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Filed under: Lore

Know Your Lore: The Molten Core

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.

In the deepest parts of Blackrock Mountain, the Dark Iron toil relentlessly, slaving away at the whim of an ancient, terrifying master of flame. The Molten Core, as it is called by the denizens of Azeroth, is not this creature's home. Instead, it is the home of a dark ritual gone terribly wrong, a ritual that not only backfired, but subsequently resulted in the enslavement of an entire dwarven clan.

The 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft has some extra special goodies this year, including an updated, 40man LFR version of the Molten Core. Although many players lurked in its depths in the original iteration of the raid, the story of the area and how it came to be was scattered all over Azeroth -- because the tale begins long before there were dwarves, clans, or anyone to call Blackrock Mountain by name.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Nobundo

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.

One of the fantastic things about Warlords of Draenor is getting to see the way history provides context for a life. By seeing how people have changed, and how they could have been we get a sense of how they are, as we know them - and for me one of the most fantastic changes to contemplate and understand is that of Vindicator Nobundo, a stalwart draenei paladin, who in a different life became Farseer Nobundo, first draenei shaman. Nobundo's story is one of overcoming horrific loss, enduring not just the destruction of his way of life but a corrosion of the body that threatened his very soul, and his ability to overcome and become someone who could inspire his people to a new path displays his strength of spirit.

The Vindicator Nobundo we meet on Draenor - the one who helps fight the Burning Legion forces in Talador, who comes to Nagrand to help calm the elements - has not endured the same trials as Farseer Nobundo. He has not come out the other side of seeing his people nearly destroyed, his body warped by fel energies, his connection to the Holy Light severed. And yet, he is Nobundo - he embodies everything the Farseer was, everything he lost to become who he is today.

So who is Farseer Nobundo? And who is Vindicator Nobundo?

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

Know Your Lore: The Pale

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.

When the draenei first came to Azeroth, they landed in spectacular fashion, tearing up an island off the coast of Kalimdor. New draenei players are taken on a journey through the wreckage and the mess, picking up the pieces and dealing with the unique effects the crash had on both flora and fauna. Several years later, and it seems the draenei are still doing clean-up work -- although that may be more due to Azuremyst being perpetually stuck in the past for mechanics purposes, rather than story content.

Why bring this up? Because it's not the first time the draenei have shattered a world. On Draenor, the new inhabitants of the planet landed in similar fashion, tearing up a great chunk of Draenor's landscape in Nagrand. Both times, the incidents were due to faulty ships -- and both times, the surrounding region was affected. But while Azeroth's torn landscape and blood-tinged skies were obvious demarcations of narrowly-avoided disaster, the landing of the Genedar was viewed as something different entirely to the natives of the world. To the orcs, it was unknown -- and then thought, perhaps, to be a gift from the ancestors.

They couldn't be further from the truth.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoilers while you are leveling, come back when you've finished Nagrand.

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

Draenor bestiary updated with the creatures of Nagrand

The bestiary for Warlords of Draenor has been updated with a new entry focusing on creatures primarily found in Nagrand. Most players won't be seeing Nagrand until level 98 or 99, but the entries still make for a pretty interesting read, considering most of the creatures involved are encountered in other areas of Draenor as well. Because of this, you won't really be running into too much in the way of spoiler content.

Four different creatures are highlighted in this installment, from the familiar clefthoof to the not so familiar saberon. Most interesting perhaps are the Pale, emaciated creatures that are encountered all over Draenor, but concentrated most heavily in Nagrand. Players will recognize the Pale on sight, as they are some of the first enemies encountered in both Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon Valley. I don't know what I was expecting in regards to their back story, but what's presented in the bestiary is a pretty creepy, interesting history with some pretty cool implications.

Check out Blizzard's official post for all the new creatures -- and while you're there, you might want to see if there are any earlier installments you may have missed along the way.


Filed under: News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Alex Afrasiabi on Warlords, Garrosh, and alternate Azeroth

Warlords of Draenor is a little over 24 hours away from launch! Although Warlords of Draenor is seemingly a step in a different story direction for the franchise, it has never been in more capable hands. BlizzCon may be over, but we had the opportunity during the convention to sit down and chat with World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi about the new expansion, Garrosh Hellscream, Warcraft's creative direction, and much more.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft: Looking for Group documentary debuts at BlizzCon

This Saturday during BlizzCon, we're going to get to take a look at a new documentary about World of Warcraft, with a lot of familiar faces (seriously, the trailer alone is packed with celebrities) and an interesting perspective on how WoW took what was a pretty niche market in MMO's and made them a lot more mainstream.

My first reaction was "Wow, that's a heck of a Garona cosplay!" Which is why I headed up the post with that picture. Seriously, she looks more like Garona than Garona does. WHoever you are, Garona cosplayer, please let me know so I can put your name in this post. But beyond that, as someone who's been playing for ten years, I found it amazing to see it all laid out like that, how we were all just stumbling our way through the game, having no idea what it was or what it would lead to.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Yrel, the Light of Hope, comes to Characters of Warcraft page

One of the things I personally love about Warlords of Draenor is the spotlight it puts on the draenei, and new characters like Yrel really give that spotlight emphasis. Yrel is one of the draenei who serves as a synecdoche for the whole expansion - what she experiences is what the draenei as a whole have experienced and what they will experience if she does not succeed. It's what fascinates me about her, about how she is the road not taken, the path that didn't succeed in our history.

If you want more details on Yrel, the spiffy new page for her is up here. But to really get to know her, you're going to have to play through Warlords of Draenor (specifically on the Alliance side, for the most part) and I for one recommend it. Yrel is an excellent draenei face character, one who showcases the race's forgiveness, determination and courage.

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

Know Your Lore: Five characters to watch for in 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.

Warlords of Draenor launches in a little over a week, with a ton of new story and a cast of characters both new and old -- very, very old. Since the expansion's reveal at last year's BlizzCon, we've been covering the major players of the next expansion -- their history in our universe, as well as their history in this alternate version of Draenor we'll find ourselves wandering upon. Each orc clan on Draenor has its own unique history and is led by a distinctive leader, a major name that in most cases, we've been familiar with for years.

But those big names and major characters aren't the only people we'll be seeing on Draenor, and by all means they aren't the only characters we should be paying attention to. For every Grommash, Gul'dan, Blackhand, Velen, Khadgar -- the list goes on -- there are other players, not quite as loudly promoted, who have their own place in this Draenor's history. Characters you should be watching out for -- because they've got some pretty interesting story hooks of their own.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding all expansion spoilers, avoiding the article would be advised.

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

Know Your Lore: Mannoroth

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.

We talk about the great evils of the Warcraft universe - your Kil'jaeden's and Archimonde's, your Sargeras and your Old Gods - and of course there's the mortal monsters like Gul'dan, quite possibly the single most evil mortal being ever to live, or Kel'Thuzad who enslaved himself to evil so profound that his transformation into a lich was probably a palliative influence on his malevolence. But what of evil as a corrupting vector? What of an evil so profound that it is part of your blood, that can seep into the souls of an entire race? Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you - what of Mannoroth, king of the Pit Lords, master of the Annihilan?

We know little of the Annihilan. They are the pit lords, a massive and powerful species of demons recruited to serve the Legion by none other than Kil'jaeden himself. They were already a powerful part of the Legion when the War of the Ancients unfolded - Mannoroth himself was one of the Legion's elite who came through the portal to help make clear the way for Sargeras to stride forth into Azeroth, doing battle with the forces of the Kaldorei who were attempting to preserve their lives. But as to where the pit lords come from, it is as yet a mystery unsolved. What world did they originate on? What happened to it? We do not know.

What we do know is this - few races in all the cosmos can boast so powerful and corrupting an evil nature as the Annihilan. And Mannoroth was for eons first among the pit lords - the acknowledged master of his kind, the most powerful of them all. Not Brutallus, not Magtheridon, not Azgalor, but Mannoroth ruled the Annihilan on behalf of the Legion.

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

Characters of Warcraft updates with Velen, Archmage Khadgar

The Characters of Warcraft page is a useful one to keep abreast of what's coming in the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Recent updates have made it more so, with focus on Velen and Archmage Khadgar. The focus on each character explains their roles in the expansion to come (for example, how Velen has responded to the Iron Horde) and how they're involved in the story of the expansion. I'm excited to see some mention of Khadgar's having been aged by magic, although it's not really reflected in his current model - if anything he looks younger now than he did in the Burning Crusade days.

If you're looking to get a sense of who the people we'll be dealing with when we get to Draenor are, the Characters of Warcraft page and these updates definitely offer some help.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The lost tales of Pandaria

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.

Mists of Pandaria was packed with a lot of story, each of its 'acts' dovetailing into the next. It wasn't quite as expansive as the myriad plot points that were introduced with Cataclysm, but Cataclysm also included a revamp of almost every level 1-60 zone in the game, with both quests and the stories of the zones themselves getting a shot of new story content. When Cataclysm was winding down to its inevitable end, I reviewed several of the plot points left in the expansion -- story hooks that we might or might not see addressed later. There are still many out there left untouched.

It only seemed appropriate, in the waning weeks of Mists, to do the same. Although Mists didn't have quite the variety as Cataclysm, there were still moments of potential story that were left unanswered -- tales without an ending, problems or puzzles we still don't have an answer to. And as we move forward into Warlords of Draenor, we can only wonder if, or when, we'll see these elements pop up again.

Please note: The following post contains some spoilers for the novel War Crimes.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

A Behind the Scenes look at Lords of War with Senior Illustrator Laurel Austin

Earlier this month, Blizzard released a behind the scenes look at Lords of War, the latest short series from the team that brought us The Burdens of Shaohao. Although that behind the scenes glimpse was pretty good, it focused mainly on the story of the short films, the ideas behind the process. Yesterday, another Behind the Scenes featurette was added -- this time, featuring Senior Illustrator Laurel Austin, the artist behind all of those gorgeous moving frames. Austin goes through the process of character design for the shorts and the challenges of bringing the various warlords to life.

This is frankly the kind of behind the scenes stuff I really like to see -- don't get me wrong, I love a story as much as the next person, but I like seeing how it's all put together from a technical standpoint. While the exact process of animating the still paintings is only brushed on, it's still incredibly cool to watch Austin work and explain why particular stylistic choices were put into play. I didn't expect a second installment to this series, so I'm almost hoping we might yet see a third installment that goes into the animation process itself and how all those stunning paintings are brought to life. Either way, the video is a fascinating watch for anyone who wants to see how Blizzard puts their art together.

If you somehow missed Lords of War when it originally aired, you can catch the entire series on World of Warcraft's Youtube channel -- they've even put together a helpful playlist of all the episodes in order.

Filed under: Machinima, Blizzard, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Light of the naaru

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.

First featured in the Burning Crusade expansion, the enigmatic naaru have been a constant, benevolent life-force in World of Warcraft -- strange creatures with some sort of eternal crusade against the darkness of the Legion. It was the naaru that saved Prophet Velen and his people when they were on the cusp of being claimed by the dark promises of Sargeras, the naaru that helped them flee, the naaru that taught them the Light. And it was the naaru who seemed to be playing a much, much longer game than anyone else, when Burning Crusade reached its end and the full scope of M'uru's plan was revealed.

Burning Crusade marked the second known occasion that the naaru willingly stepped into the lives of mortal races to pull them away from darkness and reach salvation -- although it's entirely possible they have done this before with other races, on other worlds we've never seen. This has always been presented as the noblest of causes. Yet despite all these altruistic actions, we really know very little about the naaru, where they came from, or ultimately why it is that they feel they must fulfill this task. Yet while Warlords of Draenor largely concerns the orcs and the Iron Horde, there are still a few clues -- just enough to expand that perception of the naaru a little more and raise a few more questions in the process.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation based on known material. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

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

Lost on what's happening in WoW? Catch up here!


The lore of World of Warcraft can be a bit hard to keep up with, being as it's spread not only throughout the large (and growing) game world, but also in books, comics, and the original Warcraft games. And with Warlords of Draenor -- and yesterdays's patch 6.0.2 -- poised to shake up the story even more, you may want to take the time to figure out what's going on so you'll better understand the events to come.

So just how did we go from crash-landing on Pandaria to repelling a Blasted Lands invasion? To help answer that question, Blizzard has put together a nice walkthrough of the story of Mists of Pandaria with a glimpse of what we'll start to see with today's patch: Iron Tide Rising. And if you're still looking for more lore, there are also suggested novels to dive in to -- or you can check out our novels guide.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Know Your Lore: Garrisons and the story of Warlords

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.

We are about to kick off the beginning of Warlords of Draenor's story when patch 6.0 releases in a couple of days here. It's an explosive beginning, and there's plenty of story to be had, but we won't see things really pick up and get going until the expansion releases in November. Everyone has their own way of leveling through an expansion, whether it's a race to the finish, or a more leisurely stroll through content, taking one's time and experiencing all the story the expansion has to offer -- and Warlords has a lot of story to tell in its opening chapters.

However, there seems to be some apprehension about garrisons and how they're going to work with the game, how they are set up, whether or not they require a massive time sink, whether they can be ignored entirely, or if the story hinges on completing garrison content, and whether or not garrisons are actually going to pull people out of the story and expansion experience. Today, we're going to step back from the usual lore presentation and instead look at garrisons, how they work with the story being told, and why this feature is actually one of the better storytelling devices Blizzard has put together.

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

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