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Posts with tag the-sundering

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao
The Burdens of Shaohao, a six-part series released earlier this month, was met with resounding praise across the board from players and devoted lore fans alike. The sweeping tale of the last Emperor of Pandaria was unlike anything we'd ever seen before from Blizzard -- a stunning, gorgeous piece of animated, narrative storytelling featuring artwork by Laurel Austin. While we've seen narrative tales in the form of cinematic-style storytelling, this is the first time we've seen anything of this nature.

We sat down with Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson and the director of Shaohao, Doug Gregory to discuss the piece and how exactly it all came to be. While we were originally supposed to have lead editor Lucas Merino on board as well, he was unable to attend the interview as he and his wife received a special gift shortly after the release of Shaohao -- a healthy baby boy! Despite Lucas' absence, we had a delightful time discussing the film, its development, and the possibility of future projects in the unique style of Shaohao.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

The Burdens of Shaohao: The Sundering

The Burdens of Shaohao: The Sundering is now available on Blizzard's Youtube channel. In the final installment, Emperor Shaohao travels to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to comfort and protect his people from the devastating Sundering that is nearly upon them all -- yet as it turns out, there are still lessons for the Emperor to learn, and lessons for all of Pandaria as well. We all know how this story ends, having witnessed various accounts of the tale throughout Pandaria. But this interpretation puts a little more perspective behind the Emperor's final decision.

Now that the series is over, I'm wondering what you guys thought of the tale. Pandaria's stories certainly set themselves up wonderfully for interpretation in this fashion -- but I'm wondering if we'll see more tales of Azeroth in the future. I'd love to see the story of Andorhal told in this fashion, or the story of Tirion Fordring and Eitrigg. Or heck, any number of myriad tales from troll or kaldorei history, as they're both apt to have plenty of stories worth retelling. Or how about the stories of the draenei? We haven't heard much from them, it would be interesting to see the flight from Argus as told by a draenei storyteller, or even Velen himself. What do you guys think? What kind of stories would you like to see come out of this experiment?

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The Burdens of Shaohao Part Four: Anger

The Burdens of Shaohao Part Four: Anger takes young Emperor Shaohao in a new direction. Having found his trusted friend the Monkey King, Shaohao seeks to find an army -- at the heights of Kun Lai, in the Temple of the White Tiger. While there is certainly an army there waiting for him, there is also Xuen, the White Tiger to deal with. Will Shaohao get his army to fight the forces of the Burning Legion?

I've heard some say that this particular tale points to a return of the Burning Legion next expansion. As a reminder, The Burdens of Shaohao takes place on the cusp of the Sundering during the War of the Ancients. What we're viewing here are events from over 10,000 years ago -- this isn't current-day material, this is the story of how Pandaria came to be floating in the middle of nowhere, cloaked by mists.

Therefore, while the tale is certainly entertaining, the inclusion of the Burning Legion isn't really relevant to the story today. However, Wrathion's visions certainly have indicated something similar coming in the future, so who knows? Watch the video above, and don't forget to like it on Youtube and leave your comments if you like the content and you'd like to see more!

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The Burdens of Shaohao Part Three: Fear

The Burdens of Shaohao Part Three: Fear has debuted on Blizzard's official Youtube channel. In this installment, Shaohao faces the insidious Sha of Fear, and confronts an enemy that frightened both pandaren and mogu alike -- the mantid. Artist Laurel Austin's stunning visuals of the Dread Wastes and the mantid are incredibly dark and creepy, and really capture the off-putting feeling of the zone and its residents. I also absolutely love the illustrations of Niuzao. While I love the August Celestials, I always felt like Niuzao really didn't have the same depth of character as the other Celestials, so seeing him in this tale was a welcome addition.

Some of you have noted the differences between this tale and the scrolls we've read -- how there seems to be an absence of the mask portion of the tale told in game. While this is true, keep in mind that this is all ancient history that took place over 10,000 years ago. There are always bound to be several differing versions of the same tale, just due to the nature of the story being passed down for generations. Which version is the true one? For that, I suppose you'd have to ask Shaohao himself! Watch the video above, and don't forget to like it on Youtube and leave your comments if you like the content -- it's the best way to insure we'll see more of it.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The Burdens of Shaohao Part Two: Despair

The Burdens of Shaohao Part Two: Despair is now available on Blizzard's official Youtube channel. Picking up where the last episode left off, Emperor Shaohao continues his search for the Monkey King, this time traveling to Krasarang Wilds. Once again, Shaohao is faced with the Sha, and once again he looks to Pandaria for answers -- but will he find the Monkey King?

Blizzard really wasn't kidding with how fast these shorts would be released! And, according to Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson on Twitter, this isn't the last we'll see of animated shorts in this fashion. Honestly, whether it's more Pandaria tales, or tales of other major impact in Azeroth, I don't really care -- the way these are being presented is something new, unique, and incredibly beautiful. Watch the video above, and don't forget to like it on Youtube and leave your comments if you want to see more.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

The Burdens of Shaohao Part One: Doubt

Hot on the heels of the prelude released this weekend, Blizzard has just released the next official installment in The Burdens of Shaohao. Part one of the tale follows chapters three and five of the in-game book, The Emperor's Burden. Reading the complete text gives you a nice bit of lore, and the quest The Seven Burdens of Shaohao. However, there's a distinct difference between reading an in-game book and watching an animated version of it -- the gorgeous artwork and animation really brings the tale to life.

What I really like about these animated shorts is that they expand on what we've already been told -- rather than a simple seven days of fighting, we get to see exactly how Shaohao defeated the Sha of Doubt. I'm hoping that as the tale goes on, we'll get more of these little details to help fill the story in. It'd be great to see exactly what happened when Shaohao pulled Pandaria away from the rest of the world in detail. As it turns out, we won't have long to wait -- according to Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson on Twitter, we should see the rest of the story released over the course of this week.

This is a pretty new direction for the Blizzard lore department -- we've never seen animated works like this before. If you like the tale and the methods used, I'd suggest letting Blizzard know by liking the video on Youtube and leaving a comment. Who knows, it may get us more of these delightful little pieces in the future!

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard introduces The Burdens of Shaohao Prelude: The Vision

Do you guys remember that really great video series featuring Wrathion at the end of Cataclysm, the one that explained the legendary quest chain and served to introduce the errant son of Deathwing? It seems that Blizzard has decided to produce another short series for Mists of Pandaria along the same lines, starting with the video above, The Burdens of Shaohao Prelude: The Vision. The dramatic tale is told by none other than Lorewalker Cho and accompanied by beautifully animated illustrations by Laurel Austin that tell the tale of Shaohao's remarkable journey as the last Emperor of Pandaria.

According to Blizzard, this is the first of a six-part series that will tell the tale from beginning to end. And unlike the Wrathion montage from Cataclysm, this features original art rather than in-game footage, which only adds to the whole flavor of the tale. It may not be World of Warcraft: The Animated Series, but it's a really lovely, vibrant way to introduce some of the most important lore in Mists of Pandaria. Take a look at the video above to watch the beginnings of the tale, and stay tuned for the rest of the series as it's released.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The naga, 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.
You will be more than you have ever been ... promised the voices. And when the time comes, for what we grant you ... you will serve us well ...
The scaly, serpentine naga of Azeroth's oceans have been plaguing players since Warcraft 3, and in Cataclysm, their influence grows even more prevalent than before. Though we've heard tales of the naga throughout the game, only the motivations of Lady Vashj in The Burning Crusade were made somewhat clear. As for the naga on Azeroth, they simply seem to be out to kill ... well, everything. It's the origins of the naga, however, that bring them into play in Cataclysm, and with the introduction of Vash'jir, we'll be seeing a lot more of them.

The naga were originally the Highborne nobles that sought to control the powers of the Well of Eternity. Led by Queen Azshara, leader of all kaldorei prior to the Sundering, the Highborne were magic users and high-ranked members of kaldorei nobility who wanted nothing more than to worship their beloved queen and grant her anything she wished. Unfortunately, what she wished was total global domination -- and the way to achieve that presented itself in the form of the Burning Legion.

WARNING: The following post contains some small 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

WoW Rookie: Reading about Warcraft

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic, and be sure to visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.

Even if you're not a roleplayer, it's almost impossible not to find yourself swept up by some aspect of the hundreds of compelling stories tucked into the World of Warcraft. The question is, how can you dig deeper? Where do you find more? The answer: Books ... Manga ... Comics ... RPGs .... Page after page after page of glorious lore. Blizzard approves the storylines and lore included in the Warcraft and World of Warcraft line of novels, although you won't find a straight and clear progression across the whole line. Not every story and character crosses over from books to game (and vice versa).

Besides the Warcraft novels, WoW-starved readers can chew through enough manga, roleplaying game books and gaming guides to sate any lore feeding frenzy. The best part? You enjoy +Lore bonuses to your online play experience. Even the RPG books add color to the overall picture. Follow us beyond the break for a basic reading outline to escort you down Warcraft's path of lore.

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Filed under: Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, WoW Rookie, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Ask a Lore Nerd: Demons rule, naga drool

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Just as a warning, today's Ask a Lore Nerd has a couple of spoilers for Wrath content. At this point, I assume that light Northrend spoilers isn't going to scare people off, but I figure I should mention it anyway. It's nothing major, so you won't ruin your experience by reading it anyway. Let's dig in!


Blizzard's said that there's enough material for plenty of more expansions after Wrath of the Lich King, and there's plenty of possibilities, but what expansion should come next lore-wise?

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

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