The Making of the Guide goes over some of the basic techniques I used for chronicling the events of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. It showcases various tips and tricks I learned throughout the production of the World of Warcraft Cinematic Quest Guide, with the most advanced techniques being used in the final regions of Northrend.
Taking a screenshot is as simple as Alt + Z to hide the interface and clicking Print Screen to capture whatever is on screen.
Vikstone’s story began in December 2008 and ended in July 2009 around the time he attained the Loremaster of Northrend achievement (leading up to the final story arc at Icecrown Citadel). It took roughly 22,000 screenshots to create the content of this guide. The final cut involved about 10,500 screenshots. Not every single storyline quest was captured but the most integral scenes of Wrath of the Lich King’s story have been represented. The many different players in the Terokkar server who helped Vikstone in the elite boss quests were spontaneous and a necessary part of the cinematic walkthrough for Vikstone to progress.
I wanted to record it just the way I experienced it in its raw form.
Note: One of the most powerful tricks I used (especially from Grizzly Hills and beyond) was the effect of in-game alcohol beverages. It causes the screen to become more “shiny”. The drawback of too many drinks is excessive blurriness and terrible hand-eye coordination. But with a fine balance (approx. two drinks), the effect produces a cinematic flair to every image until the character sobers up.
For Dramatic Effect
Retaliation + Bladestorm + Whirlwind
Activating any of the Warrior’s shouts following the defeat of hostile NPCs produces a dramatic effect.
Clicking ‘Z’ draws or sheathes the weapon/shield. Taken here at mid-animation, it appears to mock the Lich King after having defeated his minion in a boss fight.
Timing is Everything
Clicking ‘Print Screen’ at the precise time can capture good shots, such as this NPC’s death at the hands of a Death Knight Gnome. These particular monsters had prolonged death animations, making it easier to pull off.
In a rare moment, I was able to take this scene of myself dodging a lightning bolt from an enemy Dwarf while in the process of shooting him.
Random unintentionally hilarious NPCs.
Certain abilities had DoT effects (damage over time) and can trigger burst of blood animations. This adds “movement” to scenes.
A quest from Sholazar Basin in which you attempt to shoot an apple off a Gnome’s head. This is what happens if you miss. Clearly exaggerated by Blizzard for comedic effect.
The Warrior’s shield deflection caught in action.
A Jormungar’s head exploding after tossing an explosive into its throat.
The Warrior’s “Heroic Throw” ability.
The “Heroic Throw” while the character is toggled on auto-run using the “Num Lock” key.
Themes of Northrend
Wrath of the Lich King was meant to be a darker addition to World of Warcraft, containing more violence and mature themes than the previous expansions.
Playing the Warrior class allowed me to capture these scenes in a manner fitting to the expansion – up close and personal.
This is what happens when the Rend ability is used on a fast-moving platform.
During one of the Arthas flashback quests, you assume his character during the betrayal of his own soldiers. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King, these events weren’t deeply explored. To me, they were the most disturbing parts of the story.
On a lighter note.
Vikstone reaches level 80.
Why the Camera Angle Matters
For dramatic effect.
A tricky shot taken by swiveling the camera angle to the front of the Netherdrake while it is moving downwards through an underground location. ‘Num Lock’ is also toggled on to maintain movement. In this case it is not auto-run. It is auto-flight.
Vikstone’s epic Viridian Netherdrake mount was won in The Burning Crusade expansion. He was the primary aerial mount during the cinematic walkthrough. While mounted, zooming into 1st person camera view allowed unprecedented aerial views in three dimensions. It was literally a mounted camera that also moved super fast.
An aerial shot taken above an exploding Frost Wyrm.
This is what it looked like from a ground perspective, seen earlier in this section.
An area of Northrend that is an intersection of three different zones.
The “Netherdrake cam” also guarantees some measure of safety from elite level monsters such as this one.
Some scenes simply cannot be captured without the aerial perspective, such as this engagement from The Storm Peaks.
“Thrusting Hodir’s Spear”, which I did not have enough reputation to do myself, was captured entirely from the Netherdrake 1st person view. Bonvitch is filmed tackling the quest, which exemplifies the many advantages of the aerial cam.
These shots were taken hundreds of feet in the air while flying alongside the action.