Every World of Warcraft trailer has always been extremely hyped, leaving you with a sense of wonder and excitement, and a knowledge of what the game or expansion is bringing to the table. The Vanilla trailer showed off the the main conflict (”The tenuous pact between the Horde and the Alliance has all but evaporated, the drums of war, thunder once again”), the inhabitants, and was an invitation to explore and experience this world and its conflicts. Burning Crusade’s cinematic showed off the two new races as well as Outland areas, but it had a major high point with all Illidan (”You are not prepared!”) that really set up thematically the entire series and got people hyped for it. Oh my god we’re going to go through this Dark Portal and fight this demon looking dude and it looks epic!
And every trailer since had one or more epic moments people remembered that set the stage for the entire expansion in theme, tone, and story.
- WotLK had Sindragosa bursting through the ice and flying through the canyon.
- Cataclysm had Deathwing flying and destroying well known landmarks.
- Mists of Pandaria had a great fight involving a human, an orc, and a new panda creature that ended with mists clearing away and panning down to an incredible Asian themed world below.
- Warlords of Draenor had the reveal of Garrosh, changing important history.
- Legion had the leaders of the Horde and the Alliance fighting together against a returned Burning Legion.
- Battle for Azeroth had Anduin resurrecting his army
- Shadowlands had Sylvanas destroying the Helm of Domination.
All these trailers were built around something we knew or were familiar with, usually pivotal characters. Except for the new Dragonflight cinematic. They attempted it with the Watcher guy pushing the tower back together, but they failed in that we did not know these watchers existed, or the tower existed until literally the cinematic happened. There was nothing familiar to latch onto and get excited about. No true emotional stakes, other than ‘we will not be able to return if this thing isn’t lit when we come back’. So what? They left, they’ve been gone 10,000 years, why is it so important they return? There was no drama, no ‘oomph’. The closest they get is the watcher falls and would die except a now returned dragon swoops in and saves him from the fall.
I think they could have done so much better, by having the watcher die and removing most of the voiceover. You watch him wake up, do his thing, get thrown off by the explosion and then shatter to the ground, and then the camera pans up to see the dragons start to appear out of the clouds. You see them fly over the shattered remains and it blacks out to the title. Doing such would add the gravitas and drive home the seriousness of his duty to restore the tower, even at the sacrifice of his own life. It would immediately cause the a lot of questions and desire to know more, like a trailer should. It would have be a truly epic moment that fit with the rest of the cinematics they have released over the years.
Essentially, what I am saying is I haven’t played World of Warcraft in years, and this trailer did absolutely nothing to make me think about returning. Wrath of the Lich King Classic on the other hand, and watching the old cinematics? Those made me think a bit.