Goblins and Worgen – Neutral Faction (or a Third?)

We’ve got the Alliance and we’ve got the Horde. Recent information from the latest PTR suggests that there may be two additional races that we’ll be able to play. Granted there isn’t a whole lot of solid stuff out there about this. The entire premise is based off the simple fact that new Halloween masks are being added.

It feels like a red herring. Or a decoy.

But all the same, I can’t help but wonder. I’m trying to remember as much of the history and lore as I can from way back in vanilla. The Alliance first saw signs of the Worgen in Duskwood. Someone summoned them. They’re supposedly from a different planet or plane of existence (not Azeroth). Was it Arugal that summoned it first? Or was it that Night Elf chick with the Scythe (Can’t remember the name, I know someone who reads will know more)?

Then we have the Goblins. Very mercenary. Counterparts to the Gnomes in terms of engineering and ingenuity. They remind me of the Ferengi from Star Trek. Already thought of an interesting racial for them.

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Daresay it fits the theme quite well. I don’t quite see these guys as a one side or the other deal. I don’t see the Goblins teaming up with the Alliance or with the Horde. I’m not sure if there’s enough lore or background on the Worgen to determine which side they’d join either. One theory I’ve read is that the Greymane wall wasn’t enough to contain the plague (or some sort of mutational virus). Gilneas is now infested with Worgen as a result. Gilneas wasn’t exactly friendly to the Alliance either. Come to think of it, I don’t recall them ever joining the Alliance. Their King said they’d fight it out on their own without getting involved with the other Alliance nations.

Which then leads me to wonder that if these two races are indeed a part of the next expansion, I suspect the players who roll these races may get a chance to choose which side they wish to join at a certain time or level. Or they could simply not join at all and remain their own faction. So a Goblin Priest (which just sounds really damn unlikely) could join either Horde or Alliance or fly solo. Maybe a player can choose to be neutral the lifespan. Another idea is that these two races could switch allegiances – at will. Now that’d be an interesting twist to add to the game. We know Blizzard’s planning on introducing faction changes anyway.

Some crazy stuff here. It’s all a bunch of speculation. All from the fact that new Halloween masks were introduced. It could be nothing, it could be something.

Blizzcon approaches. We’ll see if this means anything.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Jonis Jalopy says:

    I have often thought about having the Gobs coming in like the Death Knight starting instance. At the end of the Gob one (maybe starting in Undermine which could be a new Shattrath-type city) you have to decide which faction leader to speak with and join, rather than being given the one that your race belongs to.

    Worgen I could see on both, as well. Though, I admit I do not know much about them in recent lore other than whats said in SFK and Northrend. I know they were originally brought to Azeroth by the Scythe of Elune, but thats about it. Maybe a Forsaken kind of deal where they “break free” and join one side or the other.

    Either way, i’m rerolling Goblin Warrior if it ever happens =)

    PS: Death Knight Werewolves…wow…

  2. First time I’ve read your blog and it is rather interesting. I can’t see goblins becoming a playable race since they’re already there as the Steamwheedle Cartle. Worgens would be cool, always liked my NE warrior turning into a Worgen in Kara.

    As for the lore the bit about alliance nations, worgen and the wall is quite interesting and I’ve heard many people saying with the release of the first proper water mount (the fishing turtle) that we may see the next expansion being able to go to Kul Tiras.

  3. Jamison says:

    I just find it funny that we haven’t even had a world-first kill of Arthas yet (cause he’s not even open!) and yet we’re so hungry for expansion news already. I’d like to give Lich King some time to finish before we get too enamored with “what’s coming next”.

  4. Byron Hauck says:

    They have said many times (and recently) that silhouette is an important aspect of faction design. They feel that it’s an important element of being able to determine the race, and thus the faction, of an approaching player. So that’s why I seriously doubt they’ll ever let you choose a faction after creation.

    However, you could get around this if you actually implemented FOUR races–a worgen and goblin for each faction. With different models, the element of silhouette would remain, and you could still have the idea of “neutrality.”

    Most likely, I think, is that the Gilneas Worgen join up with the Alliance (finally!) and a cartel of Goblins seeks protection in the Horde.

  5. I’m just expecting a stupidly pop-culture-infested Halloween.

    No new races, just endless Twilight jokes.

  6. Interesting. While I was intrigued (enough to read the comments on MMOChamp, something I never do!) I don’t quite feel right saying that you’ll be able to “choose” your faction. I agree that it would be a neat concept, and hey, Blizzard’s done weirder, but the whole silhouette thing that Byron mentioned is important.

    Case in point: while Blizzard is allowing faction changes soon, you have to change your race. They’re making sure the silhouettes stay discernible. Plus, imagine “neutral” characters running around in PVP. Not to mention the confusion in raiding with neutrals.

    Now, I can see Worgens being a race. Before they introduced Space Goats and Pretty Boys as the new races for BC, people thought that the wolf-people would actually be the next Alliance race. The reason for that deduction was the data mining of several new Worgen emotes and animations – now proven to have been for quests and the like.

    However, Goblins are currently neutral – how would a faction change to the horde affect areas like Gadgetzan and Booty Bay? It seems a little far fetched. I wouldn’t get the hopes up for Goblins at least (Worgen are slightly more likely) and, while I have been wrong before, I would wait for more info.

  7. Jonis Jalopy says:

    @Tulani – The Goblins we know as neutral right now are just one faction of Gobs, the Steamweedle Cartel. Many Goblins, such as the ones from Undermine, already work for the Horde as Engineers and Zep pilots. Even during the First thru Third Wars the Gobs were allied mostly with the Horde.

    They could make it a “rogue” faction of Gobs or something. Hell…they pulled Space Goats out of their Dark Portals; already known factions should be easy =)

  8. the idea to choose your faction isn’t that hard to implement imo. we already have the DK lvling zone which is purely instanced. You could do the same for these 2 races and have you locked out of joining a guild, leaving, being able to talk to anyone or being summoned out until you choose horde / alliance

    neutral when they start out, by the time they are done, they are faction aligned.

    having said that, Velinde Starsong summoned the worgan using the scythe, I can see worgan being more alliance oriented then horde but I don’t have a horde character ( or high lvl one anyway ) to know what prompts a player to visit SFK

  9. I really hope it’s something. There could be a whole new world opened up with a neutral faction, and it really feels like the kind of thing they’d test the water with regarding numerical balance with the paid transfers they’ve announced (or those that we assume are paid).
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Review Part 1 – Expectations =-.

  10. The new races would be cool but it’s not like Blizzard to screw up and accidently release info about it. I think it’s all just smoke and they’re actually only Halloween masks and nothing more.

    Still, would be nice to see them as playable races. I’m getting Goblin for Alliance and Worgen for Horde, just to give it a twist 🙂
    .-= We Fly Spitfires – MMORPG Blog´s last blog ..The Next WoW Hero Class =-.

  11. I am glad I’m not the only person who has long made the Goblin -> Ferengi connection =P

  12. I’m still betting on the Worgen being a a 2nd Horde Paladin race, and the Furbolgs being the 2nd Alliance Shaman race. There’s a post on Loregy that discusses this.

    There’s nothing to say that the Goblin Mask (or the worgen for that matter) indicate another race. More likely they’re just adding new achievements for people who got last years completed already.

    And as for the Choose Your Own Faction idea, great in concept but Blizzard has stressed the PVP aspect will negate any intermingling of races. Its also the reason I think we’ll never see a factional Pandaren race. You can’t have them on both sides, and too many would complain (or transfer sides) if one or the other got them.

  13. I image if they added Goblins as a playable race, it would be like the Trolls, in that most Trolls are hostile savages, aside from the Darkspear tribe that has aligned with the Horde. So there would still be a bunch of Goblins that prefer to remain neutral, except for the group of Goblins that for whatever reason decide to join the Horde (I’m guessing Horde because I’ve always thought of Goblins as being slightly more Horde aligned).
    .-= Frijona´s last blog ..Friday Linkday: July 17, 2009 =-.

  14. I think we should apply Occam’s Razor to this problem. Which of these events are the most likely, and most likely to improve the game as a whole rather than create more developer and player nightmares?

    Some possibilities:

    1) Goblins and Worgen (the two go-to speculative races for the next xpac – also for Burning Crusade before the final races were announced) Become playable races, one for the Alliance, one for the Horde.

    – This would be easily done, we’ve seen them do this before. As Matticus pointed out, I don’t think they fit very many classes well as they are currently presented in lore.

    2) Goblins and Worgen become their own faction.

    – This would be a HUGE, sweeping change to the way the game works. How do battlegrouds work now? 3 sides? that’s just one way that this would be a huge amount of work.

    3) Goblins and Worgen may freely switch factions.

    – Same as #2. Also, Undead used to be able to speak common, and they removed that. They like the faction barrier to be a big wall and not easily scaled.

    4) Blizzard saw everyone going nuts over a new expansion, and trying to guess new races and classes. They thought that these races might not really be a good fit as player characters, but since everyone is crazy about them, they thought they’d add Halloween masks to cause more excitement and speculation.

    – this is my personal favorite. This whole thing smells a lot like their April Fool’s jokes.

    5) Blizzard wants to telegraph what the new races are, not by announcement (until Blizzcon, I’m betting), and not by questlines in the game that hint at the arrival of new friends, but through the most anticlimactic and silly way possible.

    – This just strikes me as a silly way to introduce content. But I could be wrong…

  15. Lychordia says:

    @ Felade – Nice work on the deduction. A little pessimistic, but thought out.
    My take:
    How long did it take for the previous expansions to come out? At least a couple of years. And currently Blizzard has their hands full with Starcraft II possibly being delayed till 2010. With the developers working hard to deliver that product, talent could be slim for any quality work to be done for our precious WoW any time soon. If they could put the time and money into it, I would not guess to see any new classes for another year and a half at least. Just my two copper.

  16. Choosing your faction would be fantastic, but I really doubt Blizz will go that way, since they already stated being against the same race on Horde and Alliance side.
    A third faction would be awesome, but way too hard to be implemented into the game, because you would be unable to level, since all leveling quest hubs have an allegiance. So you´d have to create a whole lot of content to take you to max level.

    If those two races do become playable, I think the Horde will be joined by the goblins from Undermine and Alliance will get the worgens from Gilneas. And these would be the 2 main cities on the Maelstrom expansion – enough of this Neutral City hub that lags everyone!

    It would make perfect sense to me, they both get attacked by the naga and look for some help.

    PS: doesnt the worgen mask scream Alliance to anyone else? They look like nice puppies!
    .-= Wangari´s last blog ..We kept our sanity =-.

  17. If they brought in a third faction, Blizzard wouldn’t be the first to do it. Anarchy Online had a Neutral faction as well as the 2 opposing sides (Omni-Tek & The Clans). I’m stretching my memory a bit here but I’ll try and remember how it worked.

    Neutrals could group with players on either of the other 2 sides (the opposing sides couldn’t group together, same as WoW)
    Neutrals were also allowed to go into the cities of the other sides without being attacked by guards
    In outdoor PvP areas* Neutrals couldn’t initiate an attack on either of the other 2 sides, but could fight back if attacked (bit of a nightmare for them!)

    Maybe someone else with a better memory than me could remember more details 😀

    *There weren’t any battlegrounds back when I played so I’ve no idea how that would work if Blizzard put a third faction into WoW.

  18. ZachPruckowski says:

    Have we conclusively established that they’re Worgen, and not Wolvar?

    Also, an argument against having them be available to both races is that it’d make the language thing sorta silly. Half the Goblins don’t speak the same language as the other half? I don’t buy that for a second.

  19. Maybe the goblins could join the alliance and help the gnomes fix gnomeregan.

  20. Carrachi says:

    Actually, the plan is that blood elves will be joining the Alliance after the defeat of Arthas, becoming once again high elves and goblins and worgens will be joining the Horde.

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