Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, WoW Insider's newest weekly feature column. Have a question about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe? Click the Comments link below, ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!
Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of Ask a Lore Nerd's first installment, we are now a weekly feature! I hope you enjoy it, because it's here to stay. This week we're fielding a large number of questions from a few contributors. A number of you have taken full advantage of this opportunity and posted an avalanche of questions. Good! That's what I like to see! Let's jump right into it, shall we?
Matt said: Not a lore question, but lore speculation. Blizzard hinted at a major event would cause the uneasy-peace of Horde and Alliance become not on uneasy. What could cause tensions to rise? Also in the real world alliances crumble, and are reformed. What races of the Horde and Alliance do you see possibly switching sides?
Answer: From what I understand, Garrosh Hellscream will be following in his father's footsteps and the good ol' Orcish bloodlust will color his actions in Northrend. Additionally, I'd be willing to bet the Alliance is mighty nervous about the Forsaken's new plagues, considering they had been thoroughly tested on Alliance citizens in the past. The Lich King may also play a substantial role in the rising tensions, playing the two factions off of one another. As far as switching sides, I don't see it happening. If anything, factions would splinter further but not switch sides. The Forsaken and Blood Elves might go off on their own. The Night Elves might go off on their own. Pretty unlikely in both cases.
Johnnyd2 asked quite a few questions last week, so let's go down the list.
Q: Are Flamewakers (the naga things in MC) Dark Iron Dwarves transformed? Like Night Elves into Naga?
A: No, Flamewakers are a species mostly unrelated to the Naga, despite their similarities. They're denizens of the Elemental Plane. Their only relation to Dark Iron Dwarves is they're both found in/around Blackrock Mountain.
It's possible that Neptulon used the Flamewakers as the template for the design of the Naga, when he saved the Highborne from their watery grave. There are also massive skeletons in southern Desolace that match the Naga. Whatever creatures those once were may have been the mold from which the Naga were cast. That's purely speculation though, it may just be a coincidence, or a serpentine motif simply made sense for all of them from a design point of view.
Q: Are Highborne and High Elves the same?
A: Yes and no. They are related, but the terms don't mean the same thing. The Highborne were the highest members of Night Elven society back before the Sundering. They were Queen Azshara's favorite servants, and her most loyal. They mostly lived in decadence, above the trials and tribulations that the rest of society had to deal with.
During and after the Sundering, many of the Highborne were killed. Some of them outright died in the War of the Ancients, others sank to the bottom of the ocean when the Well of Eternity blew up and split the world in half, taking the capital of Zin-Azshari with it. There were a large number of Highborne that betrayed Queen Azshara and fled Zin-Azshari before that, however. These Highborne tried to become a part of Night Elven society again, but their misuse of the arcane led them to be exiled.
There are splinter groups of Highborne here and there, but most of those Highborne traveled east and found themselves in the Eastern Kingdoms. They were the ones who built Quel'Thalas, and their descendants became known as the High Elves.
Q: Why aren't there any female Ogres?
A: They would be hideous and unappealing to pretty much everyone. They exist in the lore, but not in-game so far. Really, do you want to have to grind these all day? (Warning: Link may be NSFW, depending on how picky your boss is.)
Q: Why haven't we seen any female Broken, but female Eredar and Draenei?
A: "Hideous and unappealing" would be my guess here, but it may also have just been a development issue. The Broken don't use a unique set of animations, they borrow from Male Tauren, so leaving out Female Broken could have just been a time and development issue. Still, hideous and unappealing is at the top of my list.
They do exist as far as the story goes, we just don't see them in WoW.
Q: Why does Warlord Naj'entus say, "You shall die in the name of Lady Vashj" when you KILLED her for attunement?
A: Vengeance is my guess, but nothing tells us for sure. It's possible he doesn't know Vashj is dead, too. He probably knows, but the Pony Express might not travel between the Black Temple and Serpentshrine.
Q: What's the deal with Reliquary of Souls?
A: Long answer: Read last week's installment of Ask a Lore Nerd. Short Answer: We don't know. All we can do is speculate.
Q: Who is considered higher ranked by Illidan, The Crimson Sigil or the Illidari Council?
A: Whlie I don't have a reference, I would say that the Illidari Council holds a higher rank. The Crimson Sigil is described as Illidan's most trusted, but they are basically soldiers. The Illidari Council is probably what could be considered the ruling class or nobility amongst the Blood Elves loyal to Illidan after Kael'thas jumped ship to the Burning Legion. The Crimson Sigil is the Sword and the Shield, while the Illidari Council is the money and the brains.
Again, I don't have a reference to back that up, but that's my take on the situation.
Q: What was the deal with the captured Naga that started the SSC attunement quest? He was working for Neptulon, AFAIK? Was there a larger force at play beyond Vashj and the Cenarion druids?
A: Neptulon is believed to be the one who 'rescued' the Highborne from a watery death by transforming them into Naga. Skar'this the Heretic is the name of this Naga, and we can draw a few conclusions from his dialogue.
- Neptulon is revered as, or sees himself as, the god of the Naga. It's possible that Lady Vashj and her followers have rejected Neptulon in her time with Illidan. Neptulon is pissed, and Skar'this is his voice. OR...
- Skar'this is a regular ol' Naga that has cracked under the pressure of serving a demon like Illidan, enslaving hundreds (thousands?) of the locals, and working on something as big as the draining project in Zangarmarsh. He snapped, went nuts, and Vashj's lackies locked him up.
My guess? My guess is it has something to do with your next question.
Q: In SSC, who is Hydross? What is he actually doing, and why is he seemingly held captive?
A: There is nothing that explicitly states why Hydross is in SSC, but there are some conclusions we can draw from earlier quests. In the Coilskar Cistern of Shadowmoon Valley, you discover that the Naga are wrangling the Water Spirits of the region and 'befouling' them. Tainting the water systems, pissing off the water spirits, and creating general havoc when it comes to water.
In SSC, we see something similar with Hydross the Unstable. Hydross is essentially shackled in place. Should he move from his prison, the corruption the Naga have laced him with takes over. It has reached a point where Hydross isn't even able to hold a solid form. Each time the poison takes hold, pieces of him just... fall off.
This quote from Lady Vashj sums it up pretty well:
"Water is life. It has become a rare commodity here in Outland. A commodity that we alone shall control. We are the Highborne, and the time has come at last for us to retake our rightful place in the world!"
The Naga are not only corrupting and ruining Neptulon's domain, they seek to take it from him. The Highborne have always been arrogant, and that continues even today in their lives as Naga. They will not be servants to Neptulon. They want to control what isn't theirs to control, and Neptulon is pissed.
EDIT: Hydross is male, but I have a tendency to call him a her because his voice sounds incredibly feminine to me. Sorry about that! I fixed it to make it more clear.
Q: Similarly, Morogrim Tidewalker. Just a random minion of Vashj, brought from the Maelstrom? Or is there anything to him?
A: As far as we know, Morogrim is just a random minion of Vashj and/or Azshara. He mentions the 'Great currents of Ageon' but I don't think we know what that is. Maybe we'll learn more when the Maelstrom opens up in some future expansion, if they open up the Maelstrom.
Q: Are phoenixes like A'lar actual naturally occurring creatures/elementals or some kind of magical construction by Kael?
A: Pheonixes, like the Flamewakers mentioned up above, are creatures of the Elemental Plane. They are birds of prey, and they can be considered elementals. The ability to summon pheonixes from the Elemental Plane is supposedly an ability developed by Kael'thas Sunstrider himself. They're actual 'living' creatures, not constructs.
Q: Karazhan is admittedly full of rather random beasts (Medivh liked to collect oddities, I guess), but is there anything specific on Maiden of Virtue and Illhoof?
A: The Maiden of Virtue strongly resembles the other constructs left behind by the Titans. I don't think we know how the Maiden of Virtue got to Karazhan, but the fact that she's located near all of Medivh's strumpets combined with having the name Maiden of Virtue strongly suggests that she finds that whole region filthy and wants to get rid of it. Medivh is kind of a strange fellow, so it might have been him that brought her to Karazhan to begin with.
Alternatively, she's sick and tired of being virtuous all the time and wants some booty. Her quotes imply otherwise, however.
We can draw some much stronger conclusions about Terestian Illhoof. He's a satyr, which is a demon, so it's incredibly likely that he's a member of the Burning Legion. The fact that you need to fight through members of the Shadow Council to reach him makes this even more likely, as the Shadow Council serves the Legion.
Prince Malchezaar rules Karazhan in Medivh's absence, so Illhoof is probably just one of his lieutenants or lackies. Beneath Karazhan lies a whole nexus of ley lines (think underground rivers of magic) and its libraries contain all sorts of information, so this is prime real estate for the Burning Legion. Illhoof is just a servant of Malchezaar, and Malchezaar serves Sargeras (or Kil'jaeden).
And that's all for today, folks! Ask a Lore Nerd will return next Sunday afternoon, answering more questions from you, the readers! Remember, don't be afraid to ask us your questions, no matter how large or small. Simply post it in the Comments field below, and you'll be added to the queue. I'll do my very best to get to each and every one of you as time and space allow.