There is a world that exists within our world. It is a realm of pure imagination. It is the haven of escape for millions upon millions of gamers worldwide. And it is coming to a theater near you. I'm speaking about the juggernaut of the gaming world, that unstoppable giant created by famed company Blizzard. I'm speaking of World of Warcraft. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG or MMO to those veterans of the game) has developed a following greater than most real world followings. Its popularity has spawned real world families, communities, and even economies. Its population and GNP rivals that of most countries on the planet. And soon, it will come storming onto the big screen in all its magnificent splendor. But to many people, even gamers, the name World of Warcraft (dubbed "WoW" by some) is just a name surrounded by an even greater mystery: what is it exactly? What follows is a nutshell guide intended to inform and educate moviegoers about World of Warcraft, its digital inhabitants, and the power players behind the epic adaptation.
UPDATE: Just added a HUGE casting rumor below and some other new details!
UPDATE: A couple more locations have been added to the list!
UPDATE: More info available on the World of Warcraft film. Look for more information as it comes to us below.
Some basic information about Blizzard's World of Warcraft:
Game Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Original Release Date: November 23rd, 2004
Current Number of Monthly Subscribers: 11.1 Million
Estimated Monthly Intake: $166.3 Million
Estimated Annual Intake: $1.9 Billion
Additional Game Content Expansions: 3 (The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm)
Current Applicable Version: 4.2
World of Warcraft is a triumph in both gaming and social interface. It has risen above and beyond the expectations of even its own creators. This success is primarily due to the incredibly deep and engrossing storylines that wind through the game. Throughout, there is the primary narrative which includes a singular antagonist that players must eventually work their way towards, but underneath that there are hundreds of secondary and tertiary stories that both link into the primary one or stand completely separate on their own. These tales involve intricate "quest lines" (tasks that must be completed) that carry the player through the narrative, enhancing the immersion aspect of the story.
Secondly, the success of the storytelling rests firmly upon the shoulders of the non-player characters (or NPC's) that have been created by Blizzard to populate the digital world. And here is the simple breakdown of that world:
The created world in which World of Warcraft is set and player created avatars (PC's) function. Azeroth is divided into three continents (Kalimdor (Kah-lim-door), The Eastern Kingdoms, and Northrend) all divided by The Great Sea. In the center of the Great Sea is the Great Maelstrom, an everlasting storm that helps to divide the continents.
Dimensionally outside of Azeroth, connected via The Dark Portal, is Outland, once known as Draenor (Dray-nor). Outland consists of a floating continent, the last fragment to remain after the long-ago destruction of Draenor.
Each continent is divided into zones and it is within each zone that players find a world as vastly diverse in both flora and fauna as the world in which we truly live.
Within these zones are also located the thousands of NPC's that players rely upon to further the game itself through questing and storytelling (or lore as some call it). What follows is a Who's Who in World of Warcraft:
There are two factions of power within World of Warcraft: The Alliance and The Horde.
The Alliance make their predominate home in The Eastern Kingdoms at the capital of Stormwind. The Horde seat of power is located in Kalimdor at Orgrimmar (Ore-grim-are). The two factions were long engaged in open war until a peace was found and have since remained in a rather aggressive Cold War since, their own conflict often interrupted by the emergence of a common enemy.
The Alliance is composed of a treaty-united group of races that include Humans, Night Elves, Gnomes, Worgen, Draenei and Dwarves. Each race has its own seat of of power and its own leader that forms the ruling body of The Alliance. They are as follows:
Humans - King Varian Wrynn - Stormwind
Night Elves - Tyrande Whisperwind - Teldrassil
Gnomes - Gelbin Mekkatorque - Gnomeregan
Worgen - Genn Greymane - Gilneas
Draenei - Prophet Velen - The Exodar
Dwarves - King Magni Bronzebeard / The Council of Three Hammers - Ironforge
The same follows for the Horde and their united races of Orcs, Tauren, Blood Elves, Forsaken, Goblins, and Trolls.
Orcs - Garrosh Hellscream - Orgrimmar
Tauren - Baine Bloodhoof - Thunder Bluff
Blood Elves - Lor'themar Theron - Quel'Thalas
Undead Forsaken - Sylvanas Windrunner - The Undercity
Goblins - Jastor Gallywix - Azshara
Trolls - Vol'jin - The Echo Isles
Each character has its own incredibly deep history, personality, and relationship with each other member listed in each faction of course and all of this can be found in minute detail on one of the hundreds of resource sites dedicated to World of Warcraft lore.
There are several notable names of which to be aware of as well:
Thrall - Orc - The legendary former WarChief of the Horde, Thrall passed the title to Garrosh Hellscream in order to focus his powers, as a Shaman member of the Earthen Ring, on the growing threat of the evil dragon Deathwing.
Jaina Proudmoore - Human - The ruler of Theramore, Jaina has been instrumental in assisting Thrall in maintaining the peace between The Horde and The Alliance. A powerful mage, her abilites are as respected throughout Azeroth as is her voice of reason and compassion.
Malfurion Stormrage - Night Elf - A millenia-old Druid and devout follower of Cenarius (a powerful nature diety), Malfurion has been at the forefront of most major conflict on Azeroth for the past two thousand years. He is a formidable force for good and is the lover of Tyrande Whisperwind. He also has a twin brother named Illidan.
Brann Bronzebeard - Dwarf - One of King Magni's brothers, Brann is an accomplished archaeologist and explorer. It is through his studious efforts that all of the greatest (and sometimes terrible) discoveries on Azeroth are excavated.
Varok Saurfang - Orc - A veteran Warrior, Saurfang has long been a voice of council for Thrall in his decision-making process whilst leading the Horde. Saurfang played a direct role in both the cursing and freeing of the Orc race from the Blood Curse, a terrible malady that transformed the normally peaceful race into the blood-thirsty monsters they originally were thought to be.
It is also important to know that both PC's and NPC's have what are called classes or areas of expertise that define the role they play within the world, much like a "career". These classes are Warrior, Paladin, Mage, Priest, Hunter, Rogue, Warlock, Druid, Death Knight and Shaman. Each has their own form and function within the world and their names alone can give some idea as to what those are.
There are also several villains that have have risen up to either subjugate the races of Azeroth or wholly destroy the world itself.
The Burning Legion - A scourge of collected demon races led by the insane Titan (the race responsible for the creation of the universe) Sargeras. They seek the destruction of all current life in the universe so that it may be remade in Sargeras' image. They have repeatedly attempted to gain a stranglehold on Azeroth but each time have been pushed back by the unification of the world's factions. They are also the force of evil responsible for the long-ago destruction of Draenor, the ancestral home of the Orc race.
Illidan Stormrage - The traitorous twin brother of Malfurion, Illidan the Betrayer, his love rejected by Tyrande in favor of his brother, was seduced by the power of the Burning Legion and found himself corrupted, both mentally and physically, transformed into a hideous demonic malformation of his original Night Elf form. Ruling from The Black Temple in Outland, Illidan was eventually deposed by the combined forces of the Horde, the Alliance, and the remaining races still residing in Outland.
The Lich King (pictured above)- An immensely powerful undead leader, The Lich King, like a plague, took over and consumed the human paladin Arthas Menethil, turning him into the inhuman leader of the Scourge (evil undead). The Forsaken are the remaining undead who resisted his power. Through the efforts of the Alliance, the Horde, and The Silver Covenant (a collected group of paladins), The Lich King was destroyed at The Frozen Throne, his seat of power in Northrend. When still a human, Arthas was the love-interest of Jaina Proudmoore.
Deathwing (pictured below) - When Azeroth was first created, the Titans set five Dragon Aspects to watch over and cultivate the planet. Neltharion the Earth-Warder was given dominion over the land and the deep places of the world. But he was slowly driven insane through the efforts of a race of evil beings called The Old Gods and the proud dragon soon became a powerful force of destruction. Renaming himself Deathwing, his wrath was first stopped by a unification of the remaining four Dragon Aspects and the mortal races. Long thought dead, he has since returned from his sanctuary deep within the recesses of the planet and his reemergence was single-handedly responsible for the recent Cataclysm that ravaged the face of the world. He is the current threat to all life in Azeroth.
The World of Warcraft Film
Now that you have some basic familiarity with World of Warcraft, you should now be able to understand the upcoming film based on Blizzard's creation. While details are few (and are subject to change) we have culminated the following:
- Liam Neeson may have a brief role in the film to set up a larger appearance in a potential sequel.
- Don't look for Bolvar Fordragon to play a major role in the Lich King fight if any at all.
- Despite some flash-fire internet rumors, professional cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao will not have a role in the film in any capacity.
- Potential 2013 release date.
- Sam Raimi has been scheduled to direct and produce.
- Famed producer Thomas Tull (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, 300) is primarily producing.
- Atlas Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, and Stars Road Entertainment are all listed as having a hand in production.
- Chris Metzen, VP of Creative Development at Blizzard, is co-producing.
- Famed trainer Robert Goodwin, who trained Christian Bale for Batman Begins, has been training noted actor Mark Hildebrandt in weapons combat for the gladitorial scenes in the film (www.filmfightingla.com).
- The screenplay is being handled by veteran scribe Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot)
- Pinewood Studios in England will be the setting for Stormwind and Icecrown Citadel.
- Morocco will be the setting for Durotar, the Orcs home area and location of the Horde capital, Orgrimmar.
- A primeval forest in Poland and a peat bog in Wales have been confirmed as shooting locations.
- The Pit of Dire Maul makes an appearance containing an 8-foot Ogre.
- Mila Kunis is attached to the project in an as-yet-unnamed role, rumors swirl that it is Lady Jaina Proudmoore or Valeera Sanguinar.
- Mark Hildebrandt will play King Varian Wrynn.
- The film will be told primarily from the perspective of the Alliance.
- Casting is underway for Thrall and Arthas as well as Valeera Sanguinar, a character fans will recognize from the comics.
- The film looks to be shaping up to follow the initial storyline of the first series in the World of Warcraft comics but will primarily be about the relationship between Varian Wrynn and Arthas Menethil as they grew up and will conclude with their epic showdown.
- The film will be a violent and bloody affair and should not be expected to be G, PG, or even PG-13.
- The film title is tentatively titled "Warcraft".
- The film will be primarily live action with CGI mixed in for the more complicated elements of the world.
It should be noted that all of these details have been culled over the years and are the most recent pieces of information that cannot be disproven. All information is subject to change at any time and should be taken as rumor.
Now that you have a basic understanding of all that World of Warcraft is, the epic nature of the film, and the sheer potential of the film to rival that of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, all we have left to do is wait. But I encourage anyone and everyone to ask any questions you may have about the film or the game and I will answer them to the best of my ability, just hit me up here in the comments section, or shoot me an email at:
As a veteran of World of Warcraft (I'm nearing my seventh anniversary playing the game), there isn't a film for me that is more hotly anticipated than this. The culmination of a dream not just for me, but for the millions of fans that helped to make Warcraft what it is today.
Actor, writer, director, producer...yeah, I'm a regular Lions Gate Studio exec...