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Posts with tag The-Lich-King

Know Your Lore: The Deceiver Awaits

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.

Sargeras is of course more powerful. Archimonde more directly destructive. But for sheer malice, for spite, for a turn of mind so devious and sinister that it pursues vengeance for over 25,000 years for the slight of not wanting to become a monster, you can never find evil more cunning and persistent than that of Kil'jaeden the Deceiver.

Make no mistake. Even Gul'dan pales in comparison to the hate, greed, and wanton cruelty that motivates Kil'jaeden. The demon lord par excellence, when we look at many of the greatest ills of the modern age it was the hand of the Deceiver that shaped them. The corruption of the orcs? The creation of the Scourge and the Lich King? The Third War? Others may have taken these actions, pursued them to their ultimate conclusion, but it was the mind of the Deceiver that brought them forth and worked to make them a reality. Indeed, it's fair to say that Kil'jaeden is often far more successful when he can resist taking an active hand in events - his most recent defeat at the Sunwell took place because he chose to attempt what Sargeras had failed to do and what had killed Archimonde, namely the bodily invasion of Azeroth proper.

So let us look now upon the Deceiver, lord of lies, spreader of falsehood - liar and betrayer of betrayers.

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

Warcraft and its "Joker Problem"

The "Joker Problem" is, in its simplest terms, based around the old Batman villain, first introduced in 1940. In his original appearance, the Joker was a homicidal madman who used complicated toxins to murder people as part of a crime wave that only he really understood. In his original appearances, the Joker was slated for death, because back then Batman routinely killed people or allowed them to die, but the editors realized that if they went around killing off all the good villains they'd run out of them, and so the Joker was spared. He went on to become Batman's greatest adversary.

World of Warcraft has a Joker Problem, because we keep murdering our Jokers.

Oh, it's hard to blame us - how many times have people pointed out how ludicrous it is that Batman or someone else hasn't murdered the Joker at this point? Plus, they drops shiny goodies when we kill them, and there's nothing players in an MMO like more than trinkets and baubles. Tirion Fordring once held a death sport that was entirely based around bribing us into gladiatorial combat with goodies, and we totally went for it. Sometimes we'd run that thing four times a week. But the fact remains - we barely get a good villain rolling for an expansion before we storm his or her castle, keep, subterranean lair, floating sky palace, old temple... you get the picture, I'm sure... and do war upon said villain. At the end, a sparkly corpse is left at our feet, the day is temporarily saved, and then someone else ignores all the evidence to the contrary and starts the whole thing up again.

Not all of the dead Jokers in our track were Jokers, of course. Some were Riddlers, or Penguins, or even just barely Calendar Mans. But we've definitely left a few Jokers strewn among the pile of dead would-be world destroyers, conquerors, and assorted evil people. Lady Vashj, Illidan, Arthas, Deathwing, Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Kel'Thuzad, Malygos, we've taken out some important figures with a great deal of significance to the setting. The up side is that it demonstrates the stakes and gives a player a sense of accomplishment to finally take down an archnemesis. The downside is, they're gone.

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

Know Your Lore: The Burning Legion

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 burn worlds to ash. They render the verdant uninhabitable. Theirs is not the evil of mad chaos, leaping to corrupt for amusement or decadence. They are the means by which the mad Titan seeks to unmake everything. They are the Burning Legion, and it is their purpose to end existence. Nothing less will satisfy Sargeras.

Yet even within the seemingly monolithic forces of the Legion, there's room for political intrigue of a sort. While Sargeras has seemingly caused his own exile from the seat of power, his former lieutenant Kil'Jaeden now leads the Legion, a position he seemingly aspires to hold indefinitely. And Azeroth is directly in his crosshairs.

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

Know Your Lore: The Story of Us -- Quests in WoW, 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.

The full questing experience in Wrath of the Lich King was vast. Levels 70 to 80, with quests for every zone, instance, and even raid instance, was quite possibly the most complicated total questing experience ever designed for World of Warcraft. Add in the death knight starting experience and the patches that each brought in new content, and you're looking at a real achievement in quest design. Wrath of the Lich King was indisputably the crucible in which Cataclysm's 1-to-60 quest redesign was forged, and it absolutely gave the lie to the misguided idea that the quest design team was somehow coasting on the achievements of the game's original launch.

We talked last week about how questing in Wrath worked up to the "first act" of the Wrathgate and Battle for Undercity, and then we looked at Ulduar and how it managed to integrate a very divergent lore element into the expansion. This week, we'll discuss the Lich King in more detail and how he functioned as a device to get the players involved.

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

Know Your Lore: The Story of Us -- Quests in WoW, 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.

Wrath of the Lich King is where the current paradigm for quests in World of Warcraft took full shape. Whether you played Horde or Alliance, you got to experience the events of Wrath from an entirely new perspective than questing had ever managed before. Even though there were still (and always probably will be) quests asking players to gather random amounts of (as an example) meat for stews or cannonballs, these quests were supplementary in nature.

The big-draw quests were elaborate chains that revealed lore about the world and the threat that it was now under. The Lich King's attacks on Orgrimmar and Stormwind during the events leading up to the expansion were bait in a subtle trap aimed at bringing players to Northrend. That's right: The Lich King attacked your cities entirely to get you sent to him. You. The player characters were the front and center reasons for everything. The Lich King desired nothing less than the finest heroes the Horde and Alliance had to offer, and that's exactly who they sent.

How did questing reflect this?

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

Know Your Lore: Current Alliance politics -- the humans, part four

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.

All right, you guys have read through almost everything there is to see with regards to the current political situation of the human race. The first three articles covered the history of the Alliance -- both old and new -- and the struggles of Varian Wrynn and his life as the "leader," so to speak, of the human race. The word leader is used in quotation marks because, to be perfectly honest, Varian wasn't much of a leader; he was brooding, depressed, not really willing to see anything that was going on around him, and the Council of Nobles was pretty much running the show.

The only "real" leader available to Alliance humans at the outset of World of Warcraft was Jaina Proudmoore, the leader of Theramore, who wasn't really much of a leader either. This was largely due to her somewhat unpopular beliefs that orcs were capable of peace and her attempts to work towards some sort of peaceful agreement between the orcs and humans of Kalimdor. So here we have the human race, largely left to its own devices -- but they seemed to be doing, if not amazingly well, at least OK for the most part. It's Varian's return and the events of Wrath that directly affect what's going on headed into Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The lore reveals of Wrath, part two

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.

Hi, guys! Last week, we talked about big lore reveals in Wrath of the Lich King, and I listed two of my favorite "lore chains" (for lack of a better phrase) in the expansion. This week, we'll be talking about more of the same. As was the case last week, these are fairly subjective. I'm listing lore moments that grabbed my attention and interest, not just compiling a list of all the lore that we were hit with over the course of the expansion. This of course leaves you all free to throw around those moments I didn't get to or list yours in the comments, which is, in my opinion, win/win for us all.

I'm going to open with a fairly Horde-specific bit of lore that was entirely self contained within Wrath: the Conquest Hold situation in the Grizzly Hills. For me, this series of quests does more to explore and explain the typical Horde power structure and chain of command than all the big moments with figures like Saurfang, Garrosh and Thrall possibly could. I'll start detailing it behind the jump, so be warned: If you haven't done these quests yet, there will be spoilers.

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

Western Plaguelands not so plagued anymore in Cataclysm

We addressed the implication that the Alliance might be retaking some lost lands in Cataclysm thanks to some mutterings by blues on the official forums. Now we've got confirmation from the latest Twitter dev chat that while Eastern Plaguelands will still be a hellhole, Western Plaguelands will be free of the plague when the expansion hits.

Twitter developer chat
Q. With the Lich King defeated, in Cataclysm, will the Plaguelands be green and beautiful again?

A. Western Plaguelands will finally be free of the plague in Cataclysm. It's hard for the Scourge to survive without their beloved Lich King. I guess this means we need to rename the zone?

Just awesome. This is the kind of change I was hoping for in Cataclysm, to be honest -- not just earthquakes and floods, but actual passage of time and logical storyline progression post-defeat of Lordaeron's traitor prince. Wonder what this means for Scholomance or Andorhal!

But, also, what does it mean for the name? I guess Eastern Plaguelands will likely become just The Plaguelands, but what will WPL become? East Lordaeron? New Lordaeron? Or, given the zone's proximity to the zone that's basically Azeroth's armpit, they could just go with the one that makes the most sense: Pennsylvania.

Filed under: Cataclysm

The Frozen Throne is now in Icecrown (sort of)

We took notice of this in an earlier edition of the Queue, but I thought this little bit of news merited its own article for the benefit of lore junkies, raid leaders, or anyone who just might have missed it. After being asked a question over where Angrathar was really located in the larger Icecrown raid complex, I flew out to no-man's-land of southern Icecrown/northwestern Dragonblight and tried to get a good handle on the architecture. While doing so, I noticed a new and extremely tall spire nestled in the mountain range past the Wrath Gate and flew over to investigate. At the top of a saronite spire is huge chunk of misty ice capped by a flat surface with a black design vaguely reminiscent of the one on the Lordaeron throne room (although for all I know this is entirely unintended). From above, it bears a startling resemblance to an image datamined by Boubouille some time ago that was guessed to be the location of the eventual fight with the Lich King -- and I think this exterior "set" could be quite useful for any raid attempting to work on positioning once details of the fight become known. Curiously enough, the Throne itself doesn't appear to be present in-game at the moment, but that might change soon.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Lore, Bosses

Arthas on the air this weekend

Our friend Medievaldragon let us know that actor Michael McConnohie will be live on the Internet this weekend -- he's going on air over at Blogtalkradio Sunday at 7pm PDT, and apparently he'll also be talking to fans. McConnohie has done film and television voicework and acting for a while, but for our purposes, he's probably best known as quite a few of the characters wandering around Northrend and Outland: King Ymiron, Commander Kolurg, Uther the Lightbringer, the Epoc Hunter, and Kel'thuzad. Oh, and he does one more voice in the game: The Lich King (remember that guy?).

I don't know how much this guy wants to talk about Warcraft, but then again, the group hosting him seems to be pretty geeky (they've had folks from Star Trek and Stargate on before), so maybe it'll be all about McConnohie's work for Blizzard (and not, say, his stint on General Hospital). If you want to talk to the Lich King himself, you can call in Sunday night at (914) 338-0314. I bet it'll be quite an experience.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

BlizzCon 2009: How far along is the development of Cataclysm?

We knew Cataclysm was coming, but it's nice to be able to play it. Today. At BlizzCon. Yes, rather than firing up the PTRs to let visitors kick Onyxia's butt (again) or proffering a glimpse of Arthas' defeat, attendees get their first taste of the new expansion set. How awesome is that? To be able to play the game this weekend, though, suggests that it's at a good stage in development. After all, Wrath was announced at BlizzCon 2007 but we didn't actually get to play it (at least the internal Friends and Family Alpha version) until the WWI in July 2008, nearly a year later.

Blizzard's Lead Level Designer on World of Warcraft, Cory Stockton, has stated that Cataclysm's development began before Wrath shipped (there's a surprise ...) but it's obviously futher along than many might have thought and then Mike Morhaime hesitantly confirmed the game was slated to be released in 2010 along with StarCraft II. So when exactly could we expect to see the third World of Warcraft expansion?

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: What bosses do you think we'll be facing in Icecrown Citadel?

Icecrown Citadel is calling. Can you hear it, whispering in the wind?

It's been an imposing figure ever since Wrath was launched, a reminder of why we're in Northrend in the first place and our ultimate goal. With Patch 3.3 inching ever closer, Ghostcrawler's revelation, although sarcastic, certainly set me thinking. We might not be facing thirty one bosses but look at the size of the place. There's no way Arthas is rattling around there on his own. Oh no, that would be too simple. Two of those we can guess: Arthas himself and Malgyos' resurrected mate, Sindragosa. She's been leering at us from the login screen since day one (technically since before then actually) so for her not to be included as a raid boss is simply unthinkable. I'm wondering if she will be the Lich King's Sapphiron.

I'm betting, while not as huge as GC originally said, that Icecrown Citadel is still going to be big and complex. Probably somewhere between Karazhan and Ulduar in terms of bosses. It's going to be epic and certainly not a walk in the park. Especially as this will be the end of the Wrath storyline and the last big patch before the next expansion, so it's got to be a challenge that won't be beaten in a couple of days.

So, constant readers, who do you think we'll be facing? Will Kel'Thuzzad return again or will we be seeing totally new bosses to test us before facing the Lich King himself?

Filed under: Patches, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Raiding, Lore, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: How phasing could be used in-game

Phasing seems to be Blizzard's new favorite toy. It's being used be more and more as we progress through Wrath. From the Wrathgate to those annoying out of body/spirit quests in Zul'Drak, phasing is changing how we see Azeroth itself. But it strikes me there's once area where phasing should sometimes be used and isn't: bosses. Specifically I mean the big guys ... Kil'Jaeden, Illidan, Loken, Yoggy, Algalon and, of course, Arthas himself.

The logic here is simple, these are bosses key to game lore and killing them not only takes an enormous amount of effort (or in the case of Kil'Jaeden, banishing him back to where ever he came from) but it also has an effect on the world itself. Think of the impacts the events of the Sunwell had - phasing was never implemented there, and definitely should have been once Wrath was released.

Now I know you will be thinking: "Why should we only kill a boss once?" I'm not suggesting that once you kill the Lich King, for example, you are locked out of killing him again. Rather that his death triggers a change in Azeroth - which is where the phasing comes in. Icecrown Citadel could collapse or be recycled by other NPCs, such as the Ebon Blade. Once this happens, you could then walk in, click on an NPC and 'relive' the fight in the form of a new raid. The same thing could be done with the Sunwell, for example, and it could open up a new quest chain and further the game's lore in new and fantastic ways.

We've already seen how phasing can change Northrend, just look at how it's used post-Wrathgate. How do you think it could be used (particularly considering that the new expansion is called Cataclysm) to change how we play, the bosses we kill, and how we raid?

Filed under: Patches, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Lore, NPCs, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Shunning the Endgame?

From a lore point of view, everyone loves the endgame. Illidan, Kael'thas, Yoggy, Arthas/the Lich King; it's great but not everyone actually wants or has the time to spend hours in raids. A friend of mine once told me that 'WoW starts at 60' although that probably should be switched out with the current level cap. I'm sure for some players this is not the case though, far from it. As Blizzard makes the game more friendly to twinks and leveling toons by letting you disable XP gain and supplying mounts ten levels earlier, it makes me wonder if people are going to shun the endgame in favor of enjoying everything else Azeroth has to offer.

Let's imagine for a moment that you can't/won't raid any of the Wrath content. What would you do instead? I'm talking the little things in life like rolling a new toon and exploring all those newer locales that you missed since leaving to Northrend. Are you going to turn off XP and just see how it feels? Rather than do the endgame, are you going to give PvP or PvE a go? Go for that really tough achievement? What about a little role playing? Would you finally level up that second profession or give first aid, cooking and fishing a go?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Instances, Quests, Raiding, Bosses, Leveling, Making money, Alts, Battlegrounds, Achievements

A Merry Christmas with the Lich King

You might have thought Christmas was over, but not so fast -- there's one more terrible almost undead overlord who wants to wish you a merry one. Yes it's Arthas himself -- reader Adam Beamish sent us these pictures of himself (at least we think it's him -- he made the costume anyway) dressed up as a jolly... well, somewhat jolly old Death Knight, and they are hilarious.

Brilliant. The costume is great (even if the idea of Arthas as St. Nick is a little silly), and the pictures, by Brooks Reynolds, are very well done. One question, though: where's the candy cane Frostmourne?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Humor, Lore, NPCs

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