by Cody "Micajah" Bye,
In the beginning, there was art. Before any massively multiplayer
online game ever reaches the hands of awaiting consumers, pages upon
pages of artwork is created for game designers to utilize. Concept
artists tirelessly toil away, trying to create accurate visual displays
of the worlds, but often their artwork goes unnoticed by the outside
world. At least, that was a common occurrence until someone came up
with the idea to utilize stored concept art – along with a
bevy of contracted fantasy artists – to create visuals for
trading card games.
Art of the World of Warcraft
Trading Card Game
When the World of
Warcraft Trading Card Game hit store shelves across North
America, people rushed to pop open packs, eager to create their decks,
collect the loot, and generally absorb the beautiful art that covers
these cards. Although many fans enjoy the artwork and the visuals of
the TCG, most simply didn’t have enough money to collect all
the cards to observe the artwork crafted by the well-known artists.
For those of you – like me – who don’t
have the sort of excess spending money to collect all of the cards,
there may soon be a solution to your dilemma. Recently, I received a
rather large package in the mail from Upper Deck Entertainment. When I
finished tearing open the cardboard box, I found a promotional copy of
Upper Deck’s Art
of the Trading Card Game: Volume One hard cover book
featuring visuals from the World
of Warcraft TCG. Being a huge trading card game fan (you
can find my review of the WoW TCG right here), I eagerly dove into the
meat of this book and wasn’t disappointed with what I found.
No production values were skimped on the creation of the WoW TCG art
book; the pages are all the glossy, color, full print images that
you’d expect from a book-based gallery of images. Measuring
in at approximately 11” by 9”, this book is perfect
for any gamers’ display cabinet or coffee table. Complete
with a beautiful dust cover, the art book totes a hard cover jacket and
a “landscape” sort of viewing style - the book is
actually longer than it is tall.
What does this mean for you, as an art aficionado or a simply style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft fan?
You’ll never be worried that the book will crumble at the
first sign of mistreatment or show early signs of wear and tear. Even
after flipping through the book on multiple occasions, I never once
thought a page looked worn or off-colored. It will allow for easy
glances at the art whenever you get the urge to check out your favorite
Common trading card
may not have the funds to collect anything besides the best cards for
As you crack open the book, you’ll be greeted with two
forewords – one by Sam “Samwise” Didier
(senior art director at Blizzard) and the other by Glenn Rane (art lead
for Blizzard’s creative-development team) – and an
introduction by the art acquisition manager for Upper Deck
Entertainment, Jeremy Cranford. While many people may overlook these
pieces of text in an otherwise art-filled book, I found their
particular viewpoints on “Blizzard quality” and the
direction for the TCG art to be particularly informative.
Cranford’s “Before and After” art section
was incredibly interesting as it really explained how much work the
Upper Deck employees were willing to put in to insure that the WoW TCG
was a success.
Speaking of the art, I’ve already mentioned that the visuals
for the WoW TCG were some of the best in the industry in my review, and
seeing them all in full-sized renditions absolutely made my heart soar.
Over 300 “dramatic visions of Azeroth” are
portrayed in over 275 of the art book’s pages. If
you’re at all interested in which card sets these pieces come
from, Upper Deck pulled from these card sets: style="font-style: italic;">Heroes of Azeroth, Through the
Dark Portal, Fires of Outland, Onyxia’s Lair, Molten Core
Raid Deck, and Magtheridon’s
Lair. Only the best made the cut to get into the Volume
One of the art book (there may be more volumes coming down the line),
and it definitely shows.
For any MMORPG fan, it’s astounding when you can see the
characters that you’ve grown to love and admire visualized in
an out-of-game fashion. The images in the WoW TCG art book fill almost
the entire length of the page, and I found myself flipping through the
pages just admiring the fantastic aptitude that these artists have for
conceptualizing a three dimensional, caricatured world into their style
of two dimensional art.
style="font-style: italic;">The Art of the
Trading Card Game allows players to view the best pieces
of art in the
From an organizational standpoint, the art book is separated into three
distinct sections: the Alliance, the Horde, and Monsters and Locations.
Each of these sections is then broken down into their various
racial/location categories. For example, the Alliance section is
sequences like so: Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, and Dranei. If
you’re looking for a particular piece of work, you can look
it up in the index in the back of the book. Each piece is named after
the card title, so if there’s a particularly handsome trading
card that you’d like to look up, just head to the index.
Unfortunately, due to the high production values and incredibly
aesthetically pleasing appearance, The
Art of the Trading Card Game isn’t cheap. With a
normal listing at $50.00, gamers may be hard pressed to spend their
money on an art book when they could be spending it on another game.
However, this book does hold something special for the style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft fan, and
it would be silly to simply pass it up for those individuals.
In my opinion, if you’re a collector of style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft
memorabilia, you can’t go wrong with The Art of the Trading
Card Game. From cover to cover, you receive a thoroughly style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft
experience. My one complaint is that more pictures of Murlocs
weren’t included in the art book! They’re not a
queen like Aquaman (excuse the poorly made reference *grins*), so you
at least have to show them a little love! Frivolity aside, Upper Deck's
The Art of the Trading
Card Game would make an outstanding display piece in any
collection of Warcraft
Would you buy a World
of Warcraft artbook? Does this sort of thing
interest you? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?p=204335#post204335">Let
us know on the forums!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.