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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Dark Below

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The Dark Below
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.
I see them! A million worlds glittering in their perfection! One above all others! We have fallen, we must rebuild the final Titan! Do not forget.
Wrathion may have just finished chowing down on the heart of the Thunder King when he rattled off that strange speech about this bizarre "final Titan," but what he said seemed to indicate there is far more going on in Pandaria than we'd thought. Or, on the other hand, there is far more going on in Azeroth than we thought. Things that must be taken care of, things so urgent that Wrathion is attempting to set the war between Alliance and Horde on fast-forward so that we can skip that part and simply jump to what he thinks is the important stuff.

Earlier this week, Blizzard appeared to be trademarking something called The Dark Below, and many have speculated that it's the name of the next WoW expansion, largely because of the existence of Ozumat and his title, Fiend of the Dark Below. The trademark was later revealed as a possible hoax -- and later still, revealed to be a trademark in Europe. So is it WoW? If it is a WoW trademark, what could possibly be in an expansion with that title?

I have absolutely no idea. But that makes for some excellent Tinfoil Hat speculation, so why don't we look at what could potentially be lurking in The Dark Below?

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 how it happened. 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

Breakfast Topic: What will the next WoW expansion be?

Mists of Pandaria is our Emerald Dream expansion
What will the next WoW expansion be? With only one major content patch left in Mists of Pandaria, and BlizzCon 2013 around the corner, it won't be long before we know what's next. But what do you think is coming? Will we be venturing into the Emerald Dream alongside Malfurion, or was Anne Stickney onto something when she speculated that the Mists of Pandaria might be our Emerald Dream expansion?

What about the ongoing legendary questline with Wrathion? Wrathion has been referencing the return of the Burning Legion in much of his quest text. Does that mean demons will be descending upon Azeroth in the next expansion? Will we finally get to see Sargeras?

Also, you wouldn't want to forget Queen Azshara. You would think we'd have seen her and the city Nazjatar in the Cataclysm expansion, but so far she's only made minor or indirect appearances. Azshara is the perfect accompaniment to some recent fan speculation about the naga being the next possible playable race. Unfortunately, Ghostcrawler pretty much shot that down by pointing out the naga's lack of legs would make it difficult to design armor for them.

And, of course, there's always ... Trolls? Wait, really? More trolls? You wouldn't think it, but in the same interview where Ghostcrawler killed our naga dreams, he said that trolls were an option the game lore could still explore in future content. Huh ... Go figure.

So, what do you think the next WoW expansion will be?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: When is a well not a well?

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition When is a well not a well 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.

When is a well not a well?

The Well of Eternity is one of the most important objects in Azeroth's history. A font of magical water with incredible properties, it has been the subject of at least two wars. First, there was the War of the Ancients, in which kaldorei fought Highborne while the Burning Legion threatened to invade. Next, the Third War, in which Archimonde sought to dominate Hyjal and the powers of the Well beneath it's roots.

But the Well has also changed Azeroth in a significant way. The kaldorei wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the waters of the Well. Neither would the sin'dorei or their curious state of magical addiction. And if rumors are to be believed, there are several races on Pandaria whose roots tie into the mysterious waters of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms -- also speculated to be a remnant of that original Well of Eternity.

The origins of the Well are shrouded in mystery. It's simply something the Titans created countless centuries ago. Or ... is it? When is a well not a well at all?

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Well of Eternity

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.

Long, long before the rise of human and orc, the world of Azeroth was far different than it appears today. Instead of the multitude of continents we know of, there was simply one: Kalimdor. It was essentially Azeroth's version of Pangaea -- a supercontinent that covered the world. Places that we travel to today, Northrend, the Eastern Kingdoms, even the islands off the coasts of the world were all part of the massive continent. This was Azeroth, back in the day -- one world, one continent, and a lot of Old Gods.

Theories seem to be mixed on which came first, the Titans or the Old Gods. The latest theory came from the Tribunal of Ages, which implies that the Titans ordered the world and left, then the Old Gods arrived, and then the Titans returned to deal with the problem. After imprisoning the Old Gods, the Titans created safeguards to protect the world, safeguards that would prevent the rise of the Old Gods -- and in the event that the Old Gods returned, safeguards that would go so far as destroying Azeroth itself. Watchers and Aspects were both created and charged with protecting the fragile world.

And, according to various pieces of history, the Titans created the Well of Eternity.

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

Know Your Lore: The tangled web of future lore

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.

Spoiler warning: There are spoilers for the novel Wolfheart in this post, as well as brief spoilers for Mists of Pandaria.

Lore and story writing can be an incredibly tricky thing. The trickiness is only amplified when you're dealing with a story as large as that of Warcraft. This is a universe that spans four original games and six expansions from 1994 until now. In other words, if Warcraft were a baby when it was born, it'd be a legal adult this year -- pretty crazy to think about. What's even crazier is trying to keep track of the myriad convoluted storylines that have come to pass since Orcs and Humans was released.

As of right now, we know that Cataclysm introduced a lot of different lore threads that have not and will not be resolved by Cataclysm's end. And we also know that there is plenty of new lore coming up in Mists of Pandaria. But as new lore, Mists doesn't really address those threads left behind in Cataclysm, at least not in the first iteration of the new expansion. This may change as patches are added later on down the road -- or we may be on our way to setting up for a shift in story that Mists needs to bridge.

So why don't we take a little peek at those stories left unaddressed and try to sort out what is yet to come?

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

Two Bosses Enter: Mannoroth vs. Lord Godfrey

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.

Oh ho ho ho, this promises to be quite the matchup, ladies and gentlemen. Can the pit lord general and his wacky elf sidekick take down gunslinger extraordinaire Lord Godfrey in a duel to the presumable death? I'm excited. Get excited! I've got Mannoroth taking this one in an early and decisive victory. Sorry, Godfrey fans -- I call 'em like I sees 'em.

Last week's matchup was a doozy that took me by surprise. I did not expect a win for Murozond because I thought that Azshara would have a more loyal following. Much like her misguided and tainted Highborne, her followers were not strong or numerous enough to cinch the win. Sorry, lady, you're out.

Now it is time to vote. You heard me -- vote! Who will advance to the next round? Choose! I can't push to any more than I already have.

Who wins? Mannoroth vs. Lord Godfrey
Mannoroth (Well of Eternity)2382 (58.1%)
Lord Godfrey (Shadowfang Keep)1720 (41.9%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Queen Azshara

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.

Another exciting episode of Two Bosses Enter hits you in the face right now with an exciting matchup between the infinite master of time, Murozond, and Queen Azshara, one of the most revered night elves in Azeroth's history. You will get to decide who moves on to the next round by voting for your favorite combatant and discussing the fight in the comments. You're going to have a blast.

The fight last week was a real doozy, wasn't it? The Echo of Sylvanas pulled out a decisive victory over the hordes of Old God fanboys, eager to watch their champion move forward into the tournament as the world goes mad watching. Too bad, since Zon'ozz is out. Better find a new servant of the Old Gods to flip out over.

Who wins? Murozond vs. Queen Azshara
Murozond (End Time)2344 (61.5%)
Queen Azshara (Well of Eternity)1466 (38.5%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Mannoroth vs. Asira Dawnslayer

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.

Is it unfair to match up a Twilight's Hammer blood elf assassin against one of the most feared and dangerous beings in the entire Burning Legion? Well, sure, but fair treatment was never shown to the blood elves -- right, Kael'thas? Have fun getting demolished, Asira. We hardly knew ye.

Queen Azshara had a more difficult fight on her hands last week than I had originally thought. I thought would be a quick and dirty bout that would allow Azshara to move on to the next round, but Hagara still put up a solid fight, losing the round by just under 400 votes. Big props to newcomer Hagara Stormbinder for not being completely, utterly destroyed.

Focus, people. There's a pit lord in the arena, and he definitely isn't happy. Will Asira Dawnslayer and allies (of course she gets Illidan -- how the heck would this go otherwise?!) be able to best Mannoroth the Flayer and might of the Burning Legion? I have no idea ... but you do.

Who wins? Mannoroth vs. Asira Dawnslayer
Mannoroth and Varo'then (Well of Eternity)2201 (69.5%)
Asira Dawnslayer (Hour of Twilight)968 (30.5%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Two Bosses Enter: Queen Azshara vs. Hagara Stormbinder

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.

Archbishop Benedictus, just get out. Leave. I just checked the votes, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Murozond, the corrupted and tainted aspect of time and leader of the Infinite Dragonflight, utterly stomped Benedictus by over 2,100 votes. Was it because Benedictus was so unpopular or because of an emerging crowd favorite in Murozond? Only time will tell.

This week's matchup features the final raid boss of this season, Hagara Stormbinder, going head-to-head against the Well of Eternity's Queen Azshara. This matchup seems like it will prove to be very interesting, as each encounters' mechanics are so robust and varied. Hagara's environmental attacks and movement will be a big factor when paired against Azshara's adds and puppermaster abilities. The ultimate decision, however, is up to you.

Who wins this week's battle on Two Bosses Enter?

Who wins? Queen Azshara vs. Hagara Stormbinder
Queen Azshara (Well of Eternity)1912 (55.8%)
Hagara Stormbinder (Dragon Soul)1517 (44.2%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Patch 4.3 5-man bosses in 5 seconds or less

Nozdormu in the new Well of Eternity 5-man.
I love new 5-mans, but I hate having to explain them -- and as the tank or occasionally the healer, it usually falls to me to do so. I can't count the number of times I've typed up tracts explaining new bosses in excruciating detail, only to discover that my fellow puggers are drunk, stoned, or otherwise incapacitated by the siren call of the glue bottle.

Let's face it, folks: You don't want or need sophisticated explanations for these players. You just want to make sure they don't get you or anyone else killed in the fight, and I had them in mind when I started a little feature called Explain the boss in 5 seconds or less in our patch 4.3 5-man guides. The 5 Seconds or Less guides won't give you an in-depth understanding of the encounters (and they're not as suited to our tanking and healing brethren as a result), but they should be able to help you muddle through an encounter's most dangerous mechanics safely enough. Enjoy!

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WoW Insider's guide to Well of Eternity

Illidan Stormrage in the Well of Eternity 5-man.

Demons die when a lore nerd goes to war.
QQs will sound and drown the fun
When a lore nerd goes to war.
Each PUG dies and ninja lies
Tank will quit and the the queue will rise
When a lore nerd goes to war.
Demons die, but count the cost,
The valor's won, but the cheevy's lost. -- Bellajtok

Well of Eternity is chronologically the second of the three dungeons you'll encounter in patch 4.3, but it was also the last of the three to become available on the PTR. There were also a few bugs with the second encounter when it went live, so you probably won't find as many useful videos or things online about it. However, it's a pretty cool dungeon, with quite possibly the funniest 5-man achievement in the game.

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: News items

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: Queen Azshara, Light of Lights

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.

In all of Kaldorei history, stretching back to days unknown, no monarch has ever been as beloved as Queen Azshara. Though she spends her time these days idling deep under the ocean, in patch 4.3 we finally see through the window of the Caverns of Time the leader that was once the crowning glory of Kaldorei civilization. She was born with golden eyes, a rarity at the time and so uncommon among the Kaldorei that they were heralded as a sign of future greatness.

But the greatness for which Azshara was destined would have caused her followers a moment of pause had they realized it had nothing to do with them at all. After all, when one is born into a world that demands greatness, one has to walk the fine line between greatness and humility. Though Azshara excelled at many, many things, humility was nowhere to be found on that list. Proud, arrogant, and incredibly powerful, Azshara let the devotion of her people go to her head and nearly brought Kaldorei civilization as we know it to an end because of it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 4.3: Blizzard's official preview of the Well of Eternity heroic dungeon

Today seems to be a huge day for patch 4.3 news, as Blizzard has just released a second 4.3 dungeon preview, this one for the Well of Eternity. After opening the gateway to the past in End Time, players will be transported back in time to Azshara's palace during the War of the Ancients to retrieve the Dragon Soul. Sounds easy enough, right? Yeah, not so much -- the Dragon Soul is busy hovering over the Well of Eternity and being used to open the portal that will allow Sargeras into the world.

In order to retrieve the Dragon Soul, players will have to fight and defeat the enemies that stand in the way, including Queen Azshara herself. Also seen in Well of Eternity are two names that should ring a bell to those familiar with lore -- the pit lord Mannoroth, whose blood is responsible for the corruption of the Orcish race, and Varo'then, head of Queen Azshara's personal guard. We already know what happens to Mannoroth and Varo'then in the future, so what will happen if we mess with them in the past?

It seems as though all this mucking around in time is something players will have to be considerate of, however. According to Zarhym, "The tragic events which took place at the Well of Eternity must ultimately come to pass, leading to the Great Sundering, the creation of the Maelstrom, and the loss of countless lives."

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm looking forward to saying hello to the younger versions of Tyrande, Malfurion, and Illidan. Check out the official website for the full preview, with plenty of images and more information on the various bosses in the dungeon.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at 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: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Look to the seas -- the mists of the Kvaldir


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.

They come from the depths of the oceans, bringing with them a mysterious mist that clouds the senses. And when they die, they don't perish so much as dissolve into sand, making one wonder what exactly holds these creatures together. What is it about them that brings the ethereal fog? Are the Kvaldir the bringers of the mist, or are they merely slaves to it, cursed to emerge from the sea only when the mist is present?

Not much is known about the Kvaldir other than their appearance in Wrath of the Lich King and their upcoming appearance in Cataclysm. What we do know is that they are somehow related to the vrykul, and they seem to hold no love for any of the races above the sea. In Cataclysm, it is made absolutely clear that they hold no love for anything below the ocean waters, either. They are the apparent enemy of all they encounter ... but who is it that they serve? What exactly is the motive of the Kvaldir?

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you wish to remain spoiler-free, do not continue.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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