Just as in the movie industry, MMO studios are hit or miss with their trailers. There have been so many generic, forgettable videos that I pad the lining of my imaginary dog's crate with them. They're very absorbent and release the fresh scent of pine. But once in a while, there comes along a trailer that acts like the Dark Crystal, sucking my soul right into it before shaking it around and then releasing it. Trailers like that give me goosebumps, and here are 10 of them, all in a row.
1. Guild Wars 2: MMO Manifesto
This trailer prompted the creation of this list. The other day, I was talking with a friend about Guild Wars 2, and the conversation drifted to the Manifesto video. "That never fails to give me goosebumps," my friend said, and I agreed.
The use of Jeremy Soule's music, the neat transitions, and the bold statements by the devs meshed together to make a video that fans of Guild Wars 2 could really get behind. It's not just a promotional video; it's a speech given before battle. It's ArenaNet throwing down the gauntlet and telling the rest of the industry that it's coming for them, all-out.
I love it.
2. Warhammer Online: Cinematic Trailer 2
How do you sell potential players on the notion that your game will have the best MMO PvP in the world? It's simple: You dole out a huge chunk of money to have a mind-blowing Warhammer battle put to the screen. In a little under five minutes, this trailer gives us non-stop action in the form of a giant siege of Altdorf. Many of the game's classes get a moment to shine, demonstrating their personalities and unique abilities.
And did I mention the Squig? That's still one of my favorite classes of all-time, and this video sold me on playing one in WAR.
3. The Secret World: Everything is True
This was a tough, tough choice for me. I can't say enough good things about The Secret World's launch trailer, especially how it goes against the grain of most pulse-pounding MMO promotions to give us a haunting, fascinating glimpse into the game. But when it comes to the sheer number of times I've rewatched a trailer, Funcom's Everything is True takes the cake.
It's a strange trailer that's mostly a series a odd statements, each of which references a conspiracy, myth, legend, or unknown story arc. Together, they paint a picture of an ambitious game where "everything is true," and that totally got me excited to play it.
4. Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived
Say what you will about SWTOR, but the game's pre-launch marketing was infectious and effective. On top of a mountain of dev diaries, class videos, and cinematics was one absolutely incredible trailer: Deceived.
When it hit in 2009, fandom for the game shot through the roof. This wasn't just a good game trailer; it was an excellent Star Wars short film, period. Even though other SWTOR cinematics came after, none topped the impact or acclaim that this one did.
5. Star Trek Online: Free-to-play launch trailer
Even though it's "just" a F2P launch trailer and uses all in-game footage, Cryptic cobbled together an inspiring piece of theater that's worthy of the Star Trek name. The music is great, the clips show many of the neater aspects of STO, and it caps off with a salute to the Borg. What more could you ask for?
6. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade: Cinematic trailer
"YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!"
Were there ever words spoken that sent more chills coursing through your body? I mean, Blizzard does great trailers, but there was something special and epic about this one. Perhaps it was because The Burning Crusade was the first expansion to this game we'd come to love, or perhaps it was the final reveal of Illidan, grouch of the Outlands.
Nah -- it was the mage sheeping that guy. Totally.
7. PlanetSide 2: No Excuses
While I'm not a great candidate to be a future PlanetSide 2 player, SOE's No Excuses trailer for the game impressed me nonetheless. It follows the path of one uber-marine as he goes on a nonstop killing spree across a planet. Even though it borders on laughable at times, the over-the-top action is fun eye-candy, and I have to admit that I felt my eyes mist up toward the end.
Allergies, you know.
8. WildStar: Cinematic trailer
It's tough getting your foot in the door of the MMO industry these days. You need to come out of the gate strong, selling players on just how your game is different and which pillars it embraces and whether or not there will be "jiggle physics." So if you're making your first trailer, the very first thing the world is going to see, it's got to rock. Hard.
WildStar's initial trailer takes a decidedly different tack than the rest of the crowd. It places an emphasis on color, humor, cartoonish figures, personality, and a fantastical sci-fi angle. Then it goes ahead and tops it with excellent action almost as an afterthought.
9. DC Universe Online: Cinematic trailer
Blur Studios is the company behind many of these great cinematic trailers, and as much as I didn't want to over-list Blur's projects, I couldn't resist putting DCUO's stellar six-minute cinematic on this list.
In a dark potential future, we see a no-holds-barred throwdown between DC's major superheroes and villains in the remnants of a city. The good guys look weathered and ticked off, the bad guys just as nutty as ever (especially the Joker), and the stage for the game is set. Although it doesn't have as much Batman as I'd like, I have to say that this is one of the best superhero battles put to the screen in any format.
10. Global Agenda: No Elves
A future when all Elves are either extinct or hunted down like the vermin they are? Goosebump city.
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.