Confessions Of A MMORPG Addict
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 14:20 by Dan Jolin in Infinite Lives
There’s a certain kind of videogame that I just can’t get enough of: the RPG (that’s role-playing game to the non-nerds out there). This is largely due to a mis-spent youth playing Dungeons & Dragons (although, later, the Palladium system proved a smarter alternative, as the übernerds out there may appreciate), itself the result of a desire to put myself, or rather some aspect of myself — harder, better looking, much better at casting fireballs — into a world of adventure that could in some way be shaped by my actions.
Now I’m in my mid-thirties, with a wife, a child and the grave responsibility to watch bad films so that others may not, it’s not so easy to get around a table with my sad, geeky chums — only one of whom, you may wish to note, also now has a spouse and offspring, although I’m pretty sure they’ve all had sex without paying for it. Besides, while I still may have a Manual Of The Planes and Ars Arcana somewhere in the attic, I’ve long since lost all my D4s, D8s, D10s, D12s and D20s (if you need to know what they are, I’m surprised you’re still reading!). So the answer, of course, is videogames.
If I’m in a solo-adventuring mood, the open-world likes of Mass Effect (shimmering space opera), Oblivion (solid swords ‘n’ sorcery) and, most recently, Fallout 3 (future-’50s post-apocalyptic black comedy) do the trick; if I’m feeling social (and I’m not using that word ironically), it’s all about Warcraft. That may ring bells for even the uninitiated, probably because it’s a massive, multi-billion worldwide phenomenon, and also probably because there’s a World Of Warcraft movie in the works. Now, this to some small degree excites me; it’s a rich universe, if somewhat unoriginal (but then, rare is the fantasy franchise that doesn’t raid Tolkien). Yet, if I’m completely honest, I’m not wholehartedly convinced that any RPG property is appropriate for cinematic adaptation.
This is not entirely due to the largely lacklustre quality of most literature based on RPGs. Nor is it about the ill fortunes of those RPG-to-movie adaptations produced so far. Courtney Solomon’s Dungeons & Dragons, for example, is clag of the lowest order. (Hilariously so; I’ve seen it three times and still chuckle when baldified baddie Bruce Payne growls “Just like you thieves — always taking things that don’t belong to you”.) And The Mutant Chronicles, loosely inspired by TSR’s Gamma World, didn’t fare much better.
It’s more to do with the mismatching of appeals. At the risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious, movies are about vicariousness: observing and involving one’s self in a predetermined journey, engaging emotionally with characters, appreciating the twists, turns, rises and dips of a good story. This, I love. But I get something distinctly different out of the likes of Fallout 3, and Warcraft especially: the joy of making my own journey, even if via an avatar. Of making my own impact on a world. Of shaping my own hero, or heroine; I’ve been known to spend hours at the character-creation stage of a game, carefully honing and moulding an avatar until he or she meets my strict requirements.
World Of Warcraft adds a further level: don’t think of it so much as a game as a community. Every other player has the potential to boost (or impinge on) your experience, whether it’s a member of another faction griefing you during a quest, or a party member who takes you down an unforseeable RP avenue, weaving their own storyline within and around the broad game plots the developer Blizzard provides; then, of course, you are free to develop your own plots with those other players willing to respond to and run with them. There’s a joyous spontenaity and unpredictability in online gaming that no movie plot could ever replicate.
So while I’m not screaming blue murder at the idea of a Warcraft film, for these reasons I can’t really say I’m looking forward to it any more than I would watching someone else play a game when I should be playing it myself.
Although if that ‘someone else’ were Leeroy Jenkins…
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Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 15:24
I also feel this way, although if I have been impressed by anything in computer games outside of the games themselves then it has to be Blizzard's cut scenes.
From the begining of StarCraft Brood War watching two generals swig brandy and smoke cigars as the Terran marine await the oncoming zerg hordes or the foolish mortal who pulls the soul stone from the wizard who is trapped as an eternity to imprison Baal (Diable 2) to the encounter between Grom Hellscream and the demon in that canyon place(Warcraft 3). Blizzard above all others have produced fantastic cinematic shorts inbetween segements of the game. It is these that fill me with a little hope for the WoW movie, if it is only a little.
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 16:22
I'm a huge RPG fan, although I don't play MMO like WOW (number of reasons I wont go into) & the idea of making a film based on any is so ridiculous it's laughable. How will a two-three hour film incorporate a storyline as vast as an RPG!? Ok, so I don't play WOW, but I know enough about it to say a film would be pretty much impossible.
If they're that cut up about basing a film on an RPG, maybe they should start small with something like Jade Empire as oppose to a game that has so many storylines & aspects people get lost for months within it.
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 16:42
I'm a widow of these games (it's okay i get my own back) and can see the point being made here. I think the problem is that there's such a low expectancy for any game based film (let's be honest there hasn't been a good one really) that producers and writer's of any calibre are probably afraid to be associated with them and studio's aren't willing to give massive budgets for either shooting, talent, marketing or distribution.
This could all change if someone with talent rather than a low budget someone whose been making music videos (not that that isn't a good place to start for some) or promo's for JML (which is not a good place to start for anyone) is willing to get involved.
Another point I just considered is that comic book films used to be as naff as game based films and then Chris Nolan came along so there's hope for the genre yet
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 16:50
I'm one of those annoying people who play WoW, and yet don't know any of the mythology or back story behind it. If they do make a WoW movie, hopefully it will follow that because apparently it's a rather good story (although as you say, probably a little derivative, but then it's a fantasy story, there's few epic fantasy stories out there that aren't somewhat alike).
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 17:32
With the full intention of incurring the hatred of those who know of WoW and those who appreciate MMOs in the same way President-elect Obama appreciates that annoying Priest-with-a-camera at his Inauguration, WoW is a horrible game.
I say that as an RPG fan however, enjoying the increasingly cinematic experience of the current crop of games. I forsee, and I say this not as a tepid X-files fan, or some technology buff without the skills to function in a social environment, that the eventuality of a hybrid RPG-film is likely, and maybe only a decade or so down the line. Not as an adaption however, but rather a merge of technologies. The differences in how they tell a story, between the performed and the interactive, may eventually become inextricably combined.
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 17:39
You mean either MMO or MMORPG, right?
MORG is an acronym for a medium sized organisation.
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 17:46
I've played WoW for a long time all the way from beta in 2004 although i've been clean and sober ;) for a year now so i can proudly say i've recovered from my addiction.
Like mentioned before Cinematics in every Blizzard game are amazing,some of the best out there,and from what I heard Blizzard will be involved very closely in the making of the film which means the art direction will be preserved,also WoW is the best selling game around the world that made billions so expect the budget of the film to be in its gazilions as well.
I believe it's wrong to say it's ''mismatching of appeals'' as theres 9 or something million people playing the game around the world,and even more fans of the whole Warcraft Universe from previous instalments and i bet every single one of them will be in the cinema watchin the film so I think Blizzard and the Studio will have high hopes for the film if not artisticly then definetly financialy.
oh and btw ...as someone who read Warcraft books before (keep it our secret) I think it's not hard to incorporate an rpg into 2,3 hour film,i found books to be interesting as they follow just a few main characters just like LOTR (and it still did a good job at conveying the world)
Blizzard mentioned before that the film will be based on an absolutely new character so if they do this right it should appeal to everyone..who doesnt want another LOTR only with a few sexy gnomes ^^
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 18:35
But there is nothing "sexy" about the World of Worldcraft, or as is its common title among detractors, Disney Online; it's a cesspit of gawdy colour and standardized high-fantasy. Yes, like Eragon, Dungeons and Dragons and, just because Phillip Pullman was intended by a higher power to be utterly despised, His Dark Material(s (one is enough!)).
The problem with videogame adaptations in the first place is that the videogames themselves are rarely more than an amalgamation of other parts, outside of their gameplay. And, while that may be all very common in a post-modern world, the whole process of adaptating such a thing requires a complete relinquishing of the one unique aspect of the videogame: its interactivity. As said, it is going to take a few years yet until the technology is in place to experience a cinematic, role-playing adventure. And until the happens, Blizzard should keep their talons away from the silver screen and stick to the riotous concoction of been-there-already fantasy, Crayola-colour-rainbows and hideous internet advertising.
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 18:45
Dan, please don't tell me you are one of those players who's never seen the real WarCraft games before WoW? WarCraft 1, 2 and 3 had excellent storylines, each worthy of a good adventure film. Especially WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos's story about Prince Arthas was a beautifully cinematic experience, which would be a proper story for the WarCraft film. Hopefully Blizzard adds a little more manpower to the CGI department, so we can actually see the bloody movie somewhere in the coming 5 years,
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 19:19
Ah. Images of the Southpark spoof come directly to mind.
What I love about that show is the accuracy of its writer's social commentary.
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 21:25
Although it is fair to say that WarCraft is somewhat derivative, the same could be said of any other fantasy story. Even older, more "original" ones often have their roots in old myths and folktales.
That being said, only WarCraft has shape-shifting cows in it, therefore WarCraft wins (Boomkins FTW! *cough* sorry, got carried away there).
However, as much as I would love to see a good WoW movie I have very low expectations for this. It's one thing to pull off a stunning cinematic cut-scene or trailer, it's quite another to make it last for an entire film.
I'll still watch it, obviously, but if there's not at least one Tauren in it then I shall demand my money back!
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 21:45
There's a difference between derivative fantasy and fantasy types delivered in a similarly packaged way. Warcraft has always been of the latter. That isn't to say things cannot be done to establish the franchise as a veritable fantasy franchise in its own right, just that it is not likely. More could be said of the game mechanics and customer support than the fiction shrouded over it, and those two things do not make a good film.
Posted on Wednesday January 21, 2009, 04:02
I thought GoldenEye was a great film adaptation of a great game! But in all seriousness, as someone who doesn't play RPGs of any sort (I'm a Call Of Duty 4 addict at the minute) and that loves films all I can say is this...it will be shit and hopefully it will go the same way as the Halo movie, thus not having its reputation shat on by movie execs looking to cash in on a current craze. Consider the following:
Super Mario Bros. - Shit
Silent Hill - Shit
Doom - Shit
Tomb Raider - Shit
Resident Evil - Shit
Tomb Raider 2 - Can you guess what it is yet?
And then you have the upcoming Bioshock movie. That film WILL be awful and I'd bet my left testicle on it. And then you have Sony desperately trying to get a Metal Gear Solid movie made. Why bother? Just "play" one of the games, its the same bloody thing cos all you do is watch it! I am vehemently against game adaptations (in case you hadn't noticed) for one reason and one reason only:
They're all SHIT!
Posted on Wednesday January 21, 2009, 09:20
Guys you're forgetting the exception to the rule...
Posted on Wednesday January 21, 2009, 11:29
Blizzard can animate cutscenes well, yes. Nice appearance, can choreograph a fight well - but the content in terms of dialogue or story is invariably cheesy cliched tripe of the lowest quality. I cringed every time someone opened their mouth in one of those sequences, and at various other times too.
I believe that the only computer game that may be adapted into a film at some unknown point and succeed would be Half-Life. The developers (Valve) have already turned down scripts sent to them time and again - I assume for being shit. They're also a private company so they won't allow a pathetic cash-in and won't have it taken out of their hands by a publisher.
Finally, they do the best cutscenes I've ever seen made by a games developer. They don't just look great, they have good dialogue, believeable characters, humor, pacing and atmosphere.
Posted on Wednesday January 21, 2009, 13:52
I play RPGs but not so fanatically as some people here seem to. I would say that in general games don't make good films-they just dont. However, as has been said already has anyone really given it a proper go? I don't think so. I have never played WoW but what I understand is that the appeal of WoW is the massively multiplayer online part as there are numerous games which replicate the fantasy environment. So unless that part of the game can be replicated on film - I dont know how that would happen - then I think a WoW film would fail. What about fable? fable is a gmae based on your choices- each choice effects your story and your appearance etc. I think something interested could be made from having a fable film where the same character plays out the plot two or three times in different ways and its all cut together very well. You could see what character 1 does at the same point as character 2 etc and see how each decision effects the outcome of the plot for each character- does that make sense? anyways back to work
Posted on Thursday January 22, 2009, 08:49
WoW movie - Bollocks.
Bioshock movie - Crappy.
Metal Gear Solid Movie - Didn't they already make that?
There is only one game adaptation that CANNOT fail...
CRASH BANDICOOT - THE MOVIE!!! (Seriously, it's either awesomely entertaining or stupidly ironic. It's a win-win situation people!)
P.S. I play/played all the above and I'm resigned to the fact that you cannot adapt a game into a film. If they do the WoW one in full CGI then there may be a chance just cos it'd be a new avenue for fantasy films.
Now I'll get back to lvling my Warlock to 80 thank you very much. Those Abominations won't farm themselves!
Posted on Friday January 23, 2009, 09:22
At least Dan Jolin has chicken...
I've always been one for story - I may have started playing games before I started to REALLY watch films, but films have taken over. The obvious "Oh good God, I'm far too into this" franchise is the Metal Gear Solid series - brilliant story told brilliantly well. Oh, and the game's good. Other noteworthy examples are:
Max Payne - despite the Empire review, not a "mediocre game". The second one's even better.
Resident Evil - a bit silly, but entertaining nonetheless.
Syphon Filter - I still beleive that 24 owes these games.
Hitman - okay, the gameplay far outdoes the story.
Fahrenheit - botched ending, but mostly supoib.
Call of Duty 4 - the one good COD game has an awesome story involving the romps of the lovable SAS.
Ratchet and Clank - much funnier than most would think.
Posted on Saturday January 24, 2009, 16:42
The whole idea of a Metal Gear Movie saddens me. The game is cinematic, why make a movie? Plus it won't be Metal Gear without David Hayter's voice - a CG movie wouldnt work either because its too close to the games cut-scenes. I wish I had an imagine so I could write a bunch of films that would stop Movie studios raping other forms of media............