That Panda Trailer


Why must you make it so difficult?

From a technical perspective, the Mists of Pandaria trailer was good. I even laughed when the human handed the orc the spear. But like Rohan, I was left confused as to its purpose. The Pandaren are not a third faction, and all the Pandaren that would be joining the Alliance or Horde are obviously not fighting for “harmony.” I am already sold on the idea of the expansion and the lack of a unifying, spotlight villain. But this trailer… does not excite me in any way.

Just take a few minutes and watch the original WoW trailer again:

I have not watched that in 3+ years and I still got chills from it. Same with the TBC trailer, especially with the WotLK cinematic, and… well, it is still kinda cool how the Cataclysm trailer presented the whole “welding plates on a dragon” thing, even though I cared not for Deathwing himself.

I dunno. As mentioned before, I have nothing against pandas, Pet Combat systems, or anything that comes across as overtly “childish.” I mean, c’mon: gnomes.

But I am also acutely aware that MoP is going to be fighting an image battle for its entire duration, regardless of the merits of the actual game itself. And more to the point, people playing MoP are going to be the ones fighting that image battle alone, if this cinematic trailer is any indication. This expansion is going to be filled with bloody, Horde vs Alliance massacres and betrayals, and Blizzard reinforces the stereotypes at the tips of everyone’s tongues the moment they hear the words “panda” and “monk.”

This is either going to be a long two years, or a short one.

Posted on August 17, 2012, in WoW and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. But I am also acutely aware that MoP is going to be fighting an image battle for its entire duration, regardless of the merits of the actual game itself.

    I, for one, have no intent to participate in that battle. Since I’m not a blogger, politician or high school student, I care about the merits of the actual game itself, and not about whether playing it will reflect badly on my public image.

    I’ve quit MMOs and left single-player games unfinished for many reasons: boredom, frustration, fatal bugs, guild-wrecking drama, RL demanding all my free time, and so forth. However, I don’t recall ever having to quit a game because I felt mocked by people for playing something that was not manly, hardcore, serious or GRIMDARK enough.

    (And if anyone wants to play a MMO with awesome epic cinematic trailers, I hear SWTOR’s going free soon)


  2. Being in Beta, it’s interesting how their approach to MoP story evolved.

    Initially, first area as Alliance (i didn’t check horde at time) you had shipwreck, usual gather this and that, put out fires, fight some non-panda locals – nothing really dark about it, small expedition force out at new continent.

    Then they closed off that area for two months or more and completely redid storyline. And a few days ago they added updated cinematic intros before first mission in capital cities.

    Now Alliance and Horde are at open war. Fleets are clashing at sea. Alliance loses Prince ship and goes for rescue mission (and securing new continent), Horde just goes to conquer new continent.

    And first thing we see once our flying ship goes out of mists is our enemies already entrenched on those shores. And then we fight them.

    That is how everyone actually playing will be introduced to Pandaria. We come there and war comes with us.

    And trailer… yeah, it doesn’t make this part clear enough since it’s way too short for that.


  3. Az, I think the story of MoP played out perfectly in the cinematic. It really is the story of the Pandaren people to seek balance and harmony, exemplified perfectly in that ‘fight.’ Two ship-wrecked warriors dueling to the bloody end are interrupted by a soft, unassuming monk. The monk engages them both to 1) stop the fight, probably saving one or both lives, 2) unify them in cause against a new ‘threat’ … and get them to cooperate, if only for a moment, and 3) make them realize where they are, what they are doing, and the consequences of continuing such a conflict.

    He truly showed the orc and the human that home was something worth fighting for. I’m excited to see if those two make an appearance in-game somewhere. I think it fit the theme of the expansion perfectly and was second only to WotLK’s intro.


    • Right, but that is only going to be half of the expansion. We know Theramore is getting sacked, we know the dangers of the Sha running around, and we know that even after all the Pandaren “seeking of harmony” is taken care of, that we are ultimately leading a bloody coup against Orgimmar. Maybe said faction leader is having a Lich King moment where it is clear that deposing him/her is the right thing to do. Maybe Sha and/or an Old God is involved. Either way, I have a hard time believing they will be able to spin that theme across the entire expansion, at least based on what we know already.

      Plus, there is the greater issue of how much this trailer fails to sell the expansion to non-subscribers. Look at these trailers like movie trailers. Who would go see them, knowing nothing else? I don’t actually have a problem with the panda thing or taking a step back from the (melo)dramatic tension inherent to world-shattering events. WoW has always had both. But how is someone going to know that it still has both?

      Finally, Ephemeron had the excellent point that we shouldn’t be in a position where we need to make excuses for the entertainment we enjoy. I agree. At the same time, spending the next two years hearing about Kung-Fu Panda is going to be real bummer.


      • Well diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. I understand what ya’ll are saying though; there wasn’t a feeling of the wide-sweeping story arc in the expansion. I did appreciate the intimacy of the cinematic though.


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