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Posts with tag alliance

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn
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.

Prince Anduin Llane Wrynn is the sole heir to Stormwind's throne. Named after Varian's father, the beloved King Llane, and the hero of all heroes, Anduin Lothar, he's got two major figures to live up to. Yet rather than turn down the path of Lothar's heroics, he seems to be gravitating towards the direction that King Llane ultimately followed: A beloved leader, one who treated all in his kingdom with kindness and respect, up to and including Garona -- a member of the Old Horde who by all rights, despite her background as a half-breed, was still the face of the enemy.

And in the end, that spelled King Llane's undoing. His trust was his weakness, and it resulted in his assassination. King Llane died in part because of the machinations of the Shadow Council, but in even larger part because he simply didn't exercise caution like he should. King Llane's death is a cautionary tale that his son Varian took to heart -- but Varian's son is a different story altogether. Anduin Wrynn presents a peculiar puzzle that has yet to be fully explained.

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

Poll: Do you cheat on your faction?

Poll Do you cheat on your faction
We all know how it starts. A stolen glance across the sands of Silithus. That moment where you eyes meet, a shared second in the Deeprun Tram as you chase your foe back down the tunnel with your finger hovering over the Hammer of Wrath, but hesitate to hurl it home. You know your past, your history, your ambitions, you're a draenei, you're a member of the Alliance, it's all so clear. But somewhere, somewhere there's a longing for something more. Something different. Something... green.

And before you know it, you're being catapulted from Kezan into a new world, a world of orcs and blood elves, of trolls and tauren, of bloodlust rather than heroism. It's new, it's exciting, but is it anything more than just a fleeting visit? Can you really stay in this place, with the in-fighting and the slums and the ramshackle, riotous city of Orgrimmar as your home?

Have you ever cheated on your faction? Been deepsing with the enemy? You're far from alone. It's certainly safe to say that some players are like swans: when it comes to factions, they mate for life. But others are like sparrows, flitting from faction to faction. If you're a sparrow rather than a swan, are your dalliances with the dark side flippant flings, or full-blown affairs? Are you truly bi-factional, or will one always take precedence, always be your home and your heart?
Do you cheat on your faction?
Yes2646 (59.6%)
No1796 (40.4%)

Filed under: Humor

Know Your Lore: Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt?

Know Your Lore Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt
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.

As the expansion rolls on, we are lurching towards something that we've known was coming since the beta for Mists of Pandaria -- Garrosh Hellscream's downfall and the Siege of Orgrimmar. Yet what we didn't know that day that were were informed of the expansions focus, is just how the new Warchief's reign would end. And as the patches have continued to roll out, we have more of an idea and a solid picture of both the Alliance and the Horde's place in this conflict. Make no mistake, Hellscream has made far too many enemies in his short reign, both within and without.

Yet there are those who point out Garrosh's actions and the possibility that his actions may not be under his control. That perhaps he's been corrupted by the Sha while searching for power in Pandaria. Or perhaps the bones of Mannoroth that Garrosh uses as his throne still have some vestige of darkness that lingers within. Or that perhaps the Old Gods have been slowly leeching their influence into Garrosh. Regardless of the methods behind it, there are plenty of people all wondering the same thing -- is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt? Are we going to fight the Warchief, only to discover a far greater horror waiting for us?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: Not an opera

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

Today's Queue is not about opera. Rejoice.

Donald asked:

Alex, I was reading your post on what the Alliance is missing. As a Horde player, it felt like our faction could use similar things like more familiar faces questing etc. How would you feel if the horde got the same treatment?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Another take: What is the Alliance missing?

Another take What is the Alliance missing
Yesterday, our own Anne Stickney posted an article here on WoW Insider asking -- and trying to explain -- what the Alliance is missing in its lore, story, and gameplay. In some aspects, I agreed. In others, I did not, as any person will. We all have our own opinions and preferences when it comes to gameplay. I've been playing Alliance since World of Warcraft launched, and I've spent nearly as long contemplating why the Alliance feels so flat compared to the Horde. As long as I have this soapbox to stand on, I'm going to use it.

Action and reaction

Anne brought up the topic of active vs. proactive stories. I'm glad she did, because Anne and I discussed it together before that article was written. I want to reiterate it, because I feel it's the most important issue at hand. This problem has been made obvious in Mists of Pandaria and Cataclysm before it: the Alliance doesn't seem to have a story of its own. The Alliance has been written as a reactive entity, not proactive. On the other hand, the Horde is almost entirely proactive. The Alliance's actions only happen in the context of the Horde, but the Horde forges its own path. Take Mists of Pandaria, for example. Why is the Alliance on Pandaria? Because the Horde got there first. Why is the Alliance bringing down Garrosh Hellscream? Because Vol'jin began his rebellion and we chose to aid him and follow his lead.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore: What is the Alliance missing?

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.

Alliance lore and the Alliance storyline in general have both been subjects of contention since some point early in Cataclysm, and the complaints don't seem to be getting any quieter. In the upcoming patch 5.3, the Alliance will be taking a direct hand in the events playing out near Orgrimmar, but not in the way you would readily expect. And oddly, this has Alliance players worked up in a near frenzy on realm and story forums, bitter and angry about the direction the Alliance storyline has been taking and repeatedly demanding more.

And it is incredibly difficult to understand just what all the fuss is about. There isn't a tangible moment that one can point to, there isn't a cohesive example of what has been happening. There's just a sense of unhappiness that is, to Alliance players, absolutely real. So this week, we're going to take a slightly different route for Know Your Lore. We're going to look at the nuts and bolts behind Mists of Pandaria, the Alliance, and the story so far. And we're going to do so in as analytical and constructive a manner as possible, to try and find that specific what-happened that seems to be bothering so many players.

Let's take a deep breath, dive in, and ask ourselves not "what is wrong," but instead, "what is the Alliance missing?"

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.3 content. If you're trying to avoid spoilers, you may want to turn away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.3 PTR: Vol'jin and the Darkspear Rebellion

Patch 53 PTR Vol'jin and the Darkspear Rebellion
When I began playing Horde sometime in 2005, I vividly remember running through the barren hills of Durotar and completing the quests. According to the quests, I was just a new character that may or may not have the potential to be a hero someday -- and I felt suitably lowly, yet willing to help out. But I tell you what, I never, ever in a million years expected to be at Vol'jin's side, leading a fleet of angry Darkspear on a charge through the shallow canyons to Razor Hill, and eventually Orgrimmar itself.

It may just be on the PTR for now, but it is seriously one of the most sweeping, awesome, coolest moments I can remember in all the years I've been playing this game.

Vol'jin's back in Kalimdor, and he's ticked. But then, being the target of an assassination attempt ordered by the Warchief of the Horde is probably more than enough to make anyone cranky. If there's anything we're learning in patch 5.3, it's that while the Darkspear may be small, they are far from helpless -- and kicking that bees' nest is an action that will ultimately be sorely regretted. Both Horde and Alliance are on the prowl in patch 5.3, but the stories on each side of the faction fence look very, very different in patch 5.3, although the goal at hand is ultimately the same.

Please note: This post discusses patch 5.3 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turn away now.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

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