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Filed under: Lore

Know Your Lore: The Watchers of the kaldorei

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.

Kaldorei society and rank has always been complex. Queen Azshara had her court, the Highborne represented the upper reaches of society, and those chosen Highborne were magic users of particular skill and prowess. On the other end of the spectrum were the Sisters of Elune, kaldorei priestesses who were dedicated to the worship of the moon goddess Elune. And somewhere in between were the druids, primarily male kaldorei who followed Malfurion Stormrage after the War of the Ancients and Sundering were over, eventually founding the Cenarion Circle.

In between them all were the Watchers, a group established after the War of the Ancients that survives to this day. Not only has it survived, it's apparently thriving enough that some of these Watchers will be making an appearance in Warlords of Draenor. While the depth of their appearance and how much they will be contributing to the new expansion's story remains to be seen, it's worth it to take a look at this organization, how it came to be, and perhaps the most notorious Watcher of them all -- Maiev Shadowsong.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

New faction short story: The Jade Hunters

While the August Celestials weren't my favorite reputation grind in Pandaria -- not by a long shot -- I spent most of the expansion fascinated by the Celestials themselves. Where did they come from? What was their purpose in Pandaria? What was up with that statue of the Jade Serpent in the Jade Forest, why was Yu'lon's life bound to it, and were the other Celestials similarly bound?

Blizzard's latest and last offering in the faction short story releases we've seen all expansion is the one I was looking forward to most of all, because of those questions. The Jade Hunters by Matt Burns touches on the story of the August Celestials -- not the creatures themselves, but the organization, and how it came to be. But that's all a backdrop to the far larger story being told, one that finally highlights and talks about the three dwarf clans brought together in Cataclysm.

Oh, and it also talks about that statue that we completely destroyed in the Jade Forest.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Shadowmoon Valley preview

I love draenei. I've made this clear time and again. So you can imagine the throaty, masculine squeal of delight that I let loose when I saw the new zone preview for Shadowmoon Valley up on the official site. I'm very hopeful that we'll get to explore it soon on the alpha (a hope fed by specific tweets) and getting to read about what's going on in the zone made me very, very excited. Okay, so it made me giddy with delight. Exarch Akama! The Temple of Karabor! Gul'dan up to no good! If I were any more excited this entire paragraph would be in italics.

So head over to the official site and read what Senior Designer Helen Cheng has to say about Shadowmoon Valley, the Alliance's first stop on Draenor. I am so freaking excited right now. We're going to get to see intact draenei architecture and their greatest heroes and... I gotta go lie down now, guys. Discuss among yourselves.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Who I want to see in Warlords of Draenor: Medivh

That's right. We're getting serious now.

Why do I want to see Medivh in Warlords? More importantly, how could I get to see Medivh in Warlords? Well, there's several ways this could happen. First off, we'd have to ask ourselves which Medivh would we even get to see - if there's an alternate Draenor with an Iron Horde that wants to invade our Azeroth, then by definition there's an alternate Azeroth that's going without its usual serving of orc invasion. And on that Azeroth there should be a Medivh - the guy who in our timeline built the Dark Portal and shared with Gul'dan the secret to creating one. And that Medivh should still contain within him the essence of Sargeras, the great big baddie above all others, the guy who signs Kil'jaeden's checks.

So I'd like to see what that Medivh is up to. Is he wondering where that army of orcs he was expecting had gotten off to? It's possible that he simply has no idea what Kil'jaeden was up to - Medivh originally discovered Gul'dan while searching the universe for a means to destroy humanity, as he believed (thanks to the presence of Sargeras in his mind) that doing so would help him learn mystical knowledge more effectively. In our timeline, he found Gul'dan after the Horde had destroyed the draenei and conquered their world, and were now finding themselves in a world poisoned by the fel energies they'd unleashed to earn their victory.

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

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.

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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.

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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?

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

Warlords of Draenor: New Dungeon Journal entries

Okay, this one's a little spoilery, but if you're game for that, it's interesting - the latest Alpha build for Warlords of Draenor contains Dungeon Journal entries for several familiar names. We already suspected some of them would be making an appearance, but others are a bit of a surprise.

To keep you from seeing spoilers you don't want, the information is behind the jump.

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

Warlords of Draenor: New maps of Auchindoun and Talador

As the Alpha continues apace, we're starting to see more details - like these maps of the upcoming Auchindoun dungeon and the Talador zone, up on Wowhead now. alongside this list of new items which reference the zone. Since Talador corresponds to the Terokkar Forest zone from The Burning Crusade, it's not surprising to see Shattrath and Auchindoun on it - but what is interesting is to see the city of Telmor (destroyed by the old Horde in our history) make its first in-game appearance. Since Telmor is the city where a young Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer were taken after being rescued from an ogre patrol as well as the place hidden by Leafshadow, one of the Ata'mal Crystals, its appearance on the map is pretty important in terms of what it hints about the zone.

It's pretty interesting to see both Fort Wrynn and Vol'jin's Pride on the map as well. Both settlements are suspiciously close together considering the recent hostilities - a sign that relations between the two factions have improved? Or simply a case of real estate being limited? Old familiar names like Tuurem and the Tomb of Lights are present as well. We're definitely getting a sense of the zone and I'm looking forward to unraveling the story of the place.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, 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.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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