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Know Your Lore: Garrosh, Gul'dan, and 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.

Who is Garrosh Hellscream? And what, exactly, is his game? In the end, what is Garrosh ultimately looking for ... and what will he sacrifice to get it? It's one of those lingering questions from Mists of Pandaria that remains as of yet unanswered, but we're beginning to see the bits and pieces of the story, and we'll see more as Warlords is released and the new expansion's story unfolds. For now though, that question still plagues players -- what is Garrosh after? Why did he spurn the idea of warlocks in Siege of Orgrimmar, going so far as to have them strung up in the streets, yet embrace the methods of the dark shaman?

Garrosh isn't a character that can be easily understood. His motives -- and his morals -- seem to be all over the place, switching from merciful to merciless in an instant. And yet he's not the only piece to this puzzle -- in Warlords of Draenor, Gul'dan is already showing his face as a pretty prominent figure. Obviously Garrosh Hellscream knew of the Legion's evil when he traveled to this alternate Draenor -- he knew of his father's downfall. So why is Gul'dan still alive? Why wouldn't Hellscream, upon traveling to this alternate Draenor so similar to his own, flat out murder Gul'dan on sight and be done with it?

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

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

Warlords of Draenor and the absence of Aggra

Let me tell you a little about my sister. My sister is married, in her thirties, and has four children -- all boys -- ranging from four to sixteen. Her house is a wild cacophony of boys being boys and the calls of various animals that she's acquired. It's a mini-farm, if you will, full of chickens, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, a couple of snakes, and possibly a species or two that I've missed. In addition to raising four boys with her husband, she also owns her own business. She runs her own grooming company here in town, and is both the sole employee and owner, successful enough that she's usually booked for at least a month out, if not more.

In addition to that, she runs two Renaissance festivals a year, hauls her family to regular camp-outs with the faire crew, regularly plays D&D with the gang, and knows how to shoot a longbow and a black powder rifle (and is a pretty good shot with both of them), along with cannons and trebuchets. She's a dab hand at cooking at home and over a campfire out in the wild, knows how to kill, gut and butcher just about anything, and how to tan and stretch a hide. On top of all that, I've heard she's a marvel at breaking up fights, reading bedtime stories, wiping tears from faces, kissing boo-boo's away, and snuggling in the mornings when little ones are sleepy and grumpy about getting up for school.

And god help anyone that comes between her and her family.

I'm telling you this story not to brag about my sister, although I love her very dearly, but to make a point that seems to have been sorely missed somewhere in the story of Warcraft. My sister isn't just a wife and mother. She's a warrior. She's a fighter. She's a spark of ferocity that will not be quenched. Where is her counterpart in Warcraft? That's a really good question.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon

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

Know Your Lore: The legacy of the Mag'har

Know Your Lore The Mag'har
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.

Garrosh Hellscream's actions thus far in World of Warcraft have been, by and large, downright villainous and despicable. He's responsible for the murders of countless Alliance soldiers and civilians at both Northwatch Hold and Theramore -- and countless others over the course of his reign as Warchief. He's also responsible for the deaths of countless Horde -- some honorable, some not, all distinctly under the impression that being a member of the Horde brought certain advantages. Advantages like not having the Warchief order your execution over perceived slights.

Yet Garrosh's roots, oddly enough, are with a clan of orcs that pride themselves in the noble preservation of orcish society as it stood before the Burning Legion's influence. Small, yes, remote and isolated, yes, but they stood and continue to stand with pride in the face of corruption. Based in a remote corner of Outland, they are the Mag'har. Where did they come from, and how did they affect how Warchief Hellscream views the world today?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt?

Know Your Lore Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt
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 the expansion rolls on, we are lurching towards something that we've known was coming since the beta for Mists of Pandaria -- Garrosh Hellscream's downfall and the Siege of Orgrimmar. Yet what we didn't know that day that were were informed of the expansions focus, is just how the new Warchief's reign would end. And as the patches have continued to roll out, we have more of an idea and a solid picture of both the Alliance and the Horde's place in this conflict. Make no mistake, Hellscream has made far too many enemies in his short reign, both within and without.

Yet there are those who point out Garrosh's actions and the possibility that his actions may not be under his control. That perhaps he's been corrupted by the Sha while searching for power in Pandaria. Or perhaps the bones of Mannoroth that Garrosh uses as his throne still have some vestige of darkness that lingers within. Or that perhaps the Old Gods have been slowly leeching their influence into Garrosh. Regardless of the methods behind it, there are plenty of people all wondering the same thing -- is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt? Are we going to fight the Warchief, only to discover a far greater horror waiting for us?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The genesis of Garrosh Hellscream

Know Your Lore The genesis of Garrosh Hellscream SUN
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.

Garrosh Hellscream is almost an enigma in his own right. You wouldn't think that, by first glance -- after all, right now he fits the bill of brutal orc bent on global domination. But Garrosh's story has had so many moments between the depressed and unwilling would-be leader of Garadar, and the bloodthirsty warleader of Mists of Pandaria that it's difficult to determine where, exactly, he went from point A to point B. I've been asked about it before by many, but KyleCaligiuri phrased it really well, so I'll reprint the question here.

Is there some piece of lore I'm missing explaining Garrosh's actions between Cataclysm and Tides of War? Shattering helped put a *bit* of a positive light on Garrosh after WotLK, I felt, since he was remorseful about what happened with Cairne (in that he didn't want to win by cheating...) and I felt his leader short story did as well, if I remember correctly. I'm now playing through the Horde campaign finally, and the events in Stonetalon further point that he is all about honor and pride in the Horde. Also, Ragefire Chasm is all about defeating the dark shaman so that they don't end up with another threat like the Twilight's Hammer or Burning Blade. Yet, this is all contradicted in Tides of War, where he drops a bomb just as Krom'gar did in Stonetalon, and embraces the dark shaman. I'm only up to Desolace right now in the Horde campaign, so do we see his progression toward the more corrupt Garrosh, or is this still yet to be explained?

It's that disconnect between moments that confuses people. Garrosh may be many things, but two-dimensional is not one of them. Who is Garrosh Hellscream, and how did he find his way to this path that flies in the face of his previous actions?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Why Garrosh Hellscream shouldn't die

Know Your Lore Why Garrosh Hellscream should not die SUN
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.

Garrosh Hellscream is one of the most polarizing figures in Warcraft lore at the moment. You either hate him or love him, and there are very few players who stand somewhere in the middle. Ever since his introduction in The Burning Crusade, Garrosh's journey has been a series of ups and downs, starting with the moment that then-Warchief Thrall showed Hellscream how his father died. It was as a hero to the orcish race, and Garrosh has spent the majority of his time on Azeroth trying to live up to that heroic image.

It's a tough role to fill. And in the press event for Mists of Pandaria, it was revealed that Garrosh would be taken down, his role as warchief ended. Given all of the chaos Garrosh has sown in his short reign as warchief, it's no wonder that it's not just the Alliance gunning for the warchief's downfall -- the Horde isn't particularly happy with him, either. So it seems entirely likely that Garrosh will fall, his reign will end, and the world will move on.

And frankly, Garrosh's death is the worst possible thing that could happen.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The haunting legacy of Grom 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.

I chose Garrosh because he has the strength to lead our people through these trying times. For all my supposed wisdom, there have been moments that I've barely been able to hold the Horde together. The Wrath Gate and Undercity displayed that clearly.

The Horde cries for a hero of old. An orc of true blood that will bow to no human and bear no betrayal. A warrior that will make our people proud again. Garrosh can be that hero. I did not make this decision lightly, Vol'jin.

I know our alliances will suffer for it. I know the Horde will be irreversibly changed. But I made this choice with confidence that Garrosh is exactly what the Horde needs. I'm trusting you and the other leaders to not let this divide our people. You are stronger than that.

Let's just cut to the chase here: It was revealed in the press event information that Garrosh Hellscream, current Warchief of the Horde, will have his reign abruptly ended in Mists of Pandaria. The son of the great Grom Hellscream will no longer be Warchief, and it's not only the Alliance that will be participating in his dethroning -- it's the Horde as well. Though it may seem like a rash course of action, in all honesty, this has been coming for a very, very long time.

After all, he is the son of Hellscream.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Shattering, part 3

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.

Garrosh Hellscream is probably one of the most contentious additions to the Cataclysm expansion. Oh sure, he existed all the way back in The Burning Crusade, but he wasn't Warchief at that point in time. Nobody thought for a moment that the depressed Orc in Garadar would one day be leading their characters into battle against the Lich King. And nobody dreamed that Garrosh would one day be sitting on the Horde's throne.

It wasn't so much the surprise of the situation that people took issue with, however. Instead, it had much to do with Garrosh's attitude throughout Wrath of the Lich King. Headstrong, ruthless and downright bloodthirsty, Garrosh's decisions in Wrath didn't ring right or true with the playerbase. Even more jostling to players was the notion that despite the player dislike of the character, the NPCs of the world loved the guy. It may very well be the first time that a large chunk of a faction's players have blatantly disagreed with a fictional NPC faction -- and the NPC faction won out.

The Shattering makes it clear that Garrosh's position is only temporary, but in Cataclysm, he's certainly attacking the job with gusto.

Today's Know Your Lore contains pretty much every possible spoiler that exists for the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden. If you're avoiding spoilers, run away! Run away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Garrosh Hellscream, part 1


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's Know Your Lore with Thrall left the former Warchief in Nagrand, seeking guidance not only in regards to the raging elements of Azeroth but his own life as well. The former Warchief knew he couldn't step down without leaving someone in charge, and so he had to pick a temporary successor. It was his choice, however, that baffled and angered many World of Warcraft players -- rather than picking someone well known like Saurfang, or perhaps giving Vol'jin a chance to shine, Thrall chose Garrosh Hellscream.

Garrosh's life has been anything but easy. First introduced in The Burning Crusade expansion, Garrosh was apparently -- let's face it -- a petulant crybaby who couldn't even muster the interest to lead the people of Garadar when the impending death of Greatmother Geyah approached. It was up to us as players to convince young Hellscream that life would be all right without the Greatmother, but he simply refused to listen. It wasn't until Thrall visited Nagrand that Hellscream finally stepped up, in a much larger capacity than anyone imagined.

But where did young Garrosh come from? What was his life before we encountered the sulky, unwilling leader of the uncorrupted orcs of Nagrand? What caused him to be so fearful of stepping up to lead? And more importantly, why exactly is he fit to lead the Horde, a much larger group of individuals than that tiny village, when he couldn't be bothered to step up in Garadar?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Go'el, son of Durotan

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 character Thrall has been a mainstay and a highlight figure in Warcraft lore since his first appearance in Warcraft 3 and the novel Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden. We've covered Thrall and his history before on Know Your Lore, particularly in the current orc politics article, which went over the situation with Thrall and Garrosh Hellscream. Since the release of that article, certain things have been revealed that make another short look at the former Warchief of the Horde necessary.

Thrall has always been a fascinating character to myself and many others. Originally, he seemed to be designed as a simple "true hero" for the brutal orcs to follow, a beacon of honor and integrity in an otherwise incredibly violent, savage society. With Thrall, we were introduced to an orc who had the misfortune of losing both of his parents when he was just a baby, an orc raised in slavery for the amusement of Blackmoore. But a deeper look into the character revealed several intrinsic flaws with the hero that were openly explored the further we progressed into World of Warcraft's storyline.

Please note: The following article contains spoilers for The Shattering by Christie Golden. If you'd like to remain unspoiled, veer away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

PvP all day, everyday: In Defense of Halaa (A) or Enemies, Old and New (H)


Patch 2.4 breathes new life into World PvP with a pair of new daily quests in Terokkar Forest and Nagrand. The Nagrand quest involves killing enemy players in Halaa and has made control of the center island, at least on PvP servers, more volatile. There are two versions of the Halaa PvP daily quest, one for the Alliance which can be obtained from Lakoor in Telaar; and the other for the Horde which can be obtained from Karrtog in Garadar. The quest objective is simple: kill 10 enemy players in Halaa. Unless I'm mistaken, it is the first and only player kill quest in World of Warcraft, making it something of a milestone and -- I hope -- a sneak peek into Lake Wintergrasp.

The Alliance quest In Defense of Halaa enlists the aid of players to defend or recapture Halaa, which appears to be a Draenei outpost due to its architecture. The Horde equivalent, Enemies, Old and New, asks players to aid in the fight against the Draenei and their new allies. The quest becomes available to players at Level 66 and rewards 179 Honor points, 12,650 experience, 4 Gold 50 Silver, and 500 Reputation with the respective factions of Kurenai or the Mag'har. At Level 70, the quest awards 209 Honor, 11 Gold 99 Silver, and 500 Reputation every time the quest is completed. The reputation gain is substantial and is a nice bonus.

The quest can be completed while in a Raid group, and it's highly recommended to do it as one big group because the quest objective of slaying ten enemy players will only count if a member of your group made the killing blow. Unlike normal kill quests, tagging targets isn't important, only the killing blow. Being part of a big group increases the chances that the kill will count. Like normal kill quests, however, you have to be in the general vicinity of the Honorable Kill in order for it to count. As with all Honorable Kills within the vicinity of Halaa, players receive a Halaa Battle Token. This quest makes it easier to accumulate the 100 tokens required for one of the best Resilience gems in the game, the Sublime Mystic Dawnstone. It is also shareable, so players don't need to run back to Garadar or Telaar if there's already an ongoing battle.

Note that the quest isn't to capture Halaa, so players can simply engage in battle, get kills and leave. For more information about the PvP daily quest in Halaa, be sure to check out the guide I wrote up. The same benefits apply to capturing the island, such as the availability of vendors and the zone-wide buff so players may consider staying at the island long enough to convert it, anyway. Remember that the controlling faction also controls the adjacent Graveyard, giving them an advantage during battles on the island. Assaulting players will typically have to run from the Graveyard directly North of Halaa, so players who die should prepared to run a long way.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Quests

New World PvP quests: Your daily dose of war!

I was one of the lucky few that was able to copy my character and log onto the public test realm over the weekend. Playing more than I probably should have, I was able to check out all the new daily quests and snap screenshots of much of the new content. In the midst of my frenzied trek around Outland and the Isle of Quel'danas (the new zone that hosts the upcoming dungeons), I made certain to check out the two new PvP daily quests mentioned in the patch notes. These are not the new Battlegrounds Daily PvP quests that are being introduced with the same patch, but all new quest options for World PvP objectives.

First off, I headed to Allerian Stronghold in Terokkar Forest. Near the Spirit Shard vendor, I found a new NPC, Exorcist Sullivan, offering that zone's daily quest. The objective is simple enough, merely help in the capture of one of the Spirit Towers in the Bone Wastes. In return you'll be awarded some cash and honor: 11 gold, 99 silver and 209 honor, to be exact. While I haven't been able to check out the Horde version of the quest yet, I'd imagine the NPC should be easy to spot in Stonebreaker Hold, near Spirit Sage Gartok, the Horde Spirit Shard vendor.

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Filed under: Patches, PvP, Quests

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