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Filed under: Alliance

Know Your Lore: The Second War

Welcome once again my friends to the lore that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside Know Your Lore.

When last we got together over the nonexistent campfire to share stories of Azeroth and Draenor and the peoples of both, our heroes were either fleeing the destruction of Stormwind or destroying Stormwind, depending on who you think of as the heroes. Once again, the 'canonical' nature of these events has shifted somewhat from the time they were first presented to now, so bear with me if you see any inconsistencies as I attempt to work several disparate accounts together. Also, wow, did a lot happen in the Second War, so please forgive anything I miss or merely allude to from the Alliance and Old Horde KYL's.

We know that following the loss of Stormwind (and by following I mean that they could probably see the buildings burning as they sailed away) the survivors, led by Anduin Lothar, sailed north for Lordaeron and the court of King Terenas Menethil. It was this journey and Lothar's arrival that led Terenas and Lothar to begin the diplomatic work that created the Alliance of Lordaeron. It's important to keep in mind that, at the time, not many people actually knew much about the orcs aside from the survivors of Stormwind. King Llane Wrynn had an adviser who knew a lot about the orcs but that ultimately ended in Stormwind's destruction as we covered last week. Still, Lothar was the one person both connected enough through his descent from the ancient Arathi bloodline and knowledgeable enough about the enemy to command the military of this new Alliance.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, NPCs, Cataclysm

The Daily Quest: "Looking for Waldo"


We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Odds and ends, Instances, The Daily Quest

A lack of Alliance pride

Larisa makes an interesting observation about the Battlecry mosaic that's being assembled over on Blizzard's website. There certainly are a lot of Horde symbols there, and not quite so many Alliance symbols. The best information we have access to actually says that Alliance outnumber the Horde, and ancedotally, we know that's probably true. So why aren't the Alliance representing?

Now, it could just be specific to this outlet -- perhaps Horde players spend more time online, or have more free time in general, and thus have the knowhow and chance to submit their pictures. But this issue has come up before (on our podcast as well): while many Horde players are ready to jump in and shout "For the Horde!" at a moment's notice, not so many Alliance players are as open about their allegiances. As Larisa asks: where's the faction pride?

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP

Pandaren in the World of Warcraft

In among all of the "omg fake pets for real money" drama from this week's announcement, we may have missed something big: the Pandaren are now live in the World of Warcraft. The Pandaren are my favorite Azerothian race, even though they're essentially a joke -- Samwise Didier just loves pandas, and he made art for an April Fool's joke that Chris Metzen loved so much they decided to include the bears as real characters in Warcraft III. Since then, they've become fan favorites (not least of all, especially for me, because alcohol and ale are a big part of their culture), but we've only seen hints of them in World of Warcraft. There was a rumor going around a while back that they would never appear in the game because China didn't allow depictions of violence against the bears, but that was just a rumor. Still, the Pandaren have existed in WoW only as a Blizzard in-joke. We assume they're out there somewhere, but until now, no one has ever seen one.

Of course we say "until now" because there are now little Pandaren monk noncombat pets running around, bowing, and doing magical kung-fu. Does this mean that the future Emerald Dream expansion will have us all playing as Brewmasters? While yes that would be awesome, not so fast again: Diablo and the Zergling from Starcraft are both in the game as noncombat pets, and they don't mean anything at all (although they were both included in the game before the announcements of Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 -- maybe Blizzard is working on a Pandaren-based puzzle game? Conspiracy theorists, assemble!). And just because we all have Grunty doesn't mean murlocs are suddenly going to take to spaceships with battle rifles in the official lore. But it's cool to see Pandaren actually in the game, even in pet form, and who knows, maybe we will one day find the legendary realm of Pandaria in our own version of Azeroth.

Filed under: Alliance, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, NPCs

All the World's a Stage: The voices of every race and class speak in RP

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

All the World's a Stage has been a voice for roleplaying in WoW for over two years now. I didn't quite realize it at the time, but the article entitled "So you want to be a bad guy" was just about at the 2 year mark for this column! To celebrate belatedly, today we'll review some of the other websites about roleplaying in WoW out there. If you like All the World's a Stage, you'll probably enjoy these as well.

In addition, you will find that some of these websites have similar, but unique pages with information about roleplaying the various races and classes of Azeroth. So for those of you who would like to have a reference to all these articles in a single place, I've collected them all together in one list at the end of the article. This list includes my own articles, as well as those of all the other websites I'm about to mention which follow on the same theme.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Lore, Factions, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Breakfast Topic: The future of the Horde

One of the things that's continually surprised me since news broke on the likely changes to the Horde's leadership is how many otherwise die-hard Horde players have considered going Alliance. Yeah, yeah, most of it's probably idle threats anyway, but the real issue is one that's simmered for the length of Wrath's storyline. Lots of traditional Horde players are happy to fight under Thrall. Lots of traditional Horde players are...not so happy to fight under someone else.

The issue seems to be the growing rift between players and Horde leadership in Northrend, and the degree to which many of us can't identify with the sub-faction that eventually hijacks the Horde storyline. I burned Saurfang's letter as he asked. I nodded alongside Golluk Rockfist as he told Horde players, "You are leaving to the Ruby Dragonshrine. This is not a request." I sat with Thrall in his darkest moments in the Undercity throne room, when he realized that everything was lost.

By contrast, I /facepalmed my way through Icecrown.

Spoiler material past the break.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Lore, Factions

Patch 3.3 PTR: The fate of Bolvar Fordragon


Before we go any further, I want to warn you now that there are massive spoilers behind this cut for the Icecrown raid dungeon, including the fight with the Lich King himself. Seriously, they are massive. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't click through to the rest of this article. I am warning you now. Just don't.

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Filed under: Alliance, Human, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Lore, Bosses, RP, NPCs, Rumors

Argent Tournament gains will not transfer between factions


Just a heads up for you faction transfers, though you've probably already realized this if you have made a transfer: many of your faction reputations will transfer over just fine, but not so for any Argent Tournament progress you've made. Argent Tournament reputation and gains will not transfer over if you change factions. Kisirani says that Blizzard couldn't think of a way to do it technically, and so (as we understand it), anyone who transfers factions will lose all of their current Argent Tournament standing, and have to make their way back up through the ranks to Champion. Many other reputations have changed just fine, and you can find a list of all the changes as you cross over from one faction to another on the faction change FAQ. You will bring items over with you -- any seals earned on one side are still valid on the other. But if you want to grind out more, you'll have to go through the ranks again.

Seems like a bummer for faction changers (especially those who didn't know about the problem before they did the transfer), but on the other hand, I don't believe Blizzard would have let this go if they had any way to fix it. Short of just granting ranks to all players who transfer, assuming they have no way to track where players were at in terms of which cities they'd champion-ed for, I don't know what other solution there would be.

Update: A little more information: you also lose all of your Silver Covenant or Sunreavers rep as well, so you'll have to re-earn that from the beginning, too. As players have said in the thread below, it's not a huge loss, but it's an annoyance for sure.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Items, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Factions

Conclusions from the WoW.com faction transfer survey


Last week I posted a poll to try and figure out some of the numbers behind the newly implemented faction transfers, and now that we've got quite a few votes in there, it's probably a time to look at what we got and see if we can make any sense of it. The most conclusive data there is the answer above: about 18.6% of our reader polled said that yes, they had made a faction transfer already. That sounds high to me -- maybe it's because WoW.com readers know about the faction transfer service that more of them may have taken advantage of it. But if it's true that 19% of players did take advantage of the transfer service, then 570,000 of the around 3 million US players have switched factions, making Blizzard $17.1 million in gross revenue alone, just in the last week since it's opened.

The other questions were a little hairier -- I tried to ask people not to answer if they didn't fit the criteria for each question, and there's no way to tell for sure that's what happened. Also, lots of people wanted to see the answers without voting, and unfortunately, our voting system doesn't allow a clear way to do that (I have since checked with our tech guys, who say that the solution we came up with, voting without choosing an answer, did not affect the poll). But after the break, we can try to suss some conclusions out of the data anyway.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Polls, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: The Future Soon


Totem Talk resumes our discussion of Shamans in the upcoming expansion as Matthew Rossi puts on his wizard hat and immediately gets Earth Shocked for wearing the wrong hat. Also, I lobe the Machinima I stole the title of this post from, although that's not germane to the discussion.

We were interrupted by BlizzCon announcements last week when discussing starting a new Shaman (or resuming an old one). Frankly, the list of changes incoming in Cataclysm makes me leery of discussing the current leveling experience too much, because it's going to be radically altered. Two new shaman races! A complete reworking of gear and statistics! A new profession we'll all have access to in Archaeology, entirely reworked talent trees, a new max level progression option in Path of the Titans, and last but not least (to me) new totem skins!

Seriously, you have no idea how long I've wanted this. I expect the current 'default Horde' totems will remain the Orc totems of choice, but I'm very hopeful for Tauren and Trolls and Goblins and Dwarves to all get their own unique totem skins. Frankly, I want Tauren totems to resemble the giant beating pole Cairne Bloodhoof carries around.

Despite what I posted about my warrior, I plan on faction transferring my Draenei Shaman to Tauren fairly soon and moving him to my Horde server. I may or may not race change him to Goblin when they become available for race change (might be more fun just to level one, we'll see) but the idea of finally getting totems that match other races just fills me with glee. Trolls with weird voodoo looking sticks! Goblins with... I have no idea!

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Dwarves, Tauren, Trolls, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Expansions, Draenei, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Goblin

Breakfast Topic: The You that you can't leave behind


I have been playing a human warrior for almost five years now. So I'm looking at the new faction (and upcoming race) change feature with a different eye than some.

I've played other characters, of course... I have three Shamans now, a DK, a Paladin, a Warlock I occasionally log onto and stare forlornly at, and of course several other warriors scattered around various servers, two of which even hit max level... but in one capacity or another, I have logged onto that Human Warrior for the past five years and run five mans, done quests, raided, crafted, even occasionally fished on him. I've done every single instance in the game on him at this point. I even did Naxx 40 on him.

He's been a tank, he's been DPS. He was even just a "Hey, guys, what's everyone up to?" toon for a few months when I tried my level best to switch to Horde. (I'm sorry, guys, but as much as I love Tauren I can't really like playing Horde when I keep running into quests that have me poisoning prisoners of war, or even my own people. I'm the kind of guy who ends up with butterflies and halo's over my head in Fable, even when I start out determined to ravage the land as a force of pure destruction.)

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Alts

Survey: Figuring out the faction transfer numbers


I've been thinking about this ever since the faction changes went live: obviously, Blizzard will never actually release the numbers on how many server transfers or faction changes they do, just because they are notoriously guarded about the information they release, not least because riots are pretty easy to incite on the forums (imagine the reaction if Blizzard officially said that Alliance was the more popular faction). But I wonder nevertheless: how many players have transferred their characters over from one faction to another already? And lots of people seem to think that the vast majority of transfers are Alliance to Horde (not to mention I've heard many anecdotal stories of people flooding back to the Horde), but is that true?

Obviously, we don't have access to all of Blizzard's audience, and our polls are definitely much less scientific than the data Blizzard gets to look at (you better believe they're tracking transfers and faction and race choices with a close eye, just as they're tracking server populations 24/7), but just for the heck of it, we'll ask. After the break, we've got a few polls designed to give us a very general look at how transfers are playing out so far. There's a lot of anecdotal experiences flying around since transfers went live, but I'd like to know, a little more objectively, just how things are panning out.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard, Factions, Cataclysm

Cataclysm Worgen and Goblin starter zone maps


The great thing about playable demos are the tidbits of info and sneaky souls with cameras snapping things they shouldn't be snapping. Such was the case in the press room at BlizzCon this year, where cameras were prohibited from pointing their lenses towards computer screnes. However, it appears that Spanish fansite WoW Todo got around the floating press room attendants somehow, and posted maps of the new starting zones for Goblins and Worgens.

Both of the maps have a couple of unique touches. For example, both have images of their inhabitants on it. The Lost Isles map has a particularly ugly female Goblin in a bikini while Gilneas features a human in Victorian garb. The latter also has a couple of shredded bits as if a Worgen adventurer had used his or her claws when trying to read the map. The Goblin map features a scattering of indented gold coins at the corners, as if to hold it open. Both are awesome little touches that add that special bit of pizazz to the new zones.

But the maps do give us a proper glance at what we can expect from the two zones. Gilneas is dominated by Greymane Manor and the town of Duskhaven. Looking at it, I was expecting something a bit larger, but then you remember it is a starter zone. The Lost Isles is smaller still with an Alliance encampment to the North and an Orc settlement to the south, which explains their presence in the trailer.

We should note that the Gilneas map is only part of the Worgen starting zone. The city and the Greymane wall are due East of what's presented.

Check out the Goblin map and Worgen map over on WoW Todo.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, BlizzCon, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Comes The Cataclysm


Last week, The Care and Feeding of Warriors covered loot in a new five man not ten minutes before the doors were ripped off of our new expansion. As we promised, this week Matthew Rossi goes gaga over all the new Cataclysm information for warriors.

So yeah, we learned a lot last week. We learned that we'll have two new races to play (both of which can be warriors), with new racial abilities to consider. We learned that Blood Elves will finally remember how to pick up something pointy and jam the aforementioned pointy end into someone without first siphoning the Holy Light from a rock candy alien, putting poison on it, or dying first. Heck, they might even decide to use two really big pointy things! (They can also settle for crushy or choppy things.) We also learned that our gear is going to be radically changing (and frankly, anything that makes me less likely to have to fire up a freaking spreadsheet... and yes, I use the spreadsheet, you know we all do... to figure out my gear options makes me happy) and streamlining.

We also learned that a really big (no, bigger than that... seriously, he's huge) dragon with an extreme hate-on for everything that lives is going to rampage across the surface of Azeroth. Frankly, though, speaking as a warrior they don't pay me to understand the motives and reasoning of giant scaly things. My purpose is to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield until pointy/blunt/choppy things have been introduced repeatedly to said giant scaly things.

It's a good system, and I don't see any reason to stop now. So now, without further ado, let's dance with the Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Expansions, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

Night Elves and Worgen: Druid allies of the Moon

For some, the Worgen seem unlikely members of the Alliance. These lupine creatures have a long history within Azeroth, even if no one is quite sure where or - to quote Chris Metzen, "when" - they come from. The choice to include the isolationist zone of Gilneas is logical. After all Arugal's infamous Shadowfang Keep is located just north of the Greymane Wall, right up the road. Added to this the fact a Gilnean hasn't been seen in a decade, well that makes them ripe for a lorefest. Blizzard have all but confirmed it was their isolationist attitude which led to the people of Gilneas becoming Worgen but if that is the case then it's kind of ironic. They hid to escape the undead plague and instead succumbed to another infection entirely.

Formally humans and now Worgen, the trailer hints that it will be the efforts of the Night Elves which will see the Worgen joining the Alliance. Now this in interesting because the Night Elves have their own history with the Worgen, Velinde Starsong and the Scythe of Elune. But given that the Gilnean Worgen are the only other Alliance race who can become Druids, there's an even deeper link between the two races. Also, given that Druids are skilled shapeshifters, the Night Elves could hold the key to helping the people of Gilneas deal with their curse.

Now the werewolves on which the Worgen are based are lunar creatures. In the most popular mythology they are forced to transform when the moon is full but this is not always the case. Part of this can be seen in the Wolfcult of Northrend's Grizzly Hills who remain in human form until forced into combat. For the Night Elves, who revere the larger silvery orb known as the White Lady as their supreme Goddess, Elune, the Worgen are a part of their mytholgy. While in the past, the Scythe of Elune storyline has been a big part of Worgen lore, how much of it and the pull of the Moon - which is found in traditional werewolf lore - will make it into Cataclysm remains to be seen.

This is part of the excitement of a new expansion, the promise of the unknown is just that, so promising! For a short time, our imaginations can wander without the constraints of fact and detail. We can dream of what we want the Worgen and, specifically, the Druid class to be within the lore of Azeroth. Regardless of what this might be in the end, there is definitely going to be a close bond between the Kaldorei and the people of Gilneas which will shape how World of Warcraft moves into a post-Cataclysm age.

Filed under: Alliance, Druid, Expansions, Lore, Cataclysm, Worgen

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