Sunday, August 17, 2014

Warlords Cinematic

World of Orcraft recently unveiled the cinematic for the Warlords of Draenor expansion:

Still not as good as the Lich King cinematic:

(Whoops, wrong video. Real trailer is is here.)

In some respects, I wish Blizzard had not switched styles for the Lich King trailer. The next few expansion cinematics have all attempted to do the same thing and reach the same heights, and they have all failed.

Technically, the Warlords trailer is superb, as always. The graphics are outstanding.

The problem comes in the content. First, this is a very lore-heavy trailer. It shows the point where the timeline splits, when Grom, guided by Garrosh, chooses not to drink the demon blood. As well, a lot of the imagery is a direct reference to the death of Mannoroth in Warcraft III, only with Garrosh saving Grom. I really wonder how much someone who is not super-familiar with the Warcraft lore will understand.

The second problem can be explained with the question: Who are the heroes, and who are the villains, in this trailer? The trailer very heavily pushes Grom and Garrosh as the heroes. After all, they choose freedom over slavery, and are the ones who kill the demons. And indeed, if you go back to the original video in Warcraft III, Grom and Thrall are the heroes in that video.

But Grom and Garrosh are the villains of the expansion. The ones the heroes will be pitted against and ultimately defeat. Anyone who is heavily into the lore will know that. So you have a trailer which can only be understood by Warcraft fans, and at the same time pushes an emotional arc which contradicts what those fans know. That dissonance significantly weakens the trailer for the hardcore fans.

As for the non-hardcore people, the dissonance doesn't occur now, but will when they start playing the expansion. I think that will cause issues, unless Blizzard is setting up some crazy twist where we bring Grom and Garrosh back to the good side.


  1. Although I am fully on-board with the Frozen fatigue train, that trailer was amazing.

    In any case, I agree: Lich King was pretty much the pinnacle of villains/story-line wrap-ups in WoW, and Blizzard has been floundering ever since. I hate time travel, so the only possible thing that could excite me in this coming expansion is if there is some rather immediate Burning Legion shenanigans.

  2. I get the feeling we are going to hit the Iron Horde so hard, by the end of the expansion Grom will kill Garrosh for leading their people to ruin and ask the Legion (through Gul'dan perhaps) for help, leading to the 'raid with heavy presence of the legion' that was talked about in an interview for the final raid.

    Still I'm hoping that Gul'dan will survive this expansion, escape to Azeroth, and prepare the setting of the next one by raising the Tomb of Sargeras from the water again. It would be a nice way to have a new continent in Azeroth itself and ties back to Gul'dan's old ambitions.

  3. I think it's an interesting juxtaposition to the MoP trailer, which made the new playable race look like it was going to be a common enemy to both Alliance and Horde. This time it's the other way round and they make the enemy look like good guys.

    I dunno, I get the impression that the people at Blizzard don't spend enough time thinking about what they are actually saying with these trailers beyond "will this look cool".

  4. @Shin--

    Given that I knew plenty of people in WoW who really only wanted to kill things and grab loot, I don't think they'll simply care about the lore too much. They might bitch more about Horde dominance of the story (once again), but that's about it.

    I suppose the "kill things and win/take loot" is part of the reason why League of Legends is so big now. Well, that and the professional league surrounding it...

  5. After playing so many Caverns of Time "prevent the (bad) historical event from being prevented", one would assume that Mannoroth's blood MUST be consumed or the history will change wierdly (in Back-to-the-Future style).

    The irony is that you cannot just eliminate Grom/Garrosh because they are key figures of the history. What could be done is helping Gul'dan to somehow control the warlords.

    Or maybe I'm thinking in old Nozdormu fashion, and current trends are to do things in Chromie's way. Help future yourself, then help past yourself, like in WoTLK quest seires? That's fine. Enter the Dark Portal in the present, go to the past, destroy the Dark Portal? Why not.