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Know Your Lore: The evolution of Varian Wrynn

Know Your Lore The evolution of Varian 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.

We can't really take a good look at Garrosh Hellscream without taking a look at his Alliance counterpart, King Varian Wrynn. Varian is an enigma in his own right, although for different reasons than Garrosh. Where Garrosh was a character that was introduced and shown in every aspect in the game itself, Varian is notable for being ... absent. He wasn't there for vanilla WoW. He wasn't there for Burning Crusade. Varian didn't make his first appearance in game until the launch event for Wrath of the Lich King, and exploded onto the scene with an attitude that threw a lot of players off.

Where Garrosh saw all of his development play out in-game, even the odd disconnected moments, Varian saw his play out through a series of comics and novels. Most of his history is a big question mark to many players. While not quite as big an unknown as Lor'themar Theron, people still wonder -- who is this guy? Where did he come from, and why was he so angry when he returned? And perhaps most importantly -- where did he turn from angry leader in the Ulduar cinematic to the far more patient leader we're seeing in Mists?

Oddly enough, his story and Garrosh's mirror each other far more than you'd think.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

First chapter of new Wolfheart novel free to read

Varian Wrynn
The Sept. 13 publication date of Wolfheart, the newest WoW novel written by Richard Knaak, draws ever closer. We know surprisingly little about it at the moment. We know that it will take place on Kalimdor but will focus on King Varian Wrynn and his relationship with the wolf spirit Goldrinn and the new members of the Alliance, the Worgen. If you're eager for more information though, you're in luck. Shelfari, a book wiki run by Amazon.com, has the first chapter of the book available to read.

Click here for your free sample chapter and choose the Read First Chapter Free button below the picture of the book cover on the left side of the page. You'll be able to read the first chapter, as well as the chapter titles for the book (by pushing the back arrow on the pages). There are going to be a lot of spoilers in both the chapter names and the chapter itself, of course, so read at your own risk. For a quick (spoiler-filled) summary and a discussion of the possibilities, check after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Lore, Worgen

Anduin Wrynn: Then and Now

Blizzard made a lot of changes to World of Warcraft with Cataclysm, and has been exploring some of the bigger changes through its "Then and Now" series. Previously, Blizzard discussed how Garrosh has changed from The Burning Crusade through Cataclysm, as well as how Thrall changed since his debut in Warcraft III. Now, their eyes are on Stormwind and the boy prince, Anduin Wrynn.

Anduin's biggest changes actually happened outside of the game world, most notably in the World of Warcraft comic series and in Christie Golden's companion novel to Cataclysm, The Shattering. In The Shattering, Anduin comes into his own through a series of adventures with Jaina Proudmoore, and by participating in the burgeoning dwarven civil war between the clans at Ironforge. The prince finds his path with the Light, determined to become a priest instead of becoming a warrior like his father. His character has grown considerably since his inception, with Blizzard making a concerted effort to move his story forward against the backdrop of the cataclysm.

I was a fan of Anduin in The Shattering because he was written to be a spiritual opposite of his father. While Anduin retained his father's caution when dealing with the Horde, he seemed more open-minded, forgiving, and willing to compromise on things above and beyond him. There is definitely groundwork being laid for a strong, compassionate leader, something the humans have not truly had since Varian's kidnapping and King Terenas Menethil of Lordaeron.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The Eternals part one -- the Ancients

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.

With Cataclysm coming up and the beta now up and running comes plenty of new information about what we'll be seeing in Cataclysm. One of the highly anticipated zones is Hyjal, where players will work with the Guardians of Hyjal to retake the mountainous peaks where Nordrassil has begun to grow anew. Parts of these quests involve the Eternals of Azeroth -- characters we've only seen in novels or game manuals, but never been exposed to in World of Warcraft. Today we'll be looking at some of the major players in the Eternal lineup, and how they relate to World of Warcraft.

WARNING: Some of the descriptions and Eternals in this post are taken from Cataclysm content. While I will avoid spoiling any Cataclysm quest lines or events, there will be screenshots -- if you'd rather avoid all Cataclysm content altogether you may want to skip this post.

To begin, we have to define what exactly an Eternal is as far as Azeroth is concerned. Eternals are the immortal, divine beings of Azeroth who wield godlike powers and are generally either revered or worshipped by the mortal races in one way or another. There are many different kinds of Eternals out there oddly enough -- the Titans, the Elemental Lords (who have been covered in great detail by Matthew Rossi), the Loa spirits, the Old Gods, and the Ancients. Today we're going to look at the Ancients -- Eternals worshipped mostly by night elf society as deities. The big Eternal in night elf society is of course Elune, but what about the other Eternals in the night elf pantheon? Let's take a look.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Walter and Louise Simonson interviewed at NYCC


Blizzplanet has a video they've been saving from the New York Comic Con a little while back. This time, they chat with Walter and Louise Simonson, part of the team behind the World of Warcraft comic, which at the time, had just re-introduced Garona Halforcen, the half-orc assassin who is likely about to make a long-awaited appearance in the MMO world of Azeroth. The couple say that while they can't tell us much, Garona fans have some cool stuff to look forward to, as we're going to learn more about both her "past" and "future." There are some other little lore tidbits in the interview as well, including what's up with Varian Wrynn and his counterpart, Lo'gosh. And there's good news for fans of the Horde -- while the comic book has so far had an Alliance lead character, Blizzard is setting up new things for the Horde as well.

Clearly here are two people really ensconced in the World of Warcraft -- they both seem to have a really great and passionate grasp on the story behind WoW, and a real care for how the future of the story unfolds. We can't wait to see it.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, NPCs

Varian Wrynn is Right


Warning: This article contains spoilers of varying intensity for the Wrathgate world event, the new Arthas Novel , and the Warcraft Comic Series. It is also 3 pages long. Be sure to click the links at the bottom to head to the next part!

Among WoW players these days, it seems to be a popular opinion that King Varian Wrynn is a narrow minded short-sighted bigot who will lead the Alliance to ruin. This is an easy opinion to have, since he does show a considerable amount of anger at times when dealing with the Horde, and it's long been the general opinion that "no-one is truly evil" in the Horde and Alliance conflict. This is even the opinion of some of my fellow writers.

Here's my problem with this: The underlying causes of Varian Wrynn's anger are all unconditionally justified. Varian Wrynn is not angry at the Horde because of a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. He's been witness to or victim of multiple wrongdoings and atrocities perpetuated by the Horde time and time again, both the new Horde and the Old. Most, if not all of these times, the wrongdoings have been the result of outright maliciousness on the part of the Horde or its members, and in the case the so-called "peaceful" New Horde, there's been no sign whatsoever that Thrall is punishing or disciplining the perpetrators of these acts, and at the least, it is clear that he is not properly dealing with the consequences.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, NPCs

DC shows off Series 5 figures


DC has officially announced their latest series of World of Warcraft action figures, and while there are only four figures shown off so far, they look awesome. These are the same figures we saw in the coverage of the New York Comic Con -- there's Lo'gosh (better known as Varian Wrynn, the new King of Stormwind), Hunter Alathea Moonbreeze and her pet Sorna, a demon form Illidan (hot!), and Rottingham, a Ghoul. We've got pictures of all the new figures in our gallery below.

Unfortunately, we aren't going to see this for sale for a long, long time -- DC has the date of release set as October 28, 2009. That doesn't really seem right to us (they only want to release four figures this year?), but that's what they say, so we'll go with it. Still, that Illidan figure looks awesome. The Hunter would be cute, and Lo'gosh would be nice to have if you're a fan of the comic book series, but Illidan is definitely the standout so far. Also check out all of our other DC figure galleries after the break.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Undead, Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, Classes, NPCs, Comics

Varian Wrynn hates the Horde

It really can't be disputed at this point: Varian Wrynn is not fond of the Horde, at all. There will be no Jaina-style mash notes to Thrall coming from Varian any time soon.

If you saw the brief window of time before the launch of Wrath where Varian and his allies talked about the onslaught of Northrend and thought maybe Horde and Alliance could cooperate to take down Arthas, think again. As long as Varian is the King of Stormwind and de-facto leader of the Alliance (since neither Tyrande nor Magni seemed particularly interested in the gig, and nobody likes Frandal) then there's not going to be anything even remotely resembling peace between the Alliance and the Horde.

Is that bad? Is how Varian is going about his leadership inherently wrong? As someone who plays Horde and Alliance fairly equally, and tries to at least keep my characters personalities distinct (I don't actually RP much, but anyone who plays with me knows that I tend to play my tauren warrior very differently than my draenei shaman, for instance) I find the addition of the former Lo'Gosh to the mix of world leaders a very interestingly divisive one. Varian is not here to make friends, he's here to kick ass.

The discussion that follows behind the jump is going to be hugely spoiler heavy. Please be warned.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Features, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Insider's exclusive interview with WoW comic artist Jon Buran

Jon Buran is the artist who took over the artwork for the World of Warcraft comic book at issue #8. With #9 now available, we're thankful that it seems Jon's going to be around for a while.

This isn't Jon's first book, obviously. (I say obviously, because he is being trusted with Blizzard's baby, so it's safe to bet he's got the chops for it.) My favorite of his previous books includes Midnight #13 through #15, and a short stint on the City of Heroes comic book. (Hey, the CoH story might have been a little weak, but I loved the art.)

We were fortunate that Jon was willing to do an interview with your intrepid reporter at WoW Insider. Check out what he had to say behind the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Interviews, Comics

Blizzard releases preview of World of Warcraft comic #9

If you're a Lore Nerd like Alex and I are, you've probably at least been following the storyline of the World of Warcraft Comic, and you know it's likely going to have a pretty big impact on WoTLK lore, as King Varian Wrynn returns and we finally get an end to the Missing Diplomat Storyline.

Issue #9 continues the journey of Lo'gosh and his companions as they travel toward Ironforge and brings a familiar old villain into the light as well. Blizzard has posted the first few pages of the issue on the official WoW site.

I have to admit, I have one major reservation about the story.

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Filed under: Alliance, Odds and ends, News items, Lore, Comics

Father's Day in Azeroth: A salute to the fathers of Warcraft lore

http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1019543So it's Father's Day, the time when we all pay homage to the fathers or father figures in our lives, and thank them for all that they do. While we can't say for sure if they celebrate Father's Day in Azeroth, too, there's a lot of people in Azeroth and Outland who have reason to think back on their dads today. Many dads of Azeroth have affected their children's lives or been affected by them. The ramifications of the interactions of these fathers and children have then in turn affected the lore and story of Warcraft in ways great and small.

Therefore, in honor of the holiday, let's look at 10 famous and not-so-famous dads of Warcraft lore (listed in no particular order).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, RP

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

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