December 7, 2010 is the date everything changes across the world of Azeroth in Blizzard’s number one MMO, World of Warcraft, and there are no end of very good reasons why any self-respecting WoW player needs the Cataclysm expansion on Day One. Among the biggest draws of World of Warcraft’s third expansion is the inclusion of two new playable races: the savage Worgen joining the Alliance, and the mercenary Goblins siding with the Horde. While archeology, an increased level cap, new endgame content and a completely renovated Azeroth are intriguing, new playable races truly spice up this expansion.
Whether you’re for the Horde or Alliance for life, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into when you roll up that first goblin or worgen, and that starts with racial traits and class opportunities. While these abilities may not be quite etched in stone, racial abilities (commonly referred to as ‘racials’) will probably roll out like this:
Rocket Jump: Gives the goblin a short jump forward, sharing a two-minute cooldown with…
Rocket Barrage: Launches an onslaught of rockets at the goblin’s target, inflicting a scaling amount of damage (24-30 at level 1; 1654-2020 at level 80). As advertised, this ability is on a two-minute cooldown.
Time is Money: “Time is money, friend!” has always been the battle-cry of these little green capitalists, and goblins mean it. They gain a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
Best Deals Anywhere: Goblins always receive the best deals at any merchant, regardless of faction standing. This may not seem like much, but when saving 1,000 gold from a flight trainer, goblins will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Pack Hobgoblin: Everyone can use a lackey to run those little insignificant tasks, and your personal bank minion is here for you! Every 30 minutes a goblin can whistle up his pack hobgoblin, who provides access to the goblin’s personal bank for one minute, regardless of the goblin’s location.
Better Living Through Chemistry: Finally, goblins are masters of Alchemy, starting with a generous bonus of 15 points to their Alchemy profession.
Come December 7, goblins will be able to roll as Hunters, Mages, Priests, Rogues, Shaman, Warlock, Warriors and Death Knights.
Now, if you’re looking to start off Cataclysm on the Alliance side of the street, you’ll be playing a Worgen. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to:
Darkflight: Activates your “true”, i.e. worgen, form. Aside from going Team Jacob, it temporarily increases your character’s movement speed by 40%.
Viciousness: Increases your critical strike chance by 1%. The Hunter and Mage in me just started wagging his tail, but very few classes couldn’t use a bump to crit chance.
Aberration: Increases your resistance to Nature and Shadow by 1.
Flayer: Increases skinning skill by 15, as well as increasing the speed at which the worgen skins. If you aren’t skinning with your shiny new worgen, you’re selling yourself short.
Two Forms: Switch into your currently inactive form (be that human or worgen). This ability is primarily cosmetic, but role-players will crave this.
Your worgen’s class options include Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior and Death Knight.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Mechanically speaking, I think goblins have stronger racials. Rocket Jump is a great quick-escape option, and Rocket Barrage is an easy way to get damage on target, especially at lower levels. While it can be class dependent, I’m of a mind that haste trumps crit, making Time is Money superior to Viciousness. The economic bonuses from Best Deals Anywhere and Pack Hobgoblin are phenomenal. While Darkflight is a great escape button, the worgen lack a race-specific attack like Rocket Barrage. Aberration is vastly underpowered and can barely be considered a racial bonus.
However, from a role-play standpoint, worgen racials contribute to a complex, rich tapestry of lore and vast storytelling potential. Crafting could figure significantly in your decision as well; while a goblin is an obvious choice for an Alchemist, worgen are a great choice for Skinners, and, in turn, Leatherworkers.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your blood stirs with the battle-cry of “For the Horde!”, or if you stand in honor to defend the blue and gold banner of the Alliance. You’ve got some new kids on the block – make ’em feel welcome.
Dateline Azeroth updates every Tuesday.