If you know anything about the Warcraft universe aside from its name and that millions of people like to play the associated games, there's a good chance you know who Thrall is. For those out of the know, he's a big, green orc with a heart of gold who goes on to become one of the most important leaders of the Horde. On the off chance that you saw the recent Warcraft movie, he's also the neon baby Moses figure some other orcs put in a basket in a river.
Thing is, most of his known backstory was originally crafted for an adventure game called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans that no one ever saw aside from leaked snippets and video playthroughs because Blizzard Entertainment cancelled the highly anticipated project way back in 1998. But that's no longer the case. As of yesterday, the full game is available via a 564 MB download from the Scrolls of Lore forums.
For now, anyway. Blizzard's lawyers are probably drafting cease-and-desist letters at this very moment, citing the DMCA and protection of intellectual property and all that good stuff. But the download itself works well, even if some mouth animations don't match up with the script and a few music files seem missing. Just extract the .rar file, hit the executable, and off it goes.
Image: Gameplay from a previous leak, which lacked cutscenes and other elements.
As is the norm for Blizzard, it mixes often silly humor with weighty themes. Playing it, I can't help but think this would have been a perfect time for a legitimate release as a mobile point-and-click game, especially now that interest in Warcraft is so high again in the wake of the successful release of World of Warcraft's new Legion expansion. It'd suit the medium well.
A Russian poster going by the name of "Reidor" supplied the download, which is well in keeping with the pattern of previous leaks also coming from Russia. It's possible the connection springs from Animation Magic, the American company Blizzard used for the project's extensive cartoon-style animation, which had a Russian subsidiary in St. Petersburg.
"This is my gift for all Blizzard fans, old and new," Reidor says in the post, while also risking the loss of any goodwill from Blizzard by asking for donations via PayPal.
Of course, Warcraft fans already know Thrall's backstory well. When Lord of the Clans didn't pan out as an adventure game in the '90s, Blizzard hired Star Trek novelist Christie Golden to write a canonical book called Warcraft: Lord of the Clans based on Blizzard's outlines. Thrall went on to video game stardom with the release of the real-time strategy game Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos in 2002, and some key events from Lord of the Clans were translated into a time-traveling five-man dungeon for World of Warcraft's Burning Crusade expansion.
But this is the first time his tale as originally envisioned has been available to the public. Enjoy it before it's gone.
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