The Goblins are a malicious race of small green humanoid monsters found in both the original Warcraft and its online counterpart, World Of Warcraft, although most Goblins are neutral in regards to the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde, they have always been portrayed as a greedy and somewhat dangerous race that are comparable in some ways to true neutral.
Goblins will do anything for profit and show very little regard for ethics, as long as it is seen as gainful, profitable, and advantageous, they will gladly exploit it and they can be rather revolting, abominable, prejudicial, outrageous, repulsive, dreadful, loathsome, unpleasant, reproachful, contumelious, reprehensible, vituperative, blameworthy, disgusting, grotesque, unsavory, knavish, sinful, loutish, culpable, repugnant, detestable, opprobrious, backstabbing, and objectionable as a result, though they are avid and passionate traders and are willing to help others if they feel that they will gain a reward.
Goblins can also be vindictive and acrimonious, so they can have a rivalry of sorts with Gnomes, especially when it comes to Engineering - with Goblins preferring calamitous, destructive, temperamental, devastating, and often highly explosive gadgets, while Gnomes prefer outlandish and eccentric inventions.
Goblins do not really have a code of honor, but they do seem to have some kind of structure to their society, as they are ruled by powerful Trade Princes, which further empathizes the importance of trade in Goblin culture.
Like all races, Goblins vary by individual to individual and some are downright obstreperous, troublesome, malevolent, rancorous, and spiteful, though on the whole, they tend to be manipulative and scheming rather than outright evil - unless they see the means of exploiting someone, at which point they can become extremely bellicose, antagonistic, confrontational, and incompatible: such as how they often deforest massive areas of land in their quest to profit, uncaring of the damage it can cause to the environment.
Prior to the Cataclysm expansion, Goblins were considered the most notably "neutral" race in the game, as the majority were generally independent NPCs who would offer work to both the Alliance and Horde, most affiliated with the "Steamwheedle Cartel" faction, while others (such as the Venture Company) were enemies. With the release of Cataclysm, Goblins became a playable race and part of the Horde, which further reinforced their role as counterparts to the Gnomes. The playable Goblins belong to the "Bilgewater Cartel" group, which is led by the most cunning and evil Goblin of them all, the cruel, violent, and treacherous leader named Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix, who is hated even by the majority of his own people.
- In lore, Goblins joined the Horde in the Second War, but they are not mentioned in the novel by Aaron S. Rosenberg, World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness.
- In World of Warcraft, the Goblins borrow the basic skeleton from dwarves, although their profile photo is at a different angle; they also possess a unique dance and other different animations. The older Goblin model used for shredder pilots and flight masters takes the basic skeleton from imps.
- Before patch 2.3.0, Goblins could not wear (or at least show) Head items. Kiz Coilspanner was the first to show this, followed by the helmed Irradiated Worke]s' models being switched from gnomes to goblins.
- Chris Metzen stated in the November 2003 issue of Blizzard Insider #15 that goblins were originally considered for the fourth Alliance race. But they were widespread as a neutral trading faction, so Gnomes became a better fit.
- Some goblin NPC names have a second meaning, out of context with the game environment. As a Fashion Designer, the goblin Haughty Modiste's name is constructed of the words "haughty", a form of contemptuous and disdainful arrogance, and modiste, a French word that means "fashion designer" or "fashion vendor". Likewise, Zeppelin Master talks openly about escorting the player's character to the steamy jungles of Stranglethorn Vale, to "show [them] a real jungle cat".
- Female goblins use the female gnome sounds in combat — although there aren't many female goblin NPCs that anyone can fight, all that anyone needs to do is going to war with one of the goblin factions and fight one in order to hear it.
- The goblin is an evil, crabby, and mischievous creature of folklore (mainly European, but other mythologies have similar creatures), often described as a grotesquely disfigured or gnome-like phantom who may range in height from that of a dwarf to that of a human.
- In the starter area (when in the car), if anyone hit the radio button, anyone can hear the theme from Brewfest, as well as an altered version of the Mario theme and The Legend of Zelda.
- The Goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel are a possible reference to the Glukkons from Abe's Oddysee: as they both got Cartels, Moolah as currency, a popular soda drink, a rather large amount of slaves, and names with pun about themselves (Vice President Aslik for example). In the quest "The New You", anyone gains shiny clothing and sunglasses for a party, since anyone became the boss. Possibly related to Lulu, a Glukkon that became rich and started dressing the same way.
- Goblins were originally considered as a race for Warcraft III.