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Fans Beautifully Remaster One Of World of Warcraft's Greatest Moments

Left: Blizzard Original Right: Fan Remake
Left: Blizzard Original Right: Fan Remake
Screenshot: Blizzard/Pivitol

It’s been a decade since World of Warcraft players stormed Icecrown Citadel to take down the Lich King Arthas Menethil once and for all. Blizzard’s ending cinematic to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion is a powerful piece, but it’s showing its age. Nothing new models, textures, lighting effects, and some very dedicated fans couldn’t solve.

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Blizzard did the best it could with the tools it had back in 2009, but the primitive character models with their unmoving hair and fixed expressions could only capture so much of the emotional passing of Arthas and the passing of the crown to the new Lich King. World of Warcraft 3D animator Pivotal and animator MasterVertex, with some fluid simulation help from 3D artist Dedrich and project management by Kayes, rebuilt, remodeled, retextured, and just plain revitalized the original cutscene.

Here is still from the original cinematic.

Illustration for article titled Fans Beautifully Remaster One Of iWorld of Warcraft/is Greatest Moments
Screenshot: Blizzard
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And here is that same shot from the fan remaster.

Illustration for article titled Fans Beautifully Remaster One Of iWorld of Warcraft/is Greatest Moments
Screenshot: Pivitol

The lighting is so much more dramatic. The expression is more human. It is so damn good. The passion of Pivotal and friends really shines through, as evidenced by the YouTube description for the remaster.

Wrath of the Lich King was the first expansion we fully experienced and the last chance to connect to our roots from the original Warcraft 3 game. This is where we met most of our friends, felt the thrill of raiding and competitive PVP and followed the story of Arthas to its bitter end. It has now been over a decade and as our time in wow slowly comes to an end, this remains our fondest memory. We feel there is no better way to remember and appreciate half a life spent in WoW, than with the cinematic that ended our favorite expansion.

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Well done.

Update: 2/25/2020, 4:55 p.m. ET: This article was amended to include mention of writer and project manager Kayes.

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Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

Man, this only re-emphasizes how crazy dumb the plot progression is that leads to Shadowlands.

  • The Lich King is powerful and required unified armies of warring nations to defeat” then became “Eh, goth-elf lady could bring him down herself.”
  • “The power of the Lich King needed to be contained in a living vessel. Destroying the source of the power would lead to irreparable consequences, sending the scourge to mindlessly destroy everything” then became “Oh, neat, the helmet was easily destroyed by elf-lady, and all that happens is it opened a door to a new magical world. No doom. No irreparable consequences. Just a door that doesn’t matter.”
  • “Who the fuck is Bolvar?” then became, “But seriously, who the fuck is Bolvar and why did we ever need him in the first place?”

I won’t put it past the bad writing at Blizzard to use this badly written plot point to lead to more badly written plot points, such as bringing back Arthas/Garrosh/any number of a laundry list of villains so that they can twirl their mustaches once again.