The Proud and the Poor [Letters]

Dear Warchief Hellscream,

On behalf of myself and my co-workers Thathung and Grimful, I, Wabang, would like to announce that we are laying down our axes in peaceful protest, to formally ask you to give us back our former jobs as proud Orgrimmar Auctioneers.

I know when you became Warchief you thought you were doing us a favor by "freeing us" from what you called boring, tedious bookkeeper jobs. We could see how happy you were when you told us that we could finally don our armor and brandish our axes like the proud orc warriors we were, and not be stuck behind a desk any longer.

We appreciate the gesture, Warchief. We really do. It's just that...well...we kind of liked being Auctioneers.

I mean, being a Grunt is okay. It's a job, and we do like being able to serve the Horde and protect Orgrimmar from quillboar or Alliance attacks and everything.

However, it's so boring. Most of the time we just walk around and get a tan, and look wistfully inside at our replacement goblin auctioneers. In fact, I spend more of my time cleaning up refuse on the streets than doing any actual guard-work. By the ancestors, so much poop. Wind Rider poop, Proto-Drake poop, Dark Phoenix poop...I tell you, if I ever get my hands on whoever had the bright idea to allow flying mounts in our city...

I miss my old job, Warchief. I miss the sounds and bustle of the Auction House, the satisfying clinking and metallic aroma of coins changing hands. I miss hearing the stories that would inevitably accompany a rare, exotic weapon from far-off lands, or holding a priceless jewel or magic artifact in my hands before carefully writing down its name and who was selling it, and their desired sale price. I miss seeing the happy faces on adventurers as they tried on powerful new equipment, and I miss witnessing the thrilled look on a youngster's face when they sell enough scraps of leather to make their first gold piece.

Granted, not everything we sold was exciting or pleasant to handle, but overall, it was always an interesting, enjoyable occupation.

I know you think that we orcs should be warriors and fighters. But some of us just prefer more humble lifestyles, Warchief. I was never really very good at swinging an axe around, and my armor tends to chafe. Secretly, I am also apprehensive about what would happen if an Alliance war party invaded! I know you meant well, but I haven't swung my axe at anything other than a wood pile for years. I suspect my combat skills would be worth less than a pile of Murglesnout.

Also, it just doesn't seem fair. I know you were not yet Warchief, but we loyally and dutifully served the Horde for years as Auctioneers in the old Auction House, which was essentially just a big cave with a ledge for us to stand at the back. Back in those days, we didn't even have places to store our goods! We just had it all piled up behind us. It took us months to come up with a tagging and sorting system so that we would not lose or misplace anyone's valuable items!

And we didn't even have guards back then. Not really. I can't even count the number of times we were horribly beaten by Alliance thugs who had somehow sneaked into the city. I still walk with a limp thanks to one particularly mean dwarf. Yes, I could have grabbed one of the weapons for sale and used it to fight her, but I would sooner die than damage or ruin someone else's prized possession! Call it an Auctioneer's pride.

(Besides, I'd have to buy it then. You bind it, you buy it!)

But then, Orgrimmar finally got a new Auction House, with convenient crates and chests for handy storage, even overhead shelves. It even had doors for when it was cold or windy outside! Poor old Thathung had tears of joy in his eyes as we watched the finishing touches go up. But then when we learned that it would be goblins running the Horde's economic operations in the new building, and not us, those tears turned to tears of sadness.

Warchief, the simple truth is that being a Grunt just does not pay the bills.

You may not realize this, but Thathung, Grimful and myself chose to be Auctioneers. We were not forced into it. We all carefully studied and honed our arithmetic to be able to perform an Auctioneer's speedy calculations, and as you are no doubt aware, private tutoring by the Blood Elves is not cheap. Now that we have lost our jobs as Auctioneers, we can no longer afford to pay our outstanding debts, and the Grand Magister gets rather nasty/polymorphy when he is not paid.

As Auctioneers, we made a comfortable living, but we needed it to pay for our expensive - but necessary - tutelage and training. After all, you wouldn't want just any average orc off the dirt of Durotar handling the tens of thousands of gold coins that circulate through our city, would you?

I tried being a Flight Master, and well, you saw the six dead wind riders outside your door that week. We are trained to be Auctioneers, so that is what we should be!

We worked very hard for our careers, and to have it taken away from us so abruptly has left us in a very poor financial situation, Warchief. In addition to our educational debts, we have families to support and needs of our own!

Poor Grimful has it the worst, as he is hopefully addicted to gambling. Every day he pours his earnings into those blasted cards, hoping to one day strike it rich. He knows it is foolish, but he is far, far in the red and is desperate.

It also seems that someone in Orgrimmar's management - not you, Warchief, but perhaps one of your underlings - is intent on running a corrupt operation. Just the other evening, Grimful knocked on my door late at night, completely miserable and despondent. It turns out that due to a "filing error", his previous week's work - a hundred and sixty-eight hours' worth - were null and void, and he wouldn't be getting paid as a result.

Warchief, Grimful is a married orc with two small children to support! They will go hungry this week due to this supposed mistake. As it is, he will probably have to sell some of his belongings (on the Auction House, no less) simply to make rent this month.

And on a similar note, do the goblins really need those jobs? We all know they are wealthy beyond compare and don't have to scrounge for coppers like the rest of us. And while it seems that they are so far following our customary 5% commission rate for auction sales, how long before they start listening to their wallets and following in the footsteps of their greedy 15%-cut Neutral Auction House cousins?

I am not sure why you have decided that the rich among us should get richer, while those of us who need those jobs wallow in poverty. Is it simply because you figured they would be the best people for the job? Or was this some kind of agreement demanded by their filthy rich Trade Prince?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad to have them as our allies. I just wish they hadn't taken my beloved and hard-earned job when they joined up.

Warchief, we cannot go on living like this. A career as a Grunt simply will not do, but we are not adequately trained to be able to do anything else. We are not asking for anything but to be able to do our jobs, jobs we studied and trained hard to be qualified for, jobs we held for years before being suddenly replaced by these upstart new hires.

Our patience has grown Short, and we are prepared to wait a Very Long time until our voices are heard.


Show/Hide Letter Notes

True story - Wabang was always my favorite Auctioneer, prior to Cataclysm. So when the Shattering hit and I started poking around Orgrimmar, I quickly noticed his absence from the Auction House! I was crushed, until I realized that he was still around, just now as a Grunt instead of an Auctioneer.

It's an interesting change, really, when you think about it. Stormwind's Auctioneers are still working as Auctioneers, but Orgrimmar's three Auctioneers all became Grunts! From a story perspective, it makes a lot of sense - get the financially-minded goblins in there, because that's what they're good at. Plus, I imagine Garrosh would absolutely disapprove of orcs fussing over coins and ledgers rather than out on the battlefield spilling blood.

However, what if Wabang, Thathung and Grimful didn't WANT to be Grunts? This was one of the first ideas I had for this year's Letters, and it was was ripe with humor. Then I found out that Grimful was one of the people Scribes could turn in Forged Documents to, and his two responses - about not being paid for his 168-hour work week (a whole week, BTW), and about having to lay off the cards/gambling - fit in perfectly.

Then, of course, there was the whole Occupy Wall Street thing. On one hand, I really wanted to work in elements from it, because there's some ironic similarities. Goblins = Corporations, a job as a Grunt = minimum wage, etc. I didn't want to go overboard though, so I just worked in a few things here or there.

Finally, Alas asked me a week or so ago to write about a poor NPC whose job it was to pick up all the poop from the flying mounts soaring about overhead. So there was yet another grievance Wabang would have with his new job!

4 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    A great post! I guess the war chief had to do something with those goblins.

    November 24, 2011 at 11:22 PM

  2. gravatar

    I am, of course, thrilled you used my poop idea. Poor orcs!

    November 25, 2011 at 8:24 AM

  3. gravatar




    November 26, 2011 at 11:46 PM

  4. gravatar
    Garrosh Hellscream

    Hail Wabang,

    I felt like your open letter deserved an open response, so I've responded to you in the most recent mailbag on my blog:

    Garrosh Hellscream

    November 28, 2011 at 10:34 AM