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Posts with tag deathwing

Interview: Fantasy art legend Michael Whelan relates his vision of Deathwing

Fantasy art legend Michael Whelan's vision of Deathwing
Sometimes we're so busy geeking out over the ways Blizzard inspires us with World of Warcraft that we forget that behind the curtain, the folks at Blizzard are busy geeking out over the people and things that inspire them. So when we learned that Blizzard had commissioned fantasy art legend Michael Whelan to create a painting of Deathwing for Blizzard's headquarters, we knew we had to bring you the inside story of how this singular vision of the iconic dragon came to fruition.

The most honored artist in science fiction, Whelan has created book and album covers for authors and musicians like Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, the Jacksons and Meat Loaf. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009, the first living artist to join such luminaries as H.G. Wells, Steven Spielberg, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

While Whelan actually executed the commission for Blizzard early last year, his enthusiasm for the project remains undimmed. The world-renowned painter of imaginative realism chatted with us about his rueful discovery of Deathwing's unique draconic qualities, his admiration for Blizzard's art team, and the special project he's working on now in memory of "Dragonriders of Pern" author Anne McCaffrey.

WoW Insider: Your artwork is such a part of the fantasy world that we need to go back a bit to get the full perspective of what you've done here, the long view you bring to an upstart like Deathwing.

Michael Whelan: It's been a little ways ... (laughs) I've been working at this for what, 35 years?

We have a Pern fan on staff who's curious about how you reconcile the stylistic differences between the art for Pern and art like what you've just done with Deathwing for Blizzard. Now that you're focusing more on fine art than illustration, was it odd to switch back to working on a commission with someone else's vision?

Yeah, it's really hard. Try as I might, there's always a period of adjustment between working on a commission piece and doing something for the gallery, where I'm just trying to satisfy my own aesthetic and intellectual sensibilities. It's funny; it can take me days, even, to switch gears and go from one mindset to the other.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Michael Whelan forges a vision of Deathwing

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If you're a fan of science fiction and fantasy, the name Michael Whelan is likely familiar to you. And even if the name isn't familiar, it's incredibly likely you've picked up a book with Whelan's art on the cover. Michael Whelan has been one of the world's premier fantasy and science fiction cover artists since 1980, with covers that grace the works of Isaac Asimov, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Anne McCaffrey and many more. In 2009, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle -- the first living artist to be included in a distinguished list of notable authors.

Whelan was approached for a commissioned piece by Blizzard's Art Director, Jeremy Cranford. The subject? Deathwing. This month's ImagineFX magazine includes a two-page spread of the full painting, but Whelan has also featured a behind-the-scenes glimpse showing the full process behind creating this beautiful work of art on his official website.

It's a fascinating look at what that process of creating a piece of art is actually like. There are a tremendous number of steps involved -- including, in this case, a detailed head study of Deathwing, shown above. The end result is a dramatic, bold, beautiful and very Whelan piece, but the post on Whelan's website includes all of the developmental pieces of art as well.

Head to Whelan's website for the full story behind this gorgeous piece of art and an illustration of the work it takes to go from idea to finished piece. And if you're interested in a truly unique holiday gift, the head study of Deathwing is available for purchase, too.


Filed under: News items, Arts and Crafts

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Wrathion's War

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition Wrathion's War 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.

Clever, vicious and sometimes cruel, the black dragon Wrathion is not just the son of Deathwing, he's the only black dragon currently in existence that is free of the corruption of the Old Gods. In Cataclysm, he arrived with quiet fanfare, and just as quietly plotted to take out every single other black dragon on Azeroth. And with the help of an unnamed rogue, he succeeded, even bringing down the corrupted, infested mess of his father, with said rogue's assistance.

Patch 5.0.4 brought plenty of class and system changes, but it also brought a ton of new achievements as well. And while some are easily defined, others remain an intriguing mystery. Wrathion's part in Azeroth's history is far from done, and there's a series of achievements in the Quests section that clearly point that out. However, we've little to no indication what these achievements actually mean.

Which means it's the perfect time for some rampant speculation about everyone's favorite not-quite-evil young mastermind, Wrathion the Purified.

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

Breakfast Topic: I'll miss you most of all, Deathwing

Love him or hate him, Deathwing had presence.

Deathwing's gaping metal maw really personified Cataclysm as an expansion. His flying over zones and burning everything in his path to ash made him part of the world in a way that Illidan, Arthas, Kil'jaeden never managed. He combined the arrogance and sneering sense of superiority of a more human antagonist with the unfathomable menace and raw power of a destructive force of nature. He's the only raid boss to actually require two fights to finally defeat him.

I've always had a soft spot for ye olde Deathwing. I feel like we didn't get to see enough of his diabolical planning side, the schemer who manipulated the kings and princes of the Eastern Kingdoms into almost letting him take over Alterac and marry Calia Menethil. This was a plan with long-term aspirations and goals. We got to see a little more of his personality in the story Charge of the Aspects, but I would have liked to have seen more. Still, he's dead, the day has been saved, and we're moving on to those misty shores of Pandaria. But his legacy will live on.

Goodbye, Neltharion. Hopefully you rest quiet. You really were the Cataclysm.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Cataclysm

Gamescom Raid Q&A with the Devs: Nerfs, the raid finder and more

Gamescom Raid and Dungeons Q&A with the Devs
You may have spotted Monday's post on how to design a raid, which was the first half of the Gamescom 2012 Raids and Dungeons round table with Ion Hazzikostas and John Lagrave. The second half of the Round Table was a Q&A session in which many interesting questions were asked, shedding light on some hot issues as well as simply providing a little more insight into the Blizzard Encounter Design Team's creative processes.

Again, these aren't verbatim quotations from Ion and John, as I simply can't write that fast, but the overall statements are accurate representations of their responses.

Are there any encounters Blizzard have had to alter or leave out due to technical constraints?

There was a boss leading up to the Lich King who you had to heal (Valithria Dreamwalker), and that was a huge challenge for their existing technology. If you think about it, Ion explained, up to that point, every healing spell in the game was designed to be cast on a friendly target, that is to say, a player. So the devs were faced with the task of reworking every healing spell in the game. They didn't want players to only be able to use certain spells on her, as that would have been bad, so they redid every healing spell. The technical team changed the game's design so that the boss basically became a raid team member. Ion and John explained that it's all about working out creative ways to implement the designers' ideas.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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

WoW TCG Battle of the Aspects Raid Deck now available

WoW TCG Battle of the Aspects Raid Deck now available
The thrill of taking down Deathwing might be winding down in the MMO, but in the WoW TCG, those cylinders are just starting to fire. The Battle of the Aspects Raid Deck lets you and your friends use your decks of choice to take down the Destroyer's automated boss deck. Unlike previous raid decks, this one gives you options to adjust the difficulty. If you're running basic decks or you're a more casual player, the base experience will work just fine, but if you're a high-level player, you can ratchet up the difficulty with up to four Tentacle cards that give Deathwing new abilities.

The raid deck is augmented with one Treasure Pack booster with random cards from the 75-card Treasure set, including weapons, allies, and abilities (and a chance at Loot cards, too, since that's the question on your mind). Treasure Pack boosters are also available separately.

Battle of the Aspects is available in stores now.

P.S.: If you're wondering who wrote the brilliant flavor text on these cards, it was me. I did.

Filed under: WoW TCG

Know Your Lore: The unmakers of worlds

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.

Seriously, what's up with all the things threatening to destroy Azeroth outright?

The Old Gods seem to want to destroy Azeroth to get out from their prison within it. Algalon wanted to reoriginate the planet, which would have effectively destroyed the planet entirely and remade the whole thing, entirely to prevent the Old Gods from getting out. Now, with Algalon sitting back to observe, we had to step up and stop Deathwing from destroying Azeroth as well.

Granted, Deathwing was all tied up in the Old God's agenda, but you get the sense that old Neltharion wanted Azeroth destroyed because, ultimately, he couldn't take his connection to the planet's soil and rock, its very earth, for one more instant. Killing Deathwing almost seems merciful, since at the end he was nothing but a destroyed ruined pile of mutated flesh erupting from his elementium armor.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Well of Eternity

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.

Long, long before the rise of human and orc, the world of Azeroth was far different than it appears today. Instead of the multitude of continents we know of, there was simply one: Kalimdor. It was essentially Azeroth's version of Pangaea -- a supercontinent that covered the world. Places that we travel to today, Northrend, the Eastern Kingdoms, even the islands off the coasts of the world were all part of the massive continent. This was Azeroth, back in the day -- one world, one continent, and a lot of Old Gods.

Theories seem to be mixed on which came first, the Titans or the Old Gods. The latest theory came from the Tribunal of Ages, which implies that the Titans ordered the world and left, then the Old Gods arrived, and then the Titans returned to deal with the problem. After imprisoning the Old Gods, the Titans created safeguards to protect the world, safeguards that would prevent the rise of the Old Gods -- and in the event that the Old Gods returned, safeguards that would go so far as destroying Azeroth itself. Watchers and Aspects were both created and charged with protecting the fragile world.

And, according to various pieces of history, the Titans created the Well of Eternity.

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

Blizzard recaps the story of Cataclysm's legendary daggers

If you don't play an endgame rogue capable of getting your hands on the Fangs of the Father legendary daggers, you missed out on quite a bit of awesome lore surrounding the future of the Black Dragonflight. Worse, you don't get to meet Wrathion the Purified, Deathwing's son, at all. This has been an ongoing problem with legendary quest chains specific to certain classes or roles, but Blizzard has provided a solution this time around.

Blizzard has released a series of videos detailing the events that occur throughout the Fangs of the Father quest chain. Even better, the entire recap is narrated by Wrathion himself, describing the events of the quest chain from his perspective. The entire thing is capped off with an insinuation that we just might run into Deathwing's heir beyond the mists of the sea.

You can watch the first part embedded above and the following three parts either on Battle.net or behind the cut below. In addition to the videos, Battle.net offers a list of the first 100 people to complete their Fangs in each world region.

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Filed under: News items

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

Encrypted Text: The Shock and Awe build

guards
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

If you have been raiding 10-man Dragon Soul every week, Wrathion should be handing over the Fangs of the Fathers any day now. Even the second rogues in most 25-man groups will be collecting their last Elementium Gem Clusters shortly. For many rogues, these daggers are the first legendary weapons that they've ever acquired. When you receive them from Wrathion, it might feel a bit overwhelming. What do you do with these weapons? What will they do to you?

There is a quote that's been passed down from thief to thief, assassin to assassin, and rogue to rogue for generations: "If your blades are happy, you're happy." You want your weapons to work for you, and not the other way around. You can't starve your blades, trying to forcefully adjust their diet to tolerate Morchok's rocky hide or Hagara's snow cones. If you want to keep your blades happy, you have to feed them what they really want: player blood, and lots of it.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

The Dragon Soul -- a post-mortem

Technically, as I write this, the Dragon Soul isn't actually dead yet, nor do raids really die so much as either become outdated or revamped. (Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman stand as examples of raid content that died to be reused, while Naxxramas was used again as an introductory raid.) But since we're closing in on our fourth month running the raid instance, I thought this was a good time to examine it critically. What were the Dragon Soul's main themes? How did it function both as a raid instance and as a platform to end Deathwing's story arc? And most importantly to me, did I enjoy the ride?

Dragon Soul as an experience was fascinatingly diverse compared to previous raids. It eschewed the static finding of some dark cave or towering fortress to instead create a raid wherein we traveled the world, with different environments for the bosses to suit the locations and set pieces for our transitions. One complaint I've seen is that by reusing the Dragonblight and Wyrmrest Temple, Blizzard's design team was cutting corners -- but frankly, I don't find that criticism very accurate. First off, Wyrmrest is where the dragonflights typically meet, as demonstrated by Malygos' assault during the Nexus War, so it makes perfect sense for it to be where Deathwing sends his full Twilight's Hammer forces to try and crush them.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm for Dummies, epilogue

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.

If you've read Act I and Act II of Cataclysm for Dummies, you should have a pretty basic understanding of what happened during Cataclysm, why Deathwing was a threat that needed to be addressed, and what we've been doing in all of those zones, 5-man dungeons, and raids. There was a purpose to every raid that came out with Cataclysm, but that purpose isn't blatantly clear unless you're paying really close attention as you're leveling through the zones. People who love following the lore do that automatically, which is why these guides aren't for them.

However, you might want to know what all of this means or have some questions about the stuff that wasn't really resolved in Cataclysm. Or you may want to know what's in store in Mists of Pandaria and why you should be interested in what's coming next. This epilogue is going to go over a few simple end-of-Cataclysm points that should be of interest to those wanting to know what's next or still have some questions about Cataclysm's story.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm lore for Dummies, Act I

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.

Are you super familiar with Warcraft lore? Can you name all the dragon aspects, what they were created for, where they got their powers? Do you have a working definition of the Dragon Soul, what it is, what its other name is, and why it's important? Do you know who Sinestra was before she was a torn-up, reanimated corpse in the bottom of the Bastion of Twilight? Are you related to the Red Shirt Guy? Are you the Red Shirt Guy? Then this post is likely not for you.

But if you've been running the Raid Finder like a fiend, killing dragons and elementals and minions left and right, and suddenly found yourself wondering why, exactly, you were fighting in Wyrmrest Temple, this is for you. If you're wondering why Thrall is suddenly pals with the Dragon Aspects, this is for you. If you're wondering why exactly Deathwing is such a huge major threat and what's with all this running around you have to do, this one is for you.

Let's take a quick sweep through the entirety of Cataclysm and recap what's happened. Better yet, let's sum up.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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