Cataclysmic Beginnings, Part 1

Having gone through both of the new races’ starting zones, I thought I’d give my opinions on how they turned out. They were both well done, but in different ways. The Goblin starting zone was very goblin-esque: it was fun, campy, had some entertaining moments. The Worgen starting zone was very sober: it was like you were in an industrial revolution time period, and you’re fighting for your survival.

This is going to be part one in a series of going through the changed starting zones of all the races, finishing up their respective starting areas – Durotar, Tirisfal, and so on.

My biggest disappointment was what happens to the Worgen after the starting zone is done, but we’ll get to that part later.

There will be lots of spoilers forthcoming.  Follow along after the break to go through my thoughts about these two great areas.

Goblin

Summary: all in all, very fun. I used the term “goblin-esque” earlier, and I think that it really was. When you think of the goblins of the Steamwheedle Cartel in the world, the quests that they give you were fun and vengeful. If someone crossed them, they have a big mark on their face and are primed to get revenge. They’re also ambitious to the extreme, as they need only the slightest bit of encouragement to do whatever it takes to further their own plans.

When a character is created, they start in Kezan before the Cataclysm happens. Through the events that transpire, Deathwing appears and makes Mount Kezan turn into a big volcano and start to destroy the entire island. You collect your “moolah”, your friends, your executive assistant, and high-tail it off to Gallywix’s yacht to escape. Of course, all the money that you have to pay him for the trip is used to stuff his pockets, and you become his slave.

In my opinion, the best part of the Kezan area is the Hot Rod. You use it to get around the island quickly, and the other goblins had better get out of your way. If you’ve ever played the game “Carmageddon” (really old game), you’ll be familiar with what happens. Any NPC that you run over, you don’t just run through like the rest of the world – they get booted off to the sides, and threaten to sue you. One quest takes you to the First Bank of Kezan to withdraw some money, and there’s a big lineup to get there which gives a great chance to mow down those pesky goblins.

After the Kezan part is done and you escape the volcano with Gallywix, you’ll be around level 6 or so. At that point a cutscene starts which shows the Alliance shooting on a boat which the goblin ship happens to come upon. The Alliance attack the goblins, as they don’t want any witnesses (Alliance scum!), and the goblins become castaways on the Lost Isles.

There’s a lot that goes on in the Lost Isles, and without going into too much detail I’ll just list a few of my highlights. Walking around in the giant Pygmy helmet is entertaining, giving me a flashback to Spaceballs with Dark Helmet. Volcanoth the lava turtle god was a really neat fight – training for raids starting at low levels is a great idea.  Kaja’Cola gives amazing ideas. The revenge you get on your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend is a little bit disturbing. Thrall is, and always will be, completely awesome (even if he is a bit too nice sometimes).

Worgen

Summary: all in all, very fun but in a different way. I used the term “sober” earlier, and I think that it is really the best way to describe it. We only had the experience with Worgen in Silverpine Forest, Shadowfang Keep, and Grizzly Hills pre-Cataclysm – so I, for one, was very excited to learn as much about the new race as possible and see how it would be integrated within the Alliance.

Fortunately, most everything is explained in good detail through the starting experience. I really enjoyed how you’re thrown into the thick of things: you investigate a body that was mauled, and when you go back to report what has happened to Prince Liam Greymane, it’s an all-out Worgen invasion. The usual things happen, you help people escape, you kill other worgen, then you free some prisoners who were once friends of King Genn Greymane who had opposed him previously. In the King’s mind, he needs all the help he can get – and rightfully so.

It’s during a part when you are collecting supplies in a cellar that you are bitten and infected with the Curse of the Worgen. It is then that you first meet Lorna Crowley, as she saves you by shooting the worgen who bit you (not known by anyone else at this point), allowing you to escape to safety. You have a debuff that says that you’ve been bitten, and over time the description of it says more about your eventual turning into a full-fledged Worgen.

The fight against the Worgen becomes dire, and you eventually black out. You wake up as a Worgen, having your sanity regained by the alchemist you save before. Through the rest of Gilneas, you’re working against the Forsaken – who have decided to launch an all-out invasion of the newly broken Greymane Wall – and trying to save your people from eradication.

Eventually you meet up with the Night Elves and Darius Crowley, who end up “curing” you of your curse and become able to shift between Human and Worgen forms at any time (except in combat, when you’re always a Worgen). At this time, it’s revealed that Genn Greymane was also cursed, and the three buddies that you free before don’t really like it, considering one commits suicide.

I’m not going to list everything that happens in the rest of Gilneas, so I’ll do the same as before and list some of my highlights. The overall feel of the zone is very well done. You’re fighting for the survival of your people, so it should look and feel like it. The architecture is gorgeus, but I’m a sucker for European-styled buildings. Lorna Crowley is supremely badass. It would have been nice if Liam Greymane would have lived, but I understand the reason for him being killed.

Conclusion

After you’re done the Lost Isles, you are sent by Thrall to see Garrosh with a message saying that the Goblins are part of the Horde. Garrosh isn’t thrilled, but he is happy to have new people to order around. The integration works, as they have their own part of Orgrimmar, all of Azshara, and a number of outposts around the world.

After you’re done Gilneas, you’re shipped off to Darnassus to help the Night Elves. You report to the Howling Oak inside the city and speak to Genn, who says he’s off to Stormwind to ask for the help of Varian. You, however, are asked to help out in Darkshore instead of your own homeland. In order to see the end of the Worgen-Forsaken storyline, you have to roll an Undead character and quest through Silverpine Forest.

I am extremely disappointed in how the Worgen were treated in-game. They have such a great starting experience, but after that they have no presence in the world apart from a tree to mark their territory once they finish said starting area. The Goblins have a number of outposts in the world and are very much integrated in the Horde. It seems that Blizzard added the Worgen in as an afterthought.

Finally, I wish that the Lost Isles, Kezan, and Gilneas had use after the starting experiences were done. There was a very small bit of Gilneas used in the Silverpine Forest questlines, but not very much at all. There’s so much great architecture and work that was put into it, so more people should be able to see it and appreciate it.

I’ve said before that Blizzard has outdone itself when it came to anything to do with Cataclysm.  These two starting zones are no exception at all.  It would have just been nice if the story was continued properly outside of Gilneas for the Worgen.

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