show why we thought high elves made sense, why we liked them and how to overcome the restrictions that made them an unlikely addition.
With the Q&A, we can only conclude that Blizzard hasn't paid attention to our feedback and has no idea about why our community wanted playable high elves. It’s frustrating to have all that effort ignored and wasted.
As the 'Legacy servers among World of Warcraft community' letter says:
“We finally truly understand the difficulty to handle constant community evolution, requiring often more updates for a shorter period of interest in a MMORPG context.”
However, even though an MMORPG has its updates over time, both in lore and aesthetics, it ends up building contexts that will be fondly remembered by people forever.
What I’m saying with this is that we, over time, saw fair-skinned, blue-eyed elves, despite all hardships, to remain in the Alliance, putting ethos above nationality, and they remain loyal to it even today. Thus, we have a context, in which that fair skin and blue eyes become more than just features wanted for vanity. There’s a narrative embedded in people’s memories.
If those small physical features were lost in a believable way, those elves, even changed, would still be the ones we loved. They’d still be the elves ever loyal to their morals and to their old allies. They’d be something we’d recognize and be proud to play as.
That’s why the void elves failed to satisfy the high elf player community. And they’d still fail even if they were given fair skins and blue eyes.
THE VOID ELVES FAIL
Recently-introduced void elves, with just a small scenario to make up their narrative, can’t be better than over 20 years of stories told in the Warcraft setting, in which the Alliance was founded by humans, dwarves, and high elves; We never met the void elves. We never fought by their side. They never had the chance to grow on us.
We never asked for “blue-eyed blood elves”. We wanted something that was clearly a legacy of the high elves, the ones that we have been following over all these years.
Would it be better if Blizzard just turned high elves, not blood elf exiles, into void elves? That would be hardly a believable change, as one of the things that make high elves distinctive to us is that they chose their integrity over their nation. They refused to use dark magics in their darkest hour, why would they suddenly change that stance now without ceasing to be the elves we admired?
Maybe another kind of transformation would be better instead. Or maybe the void elves could have been the result of an accident that transformed some high elves.
I won’t presume to know what would be the best story possible, but void elves as they were introduced appear to us as wrong in some way that goes beyond physical appearance. They are stranger to us, outsiders that arrived just now, without proper presentation, and took the place of something we truly loved.
Therefore, with you having the dignity of a Blizzard representative, I honestly give you this message to do the proper addition of High Elves as a playable race, what would surely grow the World of Warcraft value.
— Pontifice@Azralon and the whole Alliance High Elf Community
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