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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Light of the naaru

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.

First featured in the Burning Crusade expansion, the enigmatic naaru have been a constant, benevolent life-force in World of Warcraft -- strange creatures with some sort of eternal crusade against the darkness of the Legion. It was the naaru that saved Prophet Velen and his people when they were on the cusp of being claimed by the dark promises of Sargeras, the naaru that helped them flee, the naaru that taught them the Light. And it was the naaru who seemed to be playing a much, much longer game than anyone else, when Burning Crusade reached its end and the full scope of M'uru's plan was revealed.

Burning Crusade marked the second known occasion that the naaru willingly stepped into the lives of mortal races to pull them away from darkness and reach salvation -- although it's entirely possible they have done this before with other races, on other worlds we've never seen. This has always been presented as the noblest of causes. Yet despite all these altruistic actions, we really know very little about the naaru, where they came from, or ultimately why it is that they feel they must fulfill this task. Yet while Warlords of Draenor largely concerns the orcs and the Iron Horde, there are still a few clues -- just enough to expand that perception of the naaru a little more and raise a few more questions in the process.

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

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

Know Your Lore: The Blood Knights

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, we discussed the story behind the paladin's charger -- a unique mount that both dwarf and human paladins could obtain in vanilla WoW, and in Burning Crusade, the draenei. In addition to the draenei, Burning Crusade also introduced blood elves, and blood elf paladins. Unlike the noble paladins of the Alliance, these Blood Knights took the Light by force, siphoning it from the captured naaru M'uru and bending it to their whim.

Although the events of Burning Crusade and the restoration of the Sunwell dramatically changed the Blood Knights method of operation, we can't really forget where their origins began. It was a much darker place, a place born of Light lost, and the desperation of a downtrodden people to prove to the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with -- and perhaps prove the same to themselves, as well.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The hardest boss of WoW

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We've done analyses and retrospectives on various boss fights for years here at WoW Insider, and as a new raid looms large in patch 5.4, I started thinking about which boss might be considered the most difficult to ever grace World of Warcraft. It's not a simple question to answer, because of the diversity of fights we've seen in WoW over the years, as well as the way the game itself has evolved. I turned to the rest of the WoW Insider team for some opinions on this, and they quickly weighed in with typically interesting and thoughtful opinions. As can be expected with such a subjective topic and a good-sized group of people as the WoW Insider staff, opinions varied on which might be the hardest boss of all. Yet, four names in particular kept popping up.

1. C'Thun
Matt Rossi: If we're talking "hardest for people in the best gear available to do at the time", then C'thun. They HAD to nerf C'thun before anyone (and I mean anyone) could kill him without exploiting. For a group of level 60's in BWL/AQ gear, pre-Naxx, C'thun was the hardest fight. Not even Naxx fights compared. There has never been a fight tuned that high again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Know Your Lore, TFH edition: The true battle between Light and Darkness

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.
Even now, the true battle between the forces of Light and Darkness approaches. We will all be called to join, and in the face of this conflict, all mortal suffering will be meaningless.
Cataclysm is an expansion about the struggle to stop the end of the world and the struggle between Horde and Alliance. But in the 1-to-60 zone revamps, there are fascinating little bits of lore to be discovered. Most of these involve the Alliance/Horde conflict, but every now and again, you'll find a quest chain that leaves more questions than answers, more mystery than resolution.

One of these chains begins for Alliance players in the Swamp of Sorrows, and it seems to be harmless enough. A Broken draenei named Magtoor is on his deathbed, and Anchorite Avuun is desperately looking for a cure. In Magtoor's final moments, Prophet Velen appears and returns Magtoor to the embrace of the Light with a little speech, including the quote above. The quest chain is fairly straightforward ... until we start picking at the potential meanings of that phrase.

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.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lady Liadrin

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.

There have been many paladins in the lands of Azeroth. Some hail from other worlds, such as the Vindicators of the Draenei. Still others are newly come to their powers, such as the Sunwalkers of the Shu'Halo. Ultimately, to be a paladin is to trust in a greater power than yourself to be your sword, shield and balm against the forces that threaten all you hold dear.

Interestingly, the Horde has not one but two unique paladin orders formed in recent years. Of these two, the Blood Knights of the Sin'dorei are interesting not only for the means of their foundation, but also the evolution they have gone through. This evolution is mirrored by that of their Matriarch, Liadrin. A former priest who survived the Scourge onslaught on Quel'thalas and the destruction of the original Sunwell, she lost her faith in the Light and took up the power of a Blood Knight in order to show her spite and derision for the magical force that did nothing to save her city and her people. Yet in time, Liadrin would learn that things were not as they seemed, turning against the Blood Prince Kael'thas himself for the sake of her people.

Liadrin, the first Blood Knight, became in truth as well in power a paladin. All she had to do was suffer the destruction of everything she thought she knew.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

All the World's a Stage: Plot points for Blood Knights

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Many roleplay guilds run with a theme of some sort, whether it's a group of heroes all thrown together with a specific cause, a family or noble house, or even a rag-tag group of mercenaries. Those aren't the only themes available to play, however. World of Warcraft has several different organizations established in lore, and some players choose to place their characters in those organizations. It's a good way to root the character in the existing lore, but it's also an excellent way to help define the character you're playing. Due to popular request, over the next few weeks I'll be addressing some of Azeroth's major organizations and taking a closer look at each.

The Blood Knights of Silvermoon are a relatively new organization by Azeroth's standards, formed for one purpose and now practicing another. Though it could be stated that their story began and ended in The Burning Crusade, that's not exactly true. There are plenty of plot threads left hanging that Blood Knights can play with.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The Queue: Bubble bubble pop pop

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mathew McCurley will be your host today.

Oh boy, The Queue! Have I told you guys how much I love writing The Queue? When I'm not YouTubing or twittering, some of my most wonderful memories are sitting at my computer and browsing through your questions and ...

Ooooh, looks like someone just put a link into Mumble ...

...

...

...

Bubble bubble bubble pop. Happy Monday, ya'll.

jamie9966 asked:

At the start of the Burning Crusade, blood elf paladins got their powers by bending the light to their will, through M'uru who they held captive at the time. Since they no longer have M'uru in captivity, where do they now get their power from?

In the beginning, M'uru was the source of the Blood Knights' powers. It was thought to have been stolen, being ripped from the naaru forcibly. I was always a fan of the ruthless, almost sadistic way the blood elves bent the very light to their will because, well, at the time, it fit the race. After it was revealed that the naaru sort of sent M'uru, who full well knew what he was doing by letting the blood elves take some of his power to create the Blood Knights, that sadism sort of fell to the wayside.

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore Tinfoil Hat Edition: Mystery of the naaru


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.

Oh yes, we're going here again. Since the launch of The Burning Crusade, one of the most enigmatic mysteries of Warcraft lore has been the naaru, a race of creatures seemingly formed of pure energy that equates to what we in Azeroth know as the Light. We've discussed the naaru before in another Tinfoil Hat edition of Know Your Lore surrounding Elune and the history of the Light on Azeroth. However, there's been very little to suggest where these creatures come from or what their influence on the denizens of Azeroth ultimately means.

In last week's Know Your Lore, we theorized that Azeroth isn't just some simple planet that's been organized by the Titans. Instead, it may be that Azeroth is a weapon of some sort, quietly engineered by the Titans in the midst of their regular crusade of world organization in order to combat and perhaps, one day, defeat Sargeras. But where do the naaru, who led the draenei to Draenor and away from the influence of the Burning Legion, fit in? Why do the naaru seek to eliminate the Burning Legion? Are they in league with the Titans or simply working along the same lines as our creators?

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 why it happened. The events presented are events that happened in Azeroth's history, but the conclusions are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Prophet Velen, the light and the darkness


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.

There will be spoilers for Cataclysm in this post.

The Prophet Velen plays a long game. He thinks ahead and considers not only the past and the present but the future, which befits one who has lived for over 25,000 years and can see into the future (however malleable that future might become). To the Prophet, racial grudges, territorial acquisition, even revenge for injuries done to his people -- none of it matters. Even the great Cataclysm is unimportant. Because Velen has seen that all the battles we've fought are merely harbingers and the greatest conflict in the universe is approaching. And every son and daughter of the Light, no matter how tenuous his or her connection, no matter what forces he or she has chosen to consort with (be they divine, elemental, arcane or even fel), will have to make a choice and pick a side.

The final battle approaches. The world of Azeroth has been chosen. Good versus evil, light against darkness, life opposing death. What side will you choose?

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

Top five toughest and easiest raid bosses

Jinzuku over on Hyjal has a fun idea: list your top five toughest and easiest raid bosses. C'thun, M'uru, Kil'jaeden and Sarth 3D are appearing on most of the lists -- the old Four Horsemen and even C'thun's trash are also getting called out by Bornakk. Personally, I haven't raided much of the hardest content, but on the hard side, I'd have to say that General Rajaxx gave my guild a rough time, Ragnaros didn't go down easy, and Twin Emps didn't play well with us (or a lot of other guilds, either).

Easiest? Chess (duh), I always found Baron Geddon to be pretty easy (though no less fun), Attumen the Huntsman, and Venoxis was a knockover, too. But as you can see from the thread, people are all over the place -- some of the hardest bosses in the game for some were simple for others. And while some guilds fly through content, others can bump their heads on bosses for quite a while. I wouldn't put him on the hard list, but I know a few guilds I've run with had quite a bit of trouble with Moroes while they were first starting out.

And it's no surprise that most of the hardest bosses in the game came near the end of expansion cycles -- AQ40, Naxx, and Sunwell. A few people in the thread predict that we'll eventually see the Lich King on these lists, and given that Blizzard goes tough when you get a couple content patches into an expansion, that wouldn't be a surprise at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Bosses, Forums

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Paladin


This installment of All the World's a Stage is the fourteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

You might say that paladins are the guardians at the gates of hell -- they fight evil wherever it penetrates into their world and they take the fight to the evil's source in the hope of quenching it forever. Although they focus on guarding their people from undead and demonic forces on the rise, paladins actually stand against evil everywhere, including the evil in their own hearts.

Being a paladin means that you have a relationship of some sort with the Holy Light, that mysterious force of goodness and faith that flows to some degree within all living beings with positive intentions. Most paladins (and many priests) believe that when you do something that you believe to be good, the power of the Light increases in you and your connection to the rest of creation is strengthened, whereas doing something evil (such as acts of greed, despair, or vengeance) will darken the universe and weaken your connection to it. Whether this belief system is a religion or a philosophy is open to interpretation, and seems to depend in some part upon which race you are.

There are three sorts of paladins in World of Warcraft, aligned with the humans, the draenei, and the blood elves. All of these share certain similarities, but each has its own differences as well.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Dwarves, Paladin, Draenei, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a blood elf, part 2

Stealing the Light

At this point it is important to draw a distinction between the blood elves who followed Kael'thas and the naga through the portal into Outland, and the blood elves who stayed behind in Quel'thalas and Silvermoon City. They were still one faction at this point, but a number of differences were starting to appear. For one, although the blood elves in Quel'thalas were drawing on fel energies just like their brethren in Outland, they certainly weren't surrounded by demons like Illidan and all his minions all the time, not to mention the vast energies of the evil Twisting Nether, which surrounded all of Outland. Thus, the blood elves in Outland were saturated to overflowing in magic and power, while the blood elves in Quel'thalas were still rather hungry for it.

Therefore, Kael'thas thought it wise to send the gift of this captured naaru, named M'uru, back to Silvermoon City, so that his people there could have more energy to help quench their magical thirst. Soon, however, the blood elves of Quel'thalas found a way to start using this power of the Light rather than merely feeding on it, casting spells and blessings in the same way that human, dwarven, and draenei paladins could -- while the other races drew on the Light through the power of their faith, the blood elves learned to control it as it flowed through M'uru.

The first blood elf to take up this path of corrupted paladinhood was Lady Liadrin, who then founded the order of Blood Knights that became infamous throughout Azeroth and Outland alike. Thrall and the other leaders of the Horde disagreed with the methods the Blood Knights had employed, but could not deny their strategic value on the battlefield.

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Filed under: Horde, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you still want to be a blood elf, part 3



The Sunwell Redemption

The final tie between Kael'thas and Quel'thalas was broken when Kael'thas' minions returned to take back by force the naaru, M'uru, which he had once given to his kindred so freely. Lady Liadrin and her Blood Knights would have been left without any of their powers had the naaru A'dal not reached out a hand to save her and her people. Lady Liadrin was deeply regretful of what she and her Blood Knights had done to M'uru, but A'dal forgave them, saying that M'uru had known all along what his role would be in this unfolding drama. The naaru extended his own Light energies to Liadrin and her Blood Knights, and encouraged them to assist him to stop the terrible threat that Kael'thas now represented to all the people of Azeroth and Outland.

The former "Lord of the Blood Elves," now quite insane, had brought the remaining strength of his forces back to Azeroth and taken over the Sunwell Island, just across the channel from Silvermoon City, and planned to use the hidden energies of the Sunwell's magic to try and summon Kil'jaeden into the world. The blood elves and draenei of Shattrath united to overcome this threat, and as their forces ventured deeper and deeper into the Sunwell fortifications Kael'thas had set up, they found that M'uru himself was enslaved as a guard the site where Kil'jaeden would be summoned. The heroes were forced to destroy his weakened body and stop the entropic energies which now began to vacuum up all life around it as the last of his Light energies seemed to drain away.

At last, of course, the heroes faced Kil'jaeden himself at the site of the Sunwell (perhaps your own character was among them), and, with the help of some dragons, they drove him back into the Sunwell Portal, away from Azeroth. The draenei prophet Velen arrived, along with Lady Liadrin, and spoke to the heroes, as he placed the last remaining fragment of M'uru's body into the Sunwell. The result is one of the best scenes in Warcraft lore, which you too can look on, as the last spark of M'uru's life reignites the Sunwell with the energy of the Holy Light, restoring once and for all, that magical life energy the blood elves need, as well as something far greater, something with the power to rebirth the entire civilization of the blood elves: Faith.

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Filed under: Horde, Blood Elves, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Guides, RP, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Ask WoW Insider: Minimum raiding requirements


Every Monday, we put a question back to you readers, and see what you have to say about a current issue in the World of Warcraft. This week's question actually comes from our Guildwatch column -- Lugbruz is an officer in Reforged on Runetotem (they just downed M'uru -- grats!), and he has a question about how much you need to raid to be successful:

Are there other guilds who have a 3 night/week raid schedule (or less) who have enjoyed success in high-end raiding? We killed Mu'ru before the nerf and don't know of any other crew has gone so far with so little time. Our primary competition of the server was at equal progression with us pre-nerf and they're a 5 night/week crew.

We assume that 3 nights (4 hours per raid) is the minimum, but can endgame be done with less?

Lugbruz

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Ask WoW Insider, Bosses

PvE winners and losers in patch 3.0

I'm putting together a class-by-class prediction post on how the changes we'll see in patch 3.0 and beyond will wind up affecting PvE gameplay in Wrath, but it's probably a bit premature to make specific guesses while talents and skills are still being overhauled in the beta. Still, I think a few general trends (at least for 3.0) are pretty clear.

I'm calling it now; Paladins will fare best, but Shamans will be the hardest hit by the upcoming changes, especially with respect to raiding. I think this change is driven in no small part by Blizzard's realization that Sunwell-level raid guilds are hugely dependent on the party-specific buffs like totems and Heroism/Bloodlust that Shamans bring. The problem is that Shamans are still the least-played class, which has left raiding guilds desperate for a high-end population of Shamans that simply does not exist (especially Alliance-side). Making Shaman totems and Heroism/Bloodlust buff the entire raid (but heavily nerfing how often the raid can benefit from the latter) means the days of stacking Shamans (or trying to) are effectively over.

Paladin changes, especially for holy and retribution, are equally driven by Blizzard's experience with Sunwell. With absolutely breathtaking amounts of raid damage occurring, encounters were disproportionately weighted in favor of: a). healers with more raid-healing capacity, like resto Shamans and CoH Priests (something we heard from SK Gaming months ago) and b). DPS who brought raid-wide DPS buffs to kill the boss as fast as possible (e.g. Retribution Paladins on Brutallus and M'uru). Given the new skills I'm seeing on other healing specs, I'll make another prediction; prepare to see that same level of raid damage rear its ugly head in Naxxramas again.

I'll be launching a more extensive prediction post once talents and skills are finalized for Wrath, and then I'd like to do a follow-up post at some point after guilds start conquering level 80 raid content to see whether they were any good.

Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Raiding, Classes

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