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Let the Games Begin!

Discussion in 'WoW WotLK Beta' started by skywind, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. skywind

    skywind Guest

    <b>Let the Games Begin!</b>

    The sun beat mercilessly down upon the sand, an intense heat that drove the weak in search of shade. The biting desert wind, blowing sand into the unprotected faces of those who were not prepared. Against it all, the harsh clang of blades and vivid red of blood splashed against the ground and walls of the arena cage.

    Yes, Bip Nigstorm mused, just another day in Gadgetzan.

    The goblin slowly paced around the outside of the cage, half-watching the battle within – a human warrior and night elf druid, against a Forsaken warrior and a tauren druid – and half-watching the crowd which was pressed up against the cage, watching the fight. Not *completely* pressed up against the cage – the oppressive heat had turned the metal cage burning hot, a fact which the combatants inside tried to take advantage of – but as many spectators had been burnt by the cage from leaning too far forward or being pushed as any fighter.

    Not that most mattered – most felt it was a risk worth taking.

    Or most *had* felt it was a risk worth taking, he muttered to himself, as he noticed – yet again – that the number of spectators was far down from the glory days of the first and second seasons. Then, the arenas were new, the combatants varied, the strategies untested – they had come from the opposite ends of Kalimdor then to watch.

    But time marched on, and many of those who had made the arenas the success they were had moved on with it. Along with them, went many of the spectators... ah, Bip longed for the days when the roar of the crowd was a physical presence, and their gold filled his coffers to overflowing.

    A sudden shout drew him from his musings. He focused back on the battle to see that the Forsaken had managed to get away from the human – courtesy of some large roots reaching up from under the sand to hold his opponent immobile – and had landed an especially powerful blow on the night elf, leaving her stunned and disorientated.

    The shout became a roar, as with a feral grin – disturbing when you were missing half of your jaw – he charged, pushing the night elf back into the burning wall of the cage. She let out a cry of pain, but had no more time to react as the large mace smashed into her face, and she fell limp against the sand.

    Bip turned away – he didn't need to see what happened next. He wasn't squemish, but he had no love of violence for violence's sake – the arenas were simply a means to an end.

    But the arenas had become the refuge of the elite, where the endless variations and permutations seen at the beginning were nowhere to be seen. Though it was unlikely it would ever stop, the money had been slowly drying up.

    And if it was one thing which goblins loved, it was money.

    Perhaps a change in plans was in order.

    “What, exactly, is this?”

    “It's a tabard.”

    “I can *see* that.”

    Beka Zipwhistle wasn't impressed. She was *supposed* to be on holidays – she'd managed to con her younger brother into taking over her position in Stormwind temporarily, for free even! He truly was hopeless, but this time it helped her – and now Bip was trying to regale her with this new “idea” he'd had. She privately thought he'd spent too long at Gadgetzan – the heat had obviously gotten to him.

    It was a shame – but some goblins just weren't cut out for it.

    Bip turned away from where he'd hung up the tabard – cream with gold trim, with the main design four interlocking circles – and walked over to the nearby table. He spent a few seconds rummaging through his pack which was laying there, before drawing out a small black book.

    She frowned. That looked like...

    He flicked through it, before settling on a page about halfway through. Beka was still frowning as she accepted it – Bip looked entirely too grave. Her frown deepened as she read.

    “This is...”

    “Competitors are down. Spectators are down. Profits are down across the board! It's a disaster!”

    That was putting it lightly. The trade princes didn't trade in excuses or what-has-beens, only profits.

    “The arenas started off well,” Bip continued, slightly calmer. “But there's far too many out there who just can't stand the fire in the cage. They get panicky, they miss things – and the pain from constantly losing probably doesn't help either. So they stop coming. Then the spectators stop watching – because they've seen it all before.”

    “And you've got a plan.” Beka handed the book back.

    “The arenas are too narrow a concept – we need to diversify. Get more people in. Less in-your-face brutal pain, more competition.”

    “Crowds like pain.”

    “Crowds like *drama*, suspense – pain is a means to an end. The arena isn't going away – the pain junkies can get their fix from there. What we need is a new source of profit.”

    “And you're suggesting....?” Beka was intrigued in spite of herself. The word *profit* had since a nice ring to it.

    “A series of competitions – lots of different things, swimming, riding, magic duels, fencing, archery, boating, you name it. Give out medals to the top three for each contest – more hope of winning something, more competitors.

    “We can even make up new contests – like trying to hit a ball between two posts, or something equally silly like that. The more people, the more chance for drama, and the more people who'll come to watch.”

    Beka frowned. This almost seemed workable.

    “And how exactly are you going to get people to compete? This doesn't seem like the usual sort of thing they'd get involved with.”

    He grinned. She shuddered. Some goblins did *not* have the face for smiles. “Easy! Play off the rivalry between the Horde and the Alliance – let some whispers, rumours go around, the Horde doesn't have what it takes to win, the Alliance is too scared of being upstaged by orcs – they'll come running!”

    Beka nodded slowly. Everything she'd seen while stuck in Stormwind agreed with that assessment.

    “These... contests. This competition. Does it have a name?”

    The sea wind was bitterly cold, but as the fireworks roared into the night sky, painting the sky in vivid shades of every colour, Bip was grinning. They'd done it. Already a second warehouse had had to be set aside for the gold pouring in.

    Outlined against the backdrop of night and fire, Gazlowe cut an imposing figure, and his voice echoed throughout the city.

    “I now declare the first Ratchet Olypmic Games, open! Let the games begin!”