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Posts with tag Alliance

New faction short story: The Untamed Valley

I have a soft spot for the Tillers. I think they're one of my favorite factions from Pandaria. It wasn't just the fact that I got my own farm, it was the fact that each character involved in the Tillers' quests was so fleshed out, so well written, and so engaging that you really couldn't help but be enchanted by Halfhill and the surrounding farms. Of all the pandaren we've met in Mists, I think I'm going to miss the gang in Halfhill the most.

That said, the absolute last person I ever expected to show up in a short story surrounding the Tillers was Vindicator Maraad. Yet there he is, accompanied by Sentinel Commander Lyalia, another Alliance face we haven't seen for quite some time. The thought of a towering blue-skinned alien from another world interacting with the jovial and decidedly down-to-earth farmers of Halfhill seems like a really strange idea for a story. And yet in Blizzard's latest short story offering, The Untamed Valley, it works. It really, really works, in the most unexpected way.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The passive faction cannot stand

Since I complained (some have said whined) about the Horde yesterday, turnabout's fair play and I should focus my complaining on the Alliance for a bit. Because if we're fair, the Alliance needs some changes in its story, too. And I think it's fair to say that what the Alliance needs isn't necessarily a victory - especially in terms of Horde/Alliance conflict, it doesn't actually drive the story forward necessarily to have one side win, and the end of Siege of Orgrimmar could in fact be seen as the Alliance winning. No, it's not really victory that's lacking.

The problem the Alliance has is as simple as the statement at BlizzCon that the Alliance is the 'Captain America' faction, the faction that has a more standard heroism about it. The problem with that is, in many ways heroism is depicted as being reactionary. You respond to a threat, you react to a crisis, whether it be Deathwing or Garrosh. Villains act, and heroes react - it's one of the reasons that actors often state that the bad guy is more fun to play. For better or for worse, the Alliance presence in Pandaria was a reaction to the crash-landing of Anduin's ship after it was chased by a Horde fleet, and everything that followed was reactionary. The Alliance stayed in Pandaria purely because the Horde was there, they weren't there to explore or even conquer. The entire struggle over the Divine Bell was a struggle to keep the Horde from getting it because they knew the Horde would use it (as they did) and so far, despite her having every reason to feel that the Horde cannot be trusted Jaina Proudmoore is being painted as villainous for maintaining this position.

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

I'm so bored with the Horde

This isn't a rant about how the Horde is bad, or how you should feel bad for playing them, or anything. If you like playing Horde, I'm not arguing that you're wrong to do so. I know that's a subjective thing, and some folks just plain like specific Horde races better. This is more about how, after Mists of Pandaria, I'm completely exhausted as a player with Horde stories and the Horde/Alliance conflict. I'm not inherently opposed to Horde/Alliance conflict. In fact, I think it made Mists of Pandaria a very strong expansion, with a strong and interesting story. I especially liked patch 5.1, and played both the Horde and Alliance storylines.

And frankly, that was the last time any of my Horde characters got any serious play.

Since 5.1 I've felt myself shifting away from the Horde. Part of that was going back to raiding on my draenei warrior, of course. But a bigger part of it was simple ennui, and a general culture shift in the Horde that left me feeling totally unable to connect to it. When I rolled my first Horde characters (an orc shaman and tauren warrior back in vanilla days) there was a real, concrete tone shift when I played them vs, when I played my Alliance characters. A sense of desperate odds, of outcasts banding together to stand against a hostile world, facing off against a monolithic power.

That's gone. It's probably gone forever. Even after the events of Mists of Pandaria, it's impossible to view the faction that banded together from the events of Warcraft III as the same entity anymore - over the course of two expansions, the Horde went from underdogs to aggressors. And while I've heard many players say things like "the orcs are not the whole Horde" to attempt to distance ourselves, fact is, my tauren did the quests in Twilight Highlands. My blood elf led the charge onto Pandaria's shores, and he stole the Divine Bell so that Garrosh could make use of it. Up until patch 5.3, if you played Horde, there was no real way to not aid Garrosh's cause - you were complicit in everything that helped make the Warchief's plan work. The orcs may not be the whole Horde, but what excuse does that give your pandaren or forsaken, when they're the ones who delivered the keys to the kingdom into Garrosh's hands?

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Alternate Azeroth

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 takes place in an alternate, splinter reality in which Garrosh Hellscream has gone back in time and prevented the leaders of the old orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth. In this version of reality, several events have changed dramatically -- leading players to ask many, many questions about alternate Azeroth, how its history has been altered, and how that changes the Azeroth we know and love today. The answer is very simple: it doesn't. Not in the slightest. That alternate Azeroth, and whatever future it may hold, has no bearing on Warlords of Draenor at all. We won't be exploring that world, and our Azeroth remains unchanged.

However, people still continue to ask. So we're going to take a little trip into that alternate reality and explore what that version of Azeroth would theoretically look like without the Dark Portal. We're going to explore this alternate world, take a look at what likely never came to pass, and what happened as a result. And then we're going to quietly put all of that away, because this is all information and events that we are not going to see in Warlords of Draenor. But it'll be nice to get it out of our systems, won't it?

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

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Faction short story Over Water now available

New Faction Short Story Over Water
It's only appropriate that the faction short story for the Anglers involve one of the biggest fish tales ever. Just released on the official site, Over Water by Ryan Quinn isn't quite as Anglers-centric as one would initially think. In fact, the faction isn't even mentioned by name. But, as it's becoming clear with these faction stories, the tales universally have less to do with the factions, and more to do with the characters in the stories learning lessons about themselves. Over Water illustrates this in a big way.

Tarlo Mondan is not a happy man. A member of the Alliance, he looks at the outcome of the war -- the Siege of Orgrimmar and new Warchief firmly included -- with bitter disdain. Oddly enough, he seems to share a lot in common with many Alliance players, dissatisfied with conclusion of the Pandaren campaign and wondering exactly what he'd gotten out of the whole mess while traveling home by sea. Unfortunately, a heavy storm knocks Tarlo overboard, and the ship sails off without him -- which is really where the story begins.

Left adrift, Tarlo is rescued by a trio of pandaren fisherman with a tale unlike any other -- and hidden within that tale, and the journey, is a lesson for Tarlo to learn. Taking place after Garrosh's defeat, Over Water feels a lot more introspective and subtle than prior short stories. It offers a glimpse into the heart of the Alliance through the eyes of a lone soldier, something we really haven't seen much of lately. I don't know exactly what I expected out of an Anglers story, but Over Water left me pleasantly surprised -- it's an incredibly well-written tale. You can read Over Water over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The fate 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.

In a recent edition of The Queue, one of our readers asked a question regarding the fate of Garrosh Hellscream in patch 5.4. It was a question that many players have actually been asking ever since Garrosh's fate was revealed. In the interests of avoiding spoilers, I won't mention that fate here, but be forewarned that this edition of Know Your Lore is chock full of spoilers for patch 5.4 that discuss the situation in full.

Garrosh Hellscream's journey began as leader-in-training for a remote, tiny village in Outland. Clouded with shame over his father's misdeeds, Garrosh was listless, depressed, and convinced that he was destined to lead his people down the same dark path that his father had. In the years following his introduction, Garrosh has discovered his father's heroic sacrifice, strove to live up to his name, eagerly sought to strengthen the Horde, and then promptly fulfilled his own sad vision of the future, leading his "True Horde" down a path of darkness that eerily echoed the familiar refrain of the Old Horde from so long ago.

Please note: There are spoilers for patch 5.4 immediately following the break. If you are avoiding spoiler content for the Siege of Orgrimmar, run away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Mists of Pandaria that never was

The Mists of Pandaria that never was
It wasn't until after a few weeks of raiding Siege of Orgrimmar that it really hit me: Mists of Pandaria is winding down. Unless Blizzard has a fast one up its sleeve, this is the last tier of raiding before the new expansion, whatever that happens to be. It seems almost too fast, seeing as how we've just hit the one-year anniversary for Mists, but at the same time the faster pace has left me very little time to be bored. Between patches with raid content and patches with quest content, there has always been something to do -- and in patch 5.4, we get not only a new raid, but a delightful island on which to while away the hours.

And I was flying to the Timeless Isle to go farm a rare mob or two when I started thinking about the expansion as it comes to its end. More specifically, the Jade Forest. A lush, tropical paradise the likes of which we hadn't really seen in such scale, the gorgeous scenery and introductory quests ushered players through what ended up being an emotional, gripping, and overall entertaining roller coaster of an expansion. But there's a catch to that. Once upon a time, the Jade Forest wore a very different face -- and had it gone live, Pandaria itself may have looked very, very different to players.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Requiem for innocence lost

Image
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.
Two households, both alike in dignity (In fair Verona, where we lay our scene), From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
I have to admit it -- Siege of Orgrimmar is one hell of a raid. Not only is it full of epic encounters, but there are little moments of lore sprinkled throughout the raid, for those that pay attention. In this, the final raid of Mists of Pandaria, we see our fair share of loose ends wrapped up, and learn the fates of many of the cast of characters that we've helped throughout our journeys in Pandaria.

Of course we have Lorewalker Cho, there for the last raid just as he was there by our sides in the first. And we find out what happened to Taran Zhu after the Siege of Orgrimmar cinematic, in which he confronted Garrosh Hellscream. Yet there are other pandaren involved in Alliance and Horde affairs -- pandaren played by people like you and I, who came from a Wandering Isle, not so long ago. And that story, too, reaches an end of sorts ... and not the kind ending we might have hoped for.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for events that take place within the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Escape from Orgrimmar

Spoilers for Siege of Orgrimmar in this post. The whole post, pretty much past this line. I wouldn't keep reading if I wanted to avoid those.

Yesterday I wrote a piece I intended as satirical. Besides giving me a big ol' reminder of Poe's Law, I learned the following:
  • What I think is an absolutely ridiculous scenario -- the destruction of Orgrimmar by the Alliance following the Siege -- is not only plausible to some players, it's actually desired by some.
  • Even people who oppose the idea treated it as one that is not ridiculous, or if it is ridiculous, is a real argument made by other players.
  • That is because it is a real argument made by other players. I had managed to miss that. I had read suggestions for a garrison in Orgrimmar, for forcing reparations (the return of seized lands, for example) but I had not actually seen players make an argument for the destruction of Orgrimmar itself.
  • No matter how ridiculous you think your idea is, someone is already surpassing you.
While I don't apologize for writing the piece, I am now clearly aware that it didn't work. The problem becomes that I don't see how it could. What could I possibly have suggested that would be so ludicrous that it would be immediately apparent as farcical? Suggesting that the Alliance make stew meat of the Horde, perhaps?

I'm not writing this post to bemoan my less than deft hand, however. Instead, since I've discovered that some people really think that the game should have a major faction capital city get destroyed and its population scattered across Kalimdor, I've decided to list all the ways that would be a terrible idea for the game as well as the story.

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

Know Your Lore: The future of the Horde

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.

It's been an interesting couple of expansions for the Horde. Cataclysm saw Warchief Thrall step down from the leadership role that players were accustomed to, and appoint Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief in his stead. Mists of Pandaria saw Hellscream take that leadership role to an extreme that resulted in all-out war between Alliance and Horde, with the pandaren and the continent of Pandaria unceremoniously chucked into the middle of it all. Hellscream's reign has been brought to an end in patch 5.4 -- but where does this leave the Horde?

Warchief Hellscream's notorious visions of a new future ended up dividing the Horde, and his caustic treatment of the non-orc races drove a wedge into the faction that ultimately culminated in the events of 5.4. The end of his stint as Warchief brought about a new leader ... but what comes after the dust has settled? Will the Horde recover from the damage done by Hellscream? And what does the future of the Horde hold, now that Hellscream's reign is over?

Please note: There are spoilers for patch 5.4 immediately following the break. If you are avoiding spoiler content for the Siege of Orgrimmar, run away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

Dear Jaina
Dear Jaina,

I'm not in the habit of writing letters to fictional characters, but in the face of what we've all seen yesterday, it seemed like as good a time as any to start. Look, I realize this is going to be hard to accept, but your fate isn't exactly in your hands. What you want, and what you'll get, are two entirely different things -- and it might not be fair. It might not be particularly right. It certainly isn't going to feel very good, but the influence you hold only goes so far. And in this case, you can't exactly order around a king.

But let's look beyond that for a second, all right? Because honestly, you seem to be more than a little irritated, justified or not. And I remember who you used to be, a long time ago. I remember a lady who was a bastion of rational thinking, one who looked before she leapt, made sound judgments, and realized that in this big, wide, crazy world of Azeroth, things aren't always black and white, good and evil. Sometimes, most of the time in fact, they lay somewhere in between.

So I'm wondering, Lady Proudmoore -- who are you?

This post contains huge spoilers for patch 5.4, including the end cinematic for the Siege of Orgrimmar. Reader beware!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The haunting refrain of the Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The haunting refrain of the Mists 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.

This column had a different subject earlier today. I was going to talk about the Warchief situation leading into patch 5.4, as we'll be playing through that content on Tuesday. But as I was gathering screenshots of relevant questlines and information on my Alliance alt, I flew absently into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and happened upon the above scene, coming to a full stop and simply sitting there as I took it all in. Refugees. Hundreds of them, happily filing into the Vale just after the gates were opened and talking excitedly about the golden valley that was certain to be a verdant new homeland for those that had suffered at the hands of the yaungol and Zandalari in Kun-Lai.

And it hit me like a particularly vicious kick to the gut. It's been so long since I unlocked the Vale and leveled through that content last year that I'd forgotten this idyllic little scene, before all the chaos erupts. You, the player, are the hero of all of these pandaren -- you are the one who fought back the yaungol, the Zandalari, and offered these people a glimmer of hope. You're the person that single-handedly convinced the August Celestials to open the gates of the Vale and offer refuge to those that had lost their homes in Kun-Lai.

And you're the one that allowed what's going to happen in patch 5.4.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on how it happened. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore. Please note: There are some spoilers for patch 5.4 content in this post.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The mysterious disappearance of Varian Wrynn

Know Your Lore The mysterious disappearance of Varian Wrynn
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.

As a leader of the kingdom of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn's track record leaves much to be desired. Swayed by tragedy and the sneaky, manipulative claws of a particularly clever black dragon, Varian was completely out of the picture in vanilla, at which point the surrounding human territories began a decline from which they have yet to fully recover. Varian returned in Wrath, and promptly began the campaign to wipe out the Lich King, sending his best soldiers north.

While the campaign in Northrend was successful, we also saw the beginnings of the clashes between Varian and the Horde -- clashes that would continue in Cataclysm, and ramp up with alarming speed in Mists of Pandaria. Or ... that's what we thought we'd see. In truth, Varian's spent much more of this expansion absent than he has being a driving force for the Alliance. Where has Varian been, and what has he been doing?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Community Manager Zarhym on game design vs. story development

Zarhym on game design vs story development
It's always interesting seeing the blue team's thoughts on World of Warcraft, whether on the community, or the development of the game itself. Community Manager Zarhym had some profound words to share this week regarding the interviews we've been seeing for patch 5.4, and the challenges of setting up community interviews with the different developers. There's been a big, ongoing debate amongst players regarding story development this expansion -- in particular, faction story development. Players feel that the Alliance story has been somewhat left behind this expansion, to say the very least.

Zarhym decided to chime in and comment not only on this topic, but on the topic of interviews in general, and how hard the story development team works on the story behind the game we love to play. Given that we've done several interviews with various developers over the course of Mists of Pandaria, it was nice to see Zarhym's thoughts on the matter. Read on for his post in full.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

What would be enough?

What would be enough
I play Alliance now. I've played Alliance primarily throughout my WoW career, although admittedly I played Horde over on Malfurion with some awesome folks local to Edmonton (Hi Vees) and again on Sisters of Elune with another group of people I really liked. (Hey Taken.) When I played Horde, I almost always played tauren because, well, I have significant problems with Horde storylines. My then-fellow Horde would always tell me about how they liked the Horde's underdog status, but I never saw that - I saw forsaken plague bombing people, orcs attacking their enemies when they were occupied fighting the Scourge, etc etc. The Horde was always the aggressors, I noticed - how were they the underdogs? Still, I liked the people I was playing with (still do, in fact) and so I kept going. Just because I didn't see the underdog thing didn't mean it wasn't real, and there are plenty of other reasons for faction preference.

Still I ended up back in the Alliance, as I always knew I would. I'm a draenei again, like I was in Wrath of the Lich King (and frankly, often in the same outfit) and I will admit here to favoring the Alliance in storylines. The Alliance is simply the group I sympathize with more, and Cataclysm definitely gave me plenty of fodder on that front. I know a lot of the changes were made to balance the Horde/Alliance leveling experiences, which were infamously disparate. It still ended up feeling like the Alliance was playing frozen side of beef in the Horde's upcoming "I did it, Adrian" montage. While I've since really enjoyed Mists of Pandaria, it hasn't entirely rinsed the bad taste I got leveling an alt through the Cata 1 to 60 game.

So it is from that perspective that I have to say that I don't really understand what, exactly, some Alliance players want to be the outcome of Patch 5.4 - it seems like all that will satisfy some players is the complete and utter destruction of the Horde and the uprooting of half the player base.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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