Chronicles of Cataclysm: The Lost Isles

Greg Tito | 9 Aug 2010 13:00
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Once a firm friendship is made with the Horde, you are instrumental in setting up the new goblin headquarters. This is done in typical goblin fashion: rockets and steam. In order to get across a shark-infested river Sassy Hardwrench has constructed a giant rocket that will shoot goblins across the river one at a time. Because of your heroics, you can jump the line and are shot into the air. After clearing the space, you activate a handy invention that was salvaged from the wreckage of Gallywix's yacht: a Town-in-a-Box. Through the clever use of Blizzard's phasing technology, once this is done, a goblin town is erected, complete with barracks, an inn, a mailbox and a mechanical laboratory manned by the resident mad goblin inventor/explosion expert.

Unfortunately, the location of the new goblin town is in pygmy territory. This new monster type are short humans who live on the Lost Isles and practice a form of elemental shamanism. Despite raiding their village and killing their leaders, they are still a danger as they begin to evoke their fire god, who just happens to live in the cone of an active volcano. In a really fun quest that brings you up against the manifestation of Volcanoth, you somehow manage to fire your rockets and destroy him.

Unfortunately (again), doing so causes the volcano to erupt and rain lava and fire down on the island. Apparently, when you are a goblin PC in WoW, you are a walking geological disaster.

The last section of the story is a race to the docks that Trade Prince Gallywix has erected on the other end of the island (Gallywix stole these components of the Town-in-a-Box and started his own goblin community but the rest of the goblins are loyal to you). You get there in a mining car a la Indiana Jones, which is novel and fun. Then you have to take out some of the goblin antagonists that have been set up through the course of the story, such as Chip Endale, and your ex-girlfriend Candy Cane, who is now shagging Gallywix (the slut!). Once Gallywix is brought to heel in a truly tough fight, I died a few times and had to try different tactics in the mech-on-mech action, the starting area concludes.

Similar to the ending sequence of the Draenei starting area of Bloodmyst Isle, there is a celebration that brings all of the characters you have met from the quests you have completed. Clicking on each of them (you kind of have to, don't you?) gives you a little flavor text, either congratulating you on your success or expressing chagrin that their plans were foiled.

The whole starting experience of the goblin race is an interesting experiment in storytelling through MMOG quests. In many ways, it's a single player experience because of the phasing technology. Sure, you may see other players if they happen to be in the same phase as you, and that will happen a lot when Cataclysm is released. But once the excitement of starting new alts dies down, the story and experience will remain intact. I think that was Blizzard's plan. In the designer's minds, the starting zones of all races should be single-player experiences. These zones, and the goblin zones in particular, are the elementary and high schools that you must complete before graduating to the more collegiate large cities like Orgrimmar and Stormwind.

Once you do that, you are hooked. Cataclysm merely refines that formula.

Greg Tito is oddly attracted to Candy Cane.

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