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Free WoW graphic novel previews for a limited time

Free WoW graphic novels
WoW's twitter announced last night that, for a limited time only, previews of three of the latest World of Warcraft graphic novels are available for free on both Kindle and iTunes. The three comics avaialble for preview in this book are Pearl of Pandaria, Dark Riders and Bloodsworn. Pearl of Pandaria was released last year, but Dark Riders has only been out for just over a week, and Bloodsworn is currently only available for pre-order in anticipation of its upcoming release on August 13, 2013. So this free preview is a great chance to whet your appetite for the full works. What's more, did we mention it's free?

To get your hands on these previews, it seems like you'll currently need to be a US resident, but you can get hold of them via iTunes or Amazon, simply by following the links. If the previews are sufficiently exciting for you to consider dropping some actual cash into the writers' coffers, then you can obtain all three titles from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble via the links provided on the Blizzard blog post. Naturally, as mentioned, Bloodsworn is currently only available for pre-order.

What do you think of these graphic novels? Is this your preferred format for absorbing World of Warcraft lore? You can also check out WoW Insider's reviews of Pearl of Pandaria and Dark Riders.

Filed under: Comics

Li Li's Travel Journal concludes with part 11

Li Li's Travel Journal concludes with part 11
Li Li's Travel Journal has just updated with the final installment of Li Li's journeys throughout the wilds of Pandaria. Li Li has finally made it to the Dread Wastes, in search of her Uncle Chen. But there's nothing pleasant to be found in the home of the mantid. Will Li Li find Chen, or become just another casualty in the Dread Wastes?

The final chapter wraps up Li Li's journey, but it also explains what the young Stormstout is up to now. Obviously there are reunions to be had, not just with Chen, but with the rest of the Stormstout clan holed up at the Sunset Brewgarden. And there's mention of a particularly touching quest chain in the Dread Wastes, as well.

All in all, this was a delightful little series that served as a pretty good overview of what to expect in Pandaria. It didn't have the emotional weight of some of the leader short stories from last expansion, but honestly, it was a refreshing change. I do hope we'll see more short fiction from Blizzard as the expansion continues, however.

As with the chapters before, if you like the chapter's illustration of Li Li warily spying on the mantid, Blizzard has made it available as a wallpaper, free for download. Don't miss the latest charming installment of the tale -- you can catch chapter 8, as well as all previous installments of the story, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2012, 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.

2012 was a bit of an odd year for World of Warcraft. While yes, we did see the successful launch of Mists of Pandaria, that didn't happen until September. Prior to that? There was a whole lot of nothing in game. Patch 4.3 came out in November of 2011, which meant that players had nothing new or exciting to look at for nine months -- an astonishingly long period of time. So why bother doing a top 10 lore developments for 2012, you may ask?

Because the moment Mists of Pandaria hit live servers, we were inundated with so many different lore developments, changes and tweaks that there is more than enough material for this list. Oddly enough, although we definitely spent far more time this year entrenched in Cataclysm, it already feels like there's been more time spent in Pandaria overall. And the changes made to lore development between Cataclysm and Mists are something we should pay attention to, because they spell the beginnings of a very bright future for further Warcraft lore.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Li Li's Travel Journal continues with part 8

Li Li's Travel Journal continues with part 8
Li Li's Travel Journal has just updated with chapter 8 of Li Li's journeys throughout the wilds of Pandaria. When we last left Li Li Stormstout, she was on her way to Kun Lai Summit via hot air balloon, with a new friend and a new fuzzy companion at her side. But Kun Lai Summit is definitely not the most pleasant place in the world to be, what with the yaungol attacks in the area and the uprising of the Sha.

But Li Li's problems hit far closer to home. Although Li Li's little bandicoon companion Shisai was friendly enough while Li Li wandered Krasarang Wilds, he's no longer quite as friendly as he used to be. It's a problem for a pet owner, and Li Li finds an unlikely solution at the heights of Kota Peak from an even more unlikely, if friendly, source.

But this isn't the end of Li Li's 11-part journey through Pandaria. Li Li has more to see -- and the gate marking the way into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms has captured her attention. After all, the Vale has been closed off to the rest of Pandaria for thousands of years ... perfect for a Stormstout explorer. What kinds of secrets will the pandaren explorer dig up in the Vale?

As with the chapters before, if you like the illustration of Li Li traveling via hot air balloon, Blizzard has made it available as a wallpaper, free for download. Don't miss the latest charming installment of the tale -- you can catch chapter 8, as well as all previous installments of the story, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Li Li's Travel Journal updates with part 7

Li Li's Travel Journal updates with Chapter 7
Ah, now things are getting interesting! Li Li's Travel Journal has just updated with chapter 7 of the young Stormstout's tale of discovery. In this chapter, Li Li has finally broken off from her Uncle Chen, who is busy presumably drowning in ale over at the Stormstout Brewery. To keep herself occupied, Li Li decides to find the place where Shen-zin Su and Liu Lang's journey began, deep in the heart of Krasarang Wilds.

Of course you can't really travel through Krasarang without finding adventure. And just as you think Li Li's journey may be complete, she finds herself taking to the air and heading someplace else entirely. I'm glad we're seeing what the intrepid young Stormstout was doing while Chen was busy fixing the Stormstout Brewery and presumably heading to the Dread Wastes -- it's nice to see that Li Li hasn't just disappeared and been forgotten about.

What's also nice are the illustrations for the new chapters. I'm not sure who the artist is, but they're lovely, stylized pieces of art. If you like the illustrations, there's some good news with the latest chapter of the story -- Blizzard has released three brand new wallpapers showcasing the art. Don't miss the latest charming installment of the tale -- you can catch chapter 7, as well as all previous installments of the story, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Li Li's Travel Journal updates with part 6

Li Li's Travel Journal continues with part 6
What happened to Li Li after the Valley of the Four Winds? For that matter, where exactly was she when her Uncle Chen was duking it out with that orc and human during the cinematic trailer for Mists? Li Li's Travel Journal continues with part 6 of her adventures in Pandaria, and answers a few questions about Li Li's whereabouts during pivotal events, and where she's headed next.

In the latest installment, Li Li and Chen have made it to the Valley of Four Winds. In Li Li's eyes, the place looks remarkably like the Wandering Isle, only on a much larger scale. Mention is made of wandering heroes from Azeroth that helped the Stormstouts on their way across the Valley (that would be us!) as well as in the Stormstout Brewery.

The installment leaves off with Li Li headed for Krasarang Wilds without the accompaniment of her dear Uncle Chen, in search of the place where Liu Lang originally left Pandaria on the back of Shen-zin Su. Since we know at some point Chen headed west to the Dread Wastes, it should be interesting to see what Li Li is up to in his absence. You can find chapter six, as well as all previous installments of the story, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Li Li's Travel Journal continues with part 5

Li Li's Travel Journal continues with part 5
Li Li's Travel Journal has finally been updated with part five of the 11-part story of Li Li Stormstout's travels around Azeroth. And this time, there is quite the time jump between entries. When we last left the travel journal, Li Li was still stuck on the Wandering Isle, her uncle Chen nowhere to be found. The latest entry takes us forward in time, jumping over the events in Pearl of Pandaria and Quest for Pandaria to bring us Li Li's thoughts on finally locating the lost continent of Pandaria.

Detailing Chen and Li Li's journey through the Jade Forest, part 5 gives us a little more information on just what happened to bring Chen and Li Li to the borders of the Valley of the Four Winds, where players find them in game. In fact, it looks as though player adventures will somehow incorporate into the story, as the next section will involve Chen's discoveries surrounding the original Stormstout clan.

What makes this really interesting is that our in game interactions with Li Li Stormstout pretty much ended in the Valley of the Four Winds, yet there's six more chapters to the Travel Journal. Hopefully this means we'll see what Li Li was up to while Chen was off saving his family in the Dread Wastes. You can find chapter five, as well as all previous installments of the story, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website. While you're at it, you may want to read Quest for Pandaria, which is also available for free, and takes place just before this installment of Li Li's Travel Journal.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Quest for Pandaria concludes with part 4

Quest for Pandaria concludes with part 4
The fourth and final installment of Sarah Pine's novella Quest for Pandaria was released yesterday on the official site. Part four of Chen and Li Li's journey takes them to the open seas, where they encounter a massive storm, and a tense face off between two ships, one Alliance and one Horde. While this is Chen and Li Li's adventure, the fourth part of this tale does a lot to highlight the feelings and tensions between the two factions in a meaningful way.

And it also does a lot to clear up timelines. At the end of the tale, Chen and Li Li have witnessed the clearing of the mists surrounding the continent of Pandaria. This places the mist-clearing event somewhere just before the attack on Theramore Isle depicted in both scenario and the novel Tides of War. Unfortunately, the tale did little to clarify what exactly made the mists part in the first place ... which means this may be one of those important plot points we'll explore later in the expansion.

Quest for Pandaria served as a an excellent introduction to Mists of Pandaria, and a wonderful bridge between the graphic novel Pearl of Pandaria and the new expansion. Part four is full of emotional moments and characters that you really don't want to miss. You can read part four, or the story in its entirety, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Quest for Pandaria part 3 now available

Quest for Pandaria part 3 now available
You know, of all the things I mourned about Cataclysm, I think highest on the list would have to be the fate of the tol'vir. Despite being a fascinating race in their own right, one that was absolutely ripe for potential, their story was overshadowed by yet another jaunt with Harrison Jones. It was disappointing, particularly because the end of the tol'vir story arc was so open-ended. What happened after the war was completed? What of the tol'vir now?

Quest for Pandaria attempts to answer a few of those questions in its latest installment as Chen Stormstout and his niece Li Li continue their search for the lost continent. Upon heading to the sandy deserts of Uldum, both Chen and Li Li come face to face with the aftermath of the tol'vir war -- and deal with the consequences of the fallout in their own way. It's another small glimpse of the elusive tol'vir race, this time illustrated through the eyes of complete strangers to tol'vir society.

And it's also another well placed step towards rounding out Chen's character. I love Chen Stormstout, and I love the direction they're taking him. This is the third chapter to the four-part story written by Sarah Pine, and I think it's my favorite so far. You can take a look at the chapter in its entirety in the Expanded Universe section of Blizzard's official website.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard headed to New York Comic Con

Blizzard releases New York Comic Con schedule
If you're headed to New York Comic Con this week, keep your eyes peeled for Blizzard. Blizzard Entertainment will have both panels and signings at NYCC this year, including a publishing panel with Blizzard Publishing Lead Micky Neilson, Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, and author Michael Stackpole. During the panel, they'll be revealing the next World of Warcraft novel, which should be the Vol'jin story mentioned during the AMA on Reddit last month. Judging from his presence at the panel, it's likely this is the story Stackpole will be writing.

You can catch the panel Saturday, October 13 from 2:45-3:45pm in Room 1A14 at the Javits Center in New York. There will also be a panel from UDON on Friday, October 12 from 7:45-8:45pm in Room 1A06. The UDON panel will be giving a scoop on a future collaboration between Blizzard and UDON, a Blizzard-themed tribute art book and contest. And if you're looking to get your copy of Pearl of Pandaria signed by the author and artist, you can find Micky Neilson and Sean "Cheeks" Galloway at the IDC Booth, #1238, on Friday from 12-1pm.

Blizzard will also have a presence at a ton of booths around the convention center, everything from Mega Bloks to comics and publishing. For the full list of scheduled events and booths, head the official website.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Blizzard short story Quest for Pandaria now available

Quest for Pandaria now live
Part one of Quest for Pandaria, the newest addition to Blizzard's online collection of short stories, has been released on the official website. The events in Quests for Pandaria take place directly after the graphic novel Pearl of Pandaria. While Pearl of Pandaria's release date is still slated for the 25 of this month according to Amazon, some have been reporting that the graphic novel is already available in bookstores.

As for Quest for Pandaria, the story continues where Pearl left off with Li Li Stormstout and her Uncle Chen safely home on Shen-zin Su. But while Uncle Chen seems to be happy and even content with his return to the island, Li Li finds herself growing more and more restless and discontent. Will her thirst for adventure lead to lands long thought lost? Or will she find herself dragged back home against her wishes?

Today's release was just the first section of the four-part story, so some answers will have to wait. But it's a compelling tale that's beautifully written by Sarah Pine, author of Garrosh Hellscream: Heart of War, and the 2008 Global Writing Contest winner In the Shadow of the Sun. Please note that Quest for Pandaria does contain plot elements from Pearl of Pandaria. If you're planning on picking up the graphic novel, you may want to hold off on this short story until you've read the book.

You can find Quest for Pandaria, along with all of Blizzard's other short stories, in the Expanded Universe section of the official website.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Li Li's Travel Journal updated with parts three and four

Li Li's Travel Journal updated with parts three and four
Li Li's Travel Journal has seen a couple more updates over the past week. The story follows the adventures of Li Li as she travels her way across the Wandering Isle. As the niece of Chen Stormstout, it appears that Li Li has the same curious nature and adventurous spirit of her uncle. In part three of the tale, Li Li heads to Dai-Lo Farmstead, exploring the quiet farming community and helping fight the pests that plague the farmlands in her own mischievous fashion.

In part four, Li Li continues on to the Forbidden Forest and the Wood of Staves. Unfortunately, she runs into trouble along with way. With part three and part four, the story is somewhat established in the timeline. Li Li's Travel Journal begins before the events in Pearl of Pandaria -- before Li Li sets off to find her Uncle Chen on Azeroth proper.

Some of the events and characters in the Travel Journal actually end up appearing in the graphic novel as well. So there's a distinct progression with this story -- it begins with the Travel Journal, continues in Pearl of Pandaria. We'll presumably see the story continue further with the short story Quest for Pandaria, which will be available on the Blizzard website sometime later this month.

We're only at part four of eleven, which means there's still quite a bit of story left to tell. Be sure to head over to the official site and check out both part three and part four in their entirety, and keep checking back for more of Li Li's adventures.


It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider interviews Micky Neilson and Sean "Cheeks" Galloway

WoW Insider interviews Micky Neilson and Sean 'Cheeks' Galloway
Pearl of Pandaria, the latest comics offering from Blizzard and DC, releases September 25. The tale of Li Li Stormstout and her journey to find her Uncle Chen was written by Senior Writer and Voice Director Micky Neilson, whose other works include Unbroken, Ashbringer, and Curse of the Worgen. Bringing the book to life is Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, whose other works include character design for Hellboy Animated and Spectacular Spider-Man.

That's an impressive bunch of credits for an equally impressive book. Sean and Micky were kind enough to sit down with us and discuss the art and history behind Pearl of Pandaria. In addition, we talked short stories and comics as well as some exciting upcoming print projects and the answer to the pesky question of why pandaren eyes are gold instead of green.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider reviews Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson & Sean Galloway

WoW Insider reviews Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson
I have to admit it. When I first heard word of Pearl of Pandaria at BlizzCon, I was not expecting it to be anything extraordinary. The artwork was awesome, the panel previews looked top-notch, and I've been a Galloway fan for years. The news that Micky Neilson was writing the title was definitely good news. But I didn't expect the graphic novel to really hold much weight, particularly since it was mentioned that the novel takes place before Cataclysm. It actually takes place somewhere at the beginning of the war in Northrend.

Because of this, I figured it would simply be a standalone piece. It'd be a well-written, fun little tale that would explain where the heck Chen was has been all these years. But when I started playing the Mists beta, I fell in love with Li Li, Chen's precocious niece with a penchant for acrid sarcasm. After meeting Li Li, I was a bit more excited to read the book, because I figured more Li Li would be a good thing. And then I got Pearl of Pandaria and sat down to give it a read, fully expecting a simple lighthearted and fun little piece of work.

I don't think I've ever been quite so delighted to be utterly wrong.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Getting into the lore of Mists

Know Your Lore Getting into the lore of Mists 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.

Well, this has certainly been a week, hasn't it? Mists of Pandaria will officially be out and in your hands on Sept. 25. In the tidbits I've discussed here and there regarding Mists of Pandaria, I've pointed out time and time again that the lore we will see with this expansion will all be new. Does it tie into old lore and events that have been set up in prior expansions? Absolutely. Will we be dealing with villains from days of old? ... Not so much. This isn't something to be annoyed about; it's something that we should embrace. The continuation of a story is always a good thing. For a story as massive as Warcraft's, it's about time we had a shot of new lore added into the mix.

The best part about the lore in Mists is that because it's all so very new, everyone will be on roughly the same page headed into the expansion. For players who know the lore inside and out, this will all be new material to learn. For new players just looking to get into the lore, you'll be on the same page -- looking at brand new material and figuring it all out. There are a few story threads that have been picked up, but by and large, everything on Pandaria originated on Pandaria.

So how do you get started processing all that stuff? Let's take a look, minus the spoilers. Sorry, guys -- you will eventually get more Pandaria info than you can shake a stick at, but it's going to be September before I start throwing it at you with unbridled glee.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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