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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Emerald Dreams and 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.

Its existence is known by many, but it's accessed by only a scant few of the assorted races of Azeroth. Long ago, Malfurion Stormrage learned the ways of the druid from the Ancient Cenarius, and through that process, learned to travel through this mysterious place. Once under the protection of Ysera, it's currently undefined just how much influence the Aspect of the Green Dragonflight now has over the mystery that is the Emerald Dream -- but for years, it's been a haven for druids, and druids alone.

Over several expansions and through several novels we've seen the progression of the Emerald Nightmare -- in the novel Stormrage, the Nightmare was by and large defeated. In game, we rarely saw mention of it, although one or two quests happened to mention Malfurion's dilemma within the Dream, and a few quests actually sent us inside. In all honesty, the most we've seen out of this content in-game were files and exploration videos of old zones that were never developed. Yet there's something really fascinating about the Emerald Dream, something that captures the imagination and has many players clamoring for an expansion featuring that content.

So what does any of this have to do with Draenor?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation 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, 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, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The whispers of Azeroth

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The fascination of Sargeras 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.

Sargeras: Fallen Titan, founder of the Burning Legion and destroyer of worlds. Since his fall from his place as the premier champion of the Titans, Sargeras has enjoyed utmost success in his mission of destruction, bringing down endless worlds and wreaking havoc across the universe. Yet one world has eluded his grasp, time and time again -- Azeroth. Though the Burning Legion has visited Azeroth countless times, it has yet to sink its claws into the world and wrench it apart.

Despite this, the Legion continues to try. There may be hundreds, thousands, possibly even millions of distinct worlds out there ripe for annihilation, but the Burning Legion and Sargeras himself have focused with certainty on our little world. Is it a matter of revenge? Is it a matter of stubborn persistence? Or is there some other reason we're the focus of the universe's heralds of hatred? What is Sargeras' fascination with our tiny planet, anyway?

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 and what is to come as a result. 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

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

Patch 4.2: Thrall's quest sound files reveal major spoilers

Major spoilers ahead, friends. On the other side of this jump is Thrall's dialogue from the epic quest coming in patch 4.2. What fate awaits the former warchief of the Horde? Is Thrall gone for good, or is there still a chance we can save him from his elemental fate? Click faster, time is of the essence!

Major spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 preview: Thrall's fate revealed in epic quest [SPOILERS!]

Well, this is certainly big lore news.

Blizzard has just released a preview of the patch 4.2 epic quest line that awaits players involving Thrall, former warchief of the Horde. After the events of Hyjal and the successful thwarting of Ragnaros' invasion, things were quiet for a short while. A meeting between the many heroes of Hyjal, the Earthen Ring, and the dragon aspects took place at Nordrassil, where Thrall's fate was severely changed.

We'll talk about it more after the break, which has some spoilers for those who are concerned about such things.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: Benediction

Though temporarily bested by Sindragosa's Ice Tombs, a well-timed Renew and some gnome mages have freed Dawn Moore just in time for her to wrench back Spiritual Guidance from the shady clutches of Fox Van Allen; just as she does every Sunday. After she finishes advising her fellow healing priests on the ways of the light this week, she will be waiting for a duel in Zangarmarsh atop the highest mushroom with a Flag of Ownership and Medallion of the Horde. Bring it!

I've had a lot of requests recently from readers who want a leg up on gearing out their soon to be level 80, or fresh level 80 priest for raiding. This is certainly a worthwhile topic, one I intend to get to, but not this week.

We get a lot of mail at WoW.com and this past week we got an e-mail from a player named Nemikahn who wrote a WoW version of the song Sunscreen. The various staffers read through the e-mail, groaned in realization at how old they were (the original song came out in 1998) before the e-mail got lost in the jumble of BlizzCon 2010 news. I really enjoyed the rewrite though, and thought it rather timely given we are nearing the end of this expansion. Cataclysm is coming, and it's supposed to change everything we've become familiar with. So, this week my fellow priests, my guidance is this: stop and smell the flowers. WoW operates at such a hurried pace these days. Don't feel like you always have to rush off to the next raid or complete another alt. Take more screen shots, visit your favorite zones, make sure you can contact your closest friends in the game outside of it, and most of all: create Benediction. I will, of course, help you with that last part.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a night elf

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the seventh in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The night elves are probably the most difficult race to roleplay well in all the World of Warcraft, which is particularly ironic considering how very popular they are. Many a roleplayer has been disappointed by seeing player character night elves who are 21 years old, who were born in Darnassus or Teldrassil, or whose mother or father is human -- all of which would be next to impossible according to the actual lore of the game. The only way to make things like this is to change the lore to suit your own preferences, or to rely on cliche devices such as time travel and special magics which really go too far into the realm of the abominably self-centered Mary Sue.

Night elves can also be difficult to understand, and full of contradictions: they can be over 10,000 years old, and yet they often do not possess the vast wisdom that would seem to come with such an age; they are deeply connected to nature, and yet they sometimes act without the blessings of nature; their women are supposed to be very fierce warriors, and yet their animation in the game has them bouncing up and down like teenage girls at their favorite boy-band concert.

And yet much of this is just the sort of thing that draws people to the night elves. There's a youthful passion combined with ancient grace and sadness that many roleplayers just love to get into. Also, for those who love to develop long and complex background stories for their characters, there is a great deal of history about the night elves' ancient past which can serve as good inspiration for many of your own character's life events. We won't go into every detail of ancient history today, however; instead we'll cover the basics that you'll need to know in order to start out with a night elf that fits in the Warcraft story, and direct you to some more resources if you'd like to make one with a really deep and complicated background.

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Filed under: Alliance, Night Elves, Druid, Hunter, Warrior, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

New servers (must be Thursday!)

From the continuing-battles-against-queues department, I bring you the following tidbit. Six new realms are now open, forming their own new battlegroup, Emberstorm. The realms are closed to transfers for six months and the gates of AQ are starting out closed. Ordinn says that a few more realms are planned to be opened next week, in addition to an unspecified number when the Burning Crusade hits the streets, though he says "the exact timing will depend on the amount of those new and return players."

The new realms open now are as follows:

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Filed under: Realm News, Blizzard, News items, The Burning Crusade

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