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Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Uldum

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 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.

On the southern end of Kalimdor, a forgotten civilization hides behind otherworldly technology, forged by the Titans to protect the great machinery of Reorigination. The tol'vir, great protectors of the ancient machinery, stand stalwart against the corruption and fighting. Some tol'vir have succumbed to the aqir long ago, but the civilization remained unknown to the whole of Azeroth. After Deathwing's violent breach from the Maelstrom changed the world forever, the resulting chaos broke the shield that hid Uldum and revealed its sands. Now, Deathwing and his allies fight to corrupt the tol'vir and bring chaos to Uldum and beyond.

Uldum continued the Cataclysm zone progression by moving you from the rocky, subterranean world of Deepholm into an open-air desert, a welcome change for the claustrophobic adventurer. Giant pyramids, monumental statues, and an Egyptian motif made Uldum one of the most beautiful and well-realized zones in Cataclysm. As players embarked on two very distinct quest lines, the story of Uldum unfolded as the forces of the wind broke the Skywall through the desert sky and into Azeroth's realm. On the other side of the zone, players were sent on a sprawling adventure with fan favorite Harrison Jones on a bumbling expedition to figure out the purpose of the Obelisks of Uldum and get into some wacky trouble.

This is going to be the most controversial of the Cataclysm post-mortems. I can feel it. Uldum was a zone that people either loved or hated during the content push to 85. We are going to try to keep it civil.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The tol'vir


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've talked about the tol'vir before Cataclysm launched. While what we learned about them then was tantalizing, what we've learned about them since has helped develop our understanding of them quite a bit. Proud, ritualistic, formal, feral, the tol'vir are a race bound by their ancient task and pinned between their duty and their desire to return to a state of existence they see as more perfect than the one they currently inhabit.

The last remaining bastion of free tol'vir on the surface of Azeroth is the mysterious land of Uldum. Created eons ago by the Titans, Uldum is part of the planetary monitoring system that once girdled the ancient continent of Kalimdor alongside Ulduar and Uldaman. While Ulduar seems to have been intended to imprison the ancient Old God Yogg-Saron, and Uldaman perhaps served as a manufacturing center for earthen (although it may also have served other purposes), Uldum's purpose was linked to Ulduar in a very real and direct way. Ulduar was where Algalon would come to make his judgment about the fitness of the Azeroth experiment if the prime designate Loken was destroyed. And Uldum?

If one thinks of Algalon as the means by which a world is judged, then think of Uldum as the executor of his will. Ulduar is where Azeroth would have been condemned, and Uldum is how the sentence would have been carried out. The tol'vir of Uldum, therefore, have the most important task of all the Titan's creations, as they maintain the world-destroying engines and keep their power out of the hands of those who might otherwise use them. Unfortunately for the tol'vir, those who would undo the Titan's work for their own ends have often subverted or corrupted these last guardians of Titanic secrets in order to gain access to what they guard.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

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