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Know Your Lore: The dark past of the Darkspear

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 is absolutely full of trolls -- not the trade chat kind, the actual race. Whether you're traveling the southern continents or icy heights of Northrend, the trolls are everywhere; vanilla WoW and both expansions have all included troll content of some kind or another. The original game had Zul'Farrak, Sunken Temple and then later Zul'Gurub. The Burning Crusade didn't see much of the trolls in Outland (beyond a few settlements, of course), but trolls played a large part in high elf (now blood elf) history and currently plague the Ghostlands. Eventually we saw the release of Zul'Aman, and with Wrath's release, we were introduced to the ice trolls of Zul'Drak and their capital, Gun'Drak.

While there have been vague hints -- stone tablets and other records -- documenting the history of the race, there's very little solid information regarding the trolls. Big events have been documented, but the day-to-day life and the origins of the trolls aren't really addressed beyond "they have been on Azeroth since the beginning." Of all the various troll tribes, only one is playable -- the Darkspear tribe that now makes its home on Kalimdor. The trolls of the Darkspear have not only made a new home for themselves upon Cataclysm's release, but they've also found two new paths to follow; players will be able to choose troll druids and warlocks with the expansion's launch. In order to understand the Darkspear, a closer look at its origins and the origins of one of the bloodiest wars in Azeroth's history is necessary.

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

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics, the Trolls

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.

The trolls of Warcraft have a history that spans back further than any other playable race currently in the game, with the exception of the draenei. This makes it difficult to trace the entirety of their history, but fortunately the Darkspear of the Horde are one small fraction of what is a gigantic race as a whole. While the orcs, blood elves, Forsaken and tauren are all dealing with their own issues, the trolls of the Darkspear tribe are working quietly and largely by themselves to deal with a few major problems of their own.

The troll races of Warcraft were originally largely part of two major empires -- the Gurubashi of southeastern Kalimdor, and the Amani in the middle regions of the continent. There were other tribes scattered here and there, notably the trolls of Gundrak to the north, but by and large, all troll tribes fell under either the Gurubashi or the Amani empires. Prior to the Sundering, the trolls comprised a gigantic portion of the world's population, and while the Gurubashi and Amani didn't really like each other, they rarely warred, instead choosing to fight against a third empire, that of the Aqir. The two races fought relentlessly for thousands of years, and eventually the Aqir Empire split into two city-states, Azjol-Nerub to the north, and Ahn'Qiraj to the south. With the Aqir driven into exile, the trolls returned to their normal lives, though neither empire expanded much further than their original boundaries.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Premonition grabs US-First Alone in the Darkness


Yogg-Saron's woes continue, as the Guild Premonition of the US Sen'jin server, Alliance side, becomes the first US guild and the third guild in the world to get the Alone in the Darkness Achievement, thereby also earning the Death's Demise title. Alone in the Darkness requires you to defeat Yogg Saron without the help of any Keepers, thereby eschewing the requisite buffs they give. They're hot on the heels of Paragon, which got the EU first kill, and Stars, which got the world first (and by extension, Taiwan first) kill.

This is definitely a difficult achievement, and, some argue, possibly even harder than killing Algalon himself. Congratulations, Premonition!

Filed under: Realm News, News items, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a troll

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the third in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Trolls are based on the "wild savages" you've seen in the movies or on TV, from King Kong to Discovery channel. If you've seen people hunting with spears, walking around in the forest without many clothes on, or dancing around in costumes and face paint in some kind of ritual you've never heard of, you've seen the apparent inspiration for trolls in World of Warcraft. The culture of Warcraft trolls are a mishmash of all the different myths and rumors that have grown up about some of the earth's indigenous peoples that live outside modern society: Strange voodoo beliefs and rituals? Check. Bloodthirsty headhunters with a taste for cannibalism? Check. Witch doctors, shrunken heads, human sacrifice, and rampant superstition? Check on all counts.

It's important to note here that troll culture is based on the myths about some indigenous people, not on their reality. Cannibalism, for instance, has been rare among human societies, nearly always viewed as anathema, but among the trolls of Azeroth, it appears to be the rule rather than the exception. Unbiased study of the world's primal religions has shown them to be far more sophisticated than early (and prejudiced) Western explorers ever imagined. Don't listen to the Jamaican accent trolls have in the game and assume that trolls are based on real life Jamaicans. There is nowhere near the correlation here that we might find with the dwarves and the Scots, or even the draenei and the eastern Europeans that they sound like. Indeed, one could argue that the choice of a Jamaican accent to represent the trolls and their culture reveals a great deal of ignorance we Americans have regarding Caribbean islanders -- but that's a discussion I'll not go into today.

Suffice it to say that as a member of the Darkspear tribe, the only tribe of trolls to join the Horde, your character living in a time of great change for your people. Your tribe is the first to embrace the more modern values promoted by Thrall, to take up the spiritual practices of shamanism, and to integrate itself with other races. Although the Darkspears have officially given up human sacrifice, cannibalism, and now tell you to "stay away from the voodoo," these practices are all elements of religion and superstition that your character would have grown up with, and may find it hard to let go of completely.

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Filed under: Horde, Trolls, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Know Your Lore: Thrall (part 2)

Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm.

Many moons ago, Matthew Rossi began a look at Thrall, one of the most beloved heroes in Warcraft. It was only the first half of Thrall and Grom's Radical Adventure and in a shocking turn of events, most of you actually want us to finish what we started! Man, slavedrivers, the whole lot of ya.

If you haven't read part one of the Thrall saga, you should probably do so. If you have read it, here's a quick recap of what went down so far: Thrall is the son of Durotan, former chieftain of the Frostwolves, who refused to drink the Blood of Mannoroth and was killed because he called Gul'dan a jerk. Aedalas Blackmoore, a drunkard with a lot of power, kept Thrall alive and raised him to be a tool to be used to gather more power for himself. Thrall made friends with Teretha Foxton in his days at Blackmoore's Durnholde Keep, and when Thrall escaped Durnholde many years later, Blackmoore cut off Taretha's head and threw it at the freshly-named Warchief of the New Horde. Thrall rejected this oh-so-kind gift and killed Blackmoore. If you need the details that go in between those notes, well, part one is just over there. Let's move on to the Third War and beyond, shall we?

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

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