Updated Fri, Jun 17, 2011 by Saia
We know and love Blizzard for their cinematics, for epic story-telling and the major content update trailer is designed to do both in one handy package. The just-released trailer for 4.2 feels like a step in a new direction, it feels like a scene out of a movie and it’s just as epic with all the different kinds of emotion you’d expect.
Thrall, once again, takes centre stage but this time there’s no monologue or voiceover, just a minor tiff with his mate, Aggra. Seeing Azeroth’s poster-orc having marital troubles is quite new but key to the movement of the trailer. She wants to be there to support him and he’s still a bachelor frame of mine as he stands on the edge of the maelstrom holding Azeroth together.
If this isn’t epic, I don’t know what is.
Of course, there’s a hidden message here. Don’t be a twit and ignore your friends and family, it’s a lesson Thrall learns the hard way when he begs the Elements to answer him. And get’s Ragnaros in return. The Flamelord then shows him what awaits us in the Firelands … terrifying bosses, gigantic flaming mobs and the World Tree burning as Hyjal is incinerated. Twilight is coming and we don’t have a hope in hell of succeeding.
Except we do, that’s the point. Like Thrall, I went through a range of emotions watching the trailer ... boredom, hopelessness, interest, fear, amazement and, finally, the knowledge that my purpose as a DPS has been restored. We’re going to go in there and kill Ragnaros - possibly many times - and we’re going to save Hyjal from a fiery fate. We’re going to do it because we must. By the end of the trailer even Thrall himself seems to have come to the same conclusion, you're stronger with the help of others and it's touching to see him go from Solo Shaman to realising that actually Aggra isn't just arm-candy, she's a kick-arse warrior too and just as determined to save Azeroth as he is.
Blizzard is investing more in its trailer and it needs to. With other games like RIFT now clambering for the MMO crown they need to make the extra effort, to lure back disenfranchised players. And, oh look, I think they might have done it.
The Rage of the Firelands trailer is moving more towards a movie trailer than just an explanation of why we’re doing this raid or killing that boss. It invests you into WoW, stirring emotion and getting you ready to step up, grab your main and enter into the fray with all the other champions Azeroth has at it’s beck and call. This is it friends, the Twilight is coming and with it the final stand against Deathwing but, for now, it’s time to kick the Flamelord’s arse for the - hopefully - final time. Let’s do it with some style!
Within this 3:51 minute trailer is possibly one of the best pieces of storytelling outside the cinematics. It makes me want to care about Thrall again, it motivates me to want to return to to raiding and it manages to look visually stunning as well. If this is how they’re planning to handle future patch trailers then I’m sold for life. Hopefully I’m not alone and, around the world, anyone who let their account lapse is now reaching for the subscription button. If this doesn’t make you want to return to Azeroth, I’m honestly not sure what will.