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Filed under: NPCs

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

Know Your Lore: The First 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.

In the past two weeks we've talked about the formation of the Old Horde on Draenor, and the resulting rise of the Alliance of Lordaeron to oppose them. Unfortunately we were forced to give the actual events of the wars slightly short shrift in the interest of being done someday. So this week, we cover the First War. (Note: there are spoilers for the original Warcraft game and several books and comic books contained in this post. Be warned if you continue to read it.)

When last we discussed the Old Horde, we mentioned that Gul'dan and his Shadow Council were feeling the strain after having been abandoned on a slowly dying world by Kil'jaeden after having apparently slain the draenei. As the demonic corruption slowly poisoned the land and turned the orcs (even orcs who hadn't partaken of the Blood of Mannoroth) a livid green color, two events occurred to forever change the fate of two worlds. The first was seemingly small: a plague known as the Blood Pox started spreading, forcing the establishment of a quarantine zone in Nagrand in the lands formerly held by the Frostwolf Clan. That clan, however, was no longer able to hold those lands due to the second and more immediately portentous event. Gul'dan was contacted by Medivh, the Guardian of Tirisfal and host to the essence of Sargeras himself, and offered to the dark orc warlock the one thing he truly craved.

Power.

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

Know Your Lore: The Old Horde


Welcome to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's weekly column about the story behind the game we play.

Last week we discussed the formation of the Alliance in response to the Horde invasion of and destruction of the Kingdom of Azeroth via the Black Portal, and the Alliance's eventual triumph over the Horde, expedition to Draenor, and the events of Warcraft III that saw the destruction of Lordaeron and creation of a new order. This week, we talk about the events that caused those events.

Yes, this week we're discussing the origins of the Horde, that organization that began as the manipulated, deceived and then ultimately demonic blood addicted orcs of Draenor. It's not a simple tale: we've already told parts if it before when we discussed Gul'dan, Ner'zhul, Teron Gorefiend, Grom Hellscream and many others. It all really began untold thousands of years ago on the planet Argus, home world of the Eredar and their Draenei, or exiled, cousins. Thus, ironically, while the existence of the Horde caused the creation of the Alliance, it was an Alliance race that helped start the events that led to the creation of the Horde. Symmetry in origin.

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Filed under: Shaman, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features, Lore, Know your Lore, NPCs

Blood Pact: Meet the minions part 5, the infernal and doomguard


Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "Don't tell anyone this but Niby is daft." ~ Impsy <Niby's Minion>

This week, Blood Pact looks at the bad-boys of our demon companions. When you think through the various warlock minions it's common to consider their usefulness. This is especially true of non-warlocks and raid leaders. Everyone knows that imp for his ranged DPS, health bonus and constant grumbling, the felhunter for annoying casters, voidwalker for tanking, felguard for pure DPS and the succubus for, well, dying a lot in Black Temple. This week though we look at two minions that are best known for killing people and causing trouble in towns and villages: the infernal and the doomguard.

Anyone who has been playing the game for some time probably remembers at least one occasion where a bored warlock has decided that they have nothing better to do than annoy low-level members of their own faction by setting one of these guys loose. If not then you've almost certainly heard stories. It's these stories that, even though this chaos is no longer possible, make others look at locks with much suspicion and locks sigh for the old days.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Guides, NPCs, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Know Your Lore: Winter Veil

This week on KYL we get away from old god blood and crazy warlocks and instead look at Winter Veil. It's just as snow covered as Icecrown, but far less sinister. Sometimes that's a good thing. It can't all be death and destruction, you know. Sometimes it's running around doing fun stuff.

Now, I know you crazy lore addicts. Well, I mean, I know what you're like. I don't know you all personally. That would be difficult. Not impossible, I guess. We could have a get together! We could get together and sing songs and have festivities, except of course that I'm a shaggy, unpleasant person and... the more I think about this, the more I realize I'm the Greench of this particular Feast of Winter Veil. There are two really interesting aspects to the Feast of Winter Veil in terms of lore: one is that both the dwarves and the tauren, two races with different but strong connections to the earth and elements celebrate it. The other is that in Azeroth the holiday celebrations have been almost totally co-opted by the goblins who run the Smokywood Pastures organization. So we have a holiday that crosses faction and racial lines and goes back into the dim past, resurrected by a pack of schemers for mercantile profit.

Man, where do they get this stuff? Can you imagine how outraged people would be if a sacred cultural holiday was bent and twisted out of recognition by grasping corporate entities in order to make a buck? People wouldn't stand for it!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Quests, Features, Lore, Know your Lore, NPCs

New Perky Pug animations


MMO Champion has dug up a few more animations for the already popular Perky Pug pet, which you will be able to obtain in patch 3.3 by running pickup groups with random players (the current guess on the pet is running with 100 random players, but of course we won't know for sure until it appears on the live realms). The first few animations in this video just look like the Pug has been tweaked a bit (looks to me like that weird leg thing got fixed), but the last animation is definitely new. MMOC suggests you might not want the pet any more after you see it doing this, but I guess Blizzard wanted to go for realism.

Personally, I'm still going for it. Dogs are dogs, and I'm going to be running with the new LFG system (actually, according to the last patch notes, it's called the "Dungeon Finder system" now) anyway, so I might as well go all out and get a vanity pet and the "Patient" title along with all of the other good stuff you usually get from running a ton of heroics. Perky Pug, here I come!


Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, NPCs

Return of the Grimtotem

Cocles over at Loregy.com (who I actually got to meet the other day -- good guy, and check out his license plate) has an interesting idea about something he spotted in the information about the Cataclysm zones the other day. Thousand Needles is getting a revamp, including possibly a new instance, and Cocles says that could mean something awesome: the return of the Grimtotem clan (just a warning: there is a more serious spoiler later in that post).

I'm in. I love the "dark Tauren," and would love to see more from them. Plus, while we've seen plenty of troll instances, Cocles says we haven't seen a Tauren instance in the game (and all we can think of is good old Mr. Smite). And we haven't really heard from the Grimtotems since that whole issue with the spirit beast taming. It'd be nice to fight some cows for once.

There's lots of lore to mine there, too: Magatha is the reigning matriarch of the clan, and not only is she buddies with the Forsaken (obviously there's been something happening with them during Wrath), but she's rivals with Cairne Bloodhoof as well. It would definitely be interesting. Of course, this is all speculation -- we aren't sure that there will even be an instance in Thousand Needles, much less that it'll be Grimtotem based (the whole place is getting flooded, so anything could happen -- maybe the Naga will get a "fin-hold" there). But the idea of taking on the Grimtotem again seems like fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Quests, Lore, NPCs, Cataclysm

Patch 3.3 PTR: WoW.com's stream of the Frozen Halls

We ran our livestream of the Halls of Reflection on the PTR yesterday, and other than one little hitch (I figured I'd save us all the trouble of raiding the Lich King and just jump in and take him down myself, with disastrous consequences), it went pretty well. Turns out you need to run through the main quest to unlock the last two Frozen Halls instances, so we ended up doing all three: Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron on normal, and then the Halls of Reflection on both normal and Heroic. On the way, you can see all of the bosses, dropped loot, the various lore and questlines that weave throughout the new 5-man, and the final epic confrontation.

Obviously, considering this is straight video of these instances (with commentary and audio from the game), these things are full of spoilers -- if you don't want to know what happens when you enter Icecrown Citadel, steer clear. That said, the video we recorded is after the break. You don't have to watch the whole thing (in fact, at over two hours, you'd be crazy to), as I've tagged the Forge of Souls run, the Pit of Saron run, and the final heroic Halls of Reflection run on their own. Clicking those links or the markers on the video below should take you to the specific parts of the video. Enjoy.



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Quests, Lore, NPCs

Blizzard announces holiday card contest

Blizzard has made it a holiday tradition to release a holiday card every year (usually drawn by Samwise), but this year they're putting a little twist on it. They're running a contest asking the potential artists among you to submit your own original Blizzard-themed holiday card. Download their template, fill it up with Diablo, Starcraft, or Warcraft-related holiday art (no Lost Vikings or Rock N' Roll Racing art, apparently), submit it on the contest page before December 7th, and you can win a whole slew of prizes from Blizzard and Razer, including a mouse, keyboard, and headset, as well as a signed copy of Blizzard's 2009 holiday card from Samwise himself.

So artists, get to, um, "art"-ing! We can't wait to see your rendition of Deathwing as Santa Claus, Kerrigan as the Mrs., and a whole tribe of Fallen Ones standing in for the little elves.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, Contests, Lore, NPCs, Fan art

The Guild season 3, episode 10: It's on!

Alright, I hate this episode. I do. If you're a fan of The Guild, you're better off skipping this episode... and watching it next week along with episode 11. That's because this season is coming to a close and the Knights of Good and the Axis of Anarchy are headed for a collision course and this episode will only leave you wanting more. Curse you, Felicia Day! Curse your clever scriptwriting and intriguing character development! Curse your Wil Wheaton cameos and the rest of his dastardly crew!

I should've held off on watching this because now, well, I have to wait another week. And I hate waiting. You, on the other hand, are now being hypnotized with WoW.com subliminal messages (it's a new technology our tech guys have been working on) that will make you click on the Read More link below and watch the antepenultimate episode of Season 3. I know I made that word up (EDIT: turns out I didn't make that word up... it actually exists. Subconscious grasp of the English language FTW. - thanks, Splodesondeath!). What else am I supposed to call the episode before the penultimate one? So check out the latest episode and see the season build up to a crescendo where the Knights of Good take on their greatest challenge yet.


Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

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Filed under: Guilds, Humor, NPCs

Breakfast Topic: Too powerful

I like Nibuca's little writeup recently from her blog asking what happens when we become just too powerful to care? Just like her, I've played a full, months-and-months, session of D&D before, and by the time your characters start to flirt with level 20 (the maximum level in that system), you're so powerful that the story barely makes sense any more -- you're crossing planes of existence, unweaving and re-weaving the fabric of reality, and taking down gods, more or less. Once you've vanquished evil from the earth four or five times, yet another threat doesn't bother you so much.

And to a certain extent, that's exactly what's happening with World of Warcraft -- when the game first started, the devs casually threw out there that it would take 40 level 80s to take Arthas down, which was of course a guess based on what raiding was at the time. But nowadays, we're all level 80, you only need five people to go after Arthas, and very soon, even someone like Deathwing will seem conquerable. In the next expansion, we already know that we're going to transverse some planes of existence, and when you're a being that can do that, why bother fighting frost wyrms? Just escape their reality and/or will them out of yours.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Lore, Leveling, Talents, NPCs

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

The Guild posts episode 9 of season 3

The Guild is back after last week's Halloween interlude, and left at her "wit's end" while leading the guild, Codex decides (with a little prodding) to take the fight to the Axis of Anarchy. And they do so with wacky results as usual -- Zaboo shows that his trysts with the stupid tall hot girl might have given him a whole new side. The video's available in all of the usual places (including after the break on this post), so tune in and give it a watch.

There are only three episodes left in the season after this one, which means in three weeks (barring any more holiday-related extras), we'll be seeing a conclusion to this "rival guild" storyline. Will the Knights of Good conquer? Will Vork find his place in the world again? Will Clara find her own domestic bliss? Whatever happens, it's sure to be entertaining as always.

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

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Filed under: Guilds, Odds and ends, Humor, NPCs

WoW Ratings lets you rate anything in Azeroth


I had an idea like this one -- a site that would allow you to rate anything at all (from a new movie to the casserole your aunt makes), and then let other people share their own opinions about whatever you rated. My idea never got off the ground (standard operating procedure for the idea mill I call my mind), but reader Antoine apparently had the same idea, and built it specifically for the WoW universe. WoW Ratings is kind of a silly site with some interesting outcomes: basically it's a database of everything in the game, from bosses to zones to game features or what have you, and you can come along and rate whatever you want on a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings don't actually mean anything (though Antoine has them listed as qualities from Uncommon up to Legendary), so it's really just a broad temperature-taking of the World (of Warcraft) at large.

The most interesting screen is probably the "Best and Worst" screen (which you can reach by clicking on the toolbar at the top of the homepage -- note to Antoine: permalinks are your friend, scale back on the javascript), where, as of this writing, Hakkar the Soulflayer is sitting on top of the heap, and the Voice Chat patch and Darnassus are sitting in the bottom 10. No Fandral Staghelm yet, strangely, but I'm sure things will get shaken up after all you readers head over there (and if the site's a little shaky under the flood of our link, give it time to get back on its feet). Sure, it's a little silly, and it's not so much a "resource" as it is just a free-for-all of player opinions, but it is interesting to see kind of a meta-overview of what players do and don't like. Useless features for the loss, old school raid bosses for the win.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, NPCs

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

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