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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Titans, Azeroth, and 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.

Last week, we explored the legendary quests offered by Wrathion in detail, and managed to come up with some interesting theories regarding his purpose in Pandaria. No matter which way you look at it, what Wrathion says and what he actually does are two fairly different things. There's a story lying there, waiting to be discovered -- and while we've all been paying attention to what Pandaria has to offer, and the war between Alliance and Horde, Wrathion's clearly been working his own agenda.

But he's only two years old at this point. He's far from a fully grown dragon, yet he seems to be pulling together complicated strategies and plans like they're nothing at all. Certainly he may be a dragon, but is a dragon that young out of the shell really going to be that advanced? Wrathion would certainly like us to believe it. The problem is that we simply don't have any evidence to back up the story he's told us -- nor do we have any evidence of how he should be acting. He may be two, he may say he's a black dragon, but this "dragon" might in fact be something far more important than he claims -- more important than even he knows.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation 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, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Black Prince

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, the last black dragon -- to his knowledge -- on the entirety of Azeroth has been a puzzle from the moment his egg was created. His immediate response upon hatching was a vicious, calculated attack on his own flight via the use of assassins, which resulted in the nigh-extinction of the black dragonflight. And after completing that mission, he curiously chose, instead of going somewhere to be left alone as he stated he wanted, to go to Pandaria -- where he began an even curiouser journey that players were quickly swept into upon reaching level 90.

Wrathion's travels in Pandaria, his sudden gaining of a multitude of Blacktalon Agents, even the spot in which he chose to make his temporary home are all increasingly questionable, especially given what little we know about Wrathion himself. He gives us a grand, magnanimous story about how he's looking out for the world because he's seen visions of the Burning Legion coming to call, and of our world's destruction.

But he also said he was firmly on the side of the Horde, or the side of the Alliance, then swapped sides as efficiently as possible when it was convenient. In other words, Wrathion lies. He lies all the time. So the question we should be asking here is whether Wrathion has been giving us the real truth at all -- and what is the truth behind Wrathion's puzzling journey?

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

Coming home to Azeroth

Azeroth
For a number of months, I knew my computer was dying, but it was the release of patch 5.4 that finally did it in. With a seven-year-old motherboard, processor, and a paltry two gigabytes of RAM, even just opening an internet browser was eating up a significant portion of its memory. Running WoW was definitely out of the question. So I began the process of upgrading my machine--new motherboard, new CPU, new RAM, new operating system--and along the way my monitor died too, so I got a new one of those as well. There were some wrenches thrown into the machinery, but at last I found myself once more logging into the familiar World of Warcraft.

I've played WoW for six of its nine years in existence, and I sometimes struggle to explain what keeps me going. Though changes and tweaks have been made through the years, at its core the game remains the same. It's the same night elf druid that greets me on the login screen each time I load the client, the same familiar landmarks that guide my travels across Azeroth. After a two-month forced absence, however, I think I understand better what the game represents to me: it's home.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Crafting Azeroth recreates World of Warcraft in Minecraft

Just can't get enough World of Warcraft in your day? Then you're in luck, because the Crafting Azeroth project has created a full-scale reproduction of Azeroth, Kalimdor, and Northrend inside Minecraft. The replica spans over 500 (virtual) square kilometers and is constructed of over 100 billion -- yes, billion -- blocks. So what's the secret to creating such a large-scale copy of WoW? It's in a custom piece of software that converts WoW data into a detailed Minecraft replica. And we have to admit, the results are stunning... in a blocky, Minecraft-chic sort of way.

The beta version of the map is available for download now -- but if you're not feeling that bold, you can check out their before and after gallery or explore the map online.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Arts and Crafts

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: What are the Old Gods?

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition What are the Old Gods
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.

They are malignant entities, forces of chaos and destruction that were locked beneath Azeroth long, long before most of the sentient races we know today came to be. The Old Gods, horrific creatures capable of warping mind and thought, bending "lesser creatures" to their whim, once reigned supreme on Azeroth until they fell to the Titans. Yet they persisted still, even from within their prisons deep beneath the soil. C'thun, Yogg-Saron, N'zoth, and even the haunted last breaths of the Old God Y'Shaarj have presented a persistent menace that simply will not go away.

And according to at least some accounts told in Titan records, it's because they can't go away. They can't be killed. Destroying the Old Gods would result in the destruction of Azeroth itself, which is why the Titans chose to merely imprison them instead of flat-out destroy. But one question lingers, in the midst of all the this muddled history. Who -- or perhaps more appropriately, what -- are the Old Gods? Where did they come from? Which version of their history is correct ... or is the truth simply sitting somewhere in between the two?

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.

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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

Warcraft as a whole: story balance between RTS and MMO

I was perusing the forums (like you do) when I came across this forum thread from poster Xewie, and I found it an interesting place to start thinking from. Xewie's points aren't entirely ones I agree with - I frankly found Mists of Pandaria one of the richest expansions in terms of lore and story and feel that anyone who dismisses it simply because there are pandaren in it is deliberately and willfully blinding themselves to an excellent ride with some astonishing highs and lows - but there's a certain truth in the points about the RTS vs. WoW itself. As others (including our own Michael Sacco) have pointed out, Garrosh Hellscream is really one of the first big lore characters we've had in World of Warcraft who was born in the MMO, evolved over its course and became a faction leader and finally an end villain.

I think part of the problem is that the RTS features these characters, so even when it kills a few (like Terenas Menethil) it offers up a few more. But the MMO features us, ultimately, so when we put down Lady Vashj or Arthas, there's no immediate replacement. To be sure, there have in fact been tons of new faces over the course of World of Warcraft - Ragnaros, C'thun, Nefarian were all first introduced in classic WoW, not the RTS. The problem is, we introduce these characters and then, well, we dispatch them. Sometimes, like Ragnaros, our first encounter with them isn't a final one, but even if we know they'll eventually be back, it's not like their luck will hold out forever. I called this the "Joker problem" once, and to a degree I think it is an issue for the MMO.

However, does it follow that we need an RTS to create stories? Since I think Mists of Pandaria did an amazing job of building up the story, and in fact I'm really much more of a Cataclysm booster than most, I don't agree with that idea. In fact, in many ways, WoW has done more to broaden and expand the Warcraft setting than the RTS ever did.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Dark Below

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The Dark Below
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.
I see them! A million worlds glittering in their perfection! One above all others! We have fallen, we must rebuild the final Titan! Do not forget.
Wrathion may have just finished chowing down on the heart of the Thunder King when he rattled off that strange speech about this bizarre "final Titan," but what he said seemed to indicate there is far more going on in Pandaria than we'd thought. Or, on the other hand, there is far more going on in Azeroth than we thought. Things that must be taken care of, things so urgent that Wrathion is attempting to set the war between Alliance and Horde on fast-forward so that we can skip that part and simply jump to what he thinks is the important stuff.

Earlier this week, Blizzard appeared to be trademarking something called The Dark Below, and many have speculated that it's the name of the next WoW expansion, largely because of the existence of Ozumat and his title, Fiend of the Dark Below. The trademark was later revealed as a possible hoax -- and later still, revealed to be a trademark in Europe. So is it WoW? If it is a WoW trademark, what could possibly be in an expansion with that title?

I have absolutely no idea. But that makes for some excellent Tinfoil Hat speculation, so why don't we look at what could potentially be lurking in The Dark Below?

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.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide available for preorder

Yogg Saron in the Ultimate Visual Guide
Today Blizzard announced a new book release in partnership with DK Publishing--the World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide. The guide features many pages of new and unreleased artwork, in-depth character profiles for famous WoW heroes and villains, location information, famous battles of Azeroth's history, lore references, and even a guide to the different types of magic found in the Azerothian universe. Oh, and there's a glimpse into the creative development process behind WoW, as well, something I don't think has ever before really been explored in a Blizzard publication. The pre-order pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble cite the release date as September 30th, so mark your calenders. This guide is sure to interest any WoW lore fan or art enthusiast. A full preview is available on the official DK landing page.

Filed under: News items, 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

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: In the beginning

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition In the beginning 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.

In the beginning, the Titans created Azeroth. They set the world in motion, and then left to continue on whatever path it was that the mysterious beings followed. Yet something happened to the planet, something bad enough that it warranted the return of the Titans. Upon their return, they discovered the Old Gods, a malignant group of entities that were intent upon sowing chaos. Perturbed, the Titans tried to kill an Old God -- and they discovered to their horror that killing the Old Gods would kill the very planet itself.

And yet, instead of simply rebooting and starting over anew, they kept Azeroth. They imprisoned the Old Gods beneath the surface of the world, and planted various fail-safes to make sure the creatures were never freed. And just in case an Old God managed to escape, Algalon the Observer would visit and determine the status of the world. If it was deemed too far gone, he would activate a signal that would re-originate the world -- Azeroth would be destroyed and rebooted.

Why did they leave Azeroth alone? Why didn't they simply re-originate the world at the first sign of trouble? Why put in a failsafe to do so, instead of taking care of the problem immediately? But perhaps most importantly ...

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

Please note: This edition of KYL also contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 content.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: When is a well not a well?

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition When is a well not a well 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.

When is a well not a well?

The Well of Eternity is one of the most important objects in Azeroth's history. A font of magical water with incredible properties, it has been the subject of at least two wars. First, there was the War of the Ancients, in which kaldorei fought Highborne while the Burning Legion threatened to invade. Next, the Third War, in which Archimonde sought to dominate Hyjal and the powers of the Well beneath it's roots.

But the Well has also changed Azeroth in a significant way. The kaldorei wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the waters of the Well. Neither would the sin'dorei or their curious state of magical addiction. And if rumors are to be believed, there are several races on Pandaria whose roots tie into the mysterious waters of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms -- also speculated to be a remnant of that original Well of Eternity.

The origins of the Well are shrouded in mystery. It's simply something the Titans created countless centuries ago. Or ... is it? When is a well not a well at all?

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, TFH Edition: The dark secrets of the mogu

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The dark secrets of the mogu 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.

They were once rulers of an empire that rivaled the Zandalar in size and scope, but they possessed powers far greater than the trolls could ever dream of. They used their power to shape the grummels and saurok from the lesser races of Pandaria. They enslaved the pandaren race as a whole, using them to build structures and gather supplies all under threat of their iron fists. Their great empires trace back to thousands of years ago, before even the War of the Ancients, and possibly before the rise of the kaldorei race.

The mogu are one of the clear villains of this expansion, and our arrival denotes the sudden uprising of this strange, curious, violent race. While the mogu may have been relatively quiet for centuries, they are certainly far from it now. And as we make our way through Pandaria we see more and more evidence that these violent beings are on the move -- something that disturbs the gentle pandaren greatly. The mogu hide secrets, and over the course of raiding, we uncover a few.

But their greatest secret may just be something so unfathomable, so bizarre, that it shakes the roots of everything we currently know and believe.

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 why and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains some content spoilers from Mists of Pandaria.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Sha

Know Your Lore The Sha 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.
Have you had the dream again? A black goat with seven eyes that watches from the outside.
- The Puzzle Box of Yogg Saron
We did not bring them to this land, they were there all along. But we unleashed them from their prison, allowing them to run rampant over the verdant hills and fields of Pandaria. Our arrival on Pandaria's coast was nothing more than a catalyst that sparked a chain of disastrous events the likes of which Pandaria has never before seen ... at least, not in written history.

The Sha are a unique villain, the first in Azeroth's history that we alone are responsible for. We've dealt with the horrors of the Burning Legion, we've fought the armies of the Lich King, we've even brought down and vanquished the fallen Aspect Deathwing. But we've never before had to fight something that was spawned not from the evil of the universe, but the evil within ourselves.

Which makes the Sha utterly fascinating ... and their origins even more so.

Please note: The following post is chock-full of spoilers for Mists of Pandaria.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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