TOKYOPOP Editor Troy Lewter sent my way an early copy of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING, in terms you can remember from an early interview of mine with Richard A. Knaak, it is the first volume of a trilogy titled DRAGONS OF OUTLAND, in which we learn the lore that led toward Malygos’s return to his senses from his milennia insanity and the Nexus War against the Kirin Tor and the Wyrmrest Accord.
The manga will be at a bookstore near you on June 1, 2010; but if you need a little jumpstart to get your engines going, I have written a lengthy article that mentions a few key moments of this story, without necessarily spoiling it too much. Just enough for you to get a grasp of what the first installment of this manga trilogy is about.
Without further ado, and minding a few spoilers here and there, feast my lore-hungered boys. Tip: Jorad Mace, Tyrigosa, the Nether Dragons, Deathwing and an original second war Death Knight on the loose in Outland.
If you loved the stories within Warcraft Legends, be prepared to get bewitched by World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing.
This manga trilogy is based on the two characters from the pages of WarCraft: The Sunwell Trilogy. The very same manga that spawned the likes of Kalecgos, and Anveena (known in-game at the Sunwell Plateau dungeon), Trag Highmountain (known in-game at the Argent Tournament Grounds in Icecrown) and Dar’Khan Darthir (found in-game at Deatholme in the Ghostlands, Quel’Thalas).
Like all of these characters who first were born in the TOKYOPOP manga, and appeared in-game time later during the Burning Crusade expansion, both protagonists of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING were born in THE SUNWELL TRILOGY and became quest NPCs in the Burning Crusade.
You can find both, Jorad Mace and Tyrigosa, at the Celestial Ridge in the region known as Netherstorm in Outland. To refresh your memory, Tyri (or Tyrigosa the blue dragon) gives you the quest to kill Veraku — the leader of the Nether Drakes in Netherstorm.
Her quests: A Promising Start, Securing the Celestial Ridge, and Troublesome Distractions. Ok, you got the idea. This manga gives you a prologue to their adventures in Outland, before those quests. How they got into Outland, and how they happen to learn about the Nether Drakes. That’s all in WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING.
The story by Richard A. Knaak is very fluid and packed with action in all fronts between the Burning Legion and the Alliance forces at the Dark Portal’s Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula, dragon against dragon, Gronn versus dragon, Ragnok’s forces against our heroes, and much more.
All brought to awesome detail by artist Jae-Hwan Kim: face expressions, body details, background details. The inker and texture makes this entire manga be a yummy sight. I’m not sure if the artist inked it, or Marco Paolilli, but it looks astounding. Jae-Hwam Kim’s art style and Richard A. Knaak’s writing are a perfect match for World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing. No wonder this manga took so long in the making.
Storywise, Jorad Mace comes to Outland with the Alliance forces to fend off the Burning Legion’s advancement into the Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula under the vigilance of Lord Irulon Trueblade of the Argent Crusade.
Jorad Mace continues his quest to make himself worthy and redeem his past transgressions against the former Silver Hand. The Light abandoned him long ago before the events of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, and he seeks to be worth of the return of the Light into his being.
On a separate quest, Tyrigossa has come into Outland hunting down a disturbance too familiar for her taste. She can’t pinpoint what it is, or how it relates to her hunches but she has come to seek it. It turns out to be the Nether Dragons. Are they friend or foe? Sadly both. Zzeraku sees her as a foe, but Valoku wishes to befriend the blue dragon.
“Wait hold it there, Medievaldragon — that name rings a bell.” — hah, I read your mind, eh? Yes, the same Zzeraku that became a prisoner of Lady Sinestra at Grim Batol in the novel World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak. Except, we get to see the recent past before he was captured by her. Remember Dragons of Outlands was delayed for a few years before the release of the former.
We get to see an image of Deathwing as shown in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm concept art when Tyrigosa senses the familiar magical signature in one of the black dragon skeletons found in the Nether Dragons’ lair in Blade’s Edge Mountains.
We see the interaction of Jorad Mace and Tyrigosa with the Draenei Broken tribe of Hellfire Peninsula as allies. The first encounter between the Alliance and the draenei of the Temple of Telhamat, and the introduction of Ragnok Bloodreaver — one of the original Death Knights created by Gul’dan, still in his decaying human host.
That bears some explaining for those who missed Warcraft II. During the final throes of the Second War, Warchief Orgrimm Doomhammer ordered the Horde to slay the Shadow Council. Only Gul’dan survived because he was catatonic after his mind-melding (so-to-speak) with Medivh at the moment of his death.
Gul’dan pleaded Orgrimm for his life, and offered an army of dead risen human knights holding magics to counter the Alliance’s mages. What Gul’dan didn’t tell Orgrimm was that these human corpses would be risen as hosts for the spirits of the slain Shadow Council — thus creating the original Death Knights, of which Teron Gorefiend was the first, and Ragnok Bloodreaver one of them.
It is wildly rumored by lore fans that this Ragnok might be the same mentioned in the novel World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. So far, I can’t confirm if that’s true yet.
Ragnok Bloodreaver wishes to become the new master of Outland, and plans to conquer Azeroth as well. Obviously, he is not aligned with Illidan nor the Dragonmaw Clan. He seeks to destroy Illidan and all his forces in the Black Temple with the use of the Nether Dragons, employing the services of Kadavan, a mercenary Ethereal who uses his magical technology to hunt down and capture the behemoths. Ragnok is even assaulting the Dragonmaw Clan to steal the Nether Drakes controlled by them.
Ragnok has his own cadre of Fel Orcs, probably stolen from Hellfire Citadel’s surroundings and some of the Dragonmaw are threatened to be killed by the Death Knight if they disobey or fail his orders, following him unquestionably.
Comparing both MAGE and SHADOW WING, I feel more inclined for the latter. It’s well executed with a lot of action, mystery and drama. The pacing resembles much what some of us are accustomed with comic books from panel to panel interweaving plot after plot from different points of view.
I can’t wait for volume two to come out. Expect World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Volume 2: The Nexus Point on November 2010. And the third part somewhere in 2011.
Don’t go thinking “Meh, this is a wannabe non-canon story” because you are wrong. Most of what Knaak writes is outlined to him by Blizzard Creative Team, and he fleshes out, then the developers add the story and characters into being in the MMO. It’s canon. The TOKYOPOP editor Troy Lewter, who sent me a copy of this manga a month before it goes into bookstores (on June 1) wrote an afterword located near the final pages of this manga.
There Paul Morrissey and Troy Lewter thank the people behind this story, including Richard A. Knaak, Jae-Hwan Kim, and the Blizzard Entertainment’s Creative Development Team: Jason Bischoff, Joshua Horst, James Waugh, Micky Neilson, Evelyn Fredericksen, Samwise Didier, Tommy Newcomer, Cameron Dayton and the thundergod, bourbon cowboy, father of Warcraft lore hmself — Chris Metzen. Did I miss any title? (chuckles) Ok. All-seeing and loved VP of Creative Design too, but that be the lesser of his titles before his loyal fanboys — myself included. He’s up there along with the legends: Stan Lee, H.P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, and many others loved by fans of Fantasy and Sci-fi genres. Ok. Enough boot-licking. Koff.
Get your copy of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING. You won’t regret collecting the trilogy. It looks very promising, and dare I say rival previous WarCraft manga in lore and awe.
This is the missing story that gaps World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon and the Nexus War. From this trilogy comes the truth behind Malygos’ cure and decision to start an all-out war against the Kirin Tor and the Wrymrest Accord.
And from the picture of Deathwing as seen in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’s concept art, dare I say we will learn more than we could possibly guess as a tie-in with the upcoming expansion? You bet.
The first volume of the manga takes us to Hellfire Peninsula, Dragonmaw areas in Shadowmoon Valley, and Blade’s Edge Mountains.
Lord Irulon Trueblade – is one of the characters who led the incursion into Outland to fend off the demons from accessing Azeroth during the Burning Crusade in this manga. You can find him in the Howling Fjord at Valgarde currently in Wrath of the Lich King.
Lord Trueblade oversaw Jorad Mace’s progress to redemption, but initially gave him more humbling tasks to do such as helping with the construction of their outpost.
Amaan the Wise – from the Temple of Telhamat in Hellfire Peninsula appears in the manga with a convoy of Draenei to introduce his people to Lord Duron, Commander of the Alliance Forces at the Stair of Destiny in the Dark Portal, Hellfire Peninsula.
The Broken – (Krokul in draenei old tongue)
Warrith – leader of the Broken in Hellfire Peninsula, and father of Valwar.
There is reference to how Gruul and the Gronn killed the black dragons at Blade’s Edge Mountains as revealed in World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal.
After reading World of Warcraft: Mage (read my review, I discovered an interview held by Tokyopop editors with Paul Benjamin in the last pages.
The interview is about his upcoming manga titled World of Warcraft: Shaman.
I am going to post that interview in this article, but before that I just want to kick the Beehive to shake lore fans and fill them with interest. Check it out on October 2010 folks, because that’s when you will learn more about that mysterious character revealed in the pages of White Wolf’s World of Warcraft RPG: Dark Factions … High Shaman Muln Earthfury, leader of the Earthen Ring.
Earthquakes. Fires. Floods. Tornados. The elements of Azeroth are out of control, unleashing devastating natural disasters that threaten to tear Azeroth asunder.
All hope rests with the shaman, who are able to commune with the elements. Muln Earthfury, the shaman leader of the secretive Earthen Ring, attempts to pacify the elements — but his pleas fall on deaf ears. The elements are unresponsive, full of confusion and chaos. The Earthen Ring is riddled with doubt. Have the shaman lost their ability to corral and guide the elements?
Mysteriously, Shotoa arrives. This Tauren shaman doesn’t just merely tend to the elements — he forces them to do his bidding. Shotoa promises to lead the Earthen Ring into a new era of Shamanism … As the world crumbles around them, Muln and the Earthen Ring must decide if Shotoa is a hero or a heretic …
Written by Paul Benjamin (StarCraft: Frontline) and drawn by Roccio Zucchi (World of Warcraft: Death Knight), WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHAMAN ties into the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion in stunning ways!
Available October 2010.
Is it safe to assume that you’ve played a fair amount of WARCRAFT? Do you have a favorite class to play?
Benjamin: My main is a pally retadin. That’s a paladin built to do lots of damage for any noobs reading this (Hi, Mom!). I tend to do a fair amount of solo play because if I play with a group I’m on for too long and wouldn’t make any of my Warcraft writing deadlines! The pally is great for soloing because I can heal myself and do plenty of damage. That said, I do have a lot of fun playing with guildies or doing random heroics when I’ve got the time. ANd, of course, since writing SHAMAN I’ve really been digging my new shammy character as well.
Give the fans the inside scoop on WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHAMAN. What’s the story about? Is it true that it will tie into the upcoming CATACLYSM expansion?
Benjamin: SHAMAN is the tale of a group many players have seen around Azeroth and beyond: the Earthen Ring. The main characters are Muln, the tauren High Shaman of the Earthen Ring, and his orc apprentice, Kettara Bloodthirst. The focus is on them and the elder council of the Earthen Ring, so I’ve gotten to write dranei and trolls as well as a few very important (and well known) orcs from Orgrimmar. The secrets of CATACLYSM are quite closely guarded at the time of this writting, but there’s a lot of connection between this book and the upcoming expansion. I can tell you that the elements are in upheaval adn that’s wreaking chaos with the powers of Muln and the Earthen Ring.
SHAMAN is a story about tradition versus change and choosing which one is more important. It’s also full of shaman calling down lightning, summoning elementals and manifesting totems to help them smack down any monsters stupid enough to threaten the shaman way of life. And it’s all beautifully illustrated by DEATH KNIGHT artist Roccio Zucchi, so I imagine fans will be as excited to read the book as I have been to see those pages coming in as she works!
Richard A. Knaak receives a lot of good feedback, which translates in the success and sale of World of Warcraft and Diablo novels, and some bad feedback from the minority.
I don’t mean to offend those with bad feedback, I have read and understand their concerns, but sales would be low otherwise if everyone or the majority thought likewise.
The way I see it, there is room for every type of writer, and each has their own technique and style. There’s room for everyone. And Richard A. Knaak has a tall condo, not just a room.
The artwork by Ryo Kawakami is not very detailed when it comes to backgrounds, like Jae-Hwan Kim or my favorite, Hector Sevilla; but Troy Lewter — the editor — does mention in the back of the manga that they were on a deadline, and the artist was pretty swift in making things happen within that deadline. So, let’s be forgiving, and see other work of Ryo.
I either like a style or dislike it. I like the artwork in World of Warcraft: Mage. Some people may think otherwise.
There’s a difference between manga and comic books, and while I am new to the manga world, I welcome the style.
I have always said I am not really into manga, but there are many styles and I do dig my first incursion into reading manga: Starcraft: Frontline, Warcraft Legends, and World of Warcraft: Death Knight are pretty cool art-wise.
I am more a comic book reader having a large collection of all kind of X-men titles, and some Avengers and West Coast Avengers. I also check out the latest previews of all kind of Marvel Comics titles (not just X-men) at Newsarama.
There’s a lot of new artists with great styles, but from my early incursions into comic books back in 1996, I like Joe Madureira, Ian Churchill, Chris Bachalo, Alex Ross, and others. Their styles are very different from one another.
If anything, I welcome different styles, and open-minded to taste other people’s work — in both fields actually: writers and artists.
I do hate some artists’s styles more than others, nevertheless, but rarely. Coughs-José Ladrönn. Sorry dude, you ruined it for me in CABLE.
Decade-old-rant aside, I read an advance review copy of World of WarCraft: Mage, thanks to Troy Lewter [TOKYOPOP editor].
The very-short description of the book released last April 2, and its front cover could barely offer fans any grasp at info to form a guess.
Reading the manga, I am surprised at how Knaak weaved the story behind the Nexus War’s assault on Dalaran.
We see how the Azure Ley Dragon Cyanigosa, dragonkin and drakonids got access into the Violet Hold, bypassing and weakening Dalaran’s outer magical-shield.
It all came from within. From the cover, you might think Rhonin and this mysterious kid Aodhan work together all along from beginning to end of the story, but that’s clearly not true for most of the first half of the manga.
Aodhan is a reckless kid who tries hard to demonstrate his abilities, who wishes to prove worthy to his father and to himself by one day becoming part of Dalaran’s defenses.
He is taught by Master Simeon, a Dalaran mage trainer, who keeps Aodhan pressed to the limit because he considers the kid needs to learn to be patient and focused before leveling up in rank even when he surpasses any other student in skill for those at the same level. The kid simply rushes recklessly without measuring the possible consequences.
There is a bit of lore thrown in into the mix about the Book of Argaleus the Crafter who lived centuries ago. Myth says he learned the spell language written on this special book from Malygos. Among the marks on the book can be seen the All-seeing Eye of the Kirin Tor.
The opening of rifts within the Violet Hold was not the first attempt. It had been breached before, with help of Aothan and his uncle Crevan. This explains why some of the cells in the Violet Hold prison are empty. Some of the lesser beings such as a fire revenant, ogre magi, and a void terror (like Immol’thar in Dire Maul west) were locked within, and freed to cause a distraction from the true target that would destroy Dalaran.
We get to see Archmage Modera, Rhonin and Archmage Aethas Sunreaver in action fending off the Azure Ley dragons from bypassing the outer shield of Dalaran, but no real background or lore about these three Kirin Tor council members.
The story focuses on Aodhan the mage apprentice, his attunement to magic which promises to see him one day as a powerful mage.
Richard A. Knaak shifts his story-telling back and forth between the present to the past to explore the origins of Aodhan, his family, and his motives to become a great mage.
However, we learn the true meaning of being a mage is not about controlling magic, but to humbly learn to wield magic for the benefit of everyone, not oneself.
World of Warcraft: Mage contains an interview about World of Warcraft: Shaman — revealed to be written by Paul Benjamin and art by Roccio Zucchi.
It also contains a preview of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING, VOL. 1: THE DRAGONS OF OUTLAND. The same exclusive preview TOKYOPOP and Blizzard granted Blizzplanet a few weeks ago.
Adrianne Curry is among the known celebrities who have fallen in love with World of Warcraft and play other games. She was the first winner of the America’s Next Top Model reality TV show, but don’t think that catapulted her into fame. She had to open her way into modeling on her own after moving to New York where she joined the agency Wilhelmina Models. Among other magazines, she has appeared in Maxim and People. On TV she appeared in Dirt — a television series starring Courteney Cox; and in Half & Half (2003).
Just today, Adrianne Curry was selected among the Top 20 Hottest Brunnettes by Maxim. (some light nudity, exercise discretion)
Medievaldragon: How was your experience like getting into the world of modeling?
Adrianne: It was a tough one. I was turned down by many agencies who all said my look was more New York than Chicago (where I was currently living). My rise into modeling was much different than most. I auditioned for a new reality show called America’s Next Top Model. I beat out over 32,000 girls to be selected for the semi finals. out of 20 girls, only 10 were selected, including myself. I then went to work and came out as the winner in the end. That was July 2003
MD: Basically you had to get on your own feet to impulse your modeling career. Did you find modeling opportunities right away?
Adrianne: Many opportunities opened, but many shut. A lot of clients were not fans of the show and didn’t want to even see me. Some clients did want to see me, but not because they wanted to work with me. They would drag me to castings just to ask me show questions. However, I did get to move out to NYC, on my own dime, and try my hand at the trade. I realized very quickly I would never become a successful fashion model having come from top model.
MD: Could you mention your latest, current and upcoming projects for old and new fans interested?
Adrianne: Recently I have been working on behind the scenes stuff. I was an associate producer on the My Antonio show that aired on VH1 this past Fall. I have two shows in development, one I created myself! But, till we are ready to promote publicly, my lips are sealed.
MD: How did you get into gaming? What were the first games you played, and the best?
Adrianne: I was always into games. I used to play Kings Quest, Myst, Duke Nukem, Quake, DOOM, Wolfenstein 3-D and many others. I guess I got into video games the most when I was with my ex-boyfriend in my teens. All he did was play all day long. if I didn’t play, I would be ignored. We played a lot of Medal of Honor, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Halo, and many others.
MD: Have you been invited by Game Studios to showcase a game at a convention, done game gigs, or would consider proposals from game studios?
Adrianne: I have never been asked to do anything related to video games. if I was, I would be more than happy to. Sounds like a dream job to me!
MD: You have a lvl 45 Night Elf Warrior and other characters. What is it in the game that has hooked you into World of Warcraft?
Adrianne: I am hooked to Warcraft because it reminds me so much of Lord Of The Rings. I love to quest, pwn hordies, and run around with my WoW Pimp, my level 80 Pally friend CaptinMorgin
MD: Which World of Warcraft dungeons have you visited and which caused you the most awe?
Adrianne: The one you have to go through the Burning Steppes to get to [Blackrock Depths] is pretty cool, it’s like a torture dungeon. I also like the one outside Tanaris. Zul’farrak is all outside and above ground.
MD: What if Blizzard invited you to do voice over for the game, or to participate in the World of Warcraft film?
Adrianne: … I would die. Too bad the Succubus already has a voice and smacks her ass, that would have so been me.
MD: [Pictures Adrianne Curry playing a Succubus smacking her whip around in the Warcraft film alongside her hubbie Christopher Knight as a Warlock] By now the whole world knows what your WoW character is after you disclosed it in Twitter, Have you attached a Blizzard or Mobile Authenticator to your account? What do you think about that little account security gadget and the Core Hound Pup pet?
Adrianne: No. If someone wants to steal my account, do so. I feel bad for them. I’m a eff-ing NOOB. I think they are good ideas for people who really care that much, luckily, I dont.
MD: What do you think about all those trolls calling you a noob for been level 45?
Adrianne: Gee like if they didn’t go through the same leveling experience.- I don’t care. I didn”t play for years on purpose because I was scared I would lose my life. I was right. Now that I am a level 45, I’m starting to get a little more warcraft respect. ; )
MD: So true. Everyone started leveling up in order to reach lvl 80. I have a couple lvl 80 characters, a lvl 72 Death Knight and a bunch of lvl 35 classes. My mother has a lvl 62 Orc Hunter, so I have to accompany her around in her adventures. Did you go to Blizzcon or planning to go next time? Have you heard good feedback about it? There were over 25,000 fans there.
Adrianne: I would love to go, but have yet to attend. I think it would be wicked sweet to dress like my character for one. My toon is an absolute slutty powerhouse of pain.
MD: I read you were at a few geek conventions this year dressed in costumes. Which conventions do you plan going on 2010, and What would you disguise of if you went to the next Blizzcon?
Adrianne: I like Wizard Worlds, but I really like costumes that hide who I am. So, I may be at more conventions than reported.
MD: Hope to see you at New York Comic Con and Blizzcon. Thanks. You can follow Adrianne Curry on her Twitter @AdrianneCurry
Sideshow Collectibles and Blizzard Entertainment partnered on 2007 to launch the epic first World of Warcraft diorama based on the Burning Crusade expansion. This polystone diorama of a Blood Elf Rogue versus a Draenei Paladin was sculptured to perfection from an artwork created by Blizzard Entertainment Art Department. The sculptor really put a lot of work into each part of the diorama: the draenei and blood elf’s shoulders, gauntlets and legs are amazingly detailed.
The lengthy video shows you the box as it was delivered by UPS (with dent and all), I unpacked it and show all the foam it’s protected with, and step-by-step how to assemble this diorama.
It’s actually composed of five pieces that need to be manually assembled by yourself: the base is pretty solid heavy (handle with care); the draenei; the draenei’s right arm is a separate item which includes the right-arm, shield, and the whole blood elf (all in one piece); the Tome is a separate item, and the mace.
The whole process of unpacking and assembling the diorama takes approximately 15-20 minutes. It’s heavily protected by an exoskeleton of foam in the shape of a box split in half. The different components are secured individually and firmly with wires. Untying these wires is what takes the most of your time.
It’s recommended to remove the diorama parts on a table and with a lot of care, and if possible bring a few folded towels to cushion the parts when the foam is turned upside down while you untie the wires. If a piece comes loose abruptly it can literally break a piece. I say so by experience. The Blood Elf came loose on top of the solid base and the green blade on her left hand broke off to my shame. That’s my fault.
It would be wise to have a couple of tweezers handy when assembling the tome (book) to the draenei paladin. These chains are short and cut to fit what’s necessary — meaning you will take a while trying to place the hooks inside the tome’s rings. The tome has a pin to insert it into the draenei’s waist beneath the belt where you can find a hole.
Once the tome is secured in place, you can take the big piece where the blood elf is laying on the shield and hook the slot inside the draenei’s arm into the pin located where the elbow joint is. The force of gravity does its job as the weight of this big piece settles on the Draenei’s elbow pin. One thing I gotta complain is there is no way to secure these five pieces. It only takes a curious family, friend or child to grab the diorama to realize it’s a loose set of pieces instead of a solid statue. The only solution I can really think of is to permanently glue these parts with Krazy-glue; but at your own risk.
Overall, this is a sculpture that is going to wow you and everyone who sees it. You can look at it for long periods of time, browsing through all the detail, and awesomeness. If you can spare the $299.99, go for it. It’s numbered in the bottom of the base, and there are approximately 750 of them around the world. A collector’s choice. This diorama was provided and shipped to me for review purposes by Sideshow Collectibles.
For months there have been a few celebrities who have openly revealed in interviews they would love a role in the upcoming Warcraft film, to be directed by Sam Raimi. The first one was Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), and now an actress has done so. A few days ago, Michele Morrow revealed to Fangoria during their interview her interest in the Warcraft film. I reached her to learn more about her career, and her interest in games. I was surprised to hear she is a guild leader in World of Warcraft and currently tackling Saurfang Jr. in the Icecrown Citadel.
The actress is in love with the story and characteristics of Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, the leader of the Forsaken, and she admits she would love to earn the role in the upcoming Warcraft film. That’s not just words. Her agency, L.A. Management will back her up once auditions are called by the production.
Michele Morrow has been actress in Basement Jack (2009), Bled (2009), The Seer (2007), True Love (2007), Alias (2006), Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun (2005), Ashley’s Ashes (2009) and VideoDome Rent-O-Rama (2009) — among other films, especially Horror, Thriller and Drama films.
Medievaldragon: Hi Michele, you have talked widely about your gaming life in some of your film interviews. Which games have you played?
Michele: I got an NES at age 10 and was the only kid on the block with one for a few months, so my roots are in Zelda, Mario, Tetris, Ghosts and Goblins consumed most of age 12.
Currently I play Bioshock, God of War (beat II but never played the original til now) and I’m stoked for both of the sequels due out this spring. I saw God of War III at E3 this year and it looks sick. I love Lumines on Xbox when I need that Tetris on drugs fix, and World of Warcraft.
Medievaldragon: When and How did you start playing World of Warcraft?
Michele: Crappy story actually a couple years back, I screwed up my neck in a stunt accident for this slasher movie called BASEMENT JACK. I jumped on an Air Ram it shot me up and out about 15 feet and I landed on my head. I’m VERY lucky to be recovered and not dead or paralyzed. I was in a neck brace for about a year. During that time I got a copy of The Burning Crusade.
Medievaldragon: A career as an actress is probably harder than other types of jobs like a normal 9am-5pm office work, or other freelance jobs. Your mind needs to be awake and alert, you need to read a lot and memorize your script lines. You need to go to the gym, eat healthy, stay fit, and train on whatever your role requires (horse riding, gun shooting, swords, etc.) lot of work. How do you manage your time between your acting career and leading a raiding guild?
Michele: HAH! Wow, someone is actually asking me that. Yes. I’ll tell you when I finally recovered from my injury, it wasn’t easy to pry away from, having to weave my normal life and work-out schedule back in. Its sorta hilarious how obsessed people get about this game. I mean, I even had dreams about the game. Although, that happened with Bioshock too. I guess that’s when you know a game is good. It seeps into your dreams. You’ll be at some dream supermarket buyin dream beer and a cartoon Orc will be behind the register saying: Ooooprah!, and im like WTF get out of my DREAM.
Medievaldragon: What have you liked the most about World of Warcraft through your level 1-80 experience?
Michele: I guess the thing I liked the most 1-80 as a new player, was how the game naturally unfolded for me. I liked the stories. In some ways it feels like reading an interactive book. It’s a pretty incredible experience for a first timer, make sure to play with some big headphones and just zone out for awhile. It can be a bit tedious for starting alts, but relaxing all the same, especially with lvl 80 raiding pressures.
However, at level 80, it’s a new game. I co-lead a raiding guild on Thorium Brotherhood – I know, RP server, but honestly its no different from a PvE server just don’t go to Silvermoon City at midnight dressed as a pirate and you’ll be alright. I have a toon on Mug’thol as well and very much enjoy PvP servers, I’m just glad I didn’t start out on one lol.
Medievaldragon: The other day you told me how much you love the lore behind Lady Sylvanas and Jaina Proudmoore. What do you enjoy out of all the lore diversity and rich characters in World of Warcraft?
Michele: I love Sylvanas and Jaina. I think I most enjoy the fact that Warcraft has very powerful female matriarchs. I mean, even Lord of the Rings. I grew up on that had very few important women. Most of them filled the stereotypical chick roles, love interests, healers, mothers. Galadriel is one of the few that really stands out for me. And the Narnia series, although rich with female characters, mostly don’t let women in battle.
But it has always been this way. Helen of Troy launched a battle only by being abducted and I think I remember something about the dude sacrificing his daughter to get sweet winds for his travel to save Helen. the whole sacrificing virgins thing lol. I realize that some people believe that true power comes through the female roles through healing and comfort and reflection. And, wisdom generally comes from old men with long beards. I don’t disagree with any of that, but it’s pretty awesome that Warcraft lore features female heroes and leaders who struggle with similar issues that the men do.
Women fall too like Azshara – and not because they were being slutbags, or because they were virgins, or because they were kidnapped. They fail because they are flawed. Or they teach because they know how to lead. Sylvanas has the coolest story for me, hands down death by Frostmourne, mutilated and tortured, used against her own people, only to regain her free-will and build the Forsaken with the sole purpose of hunting down Arthas. I love her grit, her courage and her potential of fallacy. But Jaina is pretty rad too. She’s a gifted mage, a major leader, and big advocate for peace. Not only that, but she was engaged to Arthas so that’s crazy.
Medievaldragon: Do you think stories such as these should be engaged by film directors more often?
Michele: Absolutely they’re why I became an actress. I grew up in a neighborhood called Camelot where all the streets were named after the knights of the round table, we lived on King Arthur Drive. Everything seemed so lofty and magical when I was a kid. I loved Star Wars, The Neverending Story, The Dark Crystal movies were imagination land. They were an escape from real life. I think the only reason these movies don’t get made as much it’s because it’s a lot of money to make big epic features. I’m pretty sure each one of The Lord of the Rings & Harry Potters cost about $100 million to make. They did make an insane amount of money in return, but I’m sure it’s hard to get people to fork over that kind of cash.
Medievaldragon: Have you seen a lack of films based on fantasy worlds beyond Lord of the Rings from 2000-2010?
Michele: Well, the Narnias, Harry Potters probably can all be categorized as the like. I think we saw a lot of comic book movies that cross-promoted the fantasy demographic.
Medievaldragon: Your previous film roles are focused mostly in the Terror genre, have you considered other genres or have you been invited to play roles in those?
Michele: I’ve done comedies and drama, but horror is certainly the genre I’ve worked the most in. I’m open to any genre that has a strong story attached. It’s all about the story.
Medievaldragon: Why do you wish the role of Lady Sylvanas Windrunner in the Warcraft film?
Michele: To be honest, I’d be happy to play any of the characters in the movie. But, Sylvanas, I love her because she’s determined. She’s insidious. She’s arrogant and spiteful, but you can’t really blame her. She’s very tortured. http://www.wowwiki.com/File:Sylvanas.jpg I love this imagination of her. She truly takes her own council.
Medievaldragon: Have you played Warcraft III or have you read its facsimile World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King? That’s where her story as a cunning and stubborn High Elf Ranger and all the drama with Arthas as her biggest nemesis starts at. What about her rich past did catch your attention the most?
Michele: She’s really effing brave. And she’s been through hell. To be honest, its not far off from many of the horror movie roles I’ve played. Karen Cook in Basement Jack is a lot like her. At 18 years old she finds her entire family slaughtered, posed around the dining room table, tied to glasses and silverware, with the dog as the main course. It’s a horrific thing to imagine. She has an epic battle in the basement with the killer and narrowly escapes. 11 years later she has sharpened her combat skills, and he gets let out of a mental institution. Now she’s hunting him – and he’s happy to kill her. She’s sorta on another level you are able to see her as a tragic hero, it kinda takes gender away, it’s past that, if that makes sense. You can see her mind working, always thinking, always one step ahead. She’s smart and beautiful and tragic and courageous all at once.
Medievaldragon: What new things have you learned about Lady Sylvanas in your raid advancement through Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, the Halls of Reflections and Icecrown Citadel that you feel have allowed you to learn this character inside and out?
Michele: Mostly I really dislike her voice over lol. I have an alliance toon and get to see Jaina do something similar so its not super unique enough to learn anything more than I already did from the 5 mans. But it is cool to see the story progress. Besides, I’m mostly only thinking about the 10,000g I can make from that Battered Hilt drop to pay any attention lol.
Medievaldragon: What do you think about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?
Michele: You know, I’m sure however all the details will undoubtedly change, it’ll be cool. This MMO is more popular than any other of all time, I think the guys at Blizzard know what they’re doing. I have a high amount of faith in their imaginations based on what they’ve produced so far.
Medievaldragon: If you were a WoW developer, what would you do to further enrich the world of Azeroth and the player’s gameplay? (story, features or fixes)
Michele: ALTERAC VALLEY! HELP!! People do not know how to play. Period. They just run to the group and fight in the road and make me want to tear out all my hair. Has anyone noticed that AV Chat has become like Trade Chat but with more insults? Which is awesome and annoying all at once.
Mmmaybe in CATACLYSM, the earth shakes up Alterac Valley and the battleground gets a facelift. Maybe even do some sort of strat guide or in-game tutorial for people when they queue for the first time. Redesign the map because its not clear enough for new players, they’re all like "Towers? Bunkers? Cap what? Who’s Bal?" — except they don’t ask for fear of ridicule lol. Because regardless of the infinite resources they could find online by simply minimizing their screen, they won’t lol. The double honor thing for defending is a start, but you really do miss out on a lot of action. Maybe they can up that reward to encourage better game play. The other Battlegrounds are much smaller and easier to catch on to, there’s just too much going on in AV for the legions of noobs.
Medievaldragon: Which recent and upcoming films or TV projects fans can find you working on?
Michele: I have a film in the summer shooting in Tennessee, its currently untitled but revolves around a meth addict. I’ll be starring next to Katrena Rochell from the upcoming Kickass. I’m also producing a reality show about a big cat rescue facility called Cat Tales Rescue with my childhood best friend, Jan-Michael Gambill who is a professional tennis and another wow player. Pilot season is coming up as well, so anything can happen. I recently heard Spidey got pushed back too, so maybe Warcraft?!?!? fingers crossed
Medievaldragon: Which have been your biggest achievements both in your persona life and in your career?
Michele: My biggest achievement has yet to surface in my career, I am sure. But so far, personally I’m proud of my recovery from my neck injury, that I didn’t let it stop me. It’s so easy to quit, and I’ll tell you, I did get close to giving everything up. I gained 25 pounds, I lost two movie roles, and fairweather friends certainly slunk into the shadows. When you hit the bottom, you can either sulk there forever or pick yourself up. Determination can do a lot for a person.
Medievaldragon: I listened to your Voice Over Reel. Awesome. Have you done voice over for games or would consider proposals for them?
Michele: Thank you Besides my demo, I also did a voice over for G4’s X-Play. I would love to do voices for games! That would be so stupidly fun.
Medievaldragon: Thanks, It was great having you, Michele. Hope you get the role of Sylvanas in the Warcraft film. What do you think guys?
Pocket Books (a Simon & Schuster Division) released a special gift to Blizzcon 2009 attendees, and now to everyone … an excerpt of World of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak.
We already know a few things about the book, but reading the excerpt let’s you glimpse a few things that may interest you. The excerpt is set in Elwynn Forest. We get to see familiar locations such as Goldshire and Jasperlode Mine.
What I like about this book is that we get to meet characters from the World of Warcraft game. Marshal Dughan and the entire Goldshire citizens have been affected by the Nightmare in the Emerald Dream. You do remember him right? He is the NPC that gives you the quest to investigate the Jasperlode Mine.
Do you remember Zaldimar Wefhellt? He is the Mage Trainer at the Goldshire Inn. He is part of this World of Warcraft: Stormrage excerpt.
I won’t spoil what happens in the excerpt, but from the little taste we got here I can assume that we will see other locations in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and the use of real NPCs for once as characters in this novel.
Richard A. Knaak revealed a few details about the upcoming Pocket Books novel titled World of Warcraft: Stormrage (on sale February 23, 2010). Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson said in our interview back on February that this book would deal with the Nightmare in the Emerald Dream and Malfurion Stormrage. Will we get to see some tie-in with the events behind Cataclysm?