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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Light of the naaru

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.

First featured in the Burning Crusade expansion, the enigmatic naaru have been a constant, benevolent life-force in World of Warcraft -- strange creatures with some sort of eternal crusade against the darkness of the Legion. It was the naaru that saved Prophet Velen and his people when they were on the cusp of being claimed by the dark promises of Sargeras, the naaru that helped them flee, the naaru that taught them the Light. And it was the naaru who seemed to be playing a much, much longer game than anyone else, when Burning Crusade reached its end and the full scope of M'uru's plan was revealed.

Burning Crusade marked the second known occasion that the naaru willingly stepped into the lives of mortal races to pull them away from darkness and reach salvation -- although it's entirely possible they have done this before with other races, on other worlds we've never seen. This has always been presented as the noblest of causes. Yet despite all these altruistic actions, we really know very little about the naaru, where they came from, or ultimately why it is that they feel they must fulfill this task. Yet while Warlords of Draenor largely concerns the orcs and the Iron Horde, there are still a few clues -- just enough to expand that perception of the naaru a little more and raise a few more questions in the process.

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.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

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

Know Your Lore: Shadowmoon Valley and the Dark Star

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 - there will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post. Specifically for the Shadowmoon Valley zone.

One of the most fascinating things for me about the unfolding lore in this first zone is the new vision of the draenei it provides us. Far from the ragtag band of embittered survivors clinging on to a crashed dimension ship, the draenei of Warlords are a proud society of expatriated beings who are caught between conflicting impulses. Do they fight to hold on to the world they were forced to leave and its ancient ways, or do they adopt new ones to become more fully part of the world they find themselves on? And how many times have they had to make this choice?

As you quest through the zone, you come to discover that Shadowmoon Valley wasn't chosen as a draenei holy spot through random chance - the interaction between the draenei and the orcs in this area presages developments in other parts of the world. Just as the draenei have had to choose how they will adapt to a new world, the orcs of the Shadowmoon Clan were forced to contend with a power they did not understand. Each exists in a kind of opposition to the other, and the choices of one affect how the other develops.

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

Know Your Lore: Velen, the Prophet

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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 failed long ago to turn my brothers from their course. And creation has paid the price."

How must it feel to be ageless? To watch as millennia tick by, each century the span of a breath and gone in an instant? To the draenei, the lives of humans must seem incredibly short-lived. To the Prophet Velen, who is at least 25,000 years old, we must seem like motes of dust, winking in and out of existence so quickly that we can scarcely be recognized as entities before we cease to exist. Velen has led the draenei through terror and triumph, from world to world, always gently spreading the benevolent message of the Light to any who wish to hear.

Yet for a being of such grace, purity and peace, Velen is also a creature of unfathomable sorrow. For Velen has been granted the gift of Sight, and with the gift he can see the infinite paths of futures that may not be, of worlds born and fallen in the blink of an eye. And despite that gift, Velen cannot prevent what is yet to pass. He cannot prevent that which has gone before, and will come again. And he could not prevent the path his friends chose, nor could he persuade them their new ally was in fact a monster so horrific that his hellish grasp would wreak havoc on immeasurable worlds.

For one that treasures life in the way only the Light can teach, it is a heavy burden to bear.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore Tinfoil Hat Edition: Mystery of the naaru


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.

Oh yes, we're going here again. Since the launch of The Burning Crusade, one of the most enigmatic mysteries of Warcraft lore has been the naaru, a race of creatures seemingly formed of pure energy that equates to what we in Azeroth know as the Light. We've discussed the naaru before in another Tinfoil Hat edition of Know Your Lore surrounding Elune and the history of the Light on Azeroth. However, there's been very little to suggest where these creatures come from or what their influence on the denizens of Azeroth ultimately means.

In last week's Know Your Lore, we theorized that Azeroth isn't just some simple planet that's been organized by the Titans. Instead, it may be that Azeroth is a weapon of some sort, quietly engineered by the Titans in the midst of their regular crusade of world organization in order to combat and perhaps, one day, defeat Sargeras. But where do the naaru, who led the draenei to Draenor and away from the influence of the Burning Legion, fit in? Why do the naaru seek to eliminate the Burning Legion? Are they in league with the Titans or simply working along the same lines as our creators?

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: The Draenei

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 love the draenei. Ever since their incorporation into World of Warcraft I've been fond of our indigo skinned (well, colors range from a light whitish-blue to an almost black), tentacle bearded, cloven hooved dimension exile friends. Yes, I'm aware that Chris Metzen had to take some heat for having contradicted his own backstory (and isn't it fascinating how the guy who wrote the original story can still be lambasted for having 'gotten it wrong'? Truly, fandom is wondrous strange.) but to my eyes, having a chance to play one of the draenei is worth all the handwaving. Their history as it has been incorporated into the game is one that I find equal parts tragic, epic and inspiring. Not many races in the universe can be said to have survived the personal attentions of Kil'jaeden the Deceiver for tens of thousands of years. Even now, after the near total genocide of the orcish Horde, the draenei endure.

They have a slight problem with steering Naaru dimensional ships, though. They've crashed two, by my current count, one becoming the mountain Oshu'gun (ironically one of the orcs most sacred sites before they fell to darkness and corruption is a crashed Naaru vessel) and the most recent being the Exodar section of the Naaru fortress seized by Kael'Thas Sunstrider and renamed Tempest Keep.

So who are the draenei? Well, for that we need to go back more than 25,000 years. Luckily, this talking dog and small child happen to have a wayback machine and no means to prevent me from stealing it from them. Hopefully Nozdormu doesn't find out.

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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

Know Your Lore: Oshu'gun


Oshu'gun, the largest known diamond in the universe, means many things to many people. To the ethereals of the Consortium, Oshu'gun means profit. To the Orcs of old, it was holy ground. To the Draenei and the Naaru, Oshu'gun is a transdimensional spaceship that was used to save a dying race from their doomed homeworld which had been overrun by demons. Sweet.

We all know, or should know, the story of the Draenei by now. It's been beaten into our heads in many different ways in the World of Warcraft. If you don't know the story, let me sum it up for you: About 25,000 years ago, Velen, Archimonde, and Kil'jaeden were the top cats of a race called the Eredar. Sargeras approached them with promises of power and whatever else, with a hidden malicious intent. Archimonde and Kil'jaeden jumped on it, but Velen, being a prophet, had bad feelings about the arrangement. He and those loyal to him avoided falling into the grasp of the Destroyer of Worlds until a savior(...sort of) in the form of K'ure came along. K'ure explained the nature of the Naaru to the Prophet, and Velen gathered the Eredar loyal to him. They loaded up into a ship(later named Oshu'gun by the orcs) and escaped Argus, taking the name "draenei" meaning "exiled ones" in the language of the Eredar.

They rocketed around space for awhile, all was good. Then they crashed on some random planet. That's okay though, it was a pretty cool planet so they decided to name it after themselves. They named it 'Draenor' which translates to "Exile's Refuge." It beats me how 'or' means 'refuge' but who am I to question galactic fantasy languages? When Oshu'gun crashed, the Naaru that dwelled within and powered the vessel were severely damaged or outright killed. K'ure was severely wounded and still dwells within the vessel, sitting on the brink between life and death. D'ore, the other Naaru involved in the crash, died on impact. He was relocated to the area now known as Auchindoun and buried there, the first to be buried in the area later known as the Auchenai Crypts.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

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