Tag Archives: warcraft

Nerdist Interviews the Cast of Warcraft

Nerdist nabbed an answer to a question in my previous post. It’s Garona.

From WoWWiki:

Garona Halforcen is a half-orc half-draenei quest giver for the Horde in the Twilight Highlands. Like most others, she believed she was half-human until the truth was revealed to her. She is an assassin and a spymistress.

From the Nerdist interview, it appears Garona is half-orc half-human, which, in the visual language of the Warcraft Movie, seems to justify her unanimated self. I don’t think it works and still lends itself to an awkward visual balance.

Daniel Wu, playing the part of Gul’dan:

If they don’t seem real, it’s going to be hard as an audience to get into the character. But they are very real. And they are very compelling as CG characters. Like two minutes into the film, you forget that they’re actually CG characters.

They don’t seem real. However, I said the same of Avatar. And after a few minutes into that film, I was onboard.

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Warcraft Plot


Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilisation, led by the humans, faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying world, Draenor, to find their place in another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, known as the Dark Portal, the humans face destruction while the orcs face extinction. Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), leader of the humans, and Durotan (Toby Kebbell), leader of the orcs, are then sent on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home, in which war has many faces and everyone fights for something.

Maybe the trailer wouldn’t have been such a miss if they stuck to this description?

Regarding my last post, how come one of the female orcs (Garona? Draka?) doesn’t get the GCI treatment? Seems to heighten the awkward balance between the animated and unanimated.


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Warcraft and Toontown

News of a Warcraft movie with the involvement of Duncan Jones and Legendary Pictures has had me excited for years now. Unfortunately, this trailer does not.

I’ve eagerly awaited every Blizzard in-house cinematic since Starcraft’s in 1998. (If I recall correctly, it shipped on the Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal disc.) I don’t believe Blizzard’s in-house cinematic team had much to do with this film. And if true, that is a sad fact.

In the games, the orcs’ robust physique is met with nearly as robust human physique. Blizzard’s own in-house cinematics reflect this as well:

Physique aside, the use of real actors against what appears to be a solely computer-generated backdrop and animated rivals is jarring. (See also the Star Wars prequel trilogy and The Hobbit) I thought we were working passed this. I thought the gag of cartoons working in Hollywood was in the process of being shuddered. Confused about how real actors would look in either the orc or human role, I figured they’d both be bolstered by CGI. I figured wrong. On the upside, the close-ups of the orcs look great.

I’m not a World of Warcraft player, but within an hour or so of the Warcraft Movie trailer premier, a cinematic trailer for World of Warcraft: Legion, the upcoming WoW expansion was released. This is the kind of visual consistency I was hoping for:

All I’m saying is the unbelievable visual inconsistency of animated characters and backdrops alongside real actors is tired. Give me real or fake. If both, let’s stick to the Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam gags.

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Humanity in Hearthstone

Humanity in Hearthstone

How Blizzard is changing the diversity game.

 It is an understatement to say that diversity in gaming has become a hot topic as of late. Themes of sexuality, racial prominence, and gender depiction are now a hotbed for passionate discussion across developer, journalist, and player communities.

From 2012 to 2013, the number of games showcased at E3 featuring a playable female protagonist rose from 2% to 6%. Reluctance to include the theme of sexuality is being countered more frequently by games such as Gone HomeThe Last of Us, and Mass Effect. This is clear evidence that players are yearning for character dynamic and identity in their games. Video games are a medium that exudes immersion more than any other, and in turn becomes the perfect platform for sympathetic and relatable storytelling.

On April 16, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment released their latest foray Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to the iPad. As a free-to-play (F2P) digital collectible card game (CCG) built by a AAA developer that prides itself on the promise of polish with a highly reputable back-catalog, it is an extremely inviting and sure to be incredibly popular download. From testing with a PC/Mac open-bata to trickling the iOS version out to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada prior to world-wide launch, Blizzard was sure this game would be a massive hit.

At the news of Hearthstone for iPad’s launch, I was extremely excited to see what the buzz was about. After rave reviews across the industry, I could not wait to invest in this new Blizzard title that seemed perfectly suited for the tablet platform. Upon launching the game, I assumed I would be given the opportunity to select/create a character and possibly build a deck. Thankfully, I was wrong.

Ultimately, Hearthstone does not include a single protagonist. From Orcs to Elves, Druids to Barbarians, players are eventually offered the chance to unlock a collection of Heroes to chose from. Many veteran CCG players will understand this at the onset. What they may not realize is that they will be forced to begin their Hearthstone experience in a tutorial as Human Mage, Jaina Proudmoore. A female.

This tutorial consists of six ‘missions,’ each introducing details about the game’s mechanics and subtleties. Each ‘mission’ sets the protagonist Jaina against an eccentric opponent, throwing out comical comments that unfold their caricature against a backdrop of the colorful and cartoony tones of the Warcraft universe. Jaina faces her six opponents in the following order:

Six males versus one female. This alone is a powerful statement that will likely slip into the unconscious if not willingly observed.

Sex aside, characters banter back and forth throughout matches. Each foe’s optimistic attitude is met with Jaina’s cautious yet powerful tone. The addition of voice-acting helps build a bond between player and protagonist. Like reading through Katniss Everdeen’s struggles in The Hunger Games, it is nearly impossible not to build a trusting connection with Jaina, rooting for her to defeat each of the tutorial’s quirky baddies.

The initial tutorial took me roughly one hour to complete. Once finished, I felt an attachment to Jaina. Not only had we defeated six opposing (male) Heroes without fail together, we had conquered the powerhouse that is Illidan Stormrage even though the game told us we couldn’t. (A comical, clever and original design choice)

While Jaina and I must spend more time together in order to unlock additional playable Heroes and decks, I am not racing to change protagonists. This tutorial has certainly bonded me to Jaina and is likely to do the same for most players: young and old, male and female.

As subtle and simple as it may appear, Blizzard has made a bold move as a AAA developer in building a tutorial showcasing a powerful female protagonist against six male rivals. Forcing hardcore veterans and casual novices to learn from, protect, and assist a female protagonist in what has the potential to become the largest cross-platform game is a great leap for the cause of diversity in gaming; however, the job is far from done.


Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is currently available for PC, Mac and iPad.

Originally published on TheStarrList.com

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