It’s been a little bit since Blizzcon has come and gone. As an avid gamer of World of Warcraft, the news of what will happen in the new expansion pack is a lot to swallow. Granted, I can’t claim to be one of the rabid fans who have played since its release, though I have been enjoying it for a couple of years, at least – more than enough time to see a lot of what the game has to offer.
The expansion Cataclysm is about as destructive as it sounds: Blizzard has promised an entire revamping of the oldest areas of the game, Azeroth and the Eastern Kingdoms. Like expansions before, there is a great evil causing this: in the Burning Crusade expansion pack, Illidan, self-proclaimed Lord of Outland, was the one causing chaos. In Wrath of the Lich King, the armies of the Horde and the Alliance began to do battle against The Lich King himself, who himself was once a hero in Warcraft lore before evil twisted him into the shell he is in the current game. In Cataclysm, the return of the Dragon Aspect Deathwing is so explosive, the world is torn asunder, completely changing the face of the two continents. It’s this massive change that will be the focal point of the new expansion, as the fallout will be great and the battles will be greater.
I purposely waited for a little while to really digest all that has been thrown at the fans of the game so far. And while I can just list the same things countless of blogs have talked about in terms of what’s new, I wanted to toss out my own opinions on the two major changes of the game: the obvious revamp of the old world and the two new races being brought to the table.
I’ve been reading a lot of mixed reactions to the decision to remake the first two areas of the game. Understandable, I suspect, because as much as repeating the same quests as you level characters gets tedious, a lot of quests are near and dear to even my heart. There are quests that people go out of their way to do, and are a great part of the gaming experience. As someone really into the lore of the game, this part of the expansion got me thinking the most.
And I think I like it.
Blizzard has gotten a lot better with their story elements in quests, as well as how they handle it in general (area phasing ring a bell?). Northend, for the most part, was a blast to play through. There were a lot of really epic quest chains to complete, each giving a little more into the history of the game’s major conflict, with a lot of callbacks to the original Warcraft series. To say the least, the newest expansion is leagues better than what the game began with, which especially consisted of a whole lot of fetch quests that got boring very quickly. I think overall, a revamp will allow them to improve upon what they have. I am looking forward to the NPC characters I remember from leveling up my characters and how their reaction to what happened will be. If Blizzard does this right, I think it could actually end up being pretty awesome in general for older fans of the game. People who knew the game from before this expansion will spot things a lot of the newer players won’t, which gives a little something for everyone.
I won’t lie, hearing you’ll be able to fly in the areas does make me happy. Yes, the older players can pull out the old “I walked 15 miles to Stranglethorn Vale. UPSTREAM.” thing, but I have never equated that kind of hardship to anything but making the game have huge, boring breaks in action. I didn’t even care when they dropped the prices and the level you can acquire them in the last patch – I had to do extra work for my own character, but that doesn’t make me bitter people don’t have to anymore. Hell, being able to fly in Outland from the get go has made leveling my new rogue so much more fun than my main ever was.
The changes Blizzard has already shown are bleak and impressive. I think it makes sense the game makes this kind of turn, especially considering the war that’s been going on in this last game. And while I’m sure there will be lore missteps galore, I have faith they will find a balance between what was there and what’s there now. I think people are forgetting that new quests will really make leveling up fun, especially for the people like me who love exploring and taking in everything.
As long as it’s executed right, I am really thinking this will end up being a bonus to the game and not a hindrance. I am looking forward to more footage of the before and after pictures, personally. I have a feeling just from the trailer it’s going to be awesome.
The New Races
This is the other thing that has people abuzz. Blizzard has decided to add one new race to each side: Goblins to the Horde, and Worgen to the Alliance. I am going to say this right now: I am psyched about the goblins. No, seriously. I have wanted to play one since I went to Booty Bay. So this might end up being a little biased, but hey, I never said this article wouldn’t be.
I will start off with the Worgen, first. Blizzard has said they wanted a monstrous race for the Alliance – one that will fit in to the group despite their somewhat questionable history. They decided, then, to give the Alliance the Worgen race, which are essentially werewolves in modern terms. The Worgen in this game were once human beings, a long time ago. They were transformed into these beasts by a curse, likely brought on by Argul, who had summoned Worgen into the world in the first place. They barricaded themselves in their homeland of Gilneas, but something soon will unleash them onto the world. Speculations are abound as to how they end up siding with the Alliance, but with the footage of them meeting druids, it seems the Night Elves will have something to do with it.
My initial reaction to the Worgen was pretty easy to sum up – “meh”. I think once the lore will get clearer, they will spark my interest a lot more. As it is now, and as a druid, the idea of shifting forms and such doesn’t exactly excite me too much. I do like the idea all of them will be able to shift, though – it will likely give a nice buff to any class the person is playing. Their area actually looks pretty interesting, and reminds me a lot of something you’d see in a typical horror movie set in the past.
All of this so far will be eclipsed by the Goblin side, however. The Goblins have been a part of WoW since its very beginning. The race in general are ambitious, smart, and, most of all, greedy. They’re the entrepreneurs of Warcraft, and the quests they’ve given are some of the funniest the game has to offer. It’s no surprise that this group ended up being the Horde side’s new race, especially when announced they were picked solely to give the Horde a less serious race to play around with.
It might be my bias showing, but I have always enjoyed the Goblin race. The pick fits very well with the faction, since a good chunk of the Goblin outposts in general are more in Horde territory. The Goblins you play in this expansion, however, have never been seen before in game. They actually come from the Isle of Kezan, where they were slaves to trolls. The ore they mined, however, began to change them, giving them an intelligence that quickly surpassed their masters. A rebellion was made, and these Goblins secured their freedom. From there, they began to build a trading business that builds a whole lot of profit. While they remained neutral for a while, their patience with the Alliance slipped, and soon enough they sided with the Horde.
Their beginning world apparently has you on their base island. Somehow, you end up in a wreckage, in which you end up having to be resuscitated (by a Goblin jumper cable, of course). The rest of your first steps as a Goblin include a battle to get rid of one hell of a pest – monkeys, and a whole lot of them. What makes this race unique in general is the group has interesting ways of dealing with things, mostly through explosives and engineering things in general. Of course, this leads to quests like blowing monkeys up to get their stuff back from them.
That kind of humor seeps into their proposed racial buffs as well. Any player knows the typical Goblin phrases, which are said when you click them for quests or buy items from them. I hope to god Blizzard keeps the names they’ve picked for their racial stuff, because having a talent called “Time is money”, which is a very common phrase, just cracks me up every time. Most of their racial things have to do with money, in fact, including a pretty awesome one where you can call a hobgoblin to bring you items from your bank every thirty minutes. They also have some more explosive racial talents, mostly consisting of uses of rockets – unsurprising, if you’ve ever seen the stuff you learn when you become a engineer with the goblin specialty. Overall, where the Worgen are meant to be some pretty heavy stuff, the Goblins are a lighthearted, fun group. The spectrum between them is pretty interesting to behold.
The new features are just two of the changes, after all. It sounds like this new expansion is going to have lot to offer, including new areas, a new level 85 cap, new dungeons, and even heroic versions of some of the older dungeons that are still popular today. More will probably be revealed as it gets closer to when it’s going to hit the shelves, and let me tell you, I’m glued to my screen waiting for more information coming out.