WoW: Gul’Dan Stars In First Legion Animated Short


World Of Warcraft’s Legion expansion [official site] is nearly upon us and as part of the build-up Blizzard have released Harbingers: The Story Of Gul’dan. It’s an animated short offering up a bit of info on the early life of the fel-loving orc warlock:

If you are at work and cannot watch then I, Pip, will paraphrase it for you:

Gul’dan was just a small-town orc, livin’ in a lonely world. He took a… mid-afternoon exile from his people due to being constantly shunned and mocked for physical disability? Going aaaaannnnnnyyyyyyyywhere.

He then ends up in a brawl with some vultures before some kind of Warcraft equivalent of a force ghost reminds him to seek out the throne of the elephants elements. At this point Gul’Dan gets kind of Mean Girl-ed by the elements and turns to the fel/evil.

At that point he returns to his small town and goes for that whole thing where you attend your school reunion to demonstrate how much of a success you are to the people who didn’t believe in you. By sort of ripping their faces off with fel magic and destroying their homes and families and everything else they hold dear in a green explosion of death.

So now you know.

It also occurs to me that I am not entirely sure what the Legion expansion is actually about given the only thing I remember from the Blizzcon video was something about a boat. As such, I have also researched that:

The Tomb of Sargeras has been reopened, and the demons of the Burning Legion pour into our world. Their full, terrifying might is fixed on summoning the Dark Titan to Azeroth—and they’ve already located the key to his return.

With the Alliance and Horde devastated, only you can take up Warcraft’s most legendary artifacts, scour the ancient Broken Isles for relics of the Titans, and challenge the Legion before Azeroth’s last hope dies.

Honestly? It feels like the Burning Legion is like horsetail in my garden. You think you’ve got rid of it but then more shoots appear and you realise exactly how deep the root system goes and that you will probably spend the rest of your life engaged in a war of attrition with a plant.

Anyway, the gist of all of this is that you are still dealing with Sargeras and you need to get hold of a bunch of artifacts which I think you can hone over time that will keep him or the Legion or both at bay.

Okay. The research reading I am doing has moved on to alternate timelines and, frankly, I haven’t had enough coffee for that.


  1. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    Ah Pip. You do make me chuckle. I love reading what you publish, it’s so much fun. Once again your writing reminds us all who the big talent at RPS is. And it’s Alec.

    Kidding, of course! It’s Graham.

  2. Jekadu says:

    The alternate timeline stuff makes little sense and most of the implications — that there are now two versions of some characters, that people from the new timeline may or may not be aware of their status as such — are left unresolved. It’s like super hero comics: just try to roll with each new, weird twist and be thankful you get to see Batman fight Doctor Doom or something.

    • Bull0 says:

      Yup. Mrs Bull0 is excited about Legion and asked me to explain the timeline since she admits she often skips reading quests. It all falls apart when you try to make sense of Warlords of Draenor.

  3. Person of Interest says:

    I thought the short was pretty good! Or at least, it didn’t make me cringe like the Overwatch shorts do. Granted, I don’t know much about Warcraft lore: only WoW’s in-game story, and none of the befuddling mess on the Gul’dan Wikia page.

    Is there a name for this particular animation style, where a few static character drawings are animated using transitions? I guess they picked it to save on production costs versus full-scale animation, but it’s put to good use here.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It’s called an animatic. They’re basically animated storyboards that people use to get a better impression of how things look in motion before starting to actually shoot/animate the action. You can also treat them as an interesting medium in itself, of course. Like the next step after those slightly animated comics that Valve used to do.

    • mechanixis says:

      The writing does seem a little more solid than the Overwatch shorts. I think part of it is that Blizzard always writes bland heroes that constantly spout vague, trite cliches about honor and destiny, and this short was about a villain reacting to that by saying “Nah, that’s stupid” and then killing everybody. It was kind of cathartic.

      • mrbright01 says:

        I like this, mostly because it actually turns Gul’dan from a generic “for the evulz” villain to a more tragic figure, a damaged orc turned bad by a life of suffering and rejection. It’s the first time I gave a damn about him and his part in the game.

        • Meatpopsicle says:

          That’s just as trite and cliche as ‘for the evilz’. “People made fun of me and rejected me, so now I’m going to kill them all.” It’s a cheap plot point to make people feel sorry for him.

  4. Scrofa says:

    My sympathy is with Gul’Dan after this video. Those orcs and elements are gigantic jerks and well deserved to burn in green fire.

  5. SomeDuder says:

    At this point, does anyone even care about the lore?

    I mean, it was in a sad state to begin with, when the Draenei were rewritten to be good guys from SPAAAAAACE, but it really started to come undone after Wrath of the Lich King. The game should have “ended” after Icecrown citadel – they are never going to get another great villain like Arthas, especially since we’ve gotten to know the character through Warcraft 3’s single player campaign. I gave a shit about Prince GoodGuy, watching him sink ever deeper into the influence of the sword. Why revive Deathwing? And asian demonic spirits? And I don’t even have a shit to give about Guldan, Sargeras and whatever else has a deep, growling voice.

    Besides, the Burning Legion stuff is always played as this end of the world card, but everytime they do something, it turns out to be something stupid and insipid. Turns the story into boy who cries wolf, basically.