Reposting this here on behalf of Kyalin on Scrolls of Lore.
I believe I mentioned some time ago that despite being a huge Judas Priest fan, I’ve had some difficulty in listing to one of their most recent popular singles “Never the Heroes”. I decided, after months of skipping it over, letting it collect dust in my phone’s music library, that I would listen to it again today - and I find myself feeling the way I did the last time I listened to it.
So I’ve been following this thread:
Seems simple enough - if you don’t like the product, don’t buy it - and as a measure of consumer advocacy and just because it’s the right thing to do: if you think someone is going to be miserable with the product, tell them that they ought to reconsider. I’ve done this and I’ve made no secret of it, but the thread has been choked up with a spate of whataboutism and more recently, apologism. The former I expect. It is in the interest of many Horde fans to stand in the way of any kind of catharsis for Night Elf fans because that catharsis necessarily requires an onscreen loss on their part - and so it makes sense that they would throw up their problems as a shield to fixing the Night Elf ones.
To them I say this: It is not the case that in order to fix the Night Elf problem that you have to demolish the Horde. You don’t have to return to Vanilla’s hellish Hordeside questing either - and you know that. Stop throwing up spuriousness in an attempt to stop one of this narrative’s many problems from being fixed. Show us sympathy for our issues, and you will see it returned.
That leaves us with the apologists - and I’d like to turn your attention to post 407. I respect Amadis as a poster, and he’s constructed a very thorough argument, but, that’s what’s attracting my attention here, because it’s a showcase of a line of thinking that I’ve been railing about for years. For this, I am going to point back to a few pieces of former work to reduce the workload on my part.
First - please refer to the framework in this thread: I use it as a yardstick to measure satisfaction.
That said, there’s an element that I’m missing: and it’s that the player has to actually experience things for them to matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and writers are asked to show and not tell, it’s bonkers to me that we are asked to accept deplorable presentation and framing, engineered to make the Night Elves look like weakened victims most of the time, because we as players can, if we put in substantially more effort than most people are willing to do in order to learn our lore, we can find mitigating factors in books, or scrape victories out of tweets, snippets of interview lines, mission table descriptions that are frequently doubted to actually be canon, or straight up headcanon. We see a particularly egregious example of this in Amadis’s hindsight application of “umbral chains”, which is a) speculative, and b) ignorant of the presentation and the impressions that this content was creating at the time, and the first impression that it left. I understand that points like these are traditionally responded to with yet more references to esoteric lore snippets held together with a web of red yard and push-pins - but when it comes to how the race is ultimately viewed by most people - that doesn’t matter. As Lindsay Ellis put it at the end of her examination of a similar incarnation of a conflict between the text of a work and it’s framing: “Framing and Aesthetics supersede the rest of the text. Always. Always. Always.” 
Which leads me nicely to this:
"Posting over and over that you don’t believe the Night Elves have never won anything when they have doesn’t actually contribute to anything."
The Cataclysm revamp was reviled by many if not most Night Elf fans because it felt like defeat after defeat. From a canon perspective it was understood to be a win (although popular misconception about that exists to this day - and triumphal Horde fans will never let Night Elf fans forget it), but these felt like losses - and they were locked in forever.
Mount Hyjal and the Molten Front were neutral faction wins, and yes, that matters. Having the good parts of the faction snipped away from the playable faction in a game built around its faction rivalry is a means of losing those things, and we had no better of a metaphorical representation of this as Blizzard’s decision to put Malfurion in Darnassus, but to not write in boss raid mechanics when Horde players decided that they wanted to kill his wife. No, it’s not canon, but yes, that sort of thing matters - as does the problem of the Night Elves only being shown as being able to succeed against enemies who AREN’T the Horde, but being useful only as that faction’s victims when the enemy IS the Horde.
Stoneplow is fine, but minor.
Val’sharah is its own issue, which I have addressed here.  I will however stop to put my finger on something more specific: we have a problem with considering situations that consist of “we lost less than we could have” as victories instead of mitigated defeats. I do not share this problem. A mitigated defeat is still a defeat.
… which dovetails us nicely into Darkshore, which had the potential to be the redemptive moment that we needed. It came close - it brought Malfurion back. I’m happy to have “Terror of Darkshore”, and I will certainly take the tack on “oh, by the way, you won” clarification from the last Blizzcon. But the scenario remains deeply flawed. No one asked for Dark Wardens. Tyrande’s performance against Nathanos was atrocious for the buildup it got, and as more adept commentators than I have pointed out, the quests still make the Night Elves look weak. 
In addition to being badly marred by the issues discussed previously, Darkshore and subsequent content is silent on Ashenvale, or other territories that we should see Night Elves fighting for - which smacks of another incidence of the victory being in actuality a mitigated defeat. This could have been countered by the inclusion of something that looks like an unambiguous victory - on the level that the War of the Thorns depicted an unambiguous victory. But, whereas Blizzard can find the resources to show the Horde as powerful and the Night Elves as, to paraphrase the words of Wreave, like the front bumper of the Alliance’s car (whose purpose is to take most of the damage so that the rest of it turns out fine), it seems they couldn’t find the resources to give the Night Elves a victory of a similar caliber. Certainly as well, while it’s just fine to make Night Elf fans suffer, it’s inconceivable to have Horde fans go through a similar defeat - even if they don’t experience it - even if it’s counterbalanced by an equal Reconquista in Lordaeron.
What then, of Shadowlands?
This leaves us with the very last bit of apologism, and it’s one that those of us who, like me, have been following the sad state of the Night Elves since before 2010, are familiar with:
“Wait and see” - Or, contemporarily: “Ardenweald will fix it”
I remember being told this about the Cata revamp - when optimism that this newfound phasing technology would show the Night Elves progress in the war. That didn’t happen.
I remember being told this before 5.1, when Kosak said there would be “badass Night Elves”. The opposite was given to me.
I remember being told this before the Siege of Orgrimmar. We got a robot cat, not an Ashenvale reconquest.
I remember being told this before we knew more about the War of the Thorns. It was turned out to be worse than I predicted.
I remember being told this before BfA wound through what it calls a player experience. I think Drahliana and Katiera are the only ones who are satisfied with what happened instead.
Oh, and Horde players were told this too about BfA - ask them how “wait and see” goes with this company. As for me, as I said in a previous post, in 2010 I was 20 years old and in college. Next year I’ll be turning 30, and I don’t feel like waiting until I can cash social security checks before getting something for the money that Blizzard wants me to spend. Therefore I won’t - and this is why I’m here recommending that other Night Elf fans refrain from spending that money either.
Blizzard is a company that has repeatedly demonstrated that it has no interest in giving Night Elf fans the basic experience that people generally look for in video games - feelings of competence, relatedness, and autonomy. It is perfectly reasonable for Night Elf fans to pick up their ball and go home, and vow not to return to the franchise until Blizzard makes real investments into actually making this game one that we can feel good about. If Blizzard wants to change that, then they’re going to have to win us back as customers - as we should expect from any profit-seeking company.
While the same goes for the Horde, I can hear the keyboards clattering at this point. “At least you aren’t the villain”, they will still say (and so in a way you said), and while I’d argue that with the state of Tyrande that’s not necessarily certain, it’s worthwhile to point back to Rigby’s framework once again. It’s not just the MHP Alliance that wants to be the hero, we all want to be the hero in our own way, and I would hope, as perverse as it may sound, that your experience offers you a base of understanding for how we feel. The hollow pain of the whole thing is actually quite beautifully expressed in the song I mentioned earlier. Because as much as you will say that we were the good guys of this story and we should feel good about that. All I hear is:
“Never the heroes
We were made to fight
Never the heroes
We were just sacrificed”
[https://forums.scrollsoflore.com/sho...7&postcount=51](https://forums.scrollsoflore.com/showpost.php?p=1611127&postcount=51)(Due to Tinypic’s demise, my analysis went with it. The score ended up being in the low 50s for the expansion overall)
[https://warcraft.blizzplanet.com/blo...are-really-bad](https://warcraft.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/the-8-1-darkshore-quests-are-really-bad)(I appreciate that there were changes between the posting of this and the live warfront, including the implementation of one of the noted suggestions, but most of the issues remain.)