So a few days ago, one of our readers directed me to a post on MMO-Chamion declaring “Goblins and Worgen” as the new races in the Maelstrom Expansion, because masks of them were just added for the Hallow’s End holiday.
Sure enough though, a few days later, Vrykul and Ogre masks were added too.
So what’s our take on it? There’s a lot that can be dug out of this, and some of it’s not immediately obvious.
Let’s cut to the meat of it. It’s obvious that if Blizzard could have their drothers the new races would be Goblins and Pandaren. They’re both island races, they’re completely humanoid, there’s a huge demand for Pandaren, and the Horde need a small race to mirror gnomes.
Now let’s look at it by faction…
For the Horde the answer is immediately obvious; it’s either Goblins or Naga.
Ogres? They’re from Outland. If the Horde weren’t in need of a “pretty” race at the time, they would have been perfect as the new Horde race in “The Burning Crusade”. But Maelstrom? They don’t fit.
I’ve mentioned Naga in the past. Fact is though, when I think of Naga I’m thinking of the big picture. I’m thinking of what it would mean for WoW2 or WC4 if the Naga were to take Gilneas and form a third faction with the Forsaken and Blood Elves. Fact is though, Blizzard doesn’t give a flying rat’s rumpus about WoW2 or WC4 right now, so if it’s instant gratification then it’s got to be Goblins.
As a side note, there are a number of people arguing that playable goblins will have an adverse affect on any “neutral goblins” currently in the game. This simply isn’t the case. Keep in mind, there is no “goblin faction”. The goblins’ government is a “Trade Coalition”. They are ruled by at least five “Trade Princes” who are completely autonomous from each other. It gets confusing, because they all share the same capital, “Undermine”. Imagine France, Germany, and England all sharing one capital and you kind of get the idea. In Warcraft 2, only one of these Trade Princes temporarily hooked up with the Horde; the other four remained completely neutral. Today, the neutral goblins we deal with are mostly members of Trade Prince Steamwheedle’s cartel. If one Trade Prince (besides Steamwheedle) joins the Horde, it wouldn’t affect Steamwheedle at all. Playable goblins would exist just fine with “neutral” ones.
Now onto the Alliance; they’re much more tricky.
Pandaren tie perfectly into the Maelstrom, but I simply don’t see Blizzard stirring that pot. Say what you want. Yes Blizzard fixed the armor, but things are tenuous at best between Blizzard and China right now, so I simply don’t see them adding anymore risk to the equation. “Wrath of the Lich King” is *still* not out over in China.
That’s why things are tricky. Once you remove Pandaren from the equation, there’s no obvious winner. The Naga could go Alliance. Feels strange, but it’s possible. Worgen? They’re probably the second most in demand race behind the Pandaren, plus they’re heavily rumored to be tied to Gilneas.
So what’s the new Alliance race? It’s whichever one is currently residing behind the Greymane wall. Naga or Worgen. It’s strange to think that since with Silverpine right next door, Gilneas seemed destined to become a Horde level 1-10 zone. Anyway, lore-wise, I like the Naga, but practically speaking I’m leaning towards the Worgen. If the Alliance can’t have their Pandaren then Blizzard (via Gilneas) has an opening to give Alliance players a concession prize. Plus, there’s no reason why the Naga couldn’t take Gilneas from the Worgen sometime in the future (or you could just dump the whole Naga idea altogether).
So there you have it. Goblin and Worgen, which coincidentally leads us back to those first two masks.
By the way, two of those masks represent the first time we’ve seen either a female ogre, or a female worgen in WoW. That alone is intriguing. Perhaps ogres are also on the horizon.