Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans
- For the novel, see Lord of the Clans.
|Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans|
|Third (current) logo version|
Blizzard Entertainment and Animation Magic
Mac OS, Microsoft Windows
- 1 Development and cancellation
- 2 Story
- 3 Characters
- 4 Locations
- 5 Press releases
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Videos
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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 canceled before completion on May 22, 1998.
Development and cancellation
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.
- Main article: Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans storyline
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 the orcling 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, the humans, being merciful in their ways, instead of hunting down and eradicating these orcs, granted them land areas where they could live as long as they lived within the confines of societal expectations. Basically, they were put on these reservations or camps. And because they were made to live in a way that was very contrary to their basic nature, a lot of the spirit and fire that defines them as a culture was drained out of them. And so what you found yourself with was an orc society in Azeroth of forced passivity, not forced through violence but forced through situation.
Although down on their luck, the orcs in Warcraft Adventures were supposed to experience a rebirth, thanks to the leadership of Thrall.
Our storyline followed an orc baby that was taken from a battle scene where his parents were slain and raised by a human lieutenant, Blackmoore, with the intention of raising him with human ideals but being able to use him to control the orcs. Definitely someone who does not fit into the general stereotype of noble humans. He was a self-serving, dark human character who wanted to raise this orc, Thrall, our central character in the game, and use him to control and command the orcs and then raise them as his own private army. Thrall, though he's raised in captivity by humans to serve their will, still has some fire within him that he can't deny, so he rebels against his human owners. He escapes the compound where he's being held, and then over the course of the game, what we do is follow his adventures. As he discovers more about himself and the orcs and what it means to be an orc, so does the player. As you go through the game, you meet some familiar faces from the games, some in retirement, some trying to lead an underground resistance, and you learn of what happened to the Frost Wolf Clan, which was the clan that Thrall's father Durotan was a part of. You learn that Durotan, Blackhand and Doomhammer were three blood brothers, and that his clan Frost Wolf was sent into the Dwarf Highlands in the mountains. They were exiled there by a plotting Ner'zhul, when he was pulling the strings in the background behind Doom Hammer and Black Hand, because he knew that Durotan was a threat.
So you find your heritage and then take up the banner of the Frost Wolves to regroup the orcs and lead them in a rebellion against Blackmoore and these humans that are, at least in your mind, enslaving your people. The payoff in the end is that you're able to storm the castle, lead your horde to victory, and reclaim that birthright of the orcs. That was our overarching storyline in a nutshell. And of course, there were tons of other weird characters you meet along the way and interact with." - Bill Roper
Differences and similarities to canon
- Warcraft Adventures original creations
- Thrall, Durotan, Drek'Thar, Aedelas Blackmoore, the Frostwolf clan and Durnholde Keep were canonized by the Lord of the Clans novel.
- Durotan was depicted as having been assassinated by Rend and Maim instead of by anonymous orc agents.
- Thrall's mother appeared in the intro cinematic but she wasn't Draka yet, as Christie Golden came up with the name for the novel.
- Blackmoore was described as hailing from the traitorous kingdom of Alterac instead of actually being the son of a traitorous Lordaeron general.
- The Frostwolf clan was sent north prior to the First War to await orders that were never intended to arrive instead of being straight-up and officially exiled by Gul'dan. Instead of being assassinated along the way, he was ambushed while returning to warn Doomhammer of Gul'dan after Blackhand became warchief.
- The lethargy of the orcs was later explained to be because of a demonic blood-curse rather than because of a black ale abuse.
- Wendigo were canonized by Reign of Chaos.
- Nazgrel and Gazlowe were canonized by the The Frozen Throne orc campaign. Drek'Thar also appeared there after being absent from the base game.
- Mechanical chickens, samophlanges and Singe were canonized by World of Warcraft.
- The goblins versus gnomes rivalry was later expanded upon in several media.
- A blue dragon was to appear for the first time ever, before Day of the Dragon created the dragonflights as we know them.
- References to now non-canon lore
- Taretha Foxton didn't exist and thus did not help Thrall escape Durnholde. Thrall escapes on his own after he is sentenced to be executed.
- Thrall had to learn some of the dark magics of the death knights in order to become shaman, referring to the older background about the ancestral religion of the orcs being necromantic instead of elemental.
- Durotan, Doomhammer, and Blackhand were a trio of close friends. This was later changed to only Durotan and Doomhammer being best friends, and their relationship with Blackhand being more professional.
- Alexstrasza and Deathwing were depicted as much closer to the way dragons were shown in Warcraft II than in later works. Notably, in the game Alexstrasza and her red dragonflight joined back the Horde and Deathwing was killed by Thrall. More generally, dragons didn't vary much in size yet.
- Deathwing was also the rebellious son of Alexstraza instead of being part of another dragonflight.
- While acknowledging that some internment camps were already described as reserves in the Beyond the Dark Portal manual, Warcraft Adventures retconned them having been in Azeroth to place them in the continent of Lordaeron instead.
- As indicated by the last battle for the Dark Portal, Kilrogg Deadeye and Kargath Bladefist were alive and there instead of being respectively dead and stuck in Outland.
- The saddle of Anduin Lothar was found in Zul'jin's shop, the great knight having been mauled by blood-lusted ogres.
- Grim Batol looked very similar to a typical Warcraft II base.
- The lands around the Ork Reservation were Badlands-red, a reference to the similar Wasteland tileset being used for the stretch of lands between Stromgarde and Khaz Modan in Warcraft II.
- Wildhammer female dwarves were shown as having beards, similarly to how they were later described in the Day of the Dragon novel.
- Blackmoore made a deal with Rend and Maim where he would give them monthly payments of 5,000 gold and permission to raid lands between Dun Modr and Stratholme without Alliance retaliation, and in return the brothers kept the orcs too divided to remobilize the Horde by crushing renegades and distributing the black ale and also provided 100 orc slaves monthly.
- Thrall avenged the death of his parents by banishing Rend and Maim to hell for eternity.
- Blackmoore is killed by Grom Hellscream while attempting to stab Thrall from behind after he spared his life. In the Lord of the Clans novel, Thrall kills Blackmoore himself.
- References to still canon lore
- Mugg'roth the ogre mage was depicting as casting runes and eyes of Kilrogg, spells directly lifted from the previous game. In addition, Mugg'roth could also power his fist with electricity, a reference to the fighting animations of the unit.
- A bulletin board in Durnholde Keep showed signs referring to the destruction of Alterac and the disappearance of Khadgar, Alleria Windrunner, Danath Trollbane, Turalyon and Kurdran Wildhammer, the leaders of the Alliance Expedition.
- Gul'dan and the Shadow Council controlled Warchief Blackhand as a pawn through manipulation.
- A group of gnomish inventors could be met.
- A dead orc of the Twilight's Hammer clan could briefly be seen.
- The Lightning's Blade clan was mentioned after its first appearance in the Beyond the Dark Portal manual, and the Laughing Skull clan was mentioned for the last time before The Burning Crusade.
- One of the skulls of Dentarg was shown.
- Human footmen and crossbowmen appearing.
- Alliance High Command was mentioned as still being operational.
- Lieutenant Blackmoore
- Orgrim Doomhammer
- Rend and Maim
- Grom Hellscream
- Kargath Bladefist
- Kilrogg Deadeye
- Other minor characters
In the outskirts of Durnholde the following elements could be found:
- The crashed zeppelin of Gazlowe.
- The hut of Orgrim Doomhammer.
- The workshop of a group of gnomish inventors.
Inside the reservation the following elements could be found:
- A group of lethargic Shattered Hand drunkards led by Clawhand.
- The shop of curiosities of former warlord Zul'jin.
- The hideout of Grom Hellscream, the entrance of which was guarded by Mugg'roth and containing a Warsong trophy room.
In the valley the following elements could be found:
- Frostwolf Town and its surroundings.
- A sealed cave containing the Axe of Durotan.
- Wolves, owls, squirrels, foxes, vultures, snow beasts and wendigo.
In the surrounding area the following elements could be found:
- A forge as well as an harnesses and shields workshop inside the aviary.
- A gryphon roost.
- A nearby cannon tower.
In the surrounding area the following elements could be found:
- An Altar of Storms, which was used as a meeting points for the scattered clans of the Horde.
- A temple of the damned, inside of which a death knight slept. Thrall had to learn some of his dark magics.
- A foul swamp populated by phosphorescent eels, vultures and tentacle beasts.
Blackrock Spire and the surrounding area made an appearance as being the lair of Deathwing. The dragon lived in the upper spire, and the great gates of the fortress were blocked by thorny vines, which Thrall destroyed with the Death and Decay spell. Cows were kept nearby in order to feed the black dragon by his troll servants.
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:
- More than 60 stunning locations within seven Azeroth regions.
- Intense gameplay filled with puzzles and extensive character interaction.
- Over 70 animated characters, including many of the familiar faces from the Warcraft series.
- More than 40,000 frames of feature-film caliber animation created by a team of over 50 artists.
- Hollywood voice talents of Clancy Brown (Highlander, Starship Troopers, and The Shawshank Redemption), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime from the animated TV series Transformers) and Tony Jay (Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame).
- A classical soundtrack of Warcraft music.
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
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
Press Desk: Blizzard Cancels Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans
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 to 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.
- Unlike most adventure games where the main interaction options are binary (look at something or interact with it), Warcraft Adventures had three options - look at something, physically interact with it, and verbally interact with it. While verbally interacting with characters most often engaged a dialogue with them, trying to verbally interact with an object often resulted in humorous situations, like Thrall saying he didn't want to eat it.
- In addition, the icon to physically interact with things was a severed orcish hand, like the cursor was when playing as the orcs in Warcraft II.
- Gazlowe's zeppelin was used to travel between the main areas of the game, and sometimes Thrall had an humorous animation while trying to climb the rope ladder of the airship, such as losing his trousers or entangling himself with the ladder.
- Animation Magic, the company to which the game was out-sourced to, had a 100% owned subsidiary located in St. Petersburg, Russia. The company also developed the infamous Legend of Zelda CD-i games, which are notorious for their poor spritework. Eighteen years after its cancellation, in 2016, a Russian user that was presumably close to the original dev team leaked a near-complete version of Warcraft Adventures on the Internet. Several complete playthroughs of the game can now be found on Youtube.
- Despite voicing many orcs in the previous games, Bill Roper did not do any voice roles. Blizzard was using all union actors for the game, and because Roper wasn't in the union, he would have needed a special contract. However, Blizzard had planned to re-use some of his recordings from previous games.