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Anne Stickney

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Breakfast Topic: What do you think of Durotan?

The latest edition of Lords of War was released yesterday, and I have to say it's my favorite so far. The voice acting was top notch, and the story was slightly less in-your-face with the violence and vengeance. Instead, it was almost touching, in a way -- with a haunting warning message that makes it absolutely, abundantly clear why Durotan and the Frostwolves aren't currently hanging out with the rest of the Iron Horde. It was also cool to see some younger orcs, and get a look at Geyah before she became the Greatmother we all know from Garadar.

This is, however, the first time we've seen a story that is pretty blatantly divergent from the lore we already know. In our history, Durotan's brother was never mentioned -- maybe he got himself killed at a young age, maybe he simply didn't exist, we don't really know. I think the only thing bothering me right now, and I should really just let it go for the sake of the story but it's becoming harder to do so, is how the heck did Maraad know any of this was going on? Why would he be talking about Durotan's virtues, when in our version of history, Durotan was the one who unveiled Telmor and allowed hundreds of draenei to be brutally murdered?

Obviously the story is from an alternate version of history, but the Maraad introductions are becoming increasingly implausible. But I'm doing my best to just ignore that aspect, because frankly the animated tales are some of the best stuff I've ever seen. With beautifully drawn stories like these, I think I can let one draenei's mysterious all-seeing knowledge of everything orc related slide. What did you guys think of the latest Lords of War? What do you think of the Frostwolf Clan -- and what do you think of Durotan?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Mists of Pandaria 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.

With the introduction of the Warlords of Draenor cinematic, short story Hellscream, and the Lords of War animated shorts, we can pretty much tack an official "The End" on Mists of Pandaria. All tie in material has been or is in the process of being released, and all new and upcoming content seems to be focusing on the expansion ahead. Although Warlords of Draenor won't launch until November, we can pretty much consider Mists of Pandaria over and done with, story-wise.

Which means it's time to do one of my favorite things to do -- head back and review the expansion in its entirety. It's not really fair to review a book based solely on one chapter, after all. Mists of Pandaria might have seemed like a fairly simple concept from the announcement of the expansion, but it actually played out into a reasonably complex story over the course of four content patches. So how does the story of Mists hold up against its predecessors?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

EU Connected Realm Updates for September 4

Although we have yet to hear of any more updates for US Realm Connections, the list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been recently updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. For more information on Realm Connections, take a look at Blizzard's official blog post about the service and its features.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, September 10.

German Realms
  • Anub'arak and Nazjatar/Dalvengyr/Frostmourne/Zuluhed

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Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

The Queue: Orc pattern baldness

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.

Apparently Thrall has also been under an undue amount of stress lately. Either that or he just forgot to put in his extensions before heading to Draenor.

jabrone77 asked:

QfortheQ: Are the Lords of War series about our respective orcs or alt Draenor? The comments in yesterdays post about Grom seem to overwhelming point to that being OUR Groms story, but I thought the series was about alt Draenors orcs. Which is it, and if it was ours, why no baby Garrosh?

It has been stated that the histories shown in Lords of War are applicable to the alternate timeline versions of the orc warlords -- the orcs we'll be seeing in Warlords of Draenor. Theoretically. This makes my brain hurt, but I think in this case, we should probably just let it slide and focus more on the history being shown, less on Maraad's knowledge of the subject and where he obtained that knowledge. Because timeline-hiccup-induced migraines are horrible.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What do you want to know?

Playing the beta and witnessing an expansion in progress has been a pretty interesting experience -- each expansion is always a little different in terms of how much is complete when the beta is opened, and how many changes we see over the course of the beta. I have to say, however, that I think Warlords currently holds the record for the most flat-out changes I've seen in beta content. That's not a bad thing at all -- it just means that close attention is being paid to feedback from beta testers, and the devs are quietly working away at tweaking and polishing content in response to that feedback.

The latest Developer Q&A addressed several questions players had regarding the upcoming expansion -- I was pleased that my question regarding professions made it to the list of those asked. And they certainly did their best to answer that question and clarify the purpose of professions in Warlords, which I appreciated as well. But I can't help feeling, even as someone who is currently playing on the beta, that I am still missing the big picture when it comes to professions. We haven't really seen any developer blogs on the topic, and I'm still wondering how being able to access multiple professions outside your own is going to impact server economies and general trading of goods on the auction house. Maybe that's just something I'm going to have to wait and witness once the expansion goes live.

What about you guys? What kinds of Warlords questions do you have? What have you been wanting to hear more about? What features are you really interested in seeing once the game has been released? Is there anything about the new expansion that you're still unclear about? What kind of Warlords information would you like to know?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: Pointless Top 10: Trees in World of Warcraft

It seems we missed a couple of Wowcrendor's Pointless Top 10 lists along the way somewhere, and I really like these lists. So today we're going to take a look at trees, because trees in WoW are pretty cool, and Crendor's put together a pretty comprehensive list that I mostly agree with. I know these lists probably seem silly to some people, but I like them -- they're nice little reminders of those cool little things I like about WoW, but usually forget about in the hustle and bustle of doing quests, raids, and other content-related stuff.

I really like the lists like this one, however, because it's not just a reminder that maybe it's sometimes a cool idea to check out the world around you while you play. It's kind of a tip of the hat of sorts to the environmental artists that took the time to put these things together. And this particular list is a really cool visual reminder just how much the environment and the level of detail in things like trees has changed since the early days of vanilla. Foliage has definitely come a long way.

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: WoW Moviewatch

New Warcraft wallpaper, costume, dessert, art and comic updates

Blizzard has put together another gigantic round of updates to many of the fan content galleries on the official site this week. Included with this update is a new wallpaper featuring Grommash Hellscream, a Pandaria-themed cake, another round of Mists of Pandaria concept art, and a new Warcraft fan comic. In addition to all of that, there's another group of images for the costume gallery, including the familiar face shown above. Cosplayer Lyz Brickley made the amazing recreation of everyone's favorite critter enthusiast Mylune for BlizzCon 2011, and we interviewed her about the process shortly after.

I think the costume section updates win out as my favorites for this round -- in addition to Mylune, there are several other really well done costumes featured, including an amazing Garona and even someone who chose to cosplay as a Training Dummy, of all things. This is also the first update we've seen to the dessert gallery in quite some time -- I'm hoping that means there are more updates on the way for that particular section as well. Check out Blizzard's official post for links to all of the new additions.

Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

The Queue: What a Drag

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.

Do you guys remember when the Drag in Orgrimmar used to be dark? I mean, there was a distinct delineation between the rest of bright and sun-baked Orgrimmar and the Drag. It was dark in there, and it didn't matter what time of day it happened to be. I miss that a lot -- it broke up what was otherwise a fairly monotonous red and orange color palette. I kind of wish it would come back again.

ElPrede asked:

Q4tQ: what is the one villain you would have rather seen as an ally? Either faction or neutral, doesn't matter

Fandral Staghelm. I think he still ranks highest on my list of "characters with fascinating back stories that could have been developed into so much more but I guess they needed to fill a raid boss quota." The guy had a ton of potential, particularly as a foil/counter-view for Tyrande, something that she just doesn't get with Malfurion at all.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: How do you feel about Grommash Hellscream?

The second part of Lords of War was released yesterday, this time featuring a brief glimpse into the history of Garrosh's dear old dad Grommash. I really love these animated shorts -- I love the art style, I love the not-quite-full-on animation, the artistic choices, it's just gorgeous to watch. But more importantly, I was really looking forward to seeing Grommash's history explained just a little more, particularly in the years before Garrosh came to Draenor.

And while I appreciated the glimpse we did get into Grom's story, there were parts that we didn't see that I was sort of hoping would be addressed. One of the big question marks in Rise of the Horde surrounded Grom Hellscream's rise to chieftain of the Warsong. He didn't claim the spot via bloodline, and there were dark rumors surrounding the former chieftain's death before Grom took over. I realize this is an alternate universe kind of situation, but I was still hoping we might see something about it. I'm almost willing to overlook that solely based on the ogre shown in the film, because that ogre was an amazing, beautifully rendered and thoroughly chilling reminder that the ogres we're seeing on Draenor are nothing like the ogres on Azeroth. This is the ogre empire before it hit the bottom of its slow decline.

But even though the ogre is cool, I'm still on the fence about Grommash Hellscream. Part of me says oh yes, he is most definitely a villain. But part of me looks at that orc from the trailer, the one screaming that he and his kind would never be slaves, and can't help but kind of like the guy despite his raw brutality. What do you guys think? Is Grom a villain worth contending with? Do you like him? Do you hate him? Do you think his story was well told in Lords of War, or do you wish there had been more information in the short?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The dawn of the Horde

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.

The Horde as a factional entity has without question seen the most push in terms of story development -- but that's not necessarily something that could be considered an advantage when it comes to World of Warcraft. Sure, story is all well and good, and the advancement of plot is something that's always fun to see. But in the case of the Horde, that plot and story has had some of the most tumultuous conflicts we've seen, including full out inter-factional warfare in Mists of Pandaria.

And now we stand at the cusp of new expansion, one that is turning away from the factional conflicts of Azeroth, and instead setting its sights on the distant world of Draenor and the evil schemes of the Iron Horde. Again, the advancement of story is all well and good, here. And given what happened in Mists of Pandaria, perhaps it's for the best that we depart the stormy shores of Durotar and turn our focus elsewhere ... because right now, the Horde is at its weakest. What is the future of the Horde? That's a pretty good question -- one that likely began to plague Warchief Vol'jin the moment we stepped out of Siege.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore