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Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to explore World of Warcraft Cataclysm, and the hype has settled down, fans can turn their focus to the issue of whether or not the new Azeroth is really more fun than the previous version. Aside from new quests, and earthquakes shaking up all the existing locations, players also now have the chance to play as a Goblin, a race that’s been long neglected in WoW. Also, players get to try something new, Worgen, a race of werewolves.
I tried the Worgen first. I created a basic warrior named Zulguruf (Ha! Get it!). I was disappointed that as a Worgen, you to start out as an ordinary human with no wolf powers, and have to play as just some guy for an hour or so. This is your origin story of sorts, and after a brief adventure in which your homeland is overrun with werewolves, you find yourself infected with lycanthropy and finally assume your wolf form. The wolf form has a special movement power that increases your running speed, and you can use it as soon as you find yourself as a wolf. You get more movement powers at later levels as well, but there’s a pretty big gap since the cool “Running on all fours” powers doesn’t unlock for quite a while. At start you also get a bonus to skinning, which is handy, but not as cool as running around as a quadruped.
The Worgen are actually a pretty nifty addition to WoW. The animations are quite entertaining; yes they do a whacky dance, and the /flirt emotes are funny; one of them involves the phrase “Share my bone”. I don’t even want to know what the female worgen flirts emotes do, but I suspect that there’s a huge fetish community out there who might buy the game just for the Furry cybersex applications of the Worgen (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
In our full review of Cataclysm, reviewer Mark Quinlan pointed out that the new starting areas and missions are more focused on single-player. He’s quite right about that; there were no situations that really required teamwork. You often get special temp powers that summon NPC allies for big fights, so I was basically one lone wolf in a kingdom filled with other werewolves, all going about our business individually . This wasn’t a big problem, the other Worgen and I were still assisting each other with buffs, and by tag-teaming enemies, we just weren’t in official groups.
One thing about the Worgen lowbie areas which makes the werewolves unique from a role playing perspective is that most of the inhabitants you encounter aren’t worgen. Most of them are still human, and you must face discrimination and fear from some of them. Others try to exploit your wolfiness to defend themselves from a greater enemy. Of course this also makes a great excuse for “Prove I can trust you” sort of quest lines. There’s a very long set of quests for you to play before getting out into the greater World, so it’s a worthy investment for Werewolf fans. Other WoW players who want to experience the sense of being an outsider in your starting levels should certainly give the Worgen a try as well.
Of course this starting race is just one part of the new WoW, so keep an eye on Player Affinity as we explore the rest of Cataclysm in the weeks and months to come.