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Posts with tag arthas-menethil

What If: Clash of the Frozen Thrones

I love doing lore columns, and I really enjoy doing Tinfoil Hat Editions of Know Your Lore -- I like the process of finding all the loose threads from expansions past and pulling them together in a way that is just weird enough to feasibly work. Sometimes, however, I come up with ideas that are just a little too far out there for a Tinfoil Hat Edition. Certainly they're interesting enough, but feasible? Not in the slightest.

When it comes to Warlords of Draenor, there are a lot of questions that haven't been answered. This is to be expected. We haven't even seen the beta for the expansion yet. We have absolutely no idea where that story is going to lead, other than commentary at BlizzCon suggesting that it will directly feed into the expansion following. Yet that tiny little comment, along with some thinking about Warlords itself gave me a theory regarding the next expansion. No, not Warlords -- I'm talking about the expansion after that.

It's entirely implausible of course, which is why I'm not sticking it in the Know Your Lore column. But what the heck, let's take a moment and ask ourselves what if -- and consider the possibility of Azeroth's greatest villain reborn.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The dilemma of Darrowshire and Warcraft's creep factor

I remember my first encounter with Pamela vividly. It was vanilla, years and years ago, and I discovered a quest in Winterspring offered by a woman named Jessica Redpath, who had very little else to say. In between all the usual round of Winterspring quests was this woman, who asked that I go check on the town she grew up in called Darrowshire. It was all the way in the Eastern Plaguelands, but I figured for a change of pace from all the snow and desolation I'd go check it out.

Not only were the Eastern Plaguelands exceptionally creepy and bizarre in terms of architecture, especially compared to anything on Kalimdor, but the sounds and music for the zone were incredibly eerie as well. And when I finally found Darrowshire, I found a deserted collection of dilapidated buildings, and one lone question mark off in a corner -- belonging to the ghost of a very dead little girl.

And every hair on the back of my neck simultaneously stood up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 3 - Wrath of the Lich King


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.

Part one covered the original launch game, and part two covered the Burning Crusade expansion. Part three is about Corgis Unleashed.

No, no, I kid. Part three is of course about Wrath of the Lich King, when our titular king of the liches gets upset. Miffed. Irate. Angry, even. This one is going to be long - even longer than the BC recap, so long that I see no choice but to split it into two parts. The Lich King was a long time in coming - players were clamoring for him from the moment World of Warcraft launched, and when the expansion bearing his name finally hit, it changed everything.

Like The Burning Crusade, WotLK started with an event. But unlike TBC, this particular event, the Scourge Invasion, was leaps and bounds more dramatic than expected. This time, the monsters were the players, so to speak.

It began with mysterious boxes appearing in Booty Bay and other cities and towns, spreading across Azeroth slowly. The boxes appeared in capital cities, shipped from unknown locales... and slowly, all over the world, the curse of undeath began taking root. At first members of the Argent Dawn could keep ahead of the tide of plague, but as it continued, more and more of Azeroth's heroes succumbed. Soon an irresistible tide of undead threatened Orgrimmar, Stormwind, Ironforge, Undercity (yes, even the forsaken were not immune) and other locations. Some ran and hid in the countryside, avoiding major cities, because these undead seemed to possess a sadistic enjoyment and sought to infect as many as possible.

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

Know Your Lore: King Varian Wrynn, or: How I learned to love the jerk

Know Your Lore King Varian Wrynn, or how I learned to love the jerk 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.

King Varian Wrynn is a jerk. He's angry, he's rude, he's deliberately inflammatory. Despite the moments of kindness we've seen from Varian, they're just small moments. Yes, he let Saurfang retrieve the body of his son for Alliance players in Icecrown Citadel to witness. But he still holds a deep and unmitigated hatred for the Horde and everyone in it, including Thrall. He will quite happily talk about scouring the Undercity and purging it of all Forsaken, and he seems to be of the opinion that the only good orc for the most part is a dead one.

But his attitude issues aren't limited to the Horde. He is endlessly frustrated and angry with Jaina Proudmoore and her insistence on diplomatic attempts. He was brusque, rude, and outright against letting the worgen join the Alliance when they were desperate for help. His anger even extends to his son Anduin Wrynn, who has done nothing to outright offend his father other than following the path of a priest rather than a warrior. Varian has even gone so far as to hurt his son, nearly breaking Anduin's arm in an attempt to force him to stay put and keep him from leaving to study with the Prophet Velen.

And yet, there is something so inherently fascinating about Varian Wrynn that I cannot tear my eyes away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Jaina Proudmoore


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.

Duty first. Grief second. Self-pity? Never.

Daughter of a Grand Admiral, once intended of a prince, and one of the greatest mages in the history of Azeroth -- it's a hell of a reputation to live up to, but Jaina Proudmoore is nothing if not conscious of the example she sets to others. While other leaders have suffered greatly and bear the scars of their past as a badge of honor to further their pursuits, Jaina has had her own share of grief. Yet unlike the other leaders of her time, she bears her sorrow quietly, burying it under responsibility and an unwavering dedication to the greater good of the world.

Jaina Proudmoore was the youngest of Grand Admiral Daelin Proudmoore's children. The only girl born to the family, Jaina had a lot to live up to -- and she was determined not to spend her life as one of other ladies of the noble court. From a young age, Jaina showed a remarkable aptitude for the magical arts. Around age 11, she was sent to Dalaran to study among the mages of the Kirin Tor -- something that may have been a daunting task for other children her age, but not Jaina. She'd spent her childhood reading tales of Aegwynn, one of the greatest Guardians the world had known. The tales of how Aegwynn had overcome the stigma of being a female wizard and achieved far greater success with her position than any man in the Guardian line only served to fuel Jaina's ambitions, even though she was but a child at the time.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The peculiar tale of the Headless Horseman


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.

Prepare yourselves, the bells have tolled!
Shelter your weak, your young and your old!
Each of you shall pay the final sum -- CRY for mercy!
The reckoning has come!
He was introduced with Patch 2.2.2 in 2007, his gruesome shade sending players frantically scurrying for water buckets to put out buildings he'd set on fire. The Headless Horseman has been around ever since, providing a fun holiday break from the usual Warcraft grind -- but few people knew the origins of the new boss. Other than a brief note by the orphan matron who begs players to put out the fires, the character of the Headless Horseman seemed to have little story behind him.

The Warcraft Legends manga series introduced a story about the fearsome rhyming foe in issue number 5 released in September of 2009. Though the Horseman's story had been fairly short until that point, the manga told the whole tale of the Horseman's origins, why he haunts the streets setting buildings ablaze -- and why he prefers to speak in those peculiar poems rather than simply saying what's on his mind. It's a sad story, taking place before the fall of Lordaeron, and it begins with a paladin named Sir Thomas Thomson.

Please note: The following post contains spoilers for Warcraft Legends Vol. 5. If you wish to remain unspoiled, run away little girl! Run away ...

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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


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.

All right, you guys have read through almost everything there is to see with regards to the current political situation of the human race. The first three articles covered the history of the Alliance -- both old and new -- and the struggles of Varian Wrynn and his life as the "leader," so to speak, of the human race. The word leader is used in quotation marks because, to be perfectly honest, Varian wasn't much of a leader; he was brooding, depressed, not really willing to see anything that was going on around him, and the Council of Nobles was pretty much running the show.

The only "real" leader available to Alliance humans at the outset of World of Warcraft was Jaina Proudmoore, the leader of Theramore, who wasn't really much of a leader either. This was largely due to her somewhat unpopular beliefs that orcs were capable of peace and her attempts to work towards some sort of peaceful agreement between the orcs and humans of Kalimdor. So here we have the human race, largely left to its own devices -- but they seemed to be doing, if not amazingly well, at least OK for the most part. It's Varian's return and the events of Wrath that directly affect what's going on headed into Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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

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 date, we've covered the beginnings of human politics, from the forming of the Arathor Empire and the original Alliance to the dissolution of the Alliance of Lordaeron and the evolution of the Alliance we know today. Along the way we've discussed Jaina Proudmoore and her progress from a young girl of Kul Tiras to the leader of Theramore, and the growth and subsequent kidnapping of King Varian Wrynn. Varian's story is far from over with the death of Onyxia however, and his influence on the Alliance is an interesting matter in and of itself.

When last we left King Wrynn, he'd just finished rescuing his son from the clutches of the black dragon Onyxia, who'd spent the majority of Varian's reign disguised as Lady Katrana Prestor and subsequently running Stormwind into the ground. Fresh from the victory over Onyxia, Jaina chose this moment to suggest that Varian resume the peace summit that he'd been on the way to when he'd been kidnapped -- an idea that didn't really appeal to the King at all. Once again, Prince Anduin stepped up and persuaded his father that it would be an excellent idea, and Varian reluctantly agreed to it.

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Filed under: 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

Shifting Perspectives: Tree 1, Arthas 0

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we save the world (of Warcraft).

Originally this week's article was going to concern stomping Karazhan from top-to-bottom as a feral/resto druid, and then I got Big Bad Wolf for the opera event. Suffice it to say that the stomping took an abrupt U-turn, and I never got pictures or video of the other Kara fights that I've successfully solo'd on dozens of other occasions (though I grant they were all occasions that did not include humiliating wipes to an overgrown dog). If I weren't in the middle of a time crunch it probably would've been doable, but regrettably I will have to run a feature on how to make 1,000 gold soloing Karazhan on a later date. In the meantime, Alaron's managed to solo Big Bad Wolf successfully, but my main is in the somewhat sticky situation of not being a night elf.

With the upcoming Icecrown raid buffs going all the way to 30% damage/healing/health/absorbs eventually, more and more raids are going to find their way to Arthas. Buffs aside, a lot of Arthas' difficulty lies in execution, and I started jotting down a few notes that I hope might be helpful to other druids likely to attempt the fight. We were fortunate to get both the 10- and 25-man version down, and I got astoundingly lucky on one 10-man attempt with back-to-back selections as a Harvest Soul target while I was running a video capture. I've seen a lot of comments online that caster druids aren't well-suited to dealing with this, and that's just not true at all.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

BattleCry mosaic feature revealed: "Invincible"



Another portion of the BattleCry mosaic was revealed on Friday, bringing the total completed to 50%. This time, instead of unlocking a piece of art, Blizzard gave us something a little more special -- a 3-minute piece of music titled "Invincible" recalling the leitmotif of the Wrath of the Lich King trailer. Blizzard rather cryptically describes it thusly:

An ode to one who has fallen. Time and events have left it unclear whether the song refers to the former prince of Lordaeron or his beloved steed.

Cryptic or not, this is a beautiful piece of music, and one we're hoping appears in-game soon. Staffers here have guessed that "Invincible" might play either during or after the much-anticipated fight with the Lich King himself, and we're quite likely to see one whopper of a lore moment and cutscene. Fingers crossed, but until then, I'm going to enjoy playing this in Icecrown, and I'd kill to hear a rendition with a full chorus and symphony, perhaps at some social convention said to take place yearly...but surely that's just crazy talk.

Filed under: Blizzard

The Frozen Throne is now in Icecrown (sort of)

We took notice of this in an earlier edition of the Queue, but I thought this little bit of news merited its own article for the benefit of lore junkies, raid leaders, or anyone who just might have missed it. After being asked a question over where Angrathar was really located in the larger Icecrown raid complex, I flew out to no-man's-land of southern Icecrown/northwestern Dragonblight and tried to get a good handle on the architecture. While doing so, I noticed a new and extremely tall spire nestled in the mountain range past the Wrath Gate and flew over to investigate. At the top of a saronite spire is huge chunk of misty ice capped by a flat surface with a black design vaguely reminiscent of the one on the Lordaeron throne room (although for all I know this is entirely unintended). From above, it bears a startling resemblance to an image datamined by Boubouille some time ago that was guessed to be the location of the eventual fight with the Lich King -- and I think this exterior "set" could be quite useful for any raid attempting to work on positioning once details of the fight become known. Curiously enough, the Throne itself doesn't appear to be present in-game at the moment, but that might change soon.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Lore, Bosses

Know Your Lore: The Alliance


Welcome back to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's column about the story behind the game we all play.

This week on KYL, we move away from the Fall of the Lich King (although in the months to come expect more Icecrown related KYL's) and out to the larger world and the major factions that contend across it. I thought we'd start with the Alliance this week for a number of reasons, the first and most important among them being that the Alliance would not exist without the Horde, while the Horde's existence owes itself to forces transcending the Alliance. Because of this, doing the Alliance first will leave open questions that the Horde section next week will help answer.

The Alliance as it stands at this moment in time is a far different entity than the one originally known as the Alliance of Lordaeron. That Alliance was one of seven human nations (Azeroth, Lordaeron, Stromgarde, Kul Tiras, Alterac, Dalaran and Gilneas) with the Dwarves of Ironforge, Gnomes of Gnomeregan and High Elves of Quel'Thalas. This Alliance was born directly out of the statecraft of King Terenas Menethil of Lordaeron and the military leadership of Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Azeroth and last living member of the original Arathi bloodline.

Each member of this alliance had various reasons for being in it and varying degrees of loyalty to it (the High Elves, for example, were only in the Alliance because as the last Arathi, Lothar could compel their loyalty due to ancient pacts and abandoned it as soon as it was possible for them to fulfill said pacts, while Gilneas retreated behind the Greymane Wall not long after the end of the Second War over differences of opinion with Lordaeron) and it certainly lacked in coherence compared to the Horde it was opposed to.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Lore, Factions, Know your Lore

The Lore of Patch 3.3

In many ways Wrath of the Lich King can be considered the logical conclusion of one of WarCraft's major story lines. Arthas, the evil sovereign of the scourge, will meet his doom in Icecrown Citadel. Each Wrath patch up until now has lead to this defining moment -- the face off between Arthas and the players representing the next generation of heroes of Azeroth. Who will win? What happens after Arthas is defeated? Is Arthas defeated?

These questions lend themselves to a spectacular conclusion to a great tale. In The Lore of Patch 3.3, Michael Sacco, Alex Ziebart, and I will take a look at all the various plots, characters, and environments that lead up to this grand confrontation with the Lich King.

You'll want to know this story. You'll want to know this lore.

For when you finally face off against the wielder of the Frostmourne, you'll know why you're going toe-to-toe against him, and why your fate can make or break the very face of Azeroth.

This article, while containing essential lore, also contains heavy spoilers. Do not proceed if that bothers you.

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Filed under: Patches, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.3 PTR: Invincible

You know how like Michael Bay wanted Transformers to be a story about a boy and his car? Or how John Carpenter made a film about one teen's dangerous obsession with a murderous car? Well, the World of Warcraft version is about to come to life -- or unlife -- when patch 3.3 finally goes up. MMO Champion has uncovered model files for Invincible, the Lich King's personal steed. As the datamining suggests -- "Invincible - Summons and dismisses the flying undead horse Invincible. This mount changes depending on your Riding skill and location." -- players might actually have a shot at obtaining what is, in my humble opinion, the most badass pixel-by-pixel mount in the game. Ever.

The horse has some serious lore to it, too. As many players have already discovered, Invincible has an unearthed grave in the game located near the Balnir Farmstead in Tirisfal Glades.

The tombstone reads:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Lore, Mounts

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