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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The whispers of Azeroth

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The fascination of Sargeras 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.

Sargeras: Fallen Titan, founder of the Burning Legion and destroyer of worlds. Since his fall from his place as the premier champion of the Titans, Sargeras has enjoyed utmost success in his mission of destruction, bringing down endless worlds and wreaking havoc across the universe. Yet one world has eluded his grasp, time and time again -- Azeroth. Though the Burning Legion has visited Azeroth countless times, it has yet to sink its claws into the world and wrench it apart.

Despite this, the Legion continues to try. There may be hundreds, thousands, possibly even millions of distinct worlds out there ripe for annihilation, but the Burning Legion and Sargeras himself have focused with certainty on our little world. Is it a matter of revenge? Is it a matter of stubborn persistence? Or is there some other reason we're the focus of the universe's heralds of hatred? What is Sargeras' fascination with our tiny planet, anyway?

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.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Saying goodbye to Cataclysm

I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Cataclysm. I will cheerfully admit I totally flipped out over it, largely because I was so excited to see Deathwing make a return. I've always been fond of the Dragon Aspects, and I was looking forward to an expansion that featured them in a way they'd never been featured before. We'd seen Alexstrasza and Ysera, of course, but with Malygos dead and Nozdormu missing, I knew something interesting had to happen on both of those fronts.

The expansion itself was different than I'd expected, to be perfectly honest. Cataclysm wasn't exactly a bad expansion, really, and the old world quest revamp as well as flight being added were both welcome additions. But Cataclysm lacked the spark previous expansions had, and I can't quite put my finger on why, exactly. Despite the fact that it didn't knock The Burning Crusade out of first place on my list of favorite expansions, there's still something I'm going to miss about Cataclysm once we're wandering Pandaria.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore, TFH edition: Sargeras was right

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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.

Imagine if you will a perfectly nice little wooded area, teeming with wildlife. Here, there's a bird's nest; there, a small group of deer peacefully grazing on the grass. Over the hill lives a small pack of coyotes that will eventually hunt the deer, but it helps keep the deer population down. Circle of life and all that. Some years, the wildlife flourishes; other years, water is scarce and so is food. Those are the lean times, but somehow the little wooded area continues to thrive on its own, waxing and waning its way through the years.

Now imagine that little wooded grove gets targeted for development. All woodland creatures are systematically driven out of the area or killed. The lovely trees are ripped from the ground one by one. The grass is torn up, dirt and earth moved and leveled out. And one by one, houses pop up where the wooded area used to be. Clean and tidy paved roads, white picket fences all in a row, pretty if bland houses plunked into symmetric lots carefully designed for the maximum use of space. Those who live in the houses may occasionally see a deer out the window, a remnant of the wood that no longer exists.

Which is better?

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 and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore. But they're interesting!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Algalon the Observer

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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 have seen worlds bathed in the Makers' flames. Their denizens fading without so much as a whimper. Entire planetary systems born and razed in the time that it takes your mortal hearts to beat once.
The Titans are creatures of myth and mystery to the mortals of Azeroth. While some Azerothians (most notably Brann Bronzebeard) seek to unravel their secrets, most remain blissfully unaware and uncaring of the origins of the world. But the mysteries Brann works so hard to uncover more often than not raise far more questions than they answer, and in some cases, create havoc that could reduce our world to ashes in the blink of an eye.

In Ulduar, Brann sought to uncover the further secrets of the origin of the dwarves, something that the Explorer's League has been working on since the early days of WoW and the first player steps into the Titan stronghold of Uldaman. But what Brann uncovered was a massive facility that wasn't just for the storage of information from times long past. The facility of Ulduar and its corrupt Titans weren't anywhere near as much of a threat to the world as what came after Loken's defeat in the Halls of Lightning. For it was the moment of his defeat that the failsafe was tripped and the signal was sent.

And it was Loken's death that heralded the arrival of Algalon the Observer and the end of the world.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The secret of Pandaria

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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.
"It's just possible that the curious race we're going to meet in this mystic land, may just teach us a thing or two about who we are, and why we fight." -- Chris Metzen, BlizzCon 2011
What do we know about Mists of Pandaria? We've been told that the major conflict highlighted in this expansion will be between Alliance and Horde. We've also been told that this will be one of the bloodiest wars since the days of Warcraft II. We've been told that there will be consequences for our actions, and we were told when the expansion was announced at BlizzCon that the pandaren have something to teach us. So what's up with that? And what's up with the crazy map making a reappearance?

That's the funny thing -- it's all interconnected, possibly. Today we're going on a Tinfoil Hat trip through Mists of Pandaria to talk about my favorite crazy map, some theories on Azeroth, and why exactly Garrosh needs to be removed.

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 and 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: Lore and Story Q&A highlights

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 have to be honest here -- while I love the Q&A aspect of the Lore and Story Q&A panel, I was really hoping we'd see some sort of lore panel devoted to Mists of Pandaria this year. That said -- hey guys, how about those Pandaren? For those thinking that Pandaria is going to be all and end all of this expansion or that Pandaria sounds like something that could be potentially boring, I would suggest that you wait patiently here. We didn't get a lore panel dedicated to Mists, and therefore we don't know all there is to know yet.

However, the Lore and Story Q&A panel this year did deliver some interesting tidbits of information, even if there really weren't a lot of Pandaren-centric questions to be had. I wouldn't be annoyed by this if I were you -- after all, those asking questions had no idea Pandaria even existed until 24 hours before the panel, so formulating questions for the upcoming expansion would be a little premature, to say the very least. That said, in between all the questions we did manage to weasel out a few chunks of Pandaren lore, as well as some other interesting info.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Mine of WorldCraft blockifies Azeroth

YouTube user and Minecraft enthusiast Haasth22 has replicated some of the human starting experience in popular indie title Minecraft, complete with blockified tier 2 Judgement armor and quest NPCs. Sure, it's heavily edited, but who doesn't love seeing Azeroth all blocky with that recognizable Minecraft charm? Whatever you do, don't watch the movie while playing WoW, because you will alt-tab into game to see if you got a message or a whisper (like I'm doing right now) while listening to the sounds of the video.

If you've got other cool recreations of WoW in Minecraft, we'd love to see it. You can always use our tip line to send us videos, questions, and suggestions. Heck, you could even shoot us a compliment. We love compliments.

Filed under: News items

Know Your Lore: The humans, part 3

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.

Imagine for a moment that you are, right now, a human of the same age that you are, but living in Azeroth. Depending how old you are, you either lived through or were born into the aftermath of three of the most devastating wars your world has ever seen. Keeping in mind the trouble with timelines, every human alive in the Warcraft setting has endured loss and hardship on a scale almost unimaginable; many were driven from their homes by invading monsters or demons from other worlds, or were forced to flee in advance of legions of walking corpses that relentlessly tried to kill them and dogged their steps all the way to safety.

The humans who congregate today in centers like Stormwind and Theramore have survived when vast numbers of their people died. Only the former high elves have lost more of their kind. The fact that humanity manages to remain a force to be reckoned with despite the loss of almost all of its former northern domains in the Eastern Kingdoms, the deaths of uncounted numbers of their people and the usurpation of their inheritance is a testament to their origin as a seed race of the Titan's first arrival on Azeroth. Indeed, much like their dwarven cousins (for now humans and dwarves truly know they share a common origin, as do their gnomish relations), humans harbor a stony resolve in the face of adversity that could crush or corrupt another people.

Let us look at humanity's most recent travails.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Arts and Crafts

Know Your Lore: The Warcraft cosmos, part one: The Material Plane

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.

Even now, the true battle between the forces of Light and Darkness approaches. We will all be called to join, and in the face of this conflict, all mortal suffering will be meaningless. -- Prophet Velen

Far beyond the tiny planet of Azeroth, beyond the shattered shores of Outland -- or Draenor, as it was once called -- there lies the Great Dark Beyond. This dark, empty void between worlds exists even beyond the Twisting Nether. It is the space between planets, existing in the same material plane as the planets themselves. While the Twisting Nether exists within it, it should not be confused with the Nether, because they are two distinctly different entities.

In the existing universe of Warcraft, only a small handful of planets have been defined, floating somewhere out there in the vast, empty space of the Great Dark Beyond. All of these planets are connected, which gives way to a larger, slightly more tinfoil hat theory regarding the greater Warcraft cosmos and what it all means, when it comes down to it. But before we indulge in any speculation, we should define what lies within that Great Dark Beyond and how it all plays together in the vastness of the universe.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Silence of the Titans


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, godlike creatures of order called Titans landed on a small, unassuming planet named Azeroth and proceeded to reorganize it. After they left, the planet was invaded by malevolent creatures called Old Gods -- creatures of chaos and destruction. The Titans returned to the little planet, horrified at what had happened, and rose up against the Old Gods and their elemental lieutenants in what was the most horrific war the planet had ever seen. But instead of destroying the Old Gods, the Titans were forced to imprison them deep within the planet.

They set safeguards over the fragile world -- draconic aspects to watch over the various domains of life, the earth, magic, time, and nature. They created new guardians to watch over the prisons of the Old Gods. They created a magical font of energy, tied to the Twisting Nether -- the Well of Eternity. And satisfied with their work, the Titans left. No one on the fragile planet has seen them since; they are spoken of in history and in legend, but they've never returned.

Why? Of all the questions in Azeroth, this is the biggest by far. Why did the Titans imprison the Old Gods, instead of starting over from scratch? Common theory suggests they liked the planet too much to re-originate it, yet they left behind safeguards that would do exactly that, if the Old Gods escaped again. So why not simply do so to begin with? Why leave the world as it stood? More importantly -- why are we here?

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 it happened. The events presented are events that happened in Azeroth's history, but the conclusion is simply a theory and shouldn't be taken as fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Uldaman, Ulduar, and Uldum, strongholds of the Titans

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, Azeroth existed as a simple planet floating in the midst of space (or the great dark beyond, as it's sometimes called). There is very little out there in terms of the history of Azeroth's creation, but what little we do know is this: Azeroth attracted the attention of creatures called Titans, godlike beings that traveled from world to world, creating order from chaos and leaving planets teeming with life. The Titans did to Azeroth as they did to countless other worlds before: They created seed races to inhabit the little planet, encouraging life to grow. Along with the seed races, they created the earthen -- stone beings that were meant to maintain the order the Titans had cultivated. Satisfied with their work, the Titans left.

It was some time after the Titan's departure that disaster struck. The little planet caught the eye of malevolent creatures known as Old Gods. The Old Gods strive for chaos and destruction, the exact opposite of everything the Titans create. Azeroth, still new to the universe, crumpled under the assault. However, the Titan-created earthen presented a problem that required a creative solution. The Old Gods, seeing that these creatures were made of rock and stone, released a disease called the Curse of Flesh -- the originator of many of the species that roam Azeroth today.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Is comparing your game to World of Warcraft really such a good idea?

Look, it should come as no surprise that World of Warcraft is king of the hill, head of the list, cream of the crop, at the top of the heap when it comes to MMOs. Whatever Blizzard did, it did it at exactly the right time with the right team and the right IP; it was a perfect storm of something. And it did other game developers a favor in that it's now possible for an MMO to do respectable business, even if the numbers don't quite approach WoW's 12 million concurrent subscribers.

Naturally, though, there are studios that aren't content with having their own subscribers. They want WoW's, too. And that's a pretty tall order. To that end, they reference WoW in their ad campaigns. But what good does name-dropping the world's most popular MMO in your ad campaign even do? Let's take a look.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Conquer Azeroth in Civilization 5

Civilization Fanatics forum-goer Maze has designed a map pack for the recently released Civilization 5 that looks very familiar, and for good reason: the map mimics that of classic World of Warcraft, with the two main continents and the Maelstrom in the center.

The map is actually very accurate, with precisely placed bodies of water and coastlines and small details like purple creep in Silithus. There are also details like Thoradin's Wall and the Deeprun Tram pointed out.

Maze has created two versions of the map, with differing sizes for faster- or slower-paced games. Even if you aren't a fan of the game and don't plan on playing it, the graphics and attention to detail are pretty awesome. Check out some shots of the map in our gallery below.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

WoW Moviewatch: Azeroth - Land in chaos

Azeroth - Land in chaos is a sweeping, beautiful look at the landscape and design of World of Warcraft. I almost always enjoy these Discovery-esque tours of Azeroth and Outland, taking the time to really soak in the amazing, powerful artwork created by Blizzard. In the never-ending struggle for better gear and bigger numbers, it's a little too easy to simply miss the sheer beauty and creativity that makes up the game world.

This is the first video presented in Gnomax3D. (It's not really 3D, please don't try.) While the author names himself after the style, I'll admit I had a little bit of trouble sorting out what are the distinctive characteristics of Gnomax3D. The movie was certainly beautiful to watch, but so are many others. If further tours like this are created by Gnomax, though, I'm sure we'll find out eventually. I'm definitely looking forward to a similar view of Cataclysm.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Video game world size compared

Digg recently featured a side-by-side comparison of video game worlds, and Azeroth as depicted in World of Warcraft found itself in competition against the sprawling universes of Grand Theft Auto, Guild Wars: Nightfall, Lord of the Rings Online and Just Cause 2.

As is obvious from the picture, WoW seems to compare poorly when it comes to the sheer size of the worlds in question, but the map being used is both outdated and somewhat misleading. It's a pre-BC version omitting the Azuremyst Isles, Quel'thalas, Outland and Northrend, and it obviously doesn't include the acreage being added to the game with Cataclysm, either. Regardless, it's an interesting comparison, and other people have tried figuring out exactly how big Azeroth is, with some curious results.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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