Friday Top 5: In-Game Cinematics

For a return to the Top 5, I wanted to look at the in-game cinematics. To be clear, this list does not include any patch trailers or expansion cinematics. And for today’s list I’m looking at pre-Shadowlands content. Heck, Shadowlands could have a top 5 all their own with how many there are. Moving on to the list.

5. Immortal No More
This one is on the list not out of any enjoyment on my part. I found this to be part of the Mary Sue that we call Thrall after all these years and I’m honestly done with it. It’s why Garrosh’s death didn’t make the list. Players did all the work just to have that moment taken from us. Thrall at this point is no better, but it’s the impact of the scene. The dragons gave up their immortality (which, again, I find silly) for the people of Azeroth. That was huge, no matter how one feels about it.

4. There Must Always Be A Lich King
This video was the culmination of a fantastic story. Arthas succumbing to defeat was the closing chapter, and I don’t think any of us expected to see Bolvar show up and take the mantle. He made for an interesting, lesser version of the Lich King over the years. Being able to watch this cinematic by viewing the statue in Dalaran was a nice little touch as well. My only issue is how “human” Arthas was at the end…given if you read the books he deliberately kills Ner’zhul in his mind to be the one true Lich King.

3. The Hour of Blood Approaches
Going through the Zandalari quests was an enjoyable story. The betrayal of Rastakhan was well told. What came as a complete surprise was the full scope of Zul’s power play. My draw dropped watching this scene as a player you are literally looking at an “ohhhhh no” type of moment.

2. Rejecting The Gift
Say what you want about Illidan’s return and redemption, this was powerful. Part of me actually expected Illidan to have his demon side expunged. This showed not only how powerful Illidan is, but how controlling the Light can be. “I am my scars!”

1. Wrathgate
This one probably does not come as much of a surprise. It had so much going for it at the time. It was a fantastic reward for a lengthy questline. It was really the first of its kind, and held so much lore and storylines. The Forsaken “splinter group,” Saurfang the Younger, Bolvar’s death…I can’t think of any in-game cinematic that came close to what the Wrathgate was and meant.

There you have it, my top five in-game cinematics. For what it’s worth, there were a couple of other’s I strongly considered. “Thorn Removal” where Aysa and Ji went their separate ways was close. It was short but showed so much. Also up there was Maev’s capturing and release of the Demon Hunters. What about you? Which have been your favourites?

30 Days (April) – Favourite Horde Leader

.

When it comes to her name alone, it’s like someone’s sayingMUFASA!I can’t even describe how I just instantly *clicked* with the Banshee Queen. We’re talking at first glance.  No lore knowledge, no nothing.  She was just a character that had that “it factor” from the beginning.  However, after I began to learn more about her I was just infatuated with the character but not in any sort of grandiose fashion.  Except for the part where I would love the Sunstrider Longbow.  That’s legit.

But getting the fanboy part out of the way, it makes sense that I was drawn to Sylvanas as vengeance driven characters have always been among my favourite.  Two of my favourite comic books are Ghost Rider (please don’t use the movies as a reference), and James O’Barr’s “The Crow.”  In the case of Sylvanas, she kind of got the back from the dead treatment that no one would want.  In the case of The Crow, Eric Draven is brought back to avenge the murder of he and his fiancee a year earlier.  In the case of Sylvanas, she’s brought back from the dead as the first High Elven Banshee.  You see, Arthas was pretty annoyed at having to fight the Ranger-General at almost every turn.  So after he slayed her with Frostmourne and she asked for the quick death she deserved, he instead brought her back right after she died.  Unfortunately for him, he would eventually lose control over some of his undead, she being the most prominent one.

So raising the Forsaken and becoming “The Dark Lady” it was Sylvanas’ post-life existence to track down Arthas and kill him.  There were twists and turns along that road, but we all know how Wrath turned out.  After confirming Arthas was dead, the Banshee Queen was actually at peace enough to end her after-life until the Val’kyr played “It’s A Wonderful Life” on her and showed that Garrosh would have a field day sending the Forsaken in as glorfied suicide bombers in any particular fight.  So, she continued on, and it’s in that time that she’s been one of those characters that really makes you think DTA: Don’t Trust Anybody.

It’s incredibly clear that Sylvanas will put the protection of her people (or even race, as she sees them) before anything else.  That’s the kind of thing people tend to appreciate from their leader.  She’s even gone so far as to find a means of extending the Forsaken population through her arrangement with the Val’kyr (keeping herself alive in the process).  But she also blatantly ignored the warning to stop using the plague.  Southshore is evidence of that, as is the Battle of Gilneas.  Which, makes you wonder what her true agenda is?  She clearly had no use for Garrosh and no one can blame her for that…but she didn’t exactly give Vol’jin a ringing endorsement either.   I hazard to guess the only Warchief she truly would have responded to would have been Lor’themar, which makes sense given the High Elf connection.

But he’s not and that’s where the mystery is.  You really do not know what to expect from Sylvanas Windrunner now.  It could be passive.  It could be chaos.  It could even be malicious.  Honestly, I just don’t care because what has already been done with the character has given me more than enough reason to care what she does and quite often cheer for her when she does so.  Doesn’t matter if it was right or wrong. Does that make it “right?”  Maybe not.  But not everyone roots for Batman.  Some of us cheer for The Joker sometimes, too.

Posthumous: Parting Memories

Liam looked out at the rain clouds, as his face welcomed the morning rinse.  He felt a particular gust of wind as well, taking a small bit of his hair with it.  Yet another lovely effect of being undead, your hair grows but also thins.  At least, his did.  He gave a click with his tongue and Drake stirred to life, giving a good stretch before standing up.  He gave the dog a good scratch but looked up at the Zeppelin tower.  “Still think this was a good idea buddy?”

Liam wasn’t looking for approval from the dog.  He’d been content with the decision he made three days ago, but now that their Zeppelin was scheduled to arrive he wasn’t concrete on the matter.  Leaving the village and the people he had come to know in his Forsaken state was alright, it was the whole flying he wasn’t so excited about. He could hear Kheiro’s reassuring voice, though the Tauren was across town getting some supplies he said they were going to need.  The flight was going to take three or four weeks depending on the weather and wind.  At least, that is what Kheiro told him.  Liam sort of blinked and nodded, yet at least retained the information.

Liam shouldered his bow and made his way to the statue of Sylvanas.  Even as cold stone, her eyes were penetrating.  He had never met the Dark Lady, but imagined the statue was an accurate portrayal, both in physical appearance and in piercing effect.  “Robert chose to serve you, as many Forsaken before us.  But it seems fate has something else in store for Drake and I.”  With that, he turned and headed towards the tower.  He would be meeting Kheiro at the bottom as planned.

Getting there before the Tauren, Liam found himself upon a pair of guardsmen.  Decked out in the dark armor and tabard of the Forsaken, the sight of the undead soldiers would be unsettling if one weren’t undead himself.  The two men greeted him cordially enough, but didn’t even bother with small talk.  They may have been statues themselves for all their animation and exuberance.  Drake found a bench to curl up on the end of and Liam sat with him as they waited for Kheiro.

Closing his eyes yet again, Liam tried to remember how he died.  But, no matter what he did or how hard he tried, it simply would not come to him.  He recalled many other memories, though.  On this morning, it was Alistair who came to mind.  Without even meaning to, Liam’s mind was taken back to his teenage years.  To the boy who was becoming a man, and Alistair who was doing the same.  The two were nearly inseparable.  They did chores together, went to school together, and delved in mischief together.  Liam’s aunt used to say they were joined at the hip.  They were closer than any brothers that Liam had ever seen.

It was Liam’s seventeenth birthday that popped up in his head next.  Despite the ones before and after, this was the one that he would never forget.  He had blown out the candles, and hours later he and Alistair were down along the shore when he asked Liam what he had wished for before the candles went out.  Alistair knew something was up because Liam was hesitant to respond and the two had been as carefree as one could imagine.  Finally he had gotten up the courage and told Alistair to close his eyes.  The other boy had looked at him a bit puzzled, but eventually conceded.

Liam just stood there a moment.  Not frozen.  Just enjoying the moment.  That brown hair enveloped Alistair’s face, creating a perfect portrait affect that Liam had grown more and more in love with every day.  His parents had always talked about being soul mates and Liam knew he had found his.  What he wished for that day, was the opportunity to show him.  It finally happened and Liam stepped forward and pressed his lips against Alistair’s.  It was the perfect birthday present.

Or not.  Liam could still see Alistair’s eyes open with shock, and then fear.  His love literally recoiled from him, nearly falling in the water as he stumbled.  Liam’s head began to spin as he realized Alistair did not seem to be reciprocating those feelings.  Instead, Alistair just looked at him, shocked, and then ran.  All the way back into town.

All these years later Liam remembered crying himself to sleep and for days that followed.  He lost the love of his life, which was hard enough.  However, things were made even worse by the monster that replaced the boy he wanted to be with.  This creature, this other Alistair, was nothing like his predecessor.  The way he treated Liam, the vocabulary of daggers flung by his once best friend were nearly too much to withstand.  The names, the way he rallied the other boys to join in and the things they were all saying about him.  Liam had considered taking his life, and would have if not for Drake.  He found the wild dog while hiking up to Llane’s hovel.  The creature wouldn’t leave him alone and Liam couldn’t bring himself to perform the task he had set out to so long as the dog was around.  They were bonded from that moment on.

Liam blinked and realized Kheiro was standing before him.  “How long have you been standing there?”

“A few moments.”  The Tauren paused.  “I did not wish to disturb your mind’s travel.  It seemed to be a mixed journey.”

“It was.”  Liam stood up, “and  I apologize Kheiro but this is a part of me I will not be discussing with you or anyone else.”  He didn’t mean to be abrupt.  In that moment he found he was so consumed by rage over what Alistair had done to him so many years ago.  But when he looked at Drake, calmness started to set in once more.

“I will not press, rest assured.”  Kheiro’s voice was just as calming.  “At least not in that regard.  We should, however, make our way up the tower.  Our Zeppelin was spotted on the horizon.”

International Man of Mystery

This morning Tome talked about the limited works of art amongst the frames of Azeroth.  It got me thinking, and curious, so I headed into the Amateur’s art museum (aka screenshot central).  There wasn’t much out of the ordinary, but then I found a piece that is apparently quite new to the collection:

You might be wondering who this fellow is.  I’m not certain to be honest, but something tells me he has quite the story to tell…

20 Days of WoW: Day Three

Favorite NPC

World of Warcraft’s non-player crowd is such a diverse and entertaining bunch.  So many are references to pop culture whether it be real or fictitious.  For that reason, there are many wonderful folks out and about, so it’s can be hard to just choose one.   The more prominent faces in the game are often so well developed that we fall in love with them, or despise them, or have any myriad of emotional connection.  For me, there’s one that stands above the rest:  Lady Sylvanas.

Hers is a tale of tragedy and revenge, a High Elf Ranger captured by Arthas the Lich King.  He tortured her, killed her, and then raised her as an undead simply out of pettiness.  As history tells us, she and others managed to break free of his will and under the Dark Lady’s direction and subsequent rule became the Forsaken.  As of late, she seems to be more diabolical than ever (which, personally, I have no problem with) playing the new warchief while also trying to stay in the Horde’s good graces following the Wrathgate incident.

I’ve always been a fan of elves or half-elves.  Yes, I find they can be pompous and self-absorbed, but I’ve always been drawn to them and their Ranger class.  Doesn’t hurt I’ve used a bow myself, though not in many years.  Her character’s overall abilities and the way she is portrayed is really what I like.  It’s the same reason I loathe Garrosh and King Varian at this point.  They froth at the mouth and just destroy everything as their solution.  Sylvanas tends to have a third and fourth motive to most things that she does.

In fact, with the Lich King defeated it almost seems as if she’s got nothing to focus on and is starting to become unhinged.  You learn a lot of where the Forsaken Queen is at by doing the Gilneas start zone, and the Undead one as well to be honest.  She’s as cunning as ever, but doesn’t seem constrained by any particular goal.  Her whole purpose was to seek revenge on Arthas for what he did to her, and now that he’s dead and gone it appears as if she has a thirst for power.  Whether she plans to play Garrosh or this is the result of something else is anyone’s guess.

The New Varimathras….Barimathras?

Oh those blues. They love their fun don’t they? Let’s face it, being a Blizz GM you’re subject to all kinds of information. Signing your first born and blood are probably pre-reqs for the job.

Often times, GM’s respond on the forums with precise knowledge and explanation. On some occasions, they drop tidbits about the future because the human species in general hates not knowing. Don’t believe me? Don’t open any gifts you receive for the next year.

The latest tease was dropped today, and it’s one any Forsaken player wants to know the answer to -who is going to replace Varimathras?

There Can Be Only One!!!

Without spoiling much, the Undercity Nathrezim is no longer in his humble abode after some events in the current expansion. Players have wondered if someone will be replacing him ever since.

That brings us to today, where we found out in the next major patch (3.3) someone will be there. A “B” individual. Not as in B-list, but how they’re addressed. So who could it, *ahem*, be?

Balnazzar. Right off the bat he comes to mind as a replacement to his brother. Pretty unlikely, though. Sylvanas wanted him dead at Varimathras’ hand and presumed that happened. Given the events that have unfolded in Northrend, another Nathrizem seems far-fetched at best. Sylvanas isn’t stupid. This also rules out Lord Banehollow and Beltheris. Yes, Beltheris is dead…but stranger things have happened.

Bolvar Fordragon. Again, a major player in the same event in Northrend that has lead to Varimathras no longer being in Undercity. Honestly, it would be too soon. Sure, he’s definitely got the reasoning to be all “fuck Arthas” like the rest of the Forsaken, but I can’t see it happening for the reasons by which he died.

Brightflame Masjenal. I’ve not read whether she was in cahoots with Putress and his lot, but she was in the Royal Apothecary. If she was innocent of any wrongdoing, she could be head of a newer version and thus sit where Varimathras was. An undead elf and an undead dwarf would no doubt make strange bedfellows, but Brightflame has seemed rather loyal to the Banshee Queen thus far.

Nathanos Blightcaller. This one seems the most likely at this point. Who would Sylvanas trust more than her Champion? She trained him, he’s a fellow Ranger, and there’s that whole “Varian Wrynn wanting him dead” thing. That last one makes a relocation project worth considering.

Of course, none of these could be even remotely accurate. As usual, the WoW powers that be want us speculating. Let’s face it, it’s fun. Plus, it creates more interest in the next patch. Not that it would need much more than the known actual confrontation with the Lich King.