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Posts with tag leader-short-stories

New faction short story: The Jade Hunters

While the August Celestials weren't my favorite reputation grind in Pandaria -- not by a long shot -- I spent most of the expansion fascinated by the Celestials themselves. Where did they come from? What was their purpose in Pandaria? What was up with that statue of the Jade Serpent in the Jade Forest, why was Yu'lon's life bound to it, and were the other Celestials similarly bound?

Blizzard's latest and last offering in the faction short story releases we've seen all expansion is the one I was looking forward to most of all, because of those questions. The Jade Hunters by Matt Burns touches on the story of the August Celestials -- not the creatures themselves, but the organization, and how it came to be. But that's all a backdrop to the far larger story being told, one that finally highlights and talks about the three dwarf clans brought together in Cataclysm.

Oh, and it also talks about that statue that we completely destroyed in the Jade Forest.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Review of World of Warcraft: Paragons

With all the chatter surrounding Christie Golden's next novel, I have to admit I'd almost forgotten that World of Warcraft: Paragons was set to release today. It's definitely not your usual sort of novel, instead holding a collection of short stories lore fans are likely already familiar with, all tucked into one book for easy referencing -- but it also includes the long-awaited novella Blood of the Highborne, by Micky Neilson. That said, fans looking for new, current lore aren't going to find any in this particular collection.

However, the book contains all of the leader short stories that were released over the course of Cataclysm's run, as well as a few other shorts -- Unbroken, the story of Farseer Nobundo, The War of the Shifting Sands, a piece that was released just before the launch of AQ40, and Road to Damnation, the story of Kel'thuzad, released just before the launch of the original iteration of Naxxramas all the way back in vanilla. It's Blood of the Highborne that really stands out among the collection, not necessarily because it's better than the rest, but because it's brand-new content that fills in a gap that's been missing in lore -- the conception and introduction of the Blood Knights of Silvermoon.

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Filed under: News items, Lore

New faction short story: The Untamed Valley

I have a soft spot for the Tillers. I think they're one of my favorite factions from Pandaria. It wasn't just the fact that I got my own farm, it was the fact that each character involved in the Tillers' quests was so fleshed out, so well written, and so engaging that you really couldn't help but be enchanted by Halfhill and the surrounding farms. Of all the pandaren we've met in Mists, I think I'm going to miss the gang in Halfhill the most.

That said, the absolute last person I ever expected to show up in a short story surrounding the Tillers was Vindicator Maraad. Yet there he is, accompanied by Sentinel Commander Lyalia, another Alliance face we haven't seen for quite some time. The thought of a towering blue-skinned alien from another world interacting with the jovial and decidedly down-to-earth farmers of Halfhill seems like a really strange idea for a story. And yet in Blizzard's latest short story offering, The Untamed Valley, it works. It really, really works, in the most unexpected way.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft: Paragons release date announced

World of Warcraft: Paragons finally has a release date set for an English edition -- March 31, 2014. The long, long awaited novel is a collection of the leader short stories currently available on Blizzard's website, as well as an all-new piece of fiction by Senior Writer and Voice Director Micky Neilson entitled Blood of the Highborne. Highborne will explore the origin of blood knights, the attack on Silvermoon, and the history of the quel'dorei -- a story many blood elf fans have been waiting to hear. Neilson's other works include the short story Unbroken, as well as Curse of the Worgen, Ashbringer, and Pearl of Pandaria.

While Paragons was released earlier this year in Spain and France, the US release was nowhere to be found. We still have some time to wait before we'll see an English version, but at least we have a date to look forward to -- and preorders to place. You can preorder World of Warcraft: Paragons for the Kindle on Amazon, or for the Nook on Barnes and Noble for $5.99. At present time, it appears that the novel is only available for preorder in ebook format -- we have yet to see if a print version will be made available.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Faction short story Over Water now available

New Faction Short Story Over Water
It's only appropriate that the faction short story for the Anglers involve one of the biggest fish tales ever. Just released on the official site, Over Water by Ryan Quinn isn't quite as Anglers-centric as one would initially think. In fact, the faction isn't even mentioned by name. But, as it's becoming clear with these faction stories, the tales universally have less to do with the factions, and more to do with the characters in the stories learning lessons about themselves. Over Water illustrates this in a big way.

Tarlo Mondan is not a happy man. A member of the Alliance, he looks at the outcome of the war -- the Siege of Orgrimmar and new Warchief firmly included -- with bitter disdain. Oddly enough, he seems to share a lot in common with many Alliance players, dissatisfied with conclusion of the Pandaren campaign and wondering exactly what he'd gotten out of the whole mess while traveling home by sea. Unfortunately, a heavy storm knocks Tarlo overboard, and the ship sails off without him -- which is really where the story begins.

Left adrift, Tarlo is rescued by a trio of pandaren fisherman with a tale unlike any other -- and hidden within that tale, and the journey, is a lesson for Tarlo to learn. Taking place after Garrosh's defeat, Over Water feels a lot more introspective and subtle than prior short stories. It offers a glimpse into the heart of the Alliance through the eyes of a lone soldier, something we really haven't seen much of lately. I don't know exactly what I expected out of an Anglers story, but Over Water left me pleasantly surprised -- it's an incredibly well-written tale. You can read Over Water over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story The Strength of Steel now available

Faction short story The Strength of Steel now available
The Order of the Cloud Serpent is one of those factions that while pretty long, is a satisfying grind in its own way -- the promise of a mount at the end of the quests and dailies is pretty compelling. But the one thing that really made the faction worth it to me, was the resemblance to the Netherwing quests of old. With the Netherwing, you were helping a beleaguered race of subjugated dragons regain their freedom. With the Order of the Cloud Serpent, you were raising a hatchling of your own, caring for it, watching it grow larger, and waiting for the day when at last it was strong enough to carry you into the skies.

It was touching because there was a distinct sense of heart surrounding the faction -- and the latest faction short story, The Strength of Steel by Raphael Ahad, illustrates that journey in a completely different way. One of the new allies of Garrosh Hellscream's Horde are the Dragonmaw -- a clan of orcs bent on subjugating dragonkind, forcing the beasts to obey and act as steeds of war. So what happens when a Dragonmaw, living with the ideals of the Dragonmaw firmly ingrained in his mind, comes across a cloud serpent hatchling of his own?

It's an oddly touching, beautiful little story that highlights the difference between pandaren and orc, between trust and control. As Koak struggles to raise his hatchling, there's also that internal struggle between what it means to be a Dragonmaw, what it means to be Horde, and where Koak stands in between it all. I have to admit, I didn't expect much out of a story surrounding the Order of the Cloud Serpent, but Raphael Ahad really hit a home run with this one, penning a heartfelt tale that in the end, was well worth the read. You can read The Strength of Steel over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Blood of the Highborne novella possibly on the way

Blood of the Highborne novella possibly on the way
The folks over at the Scrolls of Lore forums happened to dig up some interesting information in the form of the cover pictured above. Many fans of Warcraft lore have been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for the new novella by Micky Neilson titled Blood of the Highborne. In an interview last year about the graphic novel Pearl of Pandaria, Neilson mentioned the novella, suggesting that it would be included in a collection of the leader short stories released during the Cataclysm expansion.

The novel found at Scrolls of Lore is titled World of Warcraft: Dechados, which was translated as World of Warcraft: Paragons. It seems an apt title for a collection of short stories about Azeroth's leaders -- and there's the fact that the translation of the description also mentions the inclusion of a novella. After doing some further digging, we managed to find a French version of the book as well. Both books suggest a September release date.

At present time, there doesn't appear to be a peep about an English version of the collection, however -- and it definitely wasn't mentioned at the San Diego Comic Con Licensing panel this year, either. What's the fate of Blood of the Highborne? We aren't certain, but judging from the information found, it may be out sooner than we'd previously thought.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Faction short story Death From Above now available

Faction short story Death From Above now available
How many were paying attention as they leveled through the Dread Wastes and into a path of discovering the Klaxxi and their long lost Paragons? Were you paying attention as the final truths of the mantid were revealed at the end of the Klaxxi reputation grind? That's all well and good ... but those weren't the final truths to be learned. The latest in the faction short story series, Death From Above, is a look at the Klaxxi thousands of years before the events of today -- in fact, years before the pandaren had even begun their rebellion against the mogu.

Written by Robert Brooks, Death From Above tells the tale of Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver and how he came to be a Paragon, cleverly winding in the story of Warlord Gurthan and his final resting place on the Terrace of Gurthan in the middle of it all. It's a story of the mantid swarm, the Empress, and the cycle -- but it's also a story of the Klaxxi, their place in mantid society, and the unique origins of the Paragons who are laid to rest around the Dread Wastes, their locations kept secret until we uncover them.

And, in a way, it's a story about you -- the Wakener, the one who has opened the amber shells of the Paragon. It's the story of a Wakener from long ago, and what he learned in the process -- the relationship between Paragon and Wakener is explored, as well as the odd attributes of the Paragons and how they came to be. Perhaps most importantly, it's a tale of the mantid, who are one of the coolest races to be introduced in Mists of Pandaria, and completely deserved a story of their own. Robert Brooks did an amazing job with the tale, right down to the chilly and entirely unsettling ending. You can read Death from Above over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available
A new short story, The Blank Scroll, is now available on the official site. The next in the series of faction short stories, The Blank Scroll, by Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, takes a look at the Lorewalkers against a most unlikely backdrop. A goblin team has been delving into the secrets of what Pandaria has to offer, but their efforts are stymied by the mysterious appearance of a terrible monster, and a pandaren Lorewalker who seems to know far more than she's telling.

Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie was also the author of Gallywix: Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince, so he's already got the knack of writing goblin characters down pat. But what's surprising here is that the focus of the story is the story itself, in a weird chain reaction of events that eventually play out to a mostly happy ending. I like clever tales. The Blank Scroll is exceedingly clever. Not only do we get a closer look at a Lorewalker in action, we get a better look at goblins, their relationship with the Horde, and even Gallywix himself, oddly enough.

I have to say, while I've been enjoying these short stories immensely, I do wish they were released with more frequency. I'd like to see what the other factions of Pandaria have to offer. However, The Blank Scoll is an excellent, somewhat cheeky addition to Mists of Pandaria's collection of faction short stories, a breath of fresh air after the somewhat darker nature of Trial of the Red Blossoms and Bleeding Sun. You can read the full story for free on the official site.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story Bleeding Sun now available

Faction short story Bleeding Sun now available
A new short story is available on the official Blizzard website for lore fans. Bleeding Sun, written by Matt Burns, sheds some light on the Golden Lotus and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Although there have been small bits of story about the Vale and its guardians, there wasn't a lot of clarification on the process itself. We knew that the Vale had guardians, that those guardians had been there before the August Celestials chose to open the gate, but how those guardians were chosen, or what that choice entailed was still a mystery.

Matt Burns, also the author of Charge of the Aspects from last year, tackles this subject with flair -- but it's a dark flair, one that was entirely unexpected. I'd mentioned before that Trial of the Red Blossoms, Blizzard's first foray into Pandaria's many factions, was a little dark. Bleeding Sun beats it, hands down -- and all by using a character who is entirely devoted to the Light of An'she's sun. Sunwalker Dezco makes a unexpected return in Bleeding Sun, along with his twin sons, now named Redhorn and Cloudhoof. Dezco has been trying to to come to terms with the death of his wife Leza and the result of their grand journey across Pandaria. He and his followers found the Vale ... but what now?

And that's where it gets really grim.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

New short story, The Trial of the Red Blossoms, now available

New short story, The Trial of the Red Blossoms, now available
It appears that Blizzard is far from done with short stories on the official website -- and that seems to be a pretty good thing. The Trial of the Red Blossoms, written by Cameron Dayton, is the latest offering to hit the official website. And for those wondering, there isn't a Li Li in sight in this tale. Instead, we get a tale highlighting just what it takes to become one of the Shado-pan, woven through the eyes of a young, scrawny pandaren thief simply named Ten.

If you thought that Pandaria and its residents were all about good cheer, food and drink, it's time to think again. The Shado-pan are among the least sociable of the pandaren, and are quite vividly illustrated as a group of warriors that you really, really don't want to mess with. It's a dark, grim tale about some of Pandaria's darkest, grimmest citizens -- and it absolutely shines. Ten is nothing like the sometimes too-precocious to handle Li Li, and his past and future hang in the balance of the Shado-pan. Whether or not he can rise to the occasion is entirely up to him.

The Trial of the Red Blossoms appears to be the first of what may be the next collection of short stories. Cataclysm saw the Leader Short Story series, and Trial is filed under Faction Stories on the Expanded Universe page, suggesting there are more tales of other factions to come. If they are even half as good as Trial, I suspect we're in for a treat this expansion. And frankly, I can't wait to see if we're finally going to get some dirt on the August Celestials.

You can read The Trial of the Red Blossoms on the official website, in the Destination: Pandaria section of the Expanded Universe guide. And as an added bonus this time around, the story is available for download in multiple formats -- choose from PDF format, ePUB format for the smartphone, tablet or Nook, or mobi format for the Amazon Kindle.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The fascinating implications of the WoW TCG

Know Your Lore The fascinating implications of the WoW TCG 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.

The Cataclysm expansion set out to do what prior expansions tried to do, and improve upon it in a significant way -- significantly inject lore into gameplay. And to some degree it worked; players found themselves working their way through zones both new and old by taking part in an interactive story. In between, we had short stories and novels that tied directly into that gameplay, weaving each part of the Warcraft franchise together into a solid storytelling tool.

But it also had its flaws. Storytelling in zones was fantastic upon first playthrough, repetitive upon repeated play. The story of Cataclysm was so widespread that it didn't seem to have the kind of dramatic impact it was intended to have. And Cataclysm introduced so many loose threads of story that trying to pick a clear resolution out of the tale was difficult, to say the very least. And then we have the ending, signifying the dawning of the "Age of Mortals" with no clear definition as to what that really meant.

We've got a little more definition now, and it's from an incredibly unlikely source, the last part of the franchise that didn't seem to have any significant lore tie-ins at all: the WoW Trading Card Game.

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains some minor spoilers for Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War. If you're looking to avoid all spoilers, you may want to come back when you're done with the book!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, WoW TCG

WoW Insider interviews Micky Neilson and Sean "Cheeks" Galloway

WoW Insider interviews Micky Neilson and Sean 'Cheeks' Galloway
Pearl of Pandaria, the latest comics offering from Blizzard and DC, releases September 25. The tale of Li Li Stormstout and her journey to find her Uncle Chen was written by Senior Writer and Voice Director Micky Neilson, whose other works include Unbroken, Ashbringer, and Curse of the Worgen. Bringing the book to life is Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, whose other works include character design for Hellboy Animated and Spectacular Spider-Man.

That's an impressive bunch of credits for an equally impressive book. Sean and Micky were kind enough to sit down with us and discuss the art and history behind Pearl of Pandaria. In addition, we talked short stories and comics as well as some exciting upcoming print projects and the answer to the pesky question of why pandaren eyes are gold instead of green.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

'Velen: Prophet's Lesson' concludes leader short stories

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The last of the leader short stories is now available on the official Warcraft website, and it was worth waiting for. Velen: Prophet's Lesson, written by Marc Hutcheson, focuses on Prophet Velen and Anduin Wyrnn, who began studying with Velen in the novel Wolfheart. Also featured is Vindicator Maraad, who not only made his appearance in game on the Alliance ship on Icecrown but has been featured in many other Warcraft products as well. Maraad isn't just a random draenei -- he's also Garona's uncle and has made an appearance in DC Unlimited's series of action figures.

Prophet's Lesson appears to take place just after the Cataclysm as the mortals of Azeroth struggle to recover from the devastation and put an end to Deathwing. The worgen are officially Alliance and Anduin is studying with Velen, so this definitely puts it after Wolfheart in the time line, but Anduin also mentions the rift between himself and his father, which means the story likely takes place before Varian Wrynn: Blood of our Fathers. In Prophet's Lesson, Anduin is studying with Velen as well as helping the draenei take care of sudden group of guests that grows larger by the day, human refugees from the Cataclysm who seek Velen's guidance.

Velen, however, is seeing no one but Prince Anduin -- and this hasn't gone unnoticed by the draenei who are no longer allowed to seek audience with the Prophet. But Anduin has one very pointed question for Prophet Velen: Why didn't he warn the world about the Cataclysm?

Hutcheson did a masterful job with Velen's character, shedding a little light (no pun intended) on what exactly the draenei have been up to during Cataclysm. You can read the full story on Blizzard's newly revamped Expanded Universe site.

Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Lor'themar Theron: In the Shadow of the Sun chronicles blood elven leader's troubles

While it's not a brand new leader short story, Lor'themar Theron, Regent Lord of Quel'thalas, gets the new-to-you treatment with Sarah Pine's wonderful story, In the Shadow of the Sun. In the Shadow of the Sun was the 2008 winner in the Blizzard Global Creative Writing Contest and chronicles the leadership of Lor'themar after The Burning Crusade, the rejuvenation of the Sunwell, and the preparations for war against Arthas in Northrend. After fighting a devastating battle at the Sunwell Plateau, Lor'themar must meet the challenges of peace time and war, leading his people immediately after their great leader has been corrupted and lost.

Check out the full story over at the Blizzard community website. If you haven't yet read this one, it's definitely one of the best.

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