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Anne Stickney

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Know Your Lore: 2014 Lore in review

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

I like to do year end reviews of lore we've seen in the past year, but this year's review is going to be a little odd. A little different. This is largely because we didn't actually see a lot of lore introduced until November of this year, when Warlords of Draenor was finally released. Patch 5.4, the last content patch for Mists of Pandaria, was released in 2013. So we had the majority of a year with little to speak of in terms of lore and story development, and then a massive avalanche of new lore and story delivered just last month.

That makes reviewing kind of difficult. But at the same time, we do have plenty to talk about, particularly since we're dealing with a brand new expansion and a brand new world -- a world full of new mechanics, storytelling and characters that are just as vibrant and vivid as anything we've seen in Pandaria. So what did 2014 offer for the Warcraft lore fan, exactly -- and where did it falter?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Moviewatch: Rent-An-Orc

I didn't really think I needed an orc in my life, but I may have just changed my mind thanks to today's machinima offering. Rent-An-Orc is a pretty short little film, and I think this may be the first piece I've seen from Youtuber wthMerhaba. It's a simple premise -- Ragnar the Bloodthirsty has come under some financial strain, and is now offering his services via informative infomercial to assist would-be customers with their lives in a variety of colorful and suitably orcish ways.

Sounds simple enough, and the film itself is pretty simple too, but the subject material is funny, the voiceovers work really well, and the added bonus to the offer had me in stitches. Sometimes things don't have to be incredibly fancy to be perfect -- a good joke and a good delivery will get you everywhere. If you like what you see, check out wthMerhaba's Youtube channel for more. Here's hoping we'll see a lot more from him in the future.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: You shall not pass

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

Today's Queue has absolutely nothing to do with Gandalf, I swear.

Whiteout asked:

Question for the Eminent Queue: Have you discovered anything odd in World of Warcraft, not a bug or error produced by lag, but something intentionally placed in the world, whether it be in Outland, Azeroth, or Draenor?

Once upon a time back in vanilla WoW, there used to be places you could get to through ... creative use of game mechanics. I may or may not have been pretty good at getting into said places due to my overwhelming affection for punching the space bar and making my character jump every where I went. Back then, Hyjal wasn't a zone. It wasn't even an instance, it was a completely blocked off section of the map.

There was very little in it save canyons, paths, a few houses, and a layout that looked kind of similar to what we got with the Hyjal zone in Cataclysm. That big crater that Goldrinn's shrine is in? It was there back then. There were also a few instance portals that looked like they could go to a raid or a dungeon at some point in the future. And if you happened to follow the trail all the way to the top, you were treated to an amazing view of Archimonde's skeleton impaled upon the World Tree. And at the very, very end of that trail were the construction signs shown above, marked "Blizzard Construction Company." It was weird.

Maybe not quite as weird as the crypts beneath Karazhan, but it was pretty weird.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Do you watch the cutscenes?

I finally got around to heading to the Highmaul LFR the other night. The fights were fun, if ridiculously easy, but more importantly there were cutscenes. I'm a sucker for cutscenes and cinematics. I love the ones that appeared in the leveling zones, and the ones in the dungeons are pretty cool too. I think they're a fun way to keep the story moving while you're in a dungeon, a useful tool for introducing a little lore. However, I've noticed that not everyone feels the same way -- some people have little to no patience in dungeons and raids, and just want to keep moving.

This was actually a problem back when my guild was raiding in Cataclysm, particularly during the Spine of Deathwing encounter. My raid leader at the time didn't want anyone watching the cutscene, as brief as it was, because he wanted people on the dragon's back killing things the second they became killable. This meant that new recruits we brought in never really got to see those cutscenes, they were always told to press escape and skip them. If they didn't, then we had a problem.

So I'm wondering, just out of idle curiosity, how many of you watch the cutscenes in a dungeon or a raid? Do you watch it once and then skip it from then on, or do you find yourself continually charmed by the idea of your group pulling off a really cool train heist in the middle of Gorgrond? Are you okay with other people in your group watching cutscenes, even if you skipped them yourself? Do you think the dungeon and raid cutscenes are too short, too long, or just right? Is there somewhere else you'd like to see them?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Recruit garrison kitty Goldmane as a follower

He may not be the best-dressed or most literate garrison follower you'll ever have, but Goldmane has one thing going for him, and it's right in his name. Goldmane the Skinner is a level 100 follower with the Skinning trait, allowing him to work at your garrison Barn and increase work order production. Available to both Alliance and Horde, Goldmane is pretty easy to pick up -- he just requires a short trip out to the southern coast of Nagrand.

Head to Ironfist Harbor on the southwest shores of Nagrand and you'll come across a base for the Iron Horde that also includes a bonus mission, if you feel up to the challenge of killing a lot of orcs. If not, look around for the tallest tower in the base -- your objective is at the top. Fight your way up the tower, and you'll see two things of note: One very angry kitty locked away in a cage, and an orc by the name of Bolkar the Cruel, who is gloating over his latest captive.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: Starcraft Evacuation

Okay, obviously this isn't Warcraft -- heck, I'm not even sure we can classify it as machinima. But this is the second place winner from the 2014 BlizzCon movie contest, so I thought you guys might like to see it. Starcraft: Evacuation is a short film by Youtuber Peter Stroll about a small Terran mining settlement that is under attack -- the story is relatively straightforward.

What's pretty cool about this particular movie is that sure, there's live action, but there's also some visual effects included that are surprisingly well done for an amateur effort. My only lament is that the film cuts off just when I wanted to see what was going to happen next. Maybe we'll see a sequel in time for the next BlizzCon? Let's hope so.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

Grimoire of the Four Winds offers BoA Pandaria flying for alts

There may not be any flying on Draenor, but if you have alts that you haven't boosted to 90 and still need to take through Pandaria, you might be wondering how they can learn flying early. Bind-on-account flying manuals have been in place since Wrath of the Lich King, and although it appeared at first that there were no manuals present for Mists of Pandaria -- or at least the flight vendor out at each faction's respective shrines didn't seem to be selling anything along those lines. However, there is in fact a Grimoire of the Four Winds available -- it just requires a little hike and a possible bidding war to acquire.

The Grimoire of the Four Winds is only sold at the Black Market Auction House, which has been relocated from its old home in the Veiled Stair to the Ring of Blood in Nagrand. The approach to the Ring of Blood, located at roughly 53,14 if you have coordinates available in your game, is crawling with level 100 mobs. However, once you get to the Ring of Blood itself, all guards are neutral. Madame Goya is in a small building at the back of the Ring, and offers much the same items as usual -- raiding gear, transmog gear, and of course, the Grimoire of the Four Winds. While bidding starts at 1,000 gold, be aware that this is of course an auction house, and you might find yourself outbid.

Reports on Wowhead suggest that either the tooltip or the manual itself is bugged for the moment -- players that have successfully bought the tome and tried to use it receive a message that the item cannot be used until level 90. It's likely we'll see this hotfixed or addressed in the future -- after all, if you're level 90, you're going to be on Draenor and not really caring about flight at all anyway! But if you've been looking for the Grimoire, just head to Nagrand and see if you can pick one up.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Hotfix tweets from December 12

The latest round of hotfixes didn't roll out on the official hotfix blog, but resident Blizzard CM Rygarius made a series of tweets on Twitter that outlined the hotfixes with a note that since there is no update to the hotfix blog, he wanted to get the information out before the weekend. On the list are some PvP adjustments, as well as a fix to the transmog armor acquired from the Dwarven Bunker or War Mill.

Read on for more tweets from Rygarius.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Disturbing orc face

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I think maybe I'm just never going to ask an orc to smile for the camera ever, ever again.

maalin asked:

Q4tQ: I got started late and am struggling to get my ilvl up before MC goes away. Why does MC not even show up in my lfg/lfr list? Others show up as disabled and the tool tip tells me what ilvl I need to queue.

Molten Core won't actually show up on your list of raids until you're at an ilvl of 615.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What would you like to see in your garrison?

It's a really simple painting. It first popped up in Wrath of the Lich King, in various buildings scattered around Northrend, depicting a tuskarr after a wildly successful fishing expedition. What always amused me about the image was the whale, though -- it was simply sliced down the middle like some sort of grotesque birthday cake. I called it the whale meat picture because well ... really, that's the only way you can describe it, isn't it? I don't know why, but I've always loved this particular painting -- and I really, really wish I could have it in my garrison.

WoW has all kinds of weird art like this, just the little random pieces hanging on the walls of various inns, shops and homes. Wouldn't it be kind of cool if we could collect that stuff and put it on display somewhere in our garrisons? Swap out existing art for pieces we like? It'd be a little taste of the user customization that is unfortunately lacking right now. Sure, we can choose what buildings to place in our garrison and where to put them, but there is absolutely no way to reflect any kind of personal style or choices. You see someone with a Barn, you know they have it because they're after Savage Blood -- it's there for a functional purpose, rather than personal aesthetic.

Thing is, there are plenty of these types of items around Azeroth. It's not just the paintings, there are lamps, rugs, furniture pieces, accessories ... you know, random stuff. Warlords actually has a really good collection of random stuff going, particularly in the Alliance garrision. The inn has a host of little touches that indicate somebody was just there hanging out a few minutes ago. The only thing that's missing is that you can't place that stuff yourself. But I'm curious -- I'd really love to see the whale meat painting in my garrison. What, out of all of the random items and tidbits scattered around Azeroth and beyond, would you like to see in yours?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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