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Posts with tag draenei

Know Your Lore: Draenor, as the draenei saw


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 were barely a part of Draenor - despite naming it, they lived there barely a few hundred years before (in our history) the rise of the Horde ended their respite from thousands of years of fear and endless retreat across the universe. Draenor (Exile's Refuge, in the language of the draenei) ended up as a cruel, mocking joke of a name, for there was no refuge to be found there. In our history, barely a tenth of their people survived the orcs to escape to Azeroth.

Now a new history unfolds, a new day dawns, and we can follow where it leads. A new Draenor, one where the battle between orc and draenei has yet to be decided. But what do we know of the draenei on Draenor? Where did they live, how did they live? What were their settlements, what was their culture like? What, in other words, are we being given the chance to save? We can look at what we know from our trip to Outland and what we've been told.

We don't know the name for every old draenei settlement that existed on Draenor. There were quite a few of them, many of which only endured in the time of Outland's appearance in The Burning Crusade as ruins, and sometimes these ruins were renamed by their occupiers. Sites such as Eclipse Point in Shadowmoon Valley were once thriving draenei settlements - now even their names are lost. Until we make the trip through to the Draenor of Warlords, however, all we can do is examine what's left, and surmise based on it.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

My Warlords of Draenor dreams

I worry that I'm getting too excited for Warlords of Draenor. Letting my head run away from my heart, so to speak. I've done it before - pretty much before every expansion, I got super excited and imagined up a whole host of ideas for what the expansion was going to be like and all the cool things we were going to get to do and sometimes they came true and sometimes they didn't. Wrath of the Lich King ended up disappointing me greatly, because the Northrend I'd imagined wasn't even close to the Northrend we got (and to people who loved Wrath I probably sound like a crazy person) while Cataclysm ended up going so far beyond the revamp I expected that to this day I'm still very fond of it as a 1 to 60 experience. It started the transformation of the Horde/Alliance balance to one of much closer parity.

Mists has been an interesting experience in that regard, in that I simply didn't expect the Pandaria we got at all, but I'm fairly happy with that - the hozen, jinyu, mogu, grummies and saurok are all far more interesting to me and did a lot to make Pandaria far from a monolithic experience. And so, I sit here imagining all sorts of things for Warlords and wondering how much of any of it I'll get to see.

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

Know Your Lore: 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.

He isn't a faction leader. He isn't an important NPC, he doesn't offer any quests. He doesn't even offer any flavor text if you happen to click on him -- he simply stands aboard the Skybreaker, letting other NPCs do all the grunt work of handing out quests and tasks for players. He didn't make an appearance in Cataclysm, nor was he anywhere to be found in Mists of Pandaria. To those who simply play World of Warcraft, completing quests and moving on, he is a nobody -- a peculiar NPC that happens to have a name, standing silent and without any apparent purpose at all.

Yet despite not actually appearing in the expansion, he was the draenei paladin featured in the cinematic for The Burning Crusade. He has his own impressive, deluxe action figure from the DC Unlimited series. And it was revealed at BlizzCon that he will play a major role in the Warlords expansion -- one of a few draenei mentioned specifically by name. So just who is Vindicator Maraad, and why does he rate all this attention?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The draenei and deep time

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 are a fascinating people to me. Their ability to forgive is terrifying, in a way. This is a people that have seen the majority of their own kind become the stuff of nightmares - a people who have been hunted throughout time and space for over twenty five thousand years by these same fallen former kind, now transformed into demons by their willing adherence to the unthinkable, and it has changed the way they view everything. The draenei are willing to give people who have slaughtered them the benefit of the doubt, and manage to keep their hearts clear (for the most part) of feelings of vengeance and reprisal. The draenei leader Velen went so far as to help the blood elves who had kidnapped and drained the life out of his friend, the naaru M'uru, even through blood elves had stolen Tempest Keep and caused the draenei to crashland on Azeroth in the first place.

We know a reasonable amount about the draenei - we know they come from Argus, that they are refugees, those that chose to heed Velen's warnings and abandon their world before Sargeras could ensnare them in his web of lies and corruption. We know that they've fled the advance of the Legion for that aforementioned two hundred and fifty centuries. What we don't know is how it all went down. What worlds did they arrive on and settle only to have to flee again? Keep in mind that Draenor, the world they named, was only their home for roughly two hundred years out of that vast period of time.

To put it into perspective, Tyrande, Malfurion and the other until-recently immortal night elves, the ones who have lived from the time of the Sundering, are less than half the age of some draenei. Jessera of Mac'Aree, for instance, was fifteen thousand years old at least and had been wandering the cosmos for that long when the Sundering occurred. Not only are the draenei seemingly functionally immortal (they can die, but they do not seem to succumb to old age, or if they do, they have a means to lengthen their lifespans) but they've spent most of that deep time traveling from world to world... and we know almost nothing about that period of their history.

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

Know Your Lore: Draka, daughter of Kelkar

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.

Thrall named the ship Draka's Fury after his mother. It was the ship that should have taken him without trouble to the heart of the Maelstrom during Cataclysm, but the ship was intercepted by an Alliance fleet and destroyed. It's been stated here and there that Thrall named the ship as a tribute to his mother, and to the strong orc women in his life -- but there's a problem with that. Thrall didn't know his mother at all, really. When he was just an infant, both Draka and his father Durotan were killed, betrayed by their own kind, and Thrall left to die. He named the ship after the strength of a mother that he never really knew at all.

But Draka was far from weak, in her prime -- and to her mate Durotan, she was the epitome of everything an orc woman should be. Strong, wise, brave, unwilling to bend or break, Draka spent the entirety of her childhood defying everyone's expectations, and continued to do so until the day she died. In Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally get a chance to meet Thrall's mother and father in person. We know who Durotan is, but who was that orc woman standing at his side, and what made her so incredibly special?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Who we will and won't see in Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor, the next WoW expansion, comes complete with a storyline that has players asking plenty of questions. Featuring an all-star cast of previous RTS characters, Warlords delves into an alternate version of reality, a version in which the orc chieftains never drank the Blood of Mannoroth, instead choosing to band together in the Iron Horde. In this version of reality -- a splinter of reality that shouldn't really exist -- the orcs and draenei are still at war, and that entire splinter of reality is being connected to our own via the Dark Portal.

This has been raising all kinds of questions regarding who exactly we'll see on the other side of that portal. What about Azeroth, in that version of reality? What about Deathwing and his kin? What about the Velen leading the draenei at that point in time, what about younger Garrosh? Will there be duplicates of orcs who have since made their homes on Azeroth, after traveling through the Dark Portal? Will the Alliance Expedition be stranded on this version of Draenor? Just who are we going to see over there, and who won't be making an appearance?

While we don't have all the answers, we have more than enough to start filling in the blanks.

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Filed under: Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor and the draenei

Okay, let's just put our cards on the table. The only thing I want to do with orcs in Warlords of Draenor is kill them. Bring on the Iron Horde for me to stomp on. I will eventually level my Horde characters, sure. But I'm not particularly interested in the Frostwolves and how the Horde is going to relate to them and the Horde's search for an identity somewhere between murderous lunatics and Thrall's happy fun-time frolic friends - it's certainly not a bad hook for a Horde storyline. But I don't care about it. We've had a lot of the Horde and their civil war and their struggle to stay united under Hellscream. It was often very interesting stuff - I very much liked the Dominance Offensive quests - and I'm glad we got to see it. Mists of Pandaria ended up being a very dark expansion in a lot of ways, with themes of personal responsibility and how good intentions can go bad, missed opportunities and the fog of war, and I thought that the Siege of Orgrimmar made a lot of sense.

I wasn't one of the Alliance players who was upset about the Horde rebels having a role in SoO. I don't feel like it diminished the Alliance story any to show us working alongside them, I wasn't bothered by seeing Varian's actions at the end of the raid. I thought it was all good and proper.

But frankly, I'm done with the Horde's problems. I play Alliance. I want to see Alliance stories. Horde players should have their stories, too, I'm not saying they shouldn't -- more power to y'all solving that whole issue of inheriting a legacy of murderous psychopathic lunacy from the Old Horde, that's gotta be rough for you -- but I am done. Because Warlords of Draenor has promised me the one thing I've wanted to see since Burning Crusade itself failed to deliver it, and that's draenei. Draenei cities, as they appeared at their height. Draenei culture, not the ruined remnants of it. The draenei we saw in BC were the ragged remnants cast adrift on Azeroth, survivors of a near total extermination. They were the embattled refugees desperately seeking a place to rebuild. I fell in love with them in no small part due to their tenacity and willingness to keep going, but I've always wondered what they were really like before the horrors Ner'zhul and later Gul'dan unleashed upon them at Kil'jaeden's behest. And at last, I'm going to get to find out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, BlizzCon, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The warlords 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.

Originally, Draenor was a planet with a nigh-uneventful history until a series of progressively more incredible and unusual events, brought to the world from outside sources, plunged it into chaos. According to what we knew -- which was admittedly very little -- the orc clans of Draenor had no issues with the rest of the world, or with each other. There may have been the occasional squabbles between clans, but there was nothing remotely resembling full out war ... at least nothing that's been recorded in history as we know it. However, the announcement of Warlords of Draenor seems to indicate a big history lesson is on the way.

Draenor's history, one distinct moment in time has been altered, creating a separate fork -- a bubble of time, if you will -- that has changed the fates of these old heroes. So who are the Warlords of Draenor? We have their names. What we don't have is the new history revealed in the expansion just yet. But even in the original timeline, these orc warlords each had different, unique histories that all tied in together, courtesy of the Burning Legion's meddling and influence.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

BlizzCon 2013: First look at Warlords of Draenor, Alliance-side

With the hotly-anticipated announcement of World of Warcraft's next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, comes the almost-as-equally hotly anticipated opportunity to get a glimpse of what's in store for us at the BlizzCon WoW demo station. I had a chance to run the first part of a new dungeon -- Bloodmaul Slag Mines -- with Matticus and a crew of other con-goers, but after that, I took the opportunity to play with some character creation and explore a little bit.

Three of the playable races have new models available on the BlizzCon demo: orcs, dwarves, and gnomes. I picked a female dwarf mage, and spent a bit of time customizing her. While there don't seem to be any new hair style or color options (at least not yet), the new models blow me away. I really cannot overemphasize how impressive they are. I'm most struck by how true they feel. I have worried that with the character model upgrade, the toons that I've played for years and come to know and love would suddenly feel like different characters entirely. As it turned out, there was no need to fret. The models are exactly what I'd hoped they'd be: upgrades. They feel just like the characters we've grown to love, only with more polygons, more nuance, and more expression. Bravo, Blizzard, truly.

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Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

Know Your Lore: The History of Draenor

Adam's project
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 may not be Azeroth, but it's got a history just as rich and just as convoluted. In the Warcraft universe, the planet Draenor plays a secondary role to Azeroth in terms of storyline -- consider it something like a sister planet, one whose history is irrevocably entwined with Azeroth's. Although these days Draenor exists as a mere shell of what it once was, Draenor, its inhabitants, and its fate are all one of the most significant pieces of Warcraft lore out there. After all, if there were no Draenor, there would be no First or Second wars. There would be no Horde.

Why is this planet so important? It certainly didn't have very much to do with the original inhabitants. In fact, Draenor would have likely lived on in obscurity were it not for the strange, peaceful settlers from another world. Peaceful they may have been, but they had a history they could not escape -- a past that forever linked them with the Burning Legion ... and the Burning Legion knows little of forgiveness or mercy for those that incur its wrath.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

How the Draenei make WoW a better place

How the Draenei make WoW a better place

The light wishes suffering on none, my child. But it does not reign unopposed in our realm
- The Prophet Velen


It's no secret that I dig the draenei. They're my favorite race in the game (my second favorite are tauren, with worgen in third) and in all honesty for a long time, I never really knew why aside from my having really loved the draenei starting zone when I first played through it during the Burning Crusade beta. I really enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie I got from the various surviving crew members, all pulling together to survive, and as the history of the long displaced race unfolded and linked up to their appearance in Warcraft III and the broken ones I'd already met back in my vanilla days running through Swamp of Sorrows, I was hooked.

I liked that they were in turns noble yet murderous - I've never forgotten that it was Velen, supposedly kindly and peace loving Prophet, who ordered my draenei to go find the blood elves and their eredar allies on Bloodmyst and eradicate them. Kill them all, Velen said to me, and I did it. They even threw a party for me afterwards. I liked that for all our obvious compassion, we still were deeply flawed - there was clear racism and disquiet aimed at the Broken, whose mutated condition filled some of our people with disgust - you could see it in how we shoved them into the darkest corners of the crashed Exodar and forced them to toil out of sight. The draenei were many things - linked to the man'ari eredar through a common origin, forever exiled from their home, hunted by their former kin - but their long relationship with the Naaru and the Holy Light hadn't made plaster saints out of the draenei. I liked their having survived the orc genocide on Draenor has hardened, but not warped them.

And to be honest, I just really liked playing in one. I like how they move, how they run, how they look in plate or mail (most of my draenei are warriors or shaman, with one paladin who doesn't get out much), how their racial Gift of the Naaru makes a sigil float over their heads, their combat animations (especially how they use staves or polearms) - but it wasn't until recently that I really thought for a while about why, exactly, I still hold such a fondness for the draenei.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: A Precarious Position 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.

There will be spoilers for patch 5.4 in this post

Part one covered the Horde, and part two covered the humans, dwarves, night elves and worgen of the Alliance. But what about the gnomes, draenei, and neutral factions? What about the pandaren, so new to both Horde and Alliance? How could these figures react to the new status quo (whatever it will be) and will they be a force to stabilize relations between the Alliance and the Horde, or will they make the situation more volatile?

Both the draenei and the gnomes have an outsider's perspective in their own way - the gnomes missed the entirety of the Third War due to problems at home (problems they are still attempting to fix) and while the draenei have experienced much suffering at the hands of the orcish Horde they are dedicated to the Prophet Velen's vision of the mortal races coming together to oppose the Burning Legion. Although both races sent observers to Pandaria during Varian Wrynn's Operation: Shieldwall, their leadership has not been very involved in this latest struggle with the other faction. Individual members of these races have, but not the groups as a whole.

So what, then, is their perspective after the siege of Orgrimmar?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The Velen Problem: Why the draenei need dissent

The Velen Problem Why the draenei need dissent
I've been thinking about this one for a while. The character of Velen is a useful one for World of Warcraft as a whole as well as being one of my favorites in the game -- he stands for a rationally enlighten position which seeks to unite the Horde and Alliance in order to hold off the greater threat of the Burning Legion. In that regard, he's WoW's Medivh from Warcraft III. His visions of the future and powerful understanding of the Holy Light give him an unassailable moral authority - it's difficult for any allied faction leader to stand directly against Velen's position, when he makes it known. Luckily for the narrative, Velen is often distracted with seeking visions of the war with the Legion and how to defeat them and he can't always stand against the Horde/Alliance conflict... either that, or he foresees that it will play out in a way that's beneficial to his goals.

But it is this very role as unassailable moral compass that makes Velen a problem in terms of integrating the draenei into World of Warcraft and its storyline.

I'll explain using some examples. The current Battlefield Barrens weekly quest, for instance, is just the latest sign of Horde/Alliance conflict on Kalimdor. The Horde have expanded into Ashenvale, taken over Azshara, bombed Stonetalon, even made inroads into Darkshore (seemingly, at least) by allying with the local trolls. The night elves are reeling from these attacks. Their new worgen allies are stepping up to aid the Sentinels, going so far as to seek training under Shandris Feathermoon. Yet the draenei, who live on a set of islands just off the coast of Kalimdor, have done nothing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The future of the Alliance

Know Your Lore The future of the Alliance
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 Siege of Orgrimmar is almost upon us, and the Alliance stands strong, ready to dive in and put an end to Warchief Hellscream's reign. Along the way, they've picked up some entirely unconventional allies in Vol'jin's group of rebels, who are also insistent upon getting Garrosh out. But when the dust settles and all is said and done, if and when the Alliance prove their military superiority, take out Hellscream, and are declared the ultimate victor of what has been a very messy, bloody war, what happens next?

Does the Alliance simply go home and wait for the world to rise up with yet another threat? Do they at last attempt some kind of tentative peace treaty with Vol'jin and his group of rebels? Will Varian Wrynn take a moment of clear victory and use it to crush what remains of the Horde? Will the Alliance leave a military presence in Orgrimmar, to carefully watch and make certain events like this don't come to pass again?

What does the future for the Alliance hold, once Orgrimmar has been taken down?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Worlds lost, worlds unknown

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 are worlds we have not yet visited. Realms we have not seen, do not know. Some are demon-haunted nightmares, still others lost to our understanding, destroyed. The Burning Legion has been thwarted twice on Azeroth, but make no mistake - they have yet to bring their full power to bear, seeking instead to seize the world's unique magical energies for their own use. The dead world Xerrath demonstrates that the Legion has in the past destroyed entire worlds merely as a show of force to cow others into submission and slavery. What's worse is, there are races that were wiped out by them, but others who proved their worth were instead made into servants and slaves to the Legion - and Azeroth has balked their advance twice, putting us squarely in the strong enough to make good slaves category.

Yet, too, there are worlds beyond even the Legion's control, worlds dominated by the vast hosts that the Old Gods and their servants such as the Prophet Skerram, worlds like K'aresh (home of the Ethereals), worlds shaped by the Titans, and worlds that yet sleep in their infancy, unaware of the struggle between ancient inimical forces. Azeroth was one such world not too long ago. The destruction of K'aresh by Dimensius the All-Devouring proves that there are forces, hungry and ravening, that serve no masters and have destruction on their mind completely unrelated to the Legion or the Old Gods.

We know barely a fragment of the vast cosmos. Let us explore what little we do know.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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