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Know Your Lore: The Dragon Soul

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 was a tiny, small, inconsequential disc. Golden in color, simple in appearance, the talisman was far more dangerous than any could comprehend. Well ... almost anyone. The goblin servants of Neltharion, the Earth-Warder, created the object, and even they weren't truly aware of just how terrible that creation truly was. For the golden disc held not only the power to tear through the Burning Legion; it held the power to control every dragon, every flight in the world -- with the exception of Neltharion, of course.

For he would rule them all. The voices told him so and promised him glory above all creatures of the world, mortal or immortal, no matter how insignificant. The Burning Legion was simply an army of pests to be eliminated, as were the kaldorei; the War of the Ancients was a petty squabble marring the glorious moment of his ascension. It was only a matter of time.

The Dragon Soul was perhaps the most dangerous creation in existence, and it was held in the claws of a dragon that was most certainly completely insane.

Today's Know Your Lore contains some information regarding Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects, the 4.3 5-man dungeons and the Dragon Soul raid. If you're avoiding spoilers, I'd skip this for now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Queen Azshara, Light of Lights

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.

In all of Kaldorei history, stretching back to days unknown, no monarch has ever been as beloved as Queen Azshara. Though she spends her time these days idling deep under the ocean, in patch 4.3 we finally see through the window of the Caverns of Time the leader that was once the crowning glory of Kaldorei civilization. She was born with golden eyes, a rarity at the time and so uncommon among the Kaldorei that they were heralded as a sign of future greatness.

But the greatness for which Azshara was destined would have caused her followers a moment of pause had they realized it had nothing to do with them at all. After all, when one is born into a world that demands greatness, one has to walk the fine line between greatness and humility. Though Azshara excelled at many, many things, humility was nowhere to be found on that list. Proud, arrogant, and incredibly powerful, Azshara let the devotion of her people go to her head and nearly brought Kaldorei civilization as we know it to an end because of it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 4.3: Blizzard's official preview of the Well of Eternity heroic dungeon

Today seems to be a huge day for patch 4.3 news, as Blizzard has just released a second 4.3 dungeon preview, this one for the Well of Eternity. After opening the gateway to the past in End Time, players will be transported back in time to Azshara's palace during the War of the Ancients to retrieve the Dragon Soul. Sounds easy enough, right? Yeah, not so much -- the Dragon Soul is busy hovering over the Well of Eternity and being used to open the portal that will allow Sargeras into the world.

In order to retrieve the Dragon Soul, players will have to fight and defeat the enemies that stand in the way, including Queen Azshara herself. Also seen in Well of Eternity are two names that should ring a bell to those familiar with lore -- the pit lord Mannoroth, whose blood is responsible for the corruption of the Orcish race, and Varo'then, head of Queen Azshara's personal guard. We already know what happens to Mannoroth and Varo'then in the future, so what will happen if we mess with them in the past?

It seems as though all this mucking around in time is something players will have to be considerate of, however. According to Zarhym, "The tragic events which took place at the Well of Eternity must ultimately come to pass, leading to the Great Sundering, the creation of the Maelstrom, and the loss of countless lives."

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm looking forward to saying hello to the younger versions of Tyrande, Malfurion, and Illidan. Check out the official website for the full preview, with plenty of images and more information on the various bosses in the dungeon.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Lore, Cataclysm

Review of Wolfheart, by Richard A. Knaak

Let's face it: The Alliance has kind of gotten the shaft this expansion, from a story perspective. Oh sure, you can talk about the Dwarves of Ironforge and the assorted conflicts in Ashenvale and even the druids up in Hyjal with Nordrassil. But when you simply look at Cataclysm and everything that's come out of it, the Horde has seen more development and story than the Alliance, to the point of having the upper hand in the continual conflict between Alliance and Horde. The Alliance simply hasn't had much given to it in the way of novels, beyond the tales of the Worgen race and the leader short stories on the Warcraft website.

That pretty much ends with Wolfheart, the newest Warcraft novel by Richard A. Knaak. For those who were tired of hearing of Thrall's exploits or the exploits of the Horde in general, Wolfheart is very much the book for you. Though we haven't witnessed any particularly huge conflicts with the Alliance in game -- instead being treated to the somewhat chilly reception of Garrosh Hellscream and his plans for the Horde -- it doesn't mean that there hasn't been any to speak of. In fact, there's far more going on behind the scenes with the Alliance than anyone could have guessed.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The curious whispers of Tirisfal Glades

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.

Long ago, before Human civilization had progressed into kingdoms and civilized society, the Kaldorei of Kalimdor participated in a war that ultimately split the world apart. The war was about power, as all wars ultimately are in Azeroth -- this time, the powers of a mysterious font of energy known as the Well of Eternity. Suffused with arcane magics, the Well commanded the attentions of countless Highborne who grew dependent on its powers. So too, did the Well draw the attention of the dark forces of the Burning Legion and its leader, Sargeras.

Though the War of the Ancients ended in a victory for the Night Elves, it wasn't the last they'd see of the Well of Eternity. In an act of desperation to keep the arcane font alive one way or another, Illidan Stormrage used a vial of water from the original Well to create a new one, high atop the peaks of Hyjal. Horrified by his actions, his brother Malfurion had him imprisoned, and the Aspects created the World Tree and charged the Kaldorei with guarding the new Well. The practice of arcane magic was forbidden from use in Kaldorei society, punishable by death.

But the Kaldorei underestimated the depths of the Highborne's addiction. And both Highborne and Kaldorei alike didn't realize there were far worse, darker powers to worry about ...

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

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

Know Your Lore: Tyrande Whisperwind

Tyrande Whisperwind
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 a leader, Tyrande Whisperwind holds the distinction of being the oldest living native racial leader on Azeroth and the most enigmatic. Though we know plenty about the other various racial leaders of the Alliance, Tyrande has remained a quiet figure working behind the scenes, rarely speaking up. In fact, most of Tyrande's appearances have been in novels and Warcraft 3 -- in World of Warcraft, she's barely had any screen time at all.

But even though Tyrande isn't much of a presence in World of Warcraft, she's arguably one of the strongest leaders the Alliance has. Not just because of the length of time she's been leading the Night Elves -- over 10,000 years -- but because that time has afforded her the opportunity to fine-tune her leadership. Tyrande doesn't possess the brash nature of Varian Wrynn or even Genn Greymane, the temper of the Dwarven Council of Three Hammers, or even the quiet vigilance of Velen. What she does possess is the intelligence to know when alliances are necessary -- and the patience to deal with even the most frustrating of allies or enemies.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Tyrande Whisperwind leader story up on official site

The night elves have taken a beating in Cataclysm, even with their role in adding the worgen of Gilneas to the Alliance. The Horde has attacked them in Ashenvale, disasters have wiped out their settlements in Darkshore, Azshara is lost and Feralas in danger of being lost as well. What is Tyrande Whisperwind, high priestess of Elune and leader of the kaldorei, doing about all of this? Well, in Seeds of Faith, you'll get your chance to find out.

Disaster after disaster besets the night elves. With news from all over their ancient lands coming back and the tides of war turning against them, can Tyrande afford to let her personal feelings overwhelm her leadership? And what of the fate of Shandris Feathermoon? These questions are answered in the short story by Valerie Waltrous, available now on the official site.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Cataclysm

World of Warcraft: "Wolfheart" novel description now available

A preview description for the next book set in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm universe, Wolfheart, has appeared courtesy of BlizzPlanet. The novel, penned by Stormrage and War of the Ancients trilogy author Richard A. Knaak, follows the exploits of Varian Wyrnn, Genn Greymane, night elf leaders Malfurian Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, and surprise guest Maiev Shadowsong. From the description, it appears the novel will focus on the tensions between Stormwind and Gilneas due to their tenuous new alliance, the Highborne's reintegration into night elven society, and the continued fight in Ashenvale against the surmounting Horde odds.

Christie Golden's Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, is currently on the shelves, chronicling Thrall's journey post-Cataclysm with the Earthen Ring and his counterpart Aggra, as well as the dragons and their quest to stay alive and allied during Deathwing's brutal return. With Wolfheart, it seems we're getting an Alliance leader's story opposed to that of Thrall, who was once the Horde's warchief.

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart is going to be available on Sept. 13, 2011. Hit the jump for the full description.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Cenarius, Malorne, and Ysera

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.

He is the Lord of the Forest, a union of the heavens, and the earth. One of the most powerful and influential demigods in Azeroth, Cenarius and his teachings have led to the development of the druids, and no other demigod has been as closely involved with mortal affairs. It's no surprise that the son of an Ancient and the closest thing Azeroth has to a goddess is so powerful -- and his connection to the Aspect Ysera made him even more so.

He is the White Stag or Apa'ro, as the tauren call him. Malorne, an Ancient who served as a protector of nature, was rumored to have roamed the forests of Azeroth long before the night elves ever came into existence. He is the father of Cenarius, and unlike his son, he meddles little with the affairs of mortals. But his love with the goddess Elune resulted in the birth of his son, and his later association with Ysera guaranteed his son would be raised safely and with the right kind of guidance.

She is the Dreamer, Aspect of Nature and guardian of the Emerald Dream. Ysera has always been held in high regard by the night elves, who were bound to the Emerald Dream with Ysera's blessing. But her relationship with Malorne resulted in a son she didn't expect. Though not his mother by birth, Ysera was just as much a mother to Cenarius as Elune -- perhaps more. After all, it was Ysera and the Emerald Dream that helped shape Cenarius into the demigod we know today.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The "death" of the Old Gods

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.

Once upon a time, there was a little planet called Azeroth. A shining jewel of the universe, this little planet was chosen by the Titans, blessed by their presence and organized into a perfect representation of order and beauty. But that order and perfection wasn't to last. At some undefined point in the little planet's future, malevolent proponents of chaos, creatures simply called Old Gods, visited Azeroth's surface and quickly decided to ruin the harmonic vision of the Titans with their own brutal, corrupt, and chaotic one.

The Titans realized something had happened and returned to find the world they had so carefully balanced in a state of utter chaos. They immediately launched an assault on the Old Gods, but they discovered something strange. The Old Gods had fully integrated themselves with the matrix of the little planet, placing a strange malaise on the inhabitants. If the Old Gods died, so too would Azeroth -- and so the Titans imprisoned the Old Gods deep beneath the earth where they could do no further damage. They set to work repairing the planet, leaving various safeguards behind to watch over the world. Satisfied, they left -- and they haven't been seen on Azeroth since.

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

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Hyjal

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine (in our own opinions and words) what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape. Join us for a discussion about Cataclysm's new level 80 to 85 content and what made the cut as the most compelling experiences.

Hyjal is home to the majestic world tree Nordrassil, once under siege by the Burning Legion and Archimonde, an eredar leader and lieutenant of Sargeras. In Warcraft III, we vanquished Archimonde at Nordrassil and subsequently went back and ended his campaign in Hyjal through the Caverns of Time. Now, Ragnaros the Firelord has returned to Azeroth with the help of Deathwing and has invaded the sacred mountain with one goal -- destroy the wardens of Hyjal and burn their tree to the ground.

Hyjal's story

Mathew: I had an odd experience with the story at Hyjal, mostly because at first, I couldn't have given a damn about the druids and the Emerald Dream and all of that. The first time I went through Hyjal, it was a sprint, and I never stopped to smell the roses, since we were racing to 85.

It was only after I did Hyjal a second or third time that I truly dug in and found the wonderful story of the zone. Now, I am 100% involved in the Hyjal story and am really excited to see where it's going. Now, the druids are my best friends, and there is nothing I want to do more than help ancients punch fire elementals in their fiery faces.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The curse of the worgen and the Scythe of Elune, part one

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.

Though we've speculated time and again as to the origins of the worgen race, and we know for certain now that these worgen were at one time night elves, worgen history itself has been somewhat shrouded in mystery. The druids responsible for the worgen curse -- Druids of the Pack -- were deliberately using a druidic form that was forbidden to the night elves. So why would they choose to use it? What kind of situation would require defying Malfurion Stormrage's orders?

More importantly, we have the case of the Scythe of Elune, an artifact that has been referenced here and there since the early days of vanilla, where both Velinde Starsong and Arugal were tied in to the Scythe's unusual history. But where did the Scythe come from originally? What makes it so peculiarly special? More to the point, how on earth did the worgen get into Gilneas? Interestingly enough, everything ties together -- from the Scythe to the origins of the Druids of the Pack to the unfortunate fate of Gilneas.

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains spoilers for the five-issue miniseries Curse of the Worgen -- an excellent series that I highly recommend people pick up. If you do not wish to be spoiled, turn back now!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Stormrage and the Emerald Nightmare, part 2

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 events of the novel Stormrage may not have happened in game, but they still have an effect on upcoming events. While the book was released much earlier this year, the events in the book hadn't really played out until now; they occur sometime after the defeat of the Lich King yet before Deathwing shatters the world in Cataclysm. Unfortunately, we will not directly see the events presented in Stormrage occur in World of Warcraft.

Despite the lack of events regarding the resolution to the Emerald Nightmare storyline in game, things have been resolved -- to a point. On top of all of this, not only does the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden make several references to Stormrage, but certain events we see in the upcoming expansion also reference key elements to the novel. Yesterday, we began to delve into what exactly happened between Malfurion's time in the Emerald Dream and present day; read on for the conclusion of the story and its effects on the Azeroth the characters we play know and love.

Please note: The following post is all about Stormrage and contains spoilers for the majority of the novel as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you're planning on picking up the book, turn away now, lest ye be spoiled for eternity!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Stormrage and the Emerald Nightmare, part 1

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 events playing out in game right now have long-lasting repercussions on future lore, but there are also events playing out that aren't present in game. The Shattering by Christie Golden details some of these events, but there's another book out there that also has an effect in upcoming events. I'm talking about Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak, which was released earlier this year and covered information regarding the Emerald Nightmare.

Even though the book was released some time ago, the effects of the book haven't been felt. This is because as far as timelines go, Stormrage hadn't really happened yet -- or has it? The book takes place somewhere between Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, and though we don't see any of the events in the book played out in game, we see players from the book and the repercussions of the book's events. Today, we're going to give an overview of what's in the book and how it affects what's going to play out in Cataclysm.

Please note: The following post is all about Stormrage and contains spoilers for the majority of the novel as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you're planning on picking up the book, turn away now, lest ye be spoiled for eternity!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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