Hey, if you’ve never played World of Warcraft, there’s something you should know: This is a game with a lot of bears. You might not think much about that because really, bears are kind of expected in most MMOs. Outside of science fiction games where you could easily use your plasma pistol to disintegrate a bear or whatever, you expect that you will be fighting a bear or two. Bears are big piles of fur and claws, they make good opponents for jerks with swords.
But WoW isn’t just casually involved with bears. It doesn’t just have some bears in there that you fight and then move on from. No, the game is lousy with bear-based threats. Don’t believe me? Look, there’s even a convenient list of all the bear threats you will deal with over the course of playing this game, and let me tell you, there are a lot of bears. It’s bear central up in here.
1. Normal bears
I mean, what can be said about this kind of bear? It’s a bear. It’s a big pile of fur and claws. There are a lot of different colors of bear all available, and they’re all big murfing danger floofs. You can travel the world (of Warcraft) from end to end and encounter a whole lot of different bears, sometimes collecting their livers for quests, sometimes being baffled by how few bears have livers, sometimes looting an entire bear carcass and tossing it in your bag.
Also, skinning a bear should aggro every bears in a 40-yard radius.
2. Plagued bears
These are a lot like other bears, except now they have gotten down with the sickness. Or a sickness. Maybe you’re in the Plaguelands. Maybe you’re doing a Night Elf quest that requires bears to somehow be diseased so you can figure out what’s causing the bears to be sick and usually kill a bunch of bears in the process (oops?). Maybe this bear just nosed into a dumpster with disease samples in it. The point is that this bear is a plagued bear, and if the mauling isn’t bad enough, it’ll now inflict you with a disease to boot. Bad bear.
3. Spectral bears
All right, we’re still pretty much into comprehensible territory here. After all, if you’ve got all these bears roaming around, you’re going to have bear spirits all up ins, right? You can’t have one without the other. It’s like having PvP without toxic, homophobic, immature chat; you really just sort of expect one to go with the other.
A lot of these spectral bears are remarkably capable of doing a lot of damage to you with their spectral claws, which would seem at odds with what the very nature of being a spectral bear might imply. Then again, you can also damage the bears in question with guns and fireballs, so fair’s fair.
4. Armored bears
The Amani trolls are absolute maniacs. Seriously. Take a look at these complete nutjobs. They took a bear, an animal that is already such an excellent killing machine that the world is lousy with bears, and they said that what it really needed was armor. To be a more dangerous bear. So now you have a bear that’s more resistant to damage and still possessed of all of a bear’s natural instincts.
Fortunately, most of a bear’s natural instincts involve nosing in dumpsters looking for discarded pizzas and taking naps whenever the hell the bear feels like it because when you’re a freaking bear you do whatever you want and nobody is going to mess with you. Why? Because if they do, they’re messing with a bear. You maul them and go on with your life.
Bears are awesome.
5. Druid bears
Sometimes you see a bear and it’s not an actual bear. It’s a Troll or a Night Elf or a Worgen or whatever that decided to shapeshift into a bear. Because why wouldn’t you shift into a bear if you could shapeshift? The answer is that obviously you would turn into a bear, and that’s exactly what Druids do. They turn into bears, and if they’re facing off against you in an arena or a battleground you have a new bear opponent to deal with who still possesses all the cognizance of a sapient caster but also all of the… bear. Of a bear.
6. Bear people
Here is every Furbolg story in WoW: “Oh, hey, some of us found some glowing thing and decided to worship that. Turns out it was turning us crazy. Now, could you go and kill all of the ones who have fallen under the sway of the Glowing Doom Talisman that we all thought was a good idea for a while?”
Furbolgs are kind of dumb. But hey, they’re bears. They’re mostly about taking naps.
7. Other bear people
All right, let’s get something out of the way. For decades, there was a great deal of debate over where pandas should be placed when it comes to taxonomy, with some researchers advocating that they were actually more closely related to raccoons. However, studies have confirmed that pandas do indeed belong with the family Ursidae, and while it is part of a divergent tree from the majority of bears, it is still 100% a bear. So that debate is over and done with. Pandas are bears, not anything else, and that means that the Pandaren are bear people as surely as anyone else. Red pandas, meanwhile, are not bears, but we’ve already made our bed and Pandaren are bear people.
Not that it’s exactly a surprise. If you told a Pandaren that their entire genetic ancestry pointed to their taking naps and eating, they’d probably look at you like “what did you expect?” That’s kind of their thing.
8. Mail armor of the Bear
Back in the days when most armor you would be wearing came from drops and involved the random animal suffixes, this was the saddest armor you could get. See, Strength and Stamina aren’t stats that you want on mail-wearing classes. You would much prefer Agility and Intellect. Sure, a little Stamina here and there is nice, as a treat, but your main engine is related to the already mentioned stats, and Strength doesn’t really help you. It was heartbreaking to be aching for a new drop because your last upgrade was a while back and find yourself staring at an armor piece of the Bear. It’s nothing you want in terms of stats, but is it still an upgrade?
These days I don’t think many people even remember when these armor suffixes were a thing that anyone cared about, so maybe it’s irrelevant now, but dang it, this is important to remember because it’s another threat from bears. Those bears are tricky. That’s how they get you.
9. Bear cub battle pets
Oh, sure, the bear cubs look adorable and you don’t want to fight them. That’s a given. But even if you get over that impulse, you have to deal with the fact that in the world of battle pets, a miniature bear is still a bear, and that bear cub will mess you up. It will rip out your main pet’s heart and use it as a club, and then it will lean back and look adorable so you can’t even stay mad at it.
You should probably get a bear pet of your own, really.
10. Kul Tiran men
Oh, yeah, that’s a bear.