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Know Your Lore: The Arakkoa

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 one of the most ancient races on Draenor, according to relics found in Outland. Yet the arakkoa initially seemed far from any kind of enlightened society when players first met them in Burning Crusade. Certainly, they had the numbers to indicate a vast civilization -- but the arakkoa always felt like a footnote to Outland, filler rather than an important part of what made Draenor what it was, or an integral part of the Burning Crusade storyline. After all, it was all about the orcs, the draenei, and the Burning Legion -- the comings and goings of bird-people didn't really factor into the mix.

Which may be just the way the arakkoa like it. Fairly reclusive, the arakkoa don't go out of their way to tell strangers of their past. Yet even though there is little to be found where the arakkoa are concerned, the small pieces we've managed to glean point to a far more complex society than the arakkoa are willing to divulge. And in Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally be able to see the arakkoa soar -- and maybe even unravel some of the secrets of this reclusive race.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Emerald Dreams and 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.

Its existence is known by many, but it's accessed by only a scant few of the assorted races of Azeroth. Long ago, Malfurion Stormrage learned the ways of the druid from the Ancient Cenarius, and through that process, learned to travel through this mysterious place. Once under the protection of Ysera, it's currently undefined just how much influence the Aspect of the Green Dragonflight now has over the mystery that is the Emerald Dream -- but for years, it's been a haven for druids, and druids alone.

Over several expansions and through several novels we've seen the progression of the Emerald Nightmare -- in the novel Stormrage, the Nightmare was by and large defeated. In game, we rarely saw mention of it, although one or two quests happened to mention Malfurion's dilemma within the Dream, and a few quests actually sent us inside. In all honesty, the most we've seen out of this content in-game were files and exploration videos of old zones that were never developed. Yet there's something really fascinating about the Emerald Dream, something that captures the imagination and has many players clamoring for an expansion featuring that content.

So what does any of this have to do with 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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Alternate Azeroth

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.

Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate, splinter reality in which Garrosh Hellscream has gone back in time and prevented the leaders of the old orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth. In this version of reality, several events have changed dramatically -- leading players to ask many, many questions about alternate Azeroth, how its history has been altered, and how that changes the Azeroth we know and love today. The answer is very simple: it doesn't. Not in the slightest. That alternate Azeroth, and whatever future it may hold, has no bearing on Warlords of Draenor at all. We won't be exploring that world, and our Azeroth remains unchanged.

However, people still continue to ask. So we're going to take a little trip into that alternate reality and explore what that version of Azeroth would theoretically look like without the Dark Portal. We're going to explore this alternate world, take a look at what likely never came to pass, and what happened as a result. And then we're going to quietly put all of that away, because this is all information and events that we are not going to see in Warlords of Draenor. But it'll be nice to get it out of our systems, won't it?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation and history 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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Dark Below

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The Dark Below
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 see them! A million worlds glittering in their perfection! One above all others! We have fallen, we must rebuild the final Titan! Do not forget.
Wrathion may have just finished chowing down on the heart of the Thunder King when he rattled off that strange speech about this bizarre "final Titan," but what he said seemed to indicate there is far more going on in Pandaria than we'd thought. Or, on the other hand, there is far more going on in Azeroth than we thought. Things that must be taken care of, things so urgent that Wrathion is attempting to set the war between Alliance and Horde on fast-forward so that we can skip that part and simply jump to what he thinks is the important stuff.

Earlier this week, Blizzard appeared to be trademarking something called The Dark Below, and many have speculated that it's the name of the next WoW expansion, largely because of the existence of Ozumat and his title, Fiend of the Dark Below. The trademark was later revealed as a possible hoax -- and later still, revealed to be a trademark in Europe. So is it WoW? If it is a WoW trademark, what could possibly be in an expansion with that title?

I have absolutely no idea. But that makes for some excellent Tinfoil Hat speculation, so why don't we look at what could potentially be lurking in The Dark Below?

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. 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

Mists of Pandaria is our Emerald Dream expansion

Back in the days of vanilla, life was very much about exploration. Even though the world of Azeroth was admittedly massive, there were still areas players couldn't get to -- tantalizing areas that were made inaccessible either by steep mountain faces, or simply being someplace under the world map where no one could get to. One of these areas was the Emerald Dream, shown above. Despite not being in the game as playable content, the zones still existed.

This led to all kinds of speculation about an upcoming Emerald Dream expansion. Players assumed that these files meant that we were eventually headed for the lush green lands of Ysera and her amazing druid friends. Yet despite the presence of the maps, it never happened. Ysera is now devoid of her powers as of the end of Cataclysm, whatever that implies towards her relationship with the Emerald Dream. By Cataclysm, it became apparent that whatever mysteries those old maps held, the Emerald Dream was just an idea lost in time.

Or was it? Maybe we're playing through the Emerald Dream right now.

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

WoW Archivist: Patch 1.8, Dragons of Nightmare

The WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Who says every content patch needs a new raid tier? Patch 1.8, released Oct. 10, 2005 (just slightly under one month after patch 1.7), laughs at your raid tiers. It was actually quite a small patch as far as content goes, and there wasn't anything particularly world-shattering in it, but it still did something interesting: It built up future content. Patch 1.8 implemented the following:
  • The Dragons of Nightmare world bosses
  • A revamp of Silithus
  • The groundwork for holidays such as Hallow's End and Winter Veil
None of these things, on their own, were very large events. They were cool pieces of content, but they weren't supported by a raid or dungeon. Quite the opposite -- they laid the groundwork that would herald a raid coming in a later patch.

Let's dig in, shall we? First the patch notes in full, then the analysis.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The "death" of the Old Gods

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.

Once upon a time, there was a little planet called Azeroth. A shining jewel of the universe, this little planet was chosen by the Titans, blessed by their presence and organized into a perfect representation of order and beauty. But that order and perfection wasn't to last. At some undefined point in the little planet's future, malevolent proponents of chaos, creatures simply called Old Gods, visited Azeroth's surface and quickly decided to ruin the harmonic vision of the Titans with their own brutal, corrupt, and chaotic one.

The Titans realized something had happened and returned to find the world they had so carefully balanced in a state of utter chaos. They immediately launched an assault on the Old Gods, but they discovered something strange. The Old Gods had fully integrated themselves with the matrix of the little planet, placing a strange malaise on the inhabitants. If the Old Gods died, so too would Azeroth -- and so the Titans imprisoned the Old Gods deep beneath the earth where they could do no further damage. They set to work repairing the planet, leaving various safeguards behind to watch over the world. Satisfied, they left -- and they haven't been seen on Azeroth since.

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 it happened. The events presented are events that happened in Azeroth's history, but the conclusions are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Sargeras and speculation on the next expansion

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.

Planes and planets, demons and mortals -- we've covered the gamut of the Warcraft universe in the past few weeks, including rampant speculation. With BlizzCon 2011 not too far away, people are already talking about what may or may not be announced, including whether or not we'll see news about the next Warcraft expansion and what that expansion could be.

Beyond all of that, however, we have the matter of identifying who exactly the real bad guy of this expansion is. Is it Deathwing? Is it the Old Gods? We don't know, and we won't know until we're closer to the expansion's end and dealing with Deathwing personally -- but whether Deathwing will be the final boss of this expansion is something that's still up in the air. Matthew Rossi wrote an interesting article last week questioning whether Cataclysm has too much potential content, and it's an excellent question. Given all we've seen of the expansion so far and the sheer amount of plot threads that have yet to be addressed, it makes one wonder exactly what else will be revealed in the months to come.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Stormrage and the Emerald Nightmare, 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.

The events of the novel Stormrage may not have happened in game, but they still have an effect on upcoming events. While the book was released much earlier this year, the events in the book hadn't really played out until now; they occur sometime after the defeat of the Lich King yet before Deathwing shatters the world in Cataclysm. Unfortunately, we will not directly see the events presented in Stormrage occur in World of Warcraft.

Despite the lack of events regarding the resolution to the Emerald Nightmare storyline in game, things have been resolved -- to a point. On top of all of this, not only does the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden make several references to Stormrage, but certain events we see in the upcoming expansion also reference key elements to the novel. Yesterday, we began to delve into what exactly happened between Malfurion's time in the Emerald Dream and present day; read on for the conclusion of the story and its effects on the Azeroth the characters we play know and love.

Please note: The following post is all about Stormrage and contains spoilers for the majority of the novel as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you're planning on picking up the book, turn away now, lest ye be spoiled for eternity!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Stormrage and the Emerald Nightmare, part 1

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 events playing out in game right now have long-lasting repercussions on future lore, but there are also events playing out that aren't present in game. The Shattering by Christie Golden details some of these events, but there's another book out there that also has an effect in upcoming events. I'm talking about Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak, which was released earlier this year and covered information regarding the Emerald Nightmare.

Even though the book was released some time ago, the effects of the book haven't been felt. This is because as far as timelines go, Stormrage hadn't really happened yet -- or has it? The book takes place somewhere between Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, and though we don't see any of the events in the book played out in game, we see players from the book and the repercussions of the book's events. Today, we're going to give an overview of what's in the book and how it affects what's going to play out in Cataclysm.

Please note: The following post is all about Stormrage and contains spoilers for the majority of the novel as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you're planning on picking up the book, turn away now, lest ye be spoiled for eternity!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

BlizzCon 2010: Day 2 round-up

Day 2 at BlizzCon 2010 saw the two most traditionally popular panels (the class Q&A and the general Q&A) go live, but there was plenty at the convention to keep you busy even if you were among the two or three people there not interested in developer panels.




BlizzCon 2010 is upon us! WoW Insider has all the latest news and information. We're bringing you liveblogging of the WoW panels, interviews with WoW celebrities and attendees and of course, lots of pictures of people in costumes. It's all here at WoW Insider!

Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2010: Emerald Dream and/or Nightmare in the future

There are a lot of questions that come up from the WoW community at events like BlizzCon. Will we ever have player or guild housing? Why doesn't Blink work right? Where's my moose? One question that keeps coming up is will we ever see the Emerald Dream or its corrupted version, the Emerald Nightmare?

While there is no announcement for an exact date or even which expansion it will appear, Alex "Valnoth" Afrasiabi (lead world designer for World of Warcraft) has finally answered this for us, and that answer is yes. The problem comes down to a matter of finding the right place to fit it in. This might mean something in patch 4.2 or all the way in patch 6.2. It really comes down to when it will fit in the game storyline.

At least we now know that it is something they will do.
BlizzCon 2010 is upon us! WoW Insider has all the latest news and information. We're bringing you liveblogging of the WoW panels, interviews with WoW celebrities and attendees and of course, lots of pictures of people in costumes. It's all here at WoW Insider!

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, BlizzCon

The Queue: Cathedral picture

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

I'm completely out of witty intros. It's Sunday! Deal with it!

DarkSpade asked:

Was the WoW miniatures game ever officially announced as dead or is it still out there flapping in the breeze? Any chance of it coming back?

The license for the WoW Minis game was originally held by Upper Deck, a company with whom Blizzard no longer does business. Cryptozoic, who picked up the WoW TCG license, did not pick up the Minis license. I think you can probably extrapolate the status of the WoW Minis game from there.

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Know Your Lore: Current Alliance Politics -- the Night Elves, 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.

WARNING:
The following post contains spoilers for the novel Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak. Readers still in the middle of the novel may want to veer away from this post, as I'll be discussing events covered over the course of the book.

Now that we've established what happened to Tyrande and Malfurion (in the midst of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey ... stuff), we can begin to pick apart what happened in between the Sundering, the Third War, and present day. Tyrande Whisperwind is currently leading the night elves along with Archdruid Fandral Staghelm -- and Staghelm has a history that also stretches back thousands of years, one that's led him to his current less-than-friendly leadership.

Fandral Staghelm was born about 1,000 years after the Sundering and studied the druidic arts under Malfurion Stormrage, soon rising in ranks and becoming one of Malfurion's top lieutenants as well as training many of the new Druids of the Wild. Where Malfurion was even-tempered and kind, Fandral was hotheaded and aggressive, frequently clashing with Malfurion, and nowadays Tyrande over how night elf society should be run. He holds many strong beliefs that echo the beliefs of ancient night elves, including the belief that night elves are the supreme race on the planet, all other races are inferior, and night elves are the only "true" druids. Charming, isn't he?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Stormrage novel hits the best-seller lists

Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak has made USA Today's Top 150 Best Selling Books list, coming in at #126 of the best selling books based on sales through February 28, 2010. Apparently the ebook community is embracing the new story as well: Stormrage hit #8 on the best seller list for ebooks from BooksOnBoard.

The latest offering in the World of Warcraft line of novels, Stormrage continues the story of events that the green dragonflight have been dealing with since World of Warcraft's launch: Nightmares have invaded the Emerald Dream, Malfurion Stormrage is nowhere to be seen, the Dragons of Nightmare are busting out of portals, and it looks like the whole of the Emerald Dream is in danger of permanent corruption. With Stormrage, we finally get to see what's been brewing for five years now -- no wonder it's popular!

You can pick up a copy of Stormrage at the Blizzard Store for yourself. Check out our full review of the novel, and our refresher course on the history of Malfurion Stormrage.

Filed under: News items

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