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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Curse of Flesh

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The Curse of Flesh
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.
Abedneum: Accessing. In the early stages of its development cycle Azeroth suffered infection by parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes. Designation: Old Gods. Old Gods rendered all systems, including Earthen defenseless in order to facilitate assimilation. This matrix destabilization has been termed the Curse of Flesh. Effects of destabilization increased over time.
Brann Bronzebeard yells: Old Gods eh? So they zapped the Earthen with this Curse of Flesh. And then what?
Kaddrak: Accessing. Creators arrived to extirpate symbiotic infection. Assessment revealed that Old God infestation had grown malignant. Excising parasites would result in loss of host--
The early days of Azeroth's creation are a puzzle that has yet to be completely solved. The issue of Azeroth's creation lies in the order of events as they've been presented; we have two very different orders of events depending on where you're looking for reference. In one, the Titans arrived on Azeroth to find the Old Gods, put the world in order, then left for parts unknown. In another, it's implied that the Titans arrived, put the world to order, and left. At some point after this, the Old Gods arrived and wreaked havoc, prompting the return of the Titans and the imprisonment of the Old Gods.

So ... which one is correct? Well, there's an interesting part in the middle of all of this that can be used to try and unravel that particular puzzle. It's called the Curse of Flesh, and its shaped far more of Azeroth as we know it today than you'd think.

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 what is to come as a result. 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 curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn
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.

Prince Anduin Llane Wrynn is the sole heir to Stormwind's throne. Named after Varian's father, the beloved King Llane, and the hero of all heroes, Anduin Lothar, he's got two major figures to live up to. Yet rather than turn down the path of Lothar's heroics, he seems to be gravitating towards the direction that King Llane ultimately followed: A beloved leader, one who treated all in his kingdom with kindness and respect, up to and including Garona -- a member of the Old Horde who by all rights, despite her background as a half-breed, was still the face of the enemy.

And in the end, that spelled King Llane's undoing. His trust was his weakness, and it resulted in his assassination. King Llane died in part because of the machinations of the Shadow Council, but in even larger part because he simply didn't exercise caution like he should. King Llane's death is a cautionary tale that his son Varian took to heart -- but Varian's son is a different story altogether. Anduin Wrynn presents a peculiar puzzle that has yet to be fully explained.

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 what is to come as a result. 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

Poll: Do you cheat on your faction?

Poll Do you cheat on your faction
We all know how it starts. A stolen glance across the sands of Silithus. That moment where you eyes meet, a shared second in the Deeprun Tram as you chase your foe back down the tunnel with your finger hovering over the Hammer of Wrath, but hesitate to hurl it home. You know your past, your history, your ambitions, you're a draenei, you're a member of the Alliance, it's all so clear. But somewhere, somewhere there's a longing for something more. Something different. Something... green.

And before you know it, you're being catapulted from Kezan into a new world, a world of orcs and blood elves, of trolls and tauren, of bloodlust rather than heroism. It's new, it's exciting, but is it anything more than just a fleeting visit? Can you really stay in this place, with the in-fighting and the slums and the ramshackle, riotous city of Orgrimmar as your home?

Have you ever cheated on your faction? Been deepsing with the enemy? You're far from alone. It's certainly safe to say that some players are like swans: when it comes to factions, they mate for life. But others are like sparrows, flitting from faction to faction. If you're a sparrow rather than a swan, are your dalliances with the dark side flippant flings, or full-blown affairs? Are you truly bi-factional, or will one always take precedence, always be your home and your heart?
Do you cheat on your faction?
Yes2646 (59.6%)
No1796 (40.4%)

Filed under: Humor

Know Your Lore: Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt?

Know Your Lore Is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt
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.

As the expansion rolls on, we are lurching towards something that we've known was coming since the beta for Mists of Pandaria -- Garrosh Hellscream's downfall and the Siege of Orgrimmar. Yet what we didn't know that day that were were informed of the expansions focus, is just how the new Warchief's reign would end. And as the patches have continued to roll out, we have more of an idea and a solid picture of both the Alliance and the Horde's place in this conflict. Make no mistake, Hellscream has made far too many enemies in his short reign, both within and without.

Yet there are those who point out Garrosh's actions and the possibility that his actions may not be under his control. That perhaps he's been corrupted by the Sha while searching for power in Pandaria. Or perhaps the bones of Mannoroth that Garrosh uses as his throne still have some vestige of darkness that lingers within. Or that perhaps the Old Gods have been slowly leeching their influence into Garrosh. Regardless of the methods behind it, there are plenty of people all wondering the same thing -- is Garrosh Hellscream corrupt? Are we going to fight the Warchief, only to discover a far greater horror waiting for us?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: Not an opera

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.

Today's Queue is not about opera. Rejoice.

Donald asked:

Alex, I was reading your post on what the Alliance is missing. As a Horde player, it felt like our faction could use similar things like more familiar faces questing etc. How would you feel if the horde got the same treatment?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Know Your Lore: The Horde vs. the Horde

Know Your Lore The Horde vs the Horde
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.

Spoilers for patch 5.3 to follow

Back in the day, and be not mistaken the day was well before The Burning Crusade was even a glimmer in our eyes, I rolled a tauren warrior. His name was Vorn. Vorn went on many quests, because questing was my favorite way to level. Vorn went all over the world, exploring the Horde and the lands under its control, and he found a lot he liked about his allies. He could respect the orcish ferocity and skill in war, the trollish craft, guile, and restrained sense of humor (the Darkspears are sardonic in their way), and even the forsaken seemed to have a wide disparity of personality types. I met forsaken in Thunder Bluff who sent me across the world to return a locket to a tombstone, and that quest moved me to explore the forests of Silverpine, and in time to go to Undercity itself. To be sure, I found there to be aspects of their unlives that disturbed me, but they displayed a strength in adversity that I found admirable.

And then they ruined it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: What is the Alliance missing?

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.

Alliance lore and the Alliance storyline in general have both been subjects of contention since some point early in Cataclysm, and the complaints don't seem to be getting any quieter. In the upcoming patch 5.3, the Alliance will be taking a direct hand in the events playing out near Orgrimmar, but not in the way you would readily expect. And oddly, this has Alliance players worked up in a near frenzy on realm and story forums, bitter and angry about the direction the Alliance storyline has been taking and repeatedly demanding more.

And it is incredibly difficult to understand just what all the fuss is about. There isn't a tangible moment that one can point to, there isn't a cohesive example of what has been happening. There's just a sense of unhappiness that is, to Alliance players, absolutely real. So this week, we're going to take a slightly different route for Know Your Lore. We're going to look at the nuts and bolts behind Mists of Pandaria, the Alliance, and the story so far. And we're going to do so in as analytical and constructive a manner as possible, to try and find that specific what-happened that seems to be bothering so many players.

Let's take a deep breath, dive in, and ask ourselves not "what is wrong," but instead, "what is the Alliance missing?"

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.3 content. If you're trying to avoid spoilers, you may want to turn away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.3 PTR: Vol'jin and the Darkspear Rebellion

Patch 53 PTR Vol'jin and the Darkspear Rebellion
When I began playing Horde sometime in 2005, I vividly remember running through the barren hills of Durotar and completing the quests. According to the quests, I was just a new character that may or may not have the potential to be a hero someday -- and I felt suitably lowly, yet willing to help out. But I tell you what, I never, ever in a million years expected to be at Vol'jin's side, leading a fleet of angry Darkspear on a charge through the shallow canyons to Razor Hill, and eventually Orgrimmar itself.

It may just be on the PTR for now, but it is seriously one of the most sweeping, awesome, coolest moments I can remember in all the years I've been playing this game.

Vol'jin's back in Kalimdor, and he's ticked. But then, being the target of an assassination attempt ordered by the Warchief of the Horde is probably more than enough to make anyone cranky. If there's anything we're learning in patch 5.3, it's that while the Darkspear may be small, they are far from helpless -- and kicking that bees' nest is an action that will ultimately be sorely regretted. Both Horde and Alliance are on the prowl in patch 5.3, but the stories on each side of the faction fence look very, very different in patch 5.3, although the goal at hand is ultimately the same.

Please note: This post discusses patch 5.3 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turn away now.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Vol'jin and conflicted loyalties

Know Your Lore Vol'jin and conflicted loyalties
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.
"Why?" a voice asked. Vol'jin felt the voice in his bones; it rumbled inside him. "Why you lead our people to subjugation? Surely it be better to fight alone an' proud, to die alone an' proud." "No," Vol'jin said, thinking it through. "De Darkspears should always be free an' proud. But we got to be alive to be free. If we dead, we lost. Better to bide our time, to endure. We be an ancient race, mon, and we endure."
Vol'jin may have been abruptly thrown into the role of leader for the Darkspear tribe, but that doesn't mean he wasn't prepared for it. The leader of the Darkspear is far more clever than one would think. And although he readily agreed to think over what Thrall had said regarding Garrosh Hellscream, it seems in Mists of Pandaria that the conclusion he's come to is that while Thrall's intentions may have been good, the placement of Garrosh as Warchief of the Horde was an error ... one that needs to be corrected.

All around Azeroth, the Horde is crumbling to pieces, and the blame lies on the actions of Garrosh Hellscream. Yet how can Vol'jin justify turning his back on the Horde, leading the Darkspear into the unknown? How can Vol'jin justify his actions in Cataclysm, Mists, and the upcoming release of patch 5.3?

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains some brief spoilers for patch 5.3 content. If you're trying to avoid spoilers, you may want to turn away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.3 PTR: Valley of Spirits closed down by Garrosh's goons

Patch 53 PTR Valley of Spirits closed down by Garrosh's goons
It seems that Garrosh's Kor'kron Guard are ramping up their action against the Darkspear trolls in Orgrimmar's Valley of Spirits. Wowhead's Perculia reported on this earlier today, and WoW Insider had to go check it out for ourselves.

And it's true, where once there were snake vendors roaming freely, now there are trolls cornered and watched by the Kor'kron overseers. There's no business taking place at all, and almost all the NPCs have different things to say to the would be purchaser, or indeed, trainee. My shaman trainer responded thus when I interacted with him:
Not now, shaman. I cannot train you today.
[Your trainer's voice lowers to a whisper]
The Kor'kron watches our every move. Garrosh has the Valley of Spirits under his thumb.
You want to help? Find Vol'jin. He will know what to do.
while Perculia reported her rogue trainer saying the following:
Ya need trainin'? You picked a real inconvenient time to come pokin' through the Valley of Spirits.
[Your trainer's voice lowers to a whisper]
The Kor'kron watches our every move. Garrosh has the Valley of Spirits under his thumb. I could be killed if they saw me talkin' to you.

Lucky for you, they don't ever see me. Lean in close, [name], we gotta keep this on the down low.
The other NPCs have various different dialogs that all tell much the same story: Garrosh's grunts have taken over the Valley of Spirits, and are preventing the trolls from doing their business. Sijambi the innkeeper is the only one who still seems to be open for business, but it's possible she is running some sort of racket, as her hammocks are packed with sleeping Kor'kron.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The Horde rebellion, loyalty, and leadership

imposting garrosh
Loyalty, and its limits, are pretty big underlying themes in WoW's current story arc. As of patch 5.1, the WoW poster child for complex loyalties and their consequences is Aethas Sunreaver. Aethas has a divided heart. He is a blood elf (and was, once upon a time, a high elf) and as such, he is loyal to Quel'Thalas. But he is also a citizen of Dalaran, it's his adopted homeland, and he also wishes to be loyal to Dalaran. These are loyalties he has tried to juggle for three expansions now, and they finally, inevitably, came to a head. Aethas' failure in patch 5.1 lies in either his own arrogance or naivete, that he couldn't see the truth: in this day and age, in Azeroth, those loyalties were irreconcilable. Once Quel'Thalas had decided to ally with the Horde, a longtime enemy of Dalaran, it was only a matter of time before that political division bore consequences for individuals. Aethas' own refusal to choose is ultimately what led to his choice being forced.

I feel for Aethas, in this sense. I sympathize with his impulse toward reconciliation. Why shouldn't he have tried? History was on his side. Quel'Thalas and Dalaran have, in fact, been traditional allies for quite a long time, much longer than they have been enemies. I don't think his hope was unreasonable, but it did turn out to be impossible. There is just too much bad blood - on many sides - for any sort of truce to exist at this point, and it will likely be a very long time before those wounds are healed enough for bridges to be rebuilt. Sometimes compromise just isn't an option.

Fair warning: there are minor spoilers for patch 5.3 below the cut.

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

War is All Hell: The use of moral ambiguity in Warcraft

There's a long-standing rumor that Winston Churchill allowed the bombing of Coventry, even though he could have prevented it via intelligence gathered by cracking German war codes, in order to preserve the advantage of having cracked those codes. Is it true? I have no idea. More important for our discussion, however, is the idea of that decision. Imagine a leader having to decide to sacrifice civilians in order to preserve an advantage that might well win the entire conflict. It's often called the brutal algebra of warfare - you lose 10 million here, so that 20 million will live over there. You send a company off to die so that a regiment can survive and accomplish its mission. One of the great horrors of war is not just that people die, but that other people have to countenance their deaths.

One of my biggest problems with the Alliance/Horde conflict is that so far, it hasn't really demonstrated this idea. We've gotten to see the consequences of war - the survivors crying out for vengeance, settlements and towns destroyed, cities bombed, even the ruthless pragmatism of a leader willing to find and use any weapon he can to destroy his enemies. But while Garrosh Hellscream has played the role of relentless aggressor to the hilt, his opposite number hasn't shown how far he's willing to go. Varian Wrynn's participation in the 'A Little Patience' scenario shows that he's a more measured and contemplative leader than he once was, but we've yet to see just how extreme the measures he's willing to countenance are. So far, the only time the Alliance was willing to make morally questionable choices to win was in Dalaran, actions that were clearly the work of Jaina Proudmoore and Vereesa Windrunner. However you personally found those actions, it can't be denied that they not only advanced the story but showed a new side to Alliance leadership.

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

New World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn teaser images

New World of Warcraft Bloodstorm teaser images
Once upon a time, World of Warcraft had its very own comic series. The series ended in 2009 with a special one-shot issue that shared a tantalizing glimpse of more comics to come. Since then, the world of WoW comics has been by and large silent, except for rumors of two graphic novel projects. The first, Dark Riders, is slated for release this May. And now we have some new information and images to share from the other project that has until now been under wraps -- World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn. Along with some exclusive images from the graphic novel, Blizzard has shared with us a summary of the story.
As the Cataclysm rips through Azeroth, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream orders the best warriors of the Horde to come forward and serve in a new army, lest their foes in the Alliance sense weakness and attack. We meet these warriors as they come forward - from very different lands, backgrounds, traditions...Will they be able to overcome their deep differences and work together to serve the Horde, especially when challenged by a powerful, unfamiliar race claiming to be the real rulers of Azeroth?
From both the summary and the amount of time its been in development, it looks as though Bloodsworn takes place prior to Mists of Pandaria. While we likely won't see any of our pandaren pals, getting a closer look at the Horde and Hellscream's war machine during the tumultuous events of Cataclysm is apt to be fascinating. And what's up with that powerful, unfamiliar race? Ordinarily I'd say mogu, but I doubt we're dealing with Mists content.

World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn is now available for pre-order on Amazon for the low price of $14.28. Although Amazon currently has the release date for the graphic novel listed as August 13, 2013, please note that release dates may change. And if you'd like a further glimpse of what's in store, take a look at our gallery for an exclusive sneak-peek of the graphic novel.


Filed under: News items, Lore

Patch 5.2: Wrathion and the legendary chain

Patch 52, Wrathion, and the legendary chain
Wrathion's waiting for you, friends. If you have completed all the steps so far in the legendary chain, Wrathion will have some new tasks for you to complete in patch 5.2. While we still aren't entirely certain whether or not he's telling the truth about his motives -- or even whether those motives are bad or good -- we can be absolutely certain of one thing. As long as we help Wrathion, Wrathion keeps handing over the goods. And you can't really argue with that!

Last patch, Wrathion pitted Alliance against Horde in Krasarang Wilds and had us gleefully murdering the opposing faction in an attempt to discover who the true heroes and hearts of the Alliance and Horde really were. While it seems counterproductive to murder the army you're trying to gather together, Wrathion rewarded us with a nice socket for our time. In patch 5.2, Wrathion's concerns have shifted -- and his rewards are worth the effort.

Please note that there are potential minor spoilers for patch 5.2 after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Jaina Proudmoore and the Kirin Tor

Know Your Lore Jaina Proudmoore and the Kirin Tor 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.

For most players, the Kirin Tor are simply one of many factions available during Wrath of the Lich King. They ran the city of Dalaran, once located just north of the Hillsbrad Foothills, then later relocated to Northrend. In Wrath, players both Alliance and Horde could earn reputation with the Kirin Tor -- the Kirin Tor didn't have a faction bias. They were quite happily a neutral organization, far more interested in matters of magic and learning than any political matters.

But there is far more to the story of the Kirin Tor, and to the city-state of Dalaran. And now that the Kirin Tor has a new leader, it's taking those first few steps away from neutrality and into alignment. Because of this, the Kirin Tor has stepped into a dangerous new light, one with some ethical questions that are far, far more political than one would expect from a collection of mages and intellectuals united under one banner.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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