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Posts with tag alliance

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

Breakfast Topic: How did you choose your faction?

Most WoW players take their faction choice very seriously (some even outright reject it) -- and they have a real sense of faction pride, both in and out of the game. You'll see shouts of For the Horde! or For the Alliance! in-game and t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers out in the real world expressing faction pride. But just how do we go about choosing our virtual compatriots?

In my case, it's always been about where my friends were playing. When I had friends playing Horde, I played Horde alongside them. But since I have friends on the Alliance side, too, sometimes I venture off to play with them... though I know to some eyes that probably makes me disloyal to both factions. But what's your story, WoW Insider readers? How did you come to play the faction you're playing? And have you faction-swapped?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore: The future of the Alliance

Know Your Lore The future of the Alliance
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 Siege of Orgrimmar is almost upon us, and the Alliance stands strong, ready to dive in and put an end to Warchief Hellscream's reign. Along the way, they've picked up some entirely unconventional allies in Vol'jin's group of rebels, who are also insistent upon getting Garrosh out. But when the dust settles and all is said and done, if and when the Alliance prove their military superiority, take out Hellscream, and are declared the ultimate victor of what has been a very messy, bloody war, what happens next?

Does the Alliance simply go home and wait for the world to rise up with yet another threat? Do they at last attempt some kind of tentative peace treaty with Vol'jin and his group of rebels? Will Varian Wrynn take a moment of clear victory and use it to crush what remains of the Horde? Will the Alliance leave a military presence in Orgrimmar, to carefully watch and make certain events like this don't come to pass again?

What does the future for the Alliance hold, once Orgrimmar has been taken down?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Après Hellscream, le déluge: A Lore Projection

Spoilers for Patch 5.4 lurk within this post, like a hideous phalanx of grue.

I can't shake this feeling of dread lately. Thinking about the Siege of Orgrimmar, about Garrosh Hellscream, about the Horde and what's to become of it, and of the Alliance. Thanks to the most recent sound files, we know a few things, but what we don't learn from those files is as interesting as what we do learn. And yet, I can't shake this feeling of dread.

What am I dreading? The villain will be defeated, right? The heroes will be triumphant, the rebels and the Alliance will storm Orgrimmar and the 'True Horde' will be toppled from the fortresses it has made of a formerly vibrant, brawling town. All will be right with the world, yes?

Maybe yes, but maybe no. I keep looking at Garrosh Hellscream -- the orc who successfully led a disorganized Horde rabble to Northrend and welded an army out of it -- and thinking about what comes after the siege. What happens when the son of Grom is defeated? What happens to the Horde? What happens to the Alliance? What happens to Azeroth? What happens to us?

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

Know Your Lore: The point of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The point 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.
"It's just possible that the curious race we're going to meet in this mystic land, may just teach us a thing or two about who we are, and why we fight." -- Chris Metzen, BlizzCon 2011
When Mists of Pandaria was introduced, there were plenty of people that were skeptical about the expansion -- many questioned the introduction of the pandaren as a playable race, questioning whether or not an expansion featuring fuzzy talking pandas could ever be taken seriously. Yet although the pandaren can be quite friendly and agreeable, the overall theme of Mists has been remarkably dark. I'd almost consider it darker than any prior, if only for one reason: the message in this expansion hits far closer to home than any other.

While Burning Crusade, Wrath, and Cataclysm all highlighted major enemies that sought to end the world, each through their own means, Mists took a step back from the grand bellowing villains and their evil schemes. And instead, it chose to shift the focus to us -- Alliance and Horde, players and NPCs alike. Yet on the brink of patch 5.4, presumably the last raid of this expansion, what lessons can we take away from Pandaria? What has it taught us, that couldn't be taught by fighting another world-threatening NPC? What was the point of Pandaria?

Please note that today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.4 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turning away now would be advised!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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

Complete your For the Alliance achievement before patch 5.4

Complete your For the Alliance! achievement before patch 54
Last week, with the help of a great group of folks, I was able to complete the For the Alliance! achievement on my priest. But wait... Garrosh won't be around for much longer. I logged onto the PTR to visit Grommash Hold to see who's inside. Spoilers: It's empty. Well, there are a few of the standard NPCs around, including the Archaeology trainer, but there's no warchief to be found.

Not unexpected. At this point in the storyline, Garrosh is being the ultimate butt and everyone's pretty distracted. What does this mean for Alliance looking to complete the For the Alliance! achievement if there's no Garrosh? Sure, there will be a new leader to kill, but we really can't guess when the achievement will be updated once patch 5.4 hits.

If you can gather a group before then, do so! It's unfortunate that Orgrimmar can't be cross-realmed -- this part of the achievement must be completed with people from your server. To avoid being caught and overrun, arrange the raid via social media or within your guild. Word spreads quickly when these runs go public. Good luck!

Filed under: Achievements, Mists of Pandaria

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

Know Your Lore: The lore leading into patch 5.4

Know Your Lore The lore leading into patch 54
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 5.4 is now live on the PTR servers for testing, and it has several ... dramatic changes, both to the world and to the characters in it. While patch 5.3 may seem small on story, there's actually plenty going on -- more than enough to serve as a catalyst heading into the new patch. In fact, plenty of the events in 5.3 directly effect what's going on in patch 5.4. Although we don't know the whole story just yet, considering the PTR is a test realm that may undergo changes as time goes on, we do have enough to tie 5.3 and 5.4 together in a significant way.

If you've been following the lore, you may have seen the signs already and know what to expect. But if you haven't been paying much attention to the story, or you're wondering what's going on with those images people have been posting from the patch 5.4 PTR, we'll do our best to get you all caught up. Mists of Pandaria has been an expansion chock full of new story, and patch 5.3 has certainly been no exception to this -- but 5.4 is shaping up to be the biggest hit we've seen so far in Mists.

Please note that today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.4 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turning away now would be advised!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.4 PTR: New scenario, Stromgarde Keep

Patch 54 PTR New scenario, Stromgarde Keep
Tucked in among all the other patch 5.4 files dug up by Wowhead is a new scenario with little to no information in terms of maps, bosses, or achievements. You might overlook this scenario in favor of other information, but Alliance players in particular may want to look again, because it looks as though we'll be paying a visit to Stromgarde Keep. Players may or may not remember the deserted ruins over in the Arathi Highlands, once home to the Trollbane line -- unfortunately, the zone didn't get much of a revamp during Cataclysm.

But the potential for this new scenario is huge, depending on what exactly we'll be doing while we're in there. There doesn't appear to be a faction requirement for the scenario, so it seems both Alliance and Horde players will be entering the zone -- whether or not we'll be able to keep our appearance, or be under another disguise effect, is currently a mystery. However, Stromgarde holds tremendous potential, because it represents a foothold steeped in a staggering amount of history for the Alliance, and the human race.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The Alliance and Horde

Know Your Lore The Alliance and 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.

To ask why we fight, is to ask why the leaves fall -- it is in their nature.

The Alliance and Horde have been notoriously at each other's throats since the two factions began in the days of the First and Second Wars. And although I have come up with some crazy theories regarding the innate reasons behind that latent aggression between the two factions, they're simply theories. They may make sense, in a bizarre and meta fashion, but they are in no way true. So here we are, left with a simple question: What makes the Alliance and Horde so prone to aggression? Why do they continue to battle, and turn their noses at the thought of making peace?

While I do enjoy coming up with fanciful reasons for all of this, there is one blatant, simple reason that stands on its own: Misunderstanding. Sheer, unadulterated ignorance and a stubborn unwillingness to try and understand. Both sides possess a single-minded obsession with violence and retribution that has never faded, nearly thirty years after the events of the First War. And when you step back and take a look at the conflict between the two factions with a neutral eye, the whole of the aggression turns into a delightful, tragic, almost laughable comedy of errors and escalation.

Let's take a look at where some of the common misconceptions surrounding both Horde and Alliance have gotten us.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Alliance and the Darkspear Rebellion

Know Your Lore The Alliance and the Darkspear Rebellion
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.

Sometimes, the storytelling in World of Warcraft sets people on edge -- which may very well be the understatement of the year. So far, nothing in Mists of Pandaria has been quite as contentious as the idea of Alliance vs. Horde story development. We've delved into the seemingly lopsided nature of Alliance development in WoW before, and taken some guesses and speculation on what the Alliance seems to be missing from a development standpoint.

But patch 5.3 has introduced a new element -- the Darkspear Rebellion -- and with that element comes a new wave of discontent. Having played through both sides of the event, I can definitely see where the Alliance are coming from. While the Horde has a really great triumphant moment of smacking down Garrosh's forces, the Alliance doesn't really have an equivalent. Which leads people to ask, once again, when the Alliance are going to get a moment of glory?

It's a good question, and the answer to that question warrants a look into the story behind the expansion, as well as a look at the nuts and bolts of story development.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.3 PTR: Battle on the High Seas overview

Patch 53 PTR Battle on the High Seas overview
One of my favorite scenarios to this day is Unga Ingoo. It's not because it has any major lore significance, some major story reveal that was shocking or inspired. It's not because it had any kind of meaningful impact on what we're doing right now, or on the leveling experience itself. No, the reason I love Unga Ingoo is because ships, ropes, and beating up pirates are all ridiculously fun things. Even more so when the pirates are monkey pirates.

In patch 5.3, we're getting four new scenarios -- three of which are interesting from a lore perspective, and one of which, Battle on the High Seas, is just a rollicking good time. There aren't any lore reveals. There's nothing in the scenario to further the story of patch 5.3, or lead into patch 5.4. The only thing Battle on the High Seas offers is the opportunity to smack the heck out of the opposite fashion in true swashbuckling style ... and honestly, that's more than enough reason to do it as far as I'm concerned!

Please note that this is being written from the Horde perspective of the scenario. I'm assuming that the Alliance side is much the same, just with a role-reversal involved.

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

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Curse of Flesh

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The Curse of Flesh
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.
Abedneum: Accessing. In the early stages of its development cycle Azeroth suffered infection by parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes. Designation: Old Gods. Old Gods rendered all systems, including Earthen defenseless in order to facilitate assimilation. This matrix destabilization has been termed the Curse of Flesh. Effects of destabilization increased over time.
Brann Bronzebeard yells: Old Gods eh? So they zapped the Earthen with this Curse of Flesh. And then what?
Kaddrak: Accessing. Creators arrived to extirpate symbiotic infection. Assessment revealed that Old God infestation had grown malignant. Excising parasites would result in loss of host--
The early days of Azeroth's creation are a puzzle that has yet to be completely solved. The issue of Azeroth's creation lies in the order of events as they've been presented; we have two very different orders of events depending on where you're looking for reference. In one, the Titans arrived on Azeroth to find the Old Gods, put the world in order, then left for parts unknown. In another, it's implied that the Titans arrived, put the world to order, and left. At some point after this, the Old Gods arrived and wreaked havoc, prompting the return of the Titans and the imprisonment of the Old Gods.

So ... which one is correct? Well, there's an interesting part in the middle of all of this that can be used to try and unravel that particular puzzle. It's called the Curse of Flesh, and its shaped far more of Azeroth as we know it today than you'd think.

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 what is to come as a result. 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

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