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Posts with tag Alliance

Warlords of Draenor: The Iron Horde invasion, Alliance edition

Blasted Lands Maraad
One of the newer additions to the Warlords of Draenor beta is the Iron Horde invasion of the Blasted Lands. I'm a bit unsure as to whether this is a permanent change or if this is a testing phase for a temporary event, but the new flight point makes me lean toward permanent. You can grab the breadcrumb quest into this series from the Hero's Call Board in Stormwind, where you are told that Vindicator Maraad awaits you in the Blasted Lands. There's a convenient portal right next to the board so you can just hop on in and head over to the new quests.

Beyond this point lie some fairly hefty spoilers for the early part of Warlords of Draenor, so if you're trying to avoid those, pass this article by!

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mysterious portal appears in Stormwind

The latest beta build for Warlords of Draenor brought with it an odd anomaly with no explanation as of yet. A mysterious portal has appeared behind the mage tower in Stormwind City, one that bears a striking resemblance to every Emerald Dream portal we've ever seen present in game. At this time, there are no NPCs or anything present to indicate exactly what's up with the portal, however there is no Orgrimmar counterpart -- this is unique to Stormwind.

There's a few possibilities here. The most obvious is that this is somehow related to the Stormwind repairs mentioned last month on Twitter by Cory Stockton. After all, if you're going to fix a park, druid intervention sounds like a good plan, right? The other option is that this is somehow related to Draenor -- and those wild vines have the look of some of the savage greenery found on Draenor, while the tents have the same purple color as used by some of the orc clans. This seems sort of unlikely at this point, largely because there is no Orgrimmar counterpart.

While we don't know what exactly the portal is for, it's still cool to see additions and changes being made to Azeroth right alongside all the gorgeous new vistas and scenery we're checking out on Draenor. We'll have to wait and see what kind of NPC's pop up around the portal, or how exactly it's implemented as more beta builds are released. But for now, those hoping that this might be some sign of a future full-out Emerald Dream expansion -- I wouldn't hold your breath.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

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

Azeroth Choppers Episode 7, voting opens today

With the arrival of Azeroth Choppers episode 7, we'll finally have the chance to do the thing that the entire webseries was leading up to, namely to vote on a new mount favoring either the Horde or the Alliance. Which will you choose, that monstrosity with tank treads the other faction got, or the awesome bike with tank treads your faction got? Well, whichever you pick, the time to do so is now.

Are you excited for any of the bikes? Or just swept away by faction pride? Or are you like Anne, and you're literally insane to watch people build stuff? Personally I find the building aspect of the show to be absolutely riveting. Hah. Riveting. I made a joke.

Personally I'm hoping that the next webseries that Blizzard does is with the awesome Man at Arms people. Seriously, how cool would that be? Blizz can break up into teams again and design badass new Horde and Alliance specific weapons and have a real life version forged by Tony Swatton and his team. They've made the Buster Sword, they could probably handle Ashkandi. Ooh. Forget the competition. Just make Ashkandi. And then deliver it to my house.

Get ready to go vote for your favorite bike over on the official site.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

Faction, race, and World of Warcraft

Would it be World of Warcraft without the Horde and Alliance? Even if they don't need to be in direct conflict, do they need to be for it to be the Warcraft setting? It's certainly been argued in the past, both that the factions are absolutely necessary and that they are not. I've personally argued in the past that, whether or not the game has factions, it shouldn't prevent people from playing with their friends, but the counter argument must be considered - if I can play with my friends on the Horde side, and vice versa, what purpose do factions serve?

So let's actually ask that question, then - what purpose do factions serve in World of Warcraft?

We can break down the purpose of the faction divide as follows, at least in terms of intent.
  • Factions exist in World of Warcraft because at its heart, the setting was born in the original RTS. The factions help keep this flavor alive.
  • Factions allow for PvP content to be more channeled and to have team-building potential built right in. Horde players fight Alliance players, and vice versa. In the Warcraft setting, you always know who the enemy is.
  • Factions allow for more variety of experience. The quests differ - sometimes vastly so - and there can be elements at every point of the game that make use of the distinction between the factions.
There could be more arguments for factional divide - for instance, it's very hard to imagine a WoW where orcs and draenei were on the same faction - but let's discuss how these three work, or if they work.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

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.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Enter to win a signed copy of War Crimes by Christie Golden

Are you dying to learn the fate of Garrosh Hellscream, former Warchief of the Horde? War Crimes, the newest Warcraft novel by Christie Golden, sets the stage with Hellscream's trial and elegantly weaves together the stories and testimonies of Azeroth's major faces in a tale that is much, much more than a courtroom drama.

Thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, we've got not one, but two copies of War Crimes to give away, and each has been signed by Christie Golden! If you'd like a little more information on the book before entering the giveaway, feel free to take a look at our spoiler-free review.

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. ET, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can only enter once. Two winners will be chosen at random and we will contact you via whatever method you've used to comment. Official rules here.

Filed under: Blizzard, Contests

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

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