Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

All the World's a Stage: Plot points for goblin roleplayers

Anne Stickney

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

They're cunning, sneaky, greedy, and will stop at nothing to get whatever it is they happen to be after. The Goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel almost seem more like a cardboard cutout of a character than a true character. Introduced with Cataclysm, the Goblins are a striking contrast to the Worgen of the Alliance. While the Worgen have a long, grueling, and sometimes heartbreaking background that dates all the way back to the early days of Night Elf society, the Goblins are just sort of ... there.

In fact, the Goblins seem to be one of the most two-dimensional races Warcraft has to offer -- even more so than the Gnomes, otherwise known as the Alliance "comic relief" race. But don't let their two-dimensionality fool you. Goblins are much, much smarter than you'd expect, given their single-minded obsession with greed. After all, what better way to con someone than to lead him to believe you're only after one thing in the world? And for Goblins, it's not just about the profit -- it's about prestige, too.

Unlike the Worgen, the Goblins don't really have a particularly rich backstory. While the history of the kingdom of Gilneas goes back for years, the Goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel are a relative unknown until Cataclysm brings them out of hiding. So how do you go about making a unique character in the midst of all the nothing that is the Goblin backstory? Well, there are a few things you can work with.

Hey, wasn't I supposed to be on top of the world here?

What happened All Goblins start out on the island of Kezan, where they are working very hard at trying to get promoted to Trade Prince. When Deathwing bursts forth from the Maelstrom during the Shattering, the volcano on Kezan suddenly goes active, threatening to blow up the island. Goblin players trade their life's savings to Trade Prince Gallywix in exchange for safe passage off the island on his boat, only to be informed that he is changing the terms of his deal, and all Goblins are now his slaves. Fun times, right?

How this affects your character Your character was in line to be a Trade Prince, and he lost everything he had. Trade Princes are the rulers of Goblin society. It's like hearing you were in line to replace Thrall and suddenly had it ripped away at the last possible second. There are two possible ways that Goblin roleplayers can take this. You can either believe that yes, you almost had that Trade Prince promotion, or you can realize that every other Goblin that escaped Kezan also "almost had" the exact same promotion as you, and the whole "promotion" was just some elaborate trick on the part of Gallywix to get his hands on other Goblin's riches.

What to consider If your Goblin is one of those who thought he was absolutely, positively in line for that promotion, how does he handle the fact that he lost something that could have changed his life so utterly? Is he bitter about losing out, or is he constantly working on trying to get that prestige back again? If your Goblin believes the whole think was some horrible trick on Gallywix's part, how does he feel? Does he feel duped, stupid for believing? Does he admire Gallywix's plans? Is he beaten down by the knowledge, or is he angry about it?

Wait, wasn't he the bad guy?

What happened Goblin players made the journey from Kezan to the Lost Isles, where they attempted to recoup after their terrible losses on Kezan. But Gallywix has more plans up his sleeve, and it's up to Goblin players to thwart those plans -- which include enslaving the rest of the Goblin race. Eventually, Goblin players work with Thrall himself to put an end to Gallywix's actions -- and the former Warchief promptly puts Gallywix in charge of the Goblin race and sends him to Azshara to lord it over everyone in thanks for your efforts. What gives?

How this affects your character You know that guy you were trying so hard to replace? Yeah, he was up to terrible, terrible things. Really terrible. And you worked your butt off to make sure those things didn't come to pass. In reward for your efforts, you get that guy back in charge again. Wait ... what? This is apt to be at least slightly confusing to any Goblin roleplayer.

What to consider Think about your Goblin's everyday way of life before leaving Kezan. By the time you started playing that Goblin, he'd already been working years for the chance to usurp the Trade Prince. Now consider how he'd feel about all those years of work going to waste because of a volcano, and the sudden realization that the Trade Prince pretty much wanted to sell everyone into slavery, including your character. Now consider the fact that the Orc you saved from certain doom and helped to defeat the Trade Prince decided to put said Trade Prince back in charge.

How does your Goblin feel about this? Is he angry at Gallywix for what he's done? Is he angry at Thrall for putting Gallywix in a position of power again? Is he planning to petition Garrosh to get Gallywix removed from office? Would he consider hiring people to take Gallywix out?

For the Horde!

What happened The Bilgewater Cartel joined the Horde after the events on the Lost Isles, and as previously mentioned, Gallywix was named their leader. However, Thrall was the one behind getting the Goblins into the Horde; Garrosh doesn't seem quite as enthusiastic about having Goblins in the Horde ranks.

How this affects your character Garrosh Hellscream in this expansion is pretty much known for having large amounts of contempt for any Horde race who isn't an Orc. Or a Tauren. He's feeling pretty guilty about killing off the leader of the Tauren, even if the whole thing was an accident, so the Tauren are okay in his book. The rest of the races of the Horde? Oh, he'll tolerate everyone, but he's not really a huge fan of any of them, and it's clear in every action he takes.

What to consider How does your Goblin feel about Garrosh Hellscream? Is he aware of Garrosh's feelings towards the non-Orc races of the Horde? Does he feel slightly unwelcome in the Horde's ranks, or is he simply taking this as an excuse to prove himself as enthusiastically (and explosively, no doubt) as possible? Is he trying to get on Garrosh's good side? Or is he trying to work his way into deposing Garrosh? Gotta dream big, after all.

The Bilgewater and Steamwheedle Cartels

What happened Prior to Cataclysm, the only Goblin Cartel that really worked with any of the rest of the world was the Steamwheedle Cartel. The Steamwheedle Cartel remained neutral to both sides of the Horde and Alliance conflict, and for good reason -- after all, you can make a lot more profit by playing both sides, and if you're neutral to both, neither has reason to attack you, right? The Bilgewater Cartel, on the other hand, has joined with the Horde, and the Horde only -- and now, there are two Cartels out and about in Azeroth.

How this affects your character This may or may not affect your character, depending on what his motivation is. If he's out for as much gold as he can gather, he may be looking at the Steamwheedle Cartel as competition. Or he might be looking at them as a model to copy -- and trying to make deals with the Alliance on the side, under Garrosh's nose. Or he may be trying to figure out a way to simply take the Steamwheedle Cartel out of the picture.

What to consider Is this something that concerns your Goblin? Is he more concerned with faction loyalty and being a member of the Horde or with making a good deal? Is he OK with dealing with the neutral Goblins of the Steamwheedle Cartel? Does he idolize them and ask them for advice? Does he try to mimic their model for profit? Or does he view their model of complete neutrality as something that is going out of style, given the Horde and Alliance's rapidly increasing animosity toward each other?

There's not a lot for roleplaying Goblins to go on in terms of lore, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with a Goblin character. The few pieces of lore Goblins do get when playing through the starting zones are more than enough to fuel the fires of roleplay, as long as you keep in mind what's happened and how that affects your Goblin. Though the thought of every Goblin player being a potential Trade Prince is confusing, you can take that situation and work it to your advantage in roleplay.

As for Gallywix and the Horde ... well, that's another situation that should give Goblin roleplayers something to go on. The fact that the tyrant Trade Prince is still in charge is one of those odd "... really? That's what happened?" moments from Cataclysm. While it may seem like a cheap resolution to a pretty amazing opening storyline, that resolution gives Goblin roleplayers a ton of roleplaying material to work with.

What Goblin roleplayers have to keep in mind is that when you get right down to it, Goblins are the Horde's humor race -- a race that nobody is really meant to take seriously. Does this mean you can't roleplay your Goblin as a serious character? Absolutely not -- you can take any of the above opportunities and turn them into serious emotional moments for your character, if you like. But the Horde has been lacking an outrageous personality in terms of available races, and the Goblins provide that in spades. So why wouldn't you want to play the Goblin up for laughs?

In between the outrageous and funny antics of the Goblins is a race that is teeming with potential -- and a race that works best when it's working with itself. Some of the coolest Goblin scenarios I've seen are Goblin roleplayers that have banded together to form their own mini-cartels that work underground. Oh sure, they aren't recognized cartels -- but roleplaying an underground organization that works together based purely on profit? That's all kinds of fun, and it opens the door for other roleplayers to join in on it. In the end, that's what roleplaying is all about.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr