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Posts with tag Hellscream

New Hellscream Short Story available now

If you're curious about exactly what is going on with Garrosh, Kairoz, and the Draenor we're all about to find ourselves on, then you'll want to read Hellscream, the new short story by Robert Brooks that's up on the official site right now. It goes into detail, bridging the gap between the end of War Crimes and the beginning of the expansion. How does Garrosh motivate the orcs of Draenor to become the Iron Horde? Well, that's exactly what this story covers.

Without spoilers, it's definitely an interesting read, and it gives us a sense of what the major actors are up to, especially Garrosh and Kairoz. Head on over to the official site and check it out.

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

Siege of Orgrimmar and the world of the idea

Siege of Orgrimmar and the ideas we experience in World of Warcraft
Last night while raiding Orgrimmar, specifically while coming into the gates of the city past the Iron Juggernaut, I had this intense feeling of recognition layered with the discontinuity changes bring. It's a similar feeling to when you go back to the city or town you grew up in after a few years. Things have changed, but you still recognize most of it - tiny flashes of memory jump out, saying (in this case) "Hey, remember hovering over Grommash Hold in your flying mount waiting for raid" and then "This was always my favorite Auction House, I wonder if I left anything up before I switched factions" but at the same time the cages and wandering Kor'kron mobs lent a surreal air to the whole experience.

I'd spent the whole night distracted anyway by the little touches of the raid so far - the fight with the Fallen Protectors started a chain of thought that stayed with me. These people were dead because, in part, of actions I'd taken while I was playing as Horde. After all, I stood next to Garrosh in the Shrine of Two Moons as he said that he would learn from the mogu. I helped him steal the Divine Bell from Darnassus. I watched him use it on Ichi, discarding a loyal servant like a broken toy when it didn't work. And more of course - I served Hellscream in breaching the Jade Forest, bringing the war that my faction was waging to foreign shores, and disrupted the cycle of rebirth for the Jade Serpent, loosing the Sha upon the forest. I snuck into Theramore and freed the Horde agent who helped keep Alliance civilians in the city for the bomb to destroy.

Now of course, I didn't actually do any of those things because it is a game. Garrosh Hellscream is a voice actor's craft and a mass of pixels reading lines written by Blizzard's team of writers. What I find interesting, and overlooked at times by players like myself, is the opportunity to muse on the ideas presented to us by the game. What would it be like to return to Orgrimmar as a soldier invading it? What would it feel like to bear a certain responsibility for the ruin of a peaceful valley, the destruction of people who had only sought to protect their home? To see a beautiful land scarred by a monstrous act, and know that the act couldn't have happened without your assistance, however small, and however deeply you regretted it? For me, part of the fun of playing the game is in thinking differently than I usually do, to explore the ideas presented by the story as I move through it. I mean, at one point we actually have to kill pride. That's the subtext leaping forth from the head of the text, that is.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard presents Siege of Orgrimmar raid preview with Ion Hazzikostas


If you've managed to avoid spoilers, then don't read this post over at Blizzard's official site, because it goes into great detail on what the big patch 5.4 raid is all about, complete with commentary with Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas. If, however, you're like me and you just can't get enough detail on this kind of thing, then here are a few details from the long overview I found particularly interesting. Each and every one of them is a spoiler, so be warned.
  • The first encounter, Immerseus, is one that us old players "may find the fight structure somewhat reminiscent of Viscidus in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj."
  • The Galakras encounter is rooted in the lore of the Twilight Highlands quests Horde side, and also has that storming the beaches feel to it, with multiple waves of enemies to deal with before the boss himself.
  • When talking about the Dark Shaman encounter, Ion says "The attire for these two wolfriders was inspired by the traditional Warcraft III Shaman unit, and we're excited to be able to give lucky Shaman players a chance to earn that look for themselves by defeating this encounter." He's specifically talking about these.
  • The Spoils of Pandaria encounter isn't a fight with a traditional 'boss' as such, but rather your raid trying to shut down a 'security system' before it overwhelms you.
  • The Garrosh Hellscream encounter is definitely going to hearken back to Pandaria itself - "As Garrosh wields the power of Y'Shaarj-origin of all the sha-players must battle through some of the most memorable locations where the sha manifested in Pandaria"
There's a lot of detail to sift through, so again, if you're the curious type definitely take a look at the post. I'll be scouring it over and over again over the next few days.

Filed under: Blizzard, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Hellscream is not my Warchief

Hellscream is not my warchief ANY
Sometimes, it's not just about the race you choose to play -- it's about how the story behind it is handled. Matthew Rossi wrote an interesting piece about how the race one plays has a direct effect on how one approaches the story in the game. Playing an orc and keeping in mind what it is to be an orc makes Garrosh and his plans look infinitely more appealing than one would consider straight off the bat.

But on the other end of the equation, there are lots of Horde players who don't play an orc. Take me, for example -- while I started out as a Forsaken priest, I've now played a blood elf rogue for far longer. To me, Hellscream's actions are questionable at best, horrific beyond imagining at worst. Yet here I am, still playing Horde and carrying out the orders of Hellscream. The why of it all is the part that is an incredibly clever design move on the part of the story development team.

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

Hellscream is my warchief

Hellscream is my warchief
The choice of what race you play in the game can be more significant than I'd understood. Usually, whenever I roll a Horde toon, I play a tauren. As a result, my point of view has always skewed towards that of the tauren NPC's like Baine and Cairne. I found certain Horde quests distasteful and couldn't get into how the Horde seemed to be getting more bellicose as Cataclysm developed, much less the full on 'war were declared' mindset of Mists of Pandaria. Doing the Horde side quests on my tauren, I always felt mindlessly violent and that I was simply making things worse everywhere I went.

Cut to a few months down the road, and I'm playing as an orc. Suddenly, I have absolutely no problem with what I'm doing. The entire Dominance Offensive has been incredibly refreshing because trying to get into the mindset of an orc has made it all very simple. It's not fair to call orcs simple exactly, but you could call them elemental, in a way -- going all the way back to their tribal roots on Draenor, when survival was paramount and life was a struggle. There's a pure Darwinism to it all, the strong take what they need or they aren't strong at all.

In many ways, I see the Horde through new eyes. While Matthew Rossi, the human being writing this article likes them even less now in a lot of ways -- seeing the Horde constantly taking aggressive action then complain and whine when they get hit back always annoys me, for instance -- I'm enjoying playing Horde a lot more now, because I can finally understand how someone could follow Hellscream willingly. If anything, Garrosh Hellscream isn't perverting the Horde or the orcish character at all. He's the ultimate fulfillment of it.

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

Prepare for Pandaria: Transmogrify your way into Hellscream's Vanguard

Prepare for Pandaria Transmogrifying your way into Hellscream's Vanguard THUR
It's almost time to hit the seas and head to Pandaria, so why spend these last few weeks pulling together a set to look the part? Last time, we covered the unique look of the Ravenholdt elite, a black and blue leather number with a snazzy sword to boot. This isn't just a Ravenholdt uniform. It's also used by the Blacktalon Watchers that work as the eyes and ears of Wrathion the Black Prince in Mists of Pandaria.

Speaking of Pandaria, in order to head to Pandaria's shores, players must complete quests in their respective capital cities. From there, you hop aboard an airship and make your way to the mysterious, mist-cloaked isle. For the Horde, this means a trip with General Nazgrim and a select force of Hellscream's Vanguard, whose black, brown and gold set makes a pretty distinctive look.

If you're going to head to Pandaria as part of Garrosh's forces, you may as well find a uniform that fits -- if you're a plate wearer, that is. Thankfully, most of this set is quite easy to obtain, with one glaring exception that can be substituted with something similiar, with a little creativity.

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Filed under: Transmogrification

Know Your Lore: The orcs, part 2

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.

One of the problems in covering the history of the orcs is that after the Rise of the Horde period, we've done it already quite a few times. The history of the orcs is the history of the Horde. Just in covering Orgrim Doomhammer's life, we've covered the formation of the Horde to a great extent.

What's interesting when considering the orcs as a people is how they were betrayed by their own virtues. The orc tendency to revere the spirits, their genius at preserving clan individuality yet coming together in times of crisis, their willingness to respect their elders and heed their wisdom -- all of these traits were twisted under first Ner'zhul and then Gul'dan. While Ner'zhul was proud, even arrogant, his initial actions in kindling the war against the draenei were sincere. He believed that the spirit of his dead wife Rulkan had returned to warn him of the draenei threat, accompanied by a "great one" who would teach Ner'zhul new magics to use to protect his people.

No matter Ner'zhul's flaws, it cannot be denied he was sincere. Yes, he hungered for power and respect (even though he was in fact powerful and respected) and yes, he prosecuted the war with the draenei when he really only had the word of Kil'jaeden that the draenei were evil and plotting against the orcs. And yes, Ner'zhul ignored for a time that he was losing the respect of the ancestor spirits and that the elements grew distant from him. He put himself ahead of his role as elder shaman. It cannot and should not be denied. But even in his most aggressive moments, Ner'zhul was neither blind nor a fool. He began to realize that his spiritual advisor, Kil'jaeden, resemble a draenei and hated Velen with a fervor the orc could barely comprehend. He began to wonder why the spirts would not speak to him.

And so he made his way to Oshu'gun.

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

Know Your Lore: The Kor'kron, fists of the Warchief

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.

They are the fists of the Warchief, whoever he is. They are the sworn honor guard, the advance force, the first into the fray and the last to leave. They are Kor'kron. What other forces in the Horde can aspire to be they have already been. Since the founding of Orgrimmar, they have advanced the cause of the Horde anywhere the battle has been joined, fighting against Illidan's forces in Shadowmoon Valley, pushing against the Lich King in Northrend, throwing the traitorous Varimathras back to the pit in Undercity. Now you can find them seeking to drive the humans into the sea on the new islands near Vashj'ir or fighting the Twilight's Hammer in the Highlands.

They are Kor'kron. They know only victory or death. Their loyalty is absolute.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Baine, son of Cairne, chief of the Bloodhoof tauren


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 son is not the father, but the son does not try to be. Baine, son of Cairne, now leads the tauren of Mulgore from Thunder Bluff. While we take no praise away from the old bull, now is the time to acknowledge the new, to celebrate the spirit and strength of Baine. Growing to adulthood in the shadow of so great a figure, Baine has grown from a callow youth to a steady leader and finally to the shu'halo who planned and executed the deliverance of his people from Magatha and her Grimtotem.

It was Baine who defeated the rebel tribe of Grimtotems and yet showed mercy when his father's ultimate murderer came under his judgment. It was Baine who chose to forgo revenge for Garrosh Hellscream's role in his people's loss, in his own bereavement. He could have challenged Garrosh, and without any elder crones to poison the orc warchief's weapon, he most likely could have crushed Hellscream under his furious hooves. He chose not to. He chose his people's benefit, and the benefit of the Horde they are the heart and soul of, over the vengeance he could have sought. He chose others over himself.

Baine Bloodhoof learned his lessons at his father's side, yes. But do not take away from him his stepping out from such a great shadow. It was Baine who in the hour of greatest need stepped forth into An'she's light, saved his people, saved his father's dream, and preserved bonds of fellowship that would not have been hard to tear asunder.

Let us celebrate the life of Baine of the Bloodhoof tauren.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The Dragonmaw clan


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.

Warning: there will be spoilers for Cataclysm in this post.

They came to Azeroth with the Old Horde: orcs, much like any other tribe, loyal to Blackhand the Destroyer. Their fate under Blackhand was the same as any other orc tribe: defeat by the forces of Stormwind. Under the rise of the new warchief, Orgrim Doomhammer, the Dragonmaw would accompany the now victorious Horde north. There, they would move from a minor clan to a powerful force, supplying the Horde with an instrument they would use for victory thanks to the machinations of an ancient evil. They were the instrument that he used to defile his oldest foe, and the blood of the Aspect of Life and that of her offspring stained the Dragonmaw clan who used them so brutally.

Eventually, it came to an end. The Dragonmaw, however, did not. Driven from their conquered territory, the vast fortress of Grim Batol, some found their way back home to Draenor only to find that world now a shattered ruin. Others clung to holdings in Azeroth, even going so far as to ally with Rend Blackhand and his Dark Horde. What future can there be for these, the furthest fallen, who tumbled from heights of power and influence to find themselves the servants to other, darker forces than even they themselves could comprehend?

To discuss the future of the Dragonmaw, we must discuss their past.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Grommash 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.

He is the destroyer. Drinker of demon blood, first slave of Mannoroth, he who ushered in the Blood Curse and the bloody haze of rage and battle frenzy it woke in the orcish heart. He was in the vanguard of the army that stormed Shattrath, the last and greatest of the draenei cities, and no axe can be said to have slaughtered more of them. No hand was more stained, not Gorefiend, not Deadeye, not Bladefist. In a sea of names that denote battle hardened warriors, his name stands out.

He is the savior. He is the last survivor leading his people when most of their kind were imprisoned and defeated. He was the one who showed the young Thrall a free orc, taught him their language and pointed him to those who would show him his ultimate destiny. Tripped up by his fury and guilt, twice he stumbled back toward the blood haze that dominated his people, the curse he himself brought upon them. Finally, goaded beyond endurance, it is the same bellicose anger that has granted him his greatest successes and his greatest failure that frees his people.

Grom Hellscream drank the demon Mannoroth's blood and led his people into slavery. Grom Hellscream slew the demon Mannoroth and led his people out of slavery. Few beings can be said to be the best and worst of their people at once -- but then again, few people can say they are the Giant's Heart.

Who was Grommash Hellscream?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Free realm transfers announced

Blizzard poster Turrit announced yesterday that free realm transfers are being made available to address faction imbalance and overpopulation issues on the following PvE realms:
  • Aggramar (Alliance only)
  • Area 52 (Horde only)
  • Blackhand
  • Hellscream
  • Stormrage (Alliance only)
  • Thrall (Horde only)
  • Undermine
Destination realm:
  • Drak'thul
The free transfer period will run from Tuesday, May 25 (today) to Tuesday, June 1 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. However, Turrit did make a point of mentioning that Blizzard has a transfer goal in mind, and if it's reached, they may shut the free transfers down early. If you're on any of the affected realms and have been considering a transfer, this might be a good chance to save yourself $25.

To my surprise, it turns out Drak'thul was actually a PvP realm until very recently, and after a quick look at WoW Progress's list of U.S. realms, I have to agree it looks like the server needs some love. While it's possible the page hasn't been updated, it's apparent that the Drak'thul's raiders are struggling -- and there's some rather illuminating commentary in this thread (I'll grant I can't verify the accuracy) on how some of the server's troubles may have gotten their start. Two things come to mind: Blizzard's observations a year ago concerning only PvP realms being low-pop, and: what's happening on Cho'gall. Interesting.

The full announcement is past the cut.

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Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Icecrown Citadel raid buff has been buffed to 10%


Raiders rejoice (or despair depending on how you feel about it)! The Icecrown raid wide buff has been increased by an additional 5% to 10%. Anyway, if your raid has been on the brink of taking down some bosses but could not muster enough firepower, then the improved Strength of Wrynn or Hellscream's Warsong could be that extra push you need!

For more information and resources, check out WoW.com's Icecrown Citadel raid strategy and information page!

Filed under: News items, Raiding

Icecrown Citadel raid buffs live

If your guild has been struggling throughout the various bosses in Icecrown Citadel, then struggle no more! Icecrown Citadel raid buffs are now live. For the Alliance, it is called Strength of Wrynn and the Horde version of the buff is Hellscream's Warsong. For now, your health, healing done, and damage done are increased by 5%. It looks like it'll eventually cap out and end at 30% but who knows when that will be. All in all, the buffs will definitely help progression raids out. If your raid doesn't need the buffs, you can simply talk to your faction guy and tell him to go away. He'll ask you once just to confirm, but if you are sure, he'll disappear. We've known that the raid wide buffs would appear at some point but not exactly when.

Be sure to check out WoW.com's Icecrown Citadel raid strategy and information page!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding

That sinking sensation


There are a few quests I've done so far that have really made me squirm. I play Horde, and you just know that most things the Forsaken are wrapped up in are going to be kind of dodgy. A lot of our early questing in Northrend concerns the Apothecary Society's attempts to find a Scourge-specific plague (...right), and that doesn't end particularly well. I can sort of accept that, because the quest series skates a thin moral line between plausible deniability on the character's part as to the apothecaries' true intentions, and what actually ends up happening. But there's one quest in particular that has nothing to do with the apothecaries that really gave me pause. It's actually one that has an Alliance equivalent as well, although it ends somewhat differently there.

If you're not that far into Dragonblight quests and don't want to be spoiled, I'm putting it behind the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

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