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Exclusive first look at Christie Golden's new novel, War Crimes

Christie Golden, author of a substantial amount of Warcraft novels including The Shattering, Tides of War, Lord of the Clans and Rise of the Horde, recently announced a new novel to add to the list, and we have all the details. Titled War Crimes, the new novel features an all-star cast of nearly every important figure from both the Alliance and Horde, and tells an interesting, new kind of story the likes of which we haven't seen from Blizzard before.

The brutal siege of Orgrimmar is over. Garrosh Hellscream, the most infamous orc on Azeroth, now sits in chains. His tyrannical leadership of the Horde has been ended by his many enemies, and he must answer for his crimes.

Renowned leaders from across the world gather in Pandaria to witness Garrosh's trial. Visions of his past atrocities are presented in vivid detail for all to see. But as history is revisited, old grievances and bitter memories come back into the light, and those in attendance begin to wonder if anyone among them is truly innocent. Mounting tensions and rising enmity steer the court to the brink of chaos... as the world waits with bated breath for the verdict on the war crimes of Garrosh Hellscream.

If you think a novel about a courtroom trial is going to be a dull affair, think again -- War Crimes isn't just a story about a trial, nor is it just another story about Garrosh Hellscream. In fact, it's anything but another Garrosh Hellscream novel. We were thrilled to get an exclusive interview with Christie at BlizzCon 2013 about her new title, a gigantic cast that includes some unexpected faces in the spotlight, and what we can expect to see -- as well as information on the book's release.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore

Warlords of Draenor and the absence of Aggra

Let me tell you a little about my sister. My sister is married, in her thirties, and has four children -- all boys -- ranging from four to sixteen. Her house is a wild cacophony of boys being boys and the calls of various animals that she's acquired. It's a mini-farm, if you will, full of chickens, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, a couple of snakes, and possibly a species or two that I've missed. In addition to raising four boys with her husband, she also owns her own business. She runs her own grooming company here in town, and is both the sole employee and owner, successful enough that she's usually booked for at least a month out, if not more.

In addition to that, she runs two Renaissance festivals a year, hauls her family to regular camp-outs with the faire crew, regularly plays D&D with the gang, and knows how to shoot a longbow and a black powder rifle (and is a pretty good shot with both of them), along with cannons and trebuchets. She's a dab hand at cooking at home and over a campfire out in the wild, knows how to kill, gut and butcher just about anything, and how to tan and stretch a hide. On top of all that, I've heard she's a marvel at breaking up fights, reading bedtime stories, wiping tears from faces, kissing boo-boo's away, and snuggling in the mornings when little ones are sleepy and grumpy about getting up for school.

And god help anyone that comes between her and her family.

I'm telling you this story not to brag about my sister, although I love her very dearly, but to make a point that seems to have been sorely missed somewhere in the story of Warcraft. My sister isn't just a wife and mother. She's a warrior. She's a fighter. She's a spark of ferocity that will not be quenched. Where is her counterpart in Warcraft? That's a really good question.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: World of Warcraft Adventure Continues Q&A

The World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues panel during Friday's action-packed BlizzCon featured Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak giving a short presentation on the story behind the new expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Along with the history lesson, which was summed up by Matthew Rossi, the panel also featured a brief Q&A session that wasn't advertised in the program, but proved to be a pretty good list of questions and answers about the new expansion and what we can expect to see.

Along with some clarifications on whether or not this is a time travel expansion (it isn't), there are also a few new lore reveals regarding the next expansion, and some tasty tidbits of odds and ends that have yet to be addressed. Read on for the full list of questions -- some of the answers may surprise you.

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Filed under: Lore, BlizzCon

Know Your Lore: What exactly is up with women in Warcraft lore?

Know Your Lore What exactly is up with women in Warcraft lore 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.

Between Rossi, myself, and those who came before us, there have been a metric ton of Know Your Lore columns. If you're wondering exactly how many, I suggest you take a look at our lore guide for a categorized list of them all. Occasionally, I'll go back and look through the list just to see what we've missed and what needs to be filled in or updated from old columns. And I've been looking at that lore guide and going over the things in it, and I keep noticing one really particular thing about it.

There are hardly any women on that list. There's a scant handful compared to all the other heroes and villains and history and everything else on it. And it's not that women don't exist in the Warcraft universe -- they're all over the place, honestly. It's that there is only a handful worth of them that have enough character development and story to warrant dedicating a column to them.

To which I say wait a minute, what is up with that?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: 5 potential new warchiefs for Mists of Pandaria

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.

Warcraft lore is a continually fluctuating beast of a thing that can change at a moment's notice. This is particularly true for stories and plot developments that we hear over the course of beta testing, prior to an expansion's actual release. Nothing announced for Mists of Pandaria in the way of plot development is really set in stone and slapped into lore until the day you can purchase the game for yourselves and play it to your heart's content.

Even then, things might not be what they appear to be. Early this week, we had a fairly eye-opening announcement from Community Manager Zarhym in which he stated that perhaps Thrall wasn't slated to make a return to warchief once Garrosh had been removed, unlike all previous assumptions had suggested. Given the fact that Thrall's just saved the world, not to mention the fact that he's about to be a father, it's hard to picture him gladly taking his place as warchief again. There are more reasons than just those, of course.

But then that leaves the major question: Who the heck is going to be warchief? We don't have answers, but we've got five interesting possibilities for you to consider.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 1

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.

Since Rossi is taking a look at the top lore reveals of Cataclysm, I decided to jump in hand-in-hand with that. A little over a year and a half ago, I addressed some of the storytelling methods of Wrath -- what worked, what didn't work. It wasn't a look at specific lore moments as much as a look at how Blizzard was handling lore as a whole. Compared to the early days of WoW, Wrath made some giant strides forward in how we as players interacted and mingled with the various storylines of the expansion.

Much like Wrath, Cataclysm observed all that had come before, took a good look at all of it, and promptly made some giant strides of its own. What we've gotten in the past year has been nothing short of astonishing in terms of creating a meld of gameplay and lore that draws the player in and keeps them there ... to a point. After all, nothing's perfect in this world, and there are always things that could be tweaked and improved upon. Let's take a look at the top 10 lore developments of 2011 -- not the story we've seen in the foreground, but all those wonderful mechanics behind it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Shattering, 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.

Garrosh Hellscream is probably one of the most contentious additions to the Cataclysm expansion. Oh sure, he existed all the way back in The Burning Crusade, but he wasn't Warchief at that point in time. Nobody thought for a moment that the depressed Orc in Garadar would one day be leading their characters into battle against the Lich King. And nobody dreamed that Garrosh would one day be sitting on the Horde's throne.

It wasn't so much the surprise of the situation that people took issue with, however. Instead, it had much to do with Garrosh's attitude throughout Wrath of the Lich King. Headstrong, ruthless and downright bloodthirsty, Garrosh's decisions in Wrath didn't ring right or true with the playerbase. Even more jostling to players was the notion that despite the player dislike of the character, the NPCs of the world loved the guy. It may very well be the first time that a large chunk of a faction's players have blatantly disagreed with a fictional NPC faction -- and the NPC faction won out.

The Shattering makes it clear that Garrosh's position is only temporary, but in Cataclysm, he's certainly attacking the job with gusto.

Today's Know Your Lore contains pretty much every possible spoiler that exists for the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden. If you're avoiding spoilers, run away! Run away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Shattering, 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.

One of the biggest questions people have in regards to the Shattering patch that took place at the end of Wrath of the Lich King is just how much time passed in game during those events. Unfortunately, there aren't any concrete answers to that question, which makes trying to muddle out time lines a little more difficult than usual. The official time line on the original World of Warcraft website was removed when the site underwent its major facelift, and a new time line was never implemented.

However, taking a look at the old time line over on Wowpedia seems to indicate that Blizzard likes patches to last approximately one year in the Warcraft time line. So classic World of Warcraft and all the events we encountered, from Molten Core to the original incarnation of Naxxramas, took place over the span of one year in the time line. The Burning Crusade and all events associated with it also took one year to complete. It stands to reason that Wrath of the Lich King would follow the same trend. But again, without concrete confirmation, we've got no way of really knowing for certain.

That said, the novel The Shattering seems to take place over the course of at least a few months or so, if not more, so there was a bit of a time jump between old-world Azeroth and the Azeroth that was implemented in patch 4.0.3a. And now, let's continue on with what went down in that novel, shall we?

Today's Know Your Lore contains pretty much every possible spoiler that exists for the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden. If you're avoiding spoilers, turn away now!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore Q&A-palooza

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.

Warcraft has a huge story behind it that stretches back over three expansions and an original MMO, three RTS games, and expansions to those RTS games. It covers novels, comics, manga, short stories, and even books, quests, and items currently found in World of Warcraft. The sheer amount of information out there can be a dizzying, massive pile of stuff to keep track of for the average player. Though Cataclysm's done pretty well with incorporating story and lore into gameplay, there are still tons of question out there left to be answered. Cataclysm doesn't cover everything.

That said, this week I decided to mix it up a bit and answer some lore questions from previous posts. To mix it up even more, I also put a call out on Twitter for everyone's burning lore questions. I won't be doing these too terribly often, but if you've got a question that isn't answered in this post, feel free to leave a comment and I'll come back here next time I decide to do a Q&A. Let's get started, shall we?

@ericisgame from Twitter asked:

How many Old Gods are there currently and how many do you think will be eventually revealed?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Insider reviews Christie Golden's Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects

Just under 10 years ago, on Oct. 1, 2001, a novel was released as a new addition to the Warcraft universe that would change the history and lore of the games forever. Lord of the Clans outlined the history and childhood of a young orc named Thrall. Son of Durotan and Draka, the former slave would break free from his imprisonment at the hands of Aedelas Blackmoore, step forward to unite the shattered and lethargic clans of the orcs, and lead the Horde in a manner that none that had played the original Warcraft games could possibly comprehend at that point in time.

Almost a year later, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was released, and that orc's journey from the beleaguered, Scourge-ridden lands of the Eastern Kingdoms to the dusty and barren shores of Kalimdor was told in a tale that captured the hearts of players. No longer simply a character in a novel, Thrall's travels and ultimate triumph, united with the night elves and humans at the peaks of Mount Hyjal and working as one to defeat Archimonde, would forever seal his place as true Warchief of the Horde.

It is only appropriate then that the latest novel written for the Warcraft franchise, detailing the further journeys of Thrall, be undertaken by the woman who started it all -- Christie Golden. Not just an author with a host of Warcraft novels under her belt, Golden is the voice of the former Warchief, the author who gave him a life of his own. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects continues the journey that Thrall began nearly 10 years ago -- and what a journey it is.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Azeroth's savior and the Badlands

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.

A large portion of the new Elemental Bonds quest line available for players in Hyjal involves ex-Warchief Thrall struggling to come to terms with different facets of himself and his life to date: Uncontrolled, unchecked anger at the circumstances of his youth, worry and fear that no matter what he does in his life, it will never be the right thing. And in the midst of all of this, a strong, overbearing desire to just settle down with his woman, have some kids, and just be a family man -- something for which he feels incredibly guilty. After all, when the weight of a dying world rests on your shoulders, the last thing you should be thinking about is starting a family.

He comes to terms with all of this, however, and emerges even stronger than before. It seems as though Thrall is prepared to be the savior of Azeroth, the one who will stand with the Aspects at whatever designated time lies before us in the not too distant future and make certain that the world is restored, whole and complete. The one who can properly fill in as Earthwarder. Except ... being the world's savior doesn't leave much time for raising a family, does it? That deep-down desire to just be a normal orc and raise a normal family doesn't seem to be an option at this point -- after all, the world will need someone to continue to faithfully watch it, after Deathwing is gone. Unless, of course, Thrall isn't the savior of Azeroth at all.

Perhaps that fate rests on one tiny, fragile egg.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 4.2: Thrall's quest sound files reveal major spoilers

Major spoilers ahead, friends. On the other side of this jump is Thrall's dialogue from the epic quest coming in patch 4.2. What fate awaits the former warchief of the Horde? Is Thrall gone for good, or is there still a chance we can save him from his elemental fate? Click faster, time is of the essence!

Major spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 preview: Thrall's fate revealed in epic quest [SPOILERS!]

Well, this is certainly big lore news.

Blizzard has just released a preview of the patch 4.2 epic quest line that awaits players involving Thrall, former warchief of the Horde. After the events of Hyjal and the successful thwarting of Ragnaros' invasion, things were quiet for a short while. A meeting between the many heroes of Hyjal, the Earthen Ring, and the dragon aspects took place at Nordrassil, where Thrall's fate was severely changed.

We'll talk about it more after the break, which has some spoilers for those who are concerned about such things.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Go'el, son of Durotan

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 character Thrall has been a mainstay and a highlight figure in Warcraft lore since his first appearance in Warcraft 3 and the novel Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden. We've covered Thrall and his history before on Know Your Lore, particularly in the current orc politics article, which went over the situation with Thrall and Garrosh Hellscream. Since the release of that article, certain things have been revealed that make another short look at the former Warchief of the Horde necessary.

Thrall has always been a fascinating character to myself and many others. Originally, he seemed to be designed as a simple "true hero" for the brutal orcs to follow, a beacon of honor and integrity in an otherwise incredibly violent, savage society. With Thrall, we were introduced to an orc who had the misfortune of losing both of his parents when he was just a baby, an orc raised in slavery for the amusement of Blackmoore. But a deeper look into the character revealed several intrinsic flaws with the hero that were openly explored the further we progressed into World of Warcraft's storyline.

Please note: The following article contains spoilers for The Shattering by Christie Golden. If you'd like to remain unspoiled, veer away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Shattering plot summary: Thrall

Christie Golden's The Shattering, followup to The New York Times best-selling Arthas, is thankfully just as good (if not better) than its predecessor. We've given you a spoiler-free review, and now it's time to dive into the meat and potatoes, the spoilery goodness contained within the crunchy hardcover shell.

The Shattering covers a lot of ground, but you should know ahead of time that the main players in this story are orcs, tauren, humans and dwarves. The other races are mentioned only in passing or have very minor roles, but that's OK. There's a lot here to love, and we finally have clarification on some rumors that we've heard second- and third-hand for a year now.

Rather than going in full chronological order, I've instead divided the summary by character, so you can follow each of their particular storylines. Today's summary is for Thrall.

Remember, this summary is full of spoilers, so don't read it if you don't want the book spoiled!

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

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