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Know Your Lore: The vengeance of 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.

We don't exactly know a lot about Vindicator Maraad, despite the fact that he is one of the first draenei we ever saw, one of the featured characters in the original trailer for Burning Crusade. What small pieces we've seen of the Vindicator have been largely isolated to comics and short stories, capped with a small appearance in game that was never really expanded upon. For a character with a background like Maraad, it's almost a pity that he hasn't been properly utilized until now.

Lords of War aired its final episode earlier this week, featuring Maraad and more of his story -- a tragic tale of an era we've only really read about, but never actually seen. The brutality of Shattrath's slaughter was hard to watch, but harder to watch was Maraad's struggle -- a struggle shared by the remainder of the draenei race on Azeroth. But if Maraad is seeking vengeance, retribution, or vindication on Draenor, he may be sorely disappointed.

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

The Queue: I swear it's a screenshot


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.

The above is a small fountain/shrine/draenei structure along the path between the borders of Shadowmoon and Talador. I'm not exactly sure what purpose it serves, or what those pretty glowing lights are, exactly, but it's beautiful either way.

Jalamenos commented:

Seriously, that header image. I thought it was concept art at first because it's so beautiful.

It's absolutely a screenshot. The fun part is that Draenor is absolutely full of scenic vistas like that one, and the one above. Honestly, this is one of the other reason I don't mind that we don't have flying right now in Draenor -- if you could fly everywhere, you'd miss running into these scenic little areas, and that would be an absolute pity because they are gorgeous. The whole world is utterly gorgeous.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: Plants are pretty awesome

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've been in the Warlords of Draenor beta since it began and there are still environments that completely take my breath away. Whoever was doing all of the plants and trees and grass and mushrooms and other assorted flora of Draenor deserves a crate or two of cookies.

Klok asked:

For what reason(s) does one need 5 Warriors?

Well I imagine when being attacked by a rampaging army of bloodthirsty orcs, the more warriors you have, the better off you'd be.

But seriously though, I think we can just safely say that Rossi really, really, really loves the class he plays.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: A great many words

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.

So I missed the seventh anniversary of The Care and Feeding of Warriors, which makes sense, because I don't get to write it any more. It's strange because for the longest time, it was the lynchpin of my week here at WoW Insider - every Thursday night (like tonight, as I write this) I would sit down and I would think to myself 'Okay, what next? What are we going to talk about next?' and then I would do it. In a way the Friday Queue has taken that role, but it's not the same - as maddening as it could be to try and come up with another 1k words about warriors week in, week out, it was also something I really loved doing and it's something I dearly miss. Still, I'm grateful y'all let me take a whack at your questions week in, week out.

I have nothing negative to say about paladins. They do their thing, I do mine. Live and let live, you know?

Anyway, here is a Queue for you. Let's talk about World of Warcraft. Maybe there will be some warrior questions. I would like that. (Yes, I know they discovered a new species of Ankylosaur this week.)

Krhe asks:
Q4TQ: I'm not sure if this has ever been asked or answered but once we replace our Legendary cloaks in WoD will we ever to be able to xmog our new cloak to have the same visual effects as our Legendary?

I can't say never but as of this morning (1 am eastern) the answer on the beta was a resounding no. You can't mog to legendaries and you can't mog special spell effects from one item onto another. So even if you could mog your legendary cloak appearance over your new cloak, it wouldn't duplicate the special effect of the cloak.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Through The Dark Portal Again

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.

Okay. Up front and with no fanfare - we're going to spoiler country. Huge, gigantic, terrifying spoilers for Warlords of Draenor and its Tanaan Jungle opening experience aplenty. I'm not going to waste time being coy or making cryptic statements about which guy is doing what. I'm going to drop spoilers, lots of them, like a rockslide so if that's soething you don't want to read, this is not the post for you. I've now burned an entire opening paragraph warning you about these spoilers, so you have absolutely no excuse for not avoiding them if you're of a mind to. '

Warlords of Draenor opens with a crisis at the Dark Portal. A new threat, a massive armed force of maniacal orcs have stormed the Portal and poured out into Azeroth, destroying both the Horde and Alliance bases in the area and making alliances with the local ogres. Once this threat is dealt with, it becomes clear that as long as the Portal remains open on the other end, the threat will continue. And so, once again, Azeroth must send forces through the Portal and onto an alien world. All of this is very familiar, and yet, once they set foot on the other side, these heroes of Azeroth find not the blasted and surreal Hellfire Peninsula, but rather the Tanaan Jungle, as terrifyingly lush as it was in distant memories of the time before the Rise of Gul'Dan's Horde.

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

The Queue: World chat, flying, and legendary disappointment


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.

Hey I don't know where this idea came that I hate Death Knights.

I hate Paladins. Paladins stink guys.

Xlol asked:

What if I can't win a Silvershard MIne or Kotmogu PVP by the time 6.0 comes out? I've done Silvershard 15 times and have lost every single one of them.

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: The undeniable failure of Thrall

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, former Warchief of the Horde, came from a line of leaders, destined by his parentage to eventually take leadership of the Frostwolf clan -- but he ended up doing far, far more than just that. Through Thrall's efforts, the Horde was rebuilt anew into a different organization, one built not on the concept of bloody battles and victorious conquest, but instead on the ideals of freedom, liberation, unity. Family. With that goal in mind, he allowed a multitude of races to join as allies with this new Horde, establishing a home in Kalimdor.

But that Horde was not the Horde that the orc race was familiar with. It wasn't the same Horde of united clans that drank the blood of Mannoroth, ripped through the Dark Portal and stormed into Azeroth with the intent of conquering the planet. It certainly was a far, far cry from the Horde of Draenor -- the Horde from days not so long before the orcs first arrived on Azeroth, the Horde that thrived prior to Thrall's birth.

And perhaps it was that curious dichotomy between the two that led Thrall astray. Or perhaps it was simply that his parents, Durotan and Draka, were killed while he was still an infant, and he was raised in as a slave in a camp of humans that taught him human ideals, human ideas. They taught him to read, they taught him to speak, they taught him how to be. What they did not teach him was one very important thing -- how to be an orc.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor, including the cinematics that were released last week. If you are avoiding spoilers, don't click!

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

The Queue: Beard obsession

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 don't know why exactly a good chunk of you were so completely obsessed with beards in yesterday's Queue, but okay, I'll indulge with a Cyanide & Happiness short that seems suitably appropriate for the topic at hand. Or chin, I guess.

Jorsha asked:

Q4tQ: is Coren Direbrew a whole long dungeon fight or is it just the boss fight like Headless Horseman at Hallow's End? I need Coren to finally finish off the Brewmaster achievement, but I really don't enjoy running dungeons so I've never done it. I love the H.H. fight because that's all it is.... just kill him, hope for the mount to drop (still waiting) and then move on. Cheers!

Coren is in fact just like the Headless Horseman. When you zone in, you do so right in Direbrew's room at the Grim Guzzler, and all you have to do is speak to him to start the fight. No trash, no dungeon, nothing but Direbrew and his cronies to take down. Easy enough! ... although be careful about pulling the rest of the bar while you're fighting him. It probably isn't that much of an issue these days, but I remember a few entertaining "oops" pulls when Coren was first introduced.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: Dinosaurs because it's Friday

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.

Yesterday, I deliberately didn't go on and on about dinosaurs. So today, I'm not being nearly so restrained. Dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs. Also some mosasaurs and pterosaurs because hey, prehistoric critters, good enough for me. Okay, that should keep me calm for a while. Let's get on with the World of Warcraft questions, which I suspect will be disappointingly dinosaur free.

FabioKasecker asks:
Q4tQ: I know that the questline for the cloak will be gone on 6.0.2 and with the release of WoD, but what about the vendor? What if I don't have enough gold to buy the second cloak for a second spec when WoD drops? Will I still be able to buy it after the release of the next xpac?

The vendor isn't going anywhere. If you completed the quest before it is removed, you can still purchase the items.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: Legendary decisions, Lore, A boring lack of dinosaurs

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.

No dinosaurs today. We are going straight into the meat of the Queue.

Arthonos asks:
With all the flack that Blizzard is getting right now over their decision to remove the Legendary quest chain, do you think they should be more upfront at the release of an expansion what will and will not be temporary content? More importantly, why should a company destroy content it created? I can see if the intent is to update or upgrade stuff, as they did in Cata, but this is removing content that would remain entertaining even after it has served its purpose as a source of loot.

This is one of those times where I'm not happy with a decision but my unhappiness with said decision doesn't seem to be the same as everyone else's unhappiness with said decision. I don't care that they're taking a legendary out of the game or making it so people who don't have the quest by 6.0.2 can't start the quest. But I feel like making it so people who've started the quest can't finish it once Warlords drops is a bad move. Even if we feel like those people have had plenty of time, the legendary cloak is a huge ball of RNG luck, tons of time and dedication, a lot of really hard single player moments, that stupid lightning serpent on the Throne of Thunder - if people are on any part of that quest, they've done a ton of work, and to my mind they should be allowed to finish that work. Just zeroing out the quest and getting rid of their quest items doesn't sit right by me.

Maybe I shouldn't care. But I really don't like the precedent that sets. The idea that the coming of a new expansion should erase all that effort. They've removed legendaries before - you can't get Atiesh anymore - but this is the first legendary that was simultaneously accessible and yet felt like such a personal achievement. Maybe that's why it has to go - a level 100 player could probably breeze through the chain. It still feels weird to me. That's my take on it, which doesn't really directly answer your question because I have no idea if Blizzard knew they were going to take the quest out when they introduced it.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: Merely a setback

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) has invaded the Queue today.

Just when I thought I'd finally gotten rid of him, Millhouse Manastorm has shown his face again, this time casually dining upstairs in my garrison's inn on the beta. Apparently being eaten by a giant mutant crystal worm was merely a setback. ... at least he isn't trying to summon Kil'jaeden or anything, I guess?

JordanPhillips asked:

q4tq: if UBRS is being revamped to be max level, what happens to LBRS? If I recall correctly, both UBRS/LBRS utilize the same starting entrance area.

They are actually two separate instances, now! The main entryway when you zone in right now is un-instanced on the beta, and the once-locked door to UBRS is now an instance portal. There's a portal to LBRS under the bridge. I sort of wish I still had my UBRS key now, because as of 6.0.2, it's a completely useless relic of a bygone era.

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Filed under: The Queue

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

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

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

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