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Posts with tag nerzhul

Know Your Lore: The orcs, 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.

One of the problems in covering the history of the orcs is that after the Rise of the Horde period, we've done it already quite a few times. The history of the orcs is the history of the Horde. Just in covering Orgrim Doomhammer's life, we've covered the formation of the Horde to a great extent.

What's interesting when considering the orcs as a people is how they were betrayed by their own virtues. The orc tendency to revere the spirits, their genius at preserving clan individuality yet coming together in times of crisis, their willingness to respect their elders and heed their wisdom -- all of these traits were twisted under first Ner'zhul and then Gul'dan. While Ner'zhul was proud, even arrogant, his initial actions in kindling the war against the draenei were sincere. He believed that the spirit of his dead wife Rulkan had returned to warn him of the draenei threat, accompanied by a "great one" who would teach Ner'zhul new magics to use to protect his people.

No matter Ner'zhul's flaws, it cannot be denied he was sincere. Yes, he hungered for power and respect (even though he was in fact powerful and respected) and yes, he prosecuted the war with the draenei when he really only had the word of Kil'jaeden that the draenei were evil and plotting against the orcs. And yes, Ner'zhul ignored for a time that he was losing the respect of the ancestor spirits and that the elements grew distant from him. He put himself ahead of his role as elder shaman. It cannot and should not be denied. But even in his most aggressive moments, Ner'zhul was neither blind nor a fool. He began to realize that his spiritual advisor, Kil'jaeden, resemble a draenei and hated Velen with a fervor the orc could barely comprehend. He began to wonder why the spirts would not speak to him.

And so he made his way to Oshu'gun.

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

Know Your Lore: The orcs, 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.

Their name is on the freaking box. The very first Warcraft product ever released is called Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. Orcs get top billing. In terms of pure history in the Warcraft setting, orcs have a lot to discuss. In their time, they've gone from a shamanistic society of hunters defending itself from the hostile gronn and ogres to a united war machine led by a figurehead, to a demon-blood drunk engine of genocide and finally out the other side, to a shamanistic society that keeps elements of the war machine alive.

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

Know Your Lore: The Warcraft cosmos, Tinfoil Hat edition

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.

Last week, we wrapped up the second half of the Warcraft cosmos series and covered the additional planes of existence within the Warcraft universe. These layers of planes and the way they interlock is a tricky topic that, quite frankly, gives most people a headache when they think about it too long -- myself included. However, now that we've got the basic layers and interaction between all these planes of existence, there is an incredible amount of speculation to be done.

That's right; today's a Tinfoil Hat edition of Know Your Lore. If you are unfamiliar with the Tinfoil Hat concept, these are columns in which we take existing known lore and place our own spin on it to try and speculate on future events. None of the Tinfoil Hat columns should be taken as actual lore by any stretch of the imagination. However, there is a great deal of fun to be had in picking things apart and trying to predict, so let's see what we can come up with, shall we? But first, let's clear up the matter of demonic death.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Interbellum Part 3 - To rule a world

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.

So now the stage has been set. The exiles have all arrived on the blasted remnants of Draenor, once the home of the orcs and last refuge of the draenei. Following the events of Ner'zhul's attempt to lead the orcs away from their dying world, the planet was shattered and torn asunder, pulled violently into the Twisting Nether that Ner'zhul's portals linked to its surface. Now Outland, a world drifting in the nether, is the remains of that destroyed place. A world where natural laws are often suspended, it hung overripe waiting for a clawed hand to pluck it.

That hand belonged to Magtheridon. Second among the pit lords only to his master Mannoroth, Magtheridon was the one the Legion chose to conquer this world, unique among all the planets formerly taken and crushed by this army of demons. For Ner'zhul's portals still worked, making Outland a kind of nexus wherein the Legion could pull entire armies through at will and easily stage them for new conquests. Holding Outland therefore gave the Legion a strategic foothold, one they were loath to give up.

However, circumstances were unfolding that would lead to exactly that.

Part 1: Forcing Fate's Hand
Part 2: Into the Outland

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Third War, 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.

A few months back, I started on an overview of the Third War. As you can see from reading it, the following week, I did not in fact talk about the Third War at all. If you're familiar with my Thrall piece for KYL, you understand this is something that happens to me from time to time. I fully intended to go into more details about the war, but I got sidetracked by something shiny or a colorful ball of twine or what have you.

But with Wrath of the Lich King a month from its exit from center stage, it's time to look back again at the war that made it all possible.

After the Culling of Stratholme, Arthas Menethil had taken his first steps into obsession. The Culling itself is often treated as an indefensible act that proves Arthas was already evil, but I personally see it as the first tipping point, when a young and idealistic man who wanted to do right by his people was presented with an untenable choice and let his own impulsive nature decide. Waiting outside the city for the residents to turn into undead and destroying them as they attempted to escape was, after all, neither a more merciful nor a more prudent option. In the end, Arthas made the choice he did, and in so doing alienated both Uther, his direct superior as a paladin (and one who has his father's ear, to boot) and Jaina, his on-again, off-again romance. This left him free to pursue Mal'Ganis to Northrend.

His actions would change the face of Azeroth and her nations forever.

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

Know Your Lore: Orgrim Doomhammer, 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.

He is the father of the modern Horde. His name became the name of the great city built by the orcs. He found in the son of his oldest friend a protegé who would lead his people, and he passed his family's greatest treasure down to ensure that prophecy was satisfied. To his people, he was one who never forsook them. No attempts to run away from the consequences of their actions, no dissembling -- simply forthright, pragmatic action. Alone of the Blackrock Clan, he refused the taint of the demon blood, yet found himself marked by it as it spread through his people. Called the Backstabber because he killed his direct superior, Blackhand the Destroyer, he ruled the Horde until its final defeat at Blackrock Mountain.

To his enemies, he was death. He beheaded his own chieftain and seized power in one brutal moment, crushing any opposition by the swift assassination of his enemies.He destroyed Stormwind and nearly brought down Lordaeron. He killed the majority of the warlocks of the Shadow Council and removed the position of Warchief from the role of a puppet ruler, leading the Horde in truth. He asked for no quarter and gave none. He countenanced the capture and forced breeding of the dragon queen Alexstrasza and her consort Tyranastrasz, using the juvenile dragons as mounts. He allowed Gul'dan to live, even though he suspected treachery, because the old warlock promised him a weapon that could counter the magics of the humans. He was never one to put his conscience ahead of what he saw as his duty; even as he suspected the orcs were being lied to and manipulated, he took part in the slaughter of the draenei. In the end, his own pragmatism cost him the victory in the Second War, as the treacherous Gul'dan proved that placing victory above all sometimes means giving someone too much rope -- Gul'dan's betrayal of the Horde in its moment of victory effectively destroyed all of the hard work of its Warchief.

Orgrim Doomhammer, last of the Doomhammer line, Warchief of the Horde, chief of the Blackrock, was an orc, give him all in all. You shall not look upon his like again.

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

Know Your Lore: The Third War part one

There's always more lore to discover here at Know Your Lore.

I had intended to go over the events of the novel Day of the Dragon this week, but I decided to save that for a more Cataclysm oriented post and instead work on this, the final of our overview of the wars that made the Warcraft setting. In a very real way, Wrath of the Lich King is basically a third chapter in the saga of the Third War that unfolded in the Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne storylines. Furthermore, while a great many aspects of the setting debuted before it, the Third War introduced the Kaldorei, or night elves, to the setting, helped bring the Burning Legion to prominence, first showed us the Draenei, and otherwise helped set the stage for the world of Azeroth as it appeared when World of Warcraft launched.

You can trace the existence of the Forsaken, the loyalty of the Trolls and Tauren to the formerly purely Orcish Horde under Thrall, the establishing of a human colony on Theramore Isle, and even the activities of former and current luminaries such as Illidan Stormrage, Kael'thas Sunstrider, and even the Lich King himself to the events of the Third War.

It's hard to say when, exactly, the Third War actually began, since it was really a rather complicated affair. Certainly, the capture of Ner'zhul by Kil'jaeden and his transformation into the Lich King is of great importance to the Third War, but it's not the beginning of that comflict. Not even the moment when a nascent Lich King was hurled into the glaciers of Northrend can be called the start of the Third War, nor the moment when the sorcerer Kel'Thuzad answered the summons of that dread entity and made his way north to become the kernel of the Cult of the Damned. These moments are all important, for without them there would have been no Third War, but they are not the war's starting point.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Intermezzo Part Two - The Alliance Strikes Back


Welcome once again my friends to the lore that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside Know Your Lore.

Last week, we covered the events after the end of the Second War, when Ner'zhul and Teron Gorefiend led an attack on the Azerothian nations which held artifacts the former elder shaman believed he could use to open new portals on Draenor. These portals would be the salvation of the orcs who were doomed to a slow death as fel corruption slowly consumed the land.

In response to the Horde of Draenor's attacks (led by Gorefiend, Kilrogg Deadeye and Kargath Bladefist) and their theft of artifacts like the Book of Medivh and Eye of Dalaran, King Terenas Menethil ordered Turalyon and Khadgar to lead an expedition beyond the Dark Portal itself to determine what the Horde had planned.

This week, the Alliance Expedition takes the fight to the Horde, and we once again remind you that if you played through these events in WCII, things may have changed in the lore since. Please bear with us as we reconstruct the events surrounding the Alliance Expedition to Draenor. The Sons of Lothar against the Horde of Draenor.

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Filed under: Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Intermezzo Part One - Return of the Horde


Welcome once again my friends to the lore that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside Know Your Lore.

This week, we look at the aftermath of the Second War and the years between it and the Third. A lot happened in this intermezzo between the drums of two wars, because in general it seems that Azeroth basically reels from crisis to crisis. I should also point out that in at least one case, a major lore figure dies in one source and yet is said to be alive later in a previous source. If you pay attention to Warcraft lore this will no doubt not surprise you terribly.

At the end of the Second War, the Alliance forces destroyed the Dark Portal in a rather impressive bit of CGI for the time. Generally, it was hoped that Khadgar's little bit of pyrotechnics would end the threat of the Horde forever, as (the theory went) there would be no more reinforcements coming in through the portal. This act effectively broke the back of orcish resistance to the Alliance of Lordaeron's forces, and in so doing ended the war, as even Orgrim Doomhammer found himself captured and chained by the Alliance. Only Kilrogg Deadeye and those few forces directly under his command managed to evade capture and remained free. This would come back to cost the Alliance. However, in the immediate aftermath of the War, the nations of the Alliance found themselves divided on the question of what to do with the orcs, many of whom had sunk into a strange despondent lethargy with their defeat. Should they all be killed? If not, what else could be done with them?

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Old Horde


Welcome to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's weekly column about the story behind the game we play.

Last week we discussed the formation of the Alliance in response to the Horde invasion of and destruction of the Kingdom of Azeroth via the Black Portal, and the Alliance's eventual triumph over the Horde, expedition to Draenor, and the events of Warcraft III that saw the destruction of Lordaeron and creation of a new order. This week, we talk about the events that caused those events.

Yes, this week we're discussing the origins of the Horde, that organization that began as the manipulated, deceived and then ultimately demonic blood addicted orcs of Draenor. It's not a simple tale: we've already told parts if it before when we discussed Gul'dan, Ner'zhul, Teron Gorefiend, Grom Hellscream and many others. It all really began untold thousands of years ago on the planet Argus, home world of the Eredar and their Draenei, or exiled, cousins. Thus, ironically, while the existence of the Horde caused the creation of the Alliance, it was an Alliance race that helped start the events that led to the creation of the Horde. Symmetry in origin.

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Filed under: Shaman, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Features, Lore, Know your Lore, NPCs

Know Your Lore: The Alliance


Welcome back to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's column about the story behind the game we all play.

This week on KYL, we move away from the Fall of the Lich King (although in the months to come expect more Icecrown related KYL's) and out to the larger world and the major factions that contend across it. I thought we'd start with the Alliance this week for a number of reasons, the first and most important among them being that the Alliance would not exist without the Horde, while the Horde's existence owes itself to forces transcending the Alliance. Because of this, doing the Alliance first will leave open questions that the Horde section next week will help answer.

The Alliance as it stands at this moment in time is a far different entity than the one originally known as the Alliance of Lordaeron. That Alliance was one of seven human nations (Azeroth, Lordaeron, Stromgarde, Kul Tiras, Alterac, Dalaran and Gilneas) with the Dwarves of Ironforge, Gnomes of Gnomeregan and High Elves of Quel'Thalas. This Alliance was born directly out of the statecraft of King Terenas Menethil of Lordaeron and the military leadership of Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Azeroth and last living member of the original Arathi bloodline.

Each member of this alliance had various reasons for being in it and varying degrees of loyalty to it (the High Elves, for example, were only in the Alliance because as the last Arathi, Lothar could compel their loyalty due to ancient pacts and abandoned it as soon as it was possible for them to fulfill said pacts, while Gilneas retreated behind the Greymane Wall not long after the end of the Second War over differences of opinion with Lordaeron) and it certainly lacked in coherence compared to the Horde it was opposed to.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Lore, Factions, Know your Lore

The Lore of Patch 3.3

In many ways Wrath of the Lich King can be considered the logical conclusion of one of WarCraft's major story lines. Arthas, the evil sovereign of the scourge, will meet his doom in Icecrown Citadel. Each Wrath patch up until now has lead to this defining moment -- the face off between Arthas and the players representing the next generation of heroes of Azeroth. Who will win? What happens after Arthas is defeated? Is Arthas defeated?

These questions lend themselves to a spectacular conclusion to a great tale. In The Lore of Patch 3.3, Michael Sacco, Alex Ziebart, and I will take a look at all the various plots, characters, and environments that lead up to this grand confrontation with the Lich King.

You'll want to know this story. You'll want to know this lore.

For when you finally face off against the wielder of the Frostmourne, you'll know why you're going toe-to-toe against him, and why your fate can make or break the very face of Azeroth.

This article, while containing essential lore, also contains heavy spoilers. Do not proceed if that bothers you.

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Filed under: Patches, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Lore Nerd: It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

I didn't intentionally choose today's Scourge theme. Really. These things just happen. That Dragon-specific one I did all that time ago? I didn't plan that, either. I'm just awesome enough that these things come together all by themselves. Yep. It's my pure, radiant awesome.

What? What do you mean current game content dictates what topics are hot or not? Pssh, that's crazy talk. That can't be it. It's all me, y'all.

Briz9 asked...

"Who built Icecrown Citadel and the accompanying structures? Did Arthas build it after he became the Lich King, or was it already there?"

The massive Saronite structures that make up Icecrown as it is today is all fairly new, from what I understand. Most Scourge architecture is based on Nerubian architecture (as you can see in Ahn'kahet) but the Saronite structures in and around Icecrown seem more styled after the Lich King himself. You certainly didn't see that stuff in Warcraft III either, but I suppose that's not always a good indicator.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculative speculation

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Today's edition of Ask a Lore Nerd is a bit heavy on the speculation side, so be warned before you start reading. We've had a lot of questions recently that we don't yet have answers to, but are asked frequently enough that I suppose I should see what I can say!

vyx asked...

"Okay, so speaking of life and death, this has bugged me for a while -- how do we explain the fact that some characters (Horde and Alliance legends for example) have died, but yet every Priest, Pally, Shammy and Druid can rez people anytime they want?

I realize it's a game and it wouldn't be so much fun if you died and then had to reroll a level 1, but there needs to be some type of lore explanation as to why people can be rezzed, but also can 'really die.' Are we supposed to just not worry about this or is there an explanation?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

Ask a Lore Nerd: Life and Death


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Today we're fielding a lot of questions on the Light and the Shadow, and Life and Death. I don't know why, really, that's just how things happened! Trends like that are always fun, like the week or two where we had nothing but dragon questions. It makes picking out themes really easy!

Emorich asked...

I was under the impression that C'Thun wasn't dead. I thought we simply stopped him. After all, we were attacking one of his eyeballs, hardly a vital organ. Is Kil'Jaeden dead too? I thought we basically just pushed him back through the portal and now he's really pissed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

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