The Power of the Light...is for Weaklings!

Disclaimer: Please realize that while I genuinely do feel this way, it's intended to be quite tongue-in-cheek. And it's directed at paladins as seen in canon WoW lore, not paladin players! SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE PALADINS. :P Take my words with a grain of salt!

As I have discussed previously, I don't care much for WoW's paladins. Someone asked me last week why exactly this is, and I wasn't able to immediately answer! So I've been considering it for the past week or so.

First things first - a huge reason I hate paladins is because when I started playing (on a PVP server) it was nearly impossible for a hunter to kill a paladin. No matter what you did to them, they would just heal up/bubble/cleanse themselves, and keep coming after you ineffectually until one of you keeled over from boredom. The only reliable way to take one out in a solo fight was to run them out of mana, by kiting them and making them constantly cleanse Rank 1 Serpent Stings. Yeah...it was about as fun as it sounds. A 15+ minute "duel" with a paladin in STV still sticks out in my memory, where I kited him down the entire coastline, dodging raptors, crocs and pirates as we went. It's not one of my more enjoyable memories.

But I digress.

Over the last few days I've been trying to realize just what it is about paladins that irritates me so. It's not even all paladins - I think Blood Knights are great! It's the self-righteous, arrogant bravado and stupidity present in the Argent Dawn/Crusade forces that really bugs me. I mean, "ideal" paladins like Tirion and Bolvar have some decent traits and are pretty good dudes, but they're trying to sacrifice or off themselves every two seconds! And not even for any real reason! It's like they're having an epeen-measuring contest and trying to outdo each other with increasingly-absurd acts of self-sacrifice. It's really quite silly.


And let's not even get started on the dubious strategy of building Tournament Grounds on Arthas' doorstep, or "hiding" the truth about the Lich King by building a GIANT STATUE IN THE CENTER OF DALARAN. Idiots.

However, it wasn't until reading Wulfy's and Tam's posts about Atheism in Wow that I realized the true reason I hate Alliance/Argent paladins - it's their blind, obsessive Faith in the almighty Light. Praying to some unseen beings and asking begging them to save you, because you're too weak and pathetic to do anything on your own? Relying on some intangible force to give you strength and do all your fighting for you, instead of accomplishing things through your own hard work and effort? Yeah, real brave, paladins. /golfclap

To illustrate my point, let me point you to a pivotal moment in Azeroth's history - when Orgrim Doomhammer battled Anduin Lothar at the foot of Blackrock Spire during the Second War. Both were the unquestionable champions and leaders of their respective forces, incredible warriors, and BAD. ASS. Their fight was legendary - each side's most courageous, powerful fighter clashing with steel and blood for the fate of the entire world. They didn't rely on magic, or trickery, or fancy battle strategies. No, they just threw themselves at each other and tried to kill each other with sheer martial power and strength.



Eventually Lothar fell, killed in honorable combat at the hands of a mighty foe, a true warrior's death. Ever wonder why the Blackrock Orcs leave Lothar's statue unmolested in the middle of their territory? It's because they respect the hell out of him. Regardless of faction, Lothar proved that he was a warrior worth of respect, something extremely important in orcish culture.

In contrast, only after Lothar died did his dandelion of a lieutenant Turalyon decide to finally get off his ass and actually DO something. Of course, he didn't leap up and bravely challenge Doomhammer straight up in an honest fight, even though the orc was exhausted and half-dead from his titanic bout with Lothar.

Any Warcraft II players remember the good old "It is a good day to die" code that enabled God mode? That's basically what Turalyon did. He shamed himself and the entire human race by quivering in his Timid Plate Slippers of the Weak and going "amg he's too strong! Light plz help meeeee!! D:", and pleading like a coward for the Light to come save them from the Big Bad Orcs and win the fight for them. And that's what happened. Way to man up, Turalyon. No wonder Alleria despised you.

Well, you might be asking, what's wrong with relying on the Light for strength? It obviously works. And doesn't being passionately dedicated to a belief indicate strength of character?

There's no question that worshiping the Light gets results - the Light certainly does reward those who show proper loyalty and devotion. And conversely, it punishes those who don't show it the proper respect by revoking their divine powers. What a kind, benevolent deity! Demanding utter servitude through offers of great power, and then withholding said powers as extortion. Almost sounds like a certain someone we know!

Real champions do things on their own! They don't beg and suck up to some higher power to maybe, if they aren't too busy of course, possibly help out because we mere mortals are so weak and fragile and helpless, and omg you guys are so awesome and cool and powerful and better than us.

Even if the Light makes you stronger, it's degrading and pathetic to rely completely on it to the point of being useless without it. It's like that sniveling loser in your guild who's always begging people to run him through instances and boost him. Sure, you might be victorious, but at what cost? Your pride, your dignity, and your independence? Pass.

Think it's just me with this opinion? It's not. Ever notice how none of the faction leaders are paladins? That's because NOBODY RESPECTS THEM. It's hard to really take someone seriously when they're essentially a glorified lackey. What about Tirion, you might ask? Look at how Varian and Garrosh treat him in the Trial of the Crusader raid. Do their words and actions sound like they really give a damn what he thinks? Fordring is a chump, and everyone knows it.

Now is as good a time as any to point out that it's only Argent and Alliance paladins that are weak like this. While Alliance paladins are busy fretting and asking the Light's permission to go to the bathroom, Blood Elf paladins don't meekly beg the Light for power on bended knee - instead, they overpower the Light through sheer willpower and make IT serve THEM, instead of vice versa! I think this is awesome. Screw your sense of self-importance, your petty worship requirements - you work for ME now!

Yes, I am aware Blood Elf paladins' opinions towards the Light is an evolving and changing situation...hush. ;)

A human paladin stripped of his divine power would be traumatized. He would probably just start begging forgiveness for whatever he did wrong and wail to the Light to forgive/save him, before curling up in a ball in the corner, weeping. A Blood Knight would sneer, give the Light the finger, and move on with their life.

This is how the HORDE does things! We don't beg favors from patronizing, condescending gods, or cry and whine about forgiveness for our mistakes. Screw that. We trust in our determination, our pride, our honor. Backed into a corner by overwhelming enemy forces? Screw you, we'll punch you in the face, bite your ankles, and fight you with our dying breath.

But Rades, what about the elements? What about Shamans? What about Thrall? Isn't it the same situation??
No. It's different with the elements. The Light demands total worship and obedience, while the elements work together with their wielders. A shaman's relationship with the elements (Horde or Alliance, mind you) is one of close, personal ties - almost familial - instead of that of Master and Servant. A paladin wielding the Light is nothing more than a tool, a blunt object to be wielded and swung about, while a shaman calling upon the power of the elements is a partnership born out of mutual respect and appreciation.

So "the Light" you can take your seductive offers of divine power and shove it. We don't need you and we refuse to become your spineless toadies just to receive your power. You're not some great, benevolent force, nor a friendly ally. You're a crutch used by cowards. And the Horde has no room for cowards!

10 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar
    Dee

    Sadly, the Light isn't actually a personified entity; it's an inanimate force, like gravity, except with an implicit moral alignment (it's "good").

    So the light doesn't require servitude, and can't "revoke" itself, because it's not actually a being (there are holdover references to "God" in some of the early WC material, but it seems to've been retconned in practice). That's why shadow priests and other miscellaneous non-good entities can still access it.

    Followers of the Light, such as Paladins, are basically pantheists. I mean, the Alliance ones are still twats, but it's not the Light's fault per se. :P

    September 3, 2010 at 2:34 AM

  2. gravatar
    Rhii

    "A Blood Knight would sneer, give the Light the finger, and move on with their life."

    In my head, the thing that was the biggest shakeup in my Blood Knight's life was the realization that she was *not* actually sucking the power out of a naaru. She really wanted to.

    With some amusement, I would also like to report that the captcha for this comment was "blessed."

    September 3, 2010 at 2:56 AM

  3. gravatar
    Jaedia

    /giggle. Indeed! I've always liked Elves, I can take the nature worship, it's the light worship that's too much.

    September 3, 2010 at 4:37 AM

  4. gravatar
    azerothapple

    I actually agree with you quite a lot. XD Which I'm sure you'll find ridiculously funny. (Though not as funny as a Rogueadin, COME ON)

    I kind of like the idea that there are Paladins out there who were basically conned/forced into it by whatever god they worship in line with the Light, and are grumping and grumbling and trying to do as little of that "righteous crusader of justice" thing as they can get away with.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:23 AM

  5. gravatar
    Redbeard

    Okay, Rades, what's your take on the Hand of Argus/Draenei Paladins? They're coming from a completely different angle on things than the Human/Dwarf Church of the Holy Light Pallys: they've seen both the Naaru and the Burning Legion, and you know where they've thrown their allegiance to. And why.

    Having leveled (or actively leveling) all of the four current varieties of Paladins, the BC Pallys have the best lore backstory by far. The Human/Dwarf ones are the worst, like you described. The hand waving involved drives me nuts.

    What I'm looking forward to is how WoW is going to incorporate the Tauren Sunwalkers into the Paladin pantheon. That has me excited.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:33 AM

  6. gravatar
    Jong

    Excellent critical analysis on the general pansiness of paladins.

    @Dee-- you got mad commenting skillz yo.

    September 3, 2010 at 8:26 AM

  7. gravatar
    Rades

    @Dee - Actually, I think the Light CAN revoke its powers, when a wielder is no longer "good" alignment. Arthas lost the ability to wield the Light when he started down his road to evil, but still way before he ever picked up Frostmourne. Now this is a case where it was justified, of course - but the point is, the Light CAN do it!

    @Redbeard - I actually avoided mentioning the Draenei paladins, as I've heard (from Vid) how they have a unique, more fleshed-out story to them. However, since the only time I've encountered Draenei pallies is when I've been CRUSHING THEM UNDER MY FEET, I didn't feel like I knew them well enough to discuss their ideologies. It really is mostly the human, dwarf, and general Argent Crusade guys that are the subject of my ire. ;)

    September 3, 2010 at 8:54 AM

  8. gravatar
    Souldat

    Wow, I really enjoyed reading this post. And I've been feeling this way for a while about the Alliance. Especially now that I've got my main characters as Alliance. It still doesn't feel home. I've lost that...do everything the hard way and be proud about doing your way... feeling that the Horde has.

    I'm interested to see how Varian holds up in Cataclysm.

    September 3, 2010 at 9:13 AM

  9. gravatar
    Anslym

    I think this post would work for another class also. Sub in Shaman for Paladin and Elements for Light. Don't get me wrong I love the shaman class. I can't wait to see how the Shaman lore evolves with the elements in Catalcysm.

    -Anslym

    September 5, 2010 at 8:19 PM

  10. gravatar
    shurq

    on that same note, have you ever noticed how the Argent Crusade guys at the tournament end their conversations with exclamations like For the Alliance! even when you are Horde?

    It almost made me want to stop doing their stupid dailies, except that, you know, I wanted the pets...

    September 6, 2010 at 2:40 AM