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Know Your Lore: Aethas Sunreaver and the founding of the Sunreaver Onslaught

Know Your Lore Aethas Sunreaver and the founding of the Sunreaver Onslaught
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.

Before the Sunreavers, there was Aethas Sunreaver, Archmage of the Kirin Tor. Born of Silvermoon, survivor of the Scourge and Burning Legion assaults on Silvermoon and Dalaran, Aethas Sunreaver ushered in a new age of cooperation and worked to restore the alliance between Quel'Thalas and Dalaran, but in the end, he failed to preserve the neutrality of the Kirin Tor and saw himself and his followers either driven out of Dalaran or imprisoned in the Violet Hold ... the very same prison that the fallen Sindorei prince Kael'Thas once languished within, waiting for death at the hands of Garithos and his human soldiers.

Aethas Sunreaver has always had to walk a difficult line, and it has cost him dearly. It was Aethas who cast the deciding vote that led to Dalaran supporting Theramore as Garrosh Hellscream's forces marched against Jaina Proudmoore's city. It was also Aethas, alongside Rhonin, who suggested that Thalen Songweaver assist in the defense of Theramore, only for Thalen to betray the city to the Horde. After the destruction of Theramore and the death of Rhonin, Aethas even supported Jaina's rise to leadership of the Kirin Tor.

In the end, however, it made no difference. That narrow line Sunreaver sought to walk grew ever thinner, until finally it snapped. Now the Sunreavers are bereft of their home, and forced to rely on the very Horde that they were beginning to view skeptically. Here is how the group the Horde will fight for in Patch 5.2 came to be.

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

Know Your Lore: Why World of Warcraft needs evil

Know Your Lore We need evil Wed
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 real problems with the New Horde is fairly simple. A lot of the people attracted to playing it were not players of Warcraft or WCII. They discovered the game with or after WCIII -- and in Warcraft III, the Horde isn't portrayed as the group that came marching through the Dark Portal anymore. Trying to put the war back in Warcraft is hard for players who see the Horde as the group Thrall led, who first discovered the Horde in Warcraft III or in one of World of Warcraft's expansions.

The Horde we have today, even after Garrosh Hellscream took over the reins, simply can't sustain the narrative weight of the Horde as the existed for two Warcraft games. The Horde that burned Stormwind, led by Gul'dan's puppet Blackhand and usurped by Orgrim Doomhammer, is not the Horde that Thrall led across the sea. It's a Horde composed primarily or exclusively of orcs with a few allies, a Horde that burns and rampages and murdered without remorse. It was to the Warcraft setting what the Empire was to Star Wars, a force of pure malevolence. The biggest difficulty reconciling that Horde with the current one is the idea of honor, which the Horde of WC and WCII could not have cared less about if they had tried. They were thieves and monsters, and their goal was to murder and steal.

They were the villains.

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

The Queue: Pie party

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 (@gomatgo) will be your host for today.

I threw a pie party last night, and I'm still recovering. There were two pumpkin pies, courtesy of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and me, as well as two Ikea almond cakes, tons of cupcakes people brought, and lots of alcohol. There's this amazing bottle of Septima Malbec sitting on my desk and maybe ... just maybe ...

No, seriously, Malbecs are the best red wines. Even people who hate reds love Malbecs. Go purchase, now. Drink responsibly. How about some WoW questions?

ZodiacDragons asked:

I've been wanting to ask this for awhile because it seems like talk of faction leaders keeps coming up, but didn't Blizz say sometime at the end of wrath that Lor'themar was going to play some sort of role in cataclysm? I think I remember seeing a blue post about it in an article here but can't find it. I think if ANY faction leader needs lore development, it's that guy. At least Velen has that "end of the world" prophesy to fall back on.

So my question(s) are: did Blizz say he would play an important role in Cataclysm? If so, what happened with that plan? If not, what are the chances of him having an important role in MoP?

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Filed under: The Queue

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

Ask a Faction Leader: Open call, volume 2


WoW.com's prestige in the community has afforded us the opportunity to speak with major Azerothian leadership figures on any subject -- and we're letting you, the reader, Ask a Faction Leader!

Ask a Faction Leader's open Q&A returns with even more of your questions for your favorite faction leaders. Next week, we return to the full-length interview format.

My lady Tyrande,

I have been a humble servant of the Darnassian Order for as long as I can remember, and I have some concerns for my night elf brothers and sisters.

Since Arthas declared war on all of humanity and brave Alliance soldiers were sent to Northrend to defeat the Scourge and end the Lich King's tyranny, I have noticed there are very few night elves at the roof of the world. Having participated at the Battle of the Wrathgate, I only say
one of my sisters there, and even she had to suffer the effects of the Forsaken bombs ...

So I ask you, Lady Whisperwind, do you hold your bond to the Alliance, or are we night elves just along for the ride?

A humble druid,

Phort <Brotherhood of Steel> on Atonidas (US)


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Filed under: Ask a Faction Leader

Cataclysm faction traitors revealed!

As alluded to in other sound files data-mined from the Cataclysm beta, traitors from the Horde and the Alliance are defecting from their respective factions to the new Twilight's Hammer cult. Previously, the identities of these traitors have remained unknown, but new sound files indicate we just might know now who is turning away from their own. Spoilers and sound clips after the jump.

WARNING: This post contains spoilers about the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. Do not read further if you do not wish to be spoiled on major plot points.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

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