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Posts with tag azshara

Know Your Lore: Illidan Stormrage, The Betrayer

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're plKnow Youaying 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.

The story of Illidan Stormrage, born well over 10,000 years ago in the ancient city of Suramar alongside his brother Malfurion and their childhood friend Tyrande, would change the entire world now known as Azeroth. Without them, the Burning Legion might well have succeeded. The machinations of demons, the corrupt Highborne, even Queen Azshara were balked by this trio. But Illidan himself was often his own worst enemy.

He is one of the greatest manipulators of arcane power ever to live, the first to ever seek to stalk and kill demons, a prodigy and a madman. He betrayed his own people in order to save them and the entire world, but he always served himself first. Selfish, mercurial, brilliant, resentful and tormented by himself, Illidan Stormrage helped make Azeroth everything it is today.

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Filed under: Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: NPC evolution from Wrath to Cataclysm and beyond

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.

Wrath of the Lich King saw the introduction of several elements that furthered the incorporation of lore into the game. Phased quest chains allowed players to actually see their effect on the zones. Cinematic cutscenes made it feel like you were playing through a movie. The faction leaders of the world were suddenly far more active than they'd ever been before. But those were the major, blowout moments that made the storytelling work. What most didn't quite recognize were the subtle efforts of the lowly NPC.

In classic WoW, players literally had to walk up to NPCs and speak to them to engage them in conversation. In The Burning Crusade, that changed slightly -- NPCs now recognized players as they walked by, according to their reputation. In Wrath, suddenly NPCs were not only recognizing players, but they were whispering players, recognizing players. Prior efforts by a player were acknowledged, even if it was just a simple "I remember you."

What Wrath of the Lich King began was a revolution in WoW gameplay that would spin into full-out overdrive with the launch of Cataclysm. The lowly NPC was no longer an unimportant figure; he was a comrade in arms, a fellow hero, or a taskmaster -- and he made certain to let you know it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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

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 never thought in a million years that I'd be revisiting the topic of the pandaren, but it looks like it's now something worth discussing. Earlier this week, it was discovered that Blizzard filed a new trademark for something called "Mists of Pandaria." Blizzard's done this before, filing the Cataclysm trademark back in 2009 before the expansion was announced. This has led to the assumption that the mysteriously named "Mists of Pandaria" is lined up to be the next expansion. Needless to say, this information was so far out of left field that it appeared to be coming in from the right.

But let's think about this from a lore standpoint. All expansions need a storyline behind them -- now moreso than ever, given the extremely story-driven vehicle that is Cataclysm. For a race that was originally an April Fool's joke, the popularity of the pandaren, as well as what little written word we have on the race, makes this a pretty interesting prospect. Believe it or not, there are actually potential reasons behind all of this, given what's happened so far in Azeroth to date. So let's take a tinfoil hat look at what this expansion could theoretically look like, from a story standpoint.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a speculative look into what has gone before and what's to come. The events presented are just theories at this point and should not be taken as fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Sargeras and speculation on the next expansion

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.

Planes and planets, demons and mortals -- we've covered the gamut of the Warcraft universe in the past few weeks, including rampant speculation. With BlizzCon 2011 not too far away, people are already talking about what may or may not be announced, including whether or not we'll see news about the next Warcraft expansion and what that expansion could be.

Beyond all of that, however, we have the matter of identifying who exactly the real bad guy of this expansion is. Is it Deathwing? Is it the Old Gods? We don't know, and we won't know until we're closer to the expansion's end and dealing with Deathwing personally -- but whether Deathwing will be the final boss of this expansion is something that's still up in the air. Matthew Rossi wrote an interesting article last week questioning whether Cataclysm has too much potential content, and it's an excellent question. Given all we've seen of the expansion so far and the sheer amount of plot threads that have yet to be addressed, it makes one wonder exactly what else will be revealed in the months to come.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Choose My Adventure Live: PvP with Roblinator

Choose the adventures of Robin Torres as Roblinator the goblin shamanator or join in with <It came from the Blog> on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H).

As promised last week, I'll be PvPing today with anyone who wants to join me. While in the queue, we will be questing in Azshara. If you can't join me in game, you can always watch above and chat after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You can watch the video replay by clicking on the image above.

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Filed under: It Came from the Blog, Choose My Adventure

Know Your Lore: War of the Ancients part 1 -- Azshara's love story


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.

We've mentioned it, referenced it, and discussed it before, but we've never featured it in a KYL column. The War of the Ancients, the epic first battle between Azeroth and the Burning Legion, is the conflict that shaped the world we adventure in today. Deathwing first became known as a malevolent force during the War of the Ancients. The Burning Legion first appeared. Figures like Malfurion, Illidan, Tyrande, and Alexstrasza all made momentous decisions that shaped the world and everyone who lives in it. Before the war, there were no druids, no high elves. The continent of Kalimdor stretched to include the lands that are today Northrend and the Eastern Kingdoms. There was no Maelstrom. There were no naga, and Azshara was queen of the kaldorei entire, and entirely beloved.

Also, there was a whole lot of time traveling, but we'll talk about that next week. This week, we'll cover the War of the Ancients as it was before time wizards. The biggest difficulty in discussing the War of the Ancients is knowing which one you're talking about: the one before Nozdormu sents Rhonin, Korialstrasz, and Broxigar back in time, or the one that resulted from their trip. This week, we discuss the history and background of the war. And yes, I am fully aware of the irony of using words like "before" and "after" to discuss time travel. Pre and post-incursion still have the sense of before and after attached to them, or I'd use those. Simplicity demands we make use of the most basic terminology and just grapple with the difficulties.

Still, in either timeline, certain things happened. At the heart of it all, the reason the Burning Legion found Azeroth was that a beautiful, intelligent, powerful woman who was queen of all she surveyed fell in love.

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

Know Your Lore: Azshara and the Blue Dragonflight


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.

Of all the zones to get face lifts in Cataclysm, none deserved it so much as Azshara, the formerly level 50 zone that had a scant 32 quests available during vanilla. Azshara was just a small part of the former home of Queen Azshara and the Highborne, and one would think a zone with that kind of potential would have more to offer. In Cataclysm, the zone has become a level 10-20 area for Horde, and some of the zone's lore offerings have been expanded upon. Others raise more questions than they answer.

In between all the goblin advancements, one place directly addressed was Lake Mennar, former home to a ton of blue dragons for no discernible reason whatsoever. Lurking nearby was Azuregos, the batty blue dragon who was an outdoor boss and the key to the blue scepter shard for opening the gates of Ahn'Qiraj. Lake Mennar proper served as little more than a farming area for the Azure Whelpling. Why was the Blue Dragonflight so fascinated with Lake Mennar? There's a story behind that, and it goes all the way back to the War of the Ancients.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Live Stream: Guided tour of Azshara

Today we'll be touring the zone of Azshara, newly remade in the image of the Horde. We'll cover the achievements you can get in the zone as well as visit the major and minor landmarks of the area. As usual, I will be answering questions and comments from the chat room, which is after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You can watch the video replay by clicking on the image above.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Guest Post: Azshara revamp ushers in new level range, epic stories

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

I would hazard a guess that a vast majority of WoW players have never even been to Azshara. Honestly, since Molten Core is no longer a major raid zone and the Runes of Fire Lords just put themselves out, there really isn't much reason to. Those of us who raided in vanilla made weekly trips there to pick up our Aqual Quintessence, and I was also an herbalist, so I would spend another hour or so out there looking for Dreamfoil because of needing a bag full of mana pots to raid in those pre-potion sickness days.

Clearly, the zone was unfinished. There was one quest hub, if you could call it that, because there were only a very small number of quests there. Blizzard tried to bring people to the unused zone later on by adding in the level 50 class quests that led up to Sunken Temple -- but really, in the process of leveling, you could basically ignore Azshara and move on.

I hated the original Azshara because it was out in the middle of nowhere and fairly poorly designed. It was hard to get to places because of all the rocky cliffs, and passages up and down from the beach to the cliffs were too few and far between. It could even be dangerous at level 60 before The Burning Crusade's stamina inflation; lots of mobs feared and or put debuffs on you, and there were elites wandering around over huge portions of the zone.

Sadly the few fond memories I have of old Azshara are gone, as well. When Azuregos was up in vanilla, the entire zone would become a raiding guild, PvP fight zone as the top Horde and Alliance raiding guilds fought over who could tag him, killing flagged members of the group who got him, hoping to wipe them and inflict them all with the debuff. It could get fun and entertaining -- and one time, it even caused our server to be shut down.

Well, that has all changed come Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Which Cataclysm zone are you most excited about?

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

All of us are anxiously awaiting Cataclysm's going live. Wrath is winding down and people are anxiously anticipating the new content. Some want new raids, some want new dungeons, some want new quests, some want to make goblins or worgen. Some of us are just really excited to see the changes to the old zones, and some just want to get right into the level 80 to 85 content.

I myself am in the beta. I have played it as it has evolved since the friends and family alpha, and I have watched some of the zones go from buggy and near unplayable, with quests not yet implemented, to being far more fleshed-out and nearly ready to go live. I love Hyjal. It has an epic feel; you are right in there battling to reclaim the zone from the Twilight Cultists and the elementals. Deepholm is equally amazing. In the revamped zones, I thoroughly enjoyed the CSI-inspired murder quest chain in Westfall. I have made both a goblin and a worgen and must say, the goblin starting area and Azshara should not be missed. Everyone should make a Horde character and complete the Azuregos and Kalecgos quests in Azshara. On the other hand, I feel Gilneas is a little overscripted and Darkshore is still a little odd.

There is a lot of the world I want to see when Cataclysm launches, but there are places I want to see more than others. Where are you most interested in exploring when Cataclysm comes out? What do you absolutely have to see, and what quests do you want to do? What particular zone excites you the most? Or are you just in it for new dungeons, raids and new shiny epics?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Know Your Lore, Tin Foil Hat Edition: The final boss of Cataclysm

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.

The image above was taken from a blog post I made back in January of this year, a post discussing possible links between the Old Gods, the dragonflights and Deathwing. Unfortunately, not more than a month or so after it originally aired, several points in the post were disproved, largely due to the release of the Stormrage novel and revelations contained therein. But with the release of Cataclysm and the events playing out on beta servers, I feel this deserves another look -- because what we are potentially looking at is a sequence of events that prove that Deathwing isn't really the one responsible for all this disaster we're going to see on Azeroth, nor is Deathwing the one we should really be worried about.

Please note that this post is a "Tin Foil Hat" edition. It is pure speculation based on events already presented in Warcraft lore and certain things I've seen lurking around the Cataclysm beta servers. There are potential spoilers for Cataclysm in this post -- but only if my mad, deranged theories are somehow correct. However, I am going to include several screenshots from the Cataclysm servers, so if you'd rather not be spoiled in any way by the upcoming expansion, I'd advise steering away now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Cataclysm Preview: Azshara

Popular player opinion has been a mix of excitement and wistful nostalgia when it comes to the zone of Azshara, one of the least-utilized yet most gorgeous zones from vanilla WoW. Some players are ecstatic that the zone is receiving a quest overhaul; others fear that the goblin landscaping will ruin the beautiful scenery unique to the zone. In the latest of a string of Cataclysm previews, game designers Craig Amai and Dave Kosak discuss the zone's changes and design in the upcoming expansion.

The lore of the region, the design of the quests and landscape, the whereabouts of Azuregos and the general concept and story behind the zone of Azshara are all addressed, as well as a peek into what went on behind the scenes to actually redesign the landscape into a functional, fun and still hauntingly beautiful place to level. Check out the official Cataclysm page for the full article -- and while we're on a nostalgia trip, take a look back at Azshara quests that you should finish before the new expansion hits, and check out the gallery of Azshara as it exists today.

Gallery: Azshara

Azshara map (pre-Cataclysm)Talrendis PointShadowsong ShrineHaldarr EncampmentValormokSouthfury River Falls

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Cataclysm

Around Azeroth Beta Edition: Wasted away again in Kalimdor

Today's submission falls into the "ha-ha, I'm in the Cataclysm beta and you're not" category. Beta tester Gallrock snapped this shot of himself chilling with a couple of mixed drinks at what our own Anne identifies as Gallywix Pleasure Palace in Azshara. If you look closely, you can see green sparks shooting from the drinks, which has to be a big predictor of whether your future will involve throwing up over a balcony while wearing a toga.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wow.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Please include "Azeroth" in the subject line so your email doesn't get marked as spam, and include your name, guild and server if you want to be credited.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Know Your Lore: History of the Shen'dralar

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.

There's been plenty of chatter regarding the upcoming expansion, and both Rossi and myself have been doing our best to fill in the background on lore figures and races that will play some kind of part in it. One of the questions I find myself asked a lot in regards to Cataclysm is how the new race/class combinations will fall into play lore-wise once the expansion launches.

The answer to that question is easier than you'd think -- most lore for these new race and class combinations already exists in one form or another in game. Over the next few weeks I'll be giving you some background and history into each class and race, and how these combinations make sense in the face of existing lore, as well as speculation on possible conflicts we might see in the future with regards to these choices. Please note, the following post may contain spoilers for the Cataclysm expansion -- if you'd rather avoid all discussion or speculation regarding Cataclysm, it'd be advised to steer away now.

Today we'll be discussing one of the most baffling of the new announcements -- night elf mages. Although the original announcement left some (including myself) horribly confused, later revelations made the choice perfectly logical. While they've been addressed briefly in the post regarding elven evolution, we're going to take a closer look at the Shen'dralar -- the Highborne that make their home in Dire Maul.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Azshara: Changes and what will be missed

The Cataclysm beta is at times a little off putting. Flying over zones is an alien experience that is still somewhat strangely familiar. There aren't really words to describe the disconnect you feel -- it's got something to do with the newness of the old zones. Suddenly that place that had been a lake for the past five, six years is gone. Suddenly entire rock faces have vanished. And in the case of Azshara, suddenly large parts of the landscape have taken a dive into the ocean.

For Alliance players, Azshara wasn't really much of a zone to begin with -- there are a few quests at Talrendis Point in Azshara, a few more neutral quests here and there, and of course the level 50 class quests and the quests for the Hydraxian Waterlords -- other than these however, Azshara was simply a mystery. At Talrendis Point both Alliance and Horde players can find an NPC named Loh'atu, a tauren who will give quests to either faction. He'll also tell you a little bit about the history of the area, but doesn't really go into great detail.

And that's always been the major problem with Azshara -- there wasn't really anything of significance to be found there, generally speaking. Unlike Felwood, Feralas, Tanaris, Un'goro or any of the other Kalimdor zones in vanilla WoW, Azshara seemed to be a zone that consisted of large amounts of land that you had to run over and mobs you had to dodge to get to the one place that had the one item for the one quest you needed to complete. Everything else? It could be ignored. And so it was -- most players tended to skip the zone entirely after Burning Crusade's launch. There are, however, small bits and pieces of lore and quest lines that shouldn't be missed, quests that will be disappearing entirely when Cataclysm hits.

Check out the gallery below for a look at Azshara as it stands today -- the list of quests, and the reasons why you should do these quests now, start after the break.

Gallery: Azshara

Azshara map (pre-Cataclysm)Talrendis PointShadowsong ShrineHaldarr EncampmentValormokSouthfury River Falls

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

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