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Posts with tag grimtotem

Know Your Lore: Tauren at the end of Mists

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 an awful lot of loose threads around the tauren right now. The Grimtotem are scattered, making temporary pacts with the Alliance in Stonetalon, besieging the night elves in Feralas, and their greatest leader was last seen claiming an artifact of elemental power. In the wake of Cairne's death, Baine Bloodhoof chose to allow Garrosh to rule uncontested - but that position clearly changed over time, and Baine led tauren troops to the support of Vol'jin's rebellion against the Warchief, rather than simply challenging him as his father did. Ironically, this choice shows a certain political maturity - recognizing that trial by personal combat might not be the best means to effect regime change in the Horde - while it also shows a bit of a break with the old ways of both the Horde, and the tauren people.

Baine's father Cairne chose to live, and die, by the older ways of ritual and honor. Betrayed by Magatha, he died from poison on Garrosh Hellscream's axe and with him seems to have died the last vestiges of the tauren ways of the past. Baine led an expulsion of those Grimtotem that would not swear allegiance to him over Magatha that culminated in a battle against their last leaders in Mulgore, and at the end of that battle, Baine ruled the shu'halo as undisputed chieftain of all. But in doing so, he also led his people into their last break with the past, and following the defeat of Garrosh and the ascension of Vol'jin to the seat of power as Warchief, one must ask - what role do the tauren fill in the Horde to come, and where will Baine's current choices lead them in the future?

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

Know Your Lore: 5 must-do Horde zones to complete before Mists

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.

Cataclysm wasn't just about Deathwing, the Aspects and the Dragon Soul. It also contained a huge chunk of new lore information in the 1-to-60 zones that were revamped with the expansion's launch. Some of these areas have a lot to do with Deathwing's story, but some of them contain little stories of their own, stories that haven't been fully completed, plot elements that we may see pop up again in Mists. The revamp set out to breathe some new life into these 1-to-60 leveling zones, and it accomplished that in a major, major way.

I keep repeating myself in Know Your Lore posts and suggesting that people go play through those level 1-to-60 zones that were added in Cataclysm. But it occurred to me that while there are some really amazing zones out there, most people have no idea where to start or which ones they should really be playing through. Which zones are the best in terms of lore? Which ones are the most fun? Which ones may contain elements we may see addressed again in the upcoming expansion? Which ones absolutely should not be missed?

Let's make it a little easier for you.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

All the World's a Stage: Plot points for tauren roleplayers

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

The Horde has experienced a number of dramatic changes in the Cataclysm expansion. In vanilla, the Horde was struggling, largely due to a lack of resources. In Cataclysm, largely due to Garrosh Hellscream's efforts, the Horde has expanded its borders. With the help of the goblins, Azshara is being mined for a wealth of resources, and land is being grabbed all over Kalimdor. Things are beginning to look up for the Horde -- well, if you're in Orgrimmar. Elsewhere, the land is riddled with turmoil and tragedy.

If you're roleplaying a tauren, the events of Cataclysm are a bitter pill to swallow. A leader has been lost, entire settlements have been wiped from the map, racial infighting between the Grimtotem and the tauren of Thunder Bluff continues to rage. Yet in between it all are moments of hope -- and it's up to roleplayers to decide whether to wallow in the sorrow, fight back in fury, or simply try and keep an optimistic amidst it all.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Phat Loot Phriday: Reforged Heartless

Lolegolas tapped the blade called Reforged Heartless against his leg. He'd taken it from the cow now bound tightly next to his campfire. Lolegolas wouldn't normally use slurs to describe fellow members of the Horde, but he was running out of patience.

"The thing about addicts," Lolegolas said in a slow, conversational tone, "is that once you've overcome your dependence on the substance ... you're left with a hole."

He stood up and moved closer to the fire to sit next to the Tauren. "The addiction never goes away. You're always aware of it. It's like the buzzing of wasps in the distance. It's always in the corner of your mind. You always want to sate it. The only real difference is that you now have the strength to control that longing. But controlling it hurts. That's life with addiction."

"Tell me, then," the hunter said quietly to the bound warrior. "If you think a sore tooth makes a bear cranky and mean ... what do you think that kind of constant frustration does to one of the Sin'dorei?"

Lolegolas grit his teeth tightly. "I found a man ... an orc ... who helped me with that pain. Your politics took him away, and now I believe your people might kill him. Let's you and I discuss how we're going to keep that from happening."

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Filed under: Phat Loot Phriday

Know Your Lore: Baine, son of Cairne, chief of the Bloodhoof tauren


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 son is not the father, but the son does not try to be. Baine, son of Cairne, now leads the tauren of Mulgore from Thunder Bluff. While we take no praise away from the old bull, now is the time to acknowledge the new, to celebrate the spirit and strength of Baine. Growing to adulthood in the shadow of so great a figure, Baine has grown from a callow youth to a steady leader and finally to the shu'halo who planned and executed the deliverance of his people from Magatha and her Grimtotem.

It was Baine who defeated the rebel tribe of Grimtotems and yet showed mercy when his father's ultimate murderer came under his judgment. It was Baine who chose to forgo revenge for Garrosh Hellscream's role in his people's loss, in his own bereavement. He could have challenged Garrosh, and without any elder crones to poison the orc warchief's weapon, he most likely could have crushed Hellscream under his furious hooves. He chose not to. He chose his people's benefit, and the benefit of the Horde they are the heart and soul of, over the vengeance he could have sought. He chose others over himself.

Baine Bloodhoof learned his lessons at his father's side, yes. But do not take away from him his stepping out from such a great shadow. It was Baine who in the hour of greatest need stepped forth into An'she's light, saved his people, saved his father's dream, and preserved bonds of fellowship that would not have been hard to tear asunder.

Let us celebrate the life of Baine of the Bloodhoof tauren.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics -- the tauren

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 tauren have often been viewed as the "good" guys of the Horde. While the orcs, blood elves, forsaken and trolls have all had various unsavory qualities, the tauren race stands out as a genuinely peaceful, altruistic race of spiritual people that want nothing but what's best for the earth and the spirits it contains. Despite their seemingly good intentions, this does not leave the tauren without conflicts of their own, and when a closer look is taken at their current activities, some questions still beg to be answered. The history of the tauren is arguably just as lengthy as that of the orcs or the blood elves, the major difference being that the history of the tauren race isn't really documented anywhere to be seen save for a small set of scrolls on Elder Rise in Thunder Bluff. Given that the Horde in general seems to lean more towards using violence to solve their conflicts, where do the tauren fit in, and why did they choose to sign up with the Horde in the first place?

The answer stretches all the way back to Warcraft III, when Warchief Thrall traveled to Kalimdor on the advice of the Prophet, a mysterious figure who would later be revealed as Medivh. After landing in Kalimdor, Thrall and his people found themselves in a much harsher land than the one they'd left, with new enemies like the centaur, a tribal race of primitive, bloodthirsty creatures, half-humanoid and half-horse in appearance. But Durotar was not without allies, as Thrall discovered when he happened across the tauren.

The tauren were originally nomads with no real "home" to speak of -- they simply traveled from place to place, living off the land in large groups or tribes. It is unknown as to how many of these different tribes actually exist, because of this nomadic nature. As they never really settled in any one particular place, the tauren were literally scattered all over the world, though the majority of them were concentrated in Kalimdor. Thrall came across a tauren who was under attack by the centaur and saved him, a tauren from the Bloodhoof tribe led by Chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof. Chieftain Cairne was both grateful for the rescue of his tribesman and intrigued by the nobility and savagery of the orcish race. He explained to the warchief why the Bloodhoof were traveling; while his people had been nomads for centuries, Chieftain Cairne wished to return to the verdant lands of Mulgore, the ancestral homeland of his people. Thrall spoke of the orcs and their flight to Kalimdor to find their destiny, and Cairne told him of an oracle to the north, offering to give him the location of the oracle in exchange for protection from the savage centaur on their journey to Mulgore. Thrall agreed, doubtless feeling no small connection to the chieftain and his wish to find a stable place in which his people could settle and thrive.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: Missed Dungeon Opportunities

So we've talked about the WoW that wasn't in terms of what was planned for Wrath that never got implemented, but that brings to mind another question: What about the WoW that could have been? Namely, where could the game have used another instance or raid, even if Blizzard didn't make any plans for one?

Reader Elstor, who sent us this question the other day, had some ideas himself, such as Oshu'Gun, the giant diamond mountain in the middle of Nagrand. It's honestly a good idea. Unfortunately, the Horde is the only faction who gets quests to head into the middle of the mountain and find out its true secret, as well as gain a valuable insight into the nature of the Naaru. Fleshing out Oshu'Gun as an instance would have provided some great lore insight into the Naaru (and maybe even the Horde) that the Alliance is sadly missing, and would even be an opportunity to further develop the split between the Kurenai and the Mag'har.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Lore

Return of the Grimtotem

Cocles over at Loregy.com (who I actually got to meet the other day -- good guy, and check out his license plate) has an interesting idea about something he spotted in the information about the Cataclysm zones the other day. Thousand Needles is getting a revamp, including possibly a new instance, and Cocles says that could mean something awesome: the return of the Grimtotem clan (just a warning: there is a more serious spoiler later in that post).

I'm in. I love the "dark Tauren," and would love to see more from them. Plus, while we've seen plenty of troll instances, Cocles says we haven't seen a Tauren instance in the game (and all we can think of is good old Mr. Smite). And we haven't really heard from the Grimtotems since that whole issue with the spirit beast taming. It'd be nice to fight some cows for once.

There's lots of lore to mine there, too: Magatha is the reigning matriarch of the clan, and not only is she buddies with the Forsaken (obviously there's been something happening with them during Wrath), but she's rivals with Cairne Bloodhoof as well. It would definitely be interesting. Of course, this is all speculation -- we aren't sure that there will even be an instance in Thousand Needles, much less that it'll be Grimtotem based (the whole place is getting flooded, so anything could happen -- maybe the Naga will get a "fin-hold" there). But the idea of taking on the Grimtotem again seems like fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Quests, Lore, NPCs, Cataclysm

Patch 3.3 PTR: New Tauren skins found

Handclaw of the Scrolls of Lore Forums has uncovered something very intriguing in the Patch 3.3 PTR data files: New Tauren skins. Specifically, it looks like tribal war paint covering the face, arms, and chest, taking the form of bleeding wings on the chest. There's red, white, and blue color versions for both males and females.

There's quite a few Tauren fans on the WoW.com staff, and we've been having quite a few conversations about the new Tauren lore and their place in Cataclysm, so you can bet this new discovery has us all atwitter. What could it mean though? There's a few possibilities.

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, News items, Lore, RP, NPCs, Rumors, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: New 5-man dungeon plotlines

So the rumors of a new 5-man dungeon to come sometime before Icecrown, maybe in 3.2 or 3.3, continue to persist. Assuming they're true, I wonder: What would you like to see? I have a few ideas of my own.

How about a Grimtotem dungeon? Let's unmask Magatha once and for all as a Scourge agent. Some quest lines point to the possibility, and it's an excuse to implement a nice Great Masquerade type quest line complete with confrontation in Thunder Bluff. It's topical to Wrath, and it shakes Tauren lore up a bit. It's a perfect idea all around, as far as I'm concerned.

If that idea doesn't tickle your fancy, I have a few more after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Rumors

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a tauren

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the sixth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The first cultural influence you'll probably think of when you see the tauren and walk around in their villages is "Native American." That's fine as far as it goes, but you should remember that they're mainly based on the stereotypical image of what Native Americans are rather than their actual reality. I'm hardly an expert on Native Americans, however, so rather than try and speak for these differences, I'm just going to put the whole issue aside and take tauren as tauren rather than parallels to any human culture. Besides, aside from certain aspects of architecture, music, clothing, and mythology, the tauren are really their own species. They are quite general enough to remind us of all kinds of different cultures around the world, many of whom cherish the earth, revere their ancestors, and try to live in harmony with the world.

Some people say that the tauren are the noblest and most peaceful of the races in World of Warcraft, but for most of their history, they have been at war with the vicious centaur -- though not by choice. The centaur have always been very hostile towards tauren, driving them out of their ancestral homelands, slaughtering them and even cannibalizing them whenever possible. In a way, the centaur seem like four-legged versions of the nastier trolls who never joined the Horde. When Thrall came to Kalimdor and encountered the tauren in the midst of their struggle against the centaur, it marked the beginning of one of the greatest changes in tauren history.

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Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Virtual selves, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Why all race Death Knights make sense from a lore standpoint

It seems like one of the biggest problems a lot of people have with Death Knights is the fact that they can be all races. Me, I say: Why not? The lore really isn't as bad as you might think. Sure, some of the retcons can get a little annoying, but despite the fact that non-Paladin races will get to be Death Knights, I don't think you really consider it a retcon, but rather an evolution in an ever-evolving story that opens up a lot of great story ideas and RP opportunities, and I'm really looking forward to it.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Expansions, Draenei, Blood Elves, Lore, RP, NPCs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore: The Defias Brotherhood

Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Elizabeth Wachowski and Alex Ziebart bring you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm.

The Defias Brotherhood is something that I'm sure both factions have at least a little familiarity with, though the Alliance most definitely has more exposure to them. There aren't many Horde questlines that will give you a brush with this faction of bandits, but even my Horde friends take a trip to Westfall to check out the Deadmines every now and then.

I don't blame them, either. Not only is the Deadmines an awesome instance, the Defias Brotherhood also has quite the interesting background. While there are superhuman entities involved in their story, it isn't laid on as thick as in other Warcraft plotlines. Theirs is more a story of political and social unrest, and the power of manipulation. I would go as far as to say this is part of the single largest plotline in Warcraft currently, spanning half a dozen zones, three expansions, a comic series, and involving at least five different major factions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Upper Deck introduces Traitor cards for the WoW TCG

Those of you who are fanatics of the WoW TCG have probably heard of the new Servants of the Betrayer expansion already, but even if you have, it's worth checking out this new article on the official Upper Deck TCG site. It goes into greater length about the philosophy behind the new cards, and introduces the basic ideas, mechanics, and lore behind the new Traitor Heroes. While "Servants of the Betrayer" rightly assumes you'll be able to control Vashj and Kael, they decided that they did not want to make those two central to deck building, since they already plan to release a new Black Temple raid deck later on. Instead, they will be possible allies of a new series of "Traitor Heroes."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, WoW TCG

Know Your Lore: The Grimtotems

This has been one of the most-requested Know Your Lore subjects over the months we've had this feature, but I've held off because until recently there just wasn't that much information about the Grimtotems. With the new Dustwallow Marsh content in 2.4 and the revelations in the WoW comic book, it's finally time to explore one of the most mysterious factions in the game -- Magatha Grimtotem and her tribe of tauren outcasts.

Who: The Grimtotem Clan.

What: 1,430 members of a powerful Tauren clan.

History: Way, way back before Cairne Bloodhoof met Thrall and created a new tauren homeland in Mulgore, the tauren were organized into clans, each with their own leader. The Grimtotem were NOT one of these clans. Instead, the Grimtotem name passed down through generations of survival in other clans, until the Tauren were unified under Cairne. Then the Grimtotem banded together as, basically, an opposition party, defined by their distrust of Cairne's alliance with the orcs and trolls.

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Filed under: Tauren, Know your Lore

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