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Posts with tag archimonde

Know Your Lore: The Third War, 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.

A few months back, I started on an overview of the Third War. As you can see from reading it, the following week, I did not in fact talk about the Third War at all. If you're familiar with my Thrall piece for KYL, you understand this is something that happens to me from time to time. I fully intended to go into more details about the war, but I got sidetracked by something shiny or a colorful ball of twine or what have you.

But with Wrath of the Lich King a month from its exit from center stage, it's time to look back again at the war that made it all possible.

After the Culling of Stratholme, Arthas Menethil had taken his first steps into obsession. The Culling itself is often treated as an indefensible act that proves Arthas was already evil, but I personally see it as the first tipping point, when a young and idealistic man who wanted to do right by his people was presented with an untenable choice and let his own impulsive nature decide. Waiting outside the city for the residents to turn into undead and destroying them as they attempted to escape was, after all, neither a more merciful nor a more prudent option. In the end, Arthas made the choice he did, and in so doing alienated both Uther, his direct superior as a paladin (and one who has his father's ear, to boot) and Jaina, his on-again, off-again romance. This left him free to pursue Mal'Ganis to Northrend.

His actions would change the face of Azeroth and her nations forever.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Current Alliance politics -- the humans, part two


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.

So far, we've talked about human politics and the first Alliance -- the Alliance of Lordaeron, formed by King Terenas and Anduin Lothar after the fall of Stormwind and King Llane. When we left off, King Varian Wrynn had blissfully taken both the throne and a new wife who had given him a fine, healthy son. He was a staunch supporter of the Alliance of Lordaeron, having had King Terenas to look up to as a father figure and a mentor after the death of King Llane. Stormwind had been rebuilt through the efforts of the people of the kingdom, notably the Stonemasons, led by Edwin VanCleef. Varian was in love, the kingdom was happy, and prosperity blessed the land.

Of course this means that all hell was about to break loose. This is Warcraft, after all. Varian wasn't the only one that held power within Stormwind's walls -- there was also the House of Nobles, the governing body of Stormwind under the King. It was the House of Nobles that originally contracted the Stonemasons and agreed upon a sum of gold to be paid after their work had been completed. Ordinarily this arrangement would've gone well, but there was a wrench that had been thrown in the works back when Varian was crowned king. Her name was Katrana Prestor.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The OverAchiever: 5 of the best lore-related achievements

Let's be honest; the best lore-related achievement is without question Loremaster, which requires you to do the vast majority of the game's quests. But that's pretty self-evident -- "To get the best lore experience in-game, do the quests, which contain virtually all of the actual lore!" -- and thus kind of a cop-out from my perspective. So what I'm going to do with this edition of OverAchiever is pointedly ignore the fact that Loremaster is the most important thing you should do as a dedicated lore junkie, and turn to some other options that tend to be overlooked.

As with our article on Twenty-Five Tabards, this is not an exhaustive guide on how to do each achievement, but simply a starting point if you're either interested in Azeroth's history, or interested in your character becoming more deeply involved in the developing story. As an early warning, 1 of the following 5 achievements is no longer doable, but I've decided to include it as I think the inability to do it at this point in time could be considered part of Azerothian history.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Lore, The Overachiever

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a disposable villain

Today, All the World's a Stage continues with steps 7 and 8 of a series on "how to be evil: bringing the bad guy back into your fantasy roleplaying," complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples. Be sure not to miss steps 1-3 and steps 4-6 on the path to evil!

So, you want to be evil? It's not as easy as it seems. Perhaps you've watched a lot of movies or TV shows in which the bad guy has amazing powers, threatens human civilization, and nearly destroys the universe in his quest for domination. Perhaps you were playing Warcraft and saw characters like Arthas and Archimonde wrecking things up pretty bad and said to yourself, "I wanna be just like them when I grow up!" You open up your copy of World of Warcraft and find that you can't play a Lich King or Eredar Overlord, so you just click on the "forsaken" or "draenei" options as the next best things available. "Yup! I'm all ready to go!" you say to yourself. Everyone is just gonna love my idea about being an immortal demigod out to destroy the universe!

But it turns out no one believes you're actually the Lich Prince instead of just another forsaken dude. And people just roll their eyes whenever you reveal your draenei's secret eredar affiliation. A lot of people want to play a raid boss, but the fact remains, you're just not. You're a generic adventurer like everyone else. That doesn't mean you can't be bad... it just means can't be 20 feet tall and out whole cities with a flick of your hand. Once you start thinking practically, about doing something with what you've actually got, then you can start getting somewhere.

One of the most practical tools you can have for playing a bad guy is the disposable low-level character. Keeping your villain at a low level means you don't need to hesitate when he's been defeated, you can roleplay his glorious death and delete him. Your friends save the day -- you save a lot of leveling time. How is it done? Read on.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Lore, RP, Alts, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Jarod Shadowsong, the biggest hero you've never heard of

Call me a lore noob (and that's fine, Alex will heartily agree with you), but like Loregy.com suspected, I had never before heard of Jarod Shadowsong. We pretty much all know about his sister Maeiv, thanks to her little tirade against Illidan and the big part that played in the last expansion. But Jarod might be Azeroth's biggest unsung hero. And considering that all of the rumors point to the next expansion diving into the Maelstrom and/or the Emerald Dream, not to mention an eventual showdown with Sargeras, he could also play a very important part in Azeroth's future.

Jarod led the charge in the War of the Ancients, a huge battle thousands of years ago in Azeroth's past that culminated in Jarod's taking full command of the Kaldorei Resistance, a one-on-one battle with Archimonde (players have faced him, too), and eventually the collapse of the Well of Eternity. An event that led directly to, you guessed it, the creation of the Maelstrom. See how it's all coming together?

Loregy has more speculation: just like during Jarod's time, the Horde and Alliance are growing apart, and if Sargeras decides to bite back after what happened in the Burning Crusade, we'll need a leader to combine the troops. Thrall and Wrynn are each powerful leaders in their own right, but Jarod is the big daddy of generals. And if big trouble goes down in the next expansion, he could be the key to saving the world again. And the guy doesn't even have a picture on WoWWiki!

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, NPCs

Loot, rationality, and the Sunwell effect


Here at WoW Insider we don't always agree with each other. Whether it's debating the merits of various tanks on different encounters, the damage difference between pure and hybrid DPS classes, the ideal function of a particular healing class in raids, or the superiority of cake over pie, our back-channel discussion tends to be pretty interesting.

Eliah Hecht's article "25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear" sparked a lot of great discussion with our readers and, I think, some illuminating poll results as well. The majority of responders believed that giving 10-man and 25-man raids the same loot table would result in a significant drop in popularity for 25-man raiding. Overall, I tend to agree with this, but I also think that Eliah touched on something that speaks to Blizzard's evolving sense of game design, much of which is evident in the transition between late Burning Crusade and Wrath.

I would like to call this the Sunwell effect, or "ingame rationality." To wit: don't incentivize players to behave in a manner contrary to your actual design interests. I believe this played a huge role in the differences between BC and Wrath raiding, and that it underlies why the 25-man loot table has to remain superior to its 10-man counterpart.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Raiding

Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculative speculation

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Today's edition of Ask a Lore Nerd is a bit heavy on the speculation side, so be warned before you start reading. We've had a lot of questions recently that we don't yet have answers to, but are asked frequently enough that I suppose I should see what I can say!

vyx asked...

"Okay, so speaking of life and death, this has bugged me for a while -- how do we explain the fact that some characters (Horde and Alliance legends for example) have died, but yet every Priest, Pally, Shammy and Druid can rez people anytime they want?

I realize it's a game and it wouldn't be so much fun if you died and then had to reroll a level 1, but there needs to be some type of lore explanation as to why people can be rezzed, but also can 'really die.' Are we supposed to just not worry about this or is there an explanation?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

Know Your Lore: Dalaran


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? Leave a comment below!

Dalaran has been one of the most prominent nations in the Eastern Kingdoms since its founding, though it's actually quite small. A nation only thousands strong at its height has perhaps held more sway over world leaders in its time than any other nation, and has attracted the ire of some of the most powerful entities Azeroth has ever seen.

Dalaran, located in the heart of former Lordaeron territory, has been the center of Arcane knowledge since its creation, and could be considered the Humans' answer to Quel'Thalas, though the nation accepts Elves (and many others) in its ranks as well. Magic is Dalaran's lifeblood, and is even ruled through the strength and wisdom of its magi. Dalaran is a magocracy, a government ruled by a council of mages known as the Kirin Tor, elected by citizens of the nation. Their icon is the Violet Eye, with Violet being the motif used for the nation itself, and the color purple representing the Arcane as a whole in Warcraft (Arcane Missiles, Netherstorm).

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Lore Nerd: The Eye of the Tiger and the Warglaives of Azzinoth

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Last week on Ask a Lore Nerd, Offsprnge (one of your fellow readers) asked me to write this week's edition with some Eye of the Tiger playing. I guess I came across a little tired last week, so I'm going to do just that. To fit the groove, I ask all of you guys one favor: Read the questions and answers in the voice of Rocky Balboa. If it will help you get in the mood, go ahead and read it out loud in that voice.

And since we're already talking about it, Offsprnge asked...

Right, I think I got a good one by the way, perhaps it is so obvious I should slap myself, but the whole battle for Mount Hyjal features the Burning Legion invading with it's commander Archimonde, however, why are there hordes of ghouls, liches, necromancers, frost wyrms and "all that kind of thing!" (find the reference).

Again, like another reader mentioned, at the time the Lich King was still feigning allegiance to the Burning Legion. It doesn't pay to make the Legion suspicious too early. At the same time, the Lich King played a role in weakening Archimonde's forces: He used Illidan to destroy Tichondrius and his forces, which were to play support for Archimonde. The Scourge that were at the Battle of Mount Hyjal were sacrifices, pawns to keep Archimonde overconfident.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a draenei

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the eighth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The draenei are one of Warcraft's more unique contributions to the realm of fantasy fiction, the one player race without no real precedent in earlier fantasy worlds. These are not your typical elves, orcs and dwarves borrowed from Tolkien or Dungeons and Dragons; the draenei are tall, with hooves, tails, horns and even face-tendrils -- but they are noble and spiritual people, the last remnants of an ancient civilization of magic and beauty.

To begin thinking about what it must be like to live as a draenei, imagine how the human race might be many thousands of years into the future, maybe a quarter of a million years from now. Whatever technology those people might have would probably seem like magic to us. Our descendants might unravel the mysteries of biology to such a degree that they can halt the aging process and live as long as they want to. They may be able to tap on sources of power we haven't even imagined, and act with motivations and purposes we could scarcely understand.

The draenei as a people were once like this, 25,000 years before the setting of World of Warcraft. Even at that time, they were already ancient in their history and advanced far beyond what you and I might understand. Their world, called Argus, was a prosperous society full of great achievements and magical wonders, quite unlike anything we see today. They had a different name then, however -- they were called, the "eredar" -- a name which now upsets the draenei as a painful reminder of everything they have lost, the corruption, the betrayal and the near extermination of everything they have ever known and loved.

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Filed under: Alliance, Draenei, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Ask a Lore Nerd: Books, boats and Blood Knights


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below (or e-mail us!), ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer your question in a future installment!

Without further ado, let's get to the questions. Justin of Firetree-US wrote in to ask...

Along the coastline in the Swamp of Sorrows there are skeletons of giant turtles with structures built onto the back of their shells. Is this a nod to the Gnome submarines used in
Warcraft II? If I remember correctly, they were turtles as well.

While yes, the Gnomes did use the turtles as submarines in Warcraft II, they aren't the only ones that have made use of them. According to a few quests in Darkshore, the Naga have put the Giant turtles to work as transports. Also, in Wrath of the Lich King, the Tuskarr use giant turtles with carriages on their backs as transportation as well. In fact, you can use them to get from one end of Northrend to the other. Edit: I was wrong, the Gnomes didn't use the turtles. It was a Horde unit. Same answer applies, though.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

Tank Talk: The first kill


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

The nature of tanking is to be a component in an overall strategy. In classic WoW, levels 1 to 60, it often seemed like the center of attention, as boss encounters were often 'tank and spank' variations that involved having one tank hold a boss on him or her while the healers kept the tank upright through the boss' attacks and the DPS players burned it down. There were a few fights that broke this mold... fights where a player would become a bomb and have to run away, fights with giant eyestalks and sweeping beams that had to be avoided that were as much choreography as encounter... but as time has progressed encounter design, especially for raid encounters (although even five man fights have been diversified) has taken this mechanic and stretched it into whole new shapes. While there are still bosses who need to be primarily tanked by one person (Naj'entus, Azgalor to name just two) even these fights tend to incorporate new mechanics that challenge the raid and break the monotony of a 'tank him here, the raid stands here" fight. Other fights require several tanks to hold different aspects of the encounter, whether it be Azgalor's infernals or the multiple tanks (my guild uses three, some only use two) needed to ensure smooth mitigation of the Hurtful Strikes on Supremus.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Tank Talk

Are tanks the most drama prone?

My tanking corps rocks. They really do. I'm quite happy to be their officer representative. We all play our role as the meat shield very well, rarely do we miss a shield block in our rotation or forget to pop a health stone as healers make transitions in and out of the demon realm in Kalecgos. What is interesting about any tanking corps I've been apart of is the inevitable drama that comes up.

Since I've been in a few different guilds with a few different tanking corps and this drama always seems to happen and happen the same way, I have to ask: are tanks the most drama prone?

It's best to define what drama actually is. Drama is any whining and moaning from anyone about things out of their control. If they complain about things in their control, well, then they just fail miserably and probably should spend some time outside to recenter themselves.

For instance, a tank complaining loudly that his healer always is the first to get constructs in Gorefiend and demanding that they get a soulstone before the fight even starts, is drama.

A tank complaining that they need healers X, Y, and Z, in the raid or else they won't do anything but auto-attack Illidan, is drama.

A tank complaining that they deserve extra guild repair money for their expensive plate armor, is drama. And since the tank is special, they also need their own rank to let everyone know this (but it's also practical because only they should be able to withdraw 300g a night in repair money).

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Raiding, Death Knight

Things that annoy me

Or, how to celebrate the birth of a nation via an ugly series of Horde losses in Arathi Basin:

1. Every single Alliance character in the game has a Black War Tiger.

2. Every single Horde character in the game has a Black War Raptor (yes, myself included).

3. I could be wrong, but I don't think "Lich King" is pronounced "Lick King," as I keep hearing it pronounced on my server.

4. However, it might be because the word looks somewhat Germanic, and I will be unable to keep a straight face for the duration of the next expansion.

5. To the point of losing it completely if I hear "World of Warcraft: WRAAAAAAATH OF THE LICK KING" intoned by the Deep-Voiced Serious Trailer Guy.

6. How male human characters run. There's a lot of great animation in the game. This is not one of them.

7. Practically every main-tank of every Hordeside raiding guild is a male Tauren.

8. An egotistical male Tauren. Look, Spanky, just because Bulwark of Azzinoth is bigger on you than anybody else does not mean that the same is true of appendages elsewhere.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Bosses, Battlegrounds

Tank Talk: Do you feel lucky, punk?


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and myself (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. At least, that's what the others said they were doing. I intend to use it mostly as a soapbox to complain. Absolute power tends to......something something.

Welcome to Tank Talk. I am your bear Druid hostess for this week, with a topic that occurred to me while reading a recent article here on the site. Eliah Hecht wrote that his guild is facing a not-uncommon tank shortage and that he has considered the possibility of leveling a tanking class to 70 before Wrath, or tanking on a Death Knight afterwards. A number of people on my server and in my guild have talked about doing the same thing, or switching mains once Wrath hits. With so many people playing Death Knights, I think it's very possible that more people will discover they enjoy -- or at least, don't mind -- tanking, and may seek to do so in a raid environment without necessarily knowing what they've really signed up for.

From those of us who have tanked raid content in vanilla WoW or BC, here are the 10 questions you'll want to ask yourself if you're considering the possibility of tanking serious raid content:

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Tank Talk

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