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World of Warcraft Shadowlands

World of Warcraft Shadowlands

My thoughts on World of Warcraft Shadowlands

Blizzcon was this past weekend and I tuned in with a virtual ticket as usual.
Our guild discord was the most civilized thing you’ve ever heard. Approximately 8 of us sat in a voice channel – absolutely silently – typing our thoughts and comments into an adjacent ‘blizzcon-hype’ channel in discord while we watched the feed from Anaheim.

The general feeling was huge respect to J. Allen Brack for opening with a statement about the Hong Kong controversy.

From the guild discord:

I want to know what conditioner he’s using…

and

He’s one wind machine away from a vogue cover

For me personally that puts the controversy to rest, although it didn’t stop some annoying child for interrupting the Q & A the next day with his bandwagon ‘Free Hong Kong’ shouts into the camera. I’d have been suprised if the kid could actually point out Hong Kong on a world map, but mad props to Taliesin for dealing with it quickly and in the best way possible.

 

Diablo IV

diablo iv logo

The first IP up on stage for their announcement was Diablo, which is the only Blizzard game thusfar that I have absolutely zero interest in. I know the community have wanted Diablo IV for a long time now.  I’m glad they’re happy with how the cinematic looked. Personally, I spent most of it looking away from the screen. Not because it was bad, it was obviously excellent, but because everything about the genre just repels me.

Enter the Game Director: Ion Hazzikostas

I couldn’t resist posting this gif to the Guild Discord…

gird your loins

Our demon hunter suggested a drinking game for every time Ion did this:

ion hazzikostas

I’m glad I was just drinking water, because I might have died of alchohol posioning otherwise. p.s. I personally wouldn’t have the guts to stand up in front of so many people at ALL, so no disrespect to Mr H.

Discord Reactions leading up to the launch cinematic for World of Warcraft Shadowlands

Finally, it was time to watch the cinematic and end MONTHs of speculation.

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Cinematic

No leaks prepared me for this

I’ve talked before how I hate ‘leaks’ because a lot of it comes across as rather desperate sounding fanfic. It sounds like someone made up what they desperately WANT to happen in the game (which doesn’t always agree with most of the player base) and then they dress it up under the guise of ‘this person works at Blizzard’ etc. It’s childish and puerile. 

Thankfully in the case of this year’s unavoidable spoilers, they had only ONE thing right and that was the title of the game. 

Leaks vs Speculation in World of Warcraft Shadowlands

There is a big difference between duplicitously constructed leaks and speculation, you might say they are divided by a thin veil between lala-land and evidentiary-supported-theory-land.

While I profess to hate the former, I absolutely enjoy the latter. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Taliesin and Evitel’s YouTube channel so much because they don’t speculate on anything without drawing on information from credible sources and then use their brains to interpret the information in a constructive way. Plus we heard from the stage at the WoW Q&A, that Taliesin was right, is now canon, so there’s that. 😉

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Cinematic Spotlights

There a few things that I’d like to ‘spotlight’ from this cinematic which stood out for me as I watched.

1.  How many times haven’t we stood in this same place, surveying this scene?

The cinematics team have over the last few years, shown our characters in the in-game cutscenes on a more regular basis. A fact which delights most players! They can’t do this for a hi-res cinematic for obvious reasons. But what they CAN DO, which FEELS THE SAME – is give us the same feeling or viewpoint as the main character in any given scene. This is what they’ve done here.

2. Death Knight abilities on display

I’ve never raided on a DK and my DK spends most of her time sorting out auctions and crafting engineering items for me – but I know enough about DKs to instantly recognise a variation on Remorseless Winter when I see it. How fantastic to see it in action in a cinematic like this! I’m pretty sure DK mains across the globe sat up in excitement when they saw it.

3. The INSANELY good synergy of idea, visual and sound in this moment *** this was HUGE for me***

Look at the arrogance with which Sylvanas appears to ‘conduct’ operations, like an orchestra conductor (who are usually renowned for their arrogance, speaking as a former first violinist, believe me I’ve met my fair share).

But  – and THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART FOLKS – she is conducting proceedings in arrogance. But at the same time – her movements indicate to us to pay attention to the music… and this part… is where my GOOSEBUMPS made my ENTIRE body SHAKE… because…

In this very moment shown below…

4. We hear the strains of music from the Lich King defeat in-game cinematic

This might be the most f*cking epic cinematic moment I’ve ever experienced in a WoW cinematic – EVER. That’s saying a lot!

If I then layer that with the knowledge that the team who created this are conducting OUR emotions at the same time? It’s enough to make me shvitz into full Banshee mode and scream with delight!

Bloody well done!!!!!!!

5. Blizzard are TOO GOOD at creating moments like this

A literal YOU THINK SHE WILL, BUT SHE WON’T moment! (They are the meme-masters of us all!)

I am 100% sure that EVERYONE watching this thought she would put it on, and probably about 50% of those people had a groan halfway up their throats at the predictability of the moment before Blizzard surprised us again – and then promptly BLEW OUR MINDS and REALITY APART at the same time.

6.  The briefest of moments of wry humour

Tell me this isn’t the face, of ANY player who has spent any amount of time in Icecrown Citadel, trying to farm Invincibles Reins?

Of course, we’re caught up in the immense reality shattering moment – but it did give me pause to smile.

7. This is the moment where I question my judgement of Sylvanas

When she says, “this world, is a prison, and I will set us all free” – for literally the first time, I begin to wonder if we have all misjudged her MAIN motivation.

If we judge her by her ‘earthly deeds’ – then yes, she’s clearly the ‘big bad’.

But what if she has been privy to knowledge about the things that have gone wrong and broken in the Shadowlands – and this has ALL been in service of the greater good? Is it possible? For the first time EVER, I think it might be.

8. A Final Moment of Irony

“This world is a prison” – I like that this could also refer to the constraints the developers feel when creating new expansions how they are bound by the conventions of the already established world of Azeroth. Sylvanas is referring to the player base AND the developer’s freedom to create when she speaks of releasing us all.

Perhaps my guildie summed it up best…when he said this shortly after the cinematic ended…

Time to tell me YOUR thoughts!

How did the cinematic make you feel? Are you hyped for the new expansion? When do you think World of Warcraft Shadowlands will be released? 

Please comment below with anything you have to add. 

My next post will cover the other things we’ve since learned about Shadowlands, covering covenants, transmogs and more.

About The Author

Artenesse

Artenesse specialises in digital graphic design, and has been a creative professional since 2006. Blogging since 2004 and gaming since before the internet was actually a thing.

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