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Posts with tag richard-knaak

WoW Moviewatch: War of the Ancients - The Well of Eternity

I am pretty sure that War of the Ancients - The Well of Eternity is going to forever hold the record for the longest machinima we've ever featured on the site. I'm also pretty sure it's going to hold the record for one of the most extraordinary projects we've seen. Youtube user and machinima wizard Bloodlord001 is responsible for this epic saga, a retelling of the first novel in Richard Knaak's War of the Ancients trilogy. Clocking in at a little under two hours of story, this is definitely one of those films you want to sit down and watch -- but it's worth every moment, if you want to see Knaak's novel come to life.

And really, while this is an adaptation of Knaak's story and a good summary of how the first book played out, it's the machinima work that shines above everything else. Zin'Azshari is brought to life in stunning detail, each piece of kaldorei armor and weapons utterly astonishing in their complexity. Every demon, every character from the book is uniquely presented, with plenty of models that look as though they were built from scratch. The list of voice actors for the film should be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in machinima, and they do a wonderful job here.

The only minor complaint -- and it's really minor -- is that the subtitles could have used a pass from an editor. Still, it does very little to detract from what is obviously far more than a project, more like a four year labor of love. I do hope we see a continuation of the story, and the other two novels adapted as well -- hopefully with one monstrous production under his belt, Bloodlord can get the second one out a little faster. Grab some popcorn for this one.

Editor's note: Embedding appears to be malfunctioning at the moment -- click the header image to watch the video in full.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Dawn of the Aspects paperback available for preorder

Dawn of the Aspects coming in paperback in November
Dawn of the Aspects, the five part ebook-only novel by Richard Knaak, is now slated to be released in paperback for book enthusiasts this November. The novel is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But for those simply expecting a print version of Knaak's tale, you might be in for a surprise -- also included in the edition is a print version of the short story Charge of the Aspects, released on Blizzard's website at the tale end of Cataclysm.

Dawn of the Aspects tells two distinct tales -- the tale of Kalecgos and his struggle with the resolution to Cataclysm that saw all of the Aspects drained of their powers, and the dragonflights with out a purpose, and a much, much older tale of just how the Aspects and dragonflights came to be. It's a really good, if confusing at times, story in which Kalecgos desperately tries to find a new purpose for dragonkind, while simultaneously taking a journey to the past and seeing the story of Galakrond, supposed progenitor of all dragonkind.

As for Charge of the Aspects, the short story by Matt Burns takes place on the eve of Deathwing's downfall, and features the four Aspects, together with Thrall, trying to figure out just how to kill Deathwing once and for all. It's available for free on the official website, but this is the first time the story has been available in print -- and it honestly provides a pretty good framing point for Dawn of the Aspects as well. If you're interested in a physical copy of both of these tales, preorders are now open on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. The book is $12.50, and is slated to be released November 19, according to both websites.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects paperback coming in November

Dawn of the Aspects
Lorehounds and story fans might remember the Dawn of the Aspects e-book that Blizzard released in five parts earlier this year. Well, if you're a Luddite like me and don't have an e-reader, in a few short months you'll have the ability to purchase the story in print. As the article title implies, the complete Dawn of the Aspects will be available for purchase in paperback this coming November. You'll be able to find it at all the usual haunts: Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and likely the Blizzard store, as well.

You can check out Blizzard's blog post for an overview of the story, as well as sneak peaks of all the different parts. If you're unfamiliar with the idea, it centers around Kalecgos gaining insight into the origins of the five dragonflights themselves, and the violence and upheaval that lead to their creation. If you're still on the fence, you can check out Anne Stickney's review of the story right here on WoW Insider.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects

Review of Dawn of the Aspects
On Monday, the fifth and final installment of Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, will be available for purchase. For those that have been waiting to download and nab the entire publication in one go, your wait is just about over. For those of us that have been reading since the beginning, it marks the end of what has been, honestly, one of the strangest tales to come out of the Warcraft stable in quite some time.

While I could simply review part five of the book, talk about my impressions and what the installment was like, to me it makes far more sense to talk about the book as a whole, now that I've finished the whole thing. After all, this was a different kind of experiment -- an entirely digital publication doled out in monthly installments for a small fee. Was the experiment worth it? Did the story hold water in the end? And perhaps most importantly -- was the story any good?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available
It's been a long journey, but it seems that the latest Warcraft fiction offering is now wrapping up and coming to an end. An excerpt from the fifth and final chapter of Dawn of the Aspects is now available for reading on the official website. Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, details the origins of the Aspects and the five dragonflights. The five-part miniseries has been released in installments over the last several months, and the fifth chapter ought to wrap up the tale and establish exactly what Kalecgos has learned from the mysterious artifact he's found.

As for the blue dragon's mysterious dive into the past, it seems that the events of long ago are finally reaching their climax -- Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Neltharion and Malygos are preparing for the final battle with Galakrond, a battle that will change the course of their race forever. Will Kalecgos discover the true purpose of the artifact? Will he break free of its mysterious hold, or will he remain stuck in Malygos' memories for eternity? And will Malygos and the not-quite-Aspects prevail, or will history itself unravel? Good question! While the excerpt doesn't provide any answers, it does offer a good glimpse at the final chapter. You can read the excerpt in full on the official website.

Dawn of the Aspects part five will be available for purchase in several different ebook formats for a wonderfully low $1.99 on June 17. Head to Simon & Schuster to purchase the installment in ebook format -- and if you're looking for a different format for your e-reader, the website has links to several different retailers on their listing page. Hopefully the release of the final chapter will encourage Blizzard to release a print edition of the novel in full, too -- I have an empty spot waiting on my bookshelf!

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four
It is absolutely official, now -- I have no idea how the Aspects actually came to be Aspects. For that matter, Tyr's purpose seems to be just as mysteriously vague. However, there was far more light shed on both questions in part four of Dawn of the Aspects, now available for a variety of e-readers. Despite the muddied waters of draconic origins, it is apparent that more of these mysteries will be answered in full by the time the fifth and final installment rolls around.

What did we know, to date? We knew that the Aspects were empowered by various Titans and charged with watching over the world. But that's about it -- the process of how that empowering came about is by and large a giant unknown and has been for years. What surprises me is just how willing I was to let the origin of the dragonflights slide as something that wasn't terribly important, in the long run. But when one considers that their origin appears to be tied to the fate of Tyr, it suddenly bears far more interesting implications.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects Part IV preview

Aspects
For all you lore fans out there, Dawn of the Aspects Part IV will be available in five days, on May 20th. To tide us over, community manager Bashiok has posted a preview on the story forum, featuring our fearless dragon quintet facing an undead menace. I don't want to spoil too much for those who are waiting to read the whole thing once it's all finished, but as the penultimate addition to the story, there's some name dropping that might come as a surprise if you haven't been following along. The excerpt hints at some tense situations for the soon-to-be Aspects, and Ysera, in particular, plays an important part in this scene. There are even a few hints that she might have some kind of hidden, unexpected power, but we all know that's because Ysera is the best Aspect anyway. The position of my druid as my perpetual main has in no way influenced my opinion on this matter.

Make sure to check out WoW Insiders' reviews of the previous parts of Dawn of the Aspects. The full part four preview is the break, and keep your eyes peeled for Dawn of the Aspects Part IV.

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Filed under: News items, Lore

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

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
The action in Dawn of the Aspects heated up exponentially in part two of the series by Richard A. Knaak -- and part three only continues to both clarify and confuse in the most brain-bending, delightful way.

The third installment of Dawn of the Aspects, released Monday, continues to explore the purpose of the mysterious artifact Kalegos uncovered back in part one. It seems as though the visions Kalec has been experiencing are growing far more intense, enough to make the former Aspect question the reality of the future we're currently living in. More importantly, there are some important and thoroughly bizarre revelations that may actually shed some light on the Aspects as they turned out in present day.

Although the installments continue to be slightly confusing, we're beginning to get a grasp on just what this story is all about. And as mentioned in our last review, it's becoming far more clear that what happened in the past is apparently not only relevant, but incredibly important to the events of present day. Dawn of the Aspects is, so far, proving to be a delightful mystery of a book, not quite like anything we've seen come before.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, 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

Dawn of the Aspects part two sneak peek now available

galakrond and proto drakes
Many WoW lore fans have been anticipating Richard Knaak's latest work for Blizzard: Dawn of the Aspects. As you may be aware, Dawn of the Aspects illuminates the origins of the five dragon Aspects and tells the story of how they came to be. It also marks Blizzard's first foray into the world of publishing serialized ebooks and is scheduled to be released in five parts. Part one, which WoW Insider reviewed, became available for download a month ago, on February 19th. Recently, Community Manager Bashiok payed the Story Forum a visit to announce part two's impending release on March 18th, and to give us some enticing tidbits to enjoy while we wait. Check out the full blue text after the cut.

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Filed under: News items, 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

Nethaera puts the Knaak hate in perspective

Some of the people who follow the WoW books are not very big fans of Richard A. Knaak. They don't feel that his characters are developed, that the plots connect well, and that his stories themselves are well done. Basically, they don't like his writing.

Now in an academic or one-on-one discussion, this wouldn't get nasty. But this is the internet after all, and people have a tendency to go nuts about stuff. One of the favorite targets of some is Knaak. Nethaera lends her voice:

Nethaera
I think this is the beauty of reading books written by different authors. Their style is going to appeal differently to one person than it does another. There are many times my friends and colleagues will absolutely rave about a particular author, but when I go to read, I find I'm turned off by them and can't agree.

Likewise, there are many people that prefer the way I relate information over one of my colleagues or vice versa. Hopefully, overall, we manage to convey the information that's most important/relevant and that more people enjoy it than not. We can't please all the people all of the time, but hopefully, those that may not be happy about the author selection will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. As always, the Creative Development team is working very closely with Mr. Knaak as well as the other authors to make sure that we're delivering the best stories we can.


Personally, I don't mind his writing at all. I'm not saying it's on the level of China Mieville, Ed Greenwood, or R. A. Salvatore; but I still enjoy what he writes. Some might even argue with me about the merits of those authors, but then again, that's Neth's entire point: to each their own.


Filed under: News items

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

Blizzard talks Shadows of the Horde, other projects at NYCC

Blizzard took the opportunity at the New York Comic-Con this week to announce a slew of projects including the eagerly anticipated novel Shadows of the Horde by Michael A. Stackpole, featuring Vol'jin, chief of the Darkspear trolls and unofficial Horde 'loyal opposition' to Warchief Garrosh Hellscream. Now we have details on the various projects from the official site, and they're pretty tantalizing.

In addition to learning more about Shadows of the Horde (bad stuff happens to Vol'jin, I can say that much without spoilers) we also learned more about other upcoming books and eBooks, such as the World of Warcraft Tribute: Art Book, produced by UDON, the collected Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls eBook that gathers all the class short stories from the Diablo III website (the Barbarian one was really good), and Richard Knaak's upcoming Dawn of the Aspects eBook dealing with the history of the Dragonflights and their fate in the post-Cataclysm world.

Definitely go check it out.


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: Blizzard, News items, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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