Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mists of Pandaria Cinematic

Blizzard released the Mists of Pandaria cinematic today. It's quite good. Not as good as the Wrath of Lich King cinematic, but then, very little is.

Technically, the video is superb. The detail and animation is amazing.

However, I think the cinematic doesn't have a lot of "weight" to it. It's funny, and has some nice humour, but I don't think it's particularly memorable.

The one thing this video does very well is introduce the concept of a "third power" in the game. You have the Horde. You have the Alliance. And now you have the Pandaren. The video makes it clear that they are a new and powerful people.

However, the video sends somewhat mixed messages about the Pandaren. Are the Horde and Alliance uniting against the Pandaren? But the Pandaren seem like good people, what with the fighting for home and harmony. Of course, the idea that each faction is trying to woo the Pandaren seems really hard to convey in a short, rousing, cinematic.

The video doesn't really give much of an indication about this expansion, or a reason to do anything. All the previous cinematics have a call-to-arms vibe, while this one basically says, "Hey, there are Pandaren Monks." Leaving the player to ask, "And this is important why?"

But maybe that's not a bad thing, reflecting a quieter and not-so-urgent expansion.


  1. It would have been about a million times better if the panda had been a girl :)

  2. Nah, that would have been cliche.

    The orc should have been female.

  3. the cinematic shows, that the pandaren are the new Uber-Race. One of them easily beats two battleproven soldiers.

  4. I just posted (roughly) the same thoughts at the same time!

  5. I had the same reaction as Anonymous until I realized the pandaren is supposed to be Chen Stormstout and not some average, nameless monk. Still, it would have been nice to see the orc and human put up a real fight and not simply be trounced 1v2 with no real effort.
    I was abit underwhelmed by it actually. It's cool, sure, but it just doesn't have the gravitas that the other trailers (especially wrath and cataclysm) have had. The scope is too small, there's the scene where the mists fall away and we get a nice sweeping angle of the whole valley and I thin to myself it should have channeled thaty grand feeling more. It feels very very small in scope.

  6. I'm in the minority, but I found the Wrath cinematic to have been very underwhelming. It didn't give me goose bumps the the beginning of the BC trailer did.

    I love that the Mists trailer made me laugh, a rarity in game trailers these days.

  7. I think it's a bridge expac. Yeah, I know, I hate mentioning "go read my post", but I honestly just got done posting my thoughts there when I got to reading yours, Rohan.

    After reading your thoughts, I'm wondering whether Blizz has been watching Ice Age and Madagascar trailers too much.

  8. I love it, and i love the humor too, it does not all have to be doom and gloom. Then again, my favorite parts of wow are all the funny moments, not the epic ones.

  9. This expansion definitely doesn't seem as epic as any of the previous ones. Then again, what can we expect from an expansion that features pet battles? It's not that pet battles are necessarily bad, but it clearly indicates which direction WOW is heading towards.

  10. Opening scene, dark and powerful, two powers clashing at a standstill in their prowess. As the two ships sink intertwined we get a close up of the two flags, perhaps the future of the two sides is mutual destruction? The monologue overlay gives some insight into an outsiders pov. The Alliance and Horde battle because that's all they know to do with each each other.

    Second scene we see two survivors of the sunken ships. And we continue the theme that the two sides fight each other because that is all they know. Stranded in a new land they don't know they resort to the familiar. Again we find both sides evenly matched, to what end would this come? Possibly both sides mutually assuring each others deaths?

    Third scene we bring in a unfamiliar, feral and obviously dangerous, enemy which both the Horde and Alliance attempt to defeat on their own, without working together. This enemy though does not seem to seek their death. After both sides find they can do nothing alone, the orc and human team up. This of course echoes the history of the Horde and Alliance.

    Last scene, the human while not overtly asking for help extends a weapon to the orc. This again echoes many of the Horde and Alliance mutual struggles. Working together the new enemy is unable to gain the upper hand. Without a word he shows them through his actions he is not an enemy but he is also not to be taken lightly and he is not alone. He once again shows a very feral and dangerous look at the end. The monologue ask the question not why but for what do we fight? We find the answer for our new Pandaren, but do the Alliance and Horde even know? Maybe the Pandaren can by being on both sides of the conflict can help the Alliance and Horde both answer this important question?

    So what do I see MoP being about? War, death destruction, both sides at each other throats of course. But also a journey of discovery and rediscovery of themselves as groups and as individuals. The Pandaren I believe will offer the path that leads to this journey and it will be up to us the travel this path.

    Finally I also picked up a bit of Friar Tuck from Robin Hood stories. A simple looking man who doesn't appear to be a threat or of consequence at all and yet when he desires to be he is as dangerous as they come. Do not judge this book by its cover.

  11. The beginning gives the feel of the original trailer which was IMHO the best one. But unfortunately as cool as the panda looks, everytime I see the panda I hear jack black in my head and the magic of WOW fades into a dumb and dumberer dullness.

    They unintentionally (I think) associated thier game with Kung FU panda. Bad marketing move among adults. But maybe adults aren't the core demographic anymore.

  12. Ahh, that video. I found it funny. But also a bit confusing. I know of course the role of the pandaren and the monk, but the video did not make it clear IF you take it too literally.

    Speaking of literally the video told me I should pay to get my current a race change to pandaren, or level up a pandaren monk. They've nerfed monk DPS in latest beta build, but pandaren are still best race.

    It also told me world PvP is back. While Method and Vodka went horde and while we have a top10 horde guild on our realm we are still an alliance realm. Tho I've gathered PvP gear (I actually like world PvP but w/o PvP gear I'm useless).

    Can't wait for new talent system. Simplify the talent system into meaningful, situational talents. 25 august GW2, 28 august new talent tree system in WoW. Bring it on, my main is waiting.

    "After reading your thoughts, I'm wondering whether Blizz has been watching Ice Age and Madagascar trailers too much."

    Pirates of the Caribbean.

  13. @Fn0--

    I'll grant that for the action scenes, but the facial movements and start/stop humorous movements (the putting of the "hammer" back in place, for example) scream Ice Age.

  14. Vanilla: Race views, Race clashing.

    TBC: Illidan, "You are not prepared" - introduction of BEs and Draenai.

    Wrath: The Lich King has awoken and The Scourge are on the move.

    Cataclysm: Deathwing has returned and Azeroth will never be the same.

    MoP: Pandaren new race, new class, see them fight.

    It seems very odd transitioning from fighting against Illidan, Arthas and Deathwing to now have no real enemy...?