Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Orcs, gobbies and trolls - Oh My! Part One

Tim over at I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters linked an article recently about old school RPG orcs which got me thinking about MMO orcs.

When I saw my first orc in an MMO I thought, well, this isn't right.  You see, I learned about orcs at the tender age of 12 through 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons.  Orcs were pig men.  Simple as.

Granted, these don't look terribly menacing but I assure you orcs are not pleasant creatures.  So imagine my surprise when I see

an EverQuest2 orc and a World of Warcraft orc.  The WoW orc looks incredibly cartoonish but that is the style of that game. The EQ2 orc I prefer a bit more as they aren't neon green . To be fair the WoW orcs were corrupted, which explains their bright green colouring.  EQ2 orcs are more of a brown/grey colour which is how I imagine orcs to be.  If they were real.  Clearly. While they both have tusks they lack proper snouts and pig ears.

Then there is the ridiculousness that is the Vanguard Saga of Hereos orc.
Nice pompadour, dude.

Far too human.  I am not sure what the developers were thinking here. Possibly they were thinking if we paint them green, throw some tribal looking markings on them and call them orcs  no one will be the wiser. I am not fooled Vanguard.

I am not a huge Lord of the Rings fan.  I have read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and watched the films and found them all entertaining but I am certainly not a LOTR geek.  That being what it is, I am fairly meh about LOTRO orcs.  Tolkien, I believe, took the word  from Old English. It means demon. So I suppose LOTRO orcs do look a bit demonish.  

The most amusing orcs are Warhammer orcs.  I really like them.  They have such personality.  They almost have pig like features. I see the possibility of a snout, definite tusks and nearly little piggy ears.   They could do with being a bit less green.

The first time I saw orcs kicking a snotling I had to laugh even though I felt bad for the poor little snotling.


  1. Hi Mer, I can't really take credit for the original article, I was simply reposting an interesting piece by William Dowie from his Garni Development Blog about his own campaign.

    My own take on the matter is here (from April, 2009):

    I think you are right about Tolkien's appropriation of the word 'orc'. Unfortunately, the majority of the populace still believe he coined the term himself.

    I do have a fondness for Warhammer orcs, having once owned a 40k orc army (that never saw any action!), but for D&D-style gaming it's pig-faces or nothing ;)

  2. Let me correct that. I am so not a writer :/ Thanks for pointing it out!

  3. Oh no, let's blame Google+ for not making it clear. And I just realised I truncated the name of William's campaign world as well - it's Garnia, not Garni!

  4. I quite like the backstories of some of these orcs; especially the LotR and WoW ones; and I'll always have a fondness for Warhammer orks.