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Posts with tag Velen

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Light of the naaru

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.

First featured in the Burning Crusade expansion, the enigmatic naaru have been a constant, benevolent life-force in World of Warcraft -- strange creatures with some sort of eternal crusade against the darkness of the Legion. It was the naaru that saved Prophet Velen and his people when they were on the cusp of being claimed by the dark promises of Sargeras, the naaru that helped them flee, the naaru that taught them the Light. And it was the naaru who seemed to be playing a much, much longer game than anyone else, when Burning Crusade reached its end and the full scope of M'uru's plan was revealed.

Burning Crusade marked the second known occasion that the naaru willingly stepped into the lives of mortal races to pull them away from darkness and reach salvation -- although it's entirely possible they have done this before with other races, on other worlds we've never seen. This has always been presented as the noblest of causes. Yet despite all these altruistic actions, we really know very little about the naaru, where they came from, or ultimately why it is that they feel they must fulfill this task. Yet while Warlords of Draenor largely concerns the orcs and the Iron Horde, there are still a few clues -- just enough to expand that perception of the naaru a little more and raise a few more questions in the process.

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.

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

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

Know Your Lore: The vengeance of Vindicator Maraad

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 exactly know a lot about Vindicator Maraad, despite the fact that he is one of the first draenei we ever saw, one of the featured characters in the original trailer for Burning Crusade. What small pieces we've seen of the Vindicator have been largely isolated to comics and short stories, capped with a small appearance in game that was never really expanded upon. For a character with a background like Maraad, it's almost a pity that he hasn't been properly utilized until now.

Lords of War aired its final episode earlier this week, featuring Maraad and more of his story -- a tragic tale of an era we've only really read about, but never actually seen. The brutality of Shattrath's slaughter was hard to watch, but harder to watch was Maraad's struggle -- a struggle shared by the remainder of the draenei race on Azeroth. But if Maraad is seeking vengeance, retribution, or vindication on Draenor, he may be sorely disappointed.

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

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

Know Your Lore: Yrel, Draenor's Light

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.

At the moment, we've only got two full zones open in the Warlords of Draenor beta -- Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley. Also open is the introductory lead-in to Draenor through the Tanaan Jungle. It's there that we first meet her, fairly unassuming and not exactly remarkable in any way. Yrel was first mentioned at BlizzCon during the story and lore panel -- a draenei whose story was going to be a major part of the Warlords expansion, the comparison made that she is a Joan of Arc-like figure.

We've only seen the first few steps of Yrel's journey so far in the beta, so the accuracy of that comparison remains to be seen. But Yrel, unassuming as she may seem, already appears to hold a bright spot in the canvas of Draenor's future. So just who is this draenei, and what makes her a lore figure to watch for?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoiler content, turn away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Who I want to see in Warlords of Draenor: Restalaan

Yep, another one there's no art for. Enjoy this picture of some random draenei instead.

Who was Restalaan and why should you care? I'm glad you asked. Restalaan was the closest thing Velen had to a buddy - a close friend and confidant, a right hand who led the defense of the draenei city of Telmor. Having been with the prophet since the exodus from Argus, Restalaan was technically an ancient eredar, born during the time when Velen, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde were the triumvirate and led all eredar before the coming of Sargeras.

Restalaan was always there, serving as Velen's sounding board and anchor. In the history outlined in Rise of the Horde it was Restalaan who led the patrol that saved Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer when they were children - an event that should still have happened in the Warlords of Draenor timeline, since both Durotan and Doomhammer are confirmed to be alive. In the original timeline, Restalaan would come to have reason to regret this decision, since in the process of saving the two young orcs and leading them to Telmor to meet with the prophet he exposed Durotan to the use of the Ata'mal fragment Leafshadow. This enabled Durotan to later expose Telmor to the Horde, which destroyed the city - Durotan killed Restalaan during the battle. So died Restalaan, captain of the guard of Telmore, Velen's best friend, survivor of the exodus from Argus - killed by the boy who's life he saved.

But that fate is not set on the Draenor of Warlords.

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

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: The Eredar

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.

On Argus, Mac'Aree was the most sacred of our cities. Would you believe me if I told you that the walkways were lined with precious minerals? That the rivers glittered even in complete darkness? I long for those days... How long has it been? A thousand years? Ten-thousand?
-- Jessera of Mac'Aree

Many peoples have had a golden age. The ancient kaldorei on Azeroth had one, over ten thousand years ago, when their mastery of the magic of the Well of Eternity made them effectively the most powerful people in Azeroth. Before that, the mogu ruled a nation carves from slave labor while the ancient trolls of Zandalar held their empire. These events are distant to us, the long past.

The eredar had already had at least two golden ages before any of this had ever happened. Over twenty five thousand years ago, on the planet Argus, a people worked wonders so profound and magnificent that they drew the attention of a power beyond anything they could have imagined. Everything they were up until that point, their ancient and magnificent works, their intelligence and magical acumen, it is all long lost now. Then, they were the eredar, one people. Now, they are two - draenei, exiles, and man'ari, what we today simply call by the name of that long vanished people. Be not mistaken, however - the eredar of today are the twisted, corrupted, magically powerful but spiritually debased remnant of that people, just as the draenei are the last remnant of what they were before their fall.

But fall they did. Who were the eredar, and who are they now?

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

Know Your Lore: Draenei are not pacifists

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.

Are you ready to spill some blood in the name of the Light? For Velen? For Argus?
-- Vindicator Boros, What Argus Means To Me

It's funny how misconceptions get started.

We know that the orcish Horde led by Blackhand, corrupted by the blood of Mannoroth and manipulated by Gul'dan for his master Kil'Jaeden was a force of unrelenting bloodlust and cruelty, and that they waged a genocidal war on their draenei neighbors that came close to wiping them out. Not a very numerous race in the first place, the draenei were ultimately overwhelmed by the orcs.

Many seem to combine this with the fact that Velen led the first draenei from their homeworld of Argus to prevent them from being corrupted by the offer Sargeras made to Archimonde, Kil'Jaeden and Velen to accept his gifts and become his servants to assume that the draenei are pacifists. That they're a culture that eschews war and flees from conflict. They note that the draenei have numerous times fled before the advance of the Burning Legion, moving from world to world before the dimension ship they were aboard crashed on what would become known as Draenor.

When combined with their mastery of and reverence for The Holy Light and their association with the naaru, who themselves are beings that exude said Holy Light, it's easy to see why people make this mistake. They look at Velen, who prophecizes that one day the mortal races will unite against the Legion, and see this as a desire for peace. But it isn't, exactly. Velen isn't preaching peace - he's arguing that we're fighting the wrong war.

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

Warlords of Draenor: EU reports from fansite play testing [Spoilers]

Among several others, EU fansite Mamytwink was invited to a press event in Versailles where he not only got to interview Ion Hazzikostas, but also was able to play the same character, a gnome warrior, for five hours, allowing him to finish the alliance "start" zone in Draenor, Shadowmoon Valley. This is a direct translation of Mamytwink's french bullet points covering his 5-hour playtest with some minor adaptation for clarity. Spoiler alert! The last point after the break has a spoileriffic spoiler in it. Be warned.
  • Mamytwink played a gnome warrior in Shadowmoon Valley, the Alliance landing zone in Draenor. After around 5 hours /played and 80 quests, he completed the zone, reaching level 92
  • The new models are excellent (he also created a dwarf). The facial expressions are amazing!
  • At level 91, he had 63,000 HP as a tank
  • Mobs had approx. 100k HP
  • His attacks hit for between 1k and 5k when not crits. Crits on certain abilities hit for 10k (Shield Slam)
  • Level 90-91 was 597k XP, 640k for 91-92
  • Quests awarded between 10 and 15k XP, 20k for more difficult ones.
  • A new type of quest has been added, "bonus objectives". When you arrive in a zone a quest may appear in your log which you earn additional XP for completing. If you leave the area, the quest disappears.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Vindicator Maraad

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.

He isn't a faction leader. He isn't an important NPC, he doesn't offer any quests. He doesn't even offer any flavor text if you happen to click on him -- he simply stands aboard the Skybreaker, letting other NPCs do all the grunt work of handing out quests and tasks for players. He didn't make an appearance in Cataclysm, nor was he anywhere to be found in Mists of Pandaria. To those who simply play World of Warcraft, completing quests and moving on, he is a nobody -- a peculiar NPC that happens to have a name, standing silent and without any apparent purpose at all.

Yet despite not actually appearing in the expansion, he was the draenei paladin featured in the cinematic for The Burning Crusade. He has his own impressive, deluxe action figure from the DC Unlimited series. And it was revealed at BlizzCon that he will play a major role in the Warlords expansion -- one of a few draenei mentioned specifically by name. So just who is Vindicator Maraad, and why does he rate all this attention?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Who we will and won't see in Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor, the next WoW expansion, comes complete with a storyline that has players asking plenty of questions. Featuring an all-star cast of previous RTS characters, Warlords delves into an alternate version of reality, a version in which the orc chieftains never drank the Blood of Mannoroth, instead choosing to band together in the Iron Horde. In this version of reality -- a splinter of reality that shouldn't really exist -- the orcs and draenei are still at war, and that entire splinter of reality is being connected to our own via the Dark Portal.

This has been raising all kinds of questions regarding who exactly we'll see on the other side of that portal. What about Azeroth, in that version of reality? What about Deathwing and his kin? What about the Velen leading the draenei at that point in time, what about younger Garrosh? Will there be duplicates of orcs who have since made their homes on Azeroth, after traveling through the Dark Portal? Will the Alliance Expedition be stranded on this version of Draenor? Just who are we going to see over there, and who won't be making an appearance?

While we don't have all the answers, we have more than enough to start filling in the blanks.

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Filed under: Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor and the draenei

Okay, let's just put our cards on the table. The only thing I want to do with orcs in Warlords of Draenor is kill them. Bring on the Iron Horde for me to stomp on. I will eventually level my Horde characters, sure. But I'm not particularly interested in the Frostwolves and how the Horde is going to relate to them and the Horde's search for an identity somewhere between murderous lunatics and Thrall's happy fun-time frolic friends - it's certainly not a bad hook for a Horde storyline. But I don't care about it. We've had a lot of the Horde and their civil war and their struggle to stay united under Hellscream. It was often very interesting stuff - I very much liked the Dominance Offensive quests - and I'm glad we got to see it. Mists of Pandaria ended up being a very dark expansion in a lot of ways, with themes of personal responsibility and how good intentions can go bad, missed opportunities and the fog of war, and I thought that the Siege of Orgrimmar made a lot of sense.

I wasn't one of the Alliance players who was upset about the Horde rebels having a role in SoO. I don't feel like it diminished the Alliance story any to show us working alongside them, I wasn't bothered by seeing Varian's actions at the end of the raid. I thought it was all good and proper.

But frankly, I'm done with the Horde's problems. I play Alliance. I want to see Alliance stories. Horde players should have their stories, too, I'm not saying they shouldn't -- more power to y'all solving that whole issue of inheriting a legacy of murderous psychopathic lunacy from the Old Horde, that's gotta be rough for you -- but I am done. Because Warlords of Draenor has promised me the one thing I've wanted to see since Burning Crusade itself failed to deliver it, and that's draenei. Draenei cities, as they appeared at their height. Draenei culture, not the ruined remnants of it. The draenei we saw in BC were the ragged remnants cast adrift on Azeroth, survivors of a near total extermination. They were the embattled refugees desperately seeking a place to rebuild. I fell in love with them in no small part due to their tenacity and willingness to keep going, but I've always wondered what they were really like before the horrors Ner'zhul and later Gul'dan unleashed upon them at Kil'jaeden's behest. And at last, I'm going to get to find out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, BlizzCon, Mists of Pandaria

How the Draenei make WoW a better place

How the Draenei make WoW a better place

The light wishes suffering on none, my child. But it does not reign unopposed in our realm
- The Prophet Velen


It's no secret that I dig the draenei. They're my favorite race in the game (my second favorite are tauren, with worgen in third) and in all honesty for a long time, I never really knew why aside from my having really loved the draenei starting zone when I first played through it during the Burning Crusade beta. I really enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie I got from the various surviving crew members, all pulling together to survive, and as the history of the long displaced race unfolded and linked up to their appearance in Warcraft III and the broken ones I'd already met back in my vanilla days running through Swamp of Sorrows, I was hooked.

I liked that they were in turns noble yet murderous - I've never forgotten that it was Velen, supposedly kindly and peace loving Prophet, who ordered my draenei to go find the blood elves and their eredar allies on Bloodmyst and eradicate them. Kill them all, Velen said to me, and I did it. They even threw a party for me afterwards. I liked that for all our obvious compassion, we still were deeply flawed - there was clear racism and disquiet aimed at the Broken, whose mutated condition filled some of our people with disgust - you could see it in how we shoved them into the darkest corners of the crashed Exodar and forced them to toil out of sight. The draenei were many things - linked to the man'ari eredar through a common origin, forever exiled from their home, hunted by their former kin - but their long relationship with the Naaru and the Holy Light hadn't made plaster saints out of the draenei. I liked their having survived the orc genocide on Draenor has hardened, but not warped them.

And to be honest, I just really liked playing in one. I like how they move, how they run, how they look in plate or mail (most of my draenei are warriors or shaman, with one paladin who doesn't get out much), how their racial Gift of the Naaru makes a sigil float over their heads, their combat animations (especially how they use staves or polearms) - but it wasn't until recently that I really thought for a while about why, exactly, I still hold such a fondness for the draenei.

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

The Velen Problem: Why the draenei need dissent

The Velen Problem Why the draenei need dissent
I've been thinking about this one for a while. The character of Velen is a useful one for World of Warcraft as a whole as well as being one of my favorites in the game -- he stands for a rationally enlighten position which seeks to unite the Horde and Alliance in order to hold off the greater threat of the Burning Legion. In that regard, he's WoW's Medivh from Warcraft III. His visions of the future and powerful understanding of the Holy Light give him an unassailable moral authority - it's difficult for any allied faction leader to stand directly against Velen's position, when he makes it known. Luckily for the narrative, Velen is often distracted with seeking visions of the war with the Legion and how to defeat them and he can't always stand against the Horde/Alliance conflict... either that, or he foresees that it will play out in a way that's beneficial to his goals.

But it is this very role as unassailable moral compass that makes Velen a problem in terms of integrating the draenei into World of Warcraft and its storyline.

I'll explain using some examples. The current Battlefield Barrens weekly quest, for instance, is just the latest sign of Horde/Alliance conflict on Kalimdor. The Horde have expanded into Ashenvale, taken over Azshara, bombed Stonetalon, even made inroads into Darkshore (seemingly, at least) by allying with the local trolls. The night elves are reeling from these attacks. Their new worgen allies are stepping up to aid the Sentinels, going so far as to seek training under Shandris Feathermoon. Yet the draenei, who live on a set of islands just off the coast of Kalimdor, have done nothing.

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

What If: Velen the villain

The other night, while recording the podcast, Sacco came up with a little game that caught our fancy -- he threw out a random lore figure, said "you have ten seconds to detail how you would use this person as the main antagonist for the next expansion" and let myself and Anne have at it. Since it was an enjoyable exercise, and since the next expansion announcement is a few months away, we figure why not and so, here we are now. What are the rules to this game? Well, we're going to stick to lore figures who are alive at the moment (no resurrections of dead figures) and we're going to try and keep them short. Well, short for Anne and myself, anyway.

This inaugural edition will take a look at the most unlikely figure I could come up with for the main antagonist of an entire expansion. So here we go, ladies and gentlemen, with my rampantly untrue, completely made up, based on nothing but my own ideas speculation for what we could see in an expansion around the idea that the main bad guy is none other than the Prophet Velen.

Yes, that Prophet Velen.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

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