Stealing to Survive [Letters]

Me dear wife,

I can't stand by no more and do nothin', not while da little ones go hungry. It be breakin' me heart every night when I see dere wee little sad faces lookin' up at me, wit' empty bellies and empty plates in dere hands. Not anymore. I gotta provide for me family, one way or another.

I know ya been tellin' me not ta do dis, dat da Warchief be sure ta have me head if he hear what I done. And ya, ya be right. I know he be madder dan a pit full o' sand vipers if he catch word. But what what choice do we got?

Sometimes I be wonderin' what da Horde really tink o' us, and what it still be holdin' for us Darkspear. It sure ain't been da same since Thrall stepped down and named Hellscream as da new Warchief. Thrall, he always honored da Darkspear and treat us wit' da respect we deserve, but Hellscream...well, good on ol' Vol'jin ta tell dat whelp how it is, and what we tink o' him. Dat youngster just ain't cut out ta be leader an' we all know it.

'Course, Hellscream ain't one ta let Vol'jin's words go unpunished, nah. Never thought I'd see da day when da Darkspear be relegated ta some corner o' Orgrimmar like a bit o' trash ta be tossed aside. Us, we who helped da Horde in its earliest days, when Thrall an' Cairne was still wanderin' da land lookin' for a home! We helped 'em and dey helped us, dat's what da Horde was all about. Da centaur, da murlocs, even da Alliance, none o' dem able ta stand against us.

But den Hellscream, he get in one little squabble wit' Vol'jin and suddenly he decide da Darkspear don't belong wit' da rest o' da Horde? Dat we be "too weak" and don't deserve ta live in da main part o' da city?

Not part o' da Horde? We helped MAKE da Horde! Da Darkspear been part o' da Horde long before Hellscream ever even set foot on Azeroth, and he got da nerve ta say dat ta us? It make me blood boil just tinkin' about it.

But Vol'jin, he be mad too but he tell us we gotta endure and deal wit' it, not cause he be scared o' Hellscream, but for da sake o' da Horde. He trust Thrall, even if he don' agree wit' namin' Hellscream as Warchief. And he know if we were ta start fightin' amongst ourselves it be just settin' us up for da Alliance ta swoop in and get us. I hear da human king gotta powerful hate o' da Horde, an' no doubt he be just lovin' a chance ta catch us off our guard.

So we grumble about it a bit, but in da end we listen da Vol'jin, and pack up our tings and move ta da Valley o' Spirits. It not be dat bad, really. Already a couple o' da tribe who always lived dere, and it be actually kinda quiet and relaxin', away from da noise and bustle o' da bank and auction house. In fact, da little ones actually like da new home better, since dey can run aroun' and play and not get in da way o' any guards or grunts.

I guess tings weren't so bad at first. Not quite da same, but not da worst. We probably coulda lived like dis, acceptin' Hellscream's insults for da sake o' da Horde.

But dat was before dey started stealin' our food.

Da first time I saw someone diggin' around in our rice barrels, I thought it be just a fellow member o' da Horde who be needin' an afternoon snack. But den more and more o' dem started showin' up, just walkin' up and takin' whatever dey wanted! Do dey not realize dat we be needin' dat rice?

A few o' us confront one o' da looters, a lil elf girl. She just shrug an' say dat she just be doin' what Hellscream's infantry chef tell her ta do...dat da Horde needed more food ta feed da troops, and our rice be what he need ta finish da job.

Bad enough dat Hellscream shove us all in a corner where he don' have ta tink about us, but now he be tellin' people ta come help demselves ta our food? It not be like we gotta lot o' extra rice ta spare - we barely got enough for us, let alone da Horde's soldiers. How can Hellscream or dis Marogg expect us ta feed da troops when we got nothin' o' our own?

I go and ask 'em dis, but dey just brush me off and tell me ta stop complainin', dat it be necessary for da Horde, dat dey need supplies and rations ta fight da Alliance. And Hellscream, he just roll his eyes when I try tellin' him we can't spare da rice. "Stop whining," he say, a sneer on his ugly mug. "Be thankful I even permit you weaklings to live in my city, out of respect for Thrall's wishes." I try explainin' again, dat if our rice be taken we gonna start starvin', but da guards just shove me out o' da room and tell me ta leave.

So I got no choice, ya see. I don't wanta make a big fuss or nothin', but da little babies, dey gotta eat. I been watchin' Marogg and I been watchin' where he be puttin' da crates of rations ta be shipped out. Tonight I gonna sneak up and take a few packs. Not a lot o' course, just enough so we can eat and feed da children. Way I figure it, it be Darkspear rice anyway, so we be entitled ta get our fair share, ya? And maybe when Hellscream see how desperate we are, he be realizin' how much we really do need dat rice.

See ya tonight, dear. For da first time in months, da little ones gonna go ta sleep wit' dere little tummies full. I not be wantin' ta be a thief, but a troll gotta do what a troll gotta do.

Love ya.

Show/Hide Letter Notes

One of the more interesting changes in Cataclysm was how the trolls in Orgrimmar had been relocated to the Valley of Spirits, separated from the rest of the Horde. This of course is a result of the angry words exchanged between Garrosh and Vol'jin, where Vol'jin insults Garrosh and basically calls him a hotheaded fool. As a result, Garrosh orders the trolls out of his throne room and orders them to go live in the slums.

For the most part, you don't really notice. The trolls are off in their own area, but it seems actually rather convenient, since they have their own bank, auction house and trainers, just like the goblins (also in the Valley of Spirits) and the tauren over in the Valley of Wisdom. It seems that everything is fine.

Until you start doing the daily cooking quests, and notice an odd discrepancy between thes two quests pictured above.

First, Marogg , an orc, tells you to go blatantly steal the trolls' rice to feed the Horde troops. He doesn't seem to feel any guilt or remorse about stealing their food, and rather, is quite pleased to have "easy access" to their supplies. When you hand in the quest, he says "Don't worry, we will return the rice once we are done...or not."

By itself, this isn't too bad. It's a little underhanded, sure, but no harm done, right? And it's for the Horde war maybe it's a necessary evil.

But then you get the other cooking daily where you have to go kill the thieves that are stealing the rations. The immediate irony between killing these food thieves, while you yourself ARE a food thief, is very obvious. But it only gets worse when you realize that the thieves are exclusively trolls and goblins (who were also relegated to the slums). And you then realize that the people stealing the rations aren't greedy or evil...they're simply taking back the food that YOU stole from THEM to begin with!

It's a subtle, understated storyline, but one that really illustrates the uneasy relationship between the Horde races right now. And it shows how Garrosh's Horde really doesn't care about the trolls at all right now, and basically just abuses/exploits them. It's pretty sad, and infuriating, really.

It also makes for a great Letter.

After all, I imagine the poor, nameless "Orgrimmar Thief" characters have a very good reason for stealing the food. They need it! They need it to feed their poor families who are now going hungry due to Marogg's heartless thefts. And they probably don't want to start any open rebellion or attack anyone, or anything extreme like that. All they want is a little food, just enough to survive.

Of course, the true tragedy of their story is that we already know what happens to these thieves, even though they are only stealing because they are hungry and desperate. They get killed (by us!) and are regarded as criminals by the general Horde population. :(

9 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    Bravo, good sir.

    The contrast between the Horde and Alliance Cooking dailies is remarkable. Thanks for highlighting this particular story, and connecting the dots between what's happening with these quests.

    November 27, 2011 at 6:39 AM

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    Imraith Dos Santos

    Well done! A tear in my eye for the widwo and her poor fatherless troll-children.

    November 27, 2011 at 6:54 AM

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    I had thought I'd done all of the Orgrimmar cooking quests, but apparently I hadn't. I didn't know there was one to kill food thieves, though I HAVE done the one to steal the rice.

    Which I hated. I have a soft spot for the Trolls, and though I did the quest (because I am a completionist) I felt very bad about it. That was MY rice (as a Troll) and MY COMPATRIOT'S rice (as a Tauren). I didn't feel AS bad stealing the goblin stuff (whatever it is, I forget) 'cause well... they're goblins. But I really did feel bad about the Trolls' rice being stolen.

    So the question I had was whether some people might not have done that quest, for IC ethical reasons. This made me remember your comment on my post about Thersa Windsong and my conundrum about completing the quest, since in the end I killed her, even though I didn't know at the time that's what I was doing. You pointed out that she, my character, wouldn't have known that the Apothecaries were evil and she wasn't willingly complicit in the act - she learned from it, even if what she learned were bad things.

    So, in this case, might a character learn (after having completed the quest) about the plight of those they've stolen from? Would they thereafter decline to complete the quest to steal the food (or kill the thieves? Or conceivably both)? Or would they really just not care?

    I suppose that's very subjective, depending on the character and their morals, but I suppose I'm focusing on more whether the character (and/or player, I suppose) was a completionist - would they then complete the quest anyway? Not complete it on principle, even though they're a completionist?

    Has anyone you know run into this problem?

    Just a thought process that ran through my head, since I had the same issue when I play my characters - I have an urge not to steal, but then the completionist in me wins, and I do the quest. I guess I am not as morally upright (or invested in my character?) as others.

    November 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

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    It's a very interesting thought, Anea! I think this would be a situation where individually, the quests don't really seem that bad. Okay, kill these food thieves! That's noble! Steal this rice from the trolls? Well, that's kind of mean, but it's for the war effort...and they seem to have a I guess it's a small crime for a greater good, right?

    It's really not until you sit back and consider the implications of both quests as a larger whole, that you realize what's really happening. And I really like how that slow realization dawns on you, and you suddenly think "Oh...oh no. :O What have I done?"

    I really like how subtle they have made these quests. For instance, when you steal the rice, no one protests or says "Hey, we need that rice, mon!" or anything. And when you kill the thieves, they don't protest or do anything to make you realize they're stealing it to survive, not out of greed. It's all on you to figure out what's really happening here. There is no real guilt until you figure it out.

    I don't know if it would stop non-RPers from doing the quests, but I DO know that many people, when the bigger picture has been brought to their attention, feel bad or guilty about doing them. I can definitely imagine RP players refusing to do these quests after learning the truth behind them.

    November 27, 2011 at 5:21 PM

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    Hm! I can see how you'd like the subtlety of the connection between quests, but then that leaves people like me (who apparently don't make the connection or haven't seen all of the quest) just mindlessly stealing and/or killing without knowing better!

    I could definitely see the Trolls not saying anything about the starvation conditions or making a fuss when they're killed for their thefts, since it seems to fit them, but I think that Goblins (racially) would definitely speak up if people were stealing their rice (perhaps not fight back and not allow you to take it, per se, but yelling and making a big deal, for sure!) I think that would put a very interesting angle to the quests and I wonder if more people might think twice about what they were doing (even if, in the end, they did steal/kill).

    Which also makes me wonder if there couldn't somehow be a "choose your own adventure" type aspect to it, like they've done with some parts of quests now (like the new one in the Barrens when you have to question the Quilboar) - perhaps, depending on the results from people's choices the quest could eventually be changed?

    I doubt that would ever happen though.

    November 27, 2011 at 5:40 PM

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    Like Anea, I struggled with the idea of the rice-stealing quest and, in the end, only did it once, just so my/Kamalia's completionist self could get the achievement for doing all the cooking dailies. I kept doing the thief killing quest, wondering why it was that all the thieves were trolls and goblins, until someone -- I think it might have been Anne Stickney, in her "current horde politics: the trolls" article for Know Your Lore -- pointed out the connection between the two cooking quests, and how you steal from the trolls if you're anything but a troll, and from the goblins if you're a troll. And then I felt terrible about killing all those Orgrimmar Thieves, and won't do either one of those cooking dailies anymore.

    November 27, 2011 at 5:54 PM

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    Wow, now I feel bad. My beloved trolls, and I stole from them. I'm an awful person, but hey I play a warlock, what's new?

    November 27, 2011 at 11:29 PM

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    I'll... promise to kill more orcs and less trolls from now on.

    November 28, 2011 at 3:05 AM

  9. gravatar

    We steal they's rice.
    They steals our rice.
    We kills thems fer stealin' our rice.

    Like Simba said, is the Circle of Rice.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:55 AM