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Saurfang Cinematic: Old Soldier

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A big surprise today as we just got a brand new cinematic, outside the animated short Warbringer series, focusing on Overlord Varok Saurfang, who has been a key figure in the Horde and is sure to be even more relevant in BfA, especially after the events in Darnassus. Expanding the Horde beyond what we saw in the latest Warbringers entry, the cinematic shows what else happened after Sylvanas gave that fateful order and also serves as a lead in to the Battle for Lordaeron.

As an added bonus we get to see everyone's favorite shaman, Zappy Boi and hear him speak!

Blizzard LogoOld Soldier (source)

The fires of war rage across Azeroth, but legendary Horde warrior Varok Saurfang wants no part in the fighting. After a lifetime spent on the front lines, he has outlived most of those closest to him, even his own son. On the eve of a battle that will determine the Horde’s fate, the old soldier must choose whether to finally lay down his axe for good.

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I am glad they created this, with how Saurfang acted in The War of Thorns campaign he seemed off. If only they had him reacting to Sylvanas burning the tree in game. 

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You misspelled Soldier in the title. 🙂

Beyond that, I like this animation. It shows some more of Saurfang, which is sorely needed, though it does sadden me that it carries a strong resemblance vibe to the rebellion against Garrosh. You know, focus on what the true Horde is, how the current warchief doesn't represent that, and how one by one, the other leaders turns against her.

It's pretty sad that Blizzard thinks that replacing the Warchief every few years is good storytelling for little to absurd reasons, but at least this animation is good. Makes me think that if he lives through this, Saurfang will be the next warchief.

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41 minutes ago, Rooach said:

I said it already on wowhead but i repeat it here. Lets hope its not the troll that gets "shalamayned" by anduin

nah - the troll in the vid is the shaman that you see recking humans -- the one that gets aneled by anduin is a warrior assasin shadow hunter something troll

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Saurfang is currently the most iconic figure of the Orcs after Thrall and Garrosh, what is going to happen to the Orcs if he goes?

 

Zappy Boi could be next gen Vol'jin! New story character has arrived!

Doesn't look like it him being beaten into the ground with Shalamayne, but a Sen'jin Shieldmasta

If you watch the BfA cinematic trailer again at 2:47, it could be Zappy Boi casting lightning from the right, and Shieldmasta entering from the left. Zappy Boi also didn't have a shield in anywhere.

 

FROST SH- ... ZAPPY!

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2 hours ago, Xaethron said:

Are we not gonna talk about my nigs Zappy Boi? 

careful, I got a 3 day ban for similar language...

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10 minutes ago, Archimage said:

Saurfang is currently the most iconic figure of the Orcs after Thrall and Garrosh, what is going to happen to the Orcs if he goes?

 

Zappy Boi could be next gen Vol'jin! New story character has arrived!

Doesn't look like it him being beaten into the ground with Shalamayne, but a Sen'jin Shieldmasta

If you watch the BfA cinematic trailer again at 2:47, it could be Zappy Boi casting lightning from the right, and Shieldmasta entering from the left. Zappy Boi also didn't have a shield in anywhere.

 

FROST SH- ... ZAPPY!

We can see Zappy Boi at 4:00 in the background.

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3 hours ago, Rooach said:

I said it already on wowhead but i repeat it here. Lets hope its not the troll that gets "shalamayned" by anduin

tss, as if anduin (even if he is Manduin now) can defeat zappy boi so easily.

He can only be opposed by T'paartos. they are both probably ancient beings, more powerful than the old gods...

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Unpopular opinion:

This amazing looking cinematic is proof yet again of:

1) how weak the storyline is. Without spoiling too much about how it happens, at the end of the Battle of Undercity Saurfang will change his mind yet again and abandon Sylvanas and the Horde.

and 2) how badly the storyline is executed/presented in game. This has been a major complaint this past week, since Saurfang's objection to the burning of Teldrassil is presented in a novella and in this cinematic but is nowhere to be found ingame. Also, Saurfang's initial inertia ingame and then suddenly his change of mind is pretty poorly executed: this battle-hardened old warrior constantly flipping on his ideals (let's not mention the whole Malfurion incident) is a bit offensive for a character as legendary as Saurfang.

It's pretty amusing how the opinion of the peoples has been swayed again and how in a cinematic dedicated to Saurfang, everyone focuses more on the memeworthy Zappy Boi. It wouldn't surprise me if all that polarization between the playerbase (Alliance vs Horde, Sylvanas loyalists vs honourable (?) Horde, good vs bad vs morally gray) is just part of a giant ARG Blizzard has constructed to hype people up for the expansion and show the division that the Old Gods can cause between the characters and the actual human beings that are playing these characters.

Kudos to Blizzard marketing, though, for winning the fanbase back after a week of heavy beating.

I could write a whole essay about how bad their writing is, but for now I will just stick to what I have already said.

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1 hour ago, Zadina said:

Unpopular opinion:

This amazing looking cinematic is proof yet again of:

1) how weak the storyline is. Without spoiling too much about how it happens, at the end of the Battle of Undercity Saurfang will change his mind yet again and abandon Sylvanas and the Horde.

and 2) how badly the storyline is executed/presented in game. This has been a major complaint this past week, since Saurfang's objection to the burning of Teldrassil is presented in a novella and in this cinematic but is nowhere to be found ingame. Also, Saurfang's initial inertia ingame and then suddenly his change of mind is pretty poorly executed: this battle-hardened old warrior constantly flipping on his ideals (let's not mention the whole Malfurion incident) is a bit offensive for a character as legendary as Saurfang.

It's pretty amusing how the opinion of the peoples has been swayed again and how in a cinematic dedicated to Saurfang, everyone focuses more on the memeworthy Zappy Boi. It wouldn't surprise me if all that polarization between the playerbase (Alliance vs Horde, Sylvanas loyalists vs honourable (?) Horde, good vs bad vs morally gray) is just part of a giant ARG Blizzard has constructed to hype people up for the expansion and show the division that the Old Gods can cause between the characters and the actual human beings that are playing these characters.

Kudos to Blizzard marketing, though, for winning the fanbase back after a week of heavy beating.

I could write a whole essay about how bad their writing is, but for now I will just stick to what I have already said.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.”
– Dale Carnegie

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8 hours ago, Lampanelli said:

It's pretty sad that Blizzard thinks that replacing the Warchief every few years is good storytelling for little to absurd reasons, but at least this animation is good.

I mean at least with Vol'jin, I cant really say that being killed in battle with a galactic size assault force that has virtually wiped out all life in the universe is a 'small thing'.

 

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2 hours ago, Prophet001 said:

lol

So much this.

Meh.

The Horde was "released" from the Burning Legion, which Thrall managed to bring together after. They were the outcasts, still looked down upon by the Alliance. It was never about "choosing to be" the "bad" guys.

The problem now is that Sylvanas does nothing for the Horde, but everything for her self. She's a child who now has way too much power, which is exactly why people complain. She stands for nothing.

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9 hours ago, Lampanelli said:

Makes me think that if he lives through this, Saurfang will be the next warchief.

No way - the guy is like 100 years old, ain't no sane faction would accept a leader of that age. I think the point of this cinematic was more like to show us the struggle of good old Saurfang and prepare us to say farewell to a veteran hero. He may think now he's fighting without honor, but this momentary nihilism may give him power to one final battle where he can sacrifice himself - if he finds one glorious enough in the Battle for Azeroth. Or at least that's what my inner amateur theorycrafter says.

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2 hours ago, Zadina said:

Unpopular opinion:

This amazing looking cinematic is proof yet again of:

1) how weak the storyline is. Without spoiling too much about how it happens, at the end of the Battle of Undercity Saurfang will change his mind yet again and abandon Sylvanas and the Horde.

and 2) how badly the storyline is executed/presented in game. This has been a major complaint this past week, since Saurfang's objection to the burning of Teldrassil is presented in a novella and in this cinematic but is nowhere to be found ingame. Also, Saurfang's initial inertia ingame and then suddenly his change of mind is pretty poorly executed: this battle-hardened old warrior constantly flipping on his ideals (let's not mention the whole Malfurion incident) is a bit offensive for a character as legendary as Saurfang.

It's pretty amusing how the opinion of the peoples has been swayed again and how in a cinematic dedicated to Saurfang, everyone focuses more on the memeworthy Zappy Boi. It wouldn't surprise me if all that polarization between the playerbase (Alliance vs Horde, Sylvanas loyalists vs honourable (?) Horde, good vs bad vs morally gray) is just part of a giant ARG Blizzard has constructed to hype people up for the expansion and show the division that the Old Gods can cause between the characters and the actual human beings that are playing these characters.

Kudos to Blizzard marketing, though, for winning the fanbase back after a week of heavy beating.

I could write a whole essay about how bad their writing is, but for now I will just stick to what I have already said.

This may be your opinion and i do respect that.

About 1): I don't think the storyline is weak. I enoy how they "paint" the different characters as Jaina, Sylvanas, Saurfang and so on. They know how to breathe life into the individual virtual characters. Pain, hatred, frustration, hope, sadness ... all this feelings are a part of the story and this is made rather good. I don't know what people expect, but let's be honest: if the storyline would be so bad, why do people discuss the story? No - the story is not weak. People are upset (!) horde-leader getting changed again and again. I do not know the whole Warcraft-Story in detail. But to me it seems horde has ever been a fragile construct - why should we not expect (and accept) leader-roulette?

About 2): Ok, this is something interesting i didn't give a thought about. How should story be prestented to players? Linear with a parallel view from the different angles/ characters? Give an incident and then explain how it could happen? Other option...? - I don't know.

I think people expect a linear storytelling. Is it wrong to do it in another way?

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Much better than Sylvanas one, it gives at least some background how Saurfang was against the burning of Teldrassil. It's weird they didn't put this dialogue in game, as it looks like Saurfang just walks away and does nothing.

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5 minutes ago, Arcling said:

Much better than Sylvanas one, it gives at least some background how Saurfang was against the burning of Teldrassil. It's weird they didn't put this dialogue in game, as it looks like Saurfang just walks away and does nothing.

If you want to know what it looks like to put the entire story into the game, play FF XIV.

 

You will spend 75% of your time watching cut scenes and cinematics.

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A cinematic of this quality takes months to make, know what this means? Blizzard has been trolling us this whole time. I'm not gonna list all the reasons why. I'm just gonna assume you've been playing the game and reading the internet the past month. I don't know weather to say well done blizz or FU. The plot thickens.

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9 hours ago, Allseye said:

This may be your opinion and i do respect that.

About 1): I don't think the storyline is weak. I enoy how they "paint" the different characters as Jaina, Sylvanas, Saurfang and so on. They know how to breathe life into the individual virtual characters. Pain, hatred, frustration, hope, sadness ... all this feelings are a part of the story and this is made rather good. I don't know what people expect, but let's be honest: if the storyline would be so bad, why do people discuss the story? No - the story is not weak. People are upset (!) horde-leader getting changed again and again. I do not know the whole Warcraft-Story in detail. But to me it seems horde has ever been a fragile construct - why should we not expect (and accept) leader-roulette?

About 2): Ok, this is something interesting i didn't give a thought about. How should story be prestented to players? Linear with a parallel view from the different angles/ characters? Give an incident and then explain how it could happen? Other option...? - I don't know.

I think people expect a linear storytelling. Is it wrong to do it in another way?

Thanks for your civil response and for presenting actual arguments. LONG POST INC:

About [1] : The problem is that we aren't talking about full-fledged characters, but about archetypes or just types (also known as stock characters). Sure, they can experience various feelings but they remain flat, they do not change.* WoW lore figures represent types like the noble king, the old warrior, the cunning queen with a mysterious agenda, the betrayed sorceress, the demon lord who wants to destroy everything, the Green Jesus (or Moses, to be precise), the bitter old wolf etc. Therefore, it makes no sense to see them perform actions out of their "character", ie. Saurfang contemplating leaving the Horde, then Zappy Boi changing his mind, then still doing it or Sylvanas, who has been portrayed multiple times as a tactician, burning a tree on - what looks like - a whim or being proclaimed "an enemy of life" when her afterlife experience after her suicide only terrified and tortured her. [For that last one, I assume they want to portray her as "an agent of undeath", which is just a repeat of the Lich King/Arthas since it's stated in Chronicle 3 that Arthas wanted to unite Azeroth in undeath].

*Stock characters aren't a bad thing, as many peope think: WoW is a pop culture video game addressed to the masses, it needs to keep things simple.

Personally, I am not upset with Sylvanas or the Horde being "bad". I also agree that the Horde is a fragile construct and leadership changes within it are pretty normal. [However, if you take a glimpse at real-life history, you would expect similar - and worse - power struggles in the Human kingdom of Stormwind, especially since we know that the Human nobles have been plotting and doing nefarious things in the past]. What I do mind and, from what I have seen on social media, most sensible people are upset about and discuss the story because of: a) the deviation of the characters' actions compared to what we would expect of them, b)  the repetition of already seen themes, c) the omission of key event from in game, which is the main Warcraft medium and d) players having no choice but to follow this story (more on that at [2]). Specifically for Sylvanas, I feel that the writers have shoe-horned themselves into either making her a Kerrigan 2.0 or a Lich King 2.0 - both pretty unoriginal.

*Then again, the rhetorical question/random thought comes up: should we expect something original from a piece of work like WoW, that has been written, re-written, retconned and presented in multiple media by numerous writers? We live in an age where new series keep being mass produced and distributed on Netflix every month; an age where stories are presented in multiple seasons (or expansions, in the case of WoW). Even stuff as good as Game of Thrones (random example) have gaping plot holes. Perhaps originality and plot strength isn't the most important factor at the time we live in - and that's not necessarily a bad thing.*

[2] While I have read a lot of books, watched a lot of series and movies, I haven't played a lot of MMO-RPGs. I have only played WoW and GW2. GW2 tried to do something different with its dynamic story content, but in the end of the day the main storyline still stuck to the whims of their lore team. Even in most RPGs I've played (like Mass Effect, The Witcher, Assassin's Creed etc.), while there is a measure of choice as to whether you want to be Paragon or Renegade, build up relationships with your teammates, help that side-quest objective or let the village burn, you still have to follow an overarching main script.

In WoW, the directive from Blizzard has been that there's not much agency from the players' side: you just do what you are told to do. The reactions to the Sylvanas clip show that players want more freedom of choice and I think here lies one of the biggest issues of the RPG genre. It takes for a great game developer to find a way to tell a story the proper way, while also allowing the illusion of choice to the playerbase.

Personally, I think linear storylines are simpler, since too many flashbacks and flashforwards can confuse and tire the receiver (for example, the total cluster*uck that the TV series LOST was or the fact that novel Drive wasn't linear, but the movie Drive was and it's still one of the best movies of the decade). Lastly, if we agree that the plot/narrative is the cause-and-effect relationship between events in a story (as Forster said), then key events shouldn't be omitted: in WoW's case the fact that Saurfang protested Sylvanas' decision to burn the tree is an important event and it should have been demonstrated in the game.

Sorry for the long post and sorry if it was too theoretical sometimes! 🙂 I am open to a convincing argument changing my mind, because I really like WoW and I want to see a good story. Let's continue a civil discussion with arguments and not just seemingly profound quotes from self-help gurus. 😉

TL;DR: WoW has stock characters that represent certain archetypes and deviations from what we would expect their behaviour to be will feel "out-of-character" and non-sensical. Key events should be depicted in the game, as it is the main medium of the Warcraft franchise. Game developers need to find a better way to tell a story, instead of just "here's our direction, follow it".

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1 minute ago, Zadina said:

ie. Saurfang contemplating leaving the Horde, then Zappy Boi changing his mind,

i ... dont think he was contemplating leaving.

i think it was a suicide mission.  Like he was ready to 'get what he earned' like honorable death.  To see his son again.

 

Edited by PatrickHenry
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      Blizzard added four Ebon Blade swords to the game on 8.3 PTR that will likely be rewarded to new Death Knights created in Visions of N'Zoth as part of the overhauled starting experience.

      Other Patch 8.3 Content:
      Visions of N'Zoth Class Changes Visions of N'Zoth Development Notes New Forsaken Leadership in Patch 8.3 (Spoilers) Azshara's Bargain and the Key to Defeating N'Zoth (Spoilers) I'lgynoth's Whispers in Patch 8.3 (Analysis) Allied Races & Pandaren Death Knight Textures Added on 8.3 PTR Official Mechagnomes & Vulpera Preview Mechagnome & Vulpera Unlock Requirements Vulpera Heritage Armor Preview Mechagnome Heritage Armor Preview Mechagnome & Vulpera Dance Animations Vulpera Tidbits: Racial Mount, Shaman Totems, Hunter Pet Corrupted Rings with Kiss/Curse Effects from Ny'alotha New Essences in Patch 8.3 Ny'alotha Cloth Sets Preview Ny'alotha Plate Sets Preview Wrathion's Legendary Cloak Preview New Dubloon Vendors Selling Island Expedition and Invasion Crates in Patch 8.3 Alpaca Mounts in Patch 8.3 N'Zoth Serpent Mount in Patch 8.3 Aqir Flying Mount in Patch 8.3 Assaults in Patch 8.3 N'Zoth's Model in Patch 8.3 Ny'alotha Raid Boss Names & Descriptions Goblin & Worgen Heritage Armor Sets Preview Visions of N'Zoth Content Update Preview Ny'alotha Raid Testing: October 17th & 18th
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