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Know Your Lore: Where is the rest of the Alliance?

Know Your Lore Where is the rest of the Alliance Wed
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, for me, is the real disappointment of the past few Mists of Pandaria patches. We've seen what Lor'themar, Baine and Vol'jin are up to in regards to Garrosh's plans for the Horde. While Sylvanas has taken a more circumspect path in this expansion, we're getting a sense of what the Horde's other leaders think about what the Horde is becoming.

What we haven't seen, aside from Jaina Proudmoore's returning the Kirin Tor to the Alliance fold, is any sense of what leaders who aren't Varian are up to. Now, 5.3 shows us what's going on with the Council of Three Hammers in Ironforge, and we've seen Tyrande's brief appearance in the A Little Patience scenario (where she gets to be her old, impetuous self in order that Varian can look statesmanlike) but where's Velen? You'd think that the Sha menace would interest him. Where's Genn Greymane, who has literally done nothing since he installed himself in Stormwind two years ago? I know it's probably expecting too much that Gelbin Mekkatorque might spare time away from doing nothing outside of Gnomeregan, but still, there's been a surprising lack of involvement for these Alliance figures over the years, and it's getting worrisome.

I've mentioned before that I don't want the Alliance turning into The Adventures of Varian Wrynn and his Amazing Friends, not even with Jaina playing both Iceman and Firestar lately. I want an Alliance that's more like a Justice League, where there's room for every faction to take part.

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

Patch 5.1: New Alliance footage of Lion's Landing

SPOILER ALERT! This video contains spoilers about 5.1, Varian, Anduin, all manner of Alliance and Pandaria spoilers. Even a few Horde ones. Watch at your own risk.

This video, like the Horde one posted earlier, relates to quest chains for the new factions appearing in Krasarang Wilds with Patch 5.1. The Horde faction is the Dominance Offensive, but our interest here lies with the Alliance Faction, Operation: Shieldwall. The faction is stationed in Lion's Landing, where they landed after sending their elite force ahead to assist the White Pawn.

Like almost all Pandaria-based factions, Operation Shieldwall comes with quest chains, from which this spoiler-tastic video is extracted. These quests award reputation, which can also be earned via the completion of daily quests, and allows the purchase of various items.

But that's not the sole focus of this video! More spoilers after the break.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Shandris Feathermoon for Warchief

Know Your Lore Shandris Feathermoon for 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.

You read that right. Not Warchief of the Horde, no, not even on a drunken dare would I suggest that because Shandris is frankly too cool an underused character to be saddled with something that ridiculous. No, what I want is for the Alliance to create a Dux Bellorum, and I want the job to go to Shandris.

There are other candidates, to be sure. But most of them are rulers of nations, and what we need is someone who can lead the combined military of the entire Alliance. Varian is a King, and needs to start ruling like one, frankly. Tyrande, as High Priestess of Elune, is similarly saddled with responsibilities to her people. The Council of Three Hammers is as yet too disjoined and contentious to even lead the dwarves fully, and so while Muradin could fill the position (as could Varian) he's busy. The gnomes are too focused on Gnomeregan and Gelbin Mekkatorque is not a warrior by nature.

At this stage, with the losses of the Cataclysm and the looming war, I think it's fair to say that it's time for Shandris to step forward. She's been (in my opinion) criminally underused and kept for far too long in Tyrande's shadow. This is a woman with over ten thousand years of military experience, and it is long past time for someone with that kind of acumen to step forward and lead armies in the coming conflict.

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

The OverAchiever: In which Alliance has it much worse than Horde

The OverAchiever Sorry, Alliance
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we are grateful to play Horde.

This past week, I was tabbed out of the game writing an OverAchiever on Bloody Rare as a follow-up to our guide on Northern Exposure when something interesting started happening in the background. In the sliver of laptop screen dedicated to WoW, the chat channels exploded with warnings that the Alliance was attacking Orgrimmar. Given that the Midsummer Fire Festival is still going on with lots of players busy stealing enemy fires, this isn't particularly unusual. I shrugged and went back to work.

And yet, the warnings just kept coming. Curious, I tabbed back into the game to discover that a full 40-man Alliance raid was fighting its way to Garrosh Hellscream. Other players said that none of the other Horde leaders had been attacked, so I can only assume the raid was starting For the Alliance! with the toughest foe among them.

Now, Garrosh is by no stretch of the imagination anywhere near as popular as Thrall was, but lots of Horde players are still willing to defend him from attack because, well, he's got his moments. Orgrimmar's central district quickly became a lagfest of epic proportions as dozens of players who'd been gossiping in trade or loitering around the Auction House rushed to defend Garrosh. The Alliance raid was ultimately defeated, but they rallied and tried again -- unsuccessfully -- an hour later.

This was the first of three days that I saw the same Alliance raid desperately trying to kill Garrosh, and something started to niggle at me by day two. Namely, For the Alliance! and For the Horde! are among the very few achievements that are significantly tougher if you play one faction over the other.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Archbishop Benedictus

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

It is no strange surprise that the Echo of Tyrande would retain the love, energy, and passion her fans bestow upon the night elf priestess, even here at the End Time, when Deathwing has taken what he felt was rightfully his. Wait. What? Tyrande lost? To Warlord Zon'ozz? By 43 votes?!

We'll get to this hilarious (to me, anyway) upset in a little bit. There's another important matter to discuss, which is that we have two brand new competitors on Two Bosses Enter and what seems to be an epic match up in the works.

Murozond, the twisted form of the aspect Nozdormu, has manifested himself in the End Time, ready to end all daring time travelers' adventures. As time itself bends around his gargantuan form, only the use of a magic hourglass can give even the most stalwart heroes hope of besting the great infinite. Up against Murozond is a fallen hero who wields the power of the Light unlike any other power on Azeroth. Once the leader of the Church of the Holy Light, now Archbishop Benedictus reigns as the Twilight Father, assisting Deathwing in ending all of our puny existences.

Who wins, friends? Does the great infinite dragon best one of the most powerful wielders of holy and shadow magic? You decide!

Who wins? Murozond vs. Archbishop Benedictus?
Murozond (End Time)2943 (77.4%)
Archbishop Benedictus (Hour of Twilight)858 (22.6%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

The Queue: Shattered glass

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

I think Blizzard should scrap the dance studio concept forever and ever ... if it meant we could all get personalized theme music for PvP.

WoWie Zowie asked:

As I understand it, Tyrande Whisperwind is a Priest. Yet I see her wielding a bow and having a pet "Dori'thur" the owl. Is this because she is hiding something? Or did Blizz just decide that she needs some form of offense without being "shadow"?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Two Bosses Enter: Echo of Tyrande vs. Warlord Zon'ozz

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

As the poll closes for last week's matchup. the Echo of Sylvanas from the End Time dungeon successfully trumped the second raid boss to be a part of Two Bosses Enter, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping. Looks like this unsleeper is being put down for the night, if you catch my drift. You don't? Oh, Yor'sahj lost. By 800 votes. Another surprisingly close match, considering who Sylvanas is.

This week's matchup proves to be another fun one, especially for the commenters, who are doing their best to reconcile raid mechanics and 5-man mechanics while remembering that this is about spirit and fun. The Echo of Tyrande, leader of the night elves and caretaker of Nordrassil and the druid barrows, will have to pull out every trick in the book as she goes up against Warlord Zon'ozz, one of the two generals at the helm of the assault on Wyrmrest Temple.

Now the fate of these two champions is in your hands. Who wins it, loyal readers and fans? Does the Echo of Tyrande have the strength of will to stand up against the madness of the Old Gods' servant Warlord Zon'ozz?

Who wins? Echo of Tyrande vs. Warlord Zon'ozz
Tyrande (End Time)1501 (49.3%)
Warlord Zon'ozz (Dragon Soul)1543 (50.7%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Breakfast Topic: Would you vote-kick that NPC from your party?

Pokey-slow NPCs on escort quests have long been the butt of player jokes, but with more extensive NPC participation in the patch 4.3 5-mans, I've started wondering if things are going from bad to worse. Shortly after patch 4.3 hit, I wrote on Twitter that Tyrande, Illidan, and Malfurion in the Well of Eternity are all shining examples of players who would be vote-kicked from the average PUG.

Really! Think about it:
  • Tyrande runs out of arrows, still manages to pull aggro, and then stops DPSing entirely past a certain point during the Mannoroth fight.
  • Illidan thinks he's leet and never shuts up, and he's also the archetypal Go Guy from Wowcrendor's How to win at PUGs and Gear Score.
  • Malfurion goes AFK before the boss fight and then (conveniently enough) shows up while loot is being distributed.
So does this mean that the average person with a bit of common sense is a better player than three major lore figures? I think it kinda does. This is not to say that all NPC participation in your questing or 5-mans is bad (Anduin Wrynn during the Alliance's pre-Twilight Highlands quests is pretty cool), but I hope this isn't a sign of more to come. Oh, and Thrall -- epic ground mounts are not expensive these days. You have no excuse.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Aiding the Alliance: Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage

Tyrande Whisperwind has been a central part of the Alliance since way back in vanilla WoW. She was one of the key figures in the events of Warcraft III, and she's had a substantial role in the course of Azeroth as a whole -- she was there at the Sundering, she was there at Mount Hyjal, and as far as we can tell, she'll be around much longer than that.

Truthfully, my issues with Tyrande are not as substantial as those I had with King Varian Wrynn. Even in vanilla WoW when nearly every other faction leader sat idle, she was called front and center to cleanse Eranikus in Moonglade. She's active. She's powerful. She's faithful. She's as close to perfect as Alliance faction leaders get. There's only one problem: Malfurion Stormrage.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

WoW Insider's guide to End Time

After writing the guides to Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman, it occurred to me that I'd missed out on the opportunity to include a useful feature. Most of us will be seeing the patch 4.3 5-mans with a Dungeon Finder group at one point or another, and a high percentage of Dungeon Finder groups contain ... How shall I describe this politely? ... at least one player who has obviously spent the better part of a day with his head down a glue jar. You don't need a sophisticated understanding of the boss' mechanics for these people. You want to explain the fight as quickly and simply as possible to someone whose pupils are the approximate size of a dinner plate.

Consequently, in addition to information for the folks out there who care about what the boss is actually doing, I have also included a small section for each boss called Explain it in 5 seconds or less. And take heart! There's at least one boss in End Time where you don't have to care about anyone's survival at all!

If you want the quickest possible guide to all the new 5-man boss mechanics, read Patch 4.3 5-man bosses in 5 seconds or less.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: Illidan Stormrage, The Betrayer

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're plKnow Youaying 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 story of Illidan Stormrage, born well over 10,000 years ago in the ancient city of Suramar alongside his brother Malfurion and their childhood friend Tyrande, would change the entire world now known as Azeroth. Without them, the Burning Legion might well have succeeded. The machinations of demons, the corrupt Highborne, even Queen Azshara were balked by this trio. But Illidan himself was often his own worst enemy.

He is one of the greatest manipulators of arcane power ever to live, the first to ever seek to stalk and kill demons, a prodigy and a madman. He betrayed his own people in order to save them and the entire world, but he always served himself first. Selfish, mercurial, brilliant, resentful and tormented by himself, Illidan Stormrage helped make Azeroth everything it is today.

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Filed under: Know your Lore

First chapter of new Wolfheart novel free to read

Varian Wrynn
The Sept. 13 publication date of Wolfheart, the newest WoW novel written by Richard Knaak, draws ever closer. We know surprisingly little about it at the moment. We know that it will take place on Kalimdor but will focus on King Varian Wrynn and his relationship with the wolf spirit Goldrinn and the new members of the Alliance, the Worgen. If you're eager for more information though, you're in luck. Shelfari, a book wiki run by Amazon.com, has the first chapter of the book available to read.

Click here for your free sample chapter and choose the Read First Chapter Free button below the picture of the book cover on the left side of the page. You'll be able to read the first chapter, as well as the chapter titles for the book (by pushing the back arrow on the pages). There are going to be a lot of spoilers in both the chapter names and the chapter itself, of course, so read at your own risk. For a quick (spoiler-filled) summary and a discussion of the possibilities, check after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Lore, Worgen

Tyrande Whisperwind leader story up on official site

The night elves have taken a beating in Cataclysm, even with their role in adding the worgen of Gilneas to the Alliance. The Horde has attacked them in Ashenvale, disasters have wiped out their settlements in Darkshore, Azshara is lost and Feralas in danger of being lost as well. What is Tyrande Whisperwind, high priestess of Elune and leader of the kaldorei, doing about all of this? Well, in Seeds of Faith, you'll get your chance to find out.

Disaster after disaster besets the night elves. With news from all over their ancient lands coming back and the tides of war turning against them, can Tyrande afford to let her personal feelings overwhelm her leadership? And what of the fate of Shandris Feathermoon? These questions are answered in the short story by Valerie Waltrous, available now on the official site.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Cataclysm

World of Warcraft: "Wolfheart" novel description now available

A preview description for the next book set in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm universe, Wolfheart, has appeared courtesy of BlizzPlanet. The novel, penned by Stormrage and War of the Ancients trilogy author Richard A. Knaak, follows the exploits of Varian Wyrnn, Genn Greymane, night elf leaders Malfurian Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, and surprise guest Maiev Shadowsong. From the description, it appears the novel will focus on the tensions between Stormwind and Gilneas due to their tenuous new alliance, the Highborne's reintegration into night elven society, and the continued fight in Ashenvale against the surmounting Horde odds.

Christie Golden's Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, is currently on the shelves, chronicling Thrall's journey post-Cataclysm with the Earthen Ring and his counterpart Aggra, as well as the dragons and their quest to stay alive and allied during Deathwing's brutal return. With Wolfheart, it seems we're getting an Alliance leader's story opposed to that of Thrall, who was once the Horde's warchief.

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart is going to be available on Sept. 13, 2011. Hit the jump for the full description.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Interbellum part 1 - Forcing Fate's Hand

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 began playing World of Warcraft when the game came out, then you played through a period of interbellum. The Third War ended four years before World of Warcraft started, and the mortal races that banded together on the slopes of Mount Hyjal to defeat the Burning Legion were now beginning to approach a war footing once more.

We talked before about the Third War (in two parts, in fact), and in the next few weeks, we'll talk about the period between the Third War and the original story of WoW, the events of the 1-60 game that was remodeled in Cataclysm. Why did the people of Azeroth turn away from the unity established in the fight against the Burning Legion? Why did the former high elves turn away from their once-allies? Why did Illidan raise the naga? How did Arthas Menethil transition from a death knight into possibly the most powerful mortal-born entity ever to exist on the face of Azeroth? These were the times that blasted souls.

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

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