WHY THE WARCRAFT MOVIE WILL UPSET PLAYERS
Blizzard finally dropped the full theatrical trailer for Warcraft, the story that takes place before the World of Warcraft game. The film seems like it’ll depict the arrival of the brutal orc-race on the world of Azeroth. It looks as though it’s mostly centered on the orc and human races, but you can be sure we’ll be seeing some dwarves and trolls in there, and, with any luck, a few more notable races as well. And you can also be sure a big contingent of gamers are absolutely going to hate it.
Hardcore WoW gamers love their lore, and when it comes to the story of how orcs came to Azeroth, there’s more than enough to occupy you for hours. Which means it simply can’t all make it into the movie. Will the film feature the same Dark Portal? Probably. Will we meet the human sorcerer Medivh who helped the orcs come to Azeroth? Yep, he’s played by Ben Foster. Will we get really in depth into the Burning Legion and Gul’Dan and drinking demon blood and orcs changing colors and Sargeras and other words we couldn’t fit into this paragraph because they make no sense to you if you’ve never played the game? Maybe not so much.
RACES AND CLASSES
This movie will tell the story before the story, and that’s a significant thing for fans to remember. If all you know is World of Warcraft, you may expect this movie to be brimming with panda bears and goblins. However, the movie is likely much closer to the original PC game, which involved a lot of resource-gathering and town-building, and was much lighter on story and characters than WoW. The result is that you can probably expect a total lack of Undead, since they shouldn’t even exist yet, no Night Elves, no Blood Elves, no Death Knights, no Worgen, no Horde Paladins, no Draenei, and also very few of the characters that exist in current lore, since this movie is mostly about their forefathers. That said, maybe we’ll get an easter egg or two.
WHO’S THE BOSS?
Every gamer takes a bit of pride and ownership of their adventures, and it’s no different in Warcraft. Ironically, this is part of the downfall of any movie based on a game, too. It tasks you with becoming the viewer instead of the hero, and you watch with a critical eye towards all the things that should have been different. Sure, this may be the story of Anduin Lothar, but if you were playing him you’d totally have better weapons and you’d absolutely hit up the Horde village with a badass raid from your guild and crush them all before the credits even finished rolling, so what the hell is the point of this movie anyway? Our point is that gamers like being in control of the story. The movie makes you watch someone else in control, and unless it’s on Twitch or YouTube, watching someone else play is always going to make hardcore gamers a little antsy.
“Epic” is a regular part of our vocabulary these days thanks in large part to Warcraft, which set the standard for MMORPG’s and how you gear up. You have regular gear, you have good gear, and you have epic gear. Everyone wants to be epic. Everything must be epic, and this is true for a movie as well. Every fight must be more epic than the last, and every new character must be more epic than the one we just met. The movie must build in all things, and that means heading into the inevitable sequel, when everything has to be bigger and better and flashier—or WoW fans will be let down. Why? That’s simply the way the game works.
IS THAT AN ORC?
Quick, what color is an orc supposed to be? Brown? Grey? Green? Hell, red? “Yes” is sort of the answer, and so is “no” as far as Warcraft is concerned. Orcs started off green, and then that story got changed a little bit. Then the orcs were brown, and then someone drank some cursed blood and some orcs turned red and some turned green—and some orcs are more war-like than others as a result. And basically whatever the movie chooses to do—and it looks like they went both green and brown—some people are just going to say it’s wrong. Because when it comes to orcs, we just can’t see past skin color.
THE ADAPTATION BLUES
If you’ve ever heard “the book is better than the movie,” you know where this one is coming from. The original medium in which a story is presented to people is often the one they fall in love with. It’s not just the story, it’s how the story is told. In Warcraft, that’s via gameplay. That can never be replaced for some people and, in fact, can only be ruined by trying to translate it into anything else. You see this all the time with anything from TV to movies, or movies to video games. No matter what way the translation goes, something will be lost and fans of the original will curse it like it’s riddled with the plague.
TOO MUCH KNOWLEDGE
Warcraft fans are cursed with knowing the future of the franchise when it comes to this movie, and also with just how every character should be able to react to every other character. If Gul’dan is the first warlock, then we know he has a demon minion somewhere. If this guy is a paladin, we know he can heal himself and he should be able to bubble before the next round of attacks. And if there’s a mage in the fight, why isn’t he opening a portal so we can get reinforcements anyway? Just put the hunter’s pet on aggressive so it distracts everyone for a second.
When the movie deviates from what fans think the characters should do, it’ll just be met with scorn. Just look at how uppity fans get when Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations strayed from source material—and that was only a couple of stupid books. This is a video game. It’s serious.