"I never cover up the things I'm proud of. If the world was gonna split in half tomorrow, I’d buy the Dark Portal, slap a toll booth on it, and charge refugees the last of their pocket change, the rings off their fingers, a bite of their sandwiches, and a contractual obligation to build me a rocket palace in the skies of Nagrand. It’s the goblin way! Supply and demand! Deal with it!"
The cunning goblins are small green creatures from the isle of Kezan. Their love of money, explosives, and technology leaves them to be a very dangerous race, both to their enemies and themselves. Most goblins have a neutral standpoint, preferring to sell their contraptions, knowledge and services to other races.
A number of trade princes rule over the various goblin holdings around the world. Though the trade princes all live in the goblin city of Undermine on the Isle of Kezan, they each control their own private armies and trade fleets. In turn, each controls rings of trade, mining, deforestation, slave rings, and poaching. A notable trade prince is the ruthless Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix who rules the Bilgewater Cartel under his iron fist.
In ancient times, the keeper Mimiron had discovered kaja'mite and, attempting to determinate its properties, he experimented on various races. He found that the ore was extremely potent and that it increased the intellect of his subjects. One of these subjects was a small primitive life race that roamed around the forests near Ulduar. By consuming kaja'mite, they were transformed into a new, highly intelligent race known as the goblins. The goblins share a common ancestor with pygmies.
During the War of the Ancients, Neltharion created the Demon Soul with the help of goblin artificers led by Meklo. The goblins also fashioned adamantium plates to hold Neltharion's body together when the Demon Soul's power began to overwhelm him, and the drogbar placed those plates onto his body.
When the Great Sundering happened thousands of years after the goblins' creation, they were cut from their supply of kaja'mite ore. In just a few short generations, most changes and boosts to their intelligence vanished. The goblins then took refuge on the Isle of Kezan and they had already forgotten the influence kaja'mite once had on their society.
After the Sundering, the Zandalari trolls that once ruled a large part of Azeroth started exploring numerous islands that dotted the newly formed sea. During one of these trips, they discovered Kezan and the goblin race, who were very primitive but still possessed some intellect. Initially the two races kept a distance as the Zandalari only came to the island in order to mine kaja'mite. They didn't really know too much about it, but they realized that is was very potent, so they saw it as a sacred component in their rituals and ceremonies. For many centuries the trolls mined and occasionally even paid goblins in trinkets in order to work for them, but this arrangement was soon to change. At some point the trolls, while digging, discovered that Kezan possessed an unimaginable deposit of kaja'mite underground, more than they would ever need. So rather than digging themselves, they enslaved the goblins and force them to drill in frightful conditions. For thousands of years the goblins, too weak to resist, suffered under the rule of the Zandalari.
Finally, it was kaja'mite that led the goblins to their salvation. Over time, the goblin workers breathed in the dust of the ore that clouded the mines they worked in and eventually it started to awake the goblins' intelligence. Secretly they plotted to start a rebellion, gathering any materials they can find and hide in order to create a wide range of weapons, traps and explosives. One hundred years before the opening of the Dark Portal, the troll overseers were caught completely off guard, when goblins masses stormed out from the mines, armed with technology that the Zandalari couldn't even imagine at the time. The trolls' hold over Kezan was shattered completely, their mining operation failed and the surviving Zandalari fled. The goblins were now free and in order to celebrate their liberation they turned on each other, creating chaos as countless allegiances were formed. Soon enough they were split into various different groups, and the most powerful of these groups were known as cartels. As the battles were getting completely out of hand and no one was actually winning, the cartels brokered a truce. However, the conflict would never really cease as the goblins would now turn to trade, battling in the economic arena. For the years to come the cartels were rivals, constantly outshining and outsmarting each other as they continued in their quest for wealth and power.
Goblins rapidly expanded their knowledge of technology. Goblins created Azeroth's first steam technologies. Rumors are that goblin technology back then was far more advanced than current dwarven technology. Goblins established themselves as master technicians, selling their goods on the open market. Eventually, kaja'mite supplies ran low and as the goblins' heightened intelligence vanished, their inventions became increasingly unreliable. As a result, the goblins turned to mercantilism as a source of income and transformed Kezan into a profitable trading hub. Desperate, goblins spread out into the world, attempting to find any pockets of kaja'mite they might have missed.
First and Second Wars
By the time of the First War, the goblins of the Steamwheedle Cartel had taken over a Stranglethorn Vale settlement named Blackwater Cove that had been abandoned by Stormwind after it was overrun by trolls. Upon claiming the town as their own, the goblins renamed it Booty Bay.
During the Second War the Steamwheedle Cartel sided with the Horde, selling them the employs of their alchemists, sappers and zeppelins, also providing the watertight pilot-shacks for use on the enslaved giant sea turtles.
By the Second War, the goblins had established themselves as the traders of the world. Then, they became exclusive partners with the Horde. A Horde ambassador ventured forth and met with a single trade prince (rumored to be the Steamwheedle Cartel perhaps Trade Prince Steamwheedle), asking for the goblins to provide machines and technology to the orcs, in exchange for spoils and gold. In the beginning, the arrangement seemed perfect. The goblin trade prince believed that the orcs would win the war, so he found it natural to join the winning side. As the profits flooded Undermine's coffers, the goblins expanded their slave markets. However, other goblins disagreed and remained neutral; thus, only this single trade prince and his subordinates joined the Horde. In the end, the trade prince realized his mistake and left the Horde, and the goblin race remembers the mistake and remains neutral to this day. A lot of the goblin race is neutral. They discovered it was more profitable to play both sides against each other.
Deathwing had goblin servitors in the time period after the Second War, just as he did during the War of the Ancients. The three known ones were Kryll, Nullyn, and Voyd.
The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, having recently created an intelligence-boosting beverage called [Kaja'Cola], were going about their daily lives. Suddenly the dragon Deathwing appears over Bilgewater Port claiming that the Hour of Twilight will soon fall. Launching a molten projectile into Kezan's volcanic Mount Kajaro, Deathwing departs as suddenly as he arrived. The goblins, not very concerned with the vague threats, continued with their party preparations but it soon became increasingly clear that Mount Kajaro was about to erupt. Being goblins, many naturally tried to cash in on the ensuing disaster. Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix of the Bilgewater Cartel requested a bazillion macaroons in order to save the members of his cartel and lead them to safety, however Gallywix was not true to his word and instead took the money only to make all of his cartel slaves.
Gallywix and his new goblin slaves set sail for Azshara, but were spotted by Alliance ships attempting to capture the Horde Warchief Thrall. The goblin's ship is sunk and they become stranded on the Lost Isles. The survivors cobble together a small base on the shore and while scouting the island the discover an orcish journal mentioning a base camp established by the orc survivors. The goblins send a representative to ask for help from the orcs and Aggra agrees to assist the goblins in turn if they would assist the orcs. The human fleet too had made landfall on the smaller of the islands, but the combined orcs and goblins thwarted the Alliance agents and rescued Thrall.
The goblins later decided to go to the larger of the two isles and deployed a Town-In-A-Box so they could have a location to rest themselves, but were met with hostilities from local Naga and Pygmy, but were able to fight them back. The goblins looked to slay the pygmy's turtle "god" Volcanoth, but this makes the island's volcano violently erupt. The goblins, having incidentally caused the destruction of their Town-In-A-Box with the volcanic eruption, return to Thrall and the orcs just in time to help stave off the Alliance assault. Impressed with the goblins cunning and strength the orcs agreed to take the fight to Trade Prince Gallywix, which had enslaved the majority of the members of the Bilgewater Cartel and put them to work mining resources. After disrupting Gallywix's operations, the free goblins overthrow Gallywix himself with the assistance of Thrall. Surrendering himself, Gallywix promises the Bilgewater Cartel will reform and become a part of the Horde. Thrall accepts, offering to send a representative to the Horde's new Warchief Garrosh Hellscream and promises them a new home in Azshara and a place within the Horde.
The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel now reside chiefly in Azshara, which they have massively altered. Goblins have also been seen assisting their allies in other areas such as Northern Barrens, Stonetalon Mountains, and Felwood. The goblins have made a home in Orgrimmar were Boss Mida runs the Goblin Slums an area of filth, pollution, and technology, just how the goblins like it.
Goblins generally disregard any hierarchy. Where they are forced to recognize the hierarchy is required, they keep it simple, flat and straightforward, same as would be typical on the pirate ship. Most important, never tell any goblin he or she is not qualified enough to build, operate or drive a machine of any kind as that goblin will rush immediately to do this, just to show you are fool. Same about any kind of business, as long as that goblin would have enough money to start it. While lots of crashes, explosions or - in case of business - bankruptcies are happening due this attitude, many weird initiatives also succeed.
A small group of goblins may spontaneously form and cooperate without any hierarchy while it dissolves equally easily after the loss of the shared interest. When both orc and night elf start alone with a simple weapon at hand, one of the first tasks for the goblin is to pick a bunch of great friends with her trike, listening for the car radio! Goblins also write Encyclopedia Every Goblin Can Edit. While all gnomes laugh at that assuming only the most educated elite should be doing such things and point to the astronomic number of hoaxes and inaccuracies, most of this elite also keep a secret stolen copy as some good schematics, well, is not properly documented anywhere in they gnomish books.
Though once nothing but fodder for more taproom banter, goblin inventions have shown their worth in recent years. They're particularly fond of tinkering with mechanical things, alchemy, and explosives. Their love of mechanics often places them into direct competition with gnomes who enjoy similar devices. The "competition" between goblins and gnomes seems to be friendly, an example of this is in the shimmering flats where the two races are constantly competing (by racing) with one another. Whether clockwork "shredders" that allow a single goblin to do as much harvesting as 10 field hands or zeppelin-like "airships" that can ferry troops over otherwise impassable terrain, the goblins' inventions have become legendary. Such technological ingenuity is as central to the goblins' rise among the races as any trading prowess.
Even with the malfunctions and explosions that occur (not as frequent as tavern chatter suggests, but far from rare), goblin technology is proving to be of a quality that rivals the dwarves and their firearms. If they possessed physical strength and mystic power to match their inventiveness and cunning, they would be a force of some significance. Of course, the goblins claim that they are already — if not for their frail physical forms, goblins would rule the world. Then they laugh and say they prefer a challenge and offer to buy the taproom guests the next round.
While other races often try to build reliable machines that would stay for grandchildren, goblin aims for device of the marginally bearable reliability that should only last enough to make its construction reasonable. Weird as it is, this approach allows to build more machines, or to build a more complex and powerful machine using the same time and resources. A good example is the Rocketway - unsafe and unfinished yet it works and is undoubtedly faster than any flying mount. Schematics they use would not fit for a role of the content table for a proper gnomish design document; a typical goblin engineer does not use any to build a known device.
At some point after the Second War, the goblins apparently grew tired of carrying explosives for the Horde and decided that they needed to take control of their own destinies. Surprisingly, they proved smart enough to know that building an army of their own would be an even bloodier choice for their race than sapping and planting mines. So they chose a different path.
The goblins have taken to the role of merchant with a vengeance, and now it's hard to travel for more than a day or two without stumbling across a goblin shop of some size. Goblin zeppelins fly across the continent, delivering goods, supplies, messages and passengers from one shop to another, and I've heard more than one goblin brag that if it isn't in his shop, he can have it on the shelves within a week. One joker challenged that claim and ordered a dozen shredders, only to find them waiting outside his cottage two days later.
Goblin shops can be found nearly anywhere on Azeroth, seemingly regardless of whether or not there are towns nearby and heedless of dangers such as the Scourge. The goblins will sell anything to anyone, at only slightly inflated prices.
Apparently, the proprietor of each goblin shop determines how to protect his business from theft. Some of the solutions employed include the hiring of mercenary fighters as security guards; complicated, tinker-built security systems; and, most notoriously, enormous bombs on a dead man's switch that can be detonated on a moment's notice if a goblin merchant feels threatened. After news spread of thieves and bullies entering shops that were replaced moments later by smoking craters, few have found the nerve to probe how a given shop might be protected.
Though many shops remain Independent, a growing number of them have signs declaring that they are owned and operated by the Venture Company, which the proprietors claim is headquartered in a faraway city ruled by goblins where the streets are paved with gold.
The goblins are also legendary for the sheer variety of trade in which they are willing to indulge and for their tenacity in bargaining. Goblins rarely let an item slip from their shelves for a single copper less than it is worth. The industrious goblins have established shacks and minor trading towns across much of Kalimdor in an impressively brief span of time. These outposts may vary in size and location, but all have a similarly impressive array of goods. The outposts get regular supply shipments (or as regular as possible, given the hazards of travel across Kalimdor), all coordinated by the goblin trade princes.
The trade princes are the most cunning of their race and will stop at nothing to amass their fortunes and power, whether through legitimate means or via black markets and treachery. Goblins encountered on Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms are either privateers or agents of the various trade princes of Undermine.
Goblins are not purely mercenary. They are known to form strong bonds with individuals of other races. Their small forms and odd behavior make other races — elves in particular — ill at ease, but goblins do not seem to care much for the impression they make. They judge by deeds, befriending those who treat them as friends and standing apart from those who would offer them abuse.
Military tactics and forces
Goblin forces are terrifying to behold. The Trade Fleets are outfitted with the most fanatical and destructive creatures on Azeroth. The average person wonders why the trade princes require such powerful armies, if they are holding to their neutrality stance. It certainly seems excessive.
The simple truth is, the forces are not excessive. The life of those living on the South Seas is harsh, due to attacks from everything from pirates to rogue magical beasts. Conflict exists everywhere, and a trade prince is always in peril of death. Every day, a trade prince must test his food on three different people. There is only one way to become a trade prince, and that's to take out the competition. Thus, to prevent rivals from taking their thrones and to ensure that business may be conducted as normal, each trade prince enlists a hefty force of warriors. It's absolutely necessary to keep order in the goblin world.
The Trade Fleets also require extreme guards. Undermine's goods sail everywhere, especially into hostile or desolate territories to make a coin. Simply put, goblins go to dangerous places. Without strong guards, there would be no trade, because there would be only dead traders.
Despite appearances, goblins maintain rigid procedures and formations for battle. They only look disorganized. Goblins are intelligent, and they use their brains in battle. Confuse the enemy, and the enemy leaves blind spots. Slip in between the cracks and break the forces open from the inside. Many battles during the Second War were lost when Alliance forces underestimated goblin tactics.
Not surprisingly, all goblin forces use a wide and dizzying array of technological weaponry. From the simplest firearms to the largest steam-driven war instruments, goblin technology dominates war fields. Even magic has a difficult time creating as much destruction and havoc as goblin war machines.
When goblins fought in the Second War, they created three units especially for the war effort. Goblin zeppelins rode high above the terrain to scout out the area, and occasionally transported warriors. Goblins also lent their services as sappers, using explosives to take out enemy fortifications. Often the goblins went with the explosives, but this was of little consequence. Sappers were a copper a dozen.
Furthermore, during the war, goblins fought from all angles, especially the sea. The Stormreaver clan captured giant sea turtles native to the southern seas. Pacified by potent spells of control, these lumbering monstrosities were fitted with watertight canopies strapped onto the backs of their shells and were used as submersible orcish craft. By submerging under the waves, the giant turtles could steal upon unsuspecting enemy craft and report their position to the Horde fleet as they were visible solely to towers, creatures of the air, and other submersible vessels. The daring goblins who controlled them were dedicated to destroying enemy ships by launching hazardous, steam-driven canisters containing highly volatile liquids that could shred even the strongest of armor.
During the Third War, goblins also fielded shredders to anyone who paid well enough. The pilots cared little about the actual war, preferring to chop down forests for their pay. However, when push came to shove, goblin shredders proved lethal in battle. The pilot's inexperience with battle was evened out by the shredder's armor and powerful steam saw, which cut down enemies as easily as trees. Goblins hired themselves to anyone with the gold, and alongside shredders, the goblins fielded sappers and zeppelins once again in battle. Even tinkers and alchemists joined the fight, granting explosive and chemical warfare to the highest bidder.
Alliance and Horde
The goblins care little for the Alliance and Horde conflicts; what concerns them, as usual, is the effect these events have on their cash flow. The goblins do not, as a rule, like the Scourge, as the undead threatened to wipe out the entire populations of the Alliance and Horde, leaving the goblins with no customers. War is profitable for the goblins; annihilation is not. Once they served as suicide mercenaries for the Horde; now the goblins have made their place as the strongest merchant race in the world. If one wants to purchase something, whether it is supplies, equipment, weapons, magic items or even slaves, the goblins either have it or know where to get it. All that matters in their eyes is the price.
The goblins like a balance of power. Military conflicts make money for the goblins as the combatants purchase supplies, and if the two sides are evenly matched, conflicts could go on for generations. This promises fat purse bags for the goblins for years to come. The goblins helped out the Horde for years because of this, but now they feel the Horde has come to match the Alliance in power, and they rest in the neutral middle, satisfied to play mercenary and merchant to either side.
The goblins understand the Alliance better than they understand the neutral races, as they have a long history of dealings with the Alliance. As merchants, they are frequently found in Theramore, and as mercenaries, they may even be found among the Alliance armies. True business entrepreneurs, goblins understand their customers very well and almost always know what they want. Their favorite Alliance customers are the high elves, who jump at the chance to buy magical items. Although many in the Alliance consider the goblin mercenaries to be war profiteers, they are not above using them. If they have no tinkers, or their tinkers have died in a previous battle, they sometimes have to go to the goblins for repairs or supplies. And the goblins are always ready to help a customer, for the right price. The goblins’ skills certainly don’t stop at trade. Although not as talented at the invention of firearms as the Ironforge dwarves, the goblins have refined their inventing talents to create a handful of very useful tools that are, of course, for sale. Since the latest conflicts, the goblins have modified their marketing tactics to focus on pushing their deforestation operations to the night elves, of all races, to help clear out the cursed Felwood Forest. They also sell their zeppelins to the night elves, so that these customers can spot and put an end to deforestation. They made a great deal of money selling items to help the Alliance fight Illidan and his army of blood elves and naga, and constantly remind the Alliance members who travel through Ratchet that Illidan is still out there and supplies are always needed. Some merchants are able to mask the tone of glee in their voices while saying this, but most don’t bother. The Horde and the goblins get along fairly well, as the orcs remember the (well-paid) sacrifice of the goblins for their cause in earlier wars. They still purchase zeppelins and other goblin services. The goblins often enjoy the company of the orcs, and the war veterans from both races will get together and drink if offered the opportunity. Old friends, the goblins fought with the Horde in the Second War, but broke off when they realized that it’s more profitable to work both sides. However, many goblins remember the fun of the Horde and are willing to lower mercenary prices to Thrall and his people. Goblins offer almost exclusive transport services for the Horde, whether in their steamboats or zeppelins. You're more likely to find a team of goblin sappers, who take great pleasure in the chaos the Horde creates, meshed into Horde forces than those of the Alliance. Perhaps with enough persuasion, the goblins could be convinced to rejoin the Horde for the first time since the Second War (although that could be just as harmful as helpful, knowing the goblins).
Perhaps the only remaining goblin scruple is that they will not betray a customer. While they understand each side of the war very well, if the Alliance is paying them for services, merchant or mercenaries, they will not act as double agents for the Horde. This is as close to honor as the goblins usually get.
Goblins don't like gnomes much, as they are the two races that are best at engineering. They often combat in engineering, like at the Mirage Raceway in Shimmering Flats. It is hard to say who is the best at engineering, the goblins or gnomes.
After the Cataclysm however, the goblins of The Bilgewater Cartel are forced to join the Horde when they encounter the Alliance in the Lost Isles.
With the Horde
Even before the Cataclysm, there were many goblins still working with the Horde found in Ashenvale, Orgrimmar, Camp Mojache, and Thousand Needles; even then, goblins working for the Horde run the zeppelin system. In WotLK some goblins joined the Warsong Offensive, some even displaying the Horde symbol on their tabard and fighting on the front lines. In the airship event, goblin members of the Kor'kron elite were even seen.
There is at least one goblin affiliated with the Alliance and that is SI:7 agent Renzik "The Shiv", Mathias Shaw's second in command.
Other goblins are found in even the darker factions of the world Burning Blade, Black Dragonflight, and Dark Horde, very rarely are goblins truly loyal to their factions. Most goblins would likely trade sides for even the smallest boost in payment.
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