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Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans is the defunct dark comical adventure game that Blizzard began production on soon after Warcraft II was complete, though they kept news of its existence from the public for quite a while.
It was an adventure game in the same style as Monkey Island and other classic LucasArts and Sierra adventure games. The graphics were all hand-drawn and cel-animated, and then scanned into the game. It was not produced in-house by Blizzard, though Blizzard artists were consulted.
The game had the tagline "An Adventure Game in the World of WarCraft", but it was cancelled before completion.
Development and cancellation Edit
American company Animation Magic located in Cambridge, Massachusetts was out-sourced due to their experience in classical two-dimensional animation to produce the twenty-two minutes of fully-animated sequences, the game's artwork, the coding of the engine and the implementation of the sound effects. Blizzard then provided all the designs, the world backgrounds, sound recording and ensured storyline continuity.
The game was ultimately canceled when Blizzard decided that, while the story and graphics were great, they felt the gameplay was severely lacking. Rather than publish a mediocre game, they chose to cancel it.
When Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was canceled, it had been in development for over a year and was almost complete. Nearly all features, puzzles, and areas were in place, and the voice acting had been recorded. Another round of development, involving the implementation of new puzzles, tweaked areas, and more recording, was about to start before E3, in May 1998, but before that could happen the game was canceled.
The storyline was far too important to disregard, however, as it set the stage for the entire Horde campaign in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Star Trek novelist Christie Golden was then hired to write the novelization based on scripts and outlines provided by Warcraft universe co-creator, Chris Metzen, and had to be completed within six weeks. The book was released under the title Lord of the Clans about a year prior to Warcraft III.
- "Three great wars between the human Alliance and the orcish invaders have laid waste to the once proud realms of Azeroth. Twenty-two years have passed since Blackmoore found the young orcling, secretly raising it within the confines of his prison fortress Durnholde. Blackmoore planned to mold the orcling into the perfect warrior. A warrior conditioned to human thinking, but with all the savagery of an orcish heart." -Drek'Thar, Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans trailer.
- Basically, after the Dark Portal was destroyed and the rift between the worlds was destroyed, you had a large group of orcs that were trapped on Azeroth. And over the course of the next few years, King Terenas, being merciful in his ways, decreed that instead of hunting down and eradicating these orcs, they would instead be imprisoned for the remainder of their natural lives. No one expected these bloodthirsty savages to sit quietly in their camps, but ironically, that's just what happened. Many of Lordaeron's officials, including members of the Kirin Tor, were baffled at the Orcs' sudden and pervasive lethargy. Many theorized that, having been cut off from the Demonic Powers that had for so long fed their Blood Rage, they had lost their aggression, as well as their entire spiritual motivation. Gone were the rampaging, unstoppable green juggernauts of the legend, and in their place, nothing but lumbering, apathetic shells of their former selves.
- Although down on their luck, the orcs in Warcraft Adventures were about to experience a rebirth, thanks to the leadership of Thrall.
- Our storyline begins with an orc baby that was taken from a battle scene where his parents were slain and raised by a human lieutenant, Aedelas Blackmoore. An ambitious man of little moral standing, Blackmoore saw in the infant an opportunity for his own advancement. He envisioned an Orc Warrior, with all the savagery of its race, combined with human knowledge of tactics and military precision. Such a creature under his control would be the weapon, the edge, with which he could conquer and rule all of Lordaeron! He named him Thrall, as a constant reminder to the orc that he would forever belong to Blackmoore.
- Though he's raised in captivity to serve the will of a tyrant, a fire stirs within him, one he cannot deny. Eventually, he rebels against his human master, and escapes Durnholde Keep. Over the course of the game, we follow Thrall's adventures as he discovers more about himself, his ancestry, and of what it truly means to be an Orc. As the game progresses, you meet some familiar faces, including Drek'thar, the last Orc Shaman in Azeroth, and Grom Hellscream, leader of the Warsong Clan, the last free clan in Lordaeron. You learn of what happened to the Frostwolf Clan, the clan of Durotan, Thrall's father. You learn that Durotan, Blackhand and Orgrim Doomhammer were blood brothers, and that his clan Frost Wolf was sent into the Dwarf Highlands in the mountains. They were exiled there by the warlock, Gul'dan, for refusing to drink the blood of the demon, Mannoroth.
- So you find your heritage and then take up the banner of the Frostwolves to regroup the orcs and lead them in a rebellion against Blackmoore and the humans who are enslaving your people. The payoff in the end is that you're able to storm the castle, lead the Horde to victory, and reclaim the birthright of the orcs. - Bill Roper
Character summaries Edit
Thrall is the central character in the story. He was raised by humans in servitude. He escapes his shackles and begins his journey to discover his heritage and reunite the clans.
Once he escaped, he met Gazlowe the goblin trying to fix his zeppelin. He makes a deal with Gazlowe to fly him anywhere if he can steal some gnome plans for him.
Thrall finds a gnome workshop guarded by a number of contraptions which he must defeat to enter.
Durotan is Thrall's father. He is murdered by the unscrupulous orc brothers Rend and Maim, sons of Blackhand.
Orgrim is the quintessential "grandfather" orc. Orgrim has seen it all and most of his speech recounts certain parts of the Horde's history.
- Played by Peter Cullen (of Optimus Prime, Transformers fame).
If rock and roll had ever erupted on Azeroth, Grom would have been its driving force. He is a leather-clad, loudly abrasive orc who kicks serious ass. Grom is usually boisterous, but also gets down to business in a very no-nonsense manner.
Thrall sees wanted posters for Grom in several places. Thrall recognizes Grom as a fellow orc, so he seeks him out.
If Azeroth was New York City, Gazlowe would be a cabby. He's a wise cracking smart-guy, whose only real concerns are besting the Gnomes in an invention and design war. Gazlowe is cranky and abrasive, but means well deep down. Thrall would have assisted Gazlowe in repair of a Goblin Zeppelin. Perhaps allowing him a way to move around the world easier.
Gazlowe is one of the first non-hostile characters that Thrall meets. He mentions that the goblins and the gnomes are at war to Thrall.
Gazlowe reveals he wants to steal some secret plans for a communication device from the gnomes. Thrall makes deal with Gazlowe to steal the plans in exchange for transport on the zeppelin. Gazlowe gives him fake plans to swap for the real ones.
Drek'Thar, like Doomhammer, is an old orc who serves a very paternal role for Thrall. As opposed to Orgrim, Drek'Thar is a very impatient old fogy.
- Played by Tony Jay.
Alexstrasza the Dragon Queen Edit
Alexstrasza is easily the most powerful individual on Azeroth. She is a huge red dragon who could just as easily crush an army as cunningly manipulate its leaders to her own ends. She has a brilliant intellect and delights in toying with the lesser creatures who cross her path. Thrall has an encounter with for some unknown reason. He heads to Alexstrasza's Cave (a location hidden somewhere out in the great sea between Kul Tiras and Khaz Modan). During the encounter, she lets loose on Thrall with fiery blasts. He blocks them with a shield. The outcome of this encounter is unclear, but it can be assumed he ultimately earns her trust, or received whatever he was after. This version of Alexstrasza seems to be the polar opposite of the version in current lore.
Zul'jin is a real character. He was once a notorious bandit, but now sells junk goods in a run-down trading post in an unknown lethargic orc settlement called "Ork Reservation".
Zul'jin is a strangely well-spoken troll in a shop in with drunk orcs sitting in front. He has a collection of weapons from the Shattered Hand clan that are not for sale. Zul'jin claims not to know Grom and claims Lothar was mauled by blood-lusted ogres. Thrall buys a hacksaw hand weapon from Zul'jin for a dragon's tooth necklace.
Blackmoore is the crafty Human who has no problem with taking advantage of others when they're down. He's a slave-owning, back-stabbing, double-crossing, no-good swindler. Blackmoore secretly raised the orcling Thrall within the confines of his prison fortress Durnholde. He planned to mold the orcling into the perfect warrior. A warrior conditioned to human thinking, but with all the savagery of an orcish heart. This bad guy had also hired the murderers of Thrall's father, Rend and Maim. He sends them after Thrall after he escaped. Later Thrall would return to his castle to fight him. They fight on the walls of the castle, and during the struggle Thrall apparently knocks him over the edge. Thrall held him by his clothing, while Blackmoore looked at him with a look of fear and hatred.
Rend and Maim were the murderers of Thrall's father, Durotan. Lieutenant Blackmoore also hired them for his own use. They never seem to be too far apart from each other. They appear to be chasing after Thrall to bring him back to Blackhand. They apparently would have been killed by an intense bright light, causing their flesh to melt.
Kilrogg Deadeye was the powerful leader of the Bleeding Hollow Clan. Apparently, Orgrim would have helped free the clan during the course of the game. During a convocation on an Altar of Storms, Thrall would have convinced Kilrogg and the leaders of the Frostwolf clan and the Shattered Hand clan to work together to free the rest of the orcs and reunite the Horde.
During one dramatic scene Thrall was to match wits with the dragon Deathwing. Miscommunication led to this scene of the dragon Deathwing smoking a hookah. Blizzard decided to leave it in.
Singe was a black drake that served as a pet or adviser to Grom Hellscream. Its unknown if he was meant to be an enemy (perhaps manipulating Grom) and perhaps having connections to Deathwing who was also in the game.
Orge was a two-headed ogre (or someone accidentally misspelled "Ogre").
Uglaz was an orc character.
Kargath Bladefist is the chieftain of the Shattered Hand Clan. His clan was apparently one of the last free orc clans left on Azeroth, during the internment camp period (although its possible Orgrim would have helped free the clan during the course of the game). He is one of the three clan leaders, along with Doomhammer, and Kilrogg Deadeye that met at a convocation or council on an Altar of Storms. Thrall apparently convinces them to form the Horde again. Each of their respective clans could be seen behind the altar.
A Farseer of the Frostwolf Clan who aids Thrall in liberating the Orcs from the internment camps. He would go on to become a powerful Farseer, and instrumental in the formation of the New Horde.
A Shaman of the Frostwolf Clan and son of the Elder Shaman Drek'thar.
A blue dragon was to have appeared in the game. Little is known about this dragon, not even its name.
Minor characters Edit
- Chaplain Mathers
- Razor rat
- Workshop gnome engineers - Seem not to be worried about Thrall
- Drunk orcs - appear to be drunk on Black ale in front of Zul'jin's shop
- Campfire orcs - Just northeast of unknown orc settlement near a pig pen. They appear to be from the Shattered Hand clan and traded their weapons for ale money
- Cave ogre mage - Just north of the campfire orcs
Press releases Edit
The makers of the number-one selling Warcraft series and the runaway hit Diablo bring Warcraft's personality and depth to the adventure genre
Irvine, CA, March 17, 1997 — Blizzard Entertainment announced today Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, the pivotal next chapter in the epic Warcraft saga. The fantasy adventure game, which is expected to release this holiday season, is the continuation of the Warcraft story and sets the stage for future Warcraft titles.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans picks up where Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal ended and develops many of the popular characters and locations first introduced in the Warcraft real-time strategy series. Players return to the land of Azeroth as Thrall, a young virile orc robbed of his heritage after being raised in servitude by humans. Destined to reunite and lead the disbanded orcish clans, Thrall must escape the humans' shackles and return the Horde to dominance.
Said Allen Adham, president and founder of Blizzard Entertainment, "With Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, our goal is to recapture the elements that make adventure games great. Players will be immersed in the world of Warcraft with a rich storyline, character interaction and extensive exploration."
"The adventure game tells an important chapter in our overall vision for the Warcraft story. For the first time, players will interact with the Orcish Horde, and learn about their history and motivations. The game adds to the depth of the Warcraft universe and provides the back story for future titles."
Key features in the game include:
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans is expected to be available this holiday season in Windows 95 and Macintosh CD-ROM format at most computer and software retail chains nationwide for approximately $50. The game will also be available directly through Blizzard at 1-800-953-SNOW. This game, as well as other Blizzard titles, is distributed by CUC Software.
Best known for the number-one selling Warcraft series and the blockbuster hit Diablo, Blizzard Entertainment is an operating unit of CUC International Inc. (NYSE: CU).
Response to cancellation petition Edit
Within hours of the announcement of the cancellation, fans of the series formed an online petition, demanding the project be resurrected. On the 22nd of May 1998, Blizzard responded via their website;
Blizzard Announcement — 22 May 1998
Blizzard wants to take a minute to respond to the Warcraft Adventures petition that is circulating on the Internet. First, we want to express our gratitude to the Warcraft fans that took the time to organize such an effort. We recognize that the cancellation of Warcraft Adventures has disappointed some of our customers, and we appreciate that they have shared their opinions with us.
Secondly, we want let you know that stopping development was not a decision that was taken lightly. It was a hard call to make, but each of us knows that it was the right choice. The cancellation was not a business or marketing decision or even a statement about the adventure genre. The decision centered around the level of value that we want to give our customers. In essence, it was a case of stepping up and really proving to ourselves and gamers that we will not sell out on the quality of our games.
And finally, we hope that Warcraft fans will consider our track record and trust our judgment on ending the project. The cancellation of Warcraft Adventures does not signal the demise of Azeroth. We have every intention of returning to the Warcraft world because there are still chapters to be told. We will keep you informed as we announce future Warcraft plans.