This post contains significant spoilers, so carry on if you so desire. Continue Reading
You have to expect that a game with thousands of quests, and hundreds more moments of dialogue, would put out quality material and Blizzard has certainly lived up to their end of the bargain. There are moments of tragedy, chaos, and laughter (Me not that kind of Orc!). I could probably list a dozen quotes that I remember and laugh about to this day. Instead, I’ll give you just one:
“No questions remain unanswered. No doubts linger. You are Azeroth’s greatest champions! You overcame every challenge I laid before you. My mightiest servants have fallen before your relentless onslaught, your unbridled fury… Is it truly righteousness that drives you? I wonder.
You trained them well, Fordring. You delivered the greatest fighting force this world has ever known… right into my hands — exactly as I intended. You shall be rewarded for your unwitting sacrifice.
Watch now as I raise them from the dead to become masters of the Scourge. They will shroud this world in chaos and destruction. Azeroth’s fall will come at their hands — and you will be the first to die.
I delight in the irony.” ~The Lich King
It wasn’t always the case, but Hamuul Runetotem is hands down my favourite male character. Other than his involvement in the Cenarion Circle and obviously being the top Tauren Druid I couldn’t have told you anything about him. Then came Stormrage, The Shattering, and the Molten Front. Like other Druids, Hamuul had prominent time at the front of the story. In fact, the former Malfurion student nearly dies…twice, in that time period.
The first time is during the Druid meeting in Ashenvale when they’re confronted by a group of orcs and one puts an arrow in Runetotem’s back. The lot are all killed, though Hamuul survives. He sends an owl to Thunder Bluff to report what happened and then, in my personal favourite, nearly succumbs to Leyara, Druid of the Flame. I’m glad I had gotten to know the character more by that point because when he fell, I was genuinely saddened and angry. It made continuing on the quest chain all that much more important to me because Hamuul needed to be avenged. Imagine how I felt when he later shows up and jumps into bear form to help take her down!
Hamuul, which to be perfectly honest is just fun to say, epitomizes the Tauren way. He always thinks things through and looks at the bigger picture. He maintains reason and council to the High Chieftain, as well as his fellow Cenarion Circle druids. For the near future, I have no doubt Hamuul’s work is done for now as far as the players are concerned. He may be part of a Horde council when plans are set to send heroes back in time after Garrosh but we will not see him in the front line again. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be as vigilante, or diligent, as ever. I’ve said before the Druid is my favourite class and I connect far more with Hamuul than Malfurion.
A little bit of coincidence in all this comes from a little story. I played on Maelstrom (US) when I started the game, as that’s where the friends were that wanted me to play. When my wife officially signed up as well, I said to make her character whatever she wanted on whichever server and I would make a character there of the same race. The server she ended up picking? Runetotem. I should’ve known then.
If you missed why, just check out Favourite Horde Leader.
Last night Flagsworth, Mrs. Amateur and myself decided to knock off the ICC 5-man instances just for the heck of it (this after Flagsworth got the Phoenix pet on his first trip into Magister’s Terrace -congrats on that!). With three 85’s the three instances weren’t going to throw any challenges in our way, but they’re quick and have some nice transmog gear (to say nothing of a possible Battered Hilt).
Sure enough, things went smooth as silk right into Halls of Reflection. As we sat through Uther’s ghost talking to Jaina, Tum got antsy and decided to pop a party grenade (which I think I got during Hallow’s End) and kick off a little dance party. I don’t know how well you can tell in the screenshot, but imagine our surprise (and the sheer hilarity) when Uther joined in!
Needless to say Uther getting his groove on kinda sucked the drama out of the entire scene, but the three of us roared with laughter. Let’s hear it for accidental discoveries!
I came upon quite the sight logging in on the Horde side of Moon Guard today…
A level 10 Elite Tauren, fighting off several of the finest guards the city had on hand. While he shows up hostile, I couldn’t attack him. As you might guess from the title, his name is Orno Grimtotem. Anyone who’s quested for Baine Bloodhoof knows this is the guy you fight north of Thunder Bluff. Baine actually ends up joining the fight and sealing the victory. In Orgrimmar, however, there’s not much in the way of victory here. He’s glitched and sits at a single hitpoint.
The guards just kept stunning him over and over again. After 20 minutes of amusement, I decided I’d seen enough. I also read up on WoWhead where this glitch has apparently been happening on rare occasion for over a year and a half and Orno here isn’t the only one getting in on the action. Still, it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like it outside of a world event. To be honest, for a brief moment I actually thought there was some sort of event going on. Well, actually I thought it was Gamon until I noticed all the red in Orno’s outfit. That and the ridiculous number of guards pounding away on him.
There is much debate regarding Azeroth’s most nomadic race, in terms of just what level of lore exists. Sure, the Tauren haven’t had a past as prolific as the Forsaken, or the Orcs…or the Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Blood Elves, Draenei, Trolls, Goblins, Night Elves, and Worgen…yes, it’s clear I agree with this consensus. But then, I don’t know how much need there is. The Tauren are a relatively calm race that think before they act. I can buy that as a means to avoid much conflict out there over time, and finding better solutions to problems. Then again, maybe they have been neglected. *shrug*
Before I start on the list, I have to include an honorable mention. If not for the Cataclysm and his removal from the game, Mr. Smite would have easily made this list. As someone who’s been mostly an Alliance player, this was often your first introduction to the Tauren. He was a tough fight in the old Deadmines (at that level) and hearing his voice when you blew the door open was always exciting.
5. Greatmother Hawkwind
Many people wouldn’t have the slightest idea who the Unaya Hawkwind is, unless you rolled a Tauren (or went to their start zone). Even then, if you’ve only done it post-Cataclsym then you’re still missing part of the picture. Prior to The Shattering, you were asked to go help her and she really came across as a “sweet old lady” though I never really considered her old. So for those of us who did those quests, imagine our surprise when we re-rolled Tauren in the Cataclysm era and our quest chain lead to us creating her funeral pyre. I think I was sad more about that than Magni becoming One With The Mountain.
4. Baine Bloodhoof
With a bit more flushing out, I don’t doubt for a second the son of Cairne will rank higher on this list. I even debated putting the current Tauren Chieftain up a spot or two but feel it’s just a bit too soon for that. If you aren’t familiar with Baine’s story, you really should read The Shattering (for many more reasons as well) as his ascension is brilliantly done. When we first heard of how his father would die, it did make sense for Baine to take over but the story shows how not only is it logistical, it’s deserved.
3. Hamuul Runetotem
If this were a personal popularity contest, I would rank him #1 in a heartbeat. By far my favourite NPC in the game and the one I relate the most to, I knew nothing of the character when I rolled on the US server he was named after. Now, I’m rather proud I did. Between The Shattering, Stormrage, and even The Molten Front, I’ve developed such a huge amount of respect for the Druid. I think for the most part Hamuul has had his time in the spotlight and he’ll likely take a back seat to some other characters, both in-game and in the novels. But while people (rightfully) look at Malfurion Stormrage as the epitome of the Druid, I see Arch Druid Runetotem.
2. Magatha Grimtotem
This one might come as a surprise to some, but if you know anything at all about the Tauren lore (to say nothing of how Cairne was defeated), she belongs here. One of Azeroth’s greatest villains to not really get her time in the spotlight (at least not in-game), Magatha is evil. All the time she spent trying to have the Grimtotem become the dominant Tauren tribe and thanks to a poison on Garrosh’s weapon she almost succeeded. Rest assured many Tauren fan were happy to see her entire tribe get their just dessert.
1. Cairne Bloodhoof
If you expected anyone else to occupy the top spot, that’s a shame (ok, maybe Hamuul if you expected me to be biased). He was the most famous Tauren, from his early relationship with Thrall and pledging his people to the Horde, to ending much of the species’ nomadic ways. He recognized the dangers in continuing to wander the land and claim Mulgore (setting up Thunder Bluff in the process). Many would argue Cairne was in the right during the scenario that lead to his death, but the circumstances and his final conversation with Thrall were bitter to swallow. There truly is no other Tauren who could surpass Cairne and what he meant to his people. Perhaps one day Baine will come close, but that’s a long time away.