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Posts with tag Thrall

Know Your Lore: Through The Dark Portal Again

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.

Okay. Up front and with no fanfare - we're going to spoiler country. Huge, gigantic, terrifying spoilers for Warlords of Draenor and its Tanaan Jungle opening experience aplenty. I'm not going to waste time being coy or making cryptic statements about which guy is doing what. I'm going to drop spoilers, lots of them, like a rockslide so if that's soething you don't want to read, this is not the post for you. I've now burned an entire opening paragraph warning you about these spoilers, so you have absolutely no excuse for not avoiding them if you're of a mind to. '

Warlords of Draenor opens with a crisis at the Dark Portal. A new threat, a massive armed force of maniacal orcs have stormed the Portal and poured out into Azeroth, destroying both the Horde and Alliance bases in the area and making alliances with the local ogres. Once this threat is dealt with, it becomes clear that as long as the Portal remains open on the other end, the threat will continue. And so, once again, Azeroth must send forces through the Portal and onto an alien world. All of this is very familiar, and yet, once they set foot on the other side, these heroes of Azeroth find not the blasted and surreal Hellfire Peninsula, but rather the Tanaan Jungle, as terrifyingly lush as it was in distant memories of the time before the Rise of Gul'Dan's Horde.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The war between narrative and game mechanics

I've long had a complicated relationship with the story of Warcraft. Once, I was enamored by the world they've created -- I was one of the earlier contributors to Know Your Lore, eager to share my love of the franchise's narrative. I'm no longer so enamored. I don't hate it, but neither do I love it. I'm not angry, I'm disappointed. Yes, I often disagree with the narrative choices Blizzard has made with their story, but moreso I come to realize World of Warcraft is burdened by itself in respect to its narrative. Story and game mechanics are in constant conflict, and when you're looking at a game like WoW and a company like Blizzard (with their focus on tight gameplay), story will lose that battle every time. Blizzard has mentioned more than once that orcs versus humans is the core element of Warcraft. Whenever the narrative tries to move back to the roots of the franchise, that's where it goes. And that's the problem.

The war between the Alliance and the Horde can never end. Worse, it can never progress -- and the characters involved in that war story cannot progress unless removed from it. Mists of Pandaria made this more obvious than it has ever been before.

Boneheaded heroes

For the sake of parity, let's look at both Jaina Proudmoore and Thrall. These two characters have had a history together since Warcraft III. Not a romantic history as some like to claim, but a history. They were allies. Both of them held out hope for peace between the Horde and the Alliance for years. Both of them made sacrifices in the hopes of accomplishing it, Jaina moreso than any other, allowing the Horde to kill her orc-slaying father. They were both powerful, influential people in their respective factions. The events of Warcraft III made us believe they might achieve that peace. World of Warcraft showed us otherwise.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The dawn 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.

The Horde as a factional entity has without question seen the most push in terms of story development -- but that's not necessarily something that could be considered an advantage when it comes to World of Warcraft. Sure, story is all well and good, and the advancement of plot is something that's always fun to see. But in the case of the Horde, that plot and story has had some of the most tumultuous conflicts we've seen, including full out inter-factional warfare in Mists of Pandaria.

And now we stand at the cusp of new expansion, one that is turning away from the factional conflicts of Azeroth, and instead setting its sights on the distant world of Draenor and the evil schemes of the Iron Horde. Again, the advancement of story is all well and good, here. And given what happened in Mists of Pandaria, perhaps it's for the best that we depart the stormy shores of Durotar and turn our focus elsewhere ... because right now, the Horde is at its weakest. What is the future of the Horde? That's a pretty good question -- one that likely began to plague Warchief Vol'jin the moment we stepped out of Siege.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Warlord Grommash 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.

Strength personified. That might be the best way to describe Grommash Hellscream, leader of the Warsong clan, trusted friend of Thrall, father of Garrosh Hellscream, and the orc who killed Mannoroth and released the orcish race from their servitude to the Burning Legion. Certainly all of those accomplishments under his belt might make Grommash sound like a shining example of exemplary heroism to some ... but in truth, that's only part of the story.

Still, the tales of his father's heroic death were more than enough to spur Garrosh Hellscream from listless would-be leader of Garadar to Azeroth. They were enough to light a fire that fueled his leadership of the campaign against the Lich King in Northrend. They were more than enough to fill Garrosh's heart with pride at the thought of a Horde war machine, one that he led with steadfast dedication as Warchief. But Garrosh's heart is the heart of a Hellscream, and another look at Grommash Hellscream's past shows that Hellscream's son is very much cut from the same cloth as his father.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Orc posture updates potentially on the horizon

There are a few really iconic design choices in World of Warcraft that have always been a hallmark of the game. Big arms, huge shoulderpads, that sort of thing. One of the items on that list is orc posture -- orcs have a hunch. They've always had a hunch, unless you happened to be an important orc NPC. Player models have always been slouched over, because for some reason, orcs just don't have proper posture. But there may be some changes to that on the horizon, according to a couple of tweets made yesterday by Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson.



Robinson went on to clarify that this is not something that will be out at the launch of the expansion -- and it might not be something that makes it to the game at all. But it's something that Robinson definitely wants to attempt to tackle in the future. And although this is one of those things that many players have expressed an interest in seeing, Robinson was quick to clarify that if this change does in fact see the light of day, it will be as an option, not as a default setting. So those who are fond of their hulking hunched brutes can continue to play them just as they are.

It's interesting, however, to see that these kinds of changes are definitely being thought about. And it does make me curious as to whether or not we'll see other options regarding posture or even things like height or body options added in some day, like the ability to create wizards with wizard builds instead of barbarian builds. If nothing else, maybe we'll see the male trolls suddenly discover what their female counterparts have known all along -- life is a lot more enjoyable when you exercise the option to stand tall.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Resurgence of the Infinite Dragonflight

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.

Long ago, the Titans empowered five dragons with unique abilities and powers, entrusting to them the protection of Azeroth itself. While each had their own specialization with its own odd foibles, none were as strange as the task set to Nozdormu. Aman'Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon, entrusted Nozdormu with the task of watching over time -- to guard the myriad paths of time and keep them pure. A strange task, to be certain, and one with a heck of a lot of power involved. To keep Nozdormu from abusing that power or thinking that he answered to no one, he was given the knowledge of the exact moment of his demise.

Yet somewhere in one of those myriad timelines, this apparently wasn't enough. Somewhere, somewhen, Deathwing prevailed and brought about the Hour of Twilight, leaving Nozdormu a haunted, twisted version of his former self -- a version that cared little for the restrictions or rules bestowed by the Titans, and cared much more for preserving his own skin and preventing his own death. The twisted version called himself Murozond, first of the Infinite Dragonflight, intent on bending time and changing events solely for the purpose of evading his inevitable demise. We defeated Murozond in End Time, and prevented the Hour of Twilight from taking place. But have we actually saved Nozdormu? Have we secured time itself?

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

Warlords of Draenor: My first day in the Alpha

Okay, so the standard caveats apply. This is an Alpha test of Warlords of Draenor, it's confined to the Frostfire Ridge, and there are of course tons of bugs because it's an Alpha test, and an Alpha test of an expansion to a ten year old game. Also, I'm not going to spoil anything really significant, but if you keep reading this you're basically saying I want to know more about this expansion that isn't done or out yet, so there are going to be spoilers. It's unavoidable.

So first up, let me tell you the gist of what's happening. So far, the only thing being tested is Frostfire Ridge. That means Horde, so you end up seeing a lot of Horde screenshots and hearing about Horde questing, Horde garrisons and Horde in general. Just a whole lotta Horde. The music? Amazing. I guess that's to be expected, but still.

Also, I deliberately went with orc and tauren characters because of their new models. Cause we all want to see the new models. So I'll start my impressions with those.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

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

Christie Golden, Micky Neilson discuss newest novel, War Crimes

War Crimes, Christie Golden's latest Warcraft novel, officially hit the shelves today. The novel details the trial of Garrosh Hellscream for his crimes against Alliance, Horde, and Pandaria alike. We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down and chat with Christie Golden, as well as Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson, about the novel, the feedback, and even some upcoming projects that are on the way.

War Crimes is a different kind of book -- it features a gigantic cast. Can you tell us a little about the challenges involved in writing and keeping track of so many familiar faces?

Christie: It definitely is. I had kind of done a run at something like this with The Shattering, that was my first experiencing writing for both Horde and Alliance, trying to weave in various characters and their story lines and still make it fast paced and entertaining. This really was a chance for me to, with the Vision of Time at my disposal, to kind of go through and not just address Garrosh, but sneak in some of the history of Azeroth. What made these factions who they are, how they thought of each other, and a lot of old hurts, as well as new things. I actually just posted on Twitter a picture of the colorful index cards that I laid out on my dining room table at work at one point just to keep track of it!

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Review of Christie Golden's novel, War Crimes

It's time for Hellscream to pay.

Or at least that's what everyone in War Crimes would enjoy seeing, to varying degrees. Christie Golden's latest novel, War Crimes, is due out next week on May 6. It tells the tale of Garrosh Hellscream's trial, an event many players have been waiting to hear about -- and it also serves as a bridge novel, of sorts, between Mists of Pandaria and the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor. If you'd like to know how Garrosh wriggled out of his presumably inevitable death and got to Draenor, this is the book you want to read.

But it's so much more than that. In War Crimes, the focus is much less on Garrosh, and much more on the people around him -- those called to the witness stand, and those simply observing the trial in progress. It's a sweep of almost every major face in the Alliance and Horde, and their unique individual reactions to what happened during Hellscream's reign. In that, it's a very different kind of novel -- and I think it was just the novel needed to bring this expansion fully to a close.

Please note: Because War Crimes has yet to be released, this will be a spoiler-free review. Please refrain from talking about spoilers in the comments -- any spoiler information posted will be deleted.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The whereabouts of Medivh

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 for me, I came back to ensure that there would be a future, to teach the world that it no longer needed Guardians. The hope for future generations has always resided in mortal hands. And now that my task is done, I will take my place amongst the legends of the past.

Medivh, former Guardian of Azeroth, had a tough life to put it mildly. Born to a mother who had him solely to insure that her powers passed on to someone of her choosing, Medivh was promptly left to be raised by his father, Stormwind's court conjurer Nielas Aran. When he reached the age of fourteen, Medivh came into the powers he'd inherited -- and promptly killed his father when those powers were unleashed, sinking into a twenty-year coma from which he eventually awakened, now in his mid-30's and a fully grown man.

Yet that wasn't all that he had to contend with. He also carried within himself the spirit of Sargeras, fallen Titan and leader of the Burning Legion. Sargeras used Medivh as if he were a puppet, orchestrating the opening of the Dark Portal and unleashing the orc Horde on Azeroth. He was ultimately stopped when his plans were uncovered and he was confronted by Garona, Anduin Lothar, and his apprentice, Khadgar -- and lost his head in the process. Oddly enough, Medivh came back years later to orchestrate the unification of orc, human and night elf troops to defeat Archimonde at Hyjal, before disappearing for good. Or what seemed like it was for good.

But have we really seen the last of Medivh?

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: New mount and NPC models discovered

AdriaCraft are at it again, digging through the data and powering up the Model Viewer to bring us images of some of the new NPC and mount models in Warlords of Draenor's Alpha. There's a couple of mounts like the Raven Lord that we've seen already, but a few that are new, like the Clefthoof, who also comes in various different colors. There's also a Giant Boar mount, also in red, and a Draenor Wolf, who also comes in three other color schemes.

Apart from the mounts, there are various NPC models apart from Thrall, some of which have surfaced already, some of which haven't. Velen, Grommash, Durotan and Blackhand are all there. There's several varieties of Iron Horde machinery that have been found, as well as some pale orcs, new Talbuks and Sporebats which we heard about following the recent press event, and Elekk, Goren and Hippos. All of these come in a variety of colors, so do check out the original post for more info.

But my favorite new model by far is the Draenor Ancient. Like all the models, he's in a variety of colors, but look at his grumpy face! What has you excited from this recent datamine?

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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

Hearthstone heroes ranked not by power, but by lore

Hearthstone news site Liquidhearth posted a pretty interesting rank list yesterday. The site primarily focuses on the game-related side of Hearthstone -- arenas, deck builds, card abilities and the like -- however, this particular article looks at not the individual cards, but the heroes featured on Hearthstone's nine available decks. The list is laid out and ranked not by the relative power of the class deck, but by the place they stand in Warcraft lore.

Each hero is given a brief descriptive summary detailing their place in Warcraft's history, and each rank is justified by one of three panelists quizzed for the column. What makes it interesting is that from a Hearthstone standpoint, the order isn't really quite where I think it should be. Mage decks, for example, are absolutely devastating if they get the right cards -- and I've had my cards thrown right back at me by more than one incredibly clever set of combos from a priest deck. The rogue deck is particularly devastating when used correctly as well.

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Filed under: Lore, Hearthstone Insider

Know Your Lore: Durotan, son of Garad

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.

Durotan, son of Garad, chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan. A mighty warrior to be certain, yet there is far more to Durotan than what is widely known. Yes, he was a warrior, but he was also a conflicted soul, one who could only watch from the sidelines as the height of orcish civilization crumbled under the influence of the Burning Legion. Durotan may never have fully understood exactly what happened to the orcish race, but it affected him deeply.

Yet Durotan's most notable legacy is his son, Thrall. Found by humans, raised as a gladiator, liberating the orcish race and rallying a new Horde by his side. When Thrall took the new Horde to Kalimdor, he named the land they settled on Durotan, after his father -- a father who likely would have been very proud of his son. In Warlords, we'll see Durotan again -- Horde players will have the unique opportunity to work with this legend of the past, surprisingly alive and well. What kind of orc is Durotan -- and what will he think of his son?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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