Once upon a time, I’m hanging out in guild chat talking about Warcraft Lore. Now I don’t consider myself a Lore nerd. I do, however, tend to remember stuff that interests me, and since my favourite quests and instances are the ones that have some sort of story attached to them, I tend to pick up bits of lore along the way. We have guys in our guild who can argue for hours over what colour underwear Jaina Proudmore wears, now that’s a lore nerd!
Erm.. let me just, ah… think about that for a second. Be right back.
Ahem. So. One of our Paladins had collected Corrupted Ashbringer from The Four Horsemen in Old Naxx (which seemed quite appropriate) and after an entirely silly visit with it to the Scarlet Monastery, we were discussing if we’d ever be able to cleanse it and remove the taint. This was, of course, well before Rash of the Itch King was launched, and since Tirion Fordring’s now done exactly that at the Battle of Lights’ Hope Chapel, the short answer to that particular question would appear to be: “lol, noob, no!”
Since we’re talking about Ashbringer, both the sword and the person, one of our druids, Okita, asks me if I’ve ever seen Tales of the Past. Not only have I never seen it, I’ve never even heard of it. Oki urges me to check it out. It turns out that Tales of the Past is a series of three World of Warcraft machinima movies.
Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of WoW movies. There are, of course, notable exceptions such as the incredible awesomeness that is How To Mage. Maybe I’ve just not been exposed to the right ones, but most of the ones I’ve seen have just been Rogues stroking their e-peens with short cuts of their biggest crits and maddest pvp victories cut to some instantly forgettable death metal soundtrack.
Tales of the Past is not like that.
It’s hard to describe what awaits you without ruining the story for someone. The original movie, I will be the first to admit, is a little rough around the edges. Once you’ve been told it started out as a guild promotion video it kind of makes sense, but it’s still probably the best guild promotion video you’ve ever seen, how many of those have an actual plot? Once Martin Falch, the creator, moved onto Tales of the Past II, you could see that here was a major talent just starting to get into his stride. When was the last time you watched a WoW machinima and actually cared about the characters? Yimo, the wise and heroic Gnomish mage, will break your heart, as will the courage of Ball and Xconzoa, the loyal Tauren warriors who swear to protect him on his quest. Tales of the Past laid the groundwork, Tales of the Past II introduces proper filmaking techniques, properly scripted dialogue, music that actually bears some relation to onscreen events, an actual plot and characters you cared about.
Tales of the Past III is like being shown Star Wars after watching 1930’s Flash Gordon serials. It really is that good. One of the battle scenes used over 1000 extras. It is the highest rated movie ever hosted on Warcraftmovies.com. It had 200,000 downloads in its’ first three days. It is 2.33GB in size and has a 1 hour and 28 minute running time. It had a 75-page script and took 8 months to plan. It introduces major lore figures such as Thrall, Jaina Proudmore, Rexxaar, Saurfang, Mograine The Ashbringer and Arthas. I’ve seen multi-million dollar Hollywood productions that were less polished. It is epic in every sense of the word. If you’re a fanboy lore geek you better prepare yourself well in advance before you watch this one. I recommend an entire packet of Kleenex and at least four changes of underwear. If you’re not a lore geek, well… these are the only Warcraft movies I would ever even think of recommending a non-WoW player to watch, and still be confident that they’d get a kick out of them. I am eternally grateful that Okita made me watch these, they will always occupy a treasured place on my hard drive.
You still here? Shoo! Download them now!