Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Movie Inspired Transmog Now Live on WoW

Along with a few rather positive things said about the upcoming Warcraft movie (in the New York Times, even! Though take it with a grain of salt, as this is not an official review yet,) if you log in today or for the next two months, you'll get a set of transmog gear along with a letter from either Varian Wrynn or High Overlord Saurfang.

Alliance players will get a one-handed sword and a shield (which suits my protection paladin quite nicely.) Both are quite large. Horde players will get a one-handed axe and a staff (Gul'dan/Warlock themed.)

My understanding is that these models are based off of props from the movies, so if you ever wanted to make your Orc Warlock look like Gul'dan, you won't have much of a better option than this transmog piece.

It appears you'll get one strongbox per faction per account, as when I logged onto my Blood Elf priest after getting the box on my Tauren Shaman, I didn't seem to have one in the mail. But given that the new transmog system will make all these sorts of models account-wide (and I think the items are already bound to account, but with race restrictions to make sure they're on the correct faction's characters,) so it's actually probably for the best that we're not getting cluttered with all these items.

Indeed, once the new transmog system goes live, you should be able to just dump these items and retain the looks (in fact, given that there's an associated achievement, it might even be ok to do so now, but I do not recommend it.)

Warcraft comes out June 10th, I believe. Legion is launching on August 30th, and rumor has it that the pre-patch that will introduce, among other things, the new transmog system, should be coming around July 19th.

Enjoy the transmog, and let's hope this movie breaks the "video game movie curse."

(EDIT: So far, reactions to the movie have been not great. Variety and The Wrap hated it, though the Hollywood Reporter liked it. The NY Times piece wasn't a review, but a piece on director Duncan Jones and the roughness of having his wife get breast cancer just as they were starting and his father dying of cancer earlier this year, the latter event I'm sure you were all aware of. Ultimately, reviews are just reviews, and you should go and see a movie if you think you'll enjoy it. I sure as hell love convoluted fantasy stories, and having the game background should theoretically make it easier for me to enjoy this piece. That said, I'm also a bit of a film snob, so if it really does feel like a cash-in, I might react accordingly.

It's very tough to sort out biases - both those of yourself and those of reviewers. I've felt pretty negative about the modern "hype culture," which is really just marketing by playing hard to the fanbase and allowing them to spread the word. On the other hand, I think that some publications, particularly Variety, have a tendency to review movies the way they think they ought to, rather than based on individual consideration of a movie.

I obviously have a positive response bias toward this film, as I'm a fan of the series on which it is based. And I also want to see game stories make good film adaptations - we've come a long way from plots as thin as Super Mario Bros.

That said, the story for a game is ultimately there to serve the gameplay, not the other way around (though you could make the argument that games like Mass Effect make the real gameplay the story.) And thus, a lot of games' stories work great for an interactive medium but not so much for the fixed medium of film.

Still, one of the biggest draws of the Warcraft universe to me is the idea that the "monsters" are not necessarily monsters. Tolkien had a lot of trouble with his own Orcish creations, as he didn't like the idea of having a race that was entirely evil, which clashed with his egalitarian Catholic views. His solution was to make Orcs into corrupted elves - and thus not exactly "born evil," and instead were evil by definition because Orc basically meant "the elves that are so evil they got mutated."

But Warcraft I think (starting with WCIII) came up with what I think is a cleverer and more interesting solution, which is that the Orcs are actually just normal people who were misled, and still have the potential to be good.

The fact that the movie is emphasizing this is very good. But on the other hand, having a solid philosophical foundation isn't enough to make a good movie. So we'll see. It could be that only hardcore fanboys will ignore the glaring flaws of the movie. Or it's possible that the reviewers decided not to like it before they sat down in the theater.

Or both. And hey, it's all a matter of opinion, right?

EDIT 2: Apparently even Kotaku thinks it's bad. So... such is life.)

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