Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Filed under: Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Mages

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.

Mages are the purest spellcasters, in a way. They do not entreat or bargain with elemental spirits (yet they can summon elemental power, after a fashion), they do not invoke the Holy Light or the Shadow that opposes it, and the fel magic that drives warlocks does not interest them. Mages seek the purity of absolute arcane knowledge - knowledge untainted by dark pacts or the promise of a glory gained if one follows the precepts of an unknown and unknowable philosophical force. Mages don't bargain, they don't plead, and they don't even compel - mages understand.


Magic is a tool, some would even say a gift. But you should never forget its fundamental nature. Arcane magic twists the boundaries of our world. It weakens the laws of this realm to allow the impossible to happen, if only for a moment. That single moment is all a demon needs to wreak havoc. The Burning Legion has watched us for millenia, always waiting for the smallest rift to slip through, the smallest stirring to whisper from. Remember this, young ones. Every spell you cast, no matter how minor, cuts both ways. This is why sorcery must never be used frivolously.
- Vestia Moonspear


Now, this obsession with arcane power and knowledge isn't always for the good - many lore figures like Archimonde and Kil'jaeden began as mages before turning to the dark and corrupt path of the warlock. Azshara, queen of the Kaldorei, was (and likely still is) a mage of enormous power, and we need look no further than the recent Nexus war to understand that mages and the magic they seek to understand can have devastating consequences for all. Azeroth, for better and for worse, has been shaped and defined by arcane magic.

Read more →

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Shadow Council

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.

Where others may have quailed from the looming threat of darkness, they embraced it. Where others reviled the blatant corruption of the Burning Legion, they not only accepted it, they went looking for more. And where others may have listened to common sense and turned from the face of evil, they saw evil for what it was, took its measure and took what it had to give, gladly. It wasn't about corruption, it was never about corruption -- it was about power.

And for the Shadow Council, power was everything.

Formed long before the creation of the Dark Portal and the first invasion of Azeroth, the Shadow Council managed to survive the death of its leader. In fact, it thrived in his absence, and despite the supposed extermination of this dark society, it still thrives today, albeit in lesser numbers than before. But though its direction and leaders may have altered, its purpose has never really changed -- devotion to the Legion, at whatever costs that may entail.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Through the Twisting Nether

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 got distracted by warlocks, but now, here's that Tinfoil Hat I promised you two weeks ago. You'll need to keep in mind the state of Azeroth as it was before the opening of the Dark Portal in order to grasp what this particular KYL is all about, so go ahead and read that post.

Remember, in a Tinfoil Hat edition, we deviate from established lore to take a look at the possibilities - what might have happened, what could happen? This isn't about what did happen, so don't mistake it for that. Let's get on with the speculation, because that's where things get the most fun for me. There will also be spoilers for War Crimes and Warlords of Draenor in this particular KYL.

In a way, the rise of the Iron Horde on the Draenor changed by Garrosh Hellscream and Kairoz's journey through time and space has ultimately created a situation where we, as the defenders of Azeroth, actually invert the invasion that took place in Warcraft - Orcs and Humans. In the lore of our Azeroth, Medivh contacted Gul'dan, and together they created a portal to enlist Gul'dan's Horde to come through and invade Azeroth. With the Iron Horde, Kairoz brough Garrosh back through his own history to the world of his birth, and together they created a portal through which we invade Draenor, to prevent the Iron Horde from coming through.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The Blood Knights

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.

Last week, we discussed the story behind the paladin's charger -- a unique mount that both dwarf and human paladins could obtain in vanilla WoW, and in Burning Crusade, the draenei. In addition to the draenei, Burning Crusade also introduced blood elves, and blood elf paladins. Unlike the noble paladins of the Alliance, these Blood Knights took the Light by force, siphoning it from the captured naaru M'uru and bending it to their whim.

Although the events of Burning Crusade and the restoration of the Sunwell dramatically changed the Blood Knights method of operation, we can't really forget where their origins began. It was a much darker place, a place born of Light lost, and the desperation of a downtrodden people to prove to the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with -- and perhaps prove the same to themselves, as well.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Famous Warlocks

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.

Yesterday, we covered the warlock as a class, discussing their motivations and history. Today, we're going to talk about specific warlocks. Now, one warlock we're not going to talk about is Gul'dan, not because he doesn't deserve it, but because we've covered the guy. We have covered the heck out of Gul'dan. It's not that he didn't deserve it. He did. But it's been done. Likewise, other important warlocks, like Archimonde the Defiler, have been covered as well. However, there are still a great many warlocks to discuss, from the six masters of the Council of the Black Harvest to lords of the Shadow Council, and its subsidiaries such as the Argus Wake, the Burning Blade, the Cult of the Dark Strand and others.

When talking of the individual warlock, we must remember the most important and powerful living warlock, Kil'jaeden the Deceiver. With the death of Archimonde and the absence of Sargeras (at least as far as we can tell) Kil'jaeden is the de factor commander of the entire Burning Legion, and therefore, in terms of raw power and knowledge first among warlocks. This does not mean he rules warlocks as some sort of leader, as Darion Mograine does for death knights, for warlocks have no ruler. Indeed, almost every living warlock would love to wrest from Kil'jaeden his over 25,000 years of experience and knowledge -- if it weren't for the fact that they would have to face him in order to make the attempt.

Read more →

Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The paladin's charger

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 steed of a paladin isn't your typical mount. Unlike the early mounts of vanilla, it never existed as a physical object -- it was a spell cast by the paladin that summoned the steed from nowhere. In later years, it has since joined the rest of Warcraft's steeds on the mount tab, but for the longest time, the charger could only be found in the paladin's spellbook. This was no ordinary mount -- and its origins were also far from ordinary. While blood elves, draenei, and tauren were later introduced and given unique mounts of their own, in the original game the paladin class and its unique steed were only available to humans and dwarves.

Unfortunately, the days of tracking down and compiling the elusive materials needed to harness a charger have disappeared since the release of Cataclysm, which saw both the quest chain for the Alliance, as well as the chain introduced for the Horde, removed in patch 4.0.1. But although the paladin's charger can now simply be learned at the appropriate level, there was a time where obtaining that steed was a much more difficult task, one with a unique and interesting tale behind it. As is only appropriate for a paladin, it's a tale of Light lost, a tale of redemption and hope.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Azeroth before the First War

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.

What was Azeroth like before the coming of the orcs? What were its kingdoms, what were its people, where did they live and what were their lives like? It's an interesting question to contemplate. With the coming of Warlords of Draenor we're about to see a Draenor that diverged from our history... but we won't get to see Azeroth. What would it be like, this world that would never have seen the invasion of Gul'dan's bloodthirsty fel-tainted Horde? No Orgrim Doomhammer to slay the Shadow Council and raze Stormwind's walls, no Garona to strike down a king at exactly the right moment. The barrier that kept Kalimdor hidden from the Eastern Kingdoms still stood. Pandaria was a long lost fantasy. Northrend was a distant and mostly unexplored realm which few had ever seen.

Let's go back in time to the sometimes seen as idyllic days before the orcs came. Was it as perfect as we're led to believe? Did the peoples of Azeroth live in a paradise, unspoiled by war?

No. No they did not.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: What we know of Warlords of Draenor

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.

There's been a lot of discussion about Warlords of Draenor ever since the expansion was announced at BlizzCon last year. The new content focuses around the world of Draenor -- an alternate version of the world we explored in Burning Crusade, one in which the Burning Legion never sank its claws into the orcish race and instead, the Iron Horde rose to take the world by force, then move in on Azeroth. It's a different kind of concept, one that might seem a little far-fetched even, until you realize we're playing in a universe where dragons, goblins, and the even the walking dead exist -- not to mention the giant humanoid talking cows.

But what seems to be concerning people the most is that the story of Warlords, despite being described as "the Alliance's finest hour," seems to be focused almost entirely on orcs. Orc warlords, orc clans, orc attacks, with little left to interest the player other than the potential of Garrisons, which aren't a story element so much as an active part of gameplay. So what gives? Are we jumping the gun on judging the expansion's lore? What do we really know about what's coming in Warlords, story-wise?

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The Kaiju of Azeroth and Outland

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.

Okay, let's just put our cards on the table. I just saw Godzilla, I liked it, and now we're going to do a KYL about giant monsters in World of Warcraft because I'm still all sorts of giant monster marking out. So here goes another list. What are the rules? Simple. It has to be a giant. How big is giant? It's sort of a you know it when you see it but to give you an idea, High King Maulgar isn't big enough.

Also, if there are two giant monsters that are exactly the same, I'm only using one of them.

So let's get on board the monster train. This isn't a worst to best style list - it's just giant monsters, robots, and other critters.

The Fel Reaver

Yes, the Fel Reaver. While Void Reaver might be the one that drops the better loot, the Fel Reaver was the monstrous robot that made us all wet ourselves when we first stepped through the Dark Portal and began exploring Hellfire Peninsula. The Fel Reaver made such an impression that many of us will stop in Hellfire even today just to kill it.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Wrathion's duty

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.

Wrathion is one of those unique and entertaining characters who appeared out of nowhere and managed a staggering degree of complexity in just a few short years in game. Although he was not introduced by name until the tail end of Cataclysm, his origins began when the expansion revamped level 1-60 content and consequentially introduced a bizarre and touching origin story in the Badlands. It wasn't until the legendary quest chain for rogues that we got a real look at Wrathion, newly hatched and remarkably intelligent for his age.

Once his tasks for rogues were over at the end of the expansion, Wrathion departed -- and then promptly showed up again in Mists of Pandaria, in a far more extensive role that stretched the length of the expansion, and beyond. But one thing has always been incredibly unclear -- exactly what Wrathion is up to, and why he is doing what he's doing. He's given us a reasonable enough answer, but can we really trust the last remaining member of a dragonflight known for lies, deceit, and evil, even if he is supposedly uncorrupted?

Please note: The following column contains spoilers for War Crimes. If you're mid-book, or have yet to read it, you might want to come back when you're finished with it.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: When did Garrosh Hellscream go?

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.

Yes, we're still spoiling War Crimes. After this sentence, the spoilers.

No, man. I wasn't kidding. That's not cool to jump to the next sentence to see if that's where the spoilers were. Let it be on your head if you are spoiled, for spoilers there will be.

Anyway, at the end of War Crimes, through chicanery, trickery, and dragon interference, Garrosh Hellscream escapes his trial. He appears in what the bronze dragon Kairoz claims to be Nagrand, a Nagrand that does not lie on a shattered continent drifting in the Twisting Nether, but rather on a whole, intact world. The last scene of the book is Garrosh hearing the name Hellscream called out, and turning to behold his own father Grommash screaming the Warsong Clan's traditional battle cry (the one the clan is named for) and holding forth Gorehowl, without any sign of the demonic taint he gained when he drank the blood of Mannorth in our history. This means this - we know Garrosh escaped to the past of his home world before Grommash drank the blood. We already knew this.

But by showing us Grommash, untainted and present as Garrosh arrives, it tells us a few things. The first is that the Draenor we'll be visiting diverged from the history we know before Grommash drank the demon blood, but he was at least an adult if not outright chieftain of the Warsong when Garrosh arrived. This gives us a limited window - Garrosh didn't travel back sixty or so years, he could have traveled back no more than 40 or so. (Grommash was said to be 46 during the Third War, which was roughly ten years ago. If Garrosh traveled back 40 years, Grommash would be in his teens, not the adult warrior wielding Gorehowl that we see.) This means that certain things from Rise of the Horde must have already happened in our alternate Draenor.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The trial of Garrosh Hellscream

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.

War Crimes, the latest novel from Christie Golden, released earlier this week. In the book we finally see the trial of Garrosh Hellscream -- former Warchief of the Horde, apprehended during the final moments of the Siege of Orgrimmar. We aren't going to be talking too in-depth about plot points and book spoilers in this column. We'll save that for next week. But we are going to talk about Garrosh Hellscream, the Alliance, the Horde, and the trial itself -- the need for a trial at all.

Because let's face it: Garrosh Hellscream is a murderer. He slew countless victims, both Alliance and Horde. He decimated Theramore. He decided to ally with those that Warchief Thrall had blatantly turned away, and even directed the Horde to attack, during his reign. He didn't so much try and redesign the Horde as he did give it a gut job, tear it down from the inside out, and try to rebuild it even stronger. He's guilty. He's beyond guilty. There isn't really any need to prove what he's done, the evidence is permanently etched into Azeroth -- the crater left where Theramore once stood.

Why on earth would a confirmed killer need a trial?

Please note: The following column has a few minor spoilers for War Crimes. If you're mid-book, or have yet to read it, you might want to come back when you're finished with it.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Kairoz and his plans

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.

You'd better believe there's going to be spoilers for War Crimes and Warlords of Draenor in this one, folks. If you're still reading, I can only assume you're absolutely fine with this. Because man oh man, are they coming.

If you played World of Warcraft during the patch 5.4 period, and you did any of the Timeless Isle, you probably know who Kairoz is. Kairoz, or Kairozdormu, is a bronze dragon that we first met on that aforementioned Timeless Isle, where he enlists players to aid him in the creation of a device known as the Vision of Time. After helping him do so by collecting mysterious Epoch Stones, which are infused with the bizarre magical power that keeps the Timeless Isle from being affected by the normal flow of time, Kairoz sends you to use the artifact in the very midst of the conflict between those forces loyal to then-Warchief Garrosh Hellscream and those seeking to depose him.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The Arakkoa

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.

They are one of the most ancient races on Draenor, according to relics found in Outland. Yet the arakkoa initially seemed far from any kind of enlightened society when players first met them in Burning Crusade. Certainly, they had the numbers to indicate a vast civilization -- but the arakkoa always felt like a footnote to Outland, filler rather than an important part of what made Draenor what it was, or an integral part of the Burning Crusade storyline. After all, it was all about the orcs, the draenei, and the Burning Legion -- the comings and goings of bird-people didn't really factor into the mix.

Which may be just the way the arakkoa like it. Fairly reclusive, the arakkoa don't go out of their way to tell strangers of their past. Yet even though there is little to be found where the arakkoa are concerned, the small pieces we've managed to glean point to a far more complex society than the arakkoa are willing to divulge. And in Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally be able to see the arakkoa soar -- and maybe even unravel some of the secrets of this reclusive race.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Trolls Ascendant

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 Darkspear Trolls are, as of the end of Mists of Pandaria, the most powerful tribe of trolls in all of Azeroth. Their leader, Vol'jin, sits atop the Horde as its new Warchief, the first non-orc ever to hold that title. In their time with the Horde, the Darkspears have weathered many challenges - the initial travails of their escape from the Sea Witch and the death of Sen'jin to the rise of Garrosh Hellscream and the reclamation of the Echo Isles, and most recently the ultimately successful Darkspear Rebellion that deposed Garrosh.

Once, the Darkspear were the smallest and least respected of all the jungle trolls - cast out of Stranglethorn Vale by the more numerous and aggressive Gurubashi, they came to inhabit the islands of the South Seas, where Thrall and his orcs encountered them. It's amazing to think about how these bedraggled, oppressed trolls managed to become so powerful a force. In part, it must be credited to Vol'jin. Following Garrosh Hellscream's attempt to assassinate the Darkspear chieftain, it was Vol'jin who ultimately united and led the Horde against the warchief.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Pandamonium
The gaming artwork of Jessica Dinh
Mists of Pandaria Raid DPS Analysis
Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition
Death Knight plague epidemic
Mega Bloks: Goblin Zeppelin Ambush
Mists of Pandaria Beta: Ruins beneath Scarlet Halls
Mists of Pandaria: New warlock pets
Female Pandaren Customization

 

Categories