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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 11/23/04)  | Pub:Blizzard Entertainment
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World of Warcraft Column: The Ramp Up to Warlords

By Reza Lackey on August 25, 2014

This week I geek out over the new Warlords cinematic, we check out the new Lords of War animated series and inspect the goodies in the Warlords Collector’s edition.

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Cinematic

First thing first - If you haven’t seen the intro cinematic for the Warlords expansion, there is nothing more important to do right now than to turn up your sound and full-screen the following:

Now lets spend some time discussing how badass this cinematic is. I was fortunate enough to to attend the live event in Los Angeles where it premiered and let me tell you, there’s no better way to experience one of these Blizzard productions than this. The event took place at the old theater inside the Ace Hotel downtown and by the morning of the event fans were wrapping around the building waiting for their chance to get in. Seeing it presented on a giant screen with fantastic audio completely cranked and a theater full of cheering fans creating immense excitement inside everyone. It was like a the opening ceremony of a mini-Blizzcom.

Blizzards in house cinematics team is constantly outdoing themselves and this new piece is no exception - this sets a new bar. Not only from a technical standpoint but also in crafting and showing compelling story and set pieces. These folks know how to create a frame - well composed and staged.  The music and sound design that takes these visuals to lock in a perfect, harmonious tone that just makes you long for more and completely feel the mood.

The story presented in the cinematic takes us to a familiar time and place at the moment where Grom Hellscream first drank the blood of Mannoroth cursing and enslaving the Orcs to Mannoroth. But with the aid of an ally, Garrosh (who was defeated and imprisoned after the events of the Siege of Orgrimmar) travels 35 years into Draenors past (before it ever becomes the Outland we’re all familiar with) and prevents Grom from ever drinking the blood. It is here that the new Iron Horde is created.

For those of you that played and completed Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos you may have noticed an awesome call back in this new cinematic to the events towards the end of the game. As you may remember, Grom took down Mannoroth and in doing so released the Orcs from his demonic hold. But in doing so Grom also passed away moments later in the fiery aftermath. It looked like this:

In the Warlords of Draenor cinematic Grom once again takes down Mannoroth but this time he is saved by Garrosh who wasn’t present the first time around. Prior to Garrosh diving in to save Grom, the frame looked like this:

While these are two different events that take place at two different times, they are both the death of Mannoroth and so there is a wonderful visual motif.

The event in Los Angeles was also where the first episode of a new five-part animated web series premiered. Titled the Lords of War, this new series will shed light on a few of the key players in the upcoming expansion and flesh out their origins and motivations for who they are and what they will become. You can check out the first episode right here:

If you missed the livestream of the event you can watch a VOD of its entirety below:

November 14

And now we know.

The clock is running - November 14 is when the the Dark Portal will rip open to the Draenor of old where we’ll fortify a stronghold and attack the Iron Horde head on as the expansion goes live.

But before we cross over to Draenor a small threat will emerge that we must first shut down. In a pre-expansion patch Blizzard will introduce many of the long discussed system changes such as the stat squish, crowd control diminishing returns and the vast changes to class skills and abilities. The patch will also bring along the first taste of the 20-player mythic-difficulty for us to check out in the existing Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

Meanwhile a small band of the Iron Horde have will come through the Dark Portal and make their way to Blackrock Mountain for mysterious reasons. It’s time to return to Upper Blackrock Spire - this famous dungeon has been revamped as a 5-player dungeon for level-90 characters to take on and will set the stage for what events may lie beyond the Dark Portal. Once the expansion goes live the dungeon will become available for level-100 players only.

Collectors Edition

Along with the release date Blizzard also announced the physical collector's edition.

The collectors edition, which you can pre-order now for $89.99, comes with all of the in-game content found in the Digital Deluxe Edition plus other physical goodies. Here’s the full list of what you’ll get:

  • World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor — Get the full version of Warlords of Draenor on DVD-ROM.
  • Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray Two-Disc Set — Meet the development team behind the creation of Draenor and its savage warlords. This two-disc set includes over an hour of creators’ commentary, insider interviews, and developer roundtables.
  • Collector’s Edition Soundtrack — Immerse yourself in the sounds of war with the complete Warlords of Draenor orchestral soundtrack on CD.
  • The Art of Warlords of Draenor — Witness the visual evolution of the expansion in this beautifully bound tome of exclusive Warlord of Draenor art. Through 160 pages of concept pieces, finished illustrations, and CG images, you'll delve into the art team’s vision for a Draenor under siege by the apocalyptic threat of the Iron Horde.
  • Blackhand Mouse Pad — Arm yourself with a special-edition mouse pad emblazoned with the deadly warlord Blackhand.
  • Epic In-Game Content
    • World of Warcraft Dread Raven Mount and Dread Hatchling Pet — Descend from the skies on the back of a black-winged Dread Raven mount, a mortal progeny of Anzu. Then devour your prey in your next pet battle with the adorably ferocious Dread Hatchling.
    • StarCraft II Portraits — Summon the strength of two deadly Iron Horde war chiefs—Grommash Hellscream and Blackhand—as you take on the Dominion with these two StarCraft II portraits.
    • Diablo III Warsong Pennant — Don this battle-worn pennant and channel the rage of the Warsong Clan against the demonic forces of Sanctuary.
    • Hearthstone Card Back — Your adventures in Draenor will be the talk of the tavern after outfitting your champion’s deck with this custom card back forged in the fires of Blackrock.

Here’s what the Hearthstone card back looks like for those that are curious:

The excitement is ramping up and the release of Warlords of Draenor will be a wonderful way to wrap up the events of Blizzcon as it released just days after. What are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow me on twitter @rezalackey


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