WoW Machinima: The Craft of War - Blind
It’s night, a lone guard follows his routine patrol, and all is quiet in Stormwind. Or so it seems. A dead guard is found and all hell breaks loose as the once sleepy town realizes something more sinister lurks in the darkness. So begins an almost eight minute action packed adventure created by Percula that quickly turned into one of the best WoW machinimas I had ever seen.
Blind was recommended to me by a group of my sister-in-law’s friends. They work together and from time to time end up discussing WoW in their free time. On one such occasion they informed my sister-in-law that she simply MUST have my wife and I view this video. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting much, this group of WoW players hadn’t even managed to purchase and play the first expansion pack so what would they know about good machinima? So it was with some dubiety that I opened the video with my sister-law-in tow. Boy was I in for a surprise.
Blind starts out as mentioned above in an unassuming seemingly peaceful Stormwind. Viewers don’t have to wait long for action, just a few seconds into the video a slain guard is found giving rise to the knowledge that something deadly is lurking in the shadows. A host of guards take up the call to arms, only to be slaughtered before the fight even really begins. The kicker is that instead of a small army, the invading force is not a force at all, but instead a solitary elf on a deadly mission.
The elf rips through more guards, pushing through the city, leaving a bloody trail behind. To stop the elf’s rampage an elite human rogue is called forth, and a one on one battle of epic proportions ensues. Watching the two masters at their deadly work is breathtaking. The two are very obviously evenly matched and no end is in sight until the elf finally spots her target, an unremarkable human priest or cleric located inside the cities garrison. Once her target has been spotted not hell, high water, or another large force of guards can stop her from reaching her goal. Why exactly is this elf determined to take out this seemingly innocent priest? Does she succeed? You’ll have to watch the video to find out, but I can assure you the ending will leave you wanting more.
Blind’s animation is stunning. Percula presents to the viewer an animated world that looks and feels real. While Percula still uses the WoW Model Viewer like many other videos out there he takes his to a whole new level by hand animating each scene using a variety of tools such as Milkshape 3D, Sony Vegas, and Adobe Aftereffects. instead of relying solely on WoW‘s model viewer like many other videos out there. This helps to create a video that draws you in from the very second it starts playing.
There are a few scenes which are noticeably unrealistic, for example I am convinced after watching the video that none of the guards are carrying real guns, but instead some sort of pellet rifles. This is most notable as the elf rogue is shot in what appears to be her chest by a guard. Instead of the shot being fatal, or at the very least slowing her progress down, the shot seems to be but a minor
Percula presents this stunning animation without having any of the characters uttering a single syllable. The first time I watched I didn’t even notice this, so well crafted were the characters and so well expressed were the emotions that the fact that no one ever spoke a word was lost on me. Instead I found based on the situations and the body language of the characters I was able to formulate my own dialogue and various side stories that may or may not have been intended by the creator.
An example of this is the sexual tension that I picked up on between the two rogues. Does this speak of an illicit affair in their future? Other viewers may interpret things differently perhaps seeing what I consider to be sexual tension to be outright hate. There is no right or wrong answer here, the lack of script allows the video to be almost anything the viewer wants it to be. A far more refreshing option than some of the poorly or overdone scripts that we are sometimes faced with.
While there is no actual speaking done by the characters, Blind is not without sound. In fact one of the most disputed points of the feature is the video’s music. Upon reading the responses of viewers the song itself is one that is either loved or hated. I personally found that while the musical choice was unusual it fit the video rather perfectly the tempo matching and amping up the action. I even eventually found myself singing along. Percula himself has stated that he chose the song carefully, feeling that the musical element was just as important to a good video as any other part. of the animation.
The song itself is called Hide and Seek and is sung by Amuro Namie. The title seems rather fitting as the elf assassin is indeed playing a rather deadly game of hide and seek with her pursuers. Looking closely
There is however a dark blot on Blind’s horizon. Percula announced in November of 2009 that he would not be continuing the series due to real life issues. As of now it seems that he intends to stand by his verdict and we are doomed to wonder what might have happened in what promised to be an epic series. Perhaps in the future Percula will change his mind and allow the entire story to be told, but for now we can only wait and imagine.
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