Since no one replied to my last post regarding what I should post about, I thought I’d post about something else entirely, since I am constantly trying to not be fed up with the beginning starting area for Guardians and the story behind them and their differences with Defiants. This actually is something that irked me about newbie humans in World of Warcraft, too, at least post-Cataclysm when the new starting zone quests were added.

Guardian Starting Zone

It annoys the piss out of me when one faction is made to look dumb, stupid or otherwise less than intelligent in the other faction’s starting area. We all know damn well based on previous interactions, major lore characters, or otherwise that this is simply not the case. In Rift, it’s not so egregious an offense as the Blackrock Orcs in Northshire Valley, but even so, there are definite things that I cannot stand about the Guardian zone (even despite my own personal beliefs on things that this can relate to in real life).

Without knowing some of the storyline behind Rift (most of which you’ll find by doing either Saga quest or the books that you’ll pick up throughout the game), when you start a new Guardian, it comes off as Defiants are simply heathens, with no regard for other people or the benefit to the whole. If you start a new Defiant, Guardians are made out to be extreme religious fanatics (they are zealotous to a degree, but nowhere near what it seems in the Defiant area). In the same regard, if you start a new human in WoW, orcs come off as brutish, incapable of speaking properly. If you roll an orc or troll, humans come of as bloodthirsty, violent and unforgiving. Any longtime WoW player can tell you the opposite.

I think that one of the reasons that irks me is because as you play the game, you come to understand that, regardless of the backgrounds, the NPCs in general don’t act like that. (Players, on the other hand…) They have a modicum of intelligence, and they have a reason they do the things they do. They have brains, thought process, etc. At least, insofar as the storyline goes. To explain Defiants, there was a gain through allying with the Tyrant King Aedraxis during the Mathosian Civil War. It’s explained through the Endless Saga on the Defiant side, but there are very subtle hints at the end of the Mathosia bit (where a Guardian will first start out), when you are killing two Defiant guards, and one of them will say, “What have we done…”

Someone can feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but here is what I am under the impression of regarding the Mathosian Civil War. The Defiants (at the time, led by Orphiel Farwind) allied with Aedraxis in order to use their machine technology. It’s later explained in Shimmersand that the Eth of old may or may not have been the cause of a huge downfall, and this was brought about by machinery. As such, the Defiants are allowed to use their machinery, but unbeknownst to them, Aedraxis was merely a pawn of Regulos, the dragon heralding from the Plane of Death.

Fast forward 20 years, and we come to “present-day” in Rift, and Alsbeth Rothmann has betrayed the Guardians, and the peace between Defiants and Guardians is broken. The Defiants of now, led by Asha Catari, along with Rahn Chuluun and Anthousa Mona, and assisted by Orphiel, Sylver Valis, the Faceless Man, Kira Thanos, Dacia Ultan and Uriel Chuluun, are merely seeking a means to an end – defeating the dragons of the Bloodstorm, and saving Telara as a whole. As a general, the Guardians and the Vigil are unwilling to see this, and deem machines as needing to be “purged,” and all “machineborn” are abominations and disgraces. Interestingly, the Defiants were sent back from the future to ensure that the Guardians don’t screw everything up (and Shyla Starhearth actually becomes yet another betrayer of Guardians in that timeline).

So, back to what I was saying at the beginning – I hate starting zones. They only give you a very minor part of the story, and beyond that, the story you do get is extremely skewed, and makes the other faction look very, very far to the extreme of what they’re actually meant to be.

I know this is probably something silly of me to get annoyed about, much less blog about, but hey, one of the things about this is that this is about gaming. This is pertinent to gaming in its own way. What about you? How do you feel about this kind of thing?