World of Warcraft Cataclysm Beta: Worgen First Impressions

Behind the Greymane Wall is the Kingdom of Gilneas, and this is the first time since World of Warcraft was released that we get to glimpse beyond it to see the story of the Greymane family, as well as to play as the savage Worgen.

The Cataclysm has shattered the Greymane wall, and we find out that a terrible Worgen curse has taken hold of the Gilnean citizens. We not only find ourselves in the midst of a curse, but also a Forsaken invasion. With the help of the Night Elves the citizens of Gilneas manage to escape as well as find a partial cure that let’s them retain their ‘humanity’ while transformed.

Cataclysm Beta

When you start out, you are a human fighting a civil war that quickly turns into the Worgen invasion, but escape from the cure is not possible, and you soon become something more than human... a cursed Worgen.  The starting quests teach us not only how the curse came to be, but also how we ourselves became infected.

Civil war and the Worgen curse are not the only problem for Gilneans. Soon a fierce battle against the Forsaken tears through the town, and the citizens must turn to the Night Elves for a cure, and to help them escape from the Forsaken, bringing them back into the Alliance fold.

Cataclysm Beta

The Worgen are a really interesting race to play.  Firstly, who doesn’t want to be a werewolf? Then add in a very compelling back story in the form of the starter quests, beautiful architecture, and engrossing atmosphere. It's not difficult to imagine that the Worgen will quickly become an Alliance favorite.

The transformation animation is well done, (I really can’t see why you would want to be out of wolf form because it is so beautifully done) as well as all the casting and fighting animations. You can see a lot of thought and effort was put into making this a very rich playing experience, down to the jaunty top hat that is coveted by all Worgen players (don’t worry, you get it automatically as part of a quest line).

One thing I found a little distracting was the British accent that all Worgen had in human form.  The accent borders on grating, and then quickly vanishes in Worgen form, being replaced by a low guttural growly speech. Granted this is still beta, but I found took me out of the experience, instead of making me laugh at the silliness.

Cataclysm Beta

Overall I found the start of the Worgen story fantastic.  The quests were dynamic, and the story was very engrossing.  Blizzard used the phasing technique from Wrath of the Lich King to move you from Gilneas past to Azeroth present and it works seamlessly, taking us through an interactive history lesson. I found that the way the quests and story unfolded, my character really felt like a pivotal part of the history, quite worthy of the tasks and quests bestowed upon him. It made it feel very... heroic. Combine that with the gorgeous graphics and beautiful sounds (strange accent notwithstanding), I would recommend absolutely everyone play through the first 12 levels of the Worgen race.  Even the Horde players out there.

Will you try a Worgen when Cataclysm comes out, or maybe even switch your main character to a mighty Worgen? There is something really awesome about howling at the moon, I think you should give it a try, even if just for the lore.  What do you think?

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