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The Nexus Telegraph: Examining the Draken of WildStar

Posted Nov 4th 2013 1:30PM by Eliot Lefebvre
Filed under: Betas, Sci-Fi, Lore, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

If they'd just give the lady Draken some shirts it'd be great.
Let me open this third column about the racial lore behind WildStar with a simple statement: The Draken are relentless hunters, stalkers, and combat monsters. Unlike the last two columns, this one will not suggest in any way that this is not what they are. I know the past two have raised some questions regarding the nature of the races compared to how they are presented, but the Draken are exactly what they suggest they are collectively.

That doesn't mean there's nothing more to be said or understood. The Draken are an old acquisition of the Dominion, one of the first member races afforded some degree of respect by the Cassians. And however cut-and-dried that might seem, I think there's a lot more going on beneath the surface.

Ego architecture is kind of a thing for them.We don't know precisely how long the Dominion has been around. It's been over a thousand years, but it could be anywhere from 1100 to 2000 years and still be plausible. I'm tempted to say that it's closer to the former figure, but we don't have a solid number, and that's likely to persist. (The hard date of 1578 AE suggests to me that we're counting years since the formation, but "AE" could just as easily mean "After Exile.") But we do know that the Draken were three centuries after the founding of the Dominion, one of the first races brought under control if not the first.

And they had one job: hurt things.

The Draken have served the Dominion for more than a thousand years. They have hunted across the stars and done what was bidden for ages. What we know of their culture is very fixated on honor, debt, and hunting. For a thousand years they have been the Dominion's military shock force, following an ancient debt and hunting whatever was necessary. It's the optimal situation for the Dominion; there's an entire race of soldiers at the Empire's beck and call, and not only do the Draken owe the Dominion everything, they actually like being in the line of fire.

This is why the Dominion decided to replace them with the Granok not so long ago. Oh, sure, you can claim that the Granok were being recruited for something else, but what would that be? Loading cargo? Writing novels? Playing professional sports? Where do you think that strength and endurance was going to be funneled?

This isn't something that's really been played up, but it seems like a given to me: The Dominion wanted a new soldier race. That raises the question of why.

I suspect two reasons. First of all, ancient debts are all well and good, but one has to suspect after a thousand years that the debt is wearing a little thin. I'm not talking about anything so poetic as a trick of wording that would release the Draken from their service; I just mean the simple fact that this was a promise made a long time ago by people who are no longer around. One can easily see the Draken growing frustrated at what they see as inferior hunts or opponents that can't possibly provide a true challenge to the accomplished hunters that have scoured much of the galaxy.

And therein lies a more fundamental issue. The Draken are not ideal soldiers. They want to hunt. They want to fight worthy foes. They want glory that can't come from providing services like garrison duty or defensive operations. I suspect a big part of why the Exiles were able to make their first move against Dominion so effectively is that the Draken considered "police actions" to not be part of their service.

Our forces have no shortage of options for a glorious death.  You have a distinct shortage of options when it comes to who is willing to die, though.Maybe that's the sort of thing that the Granok were meant to do. For the sake of the Cassians, I'm going to speculate that it was precisely that. But it still doesn't exactly encourage the Draken to keep working with the Dominion. Ages of selfless service only to face the possibility of being replaced? Does that seem like something that would encourage you to continue serving the glory of an Empire that your however-many-times-great-grandfather signed on with for reasons that no longer pertain to you?

Now, the dynamic has changed. Nexus is open. The Draken have a new hunting ground, a new place to prove their collective might. And I don't mean to suggest that the Draken are fomenting rebellion or plotting a chance to strike against their masters.

They don't have to.

For centuries, the Dominion has relied upon the Draken to be shock troops, and the Draken have relied upon the Dominion to provide new opportunities. But that relationship does not need to cut both ways. It's even possible that the Draken no longer need the Dominion as much as the Dominion needs them. After all, Nexus now provides all of the new hunts that the Draken could ever want. They have no problem allowing the Dominion to claim it, but it is their new hunting ground, and they mean to keep hunting as long as they can.

So the Draken hunt. And the Dominion asks them for their service but can no longer demand it. In some ways, the greatest threat to the Dominion might prove to be not its enemies but its supposed perfect soldiers.

They also serve who only stand and wait.

Feedback, as always, is welcome down below or via mail to eliot@massively.com. Next week I want to talk about the plans we know now about for the winter beta round, and the week after that I'm going to be diving into racial lore again for a chance to talk about a race I'm already fond of: the Mordesh.

Here's how it is: The world of Nexus can be a dangerous place for a tourist or a resident. If you're going to venture into WildStar, you want to be prepared. That's why Eliot Lefebvre brings you a shiny new installment of The Nexus Telegraph every week, giving you a good idea of what to expect from both the people and the environment. Keep your eyes peeled, and we'll get you where you need to go.

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