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Posts with tag orgrim-doomhammer

Know Your Lore: Blackhand the Destroyer

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 are no spoilers for Warlords of Draenor here, because we're not talking about that Blackhand. No, the Blackhand we're going to talk about today is the original, the first Warchief of the Horde, the leader of the Blackrock orcs. A raider of the Sythegore Arm and a feared wolf-rider, Blackhand was both tactically brilliant and overly fond of flattery - he rose to the position of Warchief because he possessed both the ruthless cunning necessary to lead the Horde and the ego and vanity that Gul'dan used to manipulate him. It was this strange mix in his personality, his bloodlust and desire for power yet gullibility and willingness to be misled that led him to the position of Warchief, led him onto an alien world, and ultimately led him to his death.

Blackhand was first in command of the Blackrock clan. He had three children with his mate Urukal, Griselda, Rend and Maim. Griselda's fate shows us that not all orc clans were as egalitarian as the Frostwolves. But before all of that, before he sold his children to warlock magic to make adults from them before their time, before he was Warchief, before he drank the demon blood after Grom Hellscream, Blackhand was an ambitious, cruel, and eager warrior who sought glory in battle, and his own aggrandizement.

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

Know Your Lore: Warriors of Azeroth and beyond, 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.

Second verse, same as the first - we're talking warriors of lore and story in the Warcraft universe. What does it take to get on either of these lists?
  1. Don't obviously be a member of another class. I skirted the edge of this one for last week's list, but not this week - these are the warriors. No Bolvars, no Turalyons, no Rexxars or the like. If you cast spells or skulk in the shadows or are a death knight, you're not on this list. Sorry, Highlord Alexandros Mograine, but you were a paladin, and you don't count. Maiev Shadowsong definitely uses stealth, she's out.
  2. You have to be somehow more iconic than the badasses on last week's list. That means, in my opinion, you're more important in terms of lore than Muradin Bronzebeard, Baine Bloodhoof, and Broxigar the Red. That's not an easy bar to jump over.
  3. Those are my criteria. I just think lists with less than three points on them look weird.
Let's get started on the list.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Cities and geography updates

CM Bashiok had an interesting reply to some lore and geography queries on the official forums, after reaching out to Lead Quest Designer Craig Amai for answers. Some familiar places will indeed make an appearance in Warlords, including the draenei city Telmor, mentioned in depth in the novel Rise of the Horde. Telmor was a hidden draenei city, notable because it hosted two very unusual guests -- a young Orgrim Doomhammer and Durotan, who were rescued from an ogre attack by a draenei party and then taken to the city. Both orcs witnessed the removal of the invisibility spell that shrouded the city, and met with the Prophet Velen himself. Years later, Durotan was asked to use his knowledge of the invisibility spell to reveal the city and leave it open for attack. Telmor was quickly overrun.

There are no remnants of Telmor in Outland today -- but there are other geographical areas that have been described in lore prior to Draenor's destruction, which Bashiok further clarified.

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Filed under: Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: A guide to the orc clans 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.

It occurred to me while writing last week's Know Your Lore about Zaela and the Dragonmaw Clan that there are a lot of orcish clans out there, many of which we'll be encountering in Warlords of Draenor. There are well over twenty different clans, each with different histories, and there may be just as many smaller, minor clans that we don't know about, or more. Players familiar with Warcraft lore likely recognize the names of these clans, even if they aren't exactly certain who's who.

But for players new to Warcraft lore, or players that haven't played any game other than WoW, the giant list of various clans and the little notes we heard of clan history from BlizzCon may be pretty confusing, to say the least. Just who are all these orcish clans, which ones are we likely to see in Warlords, and which ones likely won't make an appearance?

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

Know Your Lore: Draka, daughter of Kelkar

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.

Thrall named the ship Draka's Fury after his mother. It was the ship that should have taken him without trouble to the heart of the Maelstrom during Cataclysm, but the ship was intercepted by an Alliance fleet and destroyed. It's been stated here and there that Thrall named the ship as a tribute to his mother, and to the strong orc women in his life -- but there's a problem with that. Thrall didn't know his mother at all, really. When he was just an infant, both Draka and his father Durotan were killed, betrayed by their own kind, and Thrall left to die. He named the ship after the strength of a mother that he never really knew at all.

But Draka was far from weak, in her prime -- and to her mate Durotan, she was the epitome of everything an orc woman should be. Strong, wise, brave, unwilling to bend or break, Draka spent the entirety of her childhood defying everyone's expectations, and continued to do so until the day she died. In Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally get a chance to meet Thrall's mother and father in person. We know who Durotan is, but who was that orc woman standing at his side, and what made her so incredibly special?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Who we will and won't see in Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor, the next WoW expansion, comes complete with a storyline that has players asking plenty of questions. Featuring an all-star cast of previous RTS characters, Warlords delves into an alternate version of reality, a version in which the orc chieftains never drank the Blood of Mannoroth, instead choosing to band together in the Iron Horde. In this version of reality -- a splinter of reality that shouldn't really exist -- the orcs and draenei are still at war, and that entire splinter of reality is being connected to our own via the Dark Portal.

This has been raising all kinds of questions regarding who exactly we'll see on the other side of that portal. What about Azeroth, in that version of reality? What about Deathwing and his kin? What about the Velen leading the draenei at that point in time, what about younger Garrosh? Will there be duplicates of orcs who have since made their homes on Azeroth, after traveling through the Dark Portal? Will the Alliance Expedition be stranded on this version of Draenor? Just who are we going to see over there, and who won't be making an appearance?

While we don't have all the answers, we have more than enough to start filling in the blanks.

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Filed under: Lore, Warlords of Draenor

BlizzCon 2013: World of Warcraft Adventure Continues Q&A

The World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues panel during Friday's action-packed BlizzCon featured Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak giving a short presentation on the story behind the new expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Along with the history lesson, which was summed up by Matthew Rossi, the panel also featured a brief Q&A session that wasn't advertised in the program, but proved to be a pretty good list of questions and answers about the new expansion and what we can expect to see.

Along with some clarifications on whether or not this is a time travel expansion (it isn't), there are also a few new lore reveals regarding the next expansion, and some tasty tidbits of odds and ends that have yet to be addressed. Read on for the full list of questions -- some of the answers may surprise you.

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Filed under: Lore, BlizzCon

Know Your Lore: The History of the Warchief

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.

This post exists because of the massive spoilers in this link, but the post itself will be spoiler free. As long as you don't click on that spoiler-heavy link, you will not see any spoilers in this post. (Edit - actually, there's one spoiler at the very end of the post - it's clearly marked as such, and it is a minor spoiler at best, but it is there. Let that guide your actions.) Instead, we're going to talk about the position of Warchief - how it came to be, how it evolved and then devolved, and how Garrosh Hellscream's reign as Warchief set the stage for what could be a completely new direction for his successor (whose identity I will not discuss).

The position of Warchief actually began as a complete figurehead, and the first orc to hold that position, Blackhand the Destroyer, was placed in that position due to his combination of physical fearsomeness and egocentric self-aggrandizement - so easily was he misled and directed by Gul'dan, head of the Shadow Council and architect of the Horde, that he never once proved himself a threat sufficient for Gul'dan to ever consider replacing him. It's not that Blackhand was either a fool or an idiot, he was in fact a canny tactician and a respected warrior. He simply believed his own hype - so convinced was he in his own superiority that when Gul'dan presented to him that he would be a respected equal and his position as Warchief would be one of real power, he believed it, because he believed in himself. Throughout the war with the draenei and later, the invasion of Azeroth, Blackhand ruled as Warchief and allowed himself to listen to Gul'dan's words - allowed himself to listen because they were telling him what he wanted to hear.

Even as the humans balked the orcs, and Blackhand's series of victories became defeats, he continued to listen to Gul'dan. This would be his downfall.

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

The Velen Problem: Why the draenei need dissent

The Velen Problem Why the draenei need dissent
I've been thinking about this one for a while. The character of Velen is a useful one for World of Warcraft as a whole as well as being one of my favorites in the game -- he stands for a rationally enlighten position which seeks to unite the Horde and Alliance in order to hold off the greater threat of the Burning Legion. In that regard, he's WoW's Medivh from Warcraft III. His visions of the future and powerful understanding of the Holy Light give him an unassailable moral authority - it's difficult for any allied faction leader to stand directly against Velen's position, when he makes it known. Luckily for the narrative, Velen is often distracted with seeking visions of the war with the Legion and how to defeat them and he can't always stand against the Horde/Alliance conflict... either that, or he foresees that it will play out in a way that's beneficial to his goals.

But it is this very role as unassailable moral compass that makes Velen a problem in terms of integrating the draenei into World of Warcraft and its storyline.

I'll explain using some examples. The current Battlefield Barrens weekly quest, for instance, is just the latest sign of Horde/Alliance conflict on Kalimdor. The Horde have expanded into Ashenvale, taken over Azshara, bombed Stonetalon, even made inroads into Darkshore (seemingly, at least) by allying with the local trolls. The night elves are reeling from these attacks. Their new worgen allies are stepping up to aid the Sentinels, going so far as to seek training under Shandris Feathermoon. Yet the draenei, who live on a set of islands just off the coast of Kalimdor, have done nothing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Gul'dan, Doomhammer, and the nature of the Horde

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.

Garrosh Hellscream is many things. He's brash, headstrong, arrogant, concerned for his people, determined to deliver the whole of Azeroth into their dominion no matter what anyone thinks about it, but one thing is clear. He's not Gul'dan. For all the grief I like to give Horde players (mainly because it's easy to rile Horde players up, I know, I raided as Horde for all of Cataclysm and a good chunk of Mists) It's true that on the surface, the Horde of today has changed greatly from the Horde Gul'dan created.

The Horde as it exists today is the spiritual successor of the Horde that Orgrim Doomhammer created when he seized power. Was Doomhammer a kindly, soft spoken orc who loved kittens and rainbows? No. No he was not. He was an orc who had come to power as the right hand of Blackhand the Destroyer, a hunter and a warrior who had spent his entire life in combat. He was strong, devoted to his people, and absolutely committed to an orc victory no matter the odds. In a way, minus Garrosh's bluster and bravado, the orc he most resembles from the history of the old Horde is Orgrim Doomhammer.

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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: Orgrim Doomhammer, 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.

See last week's Know Your Lore: Orgrim Doomhammer, part 1.

When talking about the second Warchief of the Horde, a few salient facts must always be discussed.

Orgrim Doomhammer did not drink the demon blood. Frankly, as purely subjective and biased as it may be, I don't find the idea that, "Oh, well, they were addicted to the demon blood," is anything like an excuse for what the Horde did in the First and Second Wars. Objectively, the Horde burst through the Dark Portal, murdered everyone in their way (people who had never done anything to them), sacked whole cities, and in general were akin to a plague of gigantic green locusts. It's not forgivable simply because they willingly choose to slurp down on the ichor of Mannoroth first. Nor is Doomhammer any more laudable for having engaged in those selfsame actions without having drunk. Doomhammer never made even a token effort to parley with the humans. He saw them as vermin to be exterminated so that his people could have their fertile lands for their own, and had the Horde won the war Doomhammer waged across the Eastern Kingdoms, there is no doubt that he would have gleefully put the entire human race and its allies to the sword -- and entirely without the "curse" to in any way explain his actions.

Whatever else he may have been -- quick to anger, reluctant to challenge his people's direction as his old friend Durotan did, overly eager to display his own prowess (even if doing so meant becoming as battle-hungry as any blood-drinker) -- Doomhammer proved himself to be a superbly able tactician and relentless force both on the battlefield and off it. It must be said that the Horde came within a few hours of totally destroying Lordaeron as it had Stormwind. Pretty much every Forsaken active today would have lost someone to the orcish Horde of the time, and it was only the betrayal of and defection of Gul'dan that ultimately ended the Horde's chance for final victory.

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Filed under: 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: Current Horde politics - the Orcs

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.

Now that we're done with the dragonflights coverage, it's time to move on to other, more... explosive topics of conversation. Yes, that was a thinly veiled attempt at a Cataclysm reference. With the events of Cataclysm, both the Alliance and the Horde are due for some shake-ups, but it's the Horde that stands in a particularly shaky position, politically speaking. Cataclysm promises to shake up not just the physical world, but the political world of the Horde as we currently know it -- so I'll be taking a look at each of the Horde races, what they've been up to in the World of Warcraft, and why Cataclysm may do much more than simply set the Alliance and the Horde at odds.

Today's topic, the orcs -- the green-skinned Draenor natives that have established a foothold and a home on Azeroth, for better or for worse, and founded the current Horde as we know it today. While rumors are just that, rumors for now, they're well founded in current events and lore regarding the orcs and quite frankly, the rumors do not surprise me in the least. To begin, let's go back to the beginning of the current Horde and talk a little bit about their leader, their savior, the orc behind all the current stress the Horde is experiencing -- Thrall.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Second War

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.

When last we got together over the nonexistent campfire to share stories of Azeroth and Draenor and the peoples of both, our heroes were either fleeing the destruction of Stormwind or destroying Stormwind, depending on who you think of as the heroes. Once again, the 'canonical' nature of these events has shifted somewhat from the time they were first presented to now, so bear with me if you see any inconsistencies as I attempt to work several disparate accounts together. Also, wow, did a lot happen in the Second War, so please forgive anything I miss or merely allude to from the Alliance and Old Horde KYL's.

We know that following the loss of Stormwind (and by following I mean that they could probably see the buildings burning as they sailed away) the survivors, led by Anduin Lothar, sailed north for Lordaeron and the court of King Terenas Menethil. It was this journey and Lothar's arrival that led Terenas and Lothar to begin the diplomatic work that created the Alliance of Lordaeron. It's important to keep in mind that, at the time, not many people actually knew much about the orcs aside from the survivors of Stormwind. King Llane Wrynn had an adviser who knew a lot about the orcs but that ultimately ended in Stormwind's destruction as we covered last week. Still, Lothar was the one person both connected enough through his descent from the ancient Arathi bloodline and knowledgeable enough about the enemy to command the military of this new Alliance.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, NPCs, Cataclysm

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