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Posts with tag Zandalari

Enter to win Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde

Enter to win Vol'jin Shadows of the Horde
Wondering what Vol'jin's been up to since his brush with death in the Dagger in the Dark scenario? Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, the newest Warcraft novel penned by Michael Stackpole, is a dark, gritty, and ultimately satisfying tale that fills in that part of Vol'jin's story on the backdrop of the Shado-Pan Monastery and Zandalari encroachment.

Thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, we've got a copy of Shadows of the Horde to give away to one lucky reader! And just in case you'd like a little more information on the book before entering the giveaway, feel free to take a look at our spoiler-free review.

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. ET, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can only enter once. One winner will be chosen at random and we will contact you via whatever method you've used to comment. Official rules here.


Filed under: Blizzard, Contests

Michael Stackpole, Micky Neilson talk Shadows of the Horde

Michael Stackpole, Micky Neilson talk Shadows of the Horde
Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde will be available for purchase next week, on July 2. We've already published a spoiler-free review of the novel, which features the Darkspear leader Vol'jin as he recuperates from his near-assassination in the Dagger in the Dark scenario. The novel is something a little different for Blizzard, featuring a story that not only stands apart from the gameplay of Mists of Pandaria, but features a new author as well -- Michael Stackpole, whose writing spans both fantasy and sci-fi, with notable works in both the Battletech and Star Wars universe.

Blizzard was kind enough to let us have a chat with both Mike Stackpole and Micky Neilson, Lead Story Developer at Blizzard, regarding Shadows of the Horde, its development, and the intricacies of writing that oh-so-troublesome troll accent.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Review of Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde by Michael Stackpole

Review of Vol'jin Shadows of the Horde by Michael Stackpole
I've been dying for a good troll novel. Despite their longevity in Warcraft's timeline, we really haven't seen much of anything regarding the troll race, their traditions, their customs, the loa -- none of the rich history that has been cultivated and told over the years. Needless to say, I was very excited when Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde was announced at the New York Comic Con last year -- and even more so when Michael Stackpole was revealed as the author of the book.

A prolific author, Stackpole has written a ton of books set in the Star Wars universe as well as BattleTech and a variety of original works as well. Familiar with both fantasy and sci-fi, Stackpole is an impressive author in his own right -- and his realm of expertise with both guaranteed he'd be a good fit for the Warcraft universe and its unique approach to fantasy. So how did Shadows of the Horde hold up?

This is quite possibly one of the darkest novels in the Warcraft stable. And it's brilliant.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Patch 5.3 PTR: Blood in the Snow overview

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview
If you've been wondering what's been going on in Ironforge during Cataclysm and Mists, patch 5.3 ought to fill you in. The first of two scenarios required to unlock the quest chain for 5.3, Blood in the Snow tells the story of Moira Bronzebeard and her attempt to prove to both the Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, and the Alliance itself that the Dark Iron are worthy allies. One tends to forget that Moira's roots lay originally with the Bronzebeard clan -- and she's not out for blood, she's out to prove that both she and the clan she now runs aren't the one-dimensional villains everyone would like to make them out to be.

Does she succeed in this goal? Well ... that remains to be seen. But given Cho's story of the three clans, the tale that pointed out that both Wildhammer and Bronzebeard were being perhaps unnecessarily paranoid, it looks like the dwarves might finally be moving in a direction of actual unity. Meanwhile, the scenario itself is actually pretty fun, and presents a bit of a challenge without being impossible.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 5.3 content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2: Wrathion and the legendary chain

Patch 52, Wrathion, and the legendary chain
Wrathion's waiting for you, friends. If you have completed all the steps so far in the legendary chain, Wrathion will have some new tasks for you to complete in patch 5.2. While we still aren't entirely certain whether or not he's telling the truth about his motives -- or even whether those motives are bad or good -- we can be absolutely certain of one thing. As long as we help Wrathion, Wrathion keeps handing over the goods. And you can't really argue with that!

Last patch, Wrathion pitted Alliance against Horde in Krasarang Wilds and had us gleefully murdering the opposing faction in an attempt to discover who the true heroes and hearts of the Alliance and Horde really were. While it seems counterproductive to murder the army you're trying to gather together, Wrathion rewarded us with a nice socket for our time. In patch 5.2, Wrathion's concerns have shifted -- and his rewards are worth the effort.

Please note that there are potential minor spoilers for patch 5.2 after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Lorewalkers guide for the Isle of Thunder

Patch 52 guide to Lorewalker items on the Thunder Isle
What, you thought we were done with the Lorewalkers? Not a chance. Patch 5.2 introduces more lore objects to find, scattered around the Isle of Thunder. Collecting all of the objects results in achievements as well as new scenes to watch, courtesy of Lorewalker Cho. The objects themselves are softly lit with a blue glow as shown above, making them relatively easy to spot once you're in the area.

I spent some time on the Isle of Thunder and managed to hunt down all of the lore objects while doing quests for the new zone. But if you don't have the time or inclination to explore, we've put together a map and guide of all the new lore objects. Please note -- there are plenty of these lore objects locked behind island progression. You won't be able to nab all of the lore objects until the Isle of Thunder is fully unlocked on your server.

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Filed under: Lore, Achievements, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2 and beyond with Dave Kosak

Patch 52 and beyond with Dave Kosak
Hot on the heels of the official patch 5.2 trailer, we had the opportunity to sit down and speak with one of the developers behind it all. While chatting with Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak about patch 5.2 and its development, one thing became incredibly clear -- 5.2 is definitely not just a raid and a few dailies. There is far, far more to be seen and experienced in the new patch.

Read on for some of the details behind the trailer released earlier today, the story in the new patch, daily quest development, scenarios, and even a few hints at what's in store for patch 5.3.

Please note: There are a couple of minor spoilers for 5.2 content in the interview. Nothing huge, we promise!

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The lore so far -- leading into patch 5.2

Know Your Lore The lore so far  leading into patch 52 SUN
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.

Patch 5.2 is almost here, bringing new stories and development to Mists of Pandaria. The story presentation in Mists so far has been a vast, vast improvement on the convoluted storylines in Cataclysm. While Cataclysm left many players wondering what, exactly, was going on, Mists has been by and large a seamless storytelling experience integrated into questing, raids, dungeons, scenarios and daily quests.

But not everyone participates in everything. Sometimes all you want to do is raid or PvP -- but you want to know the story, too. If you've been looking for details on lore you may have missed, lore that is important as we move to patch 5.2, we've got you covered. Don't worry, there are no patch 5.2 spoilers in here. But there are plenty for everything that's happened in 5.0 and 5.1, so reader beware.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Zandalari

Know Your Lore The Zandalari SUN
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 are the first of the troll Empires, the first of the troll tribes, and in fact, the first of trolls as a cohesive race. The Zandalari have seen it all, from the very dawn of civilization to the evolution of the night elves to the Sundering to countless wars to present day. They have been watching both the culture and the assorted tribes of trolls splinter further and further, into smaller and smaller tribes. They have been watching as their race continues down the slow path towards eventual extinction, with little choice in the matter.

The Zandalari are tired of watching. As some of the first known intelligent races on Azeroth, they have seen it all, from vast troll Empires to splintered sub-groups. They are not about to walk that path to extinction quietly. After all, there's another, far more ingenious option available. And although their first plan may have failed, their second plan is far more likely to succeed, given the strength of their allies of old. In patch 5.2, we're about to face off with the Zandalari for the second time -- the first being the revamp of Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman in Cataclysm.

But who are the Zandalari? Why should we care about this random group of trolls over any other?

Please note: This post contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 content.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.2 PTR: The horror of raid boss Horridon

Patch 52 PTR The horror of Horridon
You know what's worse than fighting a giant dinosaur?

A giant dinosaur with cannons. I don't know what those Zandalari trolls have been up to, but they're outfitting these lovely and peaceful dinos with weapons of war with the aim of unleashing them on us. Are we just going to stand by and let them trample all over us? Nope! Not one bit!

Read on!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Mysteries of the Isle of Giants and patch 5.2

Mysteries of the Isle of Giants
New maps have been dug up from the patch 5.2 PTR, covering both the new raid and the new zones we'll see in the upcoming patch. One of the maps is for an area called the Isle of Giants -- home to a new world boss, Oondasta. The map, shown above, looks like a mountainous island with a sunken center and the possible existence of tar pits.

In fact, it looks a lot like a crater. One that is pretty similar to two fairly substantial craters we already have in game: Un'goro Crater over on Kalimdor, and Sholazar Basin up in Northrend. Given what we've been told so far in regards to the new raid, and how the developers wanted to make something in the style and scope of Ulduar, this raises a few questions. The biggest one being -- what if that similarity to Ulduar isn't just a matter of size and scope?

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

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The dark secrets of the mogu

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The dark secrets of the mogu SUN
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 were once rulers of an empire that rivaled the Zandalar in size and scope, but they possessed powers far greater than the trolls could ever dream of. They used their power to shape the grummels and saurok from the lesser races of Pandaria. They enslaved the pandaren race as a whole, using them to build structures and gather supplies all under threat of their iron fists. Their great empires trace back to thousands of years ago, before even the War of the Ancients, and possibly before the rise of the kaldorei race.

The mogu are one of the clear villains of this expansion, and our arrival denotes the sudden uprising of this strange, curious, violent race. While the mogu may have been relatively quiet for centuries, they are certainly far from it now. And as we make our way through Pandaria we see more and more evidence that these violent beings are on the move -- something that disturbs the gentle pandaren greatly. The mogu hide secrets, and over the course of raiding, we uncover a few.

But their greatest secret may just be something so unfathomable, so bizarre, that it shakes the roots of everything we currently know and believe.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on why and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains some content spoilers from Mists of Pandaria.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Getting into the lore of Mists

Know Your Lore Getting into the lore of Mists SUN
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.

Well, this has certainly been a week, hasn't it? Mists of Pandaria will officially be out and in your hands on Sept. 25. In the tidbits I've discussed here and there regarding Mists of Pandaria, I've pointed out time and time again that the lore we will see with this expansion will all be new. Does it tie into old lore and events that have been set up in prior expansions? Absolutely. Will we be dealing with villains from days of old? ... Not so much. This isn't something to be annoyed about; it's something that we should embrace. The continuation of a story is always a good thing. For a story as massive as Warcraft's, it's about time we had a shot of new lore added into the mix.

The best part about the lore in Mists is that because it's all so very new, everyone will be on roughly the same page headed into the expansion. For players who know the lore inside and out, this will all be new material to learn. For new players just looking to get into the lore, you'll be on the same page -- looking at brand new material and figuring it all out. There are a few story threads that have been picked up, but by and large, everything on Pandaria originated on Pandaria.

So how do you get started processing all that stuff? Let's take a look, minus the spoilers. Sorry, guys -- you will eventually get more Pandaria info than you can shake a stick at, but it's going to be September before I start throwing it at you with unbridled glee.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: As new lore emerges

Know Your Lore As new lore emerges
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

There will be spoilers for Mists of Pandaria in this post.

So there's no other way to say this: I am enjoying the heck out of the stories I am being presented with in the Mists of Pandaria beta. I'm actually reading quest text. (To be fair, I do that a lot anyway -- lore nerd and all.) Frankly, as Anne pointed out this weekend, one of the things that's best about this expansion is that everything we experience is new to us. Mists of Pandaria isn't just the story of the pandaren. In fact, while the pandaren are very cool, I find myself absolutely drawn to explore everything else up on the buffet table. The Mogu and their astonishing ruins, the mantid threat in the Dread Wastes, the entirely foreign threat of the Sha -- these are all compelling and fascinating to me. Better still, I'm being presented all new ways to explore these story options.

More so than any expansion in the history of World of Warcraft, the Mists of Pandaria are parting to show us an entirely new world, one we know very little about. If you're an old codger like me, that in and of itself is an interesting departure. But it's being backed up by all the innovations and discoveries of the past seven years of quest and zone design. Frankly, this first post-Cataclysm expansion owes a lot to the teachable moments of the massive zone redesign effort made in the previous expansion. The fruits planted then are being harvested now, and the results are in places stunning.

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

Know Your Lore: The top 10 lore reveals of Cataclysm, 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.

Welcome to what is easily the most subjective list I have ever done. Last week, we covered the Infinite Dragonflight, the Alignment, the return of many old favorites, the tol'vir and Uldum, and the resurgence of the naga. However, that was only half of the story.

This week, we'll get moving right away on the five biggest (as determined by me) lore revelations of this expansion. What did Cataclysm change, shake up, or bring into focus for us?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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