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BlizzCon 2009: First impressions of Cataclysm races


For those interested in the subject, I've no doubt you've managed to pour through all of our Cataclysm-related coverage during BlizzCon. But lists of racial abilities and descriptions of starting zones only go so far in telling you what the Goblins and Worgen are really like. So now that BlizzCon's come to a close and the WoW.com team has had a chance to mull over time spent with the latest expansion we're going to give you what you really want to know about Cataclysm's new races: our honest impressions. Personally, I think Alex and Daniel's thoughts on the Worgen starting zone sums everything up:

Alex: TOP HATS
Daniel: FREAKING AWESOME TOP HATS

But for completeness' sake, the rest of the team's thoughts are below.

Chase Christian
Here's how I can sum up the first levels of the Worgen starting area:

THERE ARE VEHICLES YOU USE TO LAUNCH YOURSELF PLACES.

Putting vehicles in as low as level 5, they're clearly working to get new game mechanics in the hands of lowbies as quickly as possible.

Daniel Whitcomb
Both races are incredibly fluid and beautifully animated. I am incredibly pleased. They keep the feel of the old NPC skins but are much more beautifully detailed, and at first glance do not appear to suffer any of the glitches and clipping issues that plague most PC races.

I'm pretty happy with the racials on both sides. The Worgen Sprint racial feels like it could use a shorter cooldown, and I still wonder why anyone would WANT to shift back to human, but hey. It's all good. The Goblin racials capture the whimsical feel of Goblins while still being useful. The rocket jump is a nice escape mechanism, and the rockets, at least at low levels, do some decent damage. I'm a big fan of the other "flavor" racials too, and I think they have a lot to offer.

The Worgen zone has both a familiar human feel and an edge of strangeness, with architecture twisted to be just so, as if we're seeing a scene from a monster movie set in Transylvania. I am in love.

The Goblins have a more traditional Kalimdorian feel to what we saw, but there;s still scattered gadgets that are distinctly goblin. Still, it's mostly ruins, so maybe once we see their actual capital we'll get some new unique architecure.

Class option wise, I can dig it, but I am a bit disappointed. No Worgen Paladins? The Gilneans are devoted followers of the Light. Even the Cataclysm starting movie showed a cathedral in Gilneas. I really wanted to see some genuine pissed off angry retributers of the Light ready to bring Holy Vengeance on the Defilers. If you can let Worgen and Goblins be Death Knights, let 'em be Paladins!

Starting experience is amazing. Setting your character up as the hero of your people, And bringing in major lore characters, phasing, and in game cinematics? Yes, please! The quests had nice variety and mechanics without getting too boring or silly (coughjoustingcough).

Lore interactions were also tops. I loved seeing Genn Greymane. In fact, I squealed with joy. Thrall. Well. Thrall's journey to the jerk side is complete. He's horrible. But I am sure the Horde will eat it up.

But yes, Amazing starting experiences, and I am sure I will be recommending all players play through them at least once, much as I do for the DK starting experience.

I love the lore of Arugal as a guilt-ridden twisted native of Gilneas who was only trying to protect his people by summoning the Worgen. I wonder, if Worgen are going to be made 100% good in all forms, how they will explain Duskwood and Shadowfang keep tho.

Elizabeth Harper
These new races really show how much Blizzard has learned since the game first launched -- and even since we last had new races in Burning Crusade. While original WoW starting zones drop you, one of many of your kind, into a chain of fairly non-descript quests of the kill ten rats variety, both Goblin and Worgen starting zones throw you into the middle of an epic story-line in which you're the hero. Much like the Death Knight "starting experience," the point of the Goblin and Worgen starting zones isn't just to give new characters enough levels and experience to join the larger world of Azeroth -- it's to tell a story. Here's to hoping the rest of Azeroth, post-Cataclysm, will feel less grindy and more epic, like these new starting zones!

Matt Low
I made a mistake when I created a Goblin. So what was the mistake?

I created a Hunter.

I have never played a Hunter before and I had no idea what to do. I just mashed buttons and prayed that I'd connect with my shots. One of the quests involved rescuing other goblins. I liked the idea of being created as the savior of the goblin people. The Goblin racials are great! Now I can sort of say that I can truly do some rocket jumping in the game. I picked a bad time to pick a class that I honestly didn't know how to play. I died a lot because I'd run into multiple mobs and I was unable to get range and shoot them.

The starting area looked great. It was very vibrant and tropical. Whatever detail they added in Wrath, they amped it up even more in the beta. And this is pre-beta.

I've learned my lesson. Look at the class selection closely before hitting the create character button.

Mike Schramm
I think the new races seem a little bit like fan service. They'll be extremely popular, and they are cool, but it does seem like they're tweaking the lore a bit to get them in there. The racials are very flashy, but the racials I'm most interested in -- the Goblin money discounts -- didn't come into play in the demo. The class options also seem a little like fan service, but I think that's only because the lore hasn't been explained yet: the Goblin's Injured Colleague quests seem like they're going a long way towards telling an epic story and making the new options make sense.

I like the Worgen starting area better than the Goblins, though the Goblins area seems like it could be a jungle-style Stranglethorn that people actually like, which is excellent. Haven't had much experience with the starting experiences yet -- it seems a little less epic than the Death Knight experience, though remember we're comparing a Hero Class to a character someone might be picking up for the first time.

I think both Worgen and Goblins will be super popular as races, and I think the combination of completely revamping the old world will mean that everyone and their mother will be rerolling on the exact same day. Fun? We'll see.

Robin Torres
I was able to play both races and while I completely agree with all of the geeking out about the Worgen, I had more fun playing a Goblin. Both back-stories are delightfully dire, but the Goblins have a better sense of humor about their fate. I also love that gadgets play an intimate part of the Goblin existence -- as it should be. The rocket belt racials are powerful and fun, but gadgets are also played with for many of the quests. I was not able to play enough of either to really compare to the DK starting experience, but I predict I'll be rolling one of each character to experience both.

Zach Yonzon
I rolled a Worgen Hunter myself, for several reasons -- when the game goes live I'll likely be leveling a Goblin (after getting my main to 85), so I'm certain to see a lot of that starting area. Second, I chose Hunter because it's a relatively easy class to level with. The ability to engage at ranged and tap targets with a Hunter's Mark is important in a place teeming with other leveling players. The Worgen racial, Darkflight, default bound to 9, is extremely useful for creating distance and being able to get a shot off -- a couple of Serpent Sting + Arcane Shot at that level is usually enough to take down mobs.

I was slowed down considerably by the keyboard, since I'm used to playing with a Belkin N52te, but it's easy enough to get into the groove. The great thing is that Blizzard started off the hands-on playing experience at Level 6 which skipped over some secret details they're not yet willing to reveal, but also gave players more abilities to use. It was a bit silly having the aspects right beside Arcane Shot, but like I said, you get used to it after a while.

The Worgen racials are a bit underwhelming, considering there's only one useful activated ability. The shapeshifting is purely cosmetic, and doesn't have any practical game application. Starting in a place with Undead opponents, the Flayer skill won't come into play at all.

The starting area can't be compared to the DK starting experience just yet because I don't think we've fully explored what phasing can do to the zone. Overall, 20 minutes is too brief to give any sensible opinion about the experience.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgen to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: BlizzCon, Cataclysm

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