5 of the Greatest World of Warcraft Machinimas of All Time

As one of gaming’s most successful MMOGs, World of Warcraft has been subject to many a fan-made creation, be it art, story, or film. Machinima in particular is perhaps the most enjoyable though as those of quality craft can truly encapsulate the imagination and present an already popular world in an entirely new light. Of all types of WoW-machinima though, music videos tend to be the most prevalent style. Nevertheless, amidst this deluge are still phenomenal feats of storytelling. As such, we’ve composed a list of five of the absolute must-see fan-made WoW machinima of all time.

Honorable Mention: Return – A Warcraft Motion Picture by Rufus Cubed Productions

The triumph of our spirit will live on in the hearts of every righteous man! Forever….

Before we get into the main list, there is one honorable mention that needs to be displayed, and that is one of the first truly standout World of Warcraft machinimas ever created, Return – A Warcraft Motion Picture. Perhaps the oldest WoW machinima on display today, the short video makes no significant use of outside editing tools to change character models or create custom animations. Instead, it relies on fantastic writing and the creative use of camera angles to present a compelling video.

Return follows the story of Voldigar, a man whose life has been consumed by war. At its end, he seeks reunion with his loved ones at his home in Stromgarde, but long time veterans of Warcraft will be well aware of the problem this presents: Stromguard lies in ruins. Only about six minutes in length, its dialogue and attention to detail make it well worth watching, and the only true shame is that its sequel was never released. That said, Rufus Cubed Productions did at least create an amazing trailer for it.

#5. Azerothian Super Villains by Beckman Movie Productions

What do you think Wilson?

First on the list is a comedy series of simplistic proportions. Azerothian Super Villains is a goofy jaunt through the minds of Azeroth’s most diabolical and sinister bad guys: Illidan the Betrayer, Archimonde the Defiler, and Kael’thas Sunstrider. Making use of existing in-game animations, Beckman Movie Productions created a sort of Pinky and The Brain style of film that follows the failing exploits of these well-known villains in their attempts to take over the world.

Of course, like its cartoon inspiration, this series of films (and there are several of them) take these three characters and turn them into bumbling idiots half the time that just can’t the job done. From Illidan’s conversations with a skull named Wilson over ill-conceived world domination plans, to Kael’thas’ obsession with dolls, everything is wonderfully entertaining. The only real downside to the series is that the initial releases have some marginal sound work, but they do improve as the films progress. And don’t worry, once you watch one, you’ll definitely start watching the others.

#4. Burning Crusade: The Movie by Jack

It is fitting that you should come to a place of the dead. For you shall soon be joining them.

Just for the record, any movie by Jack is worth watching, but the Intel-sponsored Burning Crusade: The Movie holds a special place in the heart as it is not only the first of the series viewed, but the Burning Crusade expansion was when personal raiding reached its peak. Each installment of the films follows the French guild of Empire and their exploits in defeating all the raid bosses of WoW’s first expansion. However, the film is not to be confused with yet another bland video that shows a guild beating bosses.

Burning Crusade: The Movie is quite the opposite of that standard. The entire film only shows the highlights of boss encounters and is stylized in an incredible manner that ranges from fantastic musical choices (seriously, try watching this without getting tingles), to using Blizzard voice files, to amazing camera work. How Jack got so many guild members to patiently create this film is truly something to be admired and something he did in other famous raids such as Blackwing Lair, Naxxramus, and Icecrown Citadel. Side Note: It’s also pretty cool to hear things in French if you watch that version.

#3. Zinwrath: The Movie & Illegal Danish: Super Snacks by Myndflame

ARCANITE REAPER! HOOOOOOOO!!!

For #3 we are harkening all the way back again to the days of yore: Vanilla WoW. Zinwrath and Illegal Danish come together as one package because it is hard to really watch one without the other. Created before more advanced techniques for machinima creation were heavily used, it does its best with the artistic technology of the time and makes itself known by simply incorporating absurd, slapstick humor tailored specifically to World of Warcraft players.

The first film simply follows a day in the life of a warlock named Zinwrath and his dealings with boisterous Ironforge duelists, the pains of old-school summoning rituals, the unrivaled power of the Arcanite Reaper, and an annoying gnome that wants to raid Molten Core. Illegal Danish is the “sequel” with the title being the name of Zinwrath’s guild. This one is a bit more story-oriented, as familiar characters from the first film must protect the all-powerful “Danish” from a would-be thief set on world conquest. Nonetheless, it’s no less ridiculous and would do Monty Python proud.

#2. The Craft of War: BLIND by percula

Hide and seek, hide and seek.

BLIND is a story that heralds back to the original plot line of Lady Katrana Prestor and the Onyxia attunement quests for the Alliance back in the days of level 60. For those that never had the “privilege” of participating in this extensively time-consuming fiasco, Katrana Prestor was actually the black dragon brood mother Onyxia who worked her way into Stormwind’s nobility in order to manipulate the kingdom to her own ends. As far as BLIND is concerned, it’s a short film that follows a blood elf assassin’s attempt to kill her.

What’s most impressive though is that the machinima shows just how far the art has come since it was first made popular by Red vs. Blue. Creator percula discovered that he was actually able to extract the models and animation skeletons from World of Warcraft’s files and animate them himself. In doing so, he was able to build the video of BLIND by placing these custom characters into the world and crafting an incredible display of motion and combat. In short, BLIND is one of the best displays of animation in all WoW machinima.

#1. Tales of the Past III by Martin Falch

Legendary. That is their title. Their glory.

Legendary. Such is the only way to describe this creation by Martin Falch. Hopefully, this man has a well-paying gig in the game cinematics world now, because Tales of the Past III is easily the single greatest WoW machinima ever. In fact, as far as a single video goes, it’s probably the best machinima… period.

The story follows the events of Tales of the Past II but the first two iterations of the series pale in comparison. In short, the first two movies revolve around a book that turns out to be a powerful artifact sought after by the Lich King (no, this does not follow the actual Warcraft storyline). In order to prevent this power from falling into the hands of the undead, the characters of the wizened Yimo and brash Blazer set out to see it destroyed. Unfortunately [and spoiler alert], the events lead to the untimely sacrifice of poor Yimo [end spoiler]. The third movie picks up shortly after and follows the story of Blazer who is now seeking the long lost blade of legend, the Ashbringer, in the hopes of using it to defeat Arthas for good and avenge the death of his longtime friend and mentor.

It sounds pretty cut and dry as far as storytelling goes (as the Lich King is oft a popular topic), but the presentation is incredible. The entire style of the film is sort of like Dragonball Z – sans 30 minutes of yelling – combined with Warcraft as it shows the changes that Blazer and his companions go through in order to combat both the Scourge and their own prejudices. Oh, and it’s a full feature film. Yes, it is roughly 90 minutes long and is high quality even by normal film standards. Additionally, over the course of those 90 minutes, the scale of epicenes just keeps growing with superbly written dialogue and witty one-liners. Truly, the only downside is that some of the voice work is a little hokey and the microphone quality isn’t always perfect, but all things considered, this is truly an incredible creation. That noted, it is discouraged that it is viewed in streaming format. If you have a means to download and watch Tales of the Past III from a television, such is highly recommended.

 

 

Posted on November 28, 2012, in Core Games, MMO, Top Lists, World of Warcraft and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.