Friday, August 14, 2009

Tickled Pink: the new races of Azeroth

The staff at PPI are pleased to offer to their customers a brand new feature at the Inn. Tickled Pink shall appear occasionally in these pages as a collaborative effort between the Innkeeper and the Bartender. One topic relating to the world of Azeroth is selected and Larisa and Elnia will both offer their views on that topic within the same post. We extend an invitation to our readers to let us know if they are or are not Tickled Pink in the comments.

Elnia's Perspective

The introduction of the new races is more important to me for what I hope it portends about other changes to the game not because I possess an overwhelming enthusiasm for specific new races introduced. Playing Alliance, I honestly don't have much interest in playing a Worgen. They are not visually appealing and when you have to look at a toon for hours at a time visual appeal is important. There will need to be enticing racial benefits in order to over come that visual barrier.


On the other hand, I'm going to play a goblin. If there is one thing that will entice me over to the Horde side it's playing a goblin. Which, I suspect, is one of Blizzard's goals; to get more people to play Horde. I definitely have an impish and rapscallion part to my character and the way goblins are portrayed in Azeroth has always appealed to that aspect of my personality. A goblin Rogue is a little creature after my own heart (and certainly after my pocketbook!)


My problem is that I don't really think goblins should be a playable class at all. I understand the lore argument but it's based on the false assumption that Azeroth as implemented in the game is a perfect reflection of lore and it's not. All the other three races introduced to the game were races that, up until their introduction, played on a small part in the life of the game. Goblins are different; they have a significant role in the game as NPCs. The major neutral cities of Taranis, Stranglethorn Vale, and the Barrens are all goblin cities. In terms of sheer numbers, there are probably more Goblin NPCs in the world than any other race except human. This will certainly be true after they get their own starting area. Maybe because I've only played Alliance, but I'm acculturated to looking at Goblins (which are everywhere) and thinking "friend" or at least, "not enemy." Changing that mindset will be difficult I think. More than anything else, I think the game will look unbalanced with so many Goblins (both PC and NPC) running about.


The introduction of Goblins, the Argent tournament, the ability to change factions, these three things make me wonder if the new expansion features a much reduced emphasis on the Horde vs Alliance conflict. Perhaps in the future the world will split up into competing home cities (much like feudal warlords). The only thing that actually still requires Horde vs Alliance is battlegrounds, and the Argent Tournament offers a model where even that could be displaced. I think that if the new classes are the major development in terms of game play mechanics in the next expansion I will be disappointed. So I'm curious to see what else Blizzard has in store.


Larísa's perspective


Was I really tickled by the news about the new races? Yes and no. To be honest I found the way that they first were broken – the discovery of the masks in the database and the following efforts to cover it up – much more interesting than the actual content of the news.


As a former journalist I kind of enjoy watching the race between the search dogs of the community, constantly browsing forums, putting clues together, and the public relations staff who try to keep some kind of control over the information that goes out.


The community obviously won this one, since someone had been careless. Or maybe the policies have changed a bit and they just don’t care that much anymore about what comes out in which order? Anyway – seeing it happen makes me giggle. I’m definitely tickled.


On the other hand, like Elnia, I’m not overly excited about the outlook of having access to two more races. Unlike a new class it doesn’t bring in any new aspect to the game – it’s just two new furs to put on and not a big deal. Surely they’ll come with new questing areas, but is that enough to make me roll another alt, just to get the privilege to watch the furry back of a worgen instead of a nightelf or a dwarf? I doubt it. Hey, I haven’t even come around to roll my new DK, which seems like a far more exciting thing to do, since it’s also a new class.


Besides – is it just me, but do you really think that a werewolf looking character really fits into the Alliance team? I’m sceptic. To me it has much more of horde connotations. Without having any deeper knowledge in the worgen lore, the looks of them makes me think of them as another people of outcasts – misunderstood and not considered “beautiful” in the normal sense, unless you get to know them a bit better.


And then we have the goblins. I don’t quite get it. Why would they suddenly go all-out horde? I’ve always seen them as mercenaries, - the Ferengies of Azeroth, loayal to nothing but their gold. It would have been natural if they had become the first flexible race that could go either horde or alliance, as you prefer. It doesn’t make sense to me that they suddenly would swear a permanent oath of faith to the horde. This said I would like to have a goblin of my own – in the only natural role I can see for it – as a banker. But that little pleasure will only be given to the horde players as it looks with the information we have at the moment.


All in all – I hope that the next piece of leaked news about Cataclysm will be more exciting than the one about races. When I’ll take the decision if I’ll stay for the next round, it won’t depend on the availability of another furry skin. There are other aspects that matter more: the amount of new content such as instances, cool questlines and a new hero class. It’s about overall feeling of the game, the look, quality and finish in the design of the new areas. It’s about how much effort they put into the development of game mechanisms and the features yet-to-be invented the equivalences of the phasing, the vehicle fights and the integrated short movies that came with WotLK. It’s about the general feeling that the game is still alive and breathing, that Blizzard cares about it and not only are cashing in the gold, while their heart and focus is turned somewhere else.


But what matters most of all is as always the players. For in the end it’s the players that build this game more than anything else. If there’s a mass exodus from the community, if my guildies move over to other games and I find myself all alone in the new Cataclysm world, there’s no worgen or goblin suit in the world that can make me want to stay there.

22 comments:

Green Armadillo said...

There is absolutely no way that the existing Goblin settlements would go "all-out Horde". That would cause too many problems for too many areas in the game that Blizzard doesn't have time to mess with. The thing with a race that is so focused on cash is that you can bribe SOME of the Goblins over to one side without actually buying off the entire race.

Personally, I have no desire for a level 90 Worgen or a Goblin. I will abolutely roll up one of each to experience the new starting content, though, as the intro content is almost always among the most polished narrative in the game.

Anonymous said...

So its been confirmed ? or are ppl jumping the gun? Thought it wasnt being set in stone until Blizzcon....

Cacknoob (Aion)

And yes Larisa..Aion rocks!! :)

tiggs4e said...

I also would roll one of each of the new races just to experience the starting area's but probably wouldn't take them much farther.

This new post is a tickle keep up the great reads :D

Cassini said...

Alliance Worgen sounds...wrong. How would the inhabitants of Darkshire handle them for example? I can't see them being too friendly!

Also, what Elnia said about the goblin confusion between neutral and horde.

Tesh said...

Aye, I've thought these two especially should be the heart of a third, neutral faction. There is mechanical support for such thanks to the Zombie Infestation event.

I also think that they should each come with their own class, specifically a Merchant class for the goblins (complete with Racketeer, Privateer and Commandeer talent trees) and a sort of reverse Hunter for the Worgen (think WAR's White lion, where the pet is support, and the player is the melee meat shield), maybe a Packmaster that can have a pack of lesser wolves in thrall like the DK can have zombies, using howling buffs and chipping in minor DPS.

Of course, that's a lot of work, but really, I think that if you're going to put new races in the game, give them a good reason to be there. Cosmetics aren't enough for me.

Oh, and the "two different takes" article format is nice. Moar pleez.

Klepsacovic said...

I can't say I'm too excited about the new races. The goblins almost work as a small group, the worgen just don't fit well.

I do like the new format.

@Cassini: The Horde is somehow managing with trolls, elves, and the forsaken together. People, or at least leaders, are sometimes capable of overcoming some bias in order to forge very limited alliances. For example, since there was eventually some concern over Kael'thas the alliance is one with Silvermoon rather than the entire Blood Elf race.

Elnia said...

@cacknoob

It's not *official* yet. But the foundation for the rumor is sound. I think the official announcement will come at Blizzcon.

Fitz said...

We'll see what they reveal at Blizzcon. I'm still hesitant to call Worgen a member of the Alliance, as it just makes very little sense. Of course, the evidence is there. I'm more curious about the storyline of the next expansion.

Good idea on the tickled pink series. I'd say keep it going.

Staffan said...

I don't have a problem with goblins as part of the Horde. I imagine that it would be a goblin faction, not the entire goblin race. The other faction races are not monolithic either: you have the Zandalar trolls, the Alterac/Dalaran humans, and the dwarven Thorium Brotherhood that are all neutral. And that's ignoring all the racial factions that are hostile to both the Alliance and the Horde (most Grimtotem tauren, various Orc clans, Kael'thas blood elves, plenty of Broken/Lost draenei, Defias humans, and so on)

thelyse said...

I'm not too excited about these 2 new races. They do not look appealing. I'm one of those who play toons based on their looks.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

Goblins fought with the horde during the second war.

We Fly Spitfires said...

I actuallly would really like Blizzard to introduce some new playable races. I think it adds a lot of replayability to the game as you have motivation for leveling up a new character again. Worgen sound pretty cool to me, not that excited about Goblin.

I also wish they'd revamp the older character models.

Belsebub said...

Possible spoilers bellow though you may already have heard of them!


As said by Boubouille on MMO-champion the goblins will join the horde since deathwing will try to use the goblins as slaves resulting in a group that seeks help from the horde, this gives a good reason for them to give up their neutrality.

Also, if Blizzard really are re-designing all of Azeroth (unlikely but I do hope for it to be real) then the goblin cities could be made horde only or simply be removed.

I am not sure but as far as I can see by looking at dates and such your post was made before the new information was released thus making it impossible for you to know anything about what I wrote here, I just wanted to point them out.

Fritzgar said...

One way they could do it is to make either race be able to pick a faction towards the end of their starting quest chains ... then you could have alliance goblins and horde goblins and the same for the worgen. Instead of the Worgen which honestly seems like a cop out race choice to me why don't they let you make non horde blood elves.

Drazmor said...

Well if this supposed quiality info from MMOChampion is true, well then we're all taking this from the wrong perspective. I'm not explaining, because I don't want to ruin it for people who like a surprise, but Azeroth is about to be spun around, flipped over, blown up, drowned and kicked in the face by Blizard. (The supposed new is at: http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=92919.0)

Larísa said...

@Green Armadillo & Staffan:
Yeah, you're probably right. I guess there are several Goblin factions... But it would have made more sense to me if some of them had joined Alliance, considering their mindset.

@Cacknoob: well... not officially confirmed, but it certainly looks quite convicing, especially connected to the MMO-champion mining on PTR. By the way: I miss you more than you may think. But I guess there are bridges in Aion as well...

@Tiggs4e: I'm glad you felt tickled!

@Cassini: it IS confusing. When I think about worgen I definitely think about the hostile inhabitants in Darkshire. It will take some time to get used to it.

@Tesh: lovely ideas! A merchant class, absolutely! Would be quite interesting to see how such a tree would look.... Hm. Maybe an idea for a blogpost? And reversed hunter, absolutely.

@Klepsacovic: Glad you liked it!

@Fitz: Well, they'd better come up with some good explanation. Eventually I guess I'll accept it.

@Theelyse: I used to think that way, but actually the more I play, the less important is "cute" or appealing". Or at least I don't think that I think about "appealing" the way the majority do. For instance I find human females quite ugly. They look completely empty in their eyes.

@Pangoria Fallstar: oh... This bad little gnome hasn't attended her history classes as she should. Shame on me! Thank's for pointing it out.

@We Fly Spitfires: THAT would make sense. Gnomes are ofc perfect the way they are :) but humans would REALLY need a facelift.

@Belsebub: yeah, this post was written before the MMO-article.

@Fritzgar: yep, exactly. They've made this switch thing with the oracle and Frenzyhearts. Maybe you could learn something from there...

@Drazmor: I've read it and considering the reputation that MMO Champion has built I find it quite likely that they're pretty much right. A commenting post on the leaking and rumors will come tomorrow.

Sedgewick said...

Sounds like Bliz is really stretching for ideas, huh? This sounds interesting, but not a "full expansion" type release. I mean, look at TBC and WotLK... What they're pushing is more of a 1/4 or 1/2 expansion, yet I'd imagine a full price ride. Ouch Blizzard, Ouch.

Fritzgar said...

@Larissa

The Oracle / Frenzyheart option is pretty much what I would think if that was to be the case. there are quite a few unmapped areas on both the Eastern Kingdoms and kalimdor maps that could be populated for a starting area for either race. That way the goblins can stay neutral, otherwise Tanaris and Stranglethorn would require new Alliance settlments(and lets be honest Blizz seems to have forgotten about Azeroth when it comes to patches/expansions), especially with the new mount changes those 2 zones are the best places to level toons in the high 30's to mid 40's in my opinion and al they have is goblin settlements.

Fritzgar said...

ok so I went and read the article over at MMO-Champion. Some of it sounds interesting and being somewhat a noob in the grand scheme of WoW ( I joined about midway through TBC) the thought of seeing some of these instances and actually getting something useful from them sounds like fun but rehashed instances should NOT be part of anything labeled NEW. If they want us to run molten core then they need to include a lvl 80 5 man and/or 10 man with heroic and normal modes in a patch not an expansion. I would like more then touched up redone content for my $40 come next expansion. Not to mention my monthly subscription ... whens the new star wars MMO coming out ??

Anonymous said...

The Worgen actually fit with the alliance if you consider the not-so-hidden secret of the alliance races: They're for the most a bunch of mutants twisted by otherwordly forces.

The Dwarves are mutant Earthen
The Humans are tiny mutant Valkyr
The Gnomes are mutant tobot..gnome..things.
The Night Elves are mutant trolls.

So why not the freaky werewolf men?

Carra said...

Well, it still seems to be rumours.

Adding two new races is a very cheap way of adding content. The skins are there, just add a few animations and you're done.

Adding two new starting zones would take a bit more work. But it's probably going to be "spend a few hours in the new content and then spend days doing the same old 20-80 content".

On the plus side, rolling a cute goblin rogue does have its appeal to me and might make me try out the horde side (to level 20 at least). And that's probably exactly what Blizzard intends to. Sure it makes no sense lorewise but they don't seem to care much about that any more.

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