One could argue it’s the most popular and influential fantasy franchise of all time, eclipsing even Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons in its popularity. Starting out as a series of real-time strategy games for PC, the Warcraft setting was eventually expanded to a mega-popular MMORPG called World of Warcraft. This spin-off game became a worldwide cultural phenomenon on par with franchises like Star Wars or Marvel, and more than a decade into the game’s lifespan, over 5 million people are still playing.
Keep in mind, that’s after a recent population drop from 10 million players from the last expansion’s launch. For a game that’s over a decade old, that’s one hell of a huge player base for a game some people claim is “dead.”
But as massive as the Warcraft brand is right now, things are about to get a whole lot bigger. 2016’s Warcraft film will bring the epic fantasy world to the big screen, in an action-packed war movie that promises some of the most realistic and groundbreaking CGI since Avatar. Having been to SDCC ’15 myself, I can confirm that the props and weapons are suitably Warcraft-y, despite having a more-toned-down and realistic look compared to the game’s “massive glowing shoulderpads” aesthetic. Still, with a teaser trailer having just been released, I have to admit I’m pretty impressed with the world they’ve created for the film version. While clearly geared towards the Game of Thrones crowd, it’s much brighter and well, Warcraft-ier than the dim, gritty fantasy fare we’ve been getting as of late. A full trailer is being released this Friday, and I for one cannot wait to see more of this awesome new cinematic world.
Fans of the game also have some pretty incredible Warcraft goodness to look forward to, as the new Legion expansion seeks to bring a bit of Burning Crusade flair to the modern game. A new Artifact weapon system, Demon Hunter class and PvP ranking mode have all been teased in addition to an epic campaign that pits players against the hellish Burning Legion yet again. Whether or not old-school fans of WoW will enjoy this expansion more than the last two remains to be seen, but I suppose Wildstar is always an option for those who want a more “hardcore” experience. As a fan of both of those games, I for one am looking forward to the new expac, and Warcraft‘s new media blitz in general.
I don’t know about you, but between WoW, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm, I feel like Warcraft‘s never been a better brand.