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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria-lore

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

Know Your Lore: What we know of Warlords 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.

There's been a lot of discussion about Warlords of Draenor ever since the expansion was announced at BlizzCon last year. The new content focuses around the world of Draenor -- an alternate version of the world we explored in Burning Crusade, one in which the Burning Legion never sank its claws into the orcish race and instead, the Iron Horde rose to take the world by force, then move in on Azeroth. It's a different kind of concept, one that might seem a little far-fetched even, until you realize we're playing in a universe where dragons, goblins, and the even the walking dead exist -- not to mention the giant humanoid talking cows.

But what seems to be concerning people the most is that the story of Warlords, despite being described as "the Alliance's finest hour," seems to be focused almost entirely on orcs. Orc warlords, orc clans, orc attacks, with little left to interest the player other than the potential of Garrisons, which aren't a story element so much as an active part of gameplay. So what gives? Are we jumping the gun on judging the expansion's lore? What do we really know about what's coming in Warlords, story-wise?

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

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

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

The Mists of Pandaria that never was

The Mists of Pandaria that never was
It wasn't until after a few weeks of raiding Siege of Orgrimmar that it really hit me: Mists of Pandaria is winding down. Unless Blizzard has a fast one up its sleeve, this is the last tier of raiding before the new expansion, whatever that happens to be. It seems almost too fast, seeing as how we've just hit the one-year anniversary for Mists, but at the same time the faster pace has left me very little time to be bored. Between patches with raid content and patches with quest content, there has always been something to do -- and in patch 5.4, we get not only a new raid, but a delightful island on which to while away the hours.

And I was flying to the Timeless Isle to go farm a rare mob or two when I started thinking about the expansion as it comes to its end. More specifically, the Jade Forest. A lush, tropical paradise the likes of which we hadn't really seen in such scale, the gorgeous scenery and introductory quests ushered players through what ended up being an emotional, gripping, and overall entertaining roller coaster of an expansion. But there's a catch to that. Once upon a time, the Jade Forest wore a very different face -- and had it gone live, Pandaria itself may have looked very, very different to players.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao
The Burdens of Shaohao, a six-part series released earlier this month, was met with resounding praise across the board from players and devoted lore fans alike. The sweeping tale of the last Emperor of Pandaria was unlike anything we'd ever seen before from Blizzard -- a stunning, gorgeous piece of animated, narrative storytelling featuring artwork by Laurel Austin. While we've seen narrative tales in the form of cinematic-style storytelling, this is the first time we've seen anything of this nature.

We sat down with Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson and the director of Shaohao, Doug Gregory to discuss the piece and how exactly it all came to be. While we were originally supposed to have lead editor Lucas Merino on board as well, he was unable to attend the interview as he and his wife received a special gift shortly after the release of Shaohao -- a healthy baby boy! Despite Lucas' absence, we had a delightful time discussing the film, its development, and the possibility of future projects in the unique style of Shaohao.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, 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

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

Know Your Lore: The lore so far -- leading into patch 5.2

Know Your Lore The lore so far  leading into patch 52 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.

Patch 5.2 is almost here, bringing new stories and development to Mists of Pandaria. The story presentation in Mists so far has been a vast, vast improvement on the convoluted storylines in Cataclysm. While Cataclysm left many players wondering what, exactly, was going on, Mists has been by and large a seamless storytelling experience integrated into questing, raids, dungeons, scenarios and daily quests.

But not everyone participates in everything. Sometimes all you want to do is raid or PvP -- but you want to know the story, too. If you've been looking for details on lore you may have missed, lore that is important as we move to patch 5.2, we've got you covered. Don't worry, there are no patch 5.2 spoilers in here. But there are plenty for everything that's happened in 5.0 and 5.1, so reader beware.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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, Tinfoil Hat Edition: In the beginning

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition In the beginning 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.

In the beginning, the Titans created Azeroth. They set the world in motion, and then left to continue on whatever path it was that the mysterious beings followed. Yet something happened to the planet, something bad enough that it warranted the return of the Titans. Upon their return, they discovered the Old Gods, a malignant group of entities that were intent upon sowing chaos. Perturbed, the Titans tried to kill an Old God -- and they discovered to their horror that killing the Old Gods would kill the very planet itself.

And yet, instead of simply rebooting and starting over anew, they kept Azeroth. They imprisoned the Old Gods beneath the surface of the world, and planted various fail-safes to make sure the creatures were never freed. And just in case an Old God managed to escape, Algalon the Observer would visit and determine the status of the world. If it was deemed too far gone, he would activate a signal that would re-originate the world -- Azeroth would be destroyed and rebooted.

Why did they leave Azeroth alone? Why didn't they simply re-originate the world at the first sign of trouble? Why put in a failsafe to do so, instead of taking care of the problem immediately? But perhaps most importantly ...

What is Azeroth?

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 how it happened. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This edition of KYL also contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 content.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Li Li's Travel Journal concludes with part 11

Li Li's Travel Journal concludes with part 11
Li Li's Travel Journal has just updated with the final installment of Li Li's journeys throughout the wilds of Pandaria. Li Li has finally made it to the Dread Wastes, in search of her Uncle Chen. But there's nothing pleasant to be found in the home of the mantid. Will Li Li find Chen, or become just another casualty in the Dread Wastes?

The final chapter wraps up Li Li's journey, but it also explains what the young Stormstout is up to now. Obviously there are reunions to be had, not just with Chen, but with the rest of the Stormstout clan holed up at the Sunset Brewgarden. And there's mention of a particularly touching quest chain in the Dread Wastes, as well.

All in all, this was a delightful little series that served as a pretty good overview of what to expect in Pandaria. It didn't have the emotional weight of some of the leader short stories from last expansion, but honestly, it was a refreshing change. I do hope we'll see more short fiction from Blizzard as the expansion continues, however.

As with the chapters before, if you like the chapter's illustration of Li Li warily spying on the mantid, Blizzard has made it available as a wallpaper, free for download. Don't miss the latest charming installment of the tale -- you can catch chapter 8, as well as all previous installments of the story, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Mysteries of the Isle of Giants and patch 5.2

Mysteries of the Isle of Giants
New maps have been dug up from the patch 5.2 PTR, covering both the new raid and the new zones we'll see in the upcoming patch. One of the maps is for an area called the Isle of Giants -- home to a new world boss, Oondasta. The map, shown above, looks like a mountainous island with a sunken center and the possible existence of tar pits.

In fact, it looks a lot like a crater. One that is pretty similar to two fairly substantial craters we already have in game: Un'goro Crater over on Kalimdor, and Sholazar Basin up in Northrend. Given what we've been told so far in regards to the new raid, and how the developers wanted to make something in the style and scope of Ulduar, this raises a few questions. The biggest one being -- what if that similarity to Ulduar isn't just a matter of size and scope?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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