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Posts with tag draenei

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

Injecting draenei culture into mainstream Azeroth

Injecting draenei culture into mainstream Azeroth THU
It's been about a decade now since the crash of the Exodar, and the ageless ways of the draenei are beginning to weave themselves into the fabric Azeroth. Yet of all Azeroth's peoples and despite what must be an ancient history, the draenei remain shrouded in a certain amount of mystery. Into that breach steps the draenei guild Kharanei of Wyrmrest Accord (US), working to preserve existing draenei heritage while pushing the culture forward into Azerothian society.

"We're establishing guild canon lore and culture all the time, everything from weddings to holidays to folk tales and language," says Nelua, Kharanei's GM. "We actually invented a week-long holiday to coincide with the Indian Diwali, the Festival of Light (much like Blizzard bases its holidays on existing ones). It commemorates the flight from Argus and the triumph of good over evil while paying respects to those who died fighting the good fight. A large, open-attendance celebration was held in Telaar, and it was very successful -- a very proud moment for the guild."

Kharanei brings more than merely entertaining ideas to the table. A lore-driven council with other Alliance guilds and a storyteller-guided roleplaying framework keep its day-to-day progress feeling fresh and alive, pulling the draenei into an ever-closer relationship with the world they now inhabit.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

The Queue: Looking to the future

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.

In yesterday's edition of The Queue, there seemed to be more questions about the next expansion than the current one. Since the next expansion hasn't even been announced yet, there isn't much we can do with those, but we sure can try.

Joey4 asked:

weapon models to me seem to go by expansion theme, wrath had a dark cold look especially on greens and mists had the Asian theme, do you think we will see awesome looking models again like BC xpac had in the next xpac?

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Filed under: The Queue

WoW for Dummies, Act III: The end of vanilla

WoW for Dummies, Act III The end of vanilla 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.

Vanilla WoW may not have seemed full of story to most, but it was jam-packed with plot elements, although they were hidden from all but those who paid the closest attention to what was going on around them. Most lore in the game was simply introduced with quest text -- there were no cut scenes, there was no phasing, there were none of the innovations we currently have today in regards to the implementation of lore in gameplay.

If you missed them, I recommend going back and reading through the summaries of early days of vanilla lore. There are two versions of Act I, one for Alliance and one for Horde. Act II applies to both sides of the faction fence as the story began to merge for both sides. Please note that these are summaries of the lore that existed in game -- later novels, comics, and other material adjusted what actually happened in the scope of the game universe, and some of those novels and comics are now the official canon version of these events. I've pointed out where these changes occurred.

The end of vanilla was marked with the return of foes long thought dead and gone, and the ominous stirrings of a portal to another world.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Of Elune, naaru, and night elves

Know Your Lore Of Elune, naaru, and night elves 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.

Before we begin, I feel I should point out that the screenshot above is one that I created for the purposes of an article I wrote detailing the possible wind-chime origins of everyone's favorite kaldorei deity. It was not real then, and it is no more real now, over two years later. That article pointed out the possible correlations between the goddess Elune, the holy Light, An'she, and what might have been naaru intervention instead of divine, as the night elves would have everyone believe.

And while it connected a lot of dots, it was not true. It was simple theory and speculation. However, recent Ask a Cdev answers have once again brought the question of Elune's origins into play, and player reaction has been less than enthusiastic about the supposed confirmation. Most complain that making Elune a mere naaru is basically homogenizing night elf culture and history, something that plenty of players are apparently really passionate about.

To which I say two words: don't panic.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The long game of the naaru, part 2

Know Your Lore The Long Game of the Naaru, Part 2
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.

These posts about the naaru are mainly speculative. I hesitate to use the Tinfoil Hat title, because I'm not postulating that they're secretly evil or anything. But the fact remains, we know very little about the naaru. We don't know where they come from, how long they live, if they can enter their Light/Darkness cycle indefinitely, if they ever die naturally or even if they can be really killed. The only one we've ever defeated in combat ended up part of the Sunwell, and who's to say what he's doing in there now? Is M'uru still alive in the Sunwell, or did his mind die with Entropius? We currently have no way of knowing.

We know that despite what we experienced in The Burning Crusade, for the naaru, entering the void phase of their existence is an exceedingly rare and perilous event, at least according to the Ask CDev threads. It is this unknown quality that fascinates me about the naaru.

As we discussed last week, the Ata'mal Crystal that Velen used to create the barrier of Light and hold off Archimonde and Kil'jaeden's followers was an ancient mystery of his people. We don't really know where it comes from or if the naaru gave it to the ancient eredar or if the eredar constructed it somehow. What we do know is that at some point in the distant past before Sargeras came to Argus, the eredar and the naaru had some form of contact. This implies that the naaru may well predate the Titans. What we do know is this: Somehow, in some way, the eredar and the naaru met, and the Ata'mal Crystal was left in eredar hands until Velen came to call upon it for guidance.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Exodar and the fate of the draenei

Know Your Lore The Exodar
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 spans the universe.

No city in Azeroth can do what the Exodar can. Repaired at last, the Exodar is no mere fortress but rather a satellite of the great Tempest Keep brought to Outland by the naaru. As a result, the Exodar possesses the power to bridge the gulf between worlds, traveling through the Twisting Nether. And after years spent crashed into Azuremyst Isle, the Exodar is fully operational.

But in her turn, the Exodar is more than a vessel. The means of escape for Velen and the draenei who survived the assault of the blood-maddened orc butchery that reduced them to hiding in Zangarmarsh, the Exodar carried them forth after it had been liberated from the blood elves who had invaded Tempest Keep proper. Sabotaged by those same blood elves, servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider, the Exodar's crash landing was yet another travail for the draenei to overcome. But on Azeroth, they found a refuge from the Burning Legion and the will to move forward as members of the Alliance.

It was to the Exodar that Prince Anduin Wrynn of Stormwind came to study the way of the Light under Velen, and in so doing, in time introduce the draenei way of viewing the Light to the Eastern Kingdoms. It was at the Exodar that Velen pledged that the draenei would not leave Azeroth to fend for itself but would stay and defend their new home.

The Exodar spans the universe, right from where it sits today.

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

Know Your Lore: State of the Alliance, 2012

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 has never been harder to be Alliance. Throughout the years of war brought about by the orcish invasion of Azeroth, the Alliance has seen its ups and downs. During that first assault, Stormwind was destroyed, its king assassinated. However, the direct result of this was an Alliance of kingdoms that paved the way for the Alliance as we know it today -- a smart, level-headed group of races focused on survival. The survival of each race individually, and the survival of the world as we know it. A noble cause, and the Alliance is well-known for its nobility.

Yet despite bouncing back from that original, horrific assault, the Alliance seems to be in a downward spiral in the days of Cataclysm, one which is spinning horrifically out of control. And despite the best efforts of Alliance leaders, trying to staunch the flow of death and despair is becoming increasingly more difficult. This has much to do with the effects of the Shattering, and even more to do with those enemies of old; the orcs and their united allies in the Horde. Even though the Alliance has come back before, the question of whether or not they can do it again is a heavy one that weighs on the minds of all. It has never been so hard to be Alliance, it has never been this dark.

Or so popular opinion states.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Velen, the Prophet

Image
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 failed long ago to turn my brothers from their course. And creation has paid the price."

How must it feel to be ageless? To watch as millennia tick by, each century the span of a breath and gone in an instant? To the draenei, the lives of humans must seem incredibly short-lived. To the Prophet Velen, who is at least 25,000 years old, we must seem like motes of dust, winking in and out of existence so quickly that we can scarcely be recognized as entities before we cease to exist. Velen has led the draenei through terror and triumph, from world to world, always gently spreading the benevolent message of the Light to any who wish to hear.

Yet for a being of such grace, purity and peace, Velen is also a creature of unfathomable sorrow. For Velen has been granted the gift of Sight, and with the gift he can see the infinite paths of futures that may not be, of worlds born and fallen in the blink of an eye. And despite that gift, Velen cannot prevent what is yet to pass. He cannot prevent that which has gone before, and will come again. And he could not prevent the path his friends chose, nor could he persuade them their new ally was in fact a monster so horrific that his hellish grasp would wreak havoc on immeasurable worlds.

For one that treasures life in the way only the Light can teach, it is a heavy burden to bear.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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