Thursday, August 12, 2010

Goblin Thoughts

The inevitable, untenable Winklestein

So, the big rule I set for myself entering the Cataclysm beta is that I didn't really want to spoil too much of the new content for myself. New content is new only one time around, and I would prefer it to be new when it is all nicely polished and I can hit the dungeons with my friends and not run them feeling like I feel now having done the LK dungeons about 300 times apiece.

So, with that in mind, my first big endeavor in the Beta has been a goblin hunter.

Some recurring themes in the story of the goblins:

1) Explosions- It always comes back to blowing stuff up. A favorite early example of this is when you go to rescue some goblin captives. You kill the guards nearby who drop keys to the cages, but your rescue plan involves attaching jets to the cages so that they fly away to "safety."

2) Environmental Devastation- Wherever the Bilgewater Cartel goes, the utter obliteration of the natural environment follows. Head on into the Valley of the Spirits in Orgrimmar that has now been labelled the "Goblin Slums" and see the tranquil waters turned into tar pits. Or, head to the Talondeep Path between Ashenvale and Stonetalon which has been turned into the Talondeep Vale since the goblins came by, blew up most of the mountain and widened it.

I'll be honest, this environmental theme leaves me a tad upset. Personally, I'm not much of a tree hugger, but with BP ruining my favorite beaches in the United States, images of oil derricks turning water black or strip mined mountains in Azshara feels like an intrusion of real world problems more than it seems like interesting color.

The Goblin starting experience is pretty sharp. It is extremely linear, telling a very established story in which you are the big hero. I think my only real problem was that, in a lot of ways, the beginning experience doesn't feel much like Warcraft. Some of those early quest involve entertaining guests at a party, shopping for "bling" and hitting pirates with your hot rod. There's a complete absence of any other Warcraft races and most of these quests involve doing things that it really doesn't matter what class you are at all. The bling is at the same friendly vendor for everyone. I think I was lvl 7 or so before I actually had to kill anything.

I think the ultimate motivator of a goblin is meant to be selfishness, so how that translates to the rest of the world seems dubious to me. The voices of all these goblins come straight from The Bronx in New York, which I think is going to get old rather quickly.

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