Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Warcraft Race Origins: Goblins

In the final edition of our series exploring the lore origin behind World of Warcraft's playable races we look ahead to the second race which will be added in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the Goblins. As much of the Goblin's origin story will be told when Cataclysm is released, there are spoilers and speculation to be found below, so read with caution.

The Goblin race originally hails from the Isle of Kezan, a tropical island southwest of Zandalar. At their beginning, the Goblins were a far different race then they are today. Exceptionally weak and slow witted, early Goblins were nothing more than slaves to Kezan's large jungle Troll population. Relegated to mining the tunnels under Kezan for their Troll masters, life was tough for the Goblins until a single magical mineral drastically changed the course of their existence.

The material was called kaja'mite and although the Trolls recognized a fraction of its worth and used the mineral in voodoo rituals, it was the Goblins who uncovered its true power. Hording away their own supply of kaja'mite in the tunnels below Kezan, the Goblins began to create all manner of magical objects from it. Beyond leaving the Goblins well equipped, the kaja'mite had the added magical effect of dramatically boosting the Goblins' intelligence. Using their newly enhanced brains and the crude technology which sprang therefrom, the Goblins quickly obliterated their former Troll masters.

As the undisputed rulers of Kezan, the Goblins built a sprawling capital city in the labyrinthine mines they had once worked. Called the Undermine, the massive Goblin city was the birthing ground for many of Azeroth's most innovative and dangerous technological advances. Much of the technology was powered by kaja'mite and the Goblins grew wealthy peddling their wares all across Azeroth. Unfortunately, the Goblin's kaja'mite supply ran dry and both their innovation and intelligence began to wane. As the Goblin's searched desperately across Azeroth for more kaja'mite, their technology took many steps backward as they suddenly lacked the materials and wit needed to maintain their more complex inventions.

No longer able to rely on their ingenuity alone, the Goblins began to use their gold supply to create a massive commercial empire. Profiteering their way through the First War, the Goblins became exceedingly wealthy as their society was dominated by various trade princes and their designated cartels. By the time the Second War rolled around, the Orcs shelled out gold sufficient to persuade the Goblins to be the Horde's exclusive arms and mercenary provider. Though this provided an opportunity for some camaraderie between the two races, the Goblins returned to neutrality following the war to enhance their profits.

In the events following Deathwing's sundering of Azeroth, a massive volcano is reawakened on Kezan and many Goblins begin to fear that the Undermine's end is nigh. Other Goblins see an opportunity to profit from the growing panic and begin charging exorbitant fees to ferry goblins away from Kazan. To expand their bottom line, some unscrupulous transporters even sell their passengers into slavery or leave them abandoned on desert islands. One such transport vessel runs afoul of fire from an Alliance fleet, stranding its passengers on a mysterious island chain called the Lost Isles. The Goblins there have many unfavorable run ins with Alliance forces and turn to the Horde for assistance. Thus a small faction of Goblins are brought into the Horde and become Cataclysm's playable Goblins.

Goblins are already a strong neutral presence all across Azeroth. It will be interesting to see what effect the new Horde affiliated Goblins have on the race as a whole. Additionally, the Cataclysm provides ample opportunity for Blizzard to more fully explore Goblin history as well as the chance to direct the course of their future. One can only hope that the Goblins are able to hold on to their quirky, profiteering ways even while battling alongside the Horde.

Warcraft Race Origins: Gnomes
Warcraft Race Origins: Trolls
Warcraft Race Origins: Night Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Tauren
Warcraft Race Origins: Humans
Warcraft Race Origins: Orcs
Warcraft Race Origins: Dwarves
Warcraft Race Origins: Forsaken
Warcraft Race Origins: Draenei
Warcraft Race Origins: Blood Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Worgen

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