Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions 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!
Aydinn of Cenarion Circle wrote in to ask...
My question is (which may seem obvious to some), who is the goblin statue at Booty Bay? Why does he deserve a statue?
Answer: Thanks for writing in! Good to hear from people from my home server. That statue on Janeiro Isle might be of Baron Revilgaz, the overseer and top dog of Booty Bay. He deserves a statue because... he wanted a statue, and he's freaking Baron Revilgaz. He runs the show. Really, though, it's kind of a generic Goblinoid figure so it could be nobody at all.
At one time, it was a statue of a Human Priest. It's a nod to a really cool landmark here in the real world. It's based on Christ the Redeemer, a statue found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You may recognize it from an episode of Lupin III. Eh? No? ...oh. Oh well. It's a pretty awesome sight to see in real life regardless of whether you put faith in what it represents or not. The in-game model was likely changed from a Human to a Goblin to back away from the religious overtones while keeping the reference, and Goblins fit the area better anyway.
Llowe's question comes in two parts...
My main is Forsaken, and I play on an RP server. My character is morally ambiguous leaning towards "good"; she is aware of the Royal Apothecary Society's plague but does not support the notion of targeting it en masse at anything but the Scourge, which she loathes. She is an ardent supporter of the Argent Dawn and greatly admires Leonid Barthalomew the Revered. (The question's coming up, I swear!)
There is little current lore support for "good" Forsaken. It is clear, however, that not all free-willed undead casualties of the Scourge of Lordaeron actively support the goals of Sylvanas and the RAS. Is there any reason to believe that there could currently be, or some day may form or come to light, a faction of undead who actually...
- Wish to deal honestly and openly with other races, and perhaps even seek reconciliation with living races outside those of the Horde?
- Would embrace or, at least, tolerate an endeavor towards finding a "cure" or something of that sort (like what the Earthen Ring / Thrall & Co. were supposedly duped into thinking they wanted)?
- Are not consumed with single-minded hate and wickedness (and other symptoms of malnourished plotting and one-dimensional cultural characterization on Blizzard's part)?
In short: Yes, I would say it's possible, but a widespread acceptance of being 'good' is unlikely anytime soon. Leonid Barthalomew is a good example of it being possible. The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow is a good example of it not being widespread.
Question: It is a disappointing (to me) but inescapably canon fact that the Light seems to have abandoned the Forsaken in their undeath. Disheartening for any "good" undead, indeed. Forsaken priests follow, rather, the Shadow. Fine, but I think it would be great if there could be a way for Forsaken to wield the Light once more... Though I doubt that will happen, can you conceive of some other way that undead individuals might be able to become Light-wielding Priests or Paladins? Or could undead Paladins be possible some other way?
Answer: Again, this is going to be largely my personal opinion rather than canon lore. The old RPG books say that no, the Forsaken absolutely cannot wield the Light as it would destroy them. However, revelations (and game mechanics to a lesser extent) in WoW make this a little less... extreme and absolute. I would say that the way has been paved for it to be possible in the future. Remember, the Blood Elves claim that the Light had forsaken them, but they're buddy-buddy with A'dal now.
The 'Holy' in Warcraft tends to be a mindset type of thing nowadays, though the Naaru definitely are a presence. If you have the devotion and dedication, and you're the right type of person, you can return to the Light. The Forsaken falling to the Scourge obviously severed any previous ties to the Light, whether that be for physiological or psychological reasons, and if they want to regain it they need to not be huge ass jerks trying to murder puppies. I could see Barthalomew as the first Forsaken Paladin. Heck, he's looking for a 'cure' for Undeath. Maybe after WoW, some of the Forsaken will return to the living. Who knows? Nothing is absolute in Warcraft, really. All we know is that right now, we've been told it's not possible for the Forsaken. One day, it may be.
That sounds like a good RP hook to me. A Forsaken trying to find a way to regain their connection to the Light? I'm sure it's been done more than once on every RP server out there, but that doesn't make it any less fun. I say roll with it, and see what happens. Be creative!
If the Blood Knights no longer have the Naaru in the basement to feed off of, what's supplying their powers now? Are they considered "true" Paladins?
Answer: The Blood Knights (at least the ones that consider Lady Liadrin their Matron) have joined A'dal and his forces. Additionally, when Kil'jaeden is defeated in the Sunwell Plateau, Prophet Velen uses the remains of M'uru to reignite the Sunwell, but as a source of Light. We'll see if the Blood Elves remember that gesture of kindness in Wrath, eh?
Tauren and Centaur have been at war for some time. With all the content relating to Orcs and Humans at the centre of WoW and the side stories of the elves, dwarves, forsaken and trolls, do you think that the Tauren story will ever be told in more detail in WoW? Is there any likelihood of a Tauren storyline in Northrend (frozen cows?)?
Answer: I'm sure you've heard since you originally asked this question, but the chances of this happening are very good! In fact, it is a 100% chance. Taunka are cousins of the Tauren. While Tauren are like cows and bulls, Taunka are more like buffalo or bison. While they're an independent race nowadays they share ancestry with the Tauren, so it's very very likely we'll learn more of Tauren origins and perhaps their relation to the Titans. You know, if they have one.
If Night Elves (especially druids) are so hating of arcane magics, why do they use arcane spells such as moonfire/starfire?
Answer: Moonfire and Starfire, technically, do not come from the same source as things like Arcane Missiles. Their source is literally the moon, Elune for the Night Elves. The Tauren don't particularly worship Elune, but she's very heavily tied to Druidism and the Tauren do have a name for her: Mu'sha. If it weren't for game mechanics, it would probably do 'moon damage' or something like that, but it would be really silly for them to implement another school of magic for two spells and would add unnecessary work for the devs and the players.
Why are there satyrs in Maraudon (Lord Vyletongue, etc)? From my understanding, Maraudon has nothing to do with demons or the Burning Legion... it's all corrupt elementals and centaurs.
Answer: Good, old fashioned Burning Legion jackassery is afoot. Much of Desolace is overrun by demons thanks to the Burning Blade, and only the Horde and Alliance presence there is slowing it down at all. Despite Desolace's desolateness, Maraudon is still a seat of power for the element of Earth on Azeroth- the ugly chickadee at the end is the daughter of an Elemental Lord. So regardless of whatever freaky interspecies relationships are going down there, it's a very verdant and alive region. The Burning Legion hates things that are verdant, so it's corruption time!. Also, maybe they think an earth elemental and a horse-thing making love is gross. Because hey, it is.
In Warcraft 3, there was a separate type of murloc used in the swampland tile sets that was different from the murlocs in the "Azeroth" tile sets. I think they were called Mur'gul, but I'm not sure. Do you know of any real differences between these two appearance-wise, lore-wise, or other?
Answer: The Mur'gul are sort of an offshoot of the Murloc race. According to the RPG books, the Mur'gul were once Murlocs, and were twisted by demonic influence. So it's a little bit like the Night Elves becoming Satyrs, Blood Elves becoming Felbloods, et cetera.
The Mur'gul are described as exceptionally cruel and sadistic, enjoying to torture and play with their prety before they kill and eat it. They hunt in swarms, but will easily turn on eachother if they're hungry enough. They have thicker hides and more pronounced claws/spines than Murlocs, and they're definitely more aggressive and feral.
Marc wrote in to ask...
Was the Eastern Kingdom always called the Eastern Kingdom? After all, if they didn't know about Kalimdor, how did they know they were the Eastern Kingdom?
Answer: This one is going to be a bit shaky, because the lore tries to justify the gameplay changes made in Warcraft over the years. Kalimdor didn't exist in the beginning. However, I'll give it a shot!
When the name Azeroth (derived from 'Azotha' which is the name of the early humans) was first used, it was used to reference the collection of human kingdoms in the world. The name Azeroth was eventually used to refer to the entire known world, not just Human land. At the time, the entire known world was only really the Eastern continent. The Trolls and High Elves knew otherwise, but they weren't very social people at the time. After all the many wars went down, Humans and their allies were the dominant races, and the winners write the history books. Azeroth stuck as its name.
Once Kalimdor came around, the term stayed in use to refer to the entire world. The eastern continent became the Eastern Kingdoms, and the western continent retained its ancient name of Kalimdor. Amusingly, if the civil ancient races hadn't kept to themselves, the world might still be named Kalimdor instead of Azeroth.
That's about all that we have time for this week, and I apologize if I haven't gotten to your question yet! I have a lot of questions and I try to get everyone unless your question is a repeat, or needs a more thorough answer like our special on faith and religion. I will get everyone sooner or later though, so don't worry! If you still have a question and don't mind the wait, feel free to ask in the comments section below or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org!