Head Canon, Part One: World of Warcraft

I’m not really a role-player, despite my fondness for Wyrmrest Accord. My role-playing is limited to a few in-character comments during Sunday night story circle.

The weekly story circle in Thunder Bluff on Wyrmrest AccordBut I still have extensive backstories and personalities for the characters I play, both in World of Warcraft and other games. These are so important to me that they can have a major impact in determining which characters I play. Considering that, it’s a bit surprising I haven’t talked about them much on this blog.

The reason is I always thought it was a bit weird of me to do this. But I’ve seen enough of the MMO fanbase to know this isn’t so uncommon a practice as I thought, so I might as well share my “head canon” with the world.

We’ll start with my WoW characters. To save space, I’ll focus on those with the most interesting backstories, not necessarily the ones I play the most. For instance, I haven’t touched my shaman in months, but he’s too cool not to include.

The rogue:

“For king and country.”

My rogue surveys her domainMy rogue is a patriot. She bleeds blue and gold. The child of refugees from Lordaeron and Gilneas, she believes in her country in the way only an immigrant can, and she lives to serve King Varian.

Her dream was to become a member of the Stormwind Guard. However, while training, her superiors noticed she had superior talents in certain… “specialized” areas. This resulted in a transfer to SI7.

I compare her current role to that of a Navy SEAL. She is an elite soldier — relying on cunning and infiltration skills as much as brute force — but she’s still a soldier at heart.

I suspect Amber Kearnen may be her long lost twin. (Since the Internet fails at sarcasm, I’ll clarify this is a joke, not head canon. Amber is very much like how I imagine my rogue, though.)

My rogue bows before King Varian WrynnFar from being the shifty criminal rogues are traditionally seen as, she is, in fact, almost absurdly straight-laced. This is basically the character where I live out all my nostalgia for my childhood, when I was a hardcore fan of the perfectly heroic Alliance that existed in those days.

Even when she’s lurking in shadows, she’s still ultimately a knight in shining armor.

The warlock:

“Shaza kiel!”

My warlock looking out over Icecrown from Orgrim's HammerMy warlock is a Demon hunter. By this, I do not mean she’s a disciple of Illidan. She has not burned out her own eyes, nor does she possess a set of warglaives. I simply mean that she has made it her mission in life to hunt down and destroy Demons — as well as Old Gods, Undead, and any other horrors that stalk the innocent.

Like most Blood Elves, she lost everyone she ever cared about during the Scourge invasion, and that somewhat stripped her gears. She now carries a burning need to slaughter the Demons who caused the destruction of her homeland.

Hopefully in as painful a manner as possible.

There aren’t words to describe her hatred of Demons. She uses them only as expendable minions, and nothing gives her greater joy than watching a Demon bleed and suffer in her service.

She views fel magic as the only power strong enough to bring justice to the evils of the universe. She is terribly cognizant of the toll it takes. She has seen and done things that no sane being should have to endure, and her magic has ravaged her body and soul, leaving her skin corpse-like and pallid.

My warlock showing off her new outfit in Dominance PointBut yet, she takes a great deal of pride in her work. She believes she has made a noble sacrifice by perverting herself in this way, and she views those who disdain her profession as weak and closed-minded.

She’s also a chronic thistlehead and a raging alcoholic. But if you’d seen the things she’s seen, you’d self-medicate, too.

I keep stacks of bloodthistle and booze in her bags and frequently play her drunk and stoned.

Early on, I began to see her as a kind of successor to my mage, and I decided to link them in my head canon. I considered virtually every possible relationship for them: lovers, siblings, cousins, colleagues…

Ultimately, I decided my warlock was my mage’s apprentice. When my mage retired from the adventuring life, he saw that she could not sit idle, and while he doesn’t entirely approve of her reckless dive into Demon magic, he gave her his blessing to begin her own quest, bequeathing her his most prized possessions: the blade Quel’delar, and the Nether Drake Voranaku.

I’ve not ruled out the lovers angle for them, though. My mage doesn’t seem the type to worry about the ethical implications of getting a little somethin’ somethin’ on the side from his student, and my warlock is a pathological sensation-seeker. They’re a perfect match!

The paladin:

“May the Light have mercy, for I will not.”

My paladin is not your typical heroI’ve had a lot of trouble with the backstory for my paladin, so everything is subject to change, but this is what I have right now.

My current version of her was inspired by all the Wrath raids I did with her, as well as by the season eleven paladin PvP set.

My thinking is that my paladin was once the cliche knight in shining armor, but the Northrend campaign changed her. Fighting Yogg-Saron and the Lich King took a terrible toll upon her mind, stripping her of her innocence.

Those who see her now would judge her as a woman whose faith has been broken. She has become dour, cold, and even occasionally brutal.

But the truth is that her faith in the Light is stronger than ever. She keenly remembers the horrors of Northrend, but she also remembers that all those horrors were eventually defeated. She may not be pleasant company anymore, but she will still do everything in her power to defend the faithful.

My paladin silhouetted by the sun in Stormwind HarbourHer faith in the world, however, is shattered. She knows the Light will win through eventually, but she also knows that things always get worse before they get better. Her love of the Light is not one of celebration, but of dependency. The Light is all that keeps her from lying down and dying.

The shaman:

“Blood for blood. Life for life. Lok’tar ogar!”

My shaman in Vasj'ir after his arrival on his new realmMy shaman is old. Very, very old. Born on Draenor, he has lived most of his life as a grunt. He served in the First, Second, and Third Wars. He butchered innocents in Stormwind, laid siege to Stratholme, and held the line against the Legion. His entire body is a mass of scars.

Corrupted by the blood of Mannoroth, he spent much of the first half of his life in a haze of bloodlust, little caring for the lives he took.

When the Horde was defeated, though, he was placed in the internment camps and succumbed to lethargy along with the rest of his race. There he had time to reflect on the evils he had done, and the futility of it all.

Then, just as he’d lost all hope, his camp was attacked and liberated by an idealistic young shaman named Thrall. In Thrall, my shaman saw the chance for the Orcish people to return to the peace he remembered from his childhood.

And so he took up arms again, but for the first time in his life, he did so with a cause in mind. He fought for something he believed in, rather than because he worshiped violence for its own sake.

My shaman's resto transmogrification setSome time after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, he noticed something had changed in his life. It was as if the very stones and wind whispered to him.

He had been called to the path of the shaman.

He views this late life change in calling as an incredible privilege, and he works tirelessly to bring the wisdom of the spirits to his people.

While his new powers have enhanced his already considerable powers as a fighter, he prefers to use them to heal. He has lived long enough to know that it takes more strength to create than to destroy.

I think part of the reason I stopped playing him is because I know Garrosh’s Horde would break his old heart.

New articles:

Two more of my articles have appeared at WhatMMO: Top 6 Character Origins and 6 Biggest Boss Mistakes.

Seriously, stop hitting the tank, n00bs.

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3 thoughts on “Head Canon, Part One: World of Warcraft

  1. My Rogue, “Cold Ethel”. – Ethel was a simple farm girl. And by simple I mean not very bright. She loved her horse, “Daisy” and picking herbs in the nearby forest. She was content. One day the scourge swept over her farm and claimed her life. She awoke in the bowels of Undercity with only vauge memories of her former self. Her contentment had been replaced by an insatiable rage at those that had warm, beating hearts. She still loves to gather herbs. God help you if you interupt her. She has developed an evil obsession with blades and enjoys vivisection.

    • Rogues lend themselves well to role-play/head canon, I think. There’s something very personal about getting up close and slicing people up.

      And let’s be honest: No one joins a profession whose main attack is called “eviscerate” unless they have a really powerful motivation.

  2. My night elven priestess in WOW started off with a love for all, a tendency to dance in circles and clap, a need to help all whom she saw that needed healing, and a healthy obsession with one day meeting Tyrande Whisperwind. Since those early days, she has become battle hardened, no longer dances and claps,and has much less tolerance for stupidity. She no longer wears cutesy clothing or wears her hair in a ponytail (though her wardrobe is still quite considerable). What she witnessed and experienced in the plaguelands and in Outland quite literally turned her hair white, and for a while she embraced the shadow, leaving the shattered world in sorrow when she learned that Illidan (whom she had also longed to meet, but in whose slaughter she refused to partake) was dead. Upon her arrival in Northrend in answer to the Alliances call for aid, she realized that those she served would benefit from the healing powers of the light and so she embraced it once more, studying certain disciplines in order to protect herself from reverting to the unholy powers of the shadow. Upon the culmination of her duties in the frozen wastes she answered the call to aid her kindred on Mount Hyjal and there she has stayed, until the clarion call of the Alliance brings her once more to lands unknown……

    My Warlock: once a lowly mage of dalaran who was a former acquaintance of the wizard Arugal, he liked to experiment as a chemist and had some modest successes and minor mentions in journals until the unthinkable happened: the fall of Dalaran. Amazingly enough, he survived the destruction Archimonde wreaked on the city but, weak and hungry and living on scraps, did not survive the attack of a pack of rabid wolves, who he fought off long enough to be able to crawl into a hole in a tree and die. Since his return to life in Deathknell he has taken up darker magics, at which he has proven surprisingly adept. Death has not robbed him of his sardonic sense of humor, though he has forsaken his chemistry and taken up tailoring and enchanting, which he initially did in honor of a forsaken seamstress he once met but now serves to fulfill his need to combat the boredom of idle time spent on ships with irritable demonic pets for company. He also enjoys collecting random things during holiday seasons, the frivolities of which amuse him enormously. He enjoyed fishing for a certain deviate fish in the barrens before the cataclysm struck, but now he just enjoys adventuring, collecting flying mounts, and is fixated with exploring as much of the worlds that he visits as he can, before the inevitable chill takes him and he is laid to his final rest.

    My paladin:

    A younger draenei who was born, rarely, after the Exodus of his people from their original world, he has a surprisingly cheerful outlook on life, considering what his people have suffered. Others have called him “incorrigible” but he is simply grateful to be alive and in the protection and favor of the light and the naaru and sees no reason to live in sorrow and misery, though he has a deep knowledge and understanding of the evils that have befallen not only his people, but other races as as well, including the orcs, for whom he has compassion and respect. He has many friends in Ashenvale and in the dwarven lands, and at some point struck up a relationship with the Furbolgs, two of which followed him to Ironforge and introduced them selves to its then king, Magni Bronzebeard (I wish I still had this screenshot). This has resulted in him being jokingly called “the furbolg king” among his peers. He recently crossed over into Outland to settle a dispute, and hopes to one day get to Pandaria.

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