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Goblin up all the excitement

Sure, the worgen are badass and all that. When Cataclysm breaks, we'll probably see a wave of rerollers populate the Alliance with werewolves the way Burning Crusade glutted the Horde with pretty boys (and girls). The worgen have so much angst and goth sensibilities, and Gilneas evokes that whole aura of Victorian doom and gloom that the new race is guaranteed to attract a tidal wave of players to roll characters from scratch or, sometime in the future, pay for a race change. Heck, even I plan to roll a worgen and level it through the new starting zone.

But what really excites me are the goblins. Sure, they're short, green, and by any measure pretty ugly, but man, they appear to be a total riot. We've never seen anything like this before. Personally, I think the whole deal with worgens is just too emo. But goblins? Insanity. Goblins are hedonistic, money-grubbing, self-destructive and completely, off-the-deep-end wacky. They have a pleasure palace in Azshara. A pleasure palace. With a swimming pool. If you thought starting areas on RP servers had some interesting RP going on, you might be shocked at the kind of RP that a freaking pleasure palace with a swimming pool invites. Goblins aren't nice guys. They're abrasive and offensive by design. I can't wait to play one.

Granted, I'm a Horde loyalist. I don't think I've ever leveled an Alliance character past level 10 in over five years of playing this game, so liking the new Horde race might be subconsciously mandatory. Maybe I'm rationalizing their cool factor versus the more obvious badassery of the worgen. But come on -- a hot rod racial mount! Rocket belts! Goblins are characters you'd love to hate. They're an excuse to be downright nasty. Kezan is a dark, polluted city with nightclubs and a football field with low-quality astroturf. A post-apocalyptic, wretched hive of scum and villainy in the World of Warcraft. It's awesome.

In the light of current events, the fact that the Lost Isles has something like the KTC oil platform may be a bit politically incorrect ... which makes it just about perfect. The goblins are all about political incorrectness in the highest order. There is no race less concerned about the environment than the goblins, whose inventions either chug out black, polluting smoke, blow things up, or both. The best ones are both, of course. Speaking of blowing things up, the goblins reshaped Azshara in the most awesome way, tearing down entire cliff sides and ridges to pay homage to the faction that took them in. It's downright batguano crazy. It's the kind of thing that would have nature activists soiling their knickers in horror. Goblins do things that would be totally abhorrent in the real world (being green-skinned and all probably wouldn't help, either) but seem perfectly acceptable in the game.

In Cataclysm, the Horde take a turn for the worse -- in terms of personality, Blizzard seems to be slowly erasing the ambiguity about the Horde's less-than-noble nature. A new acting warchief in the unapologetically abrasive Garrosh, more and more menacing spikes in orcish architecture, an even more scheming Sylvanas ... the Horde don't just look bad, this time around they almost unquestionably are bad. Or maybe not. There are still the noble tauren, after all. So maybe it's all just for show. Still, you can't deny that goblins, the new kids on the block, are the baddest of the bunch.

Considering their blatant disregard for nature and polluting everything in their path with their inventions, the whole deal with goblin shamans still seems pretty shady to me. Shaky lore aside, a goblin shaman is pretty high on my list of characters to roll in the expansion. I mean, how can I resist those mechanical totems? Heck, almost any class as a goblin would be fun. As a very nearly exclusively-Horde player, I've never had the pleasure of attacking someone's knees. With these diminutive green fellas, I can choose to play a rogue and backstab my enemies ... on their thighs.

Oh, and I've never had a character that actually feels like they move fast. Have you ever played a tauren? I could never take being on a tauren character for long because they feel like they move at a glacial pace. In reality, of course, all the races move at the same speed but the fact that gnomes (and now goblins) are physically small means they need to take faster strides with their stubby legs. For someone who's never played a race shorter than an orc, that's bound to be a great change of pace. Pun intended.

When the expansion finally ships, there lies the choice whether to roll a goblin or level up one of my existing level 80 characters to 85. It's not an easy choice! As much as I love my paladin, the allure of playing a bad, bad goblin is pretty strong. From all indications, the goblin starting areas and phased storyline promises to be even better than the death knight experience, which I once raved about.

So fine. All you fence-sitters go on ahead and reroll your fancy little werewolves. Heaven knows the Alliance needed some real badasses on their team, so congratulations. But just as the Horde was littered with Sephiroth clones -- with every conceivable variation of the name -- when Burning Crusade was launched, expect the Alliance to get their fair share of Jacobs, Jakobs, and Jacobblacks. Me? I'll be puttering around on dirty green feet, rubbing my greedy green hands, and flashing my duplicitous green grin on the other side of Azeroth. See, the gobins ... they got what I need.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Goblin

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