Race/Class restrictions: fun lore or strawman for real racism?

Friends and I have been discussing the various choices made by blizzard and race/class combinations in general. We’ve come to the conclusion, nearly unanimously, that restricting a player’s choice of race and class combination is probably not good, inclusive, or socially conscious.

To be clear, I don’t claim to be part of the woke movement. That said, the restrictions on certain races from certain classes reinforces a bit of a racist position that “certain people” can’t be certain things based only on their race.

Our characters are a reflection of our agency within the world. If we can justify and identify with a character, shouldn’t that be enough to make it valid and viable? Isn’t one of the hallmark qualities of heroes that they challenge stereotypes, break the mold, and take the conversation in a new direction?

In real life, one wouldn’t dare say that members of a certain race can’t be a police officer, or a baseball star, or a lawyer - at least not someone who wanted to be seen as something other than a bigoted, ignorant person. So, why do we let Blizzard tell us that some races are too fat to be rogues, or some races are “too savage” to be paladins? It’s not OK and it reinforces an ignorant position held by some in real life.

I firmly believe that it’s time to put race/class restrictions to bed. In light of the current problems of unity facing many societies and groups of people around the world, gamers should be the ones breaking molds and setting examples.

Thanks for your time. Let’s see where this goes.

Just stop.

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“Give me what I want or else you’re a racist.”

That’s not woke at all.

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As a supposed member of this woke movement, I just think it’s lazy and hurts character customization on very very flimsy lore grounds that they don’t really lean on anyway.

At this point there is no good reason to limit classes by races.

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People are so deranged that class restrictions in a video game is a symptom of real life racism? Seriously, there are people out there with real world issues and this isn’t one of them.

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Let me guess… you’re angry because you can’t create a gnome demon hunter?

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I like class restrictions because in keeps what little world building integrity we have left.

Yes, i know that lore-wise you can come up with tons or reasons why certain unusual class/race combos could exist, but most people don’t care about lore, so I’ll be forced to look at hundreds of Orc Paladins and I don’t want that.

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The original reasons were to balance PVP options in battlegrounds but that ship sailed.

The remaining reason is to develop and differentiate each race by what it’s culture favors and does not provide exposure to.

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Yeah. Because what with their culture around worshipping the light, and their history with the Burning Legion, having Draenei Warlocks totally makes sense. How about Goblin druids? They totally seem to be in touch with nature what with their wanton destruction on the environment in search of profit. I could go on.

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Challenging cultural norms is something that has been in the wheelhouse of heroes since at least Ancient Greece. In terms of races not providing cultural exposure to concepts, it’s trivial to travel between the cities with zeppelins and portals. Is it wise, then, to say that the Sunwalkers accept only members of their own race as members? Does that sound like a good or light-aligned position?

It certainly doesn’t to me. Your position is where I started from in the discussion we’ve been having. What’s really going to bake your noodle later is that the Horde and Alliance concepts, as racial containers, constitute an apartheid system and engender race-based segregation.

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Are you serious?! Are you actually serious?! I’m just going to be honest and say that this whole thought process is ignorant! You’re actually trying to equate race/class combos to exclusion and racism.

You do realize that both in WoW and rl that different races have cultural differences, which is why you won’t see a Tauren warlock.

Unbelievable!

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I used to be whatever about race/class restrictions since I had always accepted it as just a thing RPGs did, but (admittedly for entirely selfish reasons) I can’t find myself really caring about them anymore. In between stuff like Zandalari warlocks being soft-retconned out altogether, the monk class being a weird accessibility virus that crosses in-game time, and the utterly stupid demon hunter concept being a thing at all, to me it feels like there’s really nothing there to the whole class identity stuff.

If I had the opportunity to change the game, I’d probably just make off-theme combinations a psuedo-canon thing. Like, you could be a tauren mage if you want, but don’t expect the story to represent you. Or maybe gameify it in the traditional WoW way where you have to unlock those options under the appropriate race first.

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I would be 100% for this. Challenging cultural norms is part of the hero’s role in fiction. There are a great many ways to provide cheap to deliver, fun to engage in content through which players can unlock the race and class combinations they care about. Great suggestion!

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I’ll start off by saying I’m against race/class restrictions. But I also think your argument is flawed.

The difference is that regarding real life race, there’s not the same degree of difference between people as their are races in Warcraft. Theoretically any person of any race in real life can eventually gain the skillset of any job. This is not true of any race in Warcraft. An easy example is say Broken, they can no longer use the Light.

But beyond biological differences, it is a question of culture and opportunity. Could a Gnome theoretically become a Demon Hunter? Sure. Is it likely given their culture and opportunities available to them? No. This isn’t a question of enforcing restrictions but accepting that they exist. In the same way it wouldn’t be racist to say ‘the graduation rate of Asian-Americans is X’. It is just saying 'this race/class combination is so low in the intersection of culture and opportunity that we aren’t going to allow it. Ultimately Warcraft is not an egalitarian utopia. Certain aspects (some might call them flaws) exist in it as much as our world.

Again, personally I disagree with this argument. I do think heroes are unique, they’re special. They break barriers and should be anything they want to be in their story. But that said, I don’t agree the argument is a mirror to any real life aspects in a negative manner.

When I see people flying around on Void Dragons, using toys to look like red transparent Yaungol, and walking around with demons in cities? I just have no care for such limitations when they restrict what I want to play.

Orcs and Night Elves have a pretty similar history. Yet Orc Warlocks and Night Elf Demon Hunters exist. It only takes one for it to be allowable.

In the vein of Goblin Priests and Goblin Shamans, there are ways to integrate the individual into another class. Or just say ‘this person deviates from their cultural norms’.

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Classes aren’t about biological factors, but values and cultures the races hold.

Tauren care way more about natural magics than the arcane, ergo, they haven’t developed a culture of mages and warlocks.

Mages care way more about arcane magics, ergo, they haven’t developed a culture of shamanism or druidism.

Furthermore, what is a Paladin for one class is not necessarily the same as Paladin for the other.

I don’t. The fact that humans can be paladins but not shamans reinforces what makes them different. Homogenization in this regard is going to make everything feel a lot more bland. The Tauren and Zandalari have Paladins as a class that their very closely related cousins do not because of culture, not biology. The Tauren explored things that the Highmountain didn’t and may not care for.

Also I don’t trust gamers to do anything of value.

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Thanks for the dissenting view. I think the real life and fictional game concepts become joined at the hip when one uses the word “race” to describe what are clearly two very different concepts. Perhaps a better alternative for the fantasy concept is to abandon the misnomer and instead adopt species, as D&D is moving towards, or heritage, as Pathfinder has embraced.

It becomes even fuzzier when viewed through the lens that we are all human behind the keyboard, and regardless of which pixels we like, we all like to have choices and agency, and the freedom to create.

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I can see the goblin druid pun names now.

Tank: Bearmarket
Feral: Dedcatbounce
Resto: Lendingtree
Stuck on what a Balance joke would be, though.

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Overdraft? Zerosum?

I feel like in this case, it’s the person reading it that chooses how much they want to take it personally, for me “races” in MMORPGs has never had anything to do with what we consider races IRL, but simply a staple of what has been for years now.

Maybe you are focusing so much on real world issues that you are creating your own problems that you wish to solve when you play games.

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Orcs, Night Elves and Draenei may have had shared experiences, but they do not have similar cultures. Asserting that they should all behave or react in a similar way to the challenges they face is a flawed argument in my opinion.

You have got me here, I guess. Though I think a slim argument can be made that Goblin Shamans create contracts with the elementals to both parties mutual profit. (Atleast on paper.) I don’t think that Goblins tend to become shaman out of duty or reverence like an Orc or Tauren would.

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