With the way BlizzCon opened, it was obvious Blizzard was in full PR Mode after the criticism it got when Legion was announced at Gamescom in Germany over the summer. Blizzard heard fan and critic alike loud and clear:
I mean wow. Remember the still from Gamescom? I never considered the possability the cinematic was still in progress at the time. This is the completed Legion cinematic and we got it almost a full year before the expansion’s release.The video itself has been viewed about 2 million times in two days.
The release window was narrowed to somewhere between mid-August and mid-September 2016. That’s a good 9 to 10 months away but wait, there’s more: Beta Testing was announced as beginning in late January. Those who were subbed when Beta testing launched seemed to have the highest chances of getting selected–I was in the Beta for Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor myself.
Before we take a look at the Warcraft Movie’s Trailer, let’s recap the story of Legion so far as we know it (Warlords of Draenor ending Spoilers!):
- At the end of Warlords of Draenor, Archimonde sends Gul’dan through the portal into the twisting nether. It’s revealed Gul’dan had actually been sent from Draenor to our Azeroth to raise the Tomb of Sargeras like his Prime Counterpart did. This act opens the dimensional floodgates and a massive Legion invasion begins.
- As indicated in the opening Cinematic, the Alliance and the Horde put their differences aside to fight a common enemy at the newly revealed Broken Isles. Varian and Sylvanas are the Vanguard and take the fight to the enemy that threatens them all. Varian’s fate is unclear though certain things are implied by Varian’s dialogue in the cinematic and the wording for Anduin’s profile on the Legion website.
- Backtrack to Illidan’s death back in Burning Crusade. Maiev Shadowsong, who was present for his demise took his broken body to the Vault of Wardens to serve an eternal sentence along with the surviving Illidari. Fast forward to the beginning of Legion. The dimensional prison’s defenses are breached, its prisoners released.
- The new Demon Hunter Class’s story begins just before the fall of the Black Temple. Illidan sends the Illidari on a suicide mission to find allies to fight the Legion. Things don’t go as planned: Illidan is slain and the Illidari are captured and imprisoned on the Vault of Wardens, a prison world in another dimension. When the prison’s defenses are breached, the Demon Hunters join the fight alongside the guards to push back the Legion.
- The Legion invasion devastates the Alliance and the Horde: Some heroes die and others lose faith. With the collapse of the existing world powers, the classes band together to fight a common enemy.
- Legion takes place in the recently revealed Broken Isles, which was the heart of Night Elf civilization before The Sundering. In order to close the Legion portals and heal Azeroth, you will need to find Titan artifacts called The Pillars of Creation. You will automatically get one as part of the expansion’s intro quest chain. The rest are conveniently scattered across The Broken Isles. The catch is the enemy wants them too but for obviously different reasons.
Ok I’d say that’s enough. I’ll break down many of the things explained in detail at BlizzCon in separate blog posts.
Now let’s take a look at the long awaited trailer for the WarCraft Movie:
The hype is real.
That said, critics wasted no time pointing out inconsistencies with the lore revealed by the trailer.
Here’s the ones I noticed:
- The half-Orc, half-human Assassin Garona appears to have romance with King Llane Wrynn. In the official lore, it’s Garona and Medivh. Garona has a son named Me’dan who though is canon will never make an official appearance outside the comics due since he is a Mary Sue.
- Dalaran is a floating city in the movie. This doesn’t happen in the lore until the Nexus War (Wrath of the Lich King).
- Karazhan’s design is differemt from its in-game counterpart.
- Durotan makes contact with the Alliance and they work together to fight The Horde.
- Thrall is born before the end of the First War.
Those last two are easily the most controversial for those who know the lore. It was left out of both the teaser and the trailer but Drakka (Durotan’s wife) is very pregnant before the Frostwolf Clan crosses over to Azeroth. I know from some leaked footage of the portal crossing someone posted online during Gamescom. During the sequence you see Gul’dan reap the souls of dozens of Draenei prisoners and use their souls to open the Dark Portal into Azeroth.
Those who know their lore also know Durotan, Drakka and the rest of the Frostwolves never drank Mannoroth’s blood. This begs the obvious question of how they–and by extension Thrall before he was born–turned green. Simple: The portal itself. Being in contact with Fel Magic that potent is sure to have an effect on even thoose who never dabbled in Fel Magic. If you look closely, you can see patches of green on Durotan and Drakka in some of the trailer footage. Not too hard to believe naturally it would have a stronger effect on the unborn baby.
That plus Durotan fighting with the Alliance was done for the sake of storytelling: The original plan was for the narrative to be entirely from the Alliance’s point of view. When Chris Metzen and his team came on board, the story was rewritten to tell both sides. There WERE heroes and villains on both sides of the First War after all. Daelin Blackmoore–Thrall’s guardian after his parents are murdered–is one such person.
Speaking of, I’m pretty sure one of the side stories for the movie adaptation of WarCraft II will be Thrall’s upbringing. It will cover Thrall as a pitfghter and then the human friend he made sacrificing herself to help him escape. This sets things up for the movie versions of Warcraft III. That said, they would have to split the events of Warcraft III into two movies: The first would be from Thrall and the Night Elves’ perspectives and the other would be from Arthas and Scourge’s perspectives. The humans would be supporting cast due to the massive amount of storytelling involved with the other three factions.
Since I’ve gone this far, here’s how I can see them going:
- The first WCIII Movie will cover Thrall’s story from the Orcs’ journey across the sea to meeting Warchief Cairne and the Tauren to skirmishes with the Night Elves and ending with The the Battle atop Hyjal. The most emotional moment from the Orcs’ perspective would be Grom’s death after Mannoroth is slain. The movie would likely open with from the Night Elves’ perspective giving a summary of the War of the Ancients. The Night Elves would make their next appearance when the Orcs arrive on Kalimdor. Medivh arranges for Thrall, Tyrande, Malfurion and Jaina to meet, work together and defeat the Burning Legion. The movie ends with the founding of Orgrimmar on Kalimdor and Illidan leaving for Northrend to intercept the Death Knight Arthas, who has just lost control over The Forsaken and is on his way back to his master, The Lich King.
- The Second WCIII Movie will cover cover Arthas Menethil’s early days as a Paladin, his battles with Mal’Ganis and his fall in Northrend when he takes up Frostmourne. It will then cover everything that happens from there including the fall of Lordaeron and Quel’Thalas, his meeting Illidan on Kalimdor and their later iconic duel atop the Frozen Throne. The movie would then end with Arthas becoming the new Lich King. Scenes from his early life will flash throughout the film as the movie goes back and forth between his past and present as Arthas slowly loses his humanity on his journey to becoming the Lich King.
For the second movie, there is a TON of reference material. Christie Golden wrote a book about the Lich King as well so….yeah. If they really want to win over Lich King fans, the movie would open with Lich King Arthas being slain atop the Frozen Throne in a duel wth Tirion Fordring. The movie would then chronicle everything that happened up to that moment. Uther the Lightbringer narrating the movie would be EPIC.
…Whew, ok I’m done. And yes I am definitely going to see the movie.
More Legion content will be recapped throughout the week!