I finally got around to playing through the Goblin start zone and whilst there were some amazing moments, I found myself wondering exactly which game I was playing. Kezan itself reminded me too much of Grand Theft Auto, as I beat people up for protection money, robbed a bank (albeit for my own gold) and ran people over, although the latter might have more to do with my truly appalling driving than design intent.
Then of course there was Chip Endale, my slimy ex-boyfriend. I have to say I wasn’t impressed. My Goblin just wouldn’t have ever dated that particular loser and nor would she have ripped his heart out. Now sure, I can imagine my Warlock doing that and then feeding said organ to her felpuppy before licking his blood from her fingers but my little resto shaman… it’s just not in her character. I realise that the whole scenario fits in with the Grand Theft Auto/Sopranos attitude and atmosphere that the Goblins have but it was a rather uncomfortable quest for me and I normally take wholesale slaughter, murder and torture quest lines in my stride.
Whilst I didn’t particularly like the quest chains, I did love the slummy, dirty and downright nasty look of the zone. From the paint flaking off the nodding flamingos in the yard to the pineapple wallpaper, the level of detail is amazing. Even though it’s basically Paradise in meltdown, I kept finding things to stare at. It look me a good five minutes to complete the quest to burn down my headquarters, just because I was fascinated by the furniture.
Whilst I found going from level 1 to 12 in the Goblin zones novel, I wasn’t left with a great desire to do it again. Racing around Kezan in a car with it’s radio blaring was fun for a while. As was exploring the dingy streets, simply because it’s pretty far removed from anything else in-game but by level six or so I found myself longing for the haunting paleness of Tirisfal or the red rocks of Durotar.
The Lost Isles too was a visual treat but the quests for the most part left me cold. Along with the heart ripping out episode, I really didn’t like Thrall of all people telling me to kill a bunch of terrified sailors huddling in their lifeboats or already drowning out at sea. I rather expected better of him, but it seems being captured by a bunch of level sevens put him in a rather bad mood.
The luring of baby naga with an inflatable sea horse also seemed to demonstrate questionable taste. Although I’d love one of these as a mount, would be far better than the sea turtle or that sea horse you get from questing in Vashj’ir.
The options for customising your Goblin on the other hand are fantastic. Mine is modelled slightly on Abby from NCIS, with a skull headband and plenty of attitude.
In a sense I feel disappointed with myself. I normally love questing yet I’ve been lukewarm about virtually all the Cataclysm zones so far. The storylines are a strange mix of being too personal and yet manage to be impersonal at the same time. It feels as if rather than creating your own reality within the game, you’re just being carried along through other people’s imaginations. Now sure, in most games there is nothing wrong with that but in Warcraft it feels uncomfortable. Whilst I’m not particularly into RP, I’ve always imagined semi back stories for my characters and having partners and crimes of passion foisted on them is unpleasant and I believe unnecessary. Yes, obviously the zones and the creatures that inhabit them have always been someone else’s creations but this expansion has taken it to extremes.
I still have Vashj’ir, all the revamped Kalimdor quests and the Worgen start zones to finish, so hopefully they will fix some of my cynicism and general hatefilledness towards Cataclysm questing. Otherwise it’s going to be a slow and painful route to 85 for my baby Shaman.