Opinion: The Art of Warcraft

Blizzard have done some amazing things with the Warcraft series. We delve into the phenomenon!

Sun Tzu wrote about warcraft in “˜the Art of War‘ over 2000 years ago, and in the last two decades Blizzard entertainment has perfected it with their epic game series: Warcraft.
First off I must confess, I am one of those people that have led a secret double-life for the past 25 years.  The kind of life you would read about in an Ian Fleming spy novel (the guy who created James Bond) or in a movie made by Peter Jackson. Oh yeah –  and I am probably the greatest hero the world has ever seen.
I’ve vanquished villains, destroyed evil beasts, liberated kingdoms and saved countless princesses, daughters, lovers and hapless villagers.  I’ve saved the world, the universe and the multiverse. I’ve mowed down hordes of zombies, clones, Orcs, Spetnaz, cultists and demons whilst wielding lightsabers, machine guns, shotguns, magic-swords, silver-swords, cursed-swords, gun-swords and pokeballs.
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Thus,  with my cumulative experience with warfare of the cyber kind, unwavering loyalty to the gaming world, and the fact that I am possibly earth‘s greatest hero, I implore Blizzard to step back into the RTS world of Warcraft and make Warcraft 4 already!
Having recently seen the Warcraft movie (twice), I was intrigued by the fantasy and scope and started to immerse myself in reading up on the Warcraft lore.  So far I have perused Of Blood and Honor, Day of the Dragon, Lord of the Clans, The Last Guardian, The Well of Eternity, The Demon Soul, The Sundering, Cycle of Hatred and currently busy with Tides of Darkness.  One thing is for certain – the Warcraft universe is massive.  And it‘s the universal appeal of the strong story arch that has transcended the games, novels, movie and merchandise that tie together this massive universe and the intriguing creatures that inhabit it.
From the libraries, my quest led me onwards into the vaults of the past and I have recently played (and cheated) my way through Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.
Ah, the sweet nostalgia of the slow-paced RTS genre of yore! This game was exceedingly difficult for someone used to the tempo of StarCraft 2 – it’s a game of attrition and slow snow-balling rather than the frenzy of shift-clicking and queued commands of the modern RTS. It felt more like a cross between Heroes of Might&Magic and the Age of the Empires. In fact, it played surprisingly well for a game that is 22 years old!
A gem in its own right, Orcs & Humans is where it all started for Blizzard (ahem – I have still to find anyone who actually played The Lost Vikings). The game basically tells the same story as the film by Duncan Jones but where he had actors, CGI and a big green screen, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans has mission briefings and strategic in-game objectives which drive the narrative (Only from Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness onwards, do we get the signature Blizzard cinematics).
Having played this game and watched the movie, I can‘t help but wonder at the evolution and growth of the Warcraft franchise.
Did the small development team know what the future of their flight of fancy would hold?  What was started as a DOS-based game requiring a 386 with 4MB RAM, 22 years ago, has grown into a trilogy, into a MMORPG, and into an epic 3D movie grossing over $430 million USD.
May I be brazen enough to hope that in the next 22 years, we will see a successful film franchise doing justice to the complex and nuanced world of Azeroth?
May I be bold enough to predict the success of the next cycle of Warcraft games using augmented and virtual reality technologies?
And may I be naïve enough to hope that one day, with the advancements in the entertainment and gaming industry, that I may be bedevilled into believing that I ride with the noble Frostwolf Clan, that I lay siege to the dreaded Frozen Throne and that I wield the mighty Doomhammer?
Read: Opinion: The year in review ““ gaming‘s biggest disappointments
Until then, Lok-tar ogar, as I continue my quest into the universe of Warcraft with Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne.