Origins and Ideology of the Pandaren Race

In the video game World of Warcraft, the Pandaren race featured as playable characters is heavily tied to Asian culture, specifically that of feudal Asia. The characters firstly are humanoid pandas, with the name of the race being a clear hint to that point. Originating in Asia and becoming a key symbol of the continent, the use of pandas sets a clear precedent that prepares the audience for further references to Asian culture. In the game, a Pandaren character has to choose between joining one of two factions, the Horde and the Alliance. To make this decision, an option panel appears on the screen, describing both choices while providing a join option. Besides these descriptions are banners representing the factions, with the Pandaren written language found on the banner WoW Pandaren Faction Choice UI). The script is clearly reminiscent of Asian script, with characters sporting numerous distinct strokes and other features consistency found in the real world inspiration (“Kanji”). The architecture is also derived from Asian culture- specifically Japanese. The major city of the Pandaren race sports massive castles with curved roofs that instinctively return the player to picturesque scenes of feudal Japanese architecture with wide sloping roofs topping the castles.

Despite the aesthetic references, the ideology of the Pandaren race is less derived from common Asian ideologies and stereotypes. Rather than be interested in familial values or hard work, the Pandaren race is instead originated in wanderlust. The race came from a group of wandering Pandearen explorers who settled on The Wandering Isles; a giant turtle with an island on it’s back. This origin brings about the hint of a naturalistic ideological point of view. This is proven further when the introductory story to the character centers around calming the agitated native creatures and finding the missing elemental spirits. The main ideology lies in philosophy, however. The Pandaren’s choose one of the two factions based off of the two philosophical values that the Pandaren hold with each. With the Alliance, the Pandaren follows the Tushui philosophy, regarding meditation, rigorous training, and morality as necessities in life. With the Horde, the Pandaren follows the Huojin philosophy, which warns against inaction.


“Kanji.”, 3 Oct. 2018,

WoW Pandaren Faction Choice UI. Blizzard Entertainment Inc., 21 Oct. 2011,


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