So this is in no way meant to be a negative post, so please don’t get the wrong end of the stick! Giving blogs a title can be a chore!
So as you may or may not be aware, the Warcraft movie has been released. It was a staggered release over 2 weeks worldwide. It is predicted to do better in Europe that in the USA (which I assume is its biggest single market) and I have noticed several forums where people in past months have become rather upset that it is getting to North America last. I can’t quite say why this is, but I imagine it has a lot to do with generating interest.
Now there is also a lot of confusion about the film, this is not a World of Warcraft (the game) movie. This is a story of the Warcraft universe, there were 3 games released before the all encompassing MMORPG that is usually referred to as WOW. This is effectively an explanation of how things happened, offering a history, a timeline, a backstory. So I guess for some it might be confusing. But if you have played Warcraft for any period of time, you will understand that the time lines are confused at best, and you won’t necessarily understand the history or who the key players are.
With each expansion is a new storyline and a shift in the universe and even time line, so really when you think about it… how are you going to capture that in a movie. What storyline are you actually going to pick to go down. What side do you pick?
So yes, this movie is a back story, to help us all catch up and what I assume will be a trilogy of movies that will net Blizzard some more money. Again, I sound negative, but you can’t blame them can you ? Why not build on your franchise. I guess what a lot of people will be asking is why it has taken so long? Well remember the Street Fighter movie, or the Dungeons & Dragons movie? Do you REMEMBER them? They are bad and in the case of Street Fighter, creepy. Go watch it… you will have a niggling suspicion that there is something a little ‘off’ about the movie. The sound track. Or lack there of, no ambient sound. It is off putting in its silence. And the Dungeon and Dragons movie is truly cringeworthy. Like it legitimised every assumption and stereotype about the franchise.
But I digress, Blizzard, in World of Warcraft, have a cash cow. To the point that they are able to take a little more time over other games (let us not think about how long it took to release Diablo 3, and personally it felt like a massive let down. Yes it recreated the other 2 games beautifully… but again a little too accurate considering the time between the releases of the games) and even work on off shots of the game, Hearthstone being a massively popular game which combines a card game with the WOW universe. They have recently added Overwatch to their stable which makes for a pleasing change of direction and hopefully initiate new players to the franchise.
There was an understanding, long held that WOW would stop level 100. That is, that the last expansion allowing players to reach 100 would be the maximum level. That they would then release an entirely new game. But this hasn’t happened. And why should it. Right now, as in today, I had a look at the EU/English speaking servers. I have played for over a decade and so I have characters on numerous servers. Not a single one was listed as having a high population, barely any was touching a medium population. Because people have leveled, they have leveled a few characters, they have done all that can be done and have seen all there is to be seen. Until the next Expansion is released (end of August) people are winding down, enjoying their summer, remembering what friend’s and family look like, and generally relaxing. All hell will break loose when the expansion hits, and the servers will be over populated once again.
So back to the reason for this blog, the movie, the Warcraft movie that has recently been released. It has been timed rather well to cover the down time while everyone waits for the next expansion and hopefully will bring new and old players to the game. Again, it is generating an interest in the genre and game, a game that has been going for over a decade which is pretty good going. It is an innovative marketing strategy!
I went to see the movie, I was warned by my SO that I would hate it, I have a history of being over critical when watching movies, including genres that I like (The Hulk, X Men) and he still laughs at my falling asleep during The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then waking up during the credits and proclaiming that the movie was shite. In my own defence, I fell asleep. It can’t have been that good a movie 🙂 I also fell asleep during the first Captain America movie… I am a very critical person, in most aspects of my life, so my SO was right in suspecting that I would end up disliking the movie. I was willing to give it a chance, after all, I did give Batman VS Superman a chance!
So let us fast forward to the end of the movie, I walked out of the movie theatre smiling! Literally smiling, I was really on a high watching a game I have been playing for many, many years, come to life. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I promise! The movie is fantastic, the cities we all know and love come to life, you can feel yourself being transported into the film. It is the little touches, the spells you recognise along with the in game description (you will laugh, I promise). There is enough background and characterisation that you care about what happens to them, that you become attached but understand the motivation that drives them.
There is something for everyone, there are good looking girls, good looking guys, there is family, romance, there is fighting, explosions, intrigue, magic. Somehow it manages to blend everything seamlessly and it works. It doesn’t feel like a movie about a game, it works because it isn’t a movie about a game, it doesn’t rely heavily on prior knowledge. It isn’t a film for gamers. The things I mentioned earlier, like the spells, the cities, they are part of the rich tapestry of life in a fantasy setting. It is the perfect all round movie that will actually keep an entirely family entertained and should be judged on that and not its pedigree.
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