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Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The dark secrets of the mogu

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition The dark secrets of the mogu SUN
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.

They were once rulers of an empire that rivaled the Zandalar in size and scope, but they possessed powers far greater than the trolls could ever dream of. They used their power to shape the grummels and saurok from the lesser races of Pandaria. They enslaved the pandaren race as a whole, using them to build structures and gather supplies all under threat of their iron fists. Their great empires trace back to thousands of years ago, before even the War of the Ancients, and possibly before the rise of the kaldorei race.

The mogu are one of the clear villains of this expansion, and our arrival denotes the sudden uprising of this strange, curious, violent race. While the mogu may have been relatively quiet for centuries, they are certainly far from it now. And as we make our way through Pandaria we see more and more evidence that these violent beings are on the move -- something that disturbs the gentle pandaren greatly. The mogu hide secrets, and over the course of raiding, we uncover a few.

But their greatest secret may just be something so unfathomable, so bizarre, that it shakes the roots of everything we currently know and believe.

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 why and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Please note: This post contains some content spoilers from Mists of Pandaria.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The whispers of Azeroth

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition The fascination of Sargeras SUN
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.

Sargeras: Fallen Titan, founder of the Burning Legion and destroyer of worlds. Since his fall from his place as the premier champion of the Titans, Sargeras has enjoyed utmost success in his mission of destruction, bringing down endless worlds and wreaking havoc across the universe. Yet one world has eluded his grasp, time and time again -- Azeroth. Though the Burning Legion has visited Azeroth countless times, it has yet to sink its claws into the world and wrench it apart.

Despite this, the Legion continues to try. There may be hundreds, thousands, possibly even millions of distinct worlds out there ripe for annihilation, but the Burning Legion and Sargeras himself have focused with certainty on our little world. Is it a matter of revenge? Is it a matter of stubborn persistence? Or is there some other reason we're the focus of the universe's heralds of hatred? What is Sargeras' fascination with our tiny planet, anyway?

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 why and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Otherworldly mysteries

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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.

Draenor has always interested me. Note that I didn't say Outland, which is a part of the former world Draenor. While Outland itself is very interesting in its own right, one of the things I find fascinating about Draenor is that we do not know what it looked like. While we have a good understanding of one large continent (of which most survived as Outland), we don't know the entirety of that continent, nor do we know whether or not any other pieces of the lost red world survived.

What we do know is that Draenor died when Ner'zhul, the former elder shaman and de facto ruler of the Horde remnants that survived Gul'dan's treachery and Doomhammer's defeat, tried to use stolen magical artifacts to open portals to new worlds, hoping to find one to lead his people to settle on. He did this because the warlock magics taught to Gul'dan by Kil'jaeden had effectively rendered Draenor unlivable.

While Draenor was the homeworld of the orcish people, who evolved there, it was not named by them. Rather, it was the draenei fleeing the Burning Legion who gave the world its name. Draenor means "exile's refuge" in the eredun language. In addition, it was the arrival of the draenei and the naaru that led to the entrenched ancestor worship of the orcish people, as K'ure's tomb in Oshu'gun (the remains of the draenei vessel) attracted the spirits of the deceased to it. In turn, these spirits deliberately created a religion among their own descendents that would venerate K'ure's resting place, weaving orc and draenei together spiritually.

Draenor was a world of its own, and we barely knew it. And it's not the only world we know about in the Warcraft cosmos with strange, unexplained mysteries.

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

Know Your Lore, TFH edition: Sargeras was right

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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.

Imagine if you will a perfectly nice little wooded area, teeming with wildlife. Here, there's a bird's nest; there, a small group of deer peacefully grazing on the grass. Over the hill lives a small pack of coyotes that will eventually hunt the deer, but it helps keep the deer population down. Circle of life and all that. Some years, the wildlife flourishes; other years, water is scarce and so is food. Those are the lean times, but somehow the little wooded area continues to thrive on its own, waxing and waning its way through the years.

Now imagine that little wooded grove gets targeted for development. All woodland creatures are systematically driven out of the area or killed. The lovely trees are ripped from the ground one by one. The grass is torn up, dirt and earth moved and leveled out. And one by one, houses pop up where the wooded area used to be. Clean and tidy paved roads, white picket fences all in a row, pretty if bland houses plunked into symmetric lots carefully designed for the maximum use of space. Those who live in the houses may occasionally see a deer out the window, a remnant of the wood that no longer exists.

Which is better?

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 how it happened and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore. But they're interesting!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The secret of Pandaria

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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
What do we know about Mists of Pandaria? We've been told that the major conflict highlighted in this expansion will be between Alliance and Horde. We've also been told that this will be one of the bloodiest wars since the days of Warcraft II. We've been told that there will be consequences for our actions, and we were told when the expansion was announced at BlizzCon that the pandaren have something to teach us. So what's up with that? And what's up with the crazy map making a reappearance?

That's the funny thing -- it's all interconnected, possibly. Today we're going on a Tinfoil Hat trip through Mists of Pandaria to talk about my favorite crazy map, some theories on Azeroth, and why exactly Garrosh needs to be removed.

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 how it happened and what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Weapons of Lore: Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker

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We spend an extraordinary amount of time in World of Warcraft collecting loot of various shapes and sizes. Whether it's tier sets, trinkets or other best in slot items, a lot of players devote themselves to getting the best of what there is to offer. Enter the legendary weapons of the world -- weapons so powerful, so rare, that they are viewed as the best of their kind ... well, at least until another expansion drops with better stuff.

But these weapons aren't just thrown into the world with no explanation. The legendary items of the world are legendary because they are the stuff of legend -- the subject of tales told through time, whether old or new. Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker, is arguably one of the oldest of these weapons. Its story begins at the dawn of creation, when the elements of the world waged war at the behest of the Old Gods.

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Filed under: Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat: Destroying this clockwork universe

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.

If you've ever run the Black Morass in the Caverns of Time, you may recall Aeonus' memorable line upon entering the fray: "The time has come to shatter this clockwork universe forever!" A clockwork, as we know, is a precision instrument, an engineered and designed mechanism that proceeds along a rigidly programmed path. A clockwork does exactly what it was designed to do -- it ticks off the seconds in a preordained fashion.

I bring this up because of the revelation that the Titans, when they created the dragon aspects, seemingly knew that one of them would go mad and align himself with the Old Gods. The four aspects who remained seemed convinced that this moment, this Hour of Twilight, is what they were created to avert. The question then becomes, why would the Titans empower Neltharion in the first place if they knew what he would do? Why would they create a powerful entity like an aspect if they knew he would become corrupted?

The answer may be as simple as this: They didn't know it -- they simply anticipated it. The mechanism was designed to accommodate a great many options.

Algalon the Observer
Your actions are illogical. All possible results for this encounter have been calculated. The Pantheon will receive the Observer's message regardless of outcome.

This is a Tinfoil Hat edition of Know Your Lore. It takes established game lore and speculates on what it could, might, or does mean. It contains spoilers and, furthermore, is not to be taken for actual in-game or tie-in story.

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

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Uldum

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape.

On the southern end of Kalimdor, a forgotten civilization hides behind otherworldly technology, forged by the Titans to protect the great machinery of Reorigination. The tol'vir, great protectors of the ancient machinery, stand stalwart against the corruption and fighting. Some tol'vir have succumbed to the aqir long ago, but the civilization remained unknown to the whole of Azeroth. After Deathwing's violent breach from the Maelstrom changed the world forever, the resulting chaos broke the shield that hid Uldum and revealed its sands. Now, Deathwing and his allies fight to corrupt the tol'vir and bring chaos to Uldum and beyond.

Uldum continued the Cataclysm zone progression by moving you from the rocky, subterranean world of Deepholm into an open-air desert, a welcome change for the claustrophobic adventurer. Giant pyramids, monumental statues, and an Egyptian motif made Uldum one of the most beautiful and well-realized zones in Cataclysm. As players embarked on two very distinct quest lines, the story of Uldum unfolded as the forces of the wind broke the Skywall through the desert sky and into Azeroth's realm. On the other side of the zone, players were sent on a sprawling adventure with fan favorite Harrison Jones on a bumbling expedition to figure out the purpose of the Obelisks of Uldum and get into some wacky trouble.

This is going to be the most controversial of the Cataclysm post-mortems. I can feel it. Uldum was a zone that people either loved or hated during the content push to 85. We are going to try to keep it civil.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm's end

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.

Patch 4.3 signifies the end of the story of Cataclysm, the moment of Deathwing's demise. Much like patch 3.3 before it, 4.3 features three dungeons that are directly related to the endgame content -- what you do in the dungeons is 100% part of the story that leads to the Dragon Soul raid. So we have End Time, the Well of Eternity, and the Hour of Twilight, all three offering different parts to this story.

All of this information has led to hundreds of questions. If we kill Murozond, what happens to that alternate future? If we take the Dragon Soul from the past, doesn't that mean our future is irrevocably altered? Perhaps most important is the last cinematic for the Dragon Soul fight, which was leaked earlier this week and raises way more questions than it answers.

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore is full of spoilers for patch 4.3 -- we're talking everything from the story behind the new heroics to the new short story to the end of the Dragon Soul raid. It also holds spoilers for the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. If you're avoiding spoiler content, turn away now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore and Story Q&A highlights

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.

I have to be honest here -- while I love the Q&A aspect of the Lore and Story Q&A panel, I was really hoping we'd see some sort of lore panel devoted to Mists of Pandaria this year. That said -- hey guys, how about those Pandaren? For those thinking that Pandaria is going to be all and end all of this expansion or that Pandaria sounds like something that could be potentially boring, I would suggest that you wait patiently here. We didn't get a lore panel dedicated to Mists, and therefore we don't know all there is to know yet.

However, the Lore and Story Q&A panel this year did deliver some interesting tidbits of information, even if there really weren't a lot of Pandaren-centric questions to be had. I wouldn't be annoyed by this if I were you -- after all, those asking questions had no idea Pandaria even existed until 24 hours before the panel, so formulating questions for the upcoming expansion would be a little premature, to say the very least. That said, in between all the questions we did manage to weasel out a few chunks of Pandaren lore, as well as some other interesting info.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Wyrmrest Accord and the order of the world

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 dragonflights may have been created at the same time, but for the thousands of years they've existed on Azeroth, they've hardly been friendly with one another. It started with the Black Dragonflight and Neltharion's betrayal during the War of the Ancients. In the moment that Neltharion took the name Deathwing, in the moments thereafter during which he destroyed nearly all of the Blue Dragonflight with the Demon Soul -- in those moments, the dragonflights were introduced to a new concept: deception. It was unthinkable that any dragon would deliberately seek to harm another, and yet it happened.

The fallout was immediate. Malygos, driven mad by the betrayal of one of his closest friends and the loss of his flight, fled to Northrend. In his madness, he split the Nexus from the rest of the land, separating Coldarra from the rest of the Borean Tundra. And then he stayed there, alone in his despair and insanity, refusing all visitors in his grief. The Blue Dragonflight crumpled, held up only by those who stood and tried their best to hold together the shattered remnants of the flight.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore 101 -- How to fold a Tinfoil Hat

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.

Out of all of the lore articles I've written so far for WoW Insider, none seem to garner quite as much commentary as the tinfoil hat series. Whether I'm babbling on about Elune being a naaru, the Lich King being a walking plane of existence, or the possibility that Azeroth is just a giant trap for Sargeras, coming up with theories and tossing them at you guys is an exercise in creative thinking.

Rather than go on with another crazy theory, this week I decided to go a different direction entirely. There are a few tricks to trying to predict what's going to happen with a book or an ongoing story like Warcraft. It's not just about coming up with wild ideas; they have to actually be plausible ideas. And it's not about what you think should happen; it's about trying to define what may come to pass. Today, we're going to take a look at the nuts and bolts of what defines a story, what makes up a tinfoil hat theory, and how to apply it not just to Warcraft but to anything you happen to be reading.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Warcraft cosmos, part one: The Material Plane

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.

Even now, the true battle between the forces of Light and Darkness approaches. We will all be called to join, and in the face of this conflict, all mortal suffering will be meaningless. -- Prophet Velen

Far beyond the tiny planet of Azeroth, beyond the shattered shores of Outland -- or Draenor, as it was once called -- there lies the Great Dark Beyond. This dark, empty void between worlds exists even beyond the Twisting Nether. It is the space between planets, existing in the same material plane as the planets themselves. While the Twisting Nether exists within it, it should not be confused with the Nether, because they are two distinctly different entities.

In the existing universe of Warcraft, only a small handful of planets have been defined, floating somewhere out there in the vast, empty space of the Great Dark Beyond. All of these planets are connected, which gives way to a larger, slightly more tinfoil hat theory regarding the greater Warcraft cosmos and what it all means, when it comes down to it. But before we indulge in any speculation, we should define what lies within that Great Dark Beyond and how it all plays together in the vastness of the universe.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Silence of the Titans


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.

Once upon a time, godlike creatures of order called Titans landed on a small, unassuming planet named Azeroth and proceeded to reorganize it. After they left, the planet was invaded by malevolent creatures called Old Gods -- creatures of chaos and destruction. The Titans returned to the little planet, horrified at what had happened, and rose up against the Old Gods and their elemental lieutenants in what was the most horrific war the planet had ever seen. But instead of destroying the Old Gods, the Titans were forced to imprison them deep within the planet.

They set safeguards over the fragile world -- draconic aspects to watch over the various domains of life, the earth, magic, time, and nature. They created new guardians to watch over the prisons of the Old Gods. They created a magical font of energy, tied to the Twisting Nether -- the Well of Eternity. And satisfied with their work, the Titans left. No one on the fragile planet has seen them since; they are spoken of in history and in legend, but they've never returned.

Why? Of all the questions in Azeroth, this is the biggest by far. Why did the Titans imprison the Old Gods, instead of starting over from scratch? Common theory suggests they liked the planet too much to re-originate it, yet they left behind safeguards that would do exactly that, if the Old Gods escaped again. So why not simply do so to begin with? Why leave the world as it stood? More importantly -- why are we here?

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 why it happened. The events presented are events that happened in Azeroth's history, but the conclusion is simply a theory and shouldn't be taken as fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Uldaman, Ulduar, and Uldum, strongholds of the Titans

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.

In the beginning, Azeroth existed as a simple planet floating in the midst of space (or the great dark beyond, as it's sometimes called). There is very little out there in terms of the history of Azeroth's creation, but what little we do know is this: Azeroth attracted the attention of creatures called Titans, godlike beings that traveled from world to world, creating order from chaos and leaving planets teeming with life. The Titans did to Azeroth as they did to countless other worlds before: They created seed races to inhabit the little planet, encouraging life to grow. Along with the seed races, they created the earthen -- stone beings that were meant to maintain the order the Titans had cultivated. Satisfied with their work, the Titans left.

It was some time after the Titan's departure that disaster struck. The little planet caught the eye of malevolent creatures known as Old Gods. The Old Gods strive for chaos and destruction, the exact opposite of everything the Titans create. Azeroth, still new to the universe, crumpled under the assault. However, the Titan-created earthen presented a problem that required a creative solution. The Old Gods, seeing that these creatures were made of rock and stone, released a disease called the Curse of Flesh -- the originator of many of the species that roam Azeroth today.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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