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Posts with tag Orc

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The terrifying, living world 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.

We don't really know much about Draenor. Certainly we know plenty about Outland, the shattered remains of a world once called Draenor, but that shattered world is a mere remnant of what Draenor actually was. In the Warcraft cosmos, the only planet we are incredibly familiar with is Azeroth -- and even then, Azeroth holds plenty of mysteries and riddles that have yet to be solved. But Draenor bears very little resemblance to Azeroth, touted instead as a savage land on which we'll have to fight to survive.

That statement is far more literal than you'd think. And if you thought the Iron Horde was the biggest problem we were going to face on Draenor, you'd be very, very wrong. In a universe of benevolent Titans, bastions of order, what makes a planet fight not just with aggressive invading forces, but itself?

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

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.

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

Bottom's Up for the continued tale of the Mists cinematic

Blizzard decided to post the above video, titled Bottom's Up, to their official Youtube account yesterday, stating that they found some extra footage shot just moments after the Mists of Pandaria cinematic had come to an end. The video features the return of the human and orc featured duking it out in the original cinematic -- only slightly less keen on tearing out each other's throats.

Personally, I could watch these two all day. I kind of want to see a series of cinematic shorts about their adventures, now. My only minor complaint is that they didn't use the kazoo music from Pandaria's inns for the backing track. I mean, I understand why, it would have been far too distracting, but man I love that music, and I'm going to miss it when we leave Pandaria's shores for good.

Filed under: Blizzard, Humor, Mists of Pandaria

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

Who I want to see in Warlords of Draenor: Griselda Blackhand

No, this is not actually a picture of Griselda.
If you don't know who Griselda was, that's not really your fault - she was a character who lived and died during the original Warcraft game. But to my mind Griselda is a perfect example of the way you can make use of the parallel world of Draenor we're going to visit, a character who can highlight the ways that things have changed.

Originally, Griselda was one of the three children of Blackhand the Destroyer, and like her brothers Rend and Maim, she was artificially aged to adulthood via warlock magic and trained to fight. But unlike her brothers, her father denied her the blood of Mannoroth (so, ironically, she was spared the blood curse) and would not give her a position of authority like the ones he'd given Rend and Maim. This was a colossal act of disdain on his part - he'd stolen her childhood from her, turned her into a weapon, and then refused to make use of her. Why he did this is unclear - it's often said it was a punishment for her insolence, but we don't know what that insolence entailed.

Her fate in our timeline (turning against her father, running to the Deadmines alongside an ogre named Turok, assassinated by her father's warriors) isn't what I'm interested in, however. It's how the Griselda of this Draenor could turn out that interests me.

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

Blizzard store now offering full Halloween costumes

Blizzard store now offering full Halloween costumes
Halloween is fast approaching -- are you prepared? If not, the Blizzard Store might just be your ticket if you're looking for a quick solution and simultaneously wanting to show off your gamer pride. Three new costumes by Rubies have been added to the Blizzard Store, and unlike previous mask offerings, these are full-body outfits that will dress you up from head to toe. Along with the standard green orc, Illidan and Arthas are both available -- keep in mind, however, that if you're looking for a pair of Warglaives or Frostmourne, those don't come with the outfits.

They may not be the height of cosplay perfection, but they're good enough for a Halloween party or three. The characters are pretty much instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with Warcraft, and really isn't that all anyone hopes for out of a Halloween costume? Head to the Blizzard store to check them out and perhaps pick up a costume of your own.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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

Breakfast Topic: The most boring WoW stream ever

I've been toying with the idea of streaming some of my WoW playing and taking the time to converse with readers, have fun, and relax. It soon dawned on me, however, that I don't exactly do the most excited things in World of Warcraft these days. Aside from Raid Finder and Molten Core for a potential Thunderfury, my gaming consists of coming up with transmog outfits, running old dungeons, and praying for more mounts.

Suddenly, it dawned on me -- my WoW stream would be the most boring stream ever to anyone who doesn't enjoy the aspects of the game that I do. Archaeology streaming? You bet. Watch me clear Molten Core in 15 minutes while listening to AC/DC? It's gonna happen. Spending 20 minutes staring at MogIt? Probably more than you think!

If someone was standing behind you, watching you play WoW over your shoulder, would they be engaged? Would they find what you were doing boring? Are your experiences in-game worthy of an audience these days or are you happy in archaeology town, like me?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Pass down these bona fide orcish proverbs to your young Hordelings

When Mike Sacco passed down the orcish proverb "Every orc is worth a dozen," my world changed. Never had life been so simple, so distilled down to the real truth. If I wasn't strong enough as one person, I should just be as strong as more people. It was so simple that it just might work -- well, according to an orc.

Orcish proverbs straddle the fine line between clever and stupid. Not the bad kind of stupid, mind you; the forehead slap, the solemn head shake, a disappointed sigh are our connotations. Eventually, orcish proverbs began to flow, and the community took part in our Breakfast Topic dedicated to the subject. Here are some pearls of orcish wisdom that you can bring home to your loved ones to teach them a thing or two about hardiness, resolve, and fear.

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Filed under: Lore

The most wicked creatures in WoW

Warcraft is a game that seems fairly straightforward in faction division. Alliance is good; Horde is bad. But once you delve into it, that straightforwardness becomes muddled and marred. The Alliance may seem like good guys, but they have their bad moments, and the Horde may seem evil, but even they've got their shining examples of goodness buried within. And when you examine the story and lore closely, you begin to realize that there is no black-and-white division between good and evil; all characters are loosely scattered and somewhere in shades of gray.

Sure, you can argue that the orcs are evil -- and they absolutely were, back in the day. But when you start looking at the justifications for the orcs' actions, that label of pure evil comes into question. As for the Alliance, you can argue that the human race is a bastion of goodness and light -- but then you look at things like the Scarlet Crusade, at Benedictus' betrayal, and you begin to wonder whether the human race is inherently good or just as scattered as the rest of the world.

... Unless, of course, you look at the one place where evil characters always hang out: instances.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: That first WoW trailer no one seems to remember

Many of you might not remember the trailer at the top of this Breakfast Topic. I remember looking for it a few months ago and just not being able to find it in hard media form, only remembering that it was on one of the Blizzard discs that I had lying around my apartment. It was a futile attempt. However, someone sent me a link to the YouTube version, so I was very excited. To be honest, I don't even remember where I saw it. My best guess would have to be on the Warcraft III disc with all of the cool trailers for upcoming Blizzard games.

What struck me about this video is how much of Warcraft is still here, so many years ago today, than what was originally pitched to us. That orc shaman has the exact same kind of mannerisms and mysticism surrounding him in his few seconds of screen time that it feels like Thrall has in his storyline. It felt fun and prophetic to look back and see the World of Warcraft still relatively the same tonally, even though we've all changed so much since we first saw that video.

Oh, yeah, that's Peter Cullen doing the voiceover. What do you guys think? Would this trailer still sell you on the Warcraft?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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 orcs, 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.

Their name is on the freaking box. The very first Warcraft product ever released is called Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. Orcs get top billing. In terms of pure history in the Warcraft setting, orcs have a lot to discuss. In their time, they've gone from a shamanistic society of hunters defending itself from the hostile gronn and ogres to a united war machine led by a figurehead, to a demon-blood drunk engine of genocide and finally out the other side, to a shamanistic society that keeps elements of the war machine alive.

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

Totem Talk: Horde races for elemental shaman

Tauren shaman on flying carpet
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

I really like Tauren. If I had my way, the Horde would be comprised of six different tribes of Tauren who spent most of their days participating in competitive flower picking and saying "Walk with the Earthmother." Unfortunately, the Herd is not a real faction, and most people aren't Tauren.

While some players make racial choices for game immersion or fun, there are players who choose their character's race for the best performance. A tank might choose Tauren for the 5% base health bonus, a PVPer might choose human for the extra trinket slot, and a healer might choose Blood Elf for the 2-minute cooldown mana return. For Horde elemental shaman, there's a reason to play any of the four available options, but the choice is largely up to your playstyle.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Lichborne: Racial abilities for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With all the upheaval regarding death knight abilities and DPS happening right now, it's sometimes a good idea to go back to the basics and figure out some of the stuff that underlies a good, solid death knight.

One of the most basic cornerstones of choosing a death knight is choosing your race. Since every single race can be a death knight, you have your pick, and since there's a race change service, you don't even have to stay the same race forever. Personally, I tend to say that you choose whatever race feels right for you -- but for those who want to pick a race (or change your current race) based on what racials are "best," this guide is for you.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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