Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag thrall

Know Your Lore: The History of the Warchief

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.

This post exists because of the massive spoilers in this link, but the post itself will be spoiler free. As long as you don't click on that spoiler-heavy link, you will not see any spoilers in this post. (Edit - actually, there's one spoiler at the very end of the post - it's clearly marked as such, and it is a minor spoiler at best, but it is there. Let that guide your actions.) Instead, we're going to talk about the position of Warchief - how it came to be, how it evolved and then devolved, and how Garrosh Hellscream's reign as Warchief set the stage for what could be a completely new direction for his successor (whose identity I will not discuss).

The position of Warchief actually began as a complete figurehead, and the first orc to hold that position, Blackhand the Destroyer, was placed in that position due to his combination of physical fearsomeness and egocentric self-aggrandizement - so easily was he misled and directed by Gul'dan, head of the Shadow Council and architect of the Horde, that he never once proved himself a threat sufficient for Gul'dan to ever consider replacing him. It's not that Blackhand was either a fool or an idiot, he was in fact a canny tactician and a respected warrior. He simply believed his own hype - so convinced was he in his own superiority that when Gul'dan presented to him that he would be a respected equal and his position as Warchief would be one of real power, he believed it, because he believed in himself. Throughout the war with the draenei and later, the invasion of Azeroth, Blackhand ruled as Warchief and allowed himself to listen to Gul'dan's words - allowed himself to listen because they were telling him what he wanted to hear.

Even as the humans balked the orcs, and Blackhand's series of victories became defeats, he continued to listen to Gul'dan. This would be his downfall.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

Dear Jaina
Dear Jaina,

I'm not in the habit of writing letters to fictional characters, but in the face of what we've all seen yesterday, it seemed like as good a time as any to start. Look, I realize this is going to be hard to accept, but your fate isn't exactly in your hands. What you want, and what you'll get, are two entirely different things -- and it might not be fair. It might not be particularly right. It certainly isn't going to feel very good, but the influence you hold only goes so far. And in this case, you can't exactly order around a king.

But let's look beyond that for a second, all right? Because honestly, you seem to be more than a little irritated, justified or not. And I remember who you used to be, a long time ago. I remember a lady who was a bastion of rational thinking, one who looked before she leapt, made sound judgments, and realized that in this big, wide, crazy world of Azeroth, things aren't always black and white, good and evil. Sometimes, most of the time in fact, they lay somewhere in between.

So I'm wondering, Lady Proudmoore -- who are you?

This post contains huge spoilers for patch 5.4, including the end cinematic for the Siege of Orgrimmar. Reader beware!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore: Garrosh Hellscream and the nature of villany

Know Your Lore Garrosh Hellscream and the nature of villany
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.

Garrosh Hellscream has been a controversial figure ever since he took the reins of Warchief in Cataclysm, but never quite as contentious as he is now. Presented as the final boss of this expansion, Garrosh's actions have spun wildly out of control, his thirst for and abuse of power quickly turning him from a potentially good Warchief to a monster whose iron grip over the Horde has only served to splinter and fracture the individual races that compose it, rather than bringing them together.

Although ... technically, Garrosh has brought the Horde together. The disparate races are working together with a sort of fierce, single-minded unity that we haven't exactly seen before. Rather than each race working individually on their own tasks, with their own motives for doing so, they have banded together with one purpose in mind, a goal that they all share: Getting Garrosh out. In a way, Garrosh has been just as good for the Horde as he has bad. But does Garrosh Hellscream work as an end game villain? Yes and no.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The future of the Alliance

Know Your Lore The future of the Alliance
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 Siege of Orgrimmar is almost upon us, and the Alliance stands strong, ready to dive in and put an end to Warchief Hellscream's reign. Along the way, they've picked up some entirely unconventional allies in Vol'jin's group of rebels, who are also insistent upon getting Garrosh out. But when the dust settles and all is said and done, if and when the Alliance prove their military superiority, take out Hellscream, and are declared the ultimate victor of what has been a very messy, bloody war, what happens next?

Does the Alliance simply go home and wait for the world to rise up with yet another threat? Do they at last attempt some kind of tentative peace treaty with Vol'jin and his group of rebels? Will Varian Wrynn take a moment of clear victory and use it to crush what remains of the Horde? Will the Alliance leave a military presence in Orgrimmar, to carefully watch and make certain events like this don't come to pass again?

What does the future for the Alliance hold, once Orgrimmar has been taken down?

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Archivist: When Blizzard "hated" the Horde

A night elf visits the Barrens
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Which faction does Blizzard love more?

For several years it's been all the rage to claim that Blizzard loves the Horde and hates the Alliance. Players trot out the "green Jesus" theory. They show how the past two expansions have focused far more on Horde characters and storylines than on Alliance intrigues.

It's true that Blizzard placed Thrall and now Garrosh and Vol'jin in the spotlight over the past few years. Players also look at the shiny new Orgrimmar that the Horde got when the old one burned down, and how Stormwind also took a beating and still hasn't recovered.

You can make the case that Blizzard has somewhat favored the Horde in WoW's recent history. But this is so very, very strange to vanilla players like me. Back then, players were convinced of the exact opposite. Players were so convinced, in fact, that some actually wanted a CM to die. In vanilla, Blizzard "loved" the Alliance and "hated" the Horde.

Don't believe me?

This quote is from a 2005 editorial called "Why the Horde is worse, and how Blizzard could fix it":

In the end, I am just a jealous Horde player... It is up to Blizzard to fix this game; I have done all that I can. Either World of Warcraft can be remembered as a great MMORPG, or it can go down as a horribly imbalanced one, like many before it. That's for Blizzard to decide.

Let's take a trip back to 2005. On a bus, perhaps. A bus made out of elemental electrical energy.

Read more →

Filed under: WoW Archivist

Patch 5.4 PTR: Thrall vs. Garrosh

Patch 54 PTR Thrall vs Garrosh
Orgrimmar is about to get wrecked, the Horde is in a state of political upheaval, the Alliance is on the brink of storming Stormwind's gates and Garrosh seems to be unstoppable, which leaves many players with one question: Just where the heck is Thrall in all of this, anyway? After all, the former Warchief is in at least some small part responsible for the current state of affairs, given his insistence on plopping Garrosh in place as the new Warchief of the Horde. And really, that fact cannot be argued with -- if Thrall had not appointed Garrosh as the new Warchief, none of the current events going on in Mists would have happened.

Thrall made a very brief appearance in the events in patch 5.3, showing up to help his old friend Vol'jin before heading off to Orgrimmar, presumably to confront Garrosh once and for all. Over on Youtube, Adriacraft has dug up the confrontation between old Warchief and new, with some unsurprisingly heated words thrown between the two of them. The video is after the break -- but be warned, if you've been wanting to avoid patch 5.4 spoilers, clicking through would be a bad idea.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft children's book announced at SDCC

New World of Warcraft children's book announced at SDCC
Polygon is reporting an interesting bit of news from the San Diego Comic Con publishing panel -- apparently Blizzard has decided to try its hand at children's books. The first book, Snowfight, was written by Chris Metzen himself, and the book also includes some incredibly charming illustrations by Blizzard artist Wei Wang. From the image above, it looks like a story involving both Thrall and Varian Wrynn -- an unlikely tale, but hey, children's literature should be lighthearted and fun, right?

This is, of course, a huge step for the publishing team -- most Warcraft novels and manga have been placed firmly in the young adult to adult category, with nothing for the little kids. But considering how many Warcraft fans are now moms and dads themselves, this is actually a really sweet way to introduce your little ones to the games you love. And it might just be interesting enough to keep their fingers off your action figures, too! Look for pre-sales for Snowfight later this year -- the book should be making its debut at BlizzCon. For more information, check out the full article on Polygon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Après Hellscream, le déluge: A Lore Projection

Spoilers for Patch 5.4 lurk within this post, like a hideous phalanx of grue.

I can't shake this feeling of dread lately. Thinking about the Siege of Orgrimmar, about Garrosh Hellscream, about the Horde and what's to become of it, and of the Alliance. Thanks to the most recent sound files, we know a few things, but what we don't learn from those files is as interesting as what we do learn. And yet, I can't shake this feeling of dread.

What am I dreading? The villain will be defeated, right? The heroes will be triumphant, the rebels and the Alliance will storm Orgrimmar and the 'True Horde' will be toppled from the fortresses it has made of a formerly vibrant, brawling town. All will be right with the world, yes?

Maybe yes, but maybe no. I keep looking at Garrosh Hellscream -- the orc who successfully led a disorganized Horde rabble to Northrend and welded an army out of it -- and thinking about what comes after the siege. What happens when the son of Grom is defeated? What happens to the Horde? What happens to the Alliance? What happens to Azeroth? What happens to us?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The point of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The point of Pandaria
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's just possible that the curious race we're going to meet in this mystic land, may just teach us a thing or two about who we are, and why we fight." -- Chris Metzen, BlizzCon 2011
When Mists of Pandaria was introduced, there were plenty of people that were skeptical about the expansion -- many questioned the introduction of the pandaren as a playable race, questioning whether or not an expansion featuring fuzzy talking pandas could ever be taken seriously. Yet although the pandaren can be quite friendly and agreeable, the overall theme of Mists has been remarkably dark. I'd almost consider it darker than any prior, if only for one reason: the message in this expansion hits far closer to home than any other.

While Burning Crusade, Wrath, and Cataclysm all highlighted major enemies that sought to end the world, each through their own means, Mists took a step back from the grand bellowing villains and their evil schemes. And instead, it chose to shift the focus to us -- Alliance and Horde, players and NPCs alike. Yet on the brink of patch 5.4, presumably the last raid of this expansion, what lessons can we take away from Pandaria? What has it taught us, that couldn't be taught by fighting another world-threatening NPC? What was the point of Pandaria?

Please note that today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.4 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turning away now would be advised!

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The rise of the Dark Shaman

Know Your Lore The rise of the dark shaman
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.

We had warning that this was coming. When Ragefire Chasm was given an overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, the changes didn't escape the notice of players -- but nobody really knew the extent of what was going on. Remnants of the Twilight Cult from Cataclysm could be found in the depths of Ragefire, carrying insignias that noted they were part of a new order -- not Twilight Cult, but something quite possibly far darker, called the Dark Shaman.

These shaman were highlighted briefly in the novel Tides of War, as part of Garrosh's assault forces on Northwatch Hold. While the question of how they came to be seems to be fairly self-explanatory, there's a little more to the story than previously thought. It stretches all the way back to the days of Wrath of the Lich King, and the discovery of a different, new, hardy race of warriors and shaman that were far more used to doing what was necessary to survive, than what may or may not have been right.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The legacy of the Mag'har

Know Your Lore The Mag'har
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.

Garrosh Hellscream's actions thus far in World of Warcraft have been, by and large, downright villainous and despicable. He's responsible for the murders of countless Alliance soldiers and civilians at both Northwatch Hold and Theramore -- and countless others over the course of his reign as Warchief. He's also responsible for the deaths of countless Horde -- some honorable, some not, all distinctly under the impression that being a member of the Horde brought certain advantages. Advantages like not having the Warchief order your execution over perceived slights.

Yet Garrosh's roots, oddly enough, are with a clan of orcs that pride themselves in the noble preservation of orcish society as it stood before the Burning Legion's influence. Small, yes, remote and isolated, yes, but they stood and continue to stand with pride in the face of corruption. Based in a remote corner of Outland, they are the Mag'har. Where did they come from, and how did they affect how Warchief Hellscream views the world today?

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Durotarian Candidate

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The Durotarian Candidate WedAs Needed
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.

This one's all speculation, guys, and what's more, it's arrant speculation, too. This one takes the Tinfoil Hat and welds it on: not only is nothing in this essay established canon, even I don't think it's remotely likely. But when has that ever stopped us?

With the arrival of patch 5.3, Alliance players have noticed a bit of a disconnect. Why are we in the barrerns, they ask, instead of attacking the Horde elsewhere and reclaiming some lost territory while it's distracted with the rebellion? Others wonder why we're working with Vol'jin at all, instead of just letting the Horde fight amongst each other until there's an exhausted winner at the top and attacking him... or perhaps her, depending on how it all shakes out.

Still others find King Varian's sudden (to them, anyway) gear switch from raging, barely in control ball of rage to this singleminded, purposeful character who is uniting the Alliance behind him strange and unusual. Why is Varian suddenly counseling caution to Tyrande and refusing to make use of an obviously powerful weapon like the Sha? Why is Varian content to let Jaina take the lead against the Thunder King, and why did he acquiesce to the player and SI:7's plan to support Vol'jin's rebellion?

For a completely made up answer to these questions, let's look at Lo'Gosh, the gladiator. But first, let's look at Croc-Bait.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The Alliance and the Darkspear Rebellion

Know Your Lore The Alliance and the Darkspear Rebellion
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.

Sometimes, the storytelling in World of Warcraft sets people on edge -- which may very well be the understatement of the year. So far, nothing in Mists of Pandaria has been quite as contentious as the idea of Alliance vs. Horde story development. We've delved into the seemingly lopsided nature of Alliance development in WoW before, and taken some guesses and speculation on what the Alliance seems to be missing from a development standpoint.

But patch 5.3 has introduced a new element -- the Darkspear Rebellion -- and with that element comes a new wave of discontent. Having played through both sides of the event, I can definitely see where the Alliance are coming from. While the Horde has a really great triumphant moment of smacking down Garrosh's forces, the Alliance doesn't really have an equivalent. Which leads people to ask, once again, when the Alliance are going to get a moment of glory?

It's a good question, and the answer to that question warrants a look into the story behind the expansion, as well as a look at the nuts and bolts of story development.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The curious neutrality of Anduin Wrynn
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.

Prince Anduin Llane Wrynn is the sole heir to Stormwind's throne. Named after Varian's father, the beloved King Llane, and the hero of all heroes, Anduin Lothar, he's got two major figures to live up to. Yet rather than turn down the path of Lothar's heroics, he seems to be gravitating towards the direction that King Llane ultimately followed: A beloved leader, one who treated all in his kingdom with kindness and respect, up to and including Garona -- a member of the Old Horde who by all rights, despite her background as a half-breed, was still the face of the enemy.

And in the end, that spelled King Llane's undoing. His trust was his weakness, and it resulted in his assassination. King Llane died in part because of the machinations of the Shadow Council, but in even larger part because he simply didn't exercise caution like he should. King Llane's death is a cautionary tale that his son Varian took to heart -- but Varian's son is a different story altogether. Anduin Wrynn presents a peculiar puzzle that has yet to be fully explained.

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.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Archivist: Emo Garrosh and the Hero of the Mag'har

Thrall meets his grandmother
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Mists of Pandaria has many great story lines: the emergence of the Sha, the Mantid war, the history of the Mogu, the Thunder King and the Zandarlari, etc. The overarching story of this expansion has been the ongoing aggression between the Alliance and the Horde, and the central figure of that conflict is Garrosh.

Patch 5.3 will bring us the beginning of the Horde's revolt against its current warchief, and presumably we will depose him with extreme prejudice in 5.4.

Garrosh's story did not begin in Mists, however, or even in Wrath of the Lich King when he led the Horde's assault on Northrend. Way back in The Burning Crusade, an outstanding quest line called Hero of the Mag'har introduced us to a very different Garrosh: a troubled young orc, helpless, hopeless, wishing for death.

If you've only ever played as Alliance, you never got to experience this chain of quests and its many great moments. For Horde players, it's well worth revisiting.

Read more →

Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Pandamonium
The gaming artwork of Jessica Dinh
Mists of Pandaria Raid DPS Analysis
Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition
Death Knight plague epidemic
Mega Bloks: Goblin Zeppelin Ambush
Mists of Pandaria Beta: Ruins beneath Scarlet Halls
Mists of Pandaria: New warlock pets
Female Pandaren Customization

 

Categories