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Anne Stickney

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Know Your Lore: Warlords, timelines, and the Bronze Dragonflight

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.

Many of the questions that have had players mystified since Warlords of Draenor was introduced last year at BlizzCon surrounded Draenor itself. How did it appear? Why is it different? Why don't the events that occur on Draenor have any kind of bearing on what's going on with Azeroth? If Draenor is an alternate Draenor, is there an alternate Azeroth as well? Does this mean there are duplicate lore characters? Will we see two Thralls, two Velens, two versions of Garrosh? And as the year has slowly marched on, that question has been answered in bits and pieces, but never with enough clarity to really set people's minds at ease.

When the Warlords of Draenor beta was released, it became immediately clear to anyone that knew the history of Warcraft that this Draenor, the one on which we are going to be building garrisons, amassing armies, and defeating the Iron Horde, is not and never was the Draenor we were already familiar with. It's an entirely different planet. We've been using the term "alternate universe" in reference to Draenor because seems the best term to encompass the concept of this strange world. With the release of the short story Hellscream, it has finally been made clear just what is going on with Draenor -- and it has nothing to do with Garrosh's trip, and everything to do with the Bronze Dragonflight.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor as well as the short story Hellscream.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Warcraft wallpaper, costume, art, fan art and comic updates

It's been a while since we've seen any updates to the various galleries Blizzard has featured on the World of Warcraft site. Blizzard has just updated its costume and fan art galleries with a handful of new photos from various artists. The costumes are pretty clever, but my personal favorites have to be a really clever training dummy costume, and a checkered box that should be very familiar to anyone who has played on any of the beta servers over the years.

In addition to the costume and fan art galleries, there is a new community comic available in the comic gallery, as well as a new wallpaper featuring the Jade Forest rare, Martar the Not-So-Smart. And if that weren't enough, several new images of Mists of Pandaria concept art have also been added to the Blizzard art gallery. I do love the early hozen concept art, but I hope we get to see more of the concept art from Warlords, too. Check out Blizzard's official post for links to all of the new additions.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

Warlords of Draenor: Recruit Alexi or Weldon Barov for your garrison

Ah, the Barov family. If you've been playing WoW for any length of time, you're likely well acquainted with the brothers Barov. The last two heirs to the Barov family fortune, Alexi and Weldon Barov used to send players both Alliance and Horde to the opposite faction's camps in order to murder each other. Once the head of the offending brother was returned, players were rewarded with the Barov Peasant Caller, a trinket that summoned Barov servants. In Cataclysm, the Barov brothers seemed to have come to an accord, each no longer intent on the murder of the other, and instead focused on assaulting Scholomance.

But in Mists, both Weldon and Alexi disappeared without a trace. The Barov Peasant Caller was no longer able to be obtained, Scholomance was revamped, and the brothers Barov vanished. Some players idly wondered if this meant the end of the Barov line -- we can officially say no, it did not. Why? Because it looks like Weldon and Alexi decided to team up and band together to enter the lumber industry, and you can find them both on Draenor. In fact, you can recruit either Weldon for the Alliance, or Alexi for the Horde, as a follower for your garrison.

And that Peasant Caller? It's back, and it's gotten a substantial upgrade along the way.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: A little out of place

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.

Keeshan looks like he has absolutely no idea how he's gotten where he's at. Since he's in my Horde garrison, I feel a little bad about it -- if there's one place he probably doesn't want to be, it's in a tavern with a bunch of orcs. But since he's offering a relatively fashionable -- if kind of gruesome -- Bloody Bandana as a quest reward, I'm not going to complain about it.

BlazeNor asked:

Q4tQ: Think we will ever get birthdays for our characters (date of creation) by Blizzard?

I had actually never considered that as a possibility for anything until you mentioned it just now. But that's actually a really neat idea, and now I'm kind of hoping we'll see something like that some day. Maybe have Lorewalker Cho send your character a little something, some nice dream brew or something like that on their "birthday", since he's already tracking everyone's stories and history anyway? Heck, I'd love to see that. Doesn't have to be anything complicated reward-wise, just a nice letter with a little acknowledgement of the day -- it'd be a cool little touch!

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What does your character think about you?

Unless you're playing on a roleplaying server, chances are you don't really think of the character you play as a person. You haven't made up some kind of back story for their life, you don't really think about how they feel about queuing for yet another battleground or jumping into the Siege of Orgrimmar for more gear, or just running around killing stuff for other people. It's just not something that really occurs to most people -- your character is just a little collection of pixels.

And that little collection of pixels has come under close scrutiny lately with all the new model revamps. Players have been watching like hawks to make sure their beloved characters still have the same faces they've always known and loved, and that new expressions and emotions don't look weird. We're all being incredibly judgmental, but for some of us, we've been playing these characters so long that even if we aren't roleplayers, they still feel like old friends.

What if we flipped that around, and just for a moment, looked through everything with our character's eyes? What would they think of us, the people that constantly stick them in these situations where it's either fight or die? The people that happily hurl them off of cliffs without any regard for fall damage, or encourage them to go poke something large and dangerous looking just because it's large and dangerous looking? What, hypothetically, would your character have to say about you? After all, they've known you for exactly as long as you've known them.


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: New voice files datamined

Adriacraft over on Youtube has been hard at work downloading a variety of different voice files from the latest beta build. Included in the mix are what seems to be most of the tracks for the Tanaan Jungle starting experience, as well as a few different vignettes and scenarios, some of which haven't been seen on the beta as of yet. Several of the orc warlords have been dug up, as well as a full ten minutes worth of vocal tracks from Yrel.

Needless to say, every single last one of these files are full of spoilers for story lines and events in Warlords of Draenor. If you are deliberately avoiding spoilers, listening to any of these would be a very, very bad idea. And if you do choose to listen to them, keep in mind that these are beta files, and therefore may or may not actually be found in game once the expansion is released.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Highmaul Coliseum offers free-for-all PvP

Warlords of Draenor certainly seems to be mixing it up on the PvP front, offering a lot of new options for players that enjoy PvP. Oddly enough, one of the coolest opportunities for PvP I've seen so far comes not in a battleground or even on the fairly addictive isle of Ashran, but from your garrison. While leveling through Gorgrond, players can choose to make one of two outposts, that will unlock the plans for one of two medium buildings -- the Lumber Mill, or the Gladiator's Sanctum. If you choose the Gladiator's Sanctum, you get a few nice perks for Gorgrond -- and you also get to build the Sanctum itself.

Level 3 of the Gladiator's Sanctum unlocks the Highmaul Coliseum, shown in the video above. A solo scenario, the Coliseum places you in a pit with other players. Once the event starts, it's a free-for-all brawl, and the last person standing wins the spoils. What kind of spoils? PvP gear, of course! To unlock the level 3 blueprint for the Gladiator's Sanctum, players must first complete The Bone Collector, an achievement that requires players to collect 4,000 Broken Bones from PvP combat in Draenor -- any kill that awards honor also awards 3-6 bones. Once you've built the level 3 Sanctum, you gain access to Highmaul Coliseum, as well as a buff that reduces all damage in outdoor Draenor zones by 50% if you fall below 35% health.

Take a look at the video for more of the Coliseum in action -- I particularly like how dead players are teleported up into the stands to watch the rest of the brawl play out, spectator style.


Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

EU Connected Realm Updates for August 22

The list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. At the present time, there are no additional updates for US realms -- all US realm connections have been completed as of last Thursday, and there are no further US connections scheduled at the moment. EU realms, however, still have plenty of realms left on the connection schedule.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, August 27.

German Realms
  • Proudmoore and Madmortem
  • Frostmourne and Nazjatar/Dalvengyr
  • Gorgonnash and Nefarian/Nera'thor/Mannoroth/Destromath
  • Der Mithrilorden and Der Rat von Dalaran
  • Kult der Verdammten and Die Arguswacht/Die Todeskrallen/Das Syndikat/Der Abyssische Rat

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Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

The Queue: Night elf dudes

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.

Night elf males look surprisingly not disturbing or lumpy or weird at all, now. I'm just as impressed with them as I was with the human male models -- both were vast, vast improvements.

Fizzl asked:

So, The Legion can access Outland because it's exposed to the Twisting Nether, right? As opposed to Azeroth which is just... in space or something? So then how would Mannoroth, Kil'jaeden, etc. get to Draenor if it hasn't been exposed to the Twisting Nether yet? And more importantly, if they can just come and go between Outland as they please, why wouldn't Kil'jaeden have just appeared on Outland and taken the Dark Portal to Azeroth? Does he need more power to come to Azeroth no matter what sort of portal he's taking? Or is it just an oversight?

How the Legion accesses worlds has nothing to do with being exposed to the Twisting Nether, really. In Rise of the Horde, Mannoroth arrived on Draenor via what Gul'dan described as swirling clouds and the sky breaking open -- implying a portal of some sort. He wasn't summoned by any rituals, it's just sort of assumed that the Legion sent him there via portal, possibly because the world was already fairly contaminated and corrupted with fel magic at that point. In the War of the Ancients, the demons were allowed entrance through a portal powered by the Well of Eternity.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Have you considered a race change?

With the latest beta build, all of the scheduled new models are currently playable on the beta servers. Although some races are obviously in need of tweaks, by and large they all look pretty solid. But I have to say, it's a little weird going into the character selection screen now and seeing all the old familiar faces and models exchanged with gorgeous updated versions that are on par with the pandaren from Mists. Moving hair, emotive expressions, and in the case of female trolls, even eyelids and blinking -- it all blew me away.

And after looking at all the new models, the urge to switch it up and play a different race is admittedly tempting. Orcs, humans and trolls in particular are so far removed from the original models -- yet they still retain that distinctive Warcraft look and feel. I know I have a handful of friends who have decided to switch it up and change what race they're playing when Warlords hits -- not for racial abilities or anything like that, but just because the new models are that impressive.

So I'm curious what you guys think -- are any of you considering a race change? Do you like the new models well enough to switch from one race to another? Have you ever used the race change service before? Was it to take advantage of racial perks, a faction change, or some other reason entirely?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics