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Posts with tag Pandaria

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

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

Know Your Lore: General Nazgrim

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 war between Alliance and Horde has been the thematic highlight of Mists of Pandaria. Certainly Pandaria itself has held its share of mysteries, but those mysteries have been repeatedly plundered, the continent's horrors unleashed, all in the name of war. It's a war that's been a long time coming -- tensions between the Alliance and Horde have been slowly rising ever since the wintery days of Northrend, the frozen peaks of Icecrown.

And it was in the chill air of Northrend that we first met a character who would become one of the more important players of the Mists expansion. Nazgrim had an innocent enough start in the Horde storyline, simply one of many questgivers up in Northrend. But as the expansions continued to roll out, Nazgrim's role grew substantially, until, at last, he was found fighting for the wrong side, defending Garrosh Hellscream's citadel to his last inevitable breath.

But who was Nazgrim, really? Were there any merits to his choices, given that they ultimately brought about his demise? Was Nazgrim's life, his career, a vain exercise in futility?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Black Prince

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.

Wrathion, the last black dragon -- to his knowledge -- on the entirety of Azeroth has been a puzzle from the moment his egg was created. His immediate response upon hatching was a vicious, calculated attack on his own flight via the use of assassins, which resulted in the nigh-extinction of the black dragonflight. And after completing that mission, he curiously chose, instead of going somewhere to be left alone as he stated he wanted, to go to Pandaria -- where he began an even curiouser journey that players were quickly swept into upon reaching level 90.

Wrathion's travels in Pandaria, his sudden gaining of a multitude of Blacktalon Agents, even the spot in which he chose to make his temporary home are all increasingly questionable, especially given what little we know about Wrathion himself. He gives us a grand, magnanimous story about how he's looking out for the world because he's seen visions of the Burning Legion coming to call, and of our world's destruction.

But he also said he was firmly on the side of the Horde, or the side of the Alliance, then swapped sides as efficiently as possible when it was convenient. In other words, Wrathion lies. He lies all the time. So the question we should be asking here is whether Wrathion has been giving us the real truth at all -- and what is the truth behind Wrathion's puzzling journey?

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

Breakfast Topic: The holidays come to Pandaria

World of Warcraft has gotten awfully festive this week with Winter Veil celebrations in full swing -- including on the continent of Pandaria, where even small villages are decked out with lights and trees. On one hand, I love the way the holidays shake up the daily grind of our in-game existence. But on the other hand, holiday lights and decor -- the same decorations you'll see anywhere in Azeroth -- just look weird in Pandaria.

So today, readers, I'm wondering what your take is on the holiday season in Pandaria. Is it too much? Too little? Would you like to see a Pandaran Greatfather Winter or more Pandaran-style decorations? Or is the holiday perfect just as it is, in Pandaria and out?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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: Which side is Wrathion on, anyway?

Know Your Lore Which side is Wrathion on, anyway
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.

Once upon a time, an egg from a corrupted flight of dragons was purified. Even before he hatched, the dragon in that egg began to plot and plan. His first step was freedom -- both from those who sought to contain him, and those who sought to kill him. The second, far larger step was born of a vision ... a terrifying vision of a precious, fragile world abruptly coming to a devastating end. Wrathion is one of the stranger characters to have been introduced in Warcraft. While his plans in Cataclysm were fairly straight forward, Mists has proven to be a far more complicated gambit.

And through all of the quests and all of the plans, Wrathion has remained as enigmatic as he was the first time rogues set eyes on him. He can be cruel, he can be downright merciless if the need calls for it. Yet at the same time, he seems to possess an altruistic capacity that we've simply never seen before from a black dragon. He'll promise the world to you, and then turn around and promise the same to your enemy. Is he bad? Is he good? Is he siding with the Alliance or Horde? What makes Wrathion tick, and just whose side is he on?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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 future of the Horde

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.

It's been an interesting couple of expansions for the Horde. Cataclysm saw Warchief Thrall step down from the leadership role that players were accustomed to, and appoint Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief in his stead. Mists of Pandaria saw Hellscream take that leadership role to an extreme that resulted in all-out war between Alliance and Horde, with the pandaren and the continent of Pandaria unceremoniously chucked into the middle of it all. Hellscream's reign has been brought to an end in patch 5.4 -- but where does this leave the Horde?

Warchief Hellscream's notorious visions of a new future ended up dividing the Horde, and his caustic treatment of the non-orc races drove a wedge into the faction that ultimately culminated in the events of 5.4. The end of his stint as Warchief brought about a new leader ... but what comes after the dust has settled? Will the Horde recover from the damage done by Hellscream? And what does the future of the Horde hold, now that Hellscream's reign is over?

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

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

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The haunting refrain of the Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The haunting refrain of the Mists of Pandaria
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.

This column had a different subject earlier today. I was going to talk about the Warchief situation leading into patch 5.4, as we'll be playing through that content on Tuesday. But as I was gathering screenshots of relevant questlines and information on my Alliance alt, I flew absently into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and happened upon the above scene, coming to a full stop and simply sitting there as I took it all in. Refugees. Hundreds of them, happily filing into the Vale just after the gates were opened and talking excitedly about the golden valley that was certain to be a verdant new homeland for those that had suffered at the hands of the yaungol and Zandalari in Kun-Lai.

And it hit me like a particularly vicious kick to the gut. It's been so long since I unlocked the Vale and leveled through that content last year that I'd forgotten this idyllic little scene, before all the chaos erupts. You, the player, are the hero of all of these pandaren -- you are the one who fought back the yaungol, the Zandalari, and offered these people a glimmer of hope. You're the person that single-handedly convinced the August Celestials to open the gates of the Vale and offer refuge to those that had lost their homes in Kun-Lai.

And you're the one that allowed what's going to happen in patch 5.4.

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. Please note: There are some spoilers for patch 5.4 content in this post.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The mysterious disappearance of Varian Wrynn

Know Your Lore The mysterious disappearance of Varian Wrynn
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 a leader of the kingdom of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn's track record leaves much to be desired. Swayed by tragedy and the sneaky, manipulative claws of a particularly clever black dragon, Varian was completely out of the picture in vanilla, at which point the surrounding human territories began a decline from which they have yet to fully recover. Varian returned in Wrath, and promptly began the campaign to wipe out the Lich King, sending his best soldiers north.

While the campaign in Northrend was successful, we also saw the beginnings of the clashes between Varian and the Horde -- clashes that would continue in Cataclysm, and ramp up with alarming speed in Mists of Pandaria. Or ... that's what we thought we'd see. In truth, Varian's spent much more of this expansion absent than he has being a driving force for the Alliance. Where has Varian been, and what has he been doing?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: A Precarious Position 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.

There will be spoilers for patch 5.4 in this post

Part one covered the Horde, and part two covered the humans, dwarves, night elves and worgen of the Alliance. But what about the gnomes, draenei, and neutral factions? What about the pandaren, so new to both Horde and Alliance? How could these figures react to the new status quo (whatever it will be) and will they be a force to stabilize relations between the Alliance and the Horde, or will they make the situation more volatile?

Both the draenei and the gnomes have an outsider's perspective in their own way - the gnomes missed the entirety of the Third War due to problems at home (problems they are still attempting to fix) and while the draenei have experienced much suffering at the hands of the orcish Horde they are dedicated to the Prophet Velen's vision of the mortal races coming together to oppose the Burning Legion. Although both races sent observers to Pandaria during Varian Wrynn's Operation: Shieldwall, their leadership has not been very involved in this latest struggle with the other faction. Individual members of these races have, but not the groups as a whole.

So what, then, is their perspective after the siege of Orgrimmar?

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

Know Your Lore: The life and legacy of Lei Shen

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.

Once upon a time, somewhere in the dawn of Azeroth's history, before the Sundering split the world in two, there was a race of warlords called the mogu. Violent and cruel, the mogu fought relentlessly against everything -- including each other. That is, until one day when one mogu sought out the history and secrets of his people's past, discovering that they were creatures of far more potential, far more purpose than any had realized. It was a secret long forgotten, and the mighty Lei Shen not only uncovered it, but brought that secret back to his people.

For untold years after Lei Shen emerged from the depths of the Isle of Thunder, the mogu reigned supreme on Pandaria. They captured and enslaved the weaker races, forcing them into servitude. It was not until after the death of Lei Shen that the pandaren race finally rose up with the hozen, the jinyu, and even the grummles to disrupt and reduce the armies of the mogu to rubble, taking the continent of Pandaria back as their own and ruling in peace.

In the waning hours of Lei Shen's inevitable downfall at the hands of Azeroth's heroes, we'll soon be leaving these relics of ages past behind, and instead focusing on the future of our world. But the history of the mogu, the history of Lei Shen is not a tale we should soon forget.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The mysterious motives of Wrathion

Know Your Lore The mysterious motives of Wrathion
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.

Wrathion made his debut in the Cataclysm expansion -- not as a raid boss, but as a clever ally to rogues looking for legendary weapons. His words seemed genuine and sincere, although his actions revealed a vicious streak that players would be wise to avoid. Yet his origins go back even further, to a small quest chain in the Badlands in which Wrathion is born to a mother who is captive of the red dragonflight, his egg later tampered with and then hidden for safe-keeping.

He's only two years old, give or take a few months. Yet Wrathion is far, far more clever than one would expect for someone of his young age. And given his actions in Cataclysm, and later in Mists of Pandaria, one thing remains perfectly clear: This is not your typical dragon. But what exactly is Wrathion after? What, exactly, is the purpose of his scheming, and perhaps most importantly -- should we be worried?

Please note: There are some small spoilers for patch 5.4 content in this post.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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