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Posts with tag defias

Vanessa VanCleef should come back from the dead

Vanessa VanCleef should come back from the dead
While getting ready to feature Welcome to the Deadmines, Alex Ziebart and I had a brief conversation about the lore of that classic dungeon. We felt it a shame that Vanessa VanCleef was unceremoniously murderized by the players as they completed the storyline. At first, I thought my regrets at Vanessa's death centered on losing a cool NPC. But the conversation's been on my mind and I kept mulling it over. And then the real reason Vanessa's death bothered me finally became clear.

Vanessa VanCleef was the story the Alliance needed, and it was the one we deserved. Vanessa VanCleef's story was amazing. We need the VanCleefs back.

I'll summarize the story for folks who maybe don't read quests or play Alliance. But keep in mind: all of this played out in World of Warcraft. You didn't need to play any game besides WoW or read anything except quests to see this entire story.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: WoW for Dummies, Act I: Alliance

Know Your Lore WoW for Dummies, the vanilla years 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.

World of Warcraft was originally released in the US on November 23, 2004. That is eight years of our lives that we've been playing this game ... for some players. For many players however, their experience with WoW began in Burning Crusade, or Wrath, or Cataclysm -- or even right now with Mists of Pandaria. And because of this, it means these players have missed out eight years worth of lore and story from before they began to play.

One of the questions and suggestions I see pop up most frequently, be it on Reddit, Twitter or even WoW Insider, is what happened during all of that time? What was the story behind these expansions? Sure, there are novels and comics aplenty available for reading, but these are side aspects to the original games that didn't really tie into the game so much. The game itself had its own story going, particularly in those first couple of expansions.

So let's step back in time and take a look at WoW and the basic ongoing story that has kept it going all these years -- not the novels, but the game itself. Get ready for WoW for Dummies: the vanilla years.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Anduin Llane Wrynn, Prince of Stormwind

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.

He is quiet, kind, and likely more keenly aware of the troubles of the world than most. He is drawn to the Light in a profound way, much as his father would like to dismiss it. Unlike his father, he isn't interested in the rigors of war and the brutal realities of fighting. He's already been a leader, though his reign was as a figurehead. He's suffered far more in his young life than most. His mother died when he was merely a baby, and his father disappeared and returned a man who was utterly changed by circumstances beyond his control.

He is the heir to Stormwind's throne, to a kingdom that is tattered at the edges and trying desperately to hold itself together. While the rest of the world seems to revel in the chaos brought about by Deathwing's return, eager for the battle between Alliance and Horde to rear its head, he quietly follows the path of peace, looking to the future. It's a future that Prince Anduin Llane Wrynn may very well have to put back together again, perhaps sooner rather than later.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: Hey, pretty lady. Nice ... hair.

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

How about that Dragon Age II demo? How many of you have checked it out already? While playing through it, I couldn't help but notice that the women of Thedas all seem to have huge ... Monty Python jokes. It's a bit much, isn't it?

Joakim asked:

Is the Defias Brotherhood terrorists, and if so, why or more to the point, Who branded them as terrorists?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Cataclysm Beta: A walk-through of the all-new Westfall

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

Editor's Note: This article contains heavy plot spoilers for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. Read at your own risk!


In the heart of every player who has leveled a human character lies a special place for the gentle, rolling plains of Westfall. Despite the fallow fields and barren hills, the region has a sort of natural beauty to it that many players have found irresistible, making it a favorite for Alliance players. Given its high popularity and my own nostalgia for the zone, I was a bit worried when Cataclysm was announced. What would happen to the great zone? Would it be so radically changed that it no longer resembled what it once was? Would it go by mostly untouched, leaving it unused in the wake of more polished zones?

Fear not! The zone has retained its raw beauty and has received a number of much needed upgrades. The town of Sentinel Hill is now much more secure, with a large wall and greater defenses. The layout of the zone remains mostly the same, with the exception of the Raging Chasm. Once the Alexston Farmstead, this area is a swirling vortex of wind and dust, a remnant of the cataclysm. It adds a new feature to the skyline of Westfall, as it towers into the air at a distance that can be seen from any corner of the zone.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Guest Posts

Why Varian Wrynn is a fool (and why it may not matter)


For a while now I've been mulling over points raised by Daniel in his much-discussed article, "Why Varian Wrynn Is Right," and we've received a number of requests to address the issue from the Horde's point of view. Well...this article isn't going to do that. It started off that way, and then I realized that Varian's personal issues and the Horde's approach to the problem are really two entirely separate matters. At some point in the future, I'd like to examine the Horde's take on the newly-resurgent antagonism between the factions, because it's not something I can adequately address here without turning this into a 10,000-word tract.

Today, we're going to deal almost exclusively with Varian and his share of responsibility for the current mess. I'm a little ambivalent over Blizzard's decision to include most of the backstory and explanations for Varian's behavior in a comic series, because I think it's one of the factors that's resulted the character's being poorly received by most players. Choosing to include so much of his characterization out of the game in a product most players will never read necessarily impacts how Varian's motives are going to be evaluated. If all you've got to go on is what you see of the king from ingame events...he doesn't look so great. This isn't a defense of Varian so much as a commentary on the somewhat inconsistent approach to his character that's resulted. I haven't read each of the comics, but I'm familiar with the storyline, and this article doesn't assume that you need to have read the out-of-game books or comics in order to follow the argument.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Lore, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King, Rumors

WoW Moviewatch: Defias Mightiest

It might help if you know a bit about the Defias Brotherhood. (Lapdogs! All of you!) Defias Mightiest by Myndflame was originally featured (in part) at the opening of the epic Illegal Danish: Escape for Orgrimmar. This is a pretty neat stand alone music video in its own right, however. I wanted to draw attention to it, especially, because I'm excited about the upcoming release of Death Knights Ride Bikes. It's created by the same folks, and I like their WoW-inspired music.

The pacing and music are both pretty awesome, in my humble opinion. I will admit to being a little disturbed by how long I spent looking at Van Cleef's tushie, but that's kind of part and parcel of the joke. I want to note, however, that the final shot of the video's protagonist overlooking the spires of Stormwind is a strong image for anyone who knows the lore. It's funny that the moment captures the essence of the Defias story so strongly even while taking place in a comedy music video. That says something about the strength of both WoW's lore, but also the power of the machinimist responsible.

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

That sinking sensation


There are a few quests I've done so far that have really made me squirm. I play Horde, and you just know that most things the Forsaken are wrapped up in are going to be kind of dodgy. A lot of our early questing in Northrend concerns the Apothecary Society's attempts to find a Scourge-specific plague (...right), and that doesn't end particularly well. I can sort of accept that, because the quest series skates a thin moral line between plausible deniability on the character's part as to the apothecaries' true intentions, and what actually ends up happening. But there's one quest in particular that has nothing to do with the apothecaries that really gave me pause. It's actually one that has an Alliance equivalent as well, although it ends somewhat differently there.

If you're not that far into Dragonblight quests and don't want to be spoiled, I'm putting it behind the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Lore Nerd: And two stealthed rogues

Real rogues use daggers
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

We'll start off with Cole's write-in question...

Why can Rogues use Maces but not Axes? What's so sneaky about hammers but not about edged blades of death?

Well, this is likely more game mechanics than anything. They need to split up which weapons can be used by what classes evenly, or you get a severe loot imbalance. If you want to justify it in-character, maces are really, really good at stopping your opponent, rendering them unable to fight back, or fight ever again. A cut leaves a scar, a shattered bone leaves a cripple.

The Mace Spec that everyone hated so much in PvP? That's pretty much how it goes with maces in real life. You thonk someone on the head, and they're out of it. I could see a Rogue playing dirty like that. Coming up from behind, cracking someone over the head, then swinging low and shattering the next guy's kneecap.

Why can't they use axes? Probably no compelling reason besides game balance, though I'm sure they would be harder to use in a Rogue-y fashion than swords, daggers or hammers. Axes are probably the most unforgiving of all of the bladed weapons. You want a hard swing, not so much an elegant stroke, a well-placed shiv, or a busted joint. Axes tend to be more about being heavy and using momentum to cut, rather than sharp edges. Not always, but that's their tendency. Maybe they weren't graceful enough to make the cut*? Who knows.

Eternauta asked...

Why did they retcon the Draenei lore from WCIII to WoW BC? What was wrong with the original lore (ugly, thin, primitive Draenei).

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Draenei, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

Know Your Lore: The Defias Brotherhood

Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Elizabeth Wachowski and Alex Ziebart bring you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm.

The Defias Brotherhood is something that I'm sure both factions have at least a little familiarity with, though the Alliance most definitely has more exposure to them. There aren't many Horde questlines that will give you a brush with this faction of bandits, but even my Horde friends take a trip to Westfall to check out the Deadmines every now and then.

I don't blame them, either. Not only is the Deadmines an awesome instance, the Defias Brotherhood also has quite the interesting background. While there are superhuman entities involved in their story, it isn't laid on as thick as in other Warcraft plotlines. Theirs is more a story of political and social unrest, and the power of manipulation. I would go as far as to say this is part of the single largest plotline in Warcraft currently, spanning half a dozen zones, three expansions, a comic series, and involving at least five different major factions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Best starting race


I've been leveling a few Draenei alts off and on and finally figured out just why it is that I keep rolling the damn things in addition to my beloved Tauren; their starting quests rock. You wake from stasis, meet the locals, save a princess, make early ties to the Alliance and find out why there's a good reason the some of 'em won't trust you right off the bat, discover nefarious deeds afoot, fight a dragon, and then save your people and get a cool tabard. "Find your way back to the Outland, Hero of Argus," Exarch Admetius tells you, in a nice preview of things to come, and Velen has a good lore moment with you shortly afterwards.

Having leveled a toon out of every starting area to at least 20, it's hard not to notice that some areas make it a lot easier than others. I don't mean the general ease of leveling per se, but just how fast the time seems to fly by. For all that a certain percentage of the playerbase frowns on RP on non-RP servers, most peoples' favorite quests do have an element of RP to them, or at least the RP sense of being fully engaged with the world. And in that respect the Draenei starting zones are, in my opinion, unparalleled. If I had to rank them --

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Draenei, Blood Elves, Lore, Leveling, Factions, RP, Alts

Around Azeroth: In over her head


Noah sends us this screenshot from Westfall -- which might be a pastoral farm scene were it not for the Defias waving a knife in the foreground. Noah tells us that he snapped this shot while passing through Westfall on his level 70 Paladin, which leads us to believe that this poor Defias is in a bit over her head. (In case you want to be threatened by a knife at all hours, this lovely shot is also available in wallpaper size.)

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see your idea of the best looking instance on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

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