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Posts with tag lore

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 1 - Classic WoW

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.

A while back I did a history of the Pandaren Campaign that just gave a bare bones overview of what exactly happened between patch 5.0 and 5.4 in terms of the story. I understand that nine years of World of Warcraft can't be easily summed up. I don't expect I'll be able to do more than a cursory retelling of the major events, and I'll probably miss and leave out quite a few. So why do it at all?

I have a few reasons. The first is that some of this stuff is gone in game - it happened, but you can't go back and experience it any more. That makes it a part of the game that needs reminders from time to time, in my opinion. The second reason is because all of this lore shapes the game as it evolves - everything that has happened - it helps place things into context. And the third reason is because this stuff is all pretty awesome. It deserves to be retold.

We're going to try and do the game at launch this week, and come back to it on a regular basis.

So let us retell it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Mists lore and the art of storytelling

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.

Mists of Pandaria is coming to a close, along with 2013 -- and what an expansion it was. Every expansion, I like to go through an examine how the storytelling process has changed for better or worse. It's interesting to go back to the old posts on Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, both to see where we've been, and to realize how far we've come. Mists wasn't just a new expansion, it was an entirely new story, with an entirely new cast of characters and a prominently featured race that even long-time players of the game knew very little about.

And it was that race that had a lot of people wondering what kind of expansion we'd end up with. When Mists was introduced, there were plenty of people wondering how the heck a story about a bunch of pandas could be anything but a joke. But Mists didn't just give us the pandaren -- it gave us a whole new perspective on storytelling and gameplay, chock full of innovative new ways to deliver story to players. What did Mists bring that really worked?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The draenei and deep time

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 draenei are a fascinating people to me. Their ability to forgive is terrifying, in a way. This is a people that have seen the majority of their own kind become the stuff of nightmares - a people who have been hunted throughout time and space for over twenty five thousand years by these same fallen former kind, now transformed into demons by their willing adherence to the unthinkable, and it has changed the way they view everything. The draenei are willing to give people who have slaughtered them the benefit of the doubt, and manage to keep their hearts clear (for the most part) of feelings of vengeance and reprisal. The draenei leader Velen went so far as to help the blood elves who had kidnapped and drained the life out of his friend, the naaru M'uru, even through blood elves had stolen Tempest Keep and caused the draenei to crashland on Azeroth in the first place.

We know a reasonable amount about the draenei - we know they come from Argus, that they are refugees, those that chose to heed Velen's warnings and abandon their world before Sargeras could ensnare them in his web of lies and corruption. We know that they've fled the advance of the Legion for that aforementioned two hundred and fifty centuries. What we don't know is how it all went down. What worlds did they arrive on and settle only to have to flee again? Keep in mind that Draenor, the world they named, was only their home for roughly two hundred years out of that vast period of time.

To put it into perspective, Tyrande, Malfurion and the other until-recently immortal night elves, the ones who have lived from the time of the Sundering, are less than half the age of some draenei. Jessera of Mac'Aree, for instance, was fifteen thousand years old at least and had been wandering the cosmos for that long when the Sundering occurred. Not only are the draenei seemingly functionally immortal (they can die, but they do not seem to succumb to old age, or if they do, they have a means to lengthen their lifespans) but they've spent most of that deep time traveling from world to world... and we know almost nothing about that period of their history.

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Alternate Azeroth

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.

Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate, splinter reality in which Garrosh Hellscream has gone back in time and prevented the leaders of the old orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth. In this version of reality, several events have changed dramatically -- leading players to ask many, many questions about alternate Azeroth, how its history has been altered, and how that changes the Azeroth we know and love today. The answer is very simple: it doesn't. Not in the slightest. That alternate Azeroth, and whatever future it may hold, has no bearing on Warlords of Draenor at all. We won't be exploring that world, and our Azeroth remains unchanged.

However, people still continue to ask. So we're going to take a little trip into that alternate reality and explore what that version of Azeroth would theoretically look like without the Dark Portal. We're going to explore this alternate world, take a look at what likely never came to pass, and what happened as a result. And then we're going to quietly put all of that away, because this is all information and events that we are not going to see in Warlords of Draenor. But it'll be nice to get it out of our systems, won't it?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation and history based on known material. 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: The mysteries of Draenor

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.

It's funny how much we don't know about Draenor yet, considering we've not only had it as part of the setting since Warcraft II, but we've seen it in WCIII, the novel Rise of the Horde, and we even traveled to its shattered remnants for an entire expansion in Burning Crusade. Despite all that, the living world - the place that produced the orcish people, was home to a mighty ogre empire, gave birth to titanic beings like the gronn and sheltered the draenei for hundreds of years is still somewhat unknown to us.

We've seen bits and pieces of the unknown world drip out since Blizzcon, but it's all still so tantalizingly vague. Some of these lands are entirely new to us, as they were lost when Draenor became Outland, torn apart by Ner'zhul's use of the Legion's portal magics - lands like the Spires of Arak, home to the Arakkoa and the Frostfire Ridge, home to the Frostwolves and a land of glaciers and volcanoes - a land that typifies the nature of Draenor itself. The planet, or at least the one continent we have any details on, seems to be a land of violent extremes which breeds a harsh, survivalist mindset in its native children.

Make no mistake - the orcs are not the only race native to these harsh (some might even say savage) lands. The ogres sail north from another land to lay claim to Nagrand's coasts, make their presence and that of a tottering empire known even in the Frostfire Ridge, and behind them lurks the menace of the gronn. In the Spires of Arak, the proud Arakkoa burn those they capture alive in tribute to the sun. This is not a world where any live in peace - to live in harmony with nature on Draenor is to live a life of constant struggle, in a kill or be killed fight red in the shed blood of predator and prey.

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

Know Your Lore: Draka, daughter of Kelkar

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 named the ship Draka's Fury after his mother. It was the ship that should have taken him without trouble to the heart of the Maelstrom during Cataclysm, but the ship was intercepted by an Alliance fleet and destroyed. It's been stated here and there that Thrall named the ship as a tribute to his mother, and to the strong orc women in his life -- but there's a problem with that. Thrall didn't know his mother at all, really. When he was just an infant, both Draka and his father Durotan were killed, betrayed by their own kind, and Thrall left to die. He named the ship after the strength of a mother that he never really knew at all.

But Draka was far from weak, in her prime -- and to her mate Durotan, she was the epitome of everything an orc woman should be. Strong, wise, brave, unwilling to bend or break, Draka spent the entirety of her childhood defying everyone's expectations, and continued to do so until the day she died. In Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally get a chance to meet Thrall's mother and father in person. We know who Durotan is, but who was that orc woman standing at his side, and what made her so incredibly special?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: I miss you, Rexxar

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 was unbelievably tempted to write another big time-travel extravaganza around my theory that Karazhan is living backwards like Merlin - that it was built in the future and its supposed creation in an explosion that made Deadwind Pass was in fact its final destruction at the end of its existence - but it's the kind of theory that I can explain in like four sentences. It doesn't really need a whole KYL.

So instead, I'm going to talk about characters I miss. Some of them haven't really gone anywhere - I can go visit them any time I like - while others have died or disappeared. Some of those characters have never even appeared in World of Warcraft.

Obviously Rexxar is on the list, so we'll talk about him first.

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

Know Your Lore: Pandaria's mark on Warcraft lore

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.

A little over two years ago, Mists of Pandaria was officially announced as the next expansion at BlizzCon to the puzzlement of many players. The idea of an expansion built around the pandaren race was a polarizing one -- some people loved the idea, and some were less than enthused. Although the pandaren were included in game lore as early as Warcraft III, there were those that scoffed at the idea of an expansion built around a race of giant talking bears, saying that they had no place in Warcraft at all. A year later, Mists was officially launched, and a little over a year after that, the events of Mists of Pandaria are wrapping up in a suitably dramatic conclusion.

And to the delight of many, myself included, this expansion has been anything but lighthearted and silly. Mists of Pandaria wasn't just a random expansion about giant talking bears, it was a revolution in the way that story and gameplay intertwine. While it may have had its faltering moments -- the inclusion of enough daily quests to make players dizzy among them -- the story took a life of its own, and the tale it told has definitely left its mark on future lore to come. Let's be clear, here: For a continent left cloaked in Mists for thousands of years, Pandaria has managed to work its way into the face of Warcraft lore in a manner that won't be forgotten, and has given us enough material to spur the story of the game for quite some time.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Warlords of Draenor: Why more diversity will be better for the expansion

One of the things we've only seen so far with Warlords of Draenor are the heads of the largest and most important orcish clans, clans like the Frostwolves, the Warsong, the Blackrock, the Bleeding Hollow and Shadowmoon Clan which were led by the most famous orc historical figures. It makes sense that we've seen them, of course - they're the big names, after all. Grom Hellscream, Durotan, Blackhand, Ner'zhul, Kargath Bladefist, Kilrogg Deadeye and Gul'dan are extremely famous, and it makes sense that they be featured.

But they're not the only orc clans, nor the only clan leaders, and if we just focus on them we're missing out on the potential of the lesser known clans. Clans like the Thunderlord, the Bladewind, the Rageroar and others, which were wiped out or otherwise not as important but which can rise to prominence in this new Iron Horde. Why should they concern us? Well, several reasons.
  • They give us a chance to see a less monolithic side to the Iron Horde. Orc society was based entirely around the clan - it's about time we get to see this. Show us some clans. Give us a chance to observe how one goes about welding a nation out of them without the use of demonic magic and coercion.
  • There's been a lot of discussion about the lack of representation of female characters in Warlords of Draenor. Since we can't just gender flip established lore figures, these lesser known clans provide a perfect opportunity to establish new characters and have them rise to prominence through their actions in the story. The Rageroar, for instance, are barely known - their only real appearance was in Cataclysm. We have no idea who their leader was back on Draenor - therefore, there's no good reason for it not to be a woman.
  • Some of these clans defied the Old Horde of Ner'zhul and then Gul'dan. They could well defy this new Iron Horde as well, and it's simply better and more believable if we get to see some orcs preferring to keep to their older clan based way of life and rejecting new siege technology and all that the Iron Horde brings as being simply not orcish enough.
Let's talk about it in more detail. How do we make use of the clans?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

What's going on with Karazhan?

It's no secret that I love Karazhan. Making its debut in Burning Crusade, Karazhan was and still is, to me, the perfect raid. The sheer scope of the instance and the variety of bosses within it were more than enough to keep my raid guild at the time happily occupied. But for myself, it wasn't just the raid, it was the story behind it. I spent most of vanilla plaintively wondering when we'd see Medivh's tower open for visitors ... and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest with what we eventually saw inside.

On the 5.4.2 PTR, Karazhan is in the middle of what seems to be not a revamp, but a restoration. Mobs aren't changing, neither are bosses. But the cobwebs, the overturned chairs, the randomly placed skeletons of the dead are all being quietly swept away. One has to wonder ... what's up with that? What's going on with the tower of Karazhan, and why the sudden makeover now? Rather than indulge in yet another speculative edition of Know Your Lore, let's just take a quick look at the possibilities.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

AusGamer interviews Chris Metzen

Chris Metzen
Interviews provide an often-fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of some of our favorite hobbies--like World of Warcraft. Recently the Australian gaming site AusGamer posted a transcript of their interview with Blizzard's Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development, Chris Metzen. They chat about everything from Metzen's long history at Blizzard Entertainment, to the evolution of his current position in the company, to the realities of trying to juggle multiple franchises, story formats, and ideas among Blizzard's many intellectual properties. There's also a discussion about the role of fans in Blizzard's story development and how the push-and-pull of ideas and fan reaction shapes the direction that development may take.

If you're interested in how the creative process at Blizzard works, and to hear about the differences between large-scale and small-scale story development at Blizzard, this is an interview you don't want to miss. They even discuss how Blizzard's new developments -- like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm -- can potentially help feed into the franchise of World of Warcraft, with their use of iconic WoW characters and personalities. Check it out at AusGamers, it's a great view into the thought process of one of Blizzard's most iconic developers.

Filed under: News items, Interviews

Know Your Lore TFH: Sailing to Oshu'gun

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.

Tinfoil Hats on. Let's speculate. Let's make some things up.

To be honest, I'm not one hundred percent sure that what I'm about to write is a TFH entry. It's more just speculative about the nature of the Iron Horde and the Draenor it seeks to rule, and the consequences of its rise. Since I can't actually know any of that yet, it's certainly speculative, but I have no grand theory in mind to explicate, just a bunch of speculations to lay out.

What we know so far is actually only a tantalizing veneer over all we don't know. From the time of the initial incursion that creates this new Draenor to the time that we become aware of it, a certain amount of time has to pass - it takes time to outfit an entirely new kind of army, much less create a new Dark Portal and usurp the connection to our Azeroth's Dark Portal and invade it, which we've been told will be happening. This leads to a whole host of questions - what happens during that period of time? How does Garrosh convince the orcs of Draenor that they should listen to him, a completely unknown quantity? He won't be from any tribe they know of - while he's a member of the Warsong by blood, none of them will recognize him. How does it happen?

I'm fascinated by the idea of this moment. Does he just flat out tell them who he is and where he comes from? While Garrosh is a very cunning tactician capable of deceit, he's also fairly straightforward, so I can imagine him infiltrating the tribal society of orcs on Draenor or simply strolling up to a Kosh'harg and declaring who he is. Either approach has risks, of course - while violence is forbidden at a Kosh'harg, he could easily be laughed right out of the place, and infiltrating an orc tribe would be very difficult for an outsider.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Exclusive first look at Christie Golden's new novel, War Crimes

Christie Golden, author of a substantial amount of Warcraft novels including The Shattering, Tides of War, Lord of the Clans and Rise of the Horde, recently announced a new novel to add to the list, and we have all the details. Titled War Crimes, the new novel features an all-star cast of nearly every important figure from both the Alliance and Horde, and tells an interesting, new kind of story the likes of which we haven't seen from Blizzard before.

The brutal siege of Orgrimmar is over. Garrosh Hellscream, the most infamous orc on Azeroth, now sits in chains. His tyrannical leadership of the Horde has been ended by his many enemies, and he must answer for his crimes.

Renowned leaders from across the world gather in Pandaria to witness Garrosh's trial. Visions of his past atrocities are presented in vivid detail for all to see. But as history is revisited, old grievances and bitter memories come back into the light, and those in attendance begin to wonder if anyone among them is truly innocent. Mounting tensions and rising enmity steer the court to the brink of chaos... as the world waits with bated breath for the verdict on the war crimes of Garrosh Hellscream.

If you think a novel about a courtroom trial is going to be a dull affair, think again -- War Crimes isn't just a story about a trial, nor is it just another story about Garrosh Hellscream. In fact, it's anything but another Garrosh Hellscream novel. We were thrilled to get an exclusive interview with Christie at BlizzCon 2013 about her new title, a gigantic cast that includes some unexpected faces in the spotlight, and what we can expect to see -- as well as information on the book's release.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Timelines, timeways, and Karazhan

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.

What is time, in Warcraft? Is it a straightforward line, or a tapestry of events that can be changed or altered with a simple pluck of a thread? While the bronze dragonflight may be masters of the various pathways of time, we mortal players are most definitely not. We've been sent through the pathways of the Caverns of Time on more than one occasion, but always at the behest of the bronze flight, to complete the tasks they have set and keep the timelines pristine.

But this mysterious maze of time wasn't left unexplored prior to our travels through Tanaris. Obviously the bronze dragonflight has been up to a great deal over the thousands of years that it has existed -- Nozdormu's long absence predated even our first journeys through the Caverns of Time. And for one player in the next expansion, time had absolutely nothing to do with the dragonflights, and much more to do with the mysterious home of his enigmatic master, Medivh. So how does it all weave together?

More importantly, when is time travel not really time travel at all, as the developers seemed to be so insistent on saying at BlizzCon?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains a small amount of speculation on datamined material. 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 TFH: The Big Lie

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.

You guys know how the Tinfoil Hat essays work by now - this is my musings, and not officially sanctioned in any way by Blizzard.

We've been lied to all along, and the evidence is mounting up.

I started to be uncomfortable with events when I first went through Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects and we were introduced to the concept of 'false timeways', alternate realities that were somehow less than real despite being filled with real people living real lives and dying real deaths. If the alternate Blackmoore who attempts to kill Thrall several times is somehow not real, then his final confrontation with Thrall and his death at the shaman's hands lacks. Furthermore, how can a person who isn't real kill you? Nozdormu's explanation for his own inactivity I bought, but the idea that the other timeline was in some way not a true timeline bothered me.

Then we went to End Time. And I really started to wonder about Nozdormu.

There we were, in a potential future - moreover, a potential future that we were attempting to avert. And in order to do so, we had to kill Murozond because he was preventing us from traveling to the distant past and upon arriving there, gleefully altering history. Things we did in the Well of Eternity instance that were not part of history before include palling around with Illidan, Malfurion and Tyrande, fight and kill Peroth'arn, attack Queen Azshara, and steal the freaking Dragon Soul. None of this happened before! Even if we assume that our pilfering of the Dragon Soul was somehow okay, that when Nozdormu lost his Titan-granted powers it was sent back (a statement we only have his word for) we still know that the Aspects and Thrall changed the Dragon Soul. Remember, we all had to grab the Focusing Iris just so they could? Furthermore, at Deathwing's demise, Nozdormu makes a cryptic statement.

It is time! I will expend EVERYTHING to bind every thread here, now, around the Dragon Soul. What comes to pass will never be undone!

Okay, so he expended everything. This is no big deal - all the Aspects make a similar statement that they're channeling their full power (one assumes the very power that they lost, that granted to them by the Titans) into the Dragon Soul. No, the line that gets me is 'bind every thread here, now, around the Dragon Soul. What comes to pass will never be undone!'

I got a Ray, what did you just do? vibe off of that moment. Which leads us to the announcement of Warlords of Draenor and the explanation of how it comes to pass.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

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