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Know Your Lore: WoW for Dummies, Act I: Alliance

Know Your Lore WoW for Dummies, the vanilla years 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.

World of Warcraft was originally released in the US on November 23, 2004. That is eight years of our lives that we've been playing this game ... for some players. For many players however, their experience with WoW began in Burning Crusade, or Wrath, or Cataclysm -- or even right now with Mists of Pandaria. And because of this, it means these players have missed out eight years worth of lore and story from before they began to play.

One of the questions and suggestions I see pop up most frequently, be it on Reddit, Twitter or even WoW Insider, is what happened during all of that time? What was the story behind these expansions? Sure, there are novels and comics aplenty available for reading, but these are side aspects to the original games that didn't really tie into the game so much. The game itself had its own story going, particularly in those first couple of expansions.

So let's step back in time and take a look at WoW and the basic ongoing story that has kept it going all these years -- not the novels, but the game itself. Get ready for WoW for Dummies: the vanilla years.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The curious dissonance of Alliance leveling

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.

Back when I was writing up the five must-do Horde zones and five must-do Alliance zones articles, I decided to play through those zones again just for experience's sake. In beta and the early days of Cataclysm, I spent a lot of time going through the Alliance 1-to-60 leveling zones and experiencing the content. I remember being really pleased with how well the zones were laid out and how nice it was to see actual story instead of just, "I'd like six pig heads; go get them from the field next door." After that experience, I played through them on Horde side and was terribly pleased to see they were just as well done on the other side of the faction fence.

I didn't really think about it afterwards, and it wasn't until I decided to do these two articles that I took it upon myself to level through these zones again. And this time ... something had changed, a little. Perhaps it was because it had been so long since I'd played through the Alliance zones. Perhaps it was because I had just finished experiencing the Horde zones when I went back to Alliance. But there was something very, very different about the experience.

While leveling as Horde, I was having all kinds of lighthearted fun mixed with bits of serious story. While leveling as Alliance, I felt like there was an oppressive weight bearing down on me at all times, and that weight was never really removed. Odd, that.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Insider's first World of Warcraft memories

World of Warcraft's seventh anniversary took place earlier this week. Rather than the dry, impersonal WoW retrospectives you can find almost anywhere this time of year, the crew here at WoW Insider decided to hold our own retrospective instead, looking back on what pulled us so deeply into the game to begin with. Today, we're sharing our very first World of Warcraft memories, whether that was seven years ago, long before the Shattering, or just last year. I'll get things started, then the staff will join in afterwards.

My first WoW memory is in Stranglethorn Vale. There are other events prior to STV that exist in some strange nebulous place in my mind, but Stranglethorn is the first event that I can really pin down. I was playing my very first character, my undead rogue on the Silver Hand server, trying to kill an elite alligator for the Excelsior quest. This was in December of '04, maybe January of '05. I was absolutely terrible at the game. I simply could not kill that alligator. Everyone I knew did it with no difficulty whatsoever, but I couldn't manage it at all.

The reason I couldn't kill it? I was spamming Sinister Strike while dual wielding white vendor-bought daggers. That was the day I decided I should learn how to play the game rather than hope my friends take pity on me and fly across Azeroth to kill elites for me. Now I'm here, on this site, doing this. That's one heck of a step up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: I suck at playing mage

This is the story of a girl named Una.

Una was a promising young woman who hailed from the forests of Elwynn. She had many friends who loved her humor, wit, and engaged conversation. She baked a delicious peach and berry cobbler, and was known to take joy in simple things, like brightly colored boot socks. In apprentice mage school, Una was frequently complimented by her teachers for her brilliance. Her loving parents supported her choice to pursue magic, and with her gifts it was no surprise when she graduated top of her class.

Not long after Una began her service to the Stormwind guard, she was tasked to journey to the Redridge Mountains to help stabilize an encroaching force of Blackrock orcs. When Una arrived she learned that the orcs had taken refuge in a former human stronghold known as Stonewatch Keep. With a determined heart, Una set out to recapture the keep.

Una died.

Okay, so, what am I babbling about? Let me explain: Una is my level 29 mage. She was the second character I ever made, back in 2005 when vanilla WoW was in full swing. I had high hopes for her, but ended up abandoning her quite quickly in favor of priest. Why? Because I absolutely suck at playing mage. I'm an awful, terrible, baddie mage who can't even get to level cap! *cries* I don't really know what it is either; I have tried to go back and play Una many times over the years, and despite becoming quite savvy with priest (including shadow!), rogue, and feral druid, I still die to the same level 24 orcs in Redridge.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Choose my Adventure: Insert funny title about being level 25 here


WoW.com readers, it's up to you to decide the fate of Turpen the Gnome Warlock with Choose My Adventure. Help test the site's new features by participating in this event, casting your vote toward the many aspects of Turpen and following his exploits on Alex Ziebart's WoW.com profile!

Well, you guys wanted me to run Deadmines. As you can see, I ran Deadmines. Many thanks go to Urse (Healer), Child (Tank), and Sneafoo (Noob Rogue of Doom) for 4-manning the thing with me. Urse was pretty overleveled for the place so healing was hilariously easy, but Sneafoo made up for it by starting the run at level 12 and aggroing Gruul from the pirate ship.

I went further than that, too. I didn't stop at Deadmines, I did Wailing Caverns, Blackfathom Deeps and Shadowfang Keep as well. I was kicking around the idea as soon as someone suggested Deadmines, but I didn't think I would manage to land a group for either of them. When I went out to the Barrens to get my Succubus (Angva) at level 20, that sealed the deal for me. I picked up the quest The Orb of Soran'ruk, and despite the fact that its quest rewards sucked, it gave me more reason to try and get the groups together. I put out a call to all of the various resources I knew, LFG and community chat channels (your server probably has a few good ones) and all of that, and managed to score a few groups.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Leveling

Ask a Lore Nerd: Orc plus demon blood equals hero


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below (or e-mail us!), ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!

Mizunie asks a couple of questions...

On the WotLK website, the designers talk about the "Scarlet Onslaught." Who are they and where did they come from?

The Scarlet Onslaught is the refounding of the Scarlet Crusade. Sometime after the events in Stratholme, Abbendis has taken complete command of the Crusade with a new band of lackies. She believes the Light has beckoned her to Northrend, so she rounds up every Crusader she has left and loads them on boats under the flag of the Scarlet Onslaught. There's other details to accompany this in Wrath, but they're way too cool for me to spoil this early.

Do we know anything on good ol' Deathwing?

Nope, not yet. I haven't seen much yet. It's possible we'll learn more in the Chamber of the Aspects raid zone coming in Wrath. It's been revealed that a Black Dragon is the boss inside there, though we don't know the details surrounding it yet.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

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