WoW Goes Trolling

Yes mon, or whatever it is they say again and again and again

Poor old Trolls – Azeroth hasn’t treated them too kindly over the years. They’ve either been comedy Jamaicans or murderous sword-fodder, so often denied the prestige and glory of Warcraft’s major races. And don’t even get me started on the raw deal the gnomes get… Anyway, the Trolls are getting their day in the sun for the latest WoW patch, 4.1, which sees the angrier arms of the family uniting and deciding to raise merry hell for everyone else. Essentially, it means a fun/bloody time for level 85 players, and it looks a little something like this. Warning: includes boulders. I say that in case anyone reading has a phobia of boulders. We’re a kinder, more considerate RPS these days.

Oh, silly troll-lords. Don’t you know you’re only going to get stabbed in the face by loot-hungry gamers? This revolution won’t end well, you mark my words.

This whole troll-themed uprising primarily comprises two ‘classic’ WoW raids converted into 5-person dungeons for high-levellers, plus the usual slew of balance tweaks. Also in there is a new incentive system to drag least-represented classes into dungeon runs.

Full details on everything involved here, and the patch lands today.


  1. Felixader says:

    Ouch on the Animations.

  2. McDan says:

    I remember the old days, when RPS wasn’t kind and considerate, you’d open an article and lo and behold knives would come out of the screen at you. True story.

    And the less said about the events with boulders the better. *Shudder*

    Looks like people can get their own back on trolls then, what what.

  3. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I still don’t get the appeal… ah well.

  4. mkultra says:

    Oooh, a World of Warcraft post.

    And I thought people who actually play WoW are too occupied playing WoW than to read things or play other games.

    • Hallgrim says:

      REAL WoW-crackheads spend nearly as much time reading about the game as they do playing it. Case in point:

    • Carra says:

      Well you have to browse the net to find the best boss strategy. To find your best build. To see if that new item drop gives you 1 extra DPS.

  5. Stevostin says:

    For one second I thought it was something really fun where all troll players could PVP every non troll. Then I woke up. PvE. Ah, yes, that kind of “fun”…

    • darthmajor says:

      What is this PVP you speak of, and what the hell does it have to do with WoW?

    • Icarus says:

      “You cannot do that while stunned.

      You cannot do that while stunned.

      You cannot do that while stunned.

      You cannot do that while dead.”

      PVP… fun… riiiiiight…

    • Stevostin says:

      Ok, this is going trolling !

  6. rel123 says:

    For being so popular, there are mercifully few posts on RPS about WoW, and for that, I thank you. Now… The Old Republic on the other hand……

    • Heliocentric says:

      Every time I pick up a copy of PC Gamer and flick through it seeing a 15 page spread on some WoW gubbins I put the magazine back on the shelf.

  7. frenz0rz says:

    Oh God get it away from me. I spent over 3 years playing WoW and, in the process, absorbed an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Warcraftian lore – something I still hold to this day despite having no interest in WoW whatsoever. Oh fine then, I’ll take a look. What harm could it do…

    Edit: Oh my! The Gurubashi and Amani, aided by the Zandalari, are forming a new troll nation under the banner of their old empires! And yet, Vol’jin and his Darkspear tribe wish to be apart from this, honouring their old oath to the Horde and preparing to fight against a new threat, which tragically, may be the only chance of ever uniting their people! Damnit, I havent played WoW in 4 years and I still remember every bit of lore down to the tiniest fact.

    Curse you Blizzard, for corrupting me so!

  8. Jumwa says:

    “Also in there is a new incentive system to drag least-represented classes into dungeon runs.”

    Should read:

    “Also in there is a new bribery system to compel poorly equipped people to fulfill roles that have been broken since the expansions launch but that they adamantly refuse to fix on the issue of ‘challenge’.”

    • afarrell says:

      Ah now, it’s not that the Tank/DPS roles have been broken, so much as the success of a dungeon now relies on the DPS to be more reactive to cues (when to interrupt, when to clear melee range), and that is, to put it mildly, not a skill that DPS were selecting for through WotLK.

    • Jumwa says:

      Speaking from personal experience (and that’s all I can do, as Blizzard doesn’t release the statistics), during Wrath DPS queues were about 15 minutes on my server maximum, with healers a bit less, and tanks, being the most desired, fastest, of course. Since then with the changes making tanking/healing more stressful there were the big storm of people saying they’re quitting healing/tanking. The new development team claimed that it was overblown and the number of healers/tanks who actually quit was exaggerated.

      Skipping ahead, however, now the queue times for DPS on my server are usually 50 minutes, with healers and tanks being instantaneous. The only explanation for that is either: a bust queuing system or a lot fewer tanks and healers are playing because of the changes since Wrath. And since the new change is a bribe to get more tanks/healers to queue up, it’s safe to say it’s the latter.

      So semantics aside, the reality is just that tanking and healing are no longer pleasurable tasks for many people thanks to the added pressure and stresses. Instead of addressing that they’ve decided to dance around the elephant in the room. Well, their game to do with as they wish.

    • Metonymy says:

      The “new” design requiring skill from dps was a major mistake. If you want challenge, you play your tank or healer. If you want mindless fun, you fire up your dps. The system worked perfectly. If you really wanted to play your dps class skillfully, you had to do progression raids, which required typical MMO butt-smooching.

      I would have kept playing if they hadn’t made so many mistakes this time around.

      -Haply (the forum troll)

    • pilot13 says:

      The new incentive system is a bit, to use the technical word, janky. I expect it will be hell for a few weeks while people quickly level up a death knight or something so they can get in on those quick instances. But it’s not that tanking (which is in my understanding generally the most unrepresented role in wow pve) is hard. I played a pally tank for about two, maybe three years. All tanking requires is positioning, co-ordination and reacting quickly, which the average world of warcraft player is simply incapable of doing.

      I have no idea why, but wow attracts a lot of people that don’t play any other videogames. And not just because the game is such a time vampire, but they just don’t play any and probably never have. I was probably the only person in my guild who did, crazy enough. The amount of ‘complicated raid mechanics’ that are lifted practically verbatim from any number of a million other videogame bosses doesn’t surprise me. It’s the endless hordes of ‘casuals’ that don’t know their arse from their elbow that does.

    • Jumwa says:

      Those casuals who don’t know their arses from their elbows, as you say, pay for the game, a game, I might add, that has been much touted as the first casual-friendly MMO. I wouldn’t think that it’d be surprising you’d have a lot of casual gamers.

      What surprises me is this notion that’s arisen with the new WoW development team, that it’s a MMOs duty (and WoW of all MMOs) to give a ‘trial by fire’ to force people to commit to improving their performance by throwing a wall of difficulty at them. Personally, I’ve always viewed WoW as my casual entertainment solution, to squeeze in a quick heroic when I had a free half hour (during Wrath, such a time frame just isn’t practical with Cataclysm) and then on the weekends maybe do a bit more serious progression in a ten man raid with my friends, pushing some content as a team.

      Now when I say the content’s too demanding on my time and patience, I get told to find better friends and set more time aside for it. It’s a bizarre premise to me to organize my life around a video game to such an extent.

    • afarrell says:

      So by “always”, do you mean “always since wrath”? It was pretty brutal before that, and Wrath was a vast (and vastly successful!) attempt to broaden the player base. But for every action… the forums were loud in their demanding for the game to become difficult again, or subscriptions would cease…

      To be honest, this quandry WoW is in, is a result of it receiving a massive player boost in its fifth year of operation, which I’m sure any MMO-maker would admit is a good problem to have.

    • Jumwa says:

      To be honest, I don’t see the demands for difficulty being genuine or at all rational. Wrath had plenty of challenge in the form of hard-mode raids and achievements. And, from a personal perspective, I have yet to meet anyone crying about the game being too easy sporting the top achievements/rewards of ICC-25. And none of the people I do know who were declaring the content too easy and that tougher heroics would enrich the experience still bother to run them.

      The best hypothesis that I can come up with is that it seems to merely be, yet another, reaction of “gamers” against “casuals”. They want a barrier to keep them out of content to make their own accomplishments feel greater.

      I don’t say this to be inflammatory. From my own observations of the WoW community, and indeed, gamer communities (almost) everywhere I go, the vitriol and dislike for “casual” gamers and how they are spoiling games for them is loud and ever present. But since I have yet to really see any genuinely convincing evidence of that arguments validity (since, as I said, WoW during Wrath was certainly not lacking in challenges; the Server First downing of 25-man Lich King Hard Mode occurred two weeks before Cataclysm launched on my realm, though that didn’t stop a large number of outspoken “gamers” not involved in that on the official realm forums from raving about how “faceroll” easy the content was) it leaves me unable to think it could be anything else.

      Well, that and the unavoidable ‘chest thumping’ nature of internet discourse, where admitting you found something difficult is like painting a target on your chest for other internet posters to rave about how easy they found it and therefore you must just suck compared to them. I’ve seen it happen so many times when someone would hint that they found a game hard, then another person would smugly jump in to declare just how ridiculously easy they found it, only for the OP to turn around and stammeringly try to turn the tables and declare how they didn’t mean it like THAT exactly. Then before you know it it’s a long procession of people fighting to declare who had the easiest time with the game/content and their accompanying tales of just how easy it was for their genius gamer minds.

    • afarrell says:

      Well, I never said they were rational, just definitely present. :)

      I agree completely about the posturing that causes people who identify as True Gamers to rail against ‘casuals’, but then that’s probably not going away, and as such is one of the things that developers of MMOs will have to contend with (again, good problems to have).

      Also I can imagine that, in 2009 when Cataclysm started development, it would seem likely that the pool of gamers with the income to pay £10 a month was about to shrink, and that the casuals would be the first to go.

    • Jumwa says:

      Well if that’s their strategy, it’s certainly a disappointing one. There’s listening to your customers, and then there’s acting on the irrational complaints of a slim segment (and let’s be realistic, a very small minority of any group of people even post to forums, usually due to being scared off by the vitriol upon them.). I would argue the ‘difficulty issue’ is definitely the latter.

      I really have to wonder how much of the gamer population the outspoken forumites who cry (about any game) “It’s too easy!’ really represent. Some friends and I got into a discussion the other day spawning from RPSs article here: link to

      The trailer shows the player character running around slashing like a madman, every blow a hit, every hit a killing blow. However, having played the previous two titles in this series, I can tell you, even at its lowest difficulty settings, I have never found it easy like that. Even as I pushed my character to great heights, and faced off against weak opponents, they were still blocking my moves far more often than not, every fight was challenging.

      However, from watching behind-the-scenes videos and trailers, I’ve come to learn that games always seem to be marketed in videos with the player-characters power ramped up to give you a real powerful, “kick ass” feel, because, they acknowledge, that’s what people want to feel. Reviewers are given cheat codes and such to help them feel more powerful and move through the content easier, some sources have reported. But once you get the game in your own hands, that’s never how it is. Heck, the biggest complaint about ES: Oblivion was that the game reached a point where EVERY fight became an epic struggle for survival, it was too hard, every reviewer in existence felt, not every fight should be a challenge like that, you need to feel powerful.

      And then there’s the posturing of the forum community, as you say, demanding EVERYTHING be a challenge. Something tells me it’s a very slim minority view they represent, but that game makers are terrified of earning the wrath of the “It’s too easy!” crowd, who will scatter across the corners of the internet to warn everyone against buying their game.

      Anyways, if you read all that, thanks for humouring me. : )

  9. HexagonalBolts says:

    The ‘comedy Jamaicans’ thing really pisses me off. Our society does it so much. Like in avatar. All the minority races and non-christians are rolled in to one big primitive ‘other’ figure with tribal bones through their noses, stone temples and sticks and bows and arrows. And it’s just everywhere, from books to kids’ cartoons to AAA films and games. I know it isn’t intentional – but that’s the scariest thing about it.

    • pilot13 says:

      Actually to be fair to Blizzard I think that they do try to be inclusive about that sort of stuff. Although right now I can’t recall any black people in Stormwind.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      You can actually choose darker skin colours. The lovely people from 4chan have been known to make characters like that an calling them nigger/nogger/nagger etc. and trying to do whatever annoying stuff they do before getting banned.

    • Metonymy says:

      The problem certainly didn’t start here. The whole concept of the noble savage was almost certainly invented by a white writer, as was substantial portions of the ‘1001 Arabian Nights.’ Those were pretty bawdy, as I recall, and they’re a large part of how we see ancient Persians.

      And lets not forget that it goes both ways: the white race is the only one that can be openly attacked, without the speaker suffering any public condemnation. It’s because we don’t really care about that stuff. If you want to portray positive images about Jamaicans (or whoever) no one is going to stop you.

      Aaaaand, lets not forget that WoW trolls are pretty cool. My token black friends that I’m contractually obligated to mention, like playing trolls (or female night elves) because they like the character design.

  10. Carra says:

    Hah, there’s a “looking for guild” option.

    I can only guess at the quality of guild you can find through that system :)

    • Ajh says:

      You can apply for my guild through that. We’ll interview you, work with you a bit, see if we like you, and reserve the right to decline you if you do not fit our criteria or mesh with our players well.

      It’s a very nice interface to find guilds actually, one of the features I like best with the new patch.

  11. undead dolphin hacker says:

    People still play post-Cata WoW with vastly superior products such as Rift, EQ2, and LOTRO on the market?

    • Dumdeedum says:

      Based on my entirely unscientific observational evidence, increasingly fewer and fewer people are playing WoW. Some of it will be the usual post-expansion drop-off, but Cataclysm has by far been their weakest expansion, offering next to nothing new* and given this patch is two recycled raids it doesn’t bode well.

      The only potential WoW-killer there ever has been is WoW itself, and while I’m not proclaiming it dead yet – it’s too big to fail that quickly – it’s definitely looking poorly.

      * Archaeology aside, and that’s hardly a poster child for thrilling gameplay.

    • Nevard says:

      Probably because a game’s superiority is entirely subjective
      If more people still play WoW, the amount of people who think it’s superior should speak for themselves hmm?

  12. Rii says:

    Looks great, but then Trolls have been the most reliably awesome adversaries throughout WoW’s history.

    Oh, wait, this is RPS isn’t it?

    WoW? Pfft, like anyone plays that.


  13. bleeters says:

    Before I watch the trailer, I’m assuming this will involve the trolls amassing in some ancient ruins, sacrificing their various Gods for power an generally shouting a lot about restoring their greatness? Only dey’ll be wordin’ it like dis, mon.

  14. Wulf says:

    I’ll just leave this here.

    link to

    (I love that music.)

    • bleeters says:

      But how are we ta’ be knowin’ what be goin’ on in dat trailah w’out comedy accent narration, mon?

    • DeepSleeper says:

      I’ll just leave -this- here myself.
      link to

    • Wulf says:


      Intelligence! I don’t think we gamers are that far gone yet.

      … …are we? >_>;


      Indeed. Though you might’ve gotten more attention with a new comment.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Just my way of steadily harassing you, re: your dislike of Rift.

      … Although lately you’ve been making a lot of really good points that I can’t disagree with in other fields, so it’s not very vigorous harassment. Just know that I still consider you my archnemesis even if you are making well-reasoned and intelligent arguments. I am always out here. Waiting. And watching.

  15. mod the world says:

    I like MMOs and i’m not ashamed to say that. (Ok, a little bit of embarrassment is there.)

    • Bilbo says:

      Do your thing. Don’t be ashamed. It’s the people who are more interested in shaming you for doing your thing than in doing their own thing that should be ashamed. Because they’re vacant fuckwits.

    • mod the world says:

      Thank you, brother!

  16. Burning Man says:

    Isn’t that Tosh from SC2?

  17. Bilbo says:

    So if I’m a troll character… do I get the option to leave the Horde and join the Trolls?

    …of course not.

    • Ajh says:

      You are a Darkspear troll. Your leader just declared war against these guys. You get to kill them and take all their stuff.

    • Bilbo says:

      Great, but if they’re really trying to elevate the trolls to their epic former glory, why wouldn’t I want to help out with that? WoW always assumes that factionalism trumps race, and I’m not convinced that’s always or even often the case.

    • bleeters says:

      I thought the Darkspear had all but left the Horde, anyway? What with that whole ‘I’m going to murder you, Garrosh’ thing.

  18. Dances to Podcasts says:

    It’s sad to see so many examples from this list – link to – in this thread. :(

  19. Davie says:

    Careful, Alec. You may send me on a murderous, hate-filled rant about how WoW utterly destroyed the pretty interesting established canon of the first three games and Blizzard reshuffled everything to make sure the plot never really changeddddhhaaghgabahga.

    That was close. Thank you, RPS, for rarely posting about World of Warcraft.

  20. JonathanStrange says:

    Now admittedly it’s been awhile since I played WOW or kept up with its story, so maybe things have changed, but weren’t the Zandalari supposed to be a peaceful group more known more as scholars and historians than anything else? Hell, aren’t they the faction that actually gave you quests to kill all the Trolls in Zul’Gurub in the first place? I’m pretty damn sure they were, they sent you there because that tribe was totally into the evil vodoo thing trying to summon mr. Hakkar.

    Ah well, guess someone flipped the crazy switch and now they’re WOW’s latest loot pinatas.

    Seems more than a little lazy though that Blizzard are just recycling old content. Seriously, Cataclysm was released in December of last year and Blizzard have yet to have added anything genuinely new since? That just reeks of laziness, especially since we can now anticipate it’ll be more months still before a patch delivering new stuff is finally introduced.

    Bah Humbug.

    • Ajh says:

      The Zandalari were a neutral faction. They needed the alliance and horde’s help to get rid of the problems with Hakkar in Zul’gurub.

      They don’t need their help with this now do they?

      Honestly? They’re grabbing for unity in the face of extinction. They saw the end of everything when the cataclysm hit and they’re scared.

      They’re opening the ptr for 4.2 shortly. Rumor has it, we can expect it to be on the actual live servers in about two months.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I agree with Jonathan. The Zandalari trying to unite the troll race? Sure. But where it breaks down is how they are now doing the same thing as the Gurubashi and appeal to Hakkar. Not to mention that it doesn’t make sense to make additional enemies when the trolls are already on a downturn.

      But as surely everyone must realise, Blizzard doesn’t care about the world or story. This, like so many other lore changes, is just a flimsy layer of justification for mechanical changes. In this case the retweaking of dungeons.

    • Nevard says:

      Ah but that’s the interesting thing, despite appearances they AREN’T appealing to Hakkar
      When you fight the last boss he has enslaved the Blood Lord, and is completely in control of all of his powers

      Then the players beat him up and release Hakkar themselves, carrying the idiot ball as always

  21. Nevard says:

    Comment posted itself in the wrong place :l