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Posts with tag ashenvale

First chapter of new Wolfheart novel free to read

Varian Wrynn
The Sept. 13 publication date of Wolfheart, the newest WoW novel written by Richard Knaak, draws ever closer. We know surprisingly little about it at the moment. We know that it will take place on Kalimdor but will focus on King Varian Wrynn and his relationship with the wolf spirit Goldrinn and the new members of the Alliance, the Worgen. If you're eager for more information though, you're in luck. Shelfari, a book wiki run by Amazon.com, has the first chapter of the book available to read.

Click here for your free sample chapter and choose the Read First Chapter Free button below the picture of the book cover on the left side of the page. You'll be able to read the first chapter, as well as the chapter titles for the book (by pushing the back arrow on the pages). There are going to be a lot of spoilers in both the chapter names and the chapter itself, of course, so read at your own risk. For a quick (spoiler-filled) summary and a discussion of the possibilities, check after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Lore, Worgen

Breakfast Topic: What zones have been shattered for the better?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Astride my tauren paladin's newly obtained Sunwalker Kodo, I headed toward the Mor'Shan Rampart and into one of my least favorite zones, Ashenvale. It was supposed to be a contested zone in the old world, where Horde and Alliance vied for control of the zone. Instead, all I remembered was running from Splintertree Post to the Zoram'gar Outpost and avoiding Astranaar, the only possible point of PvP (since I'm on a PvE server). This was all prior to mounts being available at 20.

Needless to say, even with the shattering of the world, I expected more of the same. Needless to say, I was wrong.

At the Rampart, where before you would walk right through the main entrance (or slip through the hole in the gate if you were Alliance), there is intense combat between Horde and Alliance. The first few quests of new Ashenvale throw you directly into the fray. I thought, "Wow, this is the way this zone should have been all along." Questing throughout the zone only serves to enhance this feeling, and I must give props to Blizzard because its ability to tell a story, no matter how short or long, has improved since the beginning of Wrath, let alone the life of WoW. Ashenvale has been transformed from one of my least favorite zones to one of my favorites.

Fellow citizens of Azeroth, what zones for you have been shattered for the better?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Cataclysm Preview: Ashenvale

To be honest with you, I never really cared too much for Ashenvale. I quested there on my first character, and it was a little bit frustrating. I kept getting mauled by these ultra-high-level Horde NPCs whenever I tried sneaking through Splintertree Post. There were a bunch of Alliance NPCs in Raynewood Retreat who had no quests to offer, nothing to sell me and nothing to say to me. The whole zone felt a little weird and creepy. Oh, and there was no volcano. That part sucked the most.

Well, good news. Blizzard just did an in-house interview with Ashenvale quest designers Eric Maloof and Steve Burke to give us all some insight on the changes coming to the zone in Cataclysm. Like how there's a volcano now. A really big volcano.

It sounds like most of the changes involved really play up the Horde-vs.-Alliance aspect of the zone, so it sounds like Ashenvale will be a very interesting place on RP PvP servers. Just think: You could be ganking a gnome priest ... in a freakin' volcano.

The full interview is after the break, if you're one of those people who really likes spoilers. If you don't like spoilers, you should maybe forget that part about the volcano. Sorry.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

The Art of War(craft): Absolute beginners' guide to Warsong Gulch

Zach loves the Battlegrounds. He loves them so much that he spends nearly all his playing time mucking around in them. He loves them so much he writes a column devoted to them. He loves it so much he makes a comic based on Battlegrounds play. You could say he eats, lives, and breathes Battlegrounds and world PvP. And maybe some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It's kind of hard to get by without doughnuts.

Alright, so you have some kind of vague idea about what a Battleground is. Basically, Battlegrounds are where players go to consensually bash each others brains out. Or fry them. Or freeze them. These instances are designed for players to enjoy PvP, get a bit of honor and, if you're not already at max level, some experience. In the future, Blizzard has revealed plans to make the Battlegrounds even more like instances or dungeons by hinting at possible actual loot rewards. It's an interesting concept we'll have to revisit sometime in the future.

For now, we'll get back down to the basics. Last week we discussed how to get inside a Battleground. That's easy enough, especially with the new changes to the Battlegrounds queue system. This week we'll take a closer look at the different Battlegrounds available. Think of it as a nice buffet of PvP that you can choose from. What kind of Battleground you choose will depend on what kind of game you want to play (or more realistically, what Marks of Honor you still need. We'll get to that later). Hit the jump to check out this week's featured Battleground, Warsong Gulch.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

Know Your Lore: World of Warcraft Cataclysm Worgen



Welcome to Know your Lore, where we bring the story behind the people, places, and cultures of Azeroth.

The Worgen are coming. We now know for sure that, come Deathwing's Cataclysm, The Worgen of Gilneas will be answering the call of the Alliance. The Worgen, while they have quickly become a classic, iconic race in Warcraft lore, actually only came onto the scene in WoW itself, providing an enemy to Horde and Alliance alike in Silverpine Forest, Duskwood, and Ashenvale. But who are they, and what bought them to this place where they will become one of the next playable races of the World of Warcraft before other choices?

In the Beginning

To know how this all begins, the first place to look is The Book of Ur. This Book, written by Ur, a Mage of Dalaran, eventually found its way into the personal library of the Archmage Arugal. It describes the origin of the Worgen.

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Filed under: Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm, Worgen

Neutral Factions: An idea whose time has passed

Yeah, I know we were killing each other yesterday, but uh... hey! Let's all get along now!

Neutrality in factions started with the Steamwheedle Cartel and only got worse. It seems that once you get to the level cap, most of the intense rivalry between the factions, at least as expressed in the PvE game, peter off to nothing. Almost every faction accepts both Horde and Alliance fighters. In Burning Crusade, they even share the same capital, and it looks like that will be happening again in WoTLK with Dalaran -- despite that fact that, 50 levels earlier, the Horde utterly devastated Dalaran's holdings in Silverpine Forest and Hillsbrad.

The general argument for this change is that at higher levels, most people learn to put aside their differences and fight the greater challenges that threaten to wipe both sides out. My problem with that line of reasoning is that up until the end game, what we're trying to wipe out is each other.

In the Ghostlands, the Night Elves are involved in extensive operations to attack the Blood Elves. In Ashenvale, the Horde is constantly attacking the Night Elves, including setting up spy posts and killing their animal companions. In the southern Barrens, the Dwarves are willing to wipe out the Tauren to set up their excavations. In Lordaeron, the Forsaken have the stated intent of wiping out the alliance, devastating one settlement and even making a preliminary attack against Southshore.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Quests, Expansions, Factions, Battlegrounds

Ask a Lore Nerd: The Evil-o-Meter


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, ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!

Travis asks...

What can you tell me about the other portals around Outlands (the only one that springs to mind right now is the one in Zangarmarsh)? They look just like the one you get to Outlands through, but are just standing there doing nothing.

Answer: Those portals were once used by the Burning Legion and their lackies to travel between Outland and various other worlds. Those portals were also used to send Legion reinforcements to Outland. Before Illidan and his posse usurped Magtheridon, they went around shutting down these portals to prevent Magtheridon from being reinforced. Further, they've been kept closed so Kil'jaeden can't come stomping back into Outland to punish Illidan for not being able to kill the Lich King.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Night Elves, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

Father's Day in Azeroth: A salute to the fathers of Warcraft lore

http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1019543So it's Father's Day, the time when we all pay homage to the fathers or father figures in our lives, and thank them for all that they do. While we can't say for sure if they celebrate Father's Day in Azeroth, too, there's a lot of people in Azeroth and Outland who have reason to think back on their dads today. Many dads of Azeroth have affected their children's lives or been affected by them. The ramifications of the interactions of these fathers and children have then in turn affected the lore and story of Warcraft in ways great and small.

Therefore, in honor of the holiday, let's look at 10 famous and not-so-famous dads of Warcraft lore (listed in no particular order).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, RP

Illusionary Tactics: Dartol's Rod of Transformation


Welcome to the first installment of my new column series, Illusionary Tactics. Each episode will bring you the full intelligence on an item or quest that disguises you, enabling you to better carry out those secret missions -- or at least confuse your friends and guildmates.

This time, I'll be looking at Dartol's Rod of Transformation, a perennial favorite of my guild. I've written about this item before, but it's been a while, and it's perfect for this column, so I'm giving it some more air time.

What does it do? It turns you into a furbolg for three minutes, with a one-minute cooldown. Unlike many disguises, you can still fight while in furby form, although the form is removed if you are damaged, so it's possible (and I've seen it done) to furbolg-heal and furbolg-ranged-DPS. Just right-click the item in your inventory to activate.

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Filed under: Alliance, Items, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Features, Guides, Illusionary Tactics

What WoW should learn from certain quests in and around The Barrens

Lakotamani welcomes you to the beautiful Barrens!So I've been thinking a bit about questing lately as I traverse Outlands on my latest project, a level 61 Blood Elf Paladin, working on the Outlands quests. I think my favorite part of playing a lowbie hordeling is how many quests there are to "stumble upon" in the oft-maligned Barrens. Technically, they're all very basic "find and kill these dudes" quests, but the presentation is such that I always get a big rush from doing them. They really do make me feel like a mighty hunter.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Expansions, Lore, Leveling, RP

What do you think of HKO Insider?


We're a good part of the way through our first day here at HKO Insider, so we figured now might be a good time to get some feedback from the community about what you think of the new focus of our site. Do you miss the green forests of Ashenvale or are you sold on Sanriotown? Is class QQing sounding pretty good to you right about now or are you krazy for Keroppi?

Our overlords at AOL directed us this morning to switch focus to a more popular MMO (since Wrath of the Lich King doesn't even have a release date yet), and some of our readers (and, frankly, writers) are a little uncomfortable with the change. But what do you think?

What do you think of HKO Insider?
Hello Kitty forever! I love HKO Insider.2769 (55.4%)
Bad idea. Let's go back to Azeroth, please.2228 (44.6%)


Choose your opinion in the poll above (and post a comment below, if you like), and let us know what you think about the changeover to cover Hello Kitty Online 24/7 instead of our usual World of Warcraft coverage.

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business

Know Your Lore: The Scythe of Elune

In today's Know Your Lore, we're going to take a look at something that has been requested by a few readers(and a blogger). It's not a very well known topic, it comes from a quest line tucked away in the far corners of Ashenvale that sends you running all over the world as if you had absolutely nothing better to do with your time, much like any other quest line in Kalimdor. Regardless of the annoyance of the quest line, it is probably one of the more intriguing side stories in the Warcraft universe.

It begins shortly after the destruction of the World Tree. Archimonde was gone, but a great number of demons remained. Like the Scourge, the Legion doesn't simply stop when you tear the head from the beast. Priestess and Sentinel Velinde Starsong was the Night Elf in charge of leading the forces of the Kaldorei in these regions, assaulting the Legion and pushing them back as far as they could. This held up well for quite some time, pushing the demonic hordes as far back as the borders of Felwood. Unfortunately, the Night Elves were only level 20-something at that point, and the mobs in Felwood are like level 50, so things stopped going so well.

In all seriousness, the Kaldoreian advance was slowing more and more as they pressed into Felwood, their numbers being utterly decimated. Velinde grew desperate as so many of the Night Elves fell to the Legion, and called out to her final hope: The goddess Elune. She begged the goddess for strength and power, the ability to avenge her fallen comrades.

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

Around Azeroth: What horror awaits?


Reader Slyde, an Alliance Hunter on the Magtheridon server, arrived at the border of Ashenvale. But as he prepared to cross the bridge into Azshara, he spotted these two visions of horror carved from wood. Eldritch blue smoke emanated from their eyes, giving their twisted visages an even more horrifying effect. Though they served as a warning to all who travel in search of adventure, it was a warning Slyde ignored as he ventured ahead into new lands.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next! Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really.

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

A strange little house in Ashenvale

The Edune household and visitors.
Some older players might remember when all those empty huts and farms in The Barrens received a new infusion of life, with orc families inhabiting them and acting out stories both humorous (That poor kid being chased by a swarm of bees) and heartfelt (That poor kid waiting for his dad to come home from Warsong Gulch). A forum post by player Lalluna of the Darkspear server pointed out that, quite a few patches later, that liveliness may be spreading to other zones in Kalimdor!

Ever since patch 2.3, over in the far west of Ashenvale, just northwest of the Shrine of Aesinna, you'll find a rather lovely looking Night Elf abode, complete with a garden. Inhabiting it is the night elven Edune family: Benjari, Becanna, Elenna, and Aleanna. They seem to have visitors in the form of two humans, William and Sulan Dunadaire, a brother and sister. It's not just a silent tableau either, there's definitely stuff going on, as I'll show you after the break.

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Druid, Hunter, Warlock, Humor, RP, NPCs

Around Azeroth: A lonely boat


Intrepid reader Mike submits this shot for our perusal. If you travel along the river that runs between Ashenvale and Azshara, you will encounter this lonely boat (of Night Elf design, unless I miss my guess). What is it doing here and where might its owners have gone to? The sight of the little boat raises a number of questions that we may never find answers to! (Though am I the only one who looks at it and thinks Lord of the Rings?)

Do you have a screenshot that captures an Azerothian mystery? We'd like to puzzle over it here on Around Azeroth! All you have to do is e-mail aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your screenshot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could find your pictures and story featured next!

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

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