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Korg Highmountain, Tauren Hunter

World of Warcraft
by yo go re

DC Direct had a big task ahead of them when they announced World of Warcraft Series 3's Deluxe figure would be a Tauren Hunter: after all, SOTA already did a Tauren, and it was great - there really wasn't anywhere to go but down.

Tauren hunters are unlike any other in their respect for nature and its bountiful gifts. Every hunt is steeped in ritual and prayer to honor the Earth Mother and the ultimate sacrifice made by the hunter's quarry. The hunters were the lifeblood of the nomadic tribes that wandered the plains of Kalimdor before the tauren joined the Horde and founded the plateau city of Thunder Bluff. Tauren as a people loathe unnecessary bloodshed to achieve their goals, but one would be a fool to mistake their desire to avoid violence as a weakness. In this war-torn world, the tauren do not hesitate to protect their lands and allies, ferociously crushing their enemies beneath a stampede of mighty hooves.

SOTA's Tauren was a shaman, one of the mystical-type guys charged with healing everybody in the party. DC's Tauren is a hunter, WoW's long-range fighter - you know, the kind who stand far away from any real danger and pop the enemies just before the real fighters can take them down. [Oooh, burn! --ed.] They can't even decide what his name is: all the solicits call him Brave Highmountain, but the package says his first name is "Korg."

Korg is the Series 3 deluxe figure, which means that like Lady Vashj, he's sold in a large box, rather than normal plastic packaging. That makes perfect sense when you realize he's 9" tall and about 11½" wide: this guy is a real monster! Even the Seventh Kingdom's Xetheus and the Mynothecean Guards are dwarfed by this guy. The only one who shares his weight class is, surprise surprise, SOTA's Tauren Shaman! That's a nice overlap.

With five years between them, you'd expect the sculpt on DC's figure would be better than SOTA's. And yes, it is, but not substantially so. Korg has an angry expression (and a bit of an underbite). His fur is short and rough, while his hooves and horn have rough cracks all over. And yes, that's "horn," singular: the other is cracked off. He's wearing a bear pelt, like the Shaman did, but his isn't removable, it's sculpted on. He has long braids trailing from his head, and unlike Valeera, all his are blowing the same direction.

The World of Warcraft toys are based on the work of Sam "Samwise" Didier, the art director for Blizzard, and the guy behind War/Starcraft's beefy look (no pun intended). Owing to that, the armor Korg is wearing doesn't actually represent any in-game items: his shoulder pads are horned animal skulls of some type, and though you can find bracers that are similar, there are none of this exact type. Highmountain's gear is all decorated with the symbol of the Earth Mother - amusingly enough, it's a stylized hoofprint. Blue copies of it adorn his hands, bracers, belt, bags, and the clasps for his pelt. He has thin bones as protection over his chest, and a brick-red loincloth with sculpted design elements.

The cow gets one accessory, an odd rifle/axe combo. It's a fairly normal gun, with a blade attached where a bayonet would normally go - but instead of pointing forward, it points down. According to people who would know, a gun like this shows up a few times in the game: at Level 37, you can get it as "The Silencer," and at 56 you can pick up the "Flawless Arcanite Rifle." This version actually looks like a cross between the two. The Flawless Arcanite Rifle has a scope on top and a decorative feather underneath, while the Silencer lacks both those features; this one, however, has the feather, but still lacks the scope. He can hold it in his left hand, but only as a club - his hands aren't designed to fit around the trigger. As it is, you have to dislocate his thumb to get the gun in place at all.

Korg has zero articulation. Seriously, nothing moves. At least the nameless Tauren Shaman had a few joints, even if all they did was allow you to maintain his balance. DC's figures have bupkis. It would have been simple to give him joints at the waist, wrists and tail, if nothing else. If you don't like his pose, don't buy him, because he'll never have a different one. The figure's paint is good and error-free, but nothing really worth commenting about. [And yet you comment on it anyway. --ed.]

Korg Highmountain is, like most of DC Unlimited's World of Warcraft figures, merely so-so. He's fine, if you want a big chunky display piece that can't move at all, but if you want a toy, you'll be severely disappointed. The worst thing, though, is the price. As a Deluxe figure, the Tauren Hunter costs upwards of $45. It's ridiculous. It's so ridiculous, in fact, that's it's redonkulous. Yes, it's so crazy that even I, staunch campaigner against stupid neologisms, must resort to using one to properly convey the brain-rattling disconnect between DC's asking price and the value of the product they're giving us in return. If he was poseable, maybe. But like this? No, not worth it, stay away. I got mine for half price when the lcs had a 50% off sale, which made his pricetag acceptable. If you can do the same and you like him, go for it. If not, then just enjoy looking at the pictures online.

-- 07/08/09

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