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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Azeroth

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition 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.

Last week, we took a minor plunge into the idea of Azeroth as a fully-connected entity, and what the implications of that entailed. But there's more to the story than just a matter of connectivity. We know everything is connected. But what we really don't know at this point is why. What is the purpose of Azeroth? What were the Titans thinking? Why did they choose to forgo re-originating the world after discovering the Old Gods? Why have they gone silent, ignoring Azeroth for thousands of years?

Why does Azeroth exist?

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 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 Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
Things have just gotten incredibly weird.

The second installment of Dawn of the Aspects has just been released to an assortment of retailers, ready to be downloaded to the e-reader of your choice. The novel, written by Richard Knaak, continues to explore the events at the dawn of time, before the Age of Dragons began. As Kalecgos continues his descent into the mad visions bestowed upon him by an ancient artifact, he begins to discover more and more unsettling facts about the formation of dragonkind. But will Kalecgos be able to divine what these visions are trying to teach, or will he be swallowed into the past for good?

In our review of part one, we touched on the somewhat convoluted nature of the story, with the hopes that part two would begin to make things slightly more clear. Yet that question of the purpose of dragons on Azeroth, their origin, and what they should do now that the Age of Mortals has begun is still left unanswered. And despite the novel's focus on events long past, it's beginning to become more clear that Kalecgos' visions, mad as they are, definitely have more than a little relevance to present-day.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A Knaak
Everything we know about the formation of the Aspects is wrong. Well, not wrong -- but so far from what is truth that the reality of the situation is a dizzying puzzle that has only begun to be addressed. Dawn of the Aspects is a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle, and part one of the tale has only just begun to unravel these pieces into what will hopefully be a coherent whole by the end of the story.

While we've had hints and suggestions as to how the Aspects and the varying dragonflights came to be, it's never been truly defined. And when we made our trip to Northrend in Wrath of the Lich King, the proto-drakes found roaming the peaks and valleys of the continent were an intriguing puzzle. How did dragonkind make that leap from proto-drake to dragon? Who was Galakrond, and how did his existence tie into the existing dragonflights? Was he the father of all dragonkind in a literal sense, or in a far more figurative fashion?

Perhaps most importantly, at the dawn of the Age of Mortals, does any of this information really matter at all? If you're at all interested in the history of Azeroth, the answer is a resounding yes.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Blizzard releases excerpt from upcoming Dawn of the Aspects

Blizzard releases excerpt from upcoming Dawn of the Aspects
If you're curious about the upcoming novel Dawn of the Aspects, Blizzard has just released an excerpt on its official site. The book, which will release part 1 on February 19, follows Kalegos on a journey to the past -- specifically, to the days before the Aspects were Aspects, and Galakrond still flew the skies of Northrend. It's a tale about the creation of the Aspects, and the history of dragonkind.

More importantly, while Kalecgos is observing events of the past, he's doing so from the standpoint of the future -- the days after Deathwing's defeat. While the ending of Dragon Soul was definitely interesting, it raised far more questions than it answered. What happens to the dragonflights, not that they've lost their powers? What purpose do they serve in the world, and how can they continue to make a difference in this so-called Age of Mortals?

Richard Knaak is an excellent choice for the novel, especially given his history with writing nearly every prior tale involving the Aspects and their history. The excerpt shown on Blizzard's official site is interesting, and even the small piece that we're shown holds valuable information regarding Galakrond, his history, and how it compares to the history we've been told so far. Suffice it to say, not everything is exactly as it has seemed, and the miniseries may clear up a giant chunk of Azeroth's history that to date has been left unexplained.

Head to the official site to read the excerpt, and don't forget to get your copy of the ebook when it releases on February 19.


Filed under: News items, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects Part 1 to release February 2013

Dawn of the Aspects Part 1 to release February 2013
Part one of World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects will see its release a little later than previous reported at NYCC last year. Simon & Schuster currently has the release date set for February 19, 2013. Unlike previous Warcraft novels, Dawn of the Aspects will be released in parts as an ebook rather than a print novel. Part one will be available for $1.99, with four more parts to follow over the coming year. And for those that can't wait, we've got an exclusive look at the full cover for the upcoming novel after the break.

Penned by Richard Knaak, Dawn of the Aspects explores the relationship between the proto-drakes of Northrend and the Aspects of here and now. Even though Deathwing has been taken care of and the Hour of Twilight has been halted, the question of what comes next for the Dragon Aspects is still unanswered. With their powers expended, how can any of the Aspects, or even dragonkind for that matter, hope to still make a difference in the world?

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Filed under: News items, Lore

Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Mannoroth

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Your first finals contender for this season of Two Bosses Enter is here! The Echo of Sylvanas summarily defeated the Echo of Baine, crushing the vote and positioning herself for a huge win at the end of the tournament. People just love them some Sylvanas, don't they? What can I say? And, speaking of Echos, if you don't mind, I will begin at the beginning ...

Your second finals contender is about to be crowned. Murozond, twisted and tainted, exists as a separate shadow of his former Aspect, Nozdormu, in every moment. His time has not come -- it came for an eternity before this moment and will come for an eternity after this moment. Mannoroth, destroyer of worlds and the lives existing on each, seeks only destruction of all things standing in the way of total universal domination by the Burning Legion. Two beings built for pure chaos face off this week in the Two Bosses Enter arena! Cast your vote now.

Seriously, cast your vote. The buttons call to you, like the sirens to Odysseus, except that you aren't tied to the mast ... and now you've crashed into Fun Island! Just vote.

Who wins? Murozond vs. Mannoroth
Murozond (End Time)2202 (64.0%)
Mannoroth (Well of Eternity)1241 (36.0%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Archbishop Benedictus

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

It is no strange surprise that the Echo of Tyrande would retain the love, energy, and passion her fans bestow upon the night elf priestess, even here at the End Time, when Deathwing has taken what he felt was rightfully his. Wait. What? Tyrande lost? To Warlord Zon'ozz? By 43 votes?!

We'll get to this hilarious (to me, anyway) upset in a little bit. There's another important matter to discuss, which is that we have two brand new competitors on Two Bosses Enter and what seems to be an epic match up in the works.

Murozond, the twisted form of the aspect Nozdormu, has manifested himself in the End Time, ready to end all daring time travelers' adventures. As time itself bends around his gargantuan form, only the use of a magic hourglass can give even the most stalwart heroes hope of besting the great infinite. Up against Murozond is a fallen hero who wields the power of the Light unlike any other power on Azeroth. Once the leader of the Church of the Holy Light, now Archbishop Benedictus reigns as the Twilight Father, assisting Deathwing in ending all of our puny existences.

Who wins, friends? Does the great infinite dragon best one of the most powerful wielders of holy and shadow magic? You decide!

Who wins? Murozond vs. Archbishop Benedictus?
Murozond (End Time)2943 (77.4%)
Archbishop Benedictus (Hour of Twilight)858 (22.6%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm for Dummies, Act II

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, Act I of our Cataclysm for Dummies guide went over the basics of Cataclysm -- how it came to be, just who that Deathwing guy is, anyway, and why he's so annoyed with the world in general. We also found out why we're going to all those new level 80 to 85 zones and, more importantly, why we're wandering around in three different raids in three completely different locations around the world. If you made it through the basics, congratulations! You're caught up through patch 4.0.

But we're in patch 4.3, aren't we? And you've probably still got questions. Questions like: What's up with the troll dungeons -- didn't we kill those guys already? And why did we have to go fight Ragnaros again? Why is Thrall friendly as all get-out with the Dragon Aspects? Why do we have to do all this silly time travel? The good news is, by the time you're done reading this guide, you'll totally understand what Cataclysm is all about.

Please note: There are spoilers here for the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. If you're still planning on reading it, you may want to do so before you hit this recap.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm lore for Dummies, Act I

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.

Are you super familiar with Warcraft lore? Can you name all the dragon aspects, what they were created for, where they got their powers? Do you have a working definition of the Dragon Soul, what it is, what its other name is, and why it's important? Do you know who Sinestra was before she was a torn-up, reanimated corpse in the bottom of the Bastion of Twilight? Are you related to the Red Shirt Guy? Are you the Red Shirt Guy? Then this post is likely not for you.

But if you've been running the Raid Finder like a fiend, killing dragons and elementals and minions left and right, and suddenly found yourself wondering why, exactly, you were fighting in Wyrmrest Temple, this is for you. If you're wondering why Thrall is suddenly pals with the Dragon Aspects, this is for you. If you're wondering why exactly Deathwing is such a huge major threat and what's with all this running around you have to do, this one is for you.

Let's take a quick sweep through the entirety of Cataclysm and recap what's happened. Better yet, let's sum up.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The top 10 lore reveals of Cataclysm, 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.

Spoilers for every single Cataclysm raid and zone to be found here.

On the whole, Cataclysm has revealed a great deal of lore for the Warcraft universe. We've been to all four of the elemental planes and destabilized two of them by destroying the elemental lords who were effectively the dictatorial forces of their respective elementals. As of this writing, only Therazane remains as undisputed master of her elemental plane. (Indeed, with the destruction of Deathwing, she's actually in a stronger place than she was.) We've seen the Twilight's Hammer cult rise to world-shaking prominence and played a role in setting them back by destroying Cho'gall. We've finally managed to balk them on the eve of their Old God masters' final triumph by destroying Deathwing just as he was about to unleash an even more destructive assault on Azeroth than his first.

The Dragon Aspects lost their immortality just after we discovered that there were actually safeguards in place to appoint new ones. We discovered the secret land of Uldum and its Titanic ruins, and we prevented the activation of the Halls of Origination at Deathwing's behest and discovered the connection between the Qiraji and Uldum. We also saw the war between the Alliance and Horde begin lurching toward a new phase. We discovered the fate of Gilneas and the Gilneans, saw tantalizing hints as to the development of the goblin people and their mysterious kajamite, and even more. It's been an eventful expansion in terms of what it established. For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to talk about where Cataclysm took us and what we discovered.

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

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm's end

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 4.3 signifies the end of the story of Cataclysm, the moment of Deathwing's demise. Much like patch 3.3 before it, 4.3 features three dungeons that are directly related to the endgame content -- what you do in the dungeons is 100% part of the story that leads to the Dragon Soul raid. So we have End Time, the Well of Eternity, and the Hour of Twilight, all three offering different parts to this story.

All of this information has led to hundreds of questions. If we kill Murozond, what happens to that alternate future? If we take the Dragon Soul from the past, doesn't that mean our future is irrevocably altered? Perhaps most important is the last cinematic for the Dragon Soul fight, which was leaked earlier this week and raises way more questions than it answers.

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore is full of spoilers for patch 4.3 -- we're talking everything from the story behind the new heroics to the new short story to the end of the Dragon Soul raid. It also holds spoilers for the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. If you're avoiding spoiler content, turn away now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Blizzard short stories continue with "Charge of the Aspects"

Blizzard's run of short stories continues not with another highlighted leader but with an event: the release of patch 4.3. Charge of the Aspects picks up on the slopes of Hyjal, where the Cenarion Circle and Earthen Ring seek to heal the earth after Ragnaros' defeat. Though Ragnaros has fallen, something must be done to put an end to Deathwing's reign of terror and to prevent the horrors of the Hour of Twilight that threatens us all. The story highlights the Aspect's decision to use the Dragon Soul against Deathwing and where Thrall fits into the plan.

The story was written by Matt Burns, the author who gave us the excellent leader short story The Council of the Three Hammers: Fire and Iron earlier this year. Council was a well-written and gripping tale, and Charge of the Aspects follows in its footsteps. In particular, the plight of Nozdormu as he struggles with his duty and the grim nature of his fate is fascinating. The story also gives us a brief glimpse into the mind of a maddened Deathwing and just what he thinks of the Titans' charge.

Check out the story on the official site. If you have any questions about the new heroics or how they came to pass, this sets them up quite nicely.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into 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: Lore, Cataclysm

WoW Insider's guide to End Time

After writing the guides to Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman, it occurred to me that I'd missed out on the opportunity to include a useful feature. Most of us will be seeing the patch 4.3 5-mans with a Dungeon Finder group at one point or another, and a high percentage of Dungeon Finder groups contain ... How shall I describe this politely? ... at least one player who has obviously spent the better part of a day with his head down a glue jar. You don't need a sophisticated understanding of the boss' mechanics for these people. You want to explain the fight as quickly and simply as possible to someone whose pupils are the approximate size of a dinner plate.

Consequently, in addition to information for the folks out there who care about what the boss is actually doing, I have also included a small section for each boss called Explain it in 5 seconds or less. And take heart! There's at least one boss in End Time where you don't have to care about anyone's survival at all!

If you want the quickest possible guide to all the new 5-man boss mechanics, read Patch 4.3 5-man bosses in 5 seconds or less.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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, Infinite Paths: The golden-eyed

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, I talked about Murozond and the End Time. Some astute readers noted that upon confronting the players and Nozdormu, Murozond claims, "I have witnessed the true End Time. This? This is a blessing you simply cannot comprehend." What does this mean, exactly? Granted, we could simply dismiss this as insanity brought on by the Old Gods. But what if the issue isn't insanity? What if the Old Gods didn't drive Murozond mad at all?

Aman'Thul, the Highfather of the Titanic Pantheon, granted Nozdormu a vision of his own death. It is said to be this very fate that Murozond is attempting to avoid by fracturing time. What, however, if that's not the case at all? What if in his case, much madness was and is divine sense?

Murozond's End - End Time
Murozond: You know not what you have done. Aman'Thul... What I... have... seen...
Nozdormu: At last it has come to pass. The moment of my demise. The loop is closed. My future self will cause no more harm from this day on.
Nozdormu: Still, in the future, I will... fall to madness. And you, heroes... will vanquish me. The cycle will repeat. So it goes.
Nozdormu: What matters is that Azeroth did not fall; that humanity survived to live another day.
Nozdormu: All that matters... is this moment.


Why does Murozond call out to Aman'Thul in his moment of death? Beyond his own death, what has Murozond seen? Did the Infinite Dragonflight seek to break this clockwork universe, and if so, has it already done so? This week's KYL continues based on last week's Tinfoil Hat Edition and presents an entire alternate time line based on the question What if Murozond was the hero all along?

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

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