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Posts with tag aspects

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 6 - Cataclysm Ends

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.

Let's be up front about this. The Cataclysm was Deathwing himself. The events were the result of Deathwing's assault on the world of Azeroth - his eruption from Deepholm, his rampage through the Twilight Highlands, his summoning of Ragnaros into Mount Hyjal, the machinations of his minions. Deathwing, in all his rampaging insanity, was exactly what he claimed he was. He was the end of the world, and had he not been stopped, Azeroth would be no more. From the Twilight Highlands to the depths of Vashj'ir, the events Deathwing set in motion unraveled the world.

Let's look over the world, cast our eyes from the jagged peaks of Hyjal to the submerged depths of Vashj'ir, descend into Deepholm and then comb the deserts of Uldum for answers to the question - what did the mad dragon want? Why did his Twilight's Hammer erect their bastion in the Twilight Highlands, where the Maw of Iso'rath erupted from the very soil? The old gods seemed on the verge of their ancient goal, thanks to Deathwing.

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Alternate Azeroth

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.

Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate, splinter reality in which Garrosh Hellscream has gone back in time and prevented the leaders of the old orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth. In this version of reality, several events have changed dramatically -- leading players to ask many, many questions about alternate Azeroth, how its history has been altered, and how that changes the Azeroth we know and love today. The answer is very simple: it doesn't. Not in the slightest. That alternate Azeroth, and whatever future it may hold, has no bearing on Warlords of Draenor at all. We won't be exploring that world, and our Azeroth remains unchanged.

However, people still continue to ask. So we're going to take a little trip into that alternate reality and explore what that version of Azeroth would theoretically look like without the Dark Portal. We're going to explore this alternate world, take a look at what likely never came to pass, and what happened as a result. And then we're going to quietly put all of that away, because this is all information and events that we are not going to see in Warlords of Draenor. But it'll be nice to get it out of our systems, won't it?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation and history based on known material. 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: Which side is Wrathion on, anyway?

Know Your Lore Which side is Wrathion on, anyway
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.

Once upon a time, an egg from a corrupted flight of dragons was purified. Even before he hatched, the dragon in that egg began to plot and plan. His first step was freedom -- both from those who sought to contain him, and those who sought to kill him. The second, far larger step was born of a vision ... a terrifying vision of a precious, fragile world abruptly coming to a devastating end. Wrathion is one of the stranger characters to have been introduced in Warcraft. While his plans in Cataclysm were fairly straight forward, Mists has proven to be a far more complicated gambit.

And through all of the quests and all of the plans, Wrathion has remained as enigmatic as he was the first time rogues set eyes on him. He can be cruel, he can be downright merciless if the need calls for it. Yet at the same time, he seems to possess an altruistic capacity that we've simply never seen before from a black dragon. He'll promise the world to you, and then turn around and promise the same to your enemy. Is he bad? Is he good? Is he siding with the Alliance or Horde? What makes Wrathion tick, and just whose side is he on?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Twists in time

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Twists in time
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.

Two weeks ago, we looked briefly at the Timewalkers and the strange goings-on on the Timeless Isle. Since then, players that have been dutifully completing Kairoz's weekly quests have reached the end of the mysterious visions Kairoz has been trying to pinpoint -- with some disturbing results and implications. In fact, the whole mad journey has been a steady trickle of unanswered questions and dizzying scenarios that might or might not be true. Or perhaps they're all true, just in different versions of reality.

And that's the bronze dragonflight in a nutshell. It's a headache-inducing puzzle of events that might have been, have been, never been, and may have meant to be but hadn't, that can't quite be untangled. Led by Nozdormu, the bronze dragonflight's missive has always been to protect and observe the pathways of time. The Titans gifted Nozdormu with the knowledge of when and how he would die as a warning, a lesson -- that no matter how powerful Nozdormu might think he was, he, just like any mortal, would have to answer to time eventually. This was meant to keep the Timeless One in check, an effective plan.

But did it really work?

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 how it happened. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for events on the Timeless Isle.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Dawn of the Aspects paperback available for preorder

Dawn of the Aspects coming in paperback in November
Dawn of the Aspects, the five part ebook-only novel by Richard Knaak, is now slated to be released in paperback for book enthusiasts this November. The novel is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But for those simply expecting a print version of Knaak's tale, you might be in for a surprise -- also included in the edition is a print version of the short story Charge of the Aspects, released on Blizzard's website at the tale end of Cataclysm.

Dawn of the Aspects tells two distinct tales -- the tale of Kalecgos and his struggle with the resolution to Cataclysm that saw all of the Aspects drained of their powers, and the dragonflights with out a purpose, and a much, much older tale of just how the Aspects and dragonflights came to be. It's a really good, if confusing at times, story in which Kalecgos desperately tries to find a new purpose for dragonkind, while simultaneously taking a journey to the past and seeing the story of Galakrond, supposed progenitor of all dragonkind.

As for Charge of the Aspects, the short story by Matt Burns takes place on the eve of Deathwing's downfall, and features the four Aspects, together with Thrall, trying to figure out just how to kill Deathwing once and for all. It's available for free on the official website, but this is the first time the story has been available in print -- and it honestly provides a pretty good framing point for Dawn of the Aspects as well. If you're interested in a physical copy of both of these tales, preorders are now open on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. The book is $12.50, and is slated to be released November 19, according to both websites.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Not An Announcement: Hunter aspects

Not an announcement Hunter aspects
Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has been talking with hunters on twitter again, this time on the topic of Aspects. There is an ongoing problem with hunters, what's called button bloat, where they simply have too many abilities on their bars. One player asked whether aspects were really needed, or whether they could be baked in.
@SamSykesSwears They were never that interesting IMO. Keep pack as a toggle and lose the rest I say. #notanannouncement

- Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) August 19, 2013

While this is not an announcement of the removal of aspects, it is a reasonable discussion point. There's pack, cheetah, and hawk right now, Aspect of the Fox was removed a little while back in patch 5.1. They were concerned at the time that constant hunter movement would be too strong, but preferred it to aspect twisting, where you would swap between Fox and Hawk to do more serious damage.

The simplification of things like Auras for paladins, totems for shaman, and aspects for hunters seems to be one of the top things on Blizzard's to do list right now, and the question is, are these abilities really interesting enough to warrant being kept? Personally, I always liked them. In the instance of hunters, switching from Fox to Hawk and back again was fun, I liked the additional consideration of paladin Auras along with Seals, although I know from explaining them to people that they were confusing.

Is this dumbing down? If so, is it really a bad thing? Or is it simply reducing unnecessary bloat? Is it really that interesting a gameplay decision to set an aspect any more, or is leaving Pack active just another way to justify yelling at hunters?

Filed under: Hunter

Know Your Lore: The mysterious motives of Wrathion

Know Your Lore The mysterious motives of Wrathion
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.

Wrathion made his debut in the Cataclysm expansion -- not as a raid boss, but as a clever ally to rogues looking for legendary weapons. His words seemed genuine and sincere, although his actions revealed a vicious streak that players would be wise to avoid. Yet his origins go back even further, to a small quest chain in the Badlands in which Wrathion is born to a mother who is captive of the red dragonflight, his egg later tampered with and then hidden for safe-keeping.

He's only two years old, give or take a few months. Yet Wrathion is far, far more clever than one would expect for someone of his young age. And given his actions in Cataclysm, and later in Mists of Pandaria, one thing remains perfectly clear: This is not your typical dragon. But what exactly is Wrathion after? What, exactly, is the purpose of his scheming, and perhaps most importantly -- should we be worried?

Please note: There are some small spoilers for patch 5.4 content in this post.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects

Review of Dawn of the Aspects
On Monday, the fifth and final installment of Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, will be available for purchase. For those that have been waiting to download and nab the entire publication in one go, your wait is just about over. For those of us that have been reading since the beginning, it marks the end of what has been, honestly, one of the strangest tales to come out of the Warcraft stable in quite some time.

While I could simply review part five of the book, talk about my impressions and what the installment was like, to me it makes far more sense to talk about the book as a whole, now that I've finished the whole thing. After all, this was a different kind of experiment -- an entirely digital publication doled out in monthly installments for a small fee. Was the experiment worth it? Did the story hold water in the end? And perhaps most importantly -- was the story any good?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available
It's been a long journey, but it seems that the latest Warcraft fiction offering is now wrapping up and coming to an end. An excerpt from the fifth and final chapter of Dawn of the Aspects is now available for reading on the official website. Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, details the origins of the Aspects and the five dragonflights. The five-part miniseries has been released in installments over the last several months, and the fifth chapter ought to wrap up the tale and establish exactly what Kalecgos has learned from the mysterious artifact he's found.

As for the blue dragon's mysterious dive into the past, it seems that the events of long ago are finally reaching their climax -- Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Neltharion and Malygos are preparing for the final battle with Galakrond, a battle that will change the course of their race forever. Will Kalecgos discover the true purpose of the artifact? Will he break free of its mysterious hold, or will he remain stuck in Malygos' memories for eternity? And will Malygos and the not-quite-Aspects prevail, or will history itself unravel? Good question! While the excerpt doesn't provide any answers, it does offer a good glimpse at the final chapter. You can read the excerpt in full on the official website.

Dawn of the Aspects part five will be available for purchase in several different ebook formats for a wonderfully low $1.99 on June 17. Head to Simon & Schuster to purchase the installment in ebook format -- and if you're looking for a different format for your e-reader, the website has links to several different retailers on their listing page. Hopefully the release of the final chapter will encourage Blizzard to release a print edition of the novel in full, too -- I have an empty spot waiting on my bookshelf!

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four
It is absolutely official, now -- I have no idea how the Aspects actually came to be Aspects. For that matter, Tyr's purpose seems to be just as mysteriously vague. However, there was far more light shed on both questions in part four of Dawn of the Aspects, now available for a variety of e-readers. Despite the muddied waters of draconic origins, it is apparent that more of these mysteries will be answered in full by the time the fifth and final installment rolls around.

What did we know, to date? We knew that the Aspects were empowered by various Titans and charged with watching over the world. But that's about it -- the process of how that empowering came about is by and large a giant unknown and has been for years. What surprises me is just how willing I was to let the origin of the dragonflights slide as something that wasn't terribly important, in the long run. But when one considers that their origin appears to be tied to the fate of Tyr, it suddenly bears far more interesting implications.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Celestials, Ancients and Aspects

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Celestials, Ancients and Aspects
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.

Last week, we took a tinfoil-hat look at the Curse of Flesh and why, exactly, that strange curse came to be. We also took a look at theories behind why the Titans didn't simply wipe the Old Gods out of existence -- and in what order Azeroth's creation took place. If you haven't read last week's offering, I'd suggest doing so now, because the theories I'm going to present today tie into that material. While the Old Gods have been pointed out time and again as being on Azeroth since the dawn of time, there are other creatures with just as lengthy a history.

The Ancients are, as their name suggests, ancient -- and the Celestials of Pandaria seem to be just as ancient and wise. These creatures are all there to supposedly help the mortals of Azeroth and protect the world from harm. In the War of the Ancients, many of these odd demigods helped the kaldorei fight off the Burning Legion, and with a great deal of success. In Pandaria, the Celestials have their own curious methods of helping out the world -- after all, it was the Jade Serpent who told Emperor Shaohao of the sha, albeit indirectly.

So who are the Celestials? Who are the Ancients? And how do they tie into that weird mystery that is Azeroth?

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

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
The action in Dawn of the Aspects heated up exponentially in part two of the series by Richard A. Knaak -- and part three only continues to both clarify and confuse in the most brain-bending, delightful way.

The third installment of Dawn of the Aspects, released Monday, continues to explore the purpose of the mysterious artifact Kalegos uncovered back in part one. It seems as though the visions Kalec has been experiencing are growing far more intense, enough to make the former Aspect question the reality of the future we're currently living in. More importantly, there are some important and thoroughly bizarre revelations that may actually shed some light on the Aspects as they turned out in present day.

Although the installments continue to be slightly confusing, we're beginning to get a grasp on just what this story is all about. And as mentioned in our last review, it's becoming far more clear that what happened in the past is apparently not only relevant, but incredibly important to the events of present day. Dawn of the Aspects is, so far, proving to be a delightful mystery of a book, not quite like anything we've seen come before.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Azeroth

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Azeroth
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.

Last week, we took a minor plunge into the idea of Azeroth as a fully-connected entity, and what the implications of that entailed. But there's more to the story than just a matter of connectivity. We know everything is connected. But what we really don't know at this point is why. What is the purpose of Azeroth? What were the Titans thinking? Why did they choose to forgo re-originating the world after discovering the Old Gods? Why have they gone silent, ignoring Azeroth for thousands of years?

Why does Azeroth exist?

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

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
Things have just gotten incredibly weird.

The second installment of Dawn of the Aspects has just been released to an assortment of retailers, ready to be downloaded to the e-reader of your choice. The novel, written by Richard Knaak, continues to explore the events at the dawn of time, before the Age of Dragons began. As Kalecgos continues his descent into the mad visions bestowed upon him by an ancient artifact, he begins to discover more and more unsettling facts about the formation of dragonkind. But will Kalecgos be able to divine what these visions are trying to teach, or will he be swallowed into the past for good?

In our review of part one, we touched on the somewhat convoluted nature of the story, with the hopes that part two would begin to make things slightly more clear. Yet that question of the purpose of dragons on Azeroth, their origin, and what they should do now that the Age of Mortals has begun is still left unanswered. And despite the novel's focus on events long past, it's beginning to become more clear that Kalecgos' visions, mad as they are, definitely have more than a little relevance to present-day.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A Knaak
Everything we know about the formation of the Aspects is wrong. Well, not wrong -- but so far from what is truth that the reality of the situation is a dizzying puzzle that has only begun to be addressed. Dawn of the Aspects is a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle, and part one of the tale has only just begun to unravel these pieces into what will hopefully be a coherent whole by the end of the story.

While we've had hints and suggestions as to how the Aspects and the varying dragonflights came to be, it's never been truly defined. And when we made our trip to Northrend in Wrath of the Lich King, the proto-drakes found roaming the peaks and valleys of the continent were an intriguing puzzle. How did dragonkind make that leap from proto-drake to dragon? Who was Galakrond, and how did his existence tie into the existing dragonflights? Was he the father of all dragonkind in a literal sense, or in a far more figurative fashion?

Perhaps most importantly, at the dawn of the Age of Mortals, does any of this information really matter at all? If you're at all interested in the history of Azeroth, the answer is a resounding yes.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

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