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Posts with tag draenei

Know Your Lore: The vengeance of Vindicator Maraad

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 don't exactly know a lot about Vindicator Maraad, despite the fact that he is one of the first draenei we ever saw, one of the featured characters in the original trailer for Burning Crusade. What small pieces we've seen of the Vindicator have been largely isolated to comics and short stories, capped with a small appearance in game that was never really expanded upon. For a character with a background like Maraad, it's almost a pity that he hasn't been properly utilized until now.

Lords of War aired its final episode earlier this week, featuring Maraad and more of his story -- a tragic tale of an era we've only really read about, but never actually seen. The brutality of Shattrath's slaughter was hard to watch, but harder to watch was Maraad's struggle -- a struggle shared by the remainder of the draenei race on Azeroth. But if Maraad is seeking vengeance, retribution, or vindication on Draenor, he may be sorely disappointed.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: 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.

They are enigmatic overlords of the universe as we know it, creatures of order and perfection, bent on a seemingly never-ending task of remaking worlds and creating order from the inherent chaos of the Great Dark Beyond. Titans, marvels largely beyond our comprehension, yet intrinsically tied to the creation of our world, and the unique place that Azeroth holds in the universe. Of all the worlds in all of the Great Dark Beyond, Azeroth was spared. Of all the worlds in the Great Dark Beyond, Azeroth warranted a second chance, despite being riddled with the corruption of the Old Gods.

But the choice that the Titans made thousands upon thousands of years ago is something we know about. It's been covered again and again, we've found artifacts strewn all over Azeroth that attest to the planet's unique history. And certainly we've asked, time and time again, why Azeroth is so unique, what makes it so special in the universe. But maybe that's the wrong question to be asking, because there are plenty of worlds out there that have been touched by the hands of the Titans. Nearly all of them. We share things in common -- both draenei and natives of Azeroth practice working with the Light. Both Azeroth and Draenor have, at some point, been touched by the Old Gods.

So maybe we should be turning that line of questioning the other way. Maybe what we should be asking is a question that never, ever gets asked -- what are the Titans?

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

Warlords of Draenor: Shadowmoon Valley

Of all the new zones introduced in Warlords of Draenor, the one I was looking forward to the most was Shadowmoon Valley. The scarred, desolate landscape in Burning Crusade told nothing of just how gorgeous the land once was -- but it was home to the draenei once upon a time, untouched by the Burning Legion or the orcs, and I really wanted to see it. And I have to say, Blizzard did not let me down the slightest with this zone. Everything from the trees to the sky to the individual blades of grass that sway with movement as your character walks through them is a sublimely crafted work of art.

Although home to the draenei, Shadowmoon Valley is also home to the Shadowmoon clan of orcs, as well as a variety of other denizens, some friendly, some ... not so much. But it's the draenei architecture and scenery that really stands out in this zone. I can't really put in words how ridiculously detailed the environmental art is in Shadowmoon, but I put together a gallery of assorted screenshots so it can be shown. Be warned, there are a few spoilers along the way, so those that are wanting to see everything for the first time when you log in on day one should avoid it.

But enough about the scenery. How does the zone play?

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The terrifying, living world of Draenor

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 don't really know much about Draenor. Certainly we know plenty about Outland, the shattered remains of a world once called Draenor, but that shattered world is a mere remnant of what Draenor actually was. In the Warcraft cosmos, the only planet we are incredibly familiar with is Azeroth -- and even then, Azeroth holds plenty of mysteries and riddles that have yet to be solved. But Draenor bears very little resemblance to Azeroth, touted instead as a savage land on which we'll have to fight to survive.

That statement is far more literal than you'd think. And if you thought the Iron Horde was the biggest problem we were going to face on Draenor, you'd be very, very wrong. In a universe of benevolent Titans, bastions of order, what makes a planet fight not just with aggressive invading forces, but itself?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

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, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Stranger in your homeland

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 kind of want to change gears this week. I assume if you read this column, you have a passing interest in Warcraft's lore and story. So instead of picking apart the Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge experiences from a lore perspective (and believe me, I'll be doing that in the future) I thought we could take a look at what it feels like to play through both starting zones as a member of the race that dominates the experience. This column will be about the disconnect of playing through Tanaan and SMV as a draenei -- there will be a follow up about the experience of playing through Tanaan and Frostfire as an orc. Spoilers are likely unavoidable. So from this point on, be aware of them.

For me this is one of Warlords' big strengths as a story, the way the characters are in a place that's familiar, but not too familiar. Even if you're playing a tauren or undead in Frostfire or a gnome or dwarf in SMV, it's possible to have that feeling of almost but not quite when you go there. I think it's stronger in Shadowmoon for a variety of reasons -- it's a classic BC zone (Frostfire seems to be half of the Blade's Edge Mountains) and there are quite a few moments where you feel a sense of twisted, broken recognition - the fact that the Alliance player garrison seems to be almost right on top of where the Horde starting base in the zone was, the first time you approach Karabor and see the structure dominating the region.

But playing a draenei, it's another step into the weird. Because here are your people, and yet, they don't recognize you.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Yrel, Draenor's Light

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.

At the moment, we've only got two full zones open in the Warlords of Draenor beta -- Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley. Also open is the introductory lead-in to Draenor through the Tanaan Jungle. It's there that we first meet her, fairly unassuming and not exactly remarkable in any way. Yrel was first mentioned at BlizzCon during the story and lore panel -- a draenei whose story was going to be a major part of the Warlords expansion, the comparison made that she is a Joan of Arc-like figure.

We've only seen the first few steps of Yrel's journey so far in the beta, so the accuracy of that comparison remains to be seen. But Yrel, unassuming as she may seem, already appears to hold a bright spot in the canvas of Draenor's future. So just who is this draenei, and what makes her a lore figure to watch for?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoiler content, turn away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Artcraft previews the male draenei model


It's no secret that I love the draenei -- with getting a chance to play through Shadowmoon Valley on the Beta, they've leapt into the lead and are now my favorite race. Now, thanks to Blizzard's official Artcraft previews, we get a chance to look at the new draenei male. Having experienced it on the beta (as a work in progress, mind you) I already felt like it was a vast improvement. The proportions, the expressions, even the way the facial tendrils move is much, much better.

Head on over to the official site and take a look for yourself.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Faction, race, and World of Warcraft

Would it be World of Warcraft without the Horde and Alliance? Even if they don't need to be in direct conflict, do they need to be for it to be the Warcraft setting? It's certainly been argued in the past, both that the factions are absolutely necessary and that they are not. I've personally argued in the past that, whether or not the game has factions, it shouldn't prevent people from playing with their friends, but the counter argument must be considered - if I can play with my friends on the Horde side, and vice versa, what purpose do factions serve?

So let's actually ask that question, then - what purpose do factions serve in World of Warcraft?

We can break down the purpose of the faction divide as follows, at least in terms of intent.
  • Factions exist in World of Warcraft because at its heart, the setting was born in the original RTS. The factions help keep this flavor alive.
  • Factions allow for PvP content to be more channeled and to have team-building potential built right in. Horde players fight Alliance players, and vice versa. In the Warcraft setting, you always know who the enemy is.
  • Factions allow for more variety of experience. The quests differ - sometimes vastly so - and there can be elements at every point of the game that make use of the distinction between the factions.
There could be more arguments for factional divide - for instance, it's very hard to imagine a WoW where orcs and draenei were on the same faction - but let's discuss how these three work, or if they work.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

The Queue: The space birds and the space lizards

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.

The title of today's post will become clear ... in time. Or maybe it won't. It really depends on your knowledge of fictional aliens.

@PessByNature asked:

Is there an alternate universe Burning Legion in the WoD timeline, and could that Legion team up with our timeline's legion?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Know Your Lore: Look back in Draenei

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 draenei have a lot of unresolved issues.

For starters, they're stranded on a strange planet called Azeroth, after having just barely escaped Outland. They lived on Outland (back when it was called Draenor) for a few hundred years, time enough to start thinking of the place as home. Then it was taken from them, and their people nearly totally exterminated. Their escape to Azeroth was an accident, crashing here because their ship was sabotaged by blood elf servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider.

So let's look over things. In the past few decades the draenei have seen formerly amicable neighbors turn bloodthirsty, demon-addicted monsters. They endured the near-total extinction of their people, hiding in swamps and bedraggled refugee settlements, seeing many of the survivors mutate and lose their connection with the Holy Light. They saw roads made out of the bones of their people. They only escaped by stealing back a dimensional ship from people they'd never really seen or heard of who still helped try and kill them. And as soon as they arrived on this new planet they found out that the Burning Legion (the very same force that is trying to exterminate them) has already been here.

This is a condensed list, of course.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: More draenei are required

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.

I'm tired of looking at orcs. Today calls for a draenei.

JordanPhillips asked:

Will garrisons be phased? Can our friends visit our garrisons or will they all be individually phased?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Warlords of Draenor: Artcraft provides first look at new female draenei

Draenei artcraft
Just the other day Artcraft revealed the new male tauren models--complete with animations and videos--and today they're at it again with a sneak peek at the (real) new draenei female model. This is a quick look, as emphasized in the post itself, because the model has yet to be sent to the animation team. As a result you'll notice her posture in this preview is quite different from the draenei model we know and love. That will change once the animation team gets a chance to properly rig and pose the model, but for now we're getting a glimpse of a work very much in-progress.

At first glance, the new draenei model doesn't seem as different from the old one as the tauren or orc models, for example, but this is to be expected. The original draenei (and blood elf) models, implemented in Burning Crusade, were a significant step up from the models of classic WoW. That being said, there's marked improvement in these previews. The hair, the detail of the leg musculature, and in particular the hands all give our beloved draenei much more depth and finesse in the body. The curvature of her head-tentacles is also much smoother and more realistic-looking. This is a nice upgrade from the current draenei, and I look forward to seeing more.


Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Female Draenei model coming next week

Senior Art Director Chris Robinson tweeted last night that we'll be getting another new character model next week. This time it'll be the draenei female. We recently learned that the Draenei and Blood Elves will be getting model upgrades with the release of WoD (rather than later on in the future, as was announced at BlizzCon 2013).

Stay tuned to WoW Insider, we'll be sure to have it up immediately upon release. In the mean time you can look at all the previously released models in our handy gallery:



Edit 4:50 p.m.: Clarified the BlizzCon statement.

Filed under: News items

Know Your Lore: Shattrath City and the Lost

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.

Standing in Outland as a sanctuary capital shared by both Alliance and Horde, Shattrath City isn't exactly much to look at. The city is divided into several different sections, housing a variety of occupants from draenei to arakkoa to everything in between -- refugees, for the most part. In Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally see Shattrath as it was in its glory days. A coastal city, a museum metropolis, described as an architectural marvel. Unfortunately, the city will also be occupied by the Iron Horde.

The events that turned Shattrath from shining capital of the draenei to the ruins we're familiar with today are steeped in tragedy that still affects the draenei race to this day. Certainly there was sorrow to be found in the fall of the city -- but its fall, and the fall of the other draenei cities scattered around Draenor, were also directly responsible for the evolution of the draenei race as we know it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The best mistake ever

Mistakes happen, of course. One of the biggest to ever happen in the history of World of Warcraft led to the creation of the draenei as we know them today, and I think it's safe to say that the game and the lore of the Warcraft setting is the better for it. Going into Warlords of Draenor it's worth looking back at that moment. What mistake am I talking about? I'm talking about the time Chris Metzen forgot the work of a major lore writer on Warcraft III and changed things. What writer did Chris forget about? None other than the Senior Vice President of creative development himself, Chris Metzen.

The obvious lore contradiction with Sargeras and his encounter with the eredar was clearly documented in the Warcraft III manual. I wrote those bits about four years ago, and to be totally honest, I simply forgot.
-- Chris Metzen, Metzen on Lore

What happened is fairly simple. In Warcraft III, we're told that the eredar were a race of sorcerers and warlocks whose corrupt magics date back to the dawn of time, devourers and corrupters who ran afoul of Sargeras before the titan went mad. In fact, in the original story, it was his encounter with the eredar that started Sargeras down the road that would lead him to go mad. At this time, no mention was made of the eredar being in any way related to the draenei, nor were the draenei depicted as anything beyond the deformed model used by Akama. Even when World of Warcraft debuted, the few draenei in game were known as lost ones, such as Magtoor or Kum'isha the Collector, and they were nothing like the draenei we have today.

And then the mistake happened. Mr. Metzen, in preparation for The Burning Crusade, came up with a way to link the draenei of Outland to the eredar and in so doing, completely contradicted what he himself had written in the Warcraft III manual. And in so doing, he made the game as a whole much stronger.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore

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