Breaking Down The BFA Trailers

After watching the cinematic trailer a few more times, not just in awe, I started to instead pay attention to the details. Here are the things I’ve noticed as a result, as well as some general thoughts:

  • 0:07 is Lordaeron. Apparently not everyone noticed.
  • 0:30 Sylvanas concludes a nice assessment. The Horde and Alliance have worked together but every time the unity is broken.
  • 0:40 Yup. The Alliance is at the front door and not politely knocking. What lead to this?
  • 0:43 Anduin has Shalamayne. But it seems to have an aura more akin to the Light.
  • 0:47 As expected, Genn is the military leader and Anduin’s right hand.
  • 0:50 That helm would look badass and frightening on anyone other than Anduin.
  • 1:05 Most of the dwarven gunners are clearly Engineers. Note the goggles.
  • 1:17 The Tauren almost looks to be dragging a green Garrosh. Obviously it’s not.
  • 1:27 The orc struck with the arrows almost seems to be a nod to the Burning Crusade trailer when the orc in that is revived by a Blood Elf priest.
  • 1:43 Sylvanas’ realization that they’re losing the fight, and subsequent decision is a defining moment. She also really looks human in this moment.
  • 1:47 Just in case there was any doubt how strong she is.
  • 1:56 For the first time in WoW we see Sylvanas use her banshee form, and damn was it awesome.
  • 2:07 That “For The Horde” cry rallied me to their side, let alone her army.  That might be the single greatest moment in any of the cinematics.
  • 2:17 Impressive Troll Shaman. Interesting that he’s wearing a mask. Sure looks a lot like a former Warchief…
  • 2:20 Love the Tauren using his horns to attack. Still surprised we don’t have that as an ability in game.
  • 2:30 A few Draenei on the front lines now means the only two races we haven’t seen are Gnomes and Blood Elves.
  • 2:34 Anduin is getting better as a fighter, but he’s not there yet.
  • 2:55 Seems he even has some of dad’s temper.
  • 3:00 No, that’s not the same Troll. The shaman didn’t have a shield.
  • 3:16 Sylvanas had her rallying moment, now Anduin has his. He recognizes he isn’t his father, but is inspired by the aura of the sword. He knows in his heart…
  • 3:22 He can wield the light and then some. Mists of Pandaria did a great job starting that story. I really do see him as a Paladin by the end of this next expansion. Succeeding where Arthas failed?
  • 3:24 Sylvanas almost had a look that was mildly impressed.
  • 3:43 Okay so maybe Anduin is a God among insects…
  • 3:54 Anduin comes off a bit more like dad. The rallying cry was good, but still not as impressive as Sylvanas’.
  • 3:57 Yep, Sylvanas is definitely amused.

All in all it’s fair to say this trailer sets the stage clearly for what the expansion is going to be about. The only thing missing is the sea and islands but they’re merely going to be a backdrop for the theatre of war the two factions will emark on once again. Now let’s look at the feature trailer:

  • 0:03 Under the tranquility of a Moonwell Jaina references her father. Once upon a time the two were on opposite sides of peace and treatment of others (specifically the orcs).
  • 0:18 Teldrassil is on fire. Not just a little bit either.  What in the Maelstrom lead to that happening? Odds are this is what leads the Alliance to Lordaeron.
  • 0:25 “We’ve made kindling from our suffering.” Similar to the assessment of Sylvanas in the cinematic but much more blunt and painful.
  • 0:31 “Waiting for a single spark.” Well, the burning tree does a pretty good job of that. Clearly that story will be the main catalyst for the expansion’s activities.
  • 0:38 The Alliance gets Kul Tiras. The port looks gorgeous. It feels so much more alive than Stormwind for example.
  • 0:43 Our first “new beast” sighting. Looks like some sort of foliage demon. Head also reminds me of the Power Generator Hood.
  • 0:46 That pile of gold…you know he’s a Dungeon Boss for certain.
  • 0:48 Holy crap! Quillboar!
  • 0:52 What are those? Trolls?
  • 0:55 Quest boss or Dungeon boss? Either way, she reminds me of the witch with Snow White’s apple. Just torturing a player instead.
  • 0:57 “I. AM. GROOT.” Don’t laugh, even my 7 year old thought it.
  • 1:03 This was our first confirmation of separate leveling zones.
  • 1:15 I feel like people are going to be screaming for a Brontomount.
  • 1:24 Snake people. Makes sense. We’re running low on options for humanoid animals. Personally, fear the idea of Skunkfolk.
  • 1:26 Oooh, Old God style tendrils. Including some with an eyeball. I like it.
  • 1:29 I said it during the last two expansions…thank heavens Blizzard did away with the five level expansions.
  • 1:31 I have always loved the aesthetics of the Troll Dungeons.
  • 1:34 The mantid and qiraji were cross-bred by the trolls?
  • 1:37 This reminds me a lot of Howling Fjorde and Grizzly Hills. Nothing wrong with that.
  • 1:38 More pirates. Same dungeon as before maybe? It would be great if it recaptured the feel of classic Deadmines. Well, aside from not actually being in a mine.
  • 1:41 These are the 3-player island scenarios that were talked about. I’m really intrigued by the potential of them.
  • 1:46 Wrath players remember the Wyrms. Making them undead terrifies me.
  • 1:49 Warfronts. Apparently Warcraft 3 in nature. Not my cup of tea but folks will be happy.
  • 1:56 It’s Jaina! Oh damn. She looks like all she’s done since she left Dalaran is hit the bottle.
  • 2:00 There’s the Allied Races. First the Alliance (Dark Iron Dwarves, Lightborn Draenei, and Void Elves) and then the Horde (Highmountain Tauren, Zandalari Trolls, and Nighborne)
  • 2:08 Final emphasis on the theme of the expansion.
  • 2:15 And we end with the reveal of the expansion’s name.

I always enjoy the reveal trailers. They tend to preview a great deal and then once we’re in the content it’s fun to remember those details when we first saw them. Of course, we also see things that don’t always make the final cut. It will be interesting to see all of these things when the time comes.

The two trailers together did a fantastic job of setting the stage for Battle For Azeroth. I still wonder most about the connection between Teldrassil and Undercity. I mean, there’s an obvious explanation for it, but I would rather see it confirmed and played out rather than cast suspicions. Plus doing so still wouldn’t get to the heart of what she does to trigger it.

The Battle Rages

So that just happened. Well, a couple of hours ago now but I wanted to wait until the “What’s Next” panel concluded before I posted any thoughts. Let’s start with the trailer. I loved Anduin’s helm. If you didn’t know it was him, it would come across very cold. Too bad he’s the opposite. And then there’s his opposite on the battlefield. She can turn into a banshee again? I get goosebumps every time I watch the trailer and that moment comes up.

That we got a cinematic trailer the same day Battle For Azeroth was announced was a great surprise by Blizzard. I think this one does a great job of setting up the expansion (so much for my “we don’t need factions anymore”). One has to wonder how she obtained the ability to transform and also what brought the Alliance to the doorstep of Lordaeron. Hopefully enough will be explained at some point before we head off to Zandalar and Kul’Tiras.

Given the theme of the expansion, I really enjoy the idea that the Horde and Alliance will go 110-120 in completely different regions. It puts a proper emphasis on the factions being strongly divided once more. Both zones look interesting enough from the previews we got but there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to that. I’m sure more will trickle out from the players who get to playtest it this weekend. Same goes for the two dungeons that were made available. Though I am very interested in the Kezan dungeon when the time comes. Who knows what the goblins have done this time?

There were many things touched on in the brief one hour but I’m not going to talk about all of them. I will mention a few other things that I found noteworthy:

  • Going the Guild Wars 2 route with all zones of Azeroth. This seems long overdue to be able to have scaled questing anywhere on the planet. Glad they are finally not only bringing it forward but pairing up expansions as well (such as Outland and Northrend being scaled 60-80). I only hope that with it we can have a somewhat expedited xp boost. It still takes too long to level a character, even with heirlooms. New players get the instant boost, so they don’t have to do it if they don’t want to. But existing players are probably going to roll more alts. Why?
  • Allied Races. We are getting half a dozen subraces, with three to each side. Horde receive the Highmountain, Nightborne, and Zandalari. On the Alliance side it’s the Dark Iron Dwaves, Light Forged Draenei, and Void Elves. These races each need to be recruited but once you do, you basically unlock them as an alt that starts at level 20.
  • No Legendary Artifacts. Those are going to fall by the wayside and we’ll go back to standard weapons once more. Instead, we’ll have “The Heart of Azeroth” which is an amulet powered by Azerite (the very essence of Azeroth herself, seeping into the world). The more you get, the more you can do and it is used by three armor slots (helm is certain, my guess is chest and legs as well).
  • Realms are going to be streamlined so that there are no longer PvP or PvE realms. Instead, you will have the option on any server to simply toggle PvP on or off. In doing it across all realms, this gives the developers a chance to do things like Bounty Hunter quests or assassinations.
  • World of Warcraft Classic. You wonder where a guy is going when he talks about his two favourite ice creams being Cookies & Cream (yes) and Chocolate (meh)…until he mentions some people prefer Vanilla. It sounds like things are still in early stages, but the plan is in place to have throwback servers. Who knows how many, but they are definitely on the way at some point.

There was more if you didn’t get to see the segment (or find it on YouTube yet), but I want to wait and see what comes from the panel later today as well as the Q & A before commenting further.

Less Than Two Hours

3:30 pm Eastern is the time we’re all waiting for. Well, there are other things of enjoyment but for most players it’s the “What’s Next” for WoW. In the Mythic Hall at that time is when we will find out the next expansion for the game. There are a lot of rumours and speculations about what the 7th(!) expansion will hold for the denizens of Azeroth. Ships? Kul Tiras? Naga? The Void? Old God? All of these things have been whispered for the last 3-6 months and we know some of it will be true. Some of it will be completely off the mark, but that’s ok too. The fun is in the speculation and there is even more excitement in the delivery.  Personally I expect N’zoth and Jaina will be this expansion’s versions of Deathwing and Thrall (though hopefully not as obnoxious in the case of the latter).

Enough rambling and excitement for now. The moment I get a link for the new trailer or cinematic, you can bet I will post it and share my further thoughts then.

Eve of Evolution

Everything right now is calm.

You can relax.

Putter with whatever tickles your fancy.

But that’s about to change again.

We’re one week from the launch of Warlords of Draenor and the next stage of World of Warcraft.  We’re certainly familiar now with many of the changes brought about with the expansion, thanks to 6.0.  But there’s new stories and conflicts to behold, new lands and creatures.  Plus, you never know what changes will come during the expansion via its patches.  What will 90-100 feel like?  What new sexy transmog gear will we see?  There’s so much unknown for those who haven’t followed the beta news and even tidbits for those who did (or were in it).  There’s also the question of what it will do to the player base.  Blizzard has seen a small player return recently, after a significant decline.  Warlords has people talking and impressions between now and Christmas will yield echoing results one way or the other.

But then again, by this time Sunday there’s a chance no one cares about Warlords, in the relative sense of how it’s going to do.  If rumours are to be true, there’s a strong chance the company is going to use Blizzcon to announce the sixth expansion for World of Warcraft.  A week before the current expansion drops, we may know what comes after it.  That’s crazy to think, but since initial reports leaked Blizzard has gone and trademarked the rumoured title: Eye of Azshara.  I won’t go into much detail about it, because it could very well just be a rumour.  But if it turns out to be true, then fantastic.  Regardless of what has come out, if Blizzard does drop the news of the next expansion this weekend I will be shocked and amazed.

For one, it would be a great way to pull at the players that have left and are debating coming back.  You show them what is about to happen and what is going to follow (probably in early ’16 if I had to guess) and it might be compelling enough.  Also, Blizzard has to do more.  WoW is still the grand daddy of the genre, despite being one of the few remaining full on pay to play games.  But they can’t just sick back, as was evident with the lengthy sunset of Pandaria.  People left.  Again.  And this time it wasn’t just a few.  Yes, some of us came back, but you can’t keep doing it and necessarily expecting people to keep returning.  They’ll say enough is enough.  New content closer together keeps player interest.  While major expansions aren’t the right answer (regular new patch content would work just as well), it’s something.  Something wise.

We really are on the eve of something unique.  Blizzcon is tomorrow and when it’s all said and done we will no doubt be excited for whatever Blizzard shows us.  I for one expect the first footage from the movie.  Your con is the place you debut things like that.  But getting back to World of Warcraft we could come out of Blizzcon knowing what the next expansion will be and be frothing at much of the information people were able to learn.  Or, there might not be much about the game after Warlords is done.  Either way, we then have the pleasure of gearing up for Thursday when the next chapter of WoW goes live.

It’s definitely a rollercoaster week, it’s just a matter of how thrilling the ride is going to be.

Warlords Of Draenor: A Knee-Jerk Reaction

Sure enough, just before 3pm EST, Chris Metzen announced the next World of Warcraft expansion and it was Warlords of Draenor.  Now, if you’re not familiar with Draenor, it’s what Outland used to be…before it shattered.  So my immediate thought was the Bronze Dragonflight sending us back in time.  Based on the video, time-travel of some sort is definitely involved.  I hope they explain more this weekend (I’m now at work, so maybe they already have).  What else did I think as the trailer played?

  • Snow In Draenor?  Interesting.
  • New character models?  Finally!
  • Is Draenor a new world?  I guess it sort of is.
  • Build And Upgrade Your Garrison looks very much like a phased zone.  Hoping it’s not crazy dailies (some dailies are ok, right Kamalia?)
  • Level Cap Raised to 100.  Surprised.  I thought another 5 levels, so this could be the final expansion.
  • Boost to 90?!?!  Wait, say what!?!?  Oooh, how does this work?

So collectively, my first thought is the expansion goes back to what is old is new again and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  The old is really just some of the characters and locale, but even they look drastically different.  I’m so glad the original races are getting their much needed upgrades.  As I suggested, the boost to level 90 really has me intrigued.  That’s something I’ll be looking to get more information regarding.  All in all, my intrigue sits at about half to three quarters.  However, there’s nothing turning me off (except perhaps the Garrison and daily overload potential).  Can’t wait to absorb more information tonight and tomorrow.

D-Day (D Is For Delivery)

Today is the day.  No more speculation.  No more wondering.  Most of all, no more waiting.  BlizzCon kicks off officially at 11am PST with the Opening Ceremonies.

There are two specific time slots that World of Warcraft fans/players need to take note of.  12:30 PST is the “World Of Warcraft: What’s Next” on the main stage.  This is a no-brainer.  This is the next expansion announcement.  I look forward to the announcement trailer almost as much as the announcement itself.  If you believe the latest talk and potential evidence, then it could be “Warlords of Draenor.”  A comment I read on WoW Insider last night from one of the readers was a really great one.  They suggested a good chunk of the adventure could involve going to Outland before it was torn apart.  That could certainly be interesting.

Regardless of what the announcement is, further details will begin coming out about two hours later.  The Panel Stage is host to “World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues.”  That lasts about an hour, and then we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for even more information.  In the morning is an information session getting further into what the new expansion will hold and after lunch is the traditional Q & A.

What I’m also looking forward to actually comes between these two sessions.  I think it’s been under the radar for the most part, as everyone is focused on the expansion.  At 1pm PST tomorrow is the Warcraft Movie presentation.  For something that’s been in the works for almost as long as this blog has existed, it sounds like it will finally come to fruition.  Of course, the suggestion in the title is that it will take place before any of the events in World of Warcraft.  That’s fine.  Any Azeroth movie is better than no Azeroth movie.

So enjoy the peace and quiet for the next four hours.  Or, just try to make it through them.  For those in Anaheim, I can only imagine who long these hours seem.  Still, I have no doubt it will be worth the wait.  Some folks, like Tome, can get up to the minute with the Virtual Ticket.  Others like Navi are live and in person.  Hopefully either group can pass on info as best possible for those of us who weren’t able to do either (in this author’s case it’s because I’ll be at work for all of today’s events).  One thing is for sure, there’s going to be tonnes of commenting in about six hours.  As I did with Mists of Pandaria two yeas ago, I’ll provide my own “knee jerk reaction” on what is revealed and then something more thorough over the weekend.