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Know Your Lore: Ner'zhul and the breaking of the pact

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 is one of those times when we're talking about the Warlords version of a character, and not the original. This is not the Ner'zhul we know - this is not the elder shaman who united the orc clans while being manipulated by Kil'jaeden. Although this Ner'zhul is certainly a respected shaman and the leader of the Shadowmoon Clan, he's not the same as the orc we know - he hasn't made the same choices. And yet, he is Nerzhul. The deathspeaker, the shaman who watched the stars and listened to the stories they told him.

On the Draenor we now explore, history has unfolded differently. Some things are the same - Ner'zhul's student turned on his master and sold his soul for demonic power, and attempted to lead the orc clans as a whole into slavery and a genocidal war against the Draenei. But on this world, Ner'zhul wasn't so easily deceived. There are differences between the worlds even before Garrosh Hellscream's arrival - and those differences, great and small, have led to a different Ner'zhul, who made different decisions, and brought about a dark destiny for the Shadowmoon Clan. Was it worse than the rise of the Old Horde? In some ways, of course it couldn't be - at least the orcish clans of Draenor still own their own souls.

All, perhaps, except Ner'zhul and the Shadowmoon.

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

Know Your Lore: The Molten Core

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 the deepest parts of Blackrock Mountain, the Dark Iron toil relentlessly, slaving away at the whim of an ancient, terrifying master of flame. The Molten Core, as it is called by the denizens of Azeroth, is not this creature's home. Instead, it is the home of a dark ritual gone terribly wrong, a ritual that not only backfired, but subsequently resulted in the enslavement of an entire dwarven clan.

The 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft has some extra special goodies this year, including an updated, 40man LFR version of the Molten Core. Although many players lurked in its depths in the original iteration of the raid, the story of the area and how it came to be was scattered all over Azeroth -- because the tale begins long before there were dwarves, clans, or anyone to call Blackrock Mountain by name.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Moviewatch: Pride

Fair warning: This is a very, very long machinima, clocking in at over and hour and a half, and there is some NSFW language at various points in the film. If, however, you were looking for the ultimate in Siege of Orgrimmar story machinimas, this is it. We featured the trailer for Pride just before BlizzCon, and the movie itself came out on November 5, just as everything was beginning to kick off in Anaheim. However, the trailer has nothing on the full film, which features the story of a group of horde heroes who have let the Sha of Pride tear their group apart, but manage to pull together to achieve the impossible, and defeat Garrosh Hellscream.

The film is a pretty amazing combination of Blizzard cinematics and voiceovers interspersed with the main story written by Suge. And on top of all of that, actual raid footage from the Siege of Orgrimmar was also used to full effect, showcasing guilds The Fallen and Blow fighting the 25m Heroic (now Mythic) version of Garrosh Hellscream and his cohorts. It's a pretty amazing film, and although there are a few voice actors with less than optimal microphones, it really doesn't matter so much in the long run. Pride may run a little long, but it's worth the watch.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: Draenic marshmallows

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

Look, I'm not going to argue the mechanical wonders of goblin engineering. I mean I'm a goblin engineer and everything. But I'm wondering where the heck this particular goblin managed to find marshmallows on Draenor -- I'm not objecting, mind you. I'd just like some for myself, thanks.

BlazeNor asked:

Do anyone know if the rarity of followers effect the benefits to the profession shops they are assign to?

Nope! All rarity affects is how many traits your follower has, which in turn plays into how good they are at completing missions. An uncommon follower with the ability to work at the Engineering shop will offer exactly the same things as an epic follower that has the same ability.

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Filed under: The Queue

WoW Moviewatch: Tree of Life

I'd missed the first part of today's story when we featured it a little over a year ago, but both the first part of this tale and today's Moviewatch are pretty amazing. Nixxiom originally released The Druid last year, a story about a druid who shares a story with a priestess of Elune. It was a really well done story, and the visual effects, despite using the older models, worked remarkably well in conjunction with it.

Tree of Life returns to Ashevn the druid, who is still telling stories in the Temple of Elune. This time, there is no script, simply a haunting soundtrack to accompany the visuals. And even without words -- maybe even because there are no words -- the movie is incredibly effective. I really love the play of black and white vs. color that takes place throughout the piece, it really hammers home the key parts of the tale. Give it a watch -- and if you like it, be sure to check out Nixxiom's Youtube channel for more machinima.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: Not cute

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

You might think the above screenshot is incredibly cute. Aw, look at the little podlings! They've found an elekk to ride around the town. Yes, it's very adorable until you target the podlings, realize they are in fact Hungry Podlings, and then have to deal with the disquieting possibility that they are eating that elekk alive.

Podlings are gross.

Benjamin Seeberger asked:

So once I hit level 100, how much time will it reasonably take me to actually get to ilvl 615?

Not too long, all things considered! Questing in Nagrand will help considerably -- the rares out there drop some pretty high-end rewards, and quest rewards are also pretty good. You'll end up doing some dungeons as well, but with the changes to Personal Loot now guaranteeing you a piece at the end of an LFG dungeon run, you'll find yourself there in no time. You've got until January to run Molten Core, so there's really no need to worry about whether you'll be there in time. It took me a few days, but that was less because it was difficult and more because I didn't have a ton of time to run dungeons for gear right off the bat.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: Looking back on 10 years of WoW

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Consider this one a slightly more personal Queue than most, because today's the start of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration, and that means telling a little story. That screenshot above is from just before I got my Sulfuras, which I still have - I've had it for eight years now. But I wouldn't have gotten it, or done any of the raiding I did then, or even played this game at all if not for the fact that WoW let me talk to Julian, my wife (she wasn't my wife yet then) when we were separated.

World of Warcraft was our means to stay in touch after we were parted for a while, and it became something we did together - we ran through Southshore and up to Scarlet Monastery together, back before you could just queue for dungeons, when the only way to get summoned was via a warlock. Before Blackwing Lair was even out, we ran Molten Core together. We were both guilded together, raided together, and before that we leveled together. World of Warcraft has been special for me entirely because of how it made a bad patch for the two of us better, let us share sunsets on the docks, let us camp that annoying Horde druid who kept ganking lowbies outside Southshore and just kill him until it wasn't any fun for him anymore. I proposed to Julian during a Molten Core run.

The game has been a part of our lives. It is just a game, admittedly so, but it's a game we shared, a game that we met friends in, a game we played together. A game where I was once forced to level a character entirely so I could stand in a swamp and cast Heroism so that my wife could tame a special rare pet.

It's been a heck of a decade, World of Warcraft. I might not be married if not for you. I certainly wouldn't have a job writing about you if you didn't exist. So thank you.

And now, for your questions.

Zheo asks:
QFTQ: Next expansion - Legion or something else?

I can guess if you want. I have absolutely no evidence to support this, I'm making up an answer based entirely on my personal beliefs, no one's told me anything - but I think it's pretty likely that at the end of this expansion we well and truly tick the Legion off. I would not be surprised if the next expansion was the Legion come around again.

That being said, I'd be okay with a completely different expansion. I still think a gnome themed expansion could work.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Nobundo

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 fantastic things about Warlords of Draenor is getting to see the way history provides context for a life. By seeing how people have changed, and how they could have been we get a sense of how they are, as we know them - and for me one of the most fantastic changes to contemplate and understand is that of Vindicator Nobundo, a stalwart draenei paladin, who in a different life became Farseer Nobundo, first draenei shaman. Nobundo's story is one of overcoming horrific loss, enduring not just the destruction of his way of life but a corrosion of the body that threatened his very soul, and his ability to overcome and become someone who could inspire his people to a new path displays his strength of spirit.

The Vindicator Nobundo we meet on Draenor - the one who helps fight the Burning Legion forces in Talador, who comes to Nagrand to help calm the elements - has not endured the same trials as Farseer Nobundo. He has not come out the other side of seeing his people nearly destroyed, his body warped by fel energies, his connection to the Holy Light severed. And yet, he is Nobundo - he embodies everything the Farseer was, everything he lost to become who he is today.

So who is Farseer Nobundo? And who is Vindicator Nobundo?

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

The Queue: Dungeon difficulty, Dungeon Queues, Boost a warrior.

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

I'm one of those people who liked Mists of Pandaria. I thought and still think that it was a solid, well designed, well developed expac with a lot of solid new lore, well designed content, and that its major flaws were a lack of dungeons as the expansion continued, some PvP issues, and that deadly year plus with no new content at the end. So while I'm heartened to see Warlords having a positive effect and people excited for it, I'm not down on the 'stupid pandas' trip a lot of people seem to be on. If you didn't like Pandaria, that's your call, but it doesn't make those of us who did less intelligent than you. It's just a matter of taste.

That said, I'm in a paraoxysm of joy over the draenei lore in this expansion. I haven't leveled Horde yet - my tauren's getting impatient, but I have so much to do on my main it doesn't feel like the right time yet. Draenor is an incredibly well designed and executed expansion so far. It's a joy to play through.

Bugboy asks:
Q4tQ: I haven't gotten into the new dungeons yet, but recall that, difficulty-wise, they're supposed to be somewhere between Cata and MoP. Is that about where they are?

I'm of the opinion (based both on my own experiences and those of my friends) that some dungeons are harder than others. Slag Mines has issues if you're melee, as an example. I'd definitely argue that they veer towards the Cataclysm side of things. Skyreach and Auchindoun didn't seem too bad.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Rookie guide updated with garrison guides

If you're just jumping into WoW -- or back into WoW -- for Warlords of Draenor, you may be a little lost when it comes to the addition of garrisons to the game. But whether you're trying to figure out what to build or how to best gather resources, we've put together a section of the Rookie Guide that's all about garrisons. And for the players just hitting level 100 and trying to decide what next, we have a section to help out new to 100 players, too. So why wait? Head over to the Rookie Guide and get caught up on what's new in Warlords of Draenor now.

Of course, Warlords of Draenor is still brand new and there will be more content on both of these fronts in the weeks to come. If you have burning questions about what to do or where to go in Warlords, send them our way and we'll look into covering it for a future WoW Rookie!
Just because you don't know everything there is to know about World of Warcraft doesn't mean you can't play your A-game. Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new (or returning) player, with new sections on garrisons and what to do at level 100.

Filed under: WoW Rookie, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: DDoS, WoW's population spike, and flying


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

I've only answered two questions in the Queue today. Enjoy.

Keleli asked:

Are the DDoS attacks still ongoing or are these queues the norm now?

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: The Pale

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.

When the draenei first came to Azeroth, they landed in spectacular fashion, tearing up an island off the coast of Kalimdor. New draenei players are taken on a journey through the wreckage and the mess, picking up the pieces and dealing with the unique effects the crash had on both flora and fauna. Several years later, and it seems the draenei are still doing clean-up work -- although that may be more due to Azuremyst being perpetually stuck in the past for mechanics purposes, rather than story content.

Why bring this up? Because it's not the first time the draenei have shattered a world. On Draenor, the new inhabitants of the planet landed in similar fashion, tearing up a great chunk of Draenor's landscape in Nagrand. Both times, the incidents were due to faulty ships -- and both times, the surrounding region was affected. But while Azeroth's torn landscape and blood-tinged skies were obvious demarcations of narrowly-avoided disaster, the landing of the Genedar was viewed as something different entirely to the natives of the world. To the orcs, it was unknown -- and then thought, perhaps, to be a gift from the ancestors.

They couldn't be further from the truth.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoilers while you are leveling, come back when you've finished Nagrand.

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

The Queue: Ode to the Frostwall Woodcutter

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

Oh Frostwall Woodcutter, I know not who put you in this game, nor do I understand why you and your brothers are content to do endless rounds of squats rather than toting your lumber to the appropriate building. But I am certain, dear Frostwall Woodcutter, that perhaps you would be more comfortable with a shirt. I mean come on. There's snow on the ground here.

Although I do kind of like that whole burly lumberjack thing you've got going on. Zug zug.

DavidBaldock asked:

Not that I'm concerned about getting to 100, but in a non rushed approach, if I start on Monday and put in say 3 hours a night every night, when should I expect to hit max level? Friday? The following Monday? Just curious.

If it's three solid hours of questing and dungeons, I'd say maybe a week to ten days or so, two weeks at most -- and that's mostly if you spend a lot of time fiddling around. Leveling really doesn't feel like an arduous chore this time around. It's fun, and seems to be pretty well-paced. Make sure you park it in your garrison or an inn to get rested XP when you aren't playing, and the process should be pretty smooth and painless. No rushing necessary.

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Filed under: The Queue

WoW Moviewatch: Warlords of Draenor 8 Bit

Okay, so it's not 8 bit exactly, but I really don't care. Warlords of Draenor 8 Bit is Ian Beckman's attempt at turning the Warlords of Draenor trailer into something incredibly old-school, and I think he manages to successfully do that -- it might not be NES, but it's a least late SNES/Sega Genesis, or early PS1. And beyond that, it's a nostalgia laden reminder of an era in which we all thought these kinds of graphics were astonishingly cool.

And they totally were, back then. I'm not sure what Warlords of Draenor would've played like if it weren't an MMO -- certainly the old consoles weren't capable of anything like what we've got today. Maybe something more akin to those old school point and click adventure games, like the ill-fated Warcraft Adventures that never saw the light of day. I got a good laugh out of this piece though, it was really well done. If you like what you see, be sure to check out Ian Beckman's Youtube channel for more machinima shorts.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: Let's do the time warp again

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I spent way too much time yesterday looking at the screen pictured above -- let's hope that won't be the case today, shall we? More importantly, let's answer some Warcraft questions.

msphoenyxx asked:

Follow up question on the portal thing. Khadgar (and all the mages in Stormshield) can open it from alternate Draenor to our Azeroth in present day. As alternate Draenor is not present day time, how does this work? I'm not familiar with mages having the powers to access time ways. That sounds like a bronze dragon thing.

Mages can handle time magic a bit -- Time Warp, after all. It's definitely not just a bronze dragon thing -- although from a speculative standpoint, I think it has less to do with time manipulation and more to do with the fact that they are basically creating a portal home -- making a portal to a place they've never been would likely be pretty difficult. Making one to home? Little easier. But only a little. Khadgar has a tough time with it, at first -- he says as much in the quests.

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Filed under: The Queue

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