If there is one thing I’ve noticed while going through the new Cataclysm 1 to 60 “experience” (because that’s the only marketing buzz word I can dig out of my brain that can accurately match the amazingly well done revision to the game in my opinion) is that someone at Blizzard – or all of Blizzard – really, REALLY likes pirates. People like to bicker constantly over who Blizzard favors more: Horde or the Alliance – but really the question should be focused on the age-old battle of pirates and ninjas. The fact that there are no less than 3 zones that feature pirates heavily, and several subzones that have pirate related quest chains, and as far as I’ve seen there are NO ninja related storylines thus far indicates a huge imbalance on the Pirate/Ninja front. From a company that likes to tote their supposed focus on “balance,” this is – dare I say it? A slap in the face!
I will admit, even as a staunch ninja supporter, I am willingly to indulge in a bit of piratey fun, but come on Blizz! Would it kill you to put a bit more ninja in the World of Warcraft? The best we get is a Halloween disguise, the Deviate Delight disguise and a frickin’ sword. That’s it. Need I remind the jury that ninja movies out number pirate movies by a fair amount? It’s not like there’s a lack of stuff to draw from. Especially when you essentially have a NINJA CLASS in the form of the subtlety and assassin rogues. But no, instead we get tons of trendy pirate movie references on top of pirate quest chains, pirate cities and pirate zones!
That’s right, Cataclysm added a bunch of references to movies. Probably the most blatant being following around Harrison Jones around and doing his grunt work for entire zone (I preferred helping the cat people). But I’m shocked at how many Pirates of the Caribbean references have been snuck into the game. Most of them fairly easy to miss. Today I’m only going to talk about the big three I found, but if you’ve spotted more feel free to put them in the comments section, I’m kind of curious to how many I may have overlooked.
The most obvious allusion the Pirates of the Caribbean movies comes from the Kelp’thar Forest of Vashj’ir. Poor Budd Nedreck, the guy can’t catch a break in his money-making schemes. He wants you to help reclaim some new “shinies” (which every time he says that word I’m reminded of a particular wild child in the Veldt) but sadly, the shinies make anyone who touches them turn into a skeleton. Sounds familiar. The best pay off for the quest is what you bring him back to “cure” the curse. It’s a hammer. Just a hammer to break the shiny. That has nothing to do with Pirates of the Caribbean, but I must admit, I was in stitches laughing at that.
The Off the Beaten Path
Now these references become a bit more interesting. This one can be somewhat easy to miss if you just rush by and miss some of the emotes that would draw your attention to it, especially since there’s no quest associated with it, although there is one near it. Just south of Ratchet, along the coast line there is an area where the Northwatch guard has taken control of the former pirate dock. The Horde will receive a couple of quests here including one that sends you to speak with Baron Longshore, who is comfortably sitting in a locked cage. However, sitting near the Baron is another group of Southsea Freebooters that will eventually speak to a nearby dog named Charlie. If you look closely, you’ll see that Charlie is holding what appears to be a key in his mouth.
Anyone who is familiar with either the Pirates of the Caribbean movies or ride will instantly recognize this famous scene of pirates attempting to lure a dog with keys with a bone, but it’s easy to miss if you don’t catch one of the occasional pirate emotes or saying something to try to lure Charlie in. However, I question the logic of leaving the key with this dog. This isn’t a jail. It’s an open area on the coast of a highly contested area between the Horde and the Alliance, not to mention the goblins of Ratchet and the Southsea Freebooters.
Having a random animal carry your key seems like a terrible idea. Even if you train it well enough to not run off into the Barrens sunset, you’ve stuck the poor animal in an area where there’s massive amounts of bloodshed in a zone known for its copious number of hunting quests. Honestly, it’s not like it would hurt to put the keys on a peg on the wall. It would actually be better. 1) It would sit further away from the cage. 2) IT WON’T RUN AWAY AT THE FIRST WHIFF OF STEAK.
The One and Only Chance
This last one is named as such because there’s only a small opening to see this pirate reference before its gone forever. Namely because it only shows up during a phased event during the Booty Bay quest line to infiltrate the Bloodsail Buccaneers (I am just now noticing how fond pirates seem to be of alliteration). At the end of the chain, the Bloodsail will wage an all out attack on Booty Bay in trying to claim the town for their own once and for all, during this time the Bloodsail and their allies will be running amok all along the streets.
However, a trio of musical worgen will be sitting on the roof of the first large building in Booty Bay (The one they sell parrots and weapons in. Cause you know, those go well together.) These worgen will sit on the roof and sing their own wolfy rendition of ‘A Pirate’s Life for Me.’ It’s actually pretty funny and got me to sit there and listen as the pirates ransack the city. Perhaps that was their plan all along. A musical distraction so they can plunder freely…
You know when I say that out loud it seems rather silly. But how I can possibly argue against it when it worked! I sat through the entire thing! I waited to see if the next time was really just a repeat or a second verse! All the while Bloodsail pirates are running around me, attacking semi-innocent goblins, and creating mayhem. So there you go. Next time you’re in a raid, you don’t need an off tank, just a drunk bard belting out some garbled incantation to the approximate tune of ‘It’s a Small World After All.’
So there are three quick references to the ever-expanding-and-me-growing-less-and-less-interested-in Pirates of the Caribbean movies (I still like the ride). Maybe once we find them all, Blizzard will finally dig up some ninja and kung fu references to splice into their game world. Master Betty Pain, anyone?
Location: Ratchet, The Barrens
Now this isn’t the first time I’ve spoken about the wonderful Goblins. I’ve spoken about their efficient use of amazing machines with the Venture Company in comparison to say Orcs. But despite what the Goblins have in technical abilities, I often have to wonder about their choices in aesthetics. Gnomish technology is functional, less likely to blow you up, and definately has a unique design aesthetic that when you look at a Gnome machine you KNOW it’s a gnome machine. Other than the fact that they are usually cobbled togehter machines that seem to be rusty and a hazard to your health, I’ve never seen any intent on the Goblins part to make things look good. They seem to pride themselves on getting the job done and under budget. This probably explains why things like the Sludge Fen rig in the Northern Barrens looks like it’s about to collapse when you climb it. So when I start to see things like the giant anchor in the middle of Ratchet, I have to wonder.
I don’t think it was placed there intentionally. I couldn’t imagine a bunch of goblins taking the time to drag a huge anchor onto land and prop it up for no real reason. It would be a waste of time, money and manpower for a simple visual piece in the center of town. But then again in Booty Bay there is a huge statue of a goblin standing there in robes. I’m extremely curious about these because Goblins don’t seem to take a break long enough to even build decent homes. Most goblin towns are either domes or barely standing shacks. So why would they go to such lengths to decorate?
Location: Ratchet, The Barrens
Perhaps it’s my affinity for gallows humor or simply the break neck pace of goblin life that has me hanging by the ropes, but I’m dying to tell you about this one.
Okay, you can hurt me for that one, but sure enough right outside of Ratchet is an honest to goodness gallows for hanging people. It leaves several questions in my mind. First of all, how do goblins get people in the nooses? They are small, the nooses are high. Perhaps that’s why its fallen into such disrepair.
Other reasons for it’s tragic unused state could be the fact that goblins, unlike both the Horde and Alliance have found no use for any form of capital punishment. They are far nobler beings in that sense. They probably just found it wasn’t cost effective. After all, why hang people when you can make them slaves for the glory of the Undermine?
Then again, I suppose they could have just bought the thing from ikea.