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Know Your Lore: Blackhand the Destroyer

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 no spoilers for Warlords of Draenor here, because we're not talking about that Blackhand. No, the Blackhand we're going to talk about today is the original, the first Warchief of the Horde, the leader of the Blackrock orcs. A raider of the Sythegore Arm and a feared wolf-rider, Blackhand was both tactically brilliant and overly fond of flattery - he rose to the position of Warchief because he possessed both the ruthless cunning necessary to lead the Horde and the ego and vanity that Gul'dan used to manipulate him. It was this strange mix in his personality, his bloodlust and desire for power yet gullibility and willingness to be misled that led him to the position of Warchief, led him onto an alien world, and ultimately led him to his death.

Blackhand was first in command of the Blackrock clan. He had three children with his mate Urukal, Griselda, Rend and Maim. Griselda's fate shows us that not all orc clans were as egalitarian as the Frostwolves. But before all of that, before he sold his children to warlock magic to make adults from them before their time, before he was Warchief, before he drank the demon blood after Grom Hellscream, Blackhand was an ambitious, cruel, and eager warrior who sought glory in battle, and his own aggrandizement.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: Fandral Ewing

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

After reading all the comments on yesterday's Queue, only a scant few of you guys seemed to recognize the Dallas reference. So I figured Bobby Ewing would make yet another return from the dead in today's Queue. You're welcome.

As an aside, I vaguely, vaguely recall when this episode of Dallas aired, mostly because my mother was so incredibly ticked off that she almost chucked the remote control across the room. It was also the last episode of Dallas she ever watched.

lib.feathers asked:

And just where would Fandral Staghelm be taking said shower? You can't leave out important details like that!

The bathroom. ... where else?

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Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: I plasmified this one

From Draenor With Love
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: A hydra, a pot of coffee, being snide, a monster under the bed. Plus: Your candles suck!

On the top of the list this week, we have two new WoW-related comics, Gnomophobia and The Warchief's Command Board. I've linked the archive or index for each, and next week, will begin linking the newest. Thanks for the tips, Jim and SintraEdrien!

Speaking of new projects, if you missed us last week, you might have missed the announcement that Rug finally started her own comic! It's called The Brotherhood of Iron, and includes all of the guest comics from Gnomeregan Forever, plus a new one.

And speaking of Rug, she is also featured in this week's Gnomeregan Forever, which tells the story of why Trig's doctors ordered some bed rest. Despite the serious topic, she has a line that cracked me up. Plus, Trigonometry Comics is back with a new comic, so don't miss it.

Other comics that weren't on the list last week that updated this week include Experience Boost as well as Sara & Kleeyo. Father's Shield continues with two new chapter installments, and Guilded Age starts up Chapter 34. Plus, Gnomeregan Forever showcases a new line style, which got some pretty positive reader feedback. It's a subtle change, though, so you might find yourself flipping back and forth a bit to check it out. Finally, From Draenor With Love wraps up Chapter 3 this week, and celebrates one year since starting the current story. There will be a brief hiatus before Chapter 4 launches, however, which will be tough, considering the cliffhanger/teaser.

To the comics:

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

Breakfast Topic: Well-Known

By the time we get to max level it feels like we're fairly well known. I'm not saying we're celebrities in Azeroth. Potentialy the average person has no idea who we are. But if you've been playing for a while, you've probably accomplished some pretty impressive things. By now I've:
  • Killed two Old Gods
  • Defeated the Firelord Ragnaros twice, the Lich King, Deathwing himself
  • Liberated Westfall twice and defeated the Defias Brotherhood in both original and new flavors
  • Assaulted Orgrimmar and defeated Garrosh Hellscream
And quest text would seem to bear that out. Kings and Warchiefs know us on sight. We're routinely tasked with the most dangerous missions imaginable. So what I wonder is this - are we celebrities? Does the average person know who these people are when we come by town? When I land on a massive dragon in the middle of Redridge because I'm on my way to Blackrock Mountain and I'm getting a friend the flight point, do people just think oh, it's that guy on his dragon or is it a big deal?

I guess I'm just wondering how jaded the average person is about all this. What are your thoughts?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Gold, mountains of it

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I still think it's weird that David Ogden Stiers essentially sings a duet with himself here. But besides the weirdness of one man playing both villain and sidekick, this video is pretty relevant today. Let's jump into the questions, shall we?

Darkwraith asked:

Q4tQ: with the deploy of 6.0, does anyone know if our Valor will simply be scrapped away or it will be converted to Lesser Charms of Good Fortune?

Gold. Mountains of it. (What did I tell you? Relevant.)

Well, maybe not mountains. But you're still getting gold.

robertjamesftw asked:

Q4tQ: I know Rossi tweeted this question to Dave Kosak, but I didn't see an answer: Who is the voice actor for Maraad in the Lords of War series?

That would be Crispin Freeman. He's also done the voice work for Thalen Songweaver and Commander Lindon.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What do you think of Durotan?

The latest edition of Lords of War was released yesterday, and I have to say it's my favorite so far. The voice acting was top notch, and the story was slightly less in-your-face with the violence and vengeance. Instead, it was almost touching, in a way -- with a haunting warning message that makes it absolutely, abundantly clear why Durotan and the Frostwolves aren't currently hanging out with the rest of the Iron Horde. It was also cool to see some younger orcs, and get a look at Geyah before she became the Greatmother we all know from Garadar.

This is, however, the first time we've seen a story that is pretty blatantly divergent from the lore we already know. In our history, Durotan's brother was never mentioned -- maybe he got himself killed at a young age, maybe he simply didn't exist, we don't really know. I think the only thing bothering me right now, and I should really just let it go for the sake of the story but it's becoming harder to do so, is how the heck did Maraad know any of this was going on? Why would he be talking about Durotan's virtues, when in our version of history, Durotan was the one who unveiled Telmor and allowed hundreds of draenei to be brutally murdered?

Obviously the story is from an alternate version of history, but the Maraad introductions are becoming increasingly implausible. But I'm doing my best to just ignore that aspect, because frankly the animated tales are some of the best stuff I've ever seen. With beautifully drawn stories like these, I think I can let one draenei's mysterious all-seeing knowledge of everything orc related slide. What did you guys think of the latest Lords of War? What do you think of the Frostwolf Clan -- and what do you think of Durotan?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: Work, Work

Working for a living is rough, even if you're an orc. You've still got to deal with alarm clocks, public transportation, and dodging traffic to get to your office door, even if you happen to work for Blizzard Entertainment. The latest from Ian Beckman is a nice mix of machinima and live footage showing an orc facing all of the life challenges we unfortunate humans have to deal with (plus the trouble of finding an apartment with orc-sized doors).

Though the video is short and to the point, the combination works beautifully and reminds me of the scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit where Eddie wanders off-set at the studio to find cartoon characters bustling about to work done alongside their human co-workers. Now that I've seen this video, I'm convinced the actual Blizzard Entertainment offices are the same. You can't convince me they aren't!
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 3

Ragnaros

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?

If you missed part 1 and part 2, that means you were late for the raid and we're docking you 50 DKP. Next time get here early to help the warlocks farm soul shards.

OK, fellow archivists! We've cleared trash, we've decursed, we've pulled Geddon to Garr's room, we've brefriended the Duke, and we've doused every fiery rune. It's time to delve into the core of the Core to take on the Majordomo and Ragnaros himself, 2005 edition.

The invincible majordomo

Undefeated in battle, Executus rose through the ranks of Ragnaros's lieutenants to become the Firelord's majordomo. He did not appear until you doused all the runes, so the earliest raids on Molten Core had to stop after Golemagg and Sulfuron due to an Aqual Quintessence shortage.

After raiders repped up with the Hydraxian Waterlords and could finally summon the Majordomo, they were faced with an invincible warrior -- literally. Executus could not be killed. His Aegis of Ragnaros spell gave him a 30K damage absorb buff and healed him to full, so it was pointless to DPS him.

Instead, raids had to manage his eight adds: four Flamewaker Elites and four Flamewaker Healers. Mages were the key to this fight as they had the only reliable, long-term crowd control spell for humanoids. The fight required at least five tanks, one for the majordomo and one for each elite. All four healers were sheeped until all the elites were dead. Then the raid could kill the healers one at a time.

But it wasn't that simple. The fight had some interesting complications.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The Queue: Spinosaurus was aquatic

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

That's right, more dinosaurs. Why? Because I love dinosaurs, and also because we have news about Spinosaurus, one of the most famous predatory dinosaurs and also one of the largest predators. Specifically, a new skeletal reconstruction based on fossils found in Morocco in 2008. This is a big deal because before that, we didn't have much at all for Spinosaurus, since the original fossils were destroyed during World War II by Allied bombing. The idea that the Spinosaurus was aquatic isn't a new one - the shape of its teeth and molecular analysis of the fossils suggested a marine diet - but the skeletal reconstruction gives new, physical evidence to support the idea.

At up to twenty tons, Spinosaurus is definitely one of if not the largest predatory dinosaur ever, and it's suggested that it survived by hunting and eating sharks. With teeth like the ones it had (conical, for catching fish) it definitely specialized in fish eating. Fifteen meters long, twenty tons, this was a massive animal all told.

Jpec07 asks:
How likely is it that the in-game face re-customization feature will make it to live from beta?

I only ask because some forum posts have been met with skepticism.

Pretty likely, all told. Pretty darn likely. It's coded, it's in the beta, at this point taking it out is reversing a solid amount of work that served to include it. It's possible, but not very likely, that they would do that. Also, we have the following from Rygarius.


So I'd say that's pretty much a done deal. I'm 95% sure.

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Filed under: The Queue

Around Azeroth: Daniel waiting in the lion's den

"So I recently re-subbed to WoW after a yearlong break," writes today's anonymous submitter. "I was devastated to see that every time I run Durumu, half or more of the raid is dead after a maze. I'm starting to believe that I've had my lion's share of wipes in LFR right there."


Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: I could buy Westfall

Been messing around on a lowbie alt recently when I hit Westfall, and started doing the quests. I soon noticed that people would kill each other for a few copper pieces there, and then it occurred to me that my lowly level 16 character had something like fifty gold on her. And then I realized that, if a human life was worth a few copper pieces, my fifty gold made me an economic titan in Westfall. If not for the game not allowing it, I could easily completely sabotage the Defias by simply offering a silver piece to every able bodied adult I met in tne entirety of Westfall.

And then I remembered my main, who is toting around tens of thousands of gold. (And heck, that's nothing, we all know people who are actually gold capped) and it occurred to me that if said character came to Westfall and gave every single NPC who isn't hostile to him a gold piece, he'd still have most of his vast forture, and every single one of those people would be wealthy by Westfall's standards. Of course, they'd all probably immediately get robbed by the Defias. And that led me to consider - why can't I just buy Westfall? Fix up Sentinel Hill garrison style, put everyone to work on civic improvements and irrigation systems, offer every able bodied recruit a job in the militia hunting down the Defias. It would probably cost me less than a thousand gold to completely fix up the place.

Alas, it is not to be. Westfall languishes forever in the grip of the Cataclysm revamp. Still, I wish I could build a garrison anywhere in Azeroth and fix it up. How about you? Would you stick a garrison near Razor Hill? Somewhere in Azshara? Out in the Blasted Lands?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: The End of Warlords

Okay, we admit: this machinima probably isn't the actual ending to Warlords of Draenor, so despite the title it's probably not a spoiler -- but we're convinced it would be awesome if it were. Fans of long-lived television series Doctor Who will particularly appreciate this machinima (though non-fans may be confused), which merges the two franchises with a story that fits neatly into both. (And it also helps explain that whole time travel thing we're doing in Warlords in the first place.) The editing helps sell the story, neatly merging elements from different sources into a finished product that's believable... or at least as believable as time-traveling orcs can possibly be.

Blizzard, we hope you're taking notes for the next expansion. This idea is killer.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

Around Azeroth: Beasts of the southern wild

"A paladin's job is a thankless task," writes submitter Arugadh of The Brotherhood of Iron on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "We hafta get punched in the face, heal everyone else, and then protect the rest of ye from the big bad beasties. Well, heck with ye's. I'm gonna go minister to the little wee beasties, who at least be grateful fer the time I spend ministering to them." Sounds like a classic case of healer/tank burnout to me.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

The Queue: Honor, Molten Core iLevel, valor achievements, bugs, and shoulders


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

Thrall. I think this game needs more Thrall.

Don't you agree? They should make an entire expansion about Thrall.

Zuhani asked:

Will it still be possible to get honor points without PvPing, as it is now? I don't mean getting like 16 points when killing something in VoA, more like being able to "buy" honor like you currently do with JP?

I would use this honor to buy old PvP gear for transmogging. Or will old PvP gear be available for gold in the future?

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: Lantresor of the Burning Blade

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

He is not the result of Gul'dan's breeding experiments.

He is not orc, nor is he draenei. No, he is Lantresor, and he is a half-orc blademaster of draenei descent. Formerly one of the Burning Blade, his story straddles two worlds, and in its wake embodies both the glories and the foibles of the world of his birth. Not welcome among either of his peoples, he sought his own path, his own destiny. And we have seen it unfold in different ways, at different times.

Lantresor of the Blade is a blademaster. This is his story.

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

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