The history of MMORPGs is long and full of tribulation; not since the Blitz has the nation mourned so profoundly as when it lost its youngest generation to multiplayer servers. And now you too can join in with the obsession, because Blizzard's got a brand new expansion.
Cataclysm, World of Warcraft's third add-on and essentially a level 1-through-60 re-vamp, brings back the evil dragon Deathwing from Warcraft II. He's torn through the dimensional barrier to Azeroth, creating a giant cataclysm that re-shapes the surface of the game's zones, meaning old players who have stuck with the game since '04 have a reason to re-roll and start from the beginning. The carrot on the stick is the additional two character races that have been brought to the Alliance and Horde factions. It's all the more reason to pour your precious time away on the game for another few months, and as an old hand at WoW I'm always looking for new ways to waste the hours.
But sometimes it doesn't even take an expansion to experience the game anew. Before Cataclysm came out I played WoW for years on a standard meat-and-potatoes Normal server, but I never really made the full transition to WoW agoraphobe by levelling a character on a Role-Playing server. Until now. The siren call of the frankly bizarre, alien world of Role-Playing servers is often too much for some; a kind of MMO equivalent of ex-soviet states. It's a bit isolated, it's weird, you don't want to live there - but you might as well visit. It's one of the most intriguing hobbies to be rejected by most normal human beings on a massive scale.
Welcome to Know Your Worgen! Over the past few days I've infiltrated the world of RP servers, and now I bring you a one-stop fact-sheet on Worgen; a guide for the fraction of WoW players attempting to role-play one of Blizzard's newest racial additions for the first time.
What's A Worgen?
Cursed humans, essentially. Worgen originally existed in the game as enemy NPCs, but needless to say to anyone who's played Cataclysm in the last 72 hours, Worgen - casually referred to as "those werewolf ones" - are the Alliance's latest playable race. Generally speaking, Gilneas are shown to be vaguely Victorian characters with the speech eccentricities of a 19th century Brit.
While the Worgen side with the Alliance, Cataclysm's lead system designer, Greg Street reckons that they're quite Horde-ish: "We felt the Alliance could really benefit from something a little more monstrous, something a little more edgier, maybe breathe some life into the Alliance," he says. Compared to the pre-Cataclysm races you're dealing with a far darker race than we're typically used to."
Standing at over 6-foot-something, my Alliance mage PiersWorgen is a hulking beast. Put yourself in the mind of a man who has recently been transformed into a shaggy bipedal dog; alternatively, you can role-play as Carlos Tevez.
Two Forms, one of your racial abilities, is functionally useless outside of its application for role-playing, letting you transform in and out of your Human and Worgen forms. At the very least, it shows off the effort you put into your character models. WoW's character creator for the race has you simultaneously changing the characteristics for both Human and Worgen counterparts. In other words, you can't choose either of the model's characteristics independently of one another. An angry human face is interpreted as a snarling wolf face, a human female hairstyle is interpreted as a specific mane shape on a Worgen female, and so on.
Most RP guilds will ask you for your character's biography. Take inspiration from different aspects of your character model.
In my character's back-story, his facial hair was prized for its almost impossible symmetry - like a perfect vertical Y-axis. He was said to have the most geometrically square eyes in all the animal kingdom. PiersWorgan once ended a great war when the general of the invading army took one look into his ruby rectangles, which melted his otherwise cold and indifferent heart of stone. Looking into PiersWorgan's eyes I think...maybe.....maybe I too can love again.
In WoW lore, the first Worgen were derived from an ancient clan of Druids known as the Druids of Scythe. Along with worshipping the wolf Ancient Goldrinn, their chosen form was Worgen; however, they went mad due to the form's feral nature. This forced the other Druids to make the decision to keep them controlled, putting them into an eternal sleep in the kingdom of Gilneas.
Later on, in the aftermath of the Second War, the humans of Gilneas sealed themselves behind the Greymane Wall in a political attempt to keep the area isolated. However, years later after the Third War and an additional civil war that had broken out in opposition to Gilneas' isolationist tactics, the Worgen curse had spread through the zone and transformed almost all citizens into wild Worgen.
The Worgen curse can be credited to the Night Elves, who inadvertently helped to develop a plague that struck Gilneas and turned the inhabitants into Worgen. In the Cataclysm expansion we see that within the walls of Gilneas a partial cure has been concocted, one that lets them retain their human mind even while transformed. Naturally this rocky and war-torn background has given the Gilneans a slightly jingoistic edge.
In the words of Genn Greymane, King of Gilneas: "Damn the Orcs, damn the Alliance, and damn you! The last thing Gilneas needs is sponges from other nations drawing from our resources, Dalaran wizards meddling with our affairs, and someone else's enemies killing our soldiers! Gilneas is its own nation, and it always will be."
You can role-play in real life too! Yeah! To hell with things! Chicks dig ennui. When your teacher asks if you are present during register, stub a cigarette out on your forearm and sigh, "Who the f*** knows man, who the f*** knows."
After the partial cure is developed, Gilneas' citizens begin the process of rebuilding the area. Unfortunately, the Forsaken send a ship to capture the area and use it as a Horde port. While the Worgen citizens are busy fighting off the fleets, the Cataclysm destroys the Forsaken's ships, shatters the Greymane Wall and destroys most of Gilneas. This situation forces the Worgen to forge a pact with the Alliance and ship off to Darnassus, giving the werewolves a long-term refugee status in the game.
Despite being portrayed as immensely nationalistic and occasionally xenophobic, they currently have less of a national presence than the Horde's Goblins. While Goblins get a district in Orgrimmar, a decently sized racial town, Azshara, Kezan and Lost Isles, Worgen have a miniature district in Darny and a Gilnean style village in the Blasted Lands.
Stand in the centre of the nearest major capital and paw continuously at your keyboard for hours so that every message is a string of random characters, in caps, just like an actual thumb-less dog might.