From Warcraft 2 on the PSX to Diablo 3 on the PC, I love Blizzard games. Besides unique storylines that typically featured bittersweet endings and Phyrric victories, I was – and still am – captivated by the portrayal of warrior women throughout the series. I admit I may be an Amazon lover, but in this day and age who can resist a lady with brains, brawn, leadership abilities and other qualities that are typically reserved for male leads. At the very least, powerful women, fictional or otherwise, deserve respect equal to their male counterparts.
That said, I noticed recently a distrubing trend about women who can kick ass in Blizzard games: a trend that started with Starcraft and ghost Sarah Kerrigan. Smart, tactically brilliant and a crackshot with her rifle, she gets betrayed and carries the Zerg banner till Starcraft 2. In the Warcraft 3, there is the Elven ranger general Sylvanas Windrunner. From the various sources that build the lore and backstory of the series, Sylvanas was beautiful and her prowess with the bow was such that she could shoot a sparrow in the eye in midflight. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, she was the Ranger General, one of the most important figures in High Elf society. Her fate: death, then resurrection as a banshee before finally becoming the Undead leader who would go on to commit various acts of evil against the Alliance aka The Good Guys. Of course, her role as a bad guy would be nothing as compared to the role of Leah from Diablo 3; a redhead with a preferance for the bow and arrow who sadly becomes Diablo’s vessel.
All three leading ladies were brilliant, beautiful, was highly proficient in ranged combat and all three were corrupted and destroyed in one way or another.
It can be argued that Sarah Kerrigan is on the road to redemption after the events of Starcraft 2, but until the game releases, who can say for sure? There are other powerful women in Blizzard’s books that also became bad guys err.. girls… and/or were sentenced to a grim existence: Blood Raven, the original Rogue from the first Diablo game and Maiev Shadowsong are examples.
All in all, it is kind of sad and depressing to witness that Blizzard ultimately provides a glass ceiling for its fictional female characters – a glass ceiling that hopefully will soon be broken by future installments.