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Posts with tag varian-wrynn

Patch 5.4 PTR: Sound files rife with spoilers

Patch 54 Sound files rife with spoilers
Our friend Stevan over at Adriacraft has been busy doing what he does best, and trawling the patch 5.4 PTR build that just went live, and he's unearthed some sound files that can only be described as spoiler-heavy. They're so spoiler-heavy that we've put the whole lot after the break, so head on down if you are OK with some seriously heavy spoilers. If you are not OK with spoilers, do not hit the break, do not listen to the audio, do not read the comments. Instead, enjoy this lovely shaman.

And what's more, this is datamining. Datamining is encouraging players to draw conclusions from files found in the game's systems. The developers have been known to put things in there which are red herrings, things which are never used, things which aren't even meant to be in there. So take it as read that that could well be what's going on. And take all this with a hefty pinch of salt. If, however, you love datamined spoilers, read on.

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Filed under: News items

Know Your Lore: The lore leading into patch 5.4

Know Your Lore The lore leading into patch 54
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 5.4 is now live on the PTR servers for testing, and it has several ... dramatic changes, both to the world and to the characters in it. While patch 5.3 may seem small on story, there's actually plenty going on -- more than enough to serve as a catalyst heading into the new patch. In fact, plenty of the events in 5.3 directly effect what's going on in patch 5.4. Although we don't know the whole story just yet, considering the PTR is a test realm that may undergo changes as time goes on, we do have enough to tie 5.3 and 5.4 together in a significant way.

If you've been following the lore, you may have seen the signs already and know what to expect. But if you haven't been paying much attention to the story, or you're wondering what's going on with those images people have been posting from the patch 5.4 PTR, we'll do our best to get you all caught up. Mists of Pandaria has been an expansion chock full of new story, and patch 5.3 has certainly been no exception to this -- but 5.4 is shaping up to be the biggest hit we've seen so far in Mists.

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!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Alliance and Horde

Know Your Lore The Alliance and Horde
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.

To ask why we fight, is to ask why the leaves fall -- it is in their nature.

The Alliance and Horde have been notoriously at each other's throats since the two factions began in the days of the First and Second Wars. And although I have come up with some crazy theories regarding the innate reasons behind that latent aggression between the two factions, they're simply theories. They may make sense, in a bizarre and meta fashion, but they are in no way true. So here we are, left with a simple question: What makes the Alliance and Horde so prone to aggression? Why do they continue to battle, and turn their noses at the thought of making peace?

While I do enjoy coming up with fanciful reasons for all of this, there is one blatant, simple reason that stands on its own: Misunderstanding. Sheer, unadulterated ignorance and a stubborn unwillingness to try and understand. Both sides possess a single-minded obsession with violence and retribution that has never faded, nearly thirty years after the events of the First War. And when you step back and take a look at the conflict between the two factions with a neutral eye, the whole of the aggression turns into a delightful, tragic, almost laughable comedy of errors and escalation.

Let's take a look at where some of the common misconceptions surrounding both Horde and Alliance have gotten us.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.3 PTR: Blood in the Snow overview

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview
If you've been wondering what's been going on in Ironforge during Cataclysm and Mists, patch 5.3 ought to fill you in. The first of two scenarios required to unlock the quest chain for 5.3, Blood in the Snow tells the story of Moira Bronzebeard and her attempt to prove to both the Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, and the Alliance itself that the Dark Iron are worthy allies. One tends to forget that Moira's roots lay originally with the Bronzebeard clan -- and she's not out for blood, she's out to prove that both she and the clan she now runs aren't the one-dimensional villains everyone would like to make them out to be.

Does she succeed in this goal? Well ... that remains to be seen. But given Cho's story of the three clans, the tale that pointed out that both Wildhammer and Bronzebeard were being perhaps unnecessarily paranoid, it looks like the dwarves might finally be moving in a direction of actual unity. Meanwhile, the scenario itself is actually pretty fun, and presents a bit of a challenge without being impossible.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 5.3 content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

The Horde rebellion, loyalty, and leadership

imposting garrosh
Loyalty, and its limits, are pretty big underlying themes in WoW's current story arc. As of patch 5.1, the WoW poster child for complex loyalties and their consequences is Aethas Sunreaver. Aethas has a divided heart. He is a blood elf (and was, once upon a time, a high elf) and as such, he is loyal to Quel'Thalas. But he is also a citizen of Dalaran, it's his adopted homeland, and he also wishes to be loyal to Dalaran. These are loyalties he has tried to juggle for three expansions now, and they finally, inevitably, came to a head. Aethas' failure in patch 5.1 lies in either his own arrogance or naivete, that he couldn't see the truth: in this day and age, in Azeroth, those loyalties were irreconcilable. Once Quel'Thalas had decided to ally with the Horde, a longtime enemy of Dalaran, it was only a matter of time before that political division bore consequences for individuals. Aethas' own refusal to choose is ultimately what led to his choice being forced.

I feel for Aethas, in this sense. I sympathize with his impulse toward reconciliation. Why shouldn't he have tried? History was on his side. Quel'Thalas and Dalaran have, in fact, been traditional allies for quite a long time, much longer than they have been enemies. I don't think his hope was unreasonable, but it did turn out to be impossible. There is just too much bad blood - on many sides - for any sort of truce to exist at this point, and it will likely be a very long time before those wounds are healed enough for bridges to be rebuilt. Sometimes compromise just isn't an option.

Fair warning: there are minor spoilers for patch 5.3 below the cut.

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

Updated! Spoiler Alert: Patch 5.3 Datamined sound files

Spoiler Alert Patch 53 Datamined sound files
Spoiler Alert! Beyond the break are several YouTube video embeds which contain considerable spoilers for the latter half of this expansion, as well as, potentially, for the next one.

Our friends over at Adriacraft have been at it again, digging around in the latest patch 5.3 PTR files. There's audio from several key characters in the game (including a great deal of Wrathion), revealing what could well be coming our way. Of course, take this with a hefty pinch of salt. This is datamined information and should be treated as such, so don't take it as confirmation of anything.

As ever, spoilers lurk after the break. Do not hit the break unless you are happy to hear spoilers for upcoming content. Do not read the comments unless you are happy to read people talking about spoilers. Fair warning.

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Filed under: News items, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Marshal Reginald Windsor and the Great Masquerade


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'm taking a trip back into the past this week. I was discussing the history of the game with a friend and we got to talking about Blackrock Depths, about how the instance felt like an ancient city in many respects. Some of them were good, and some of them were bad. And then we got to discussing the Onyxia attunement chain. We realized that for many players, this quest and the lore behind it was completely lost. Even the main players were no longer to be found.

So I've decided to take this week and talk about Marshal Reginald Windsor, who so bravely (and nearly nakedly) hurled himself into trash packs with the fervor and intensity of a raging lion. A raging lion who would aggro every trash pack well before you were ready for them, and get his crazy behind stabbed to death if you didn't get over there and pull them off of him, only to do it again immediately after. A brave, bold, absolutely fearless man who made that quest sheer torture until you outgeared the heck out of it. I admit, it was actually kind of fun to come back in BWL/AQ gear and stomp a new mudhole in some Dark Irons.

So who was this brave and dangerous knight? Who was Marshal Reginald Windsor, and how did he end the Great Masquerade and save Stormwind from the Black Dragonflight's wicked broodmother herself?

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

War is All Hell: The use of moral ambiguity in Warcraft

There's a long-standing rumor that Winston Churchill allowed the bombing of Coventry, even though he could have prevented it via intelligence gathered by cracking German war codes, in order to preserve the advantage of having cracked those codes. Is it true? I have no idea. More important for our discussion, however, is the idea of that decision. Imagine a leader having to decide to sacrifice civilians in order to preserve an advantage that might well win the entire conflict. It's often called the brutal algebra of warfare - you lose 10 million here, so that 20 million will live over there. You send a company off to die so that a regiment can survive and accomplish its mission. One of the great horrors of war is not just that people die, but that other people have to countenance their deaths.

One of my biggest problems with the Alliance/Horde conflict is that so far, it hasn't really demonstrated this idea. We've gotten to see the consequences of war - the survivors crying out for vengeance, settlements and towns destroyed, cities bombed, even the ruthless pragmatism of a leader willing to find and use any weapon he can to destroy his enemies. But while Garrosh Hellscream has played the role of relentless aggressor to the hilt, his opposite number hasn't shown how far he's willing to go. Varian Wrynn's participation in the 'A Little Patience' scenario shows that he's a more measured and contemplative leader than he once was, but we've yet to see just how extreme the measures he's willing to countenance are. So far, the only time the Alliance was willing to make morally questionable choices to win was in Dalaran, actions that were clearly the work of Jaina Proudmoore and Vereesa Windrunner. However you personally found those actions, it can't be denied that they not only advanced the story but showed a new side to Alliance leadership.

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

Know Your Lore: The lore so far -- leading into patch 5.2

Know Your Lore The lore so far  leading into patch 52 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.

Patch 5.2 is almost here, bringing new stories and development to Mists of Pandaria. The story presentation in Mists so far has been a vast, vast improvement on the convoluted storylines in Cataclysm. While Cataclysm left many players wondering what, exactly, was going on, Mists has been by and large a seamless storytelling experience integrated into questing, raids, dungeons, scenarios and daily quests.

But not everyone participates in everything. Sometimes all you want to do is raid or PvP -- but you want to know the story, too. If you've been looking for details on lore you may have missed, lore that is important as we move to patch 5.2, we've got you covered. Don't worry, there are no patch 5.2 spoilers in here. But there are plenty for everything that's happened in 5.0 and 5.1, so reader beware.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The divided Alliance command structure

Know Your Lore The divided Alliance command structure
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 talked last week about Garrosh Hellscream as a tactician and strategist. This week, we're going to talk about his opposite numbers. Unlike Garrosh, Varian has become the Alliance's supreme military commander more by default than acclimation or appointment. The Horde started as a military organization, and its chief executive is named 'Warchief', so the job of commanding the Horde's military forces naturally comes along with it.

The Alliance technically doesn't have any sort of chief executive figure. Varian Wrynn is King of Stormwind, not the Alliance as a whole. While Stormwind's military forms the backbone of the Alliance's military forces, it's fair to say that Varian has become de facto head of the entire Alliance military less out of a desire from anyone to see him in that role and more out of reluctance from anyone else to step forward and attempt it.

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

Know Your Lore: The evolution of Varian Wrynn

Know Your Lore The evolution of Varian 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.

We can't really take a good look at Garrosh Hellscream without taking a look at his Alliance counterpart, King Varian Wrynn. Varian is an enigma in his own right, although for different reasons than Garrosh. Where Garrosh was a character that was introduced and shown in every aspect in the game itself, Varian is notable for being ... absent. He wasn't there for vanilla WoW. He wasn't there for Burning Crusade. Varian didn't make his first appearance in game until the launch event for Wrath of the Lich King, and exploded onto the scene with an attitude that threw a lot of players off.

Where Garrosh saw all of his development play out in-game, even the odd disconnected moments, Varian saw his play out through a series of comics and novels. Most of his history is a big question mark to many players. While not quite as big an unknown as Lor'themar Theron, people still wonder -- who is this guy? Where did he come from, and why was he so angry when he returned? And perhaps most importantly -- where did he turn from angry leader in the Ulduar cinematic to the far more patient leader we're seeing in Mists?

Oddly enough, his story and Garrosh's mirror each other far more than you'd think.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Talking patch 5.1 with Dave Kosak & Cory Stockton

Patch 51 interview with Dave Kosak and Cory Stockton
Patch 5.1 introduced a lot of new content, and a lot of new lore -- and who better to explain it all than Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton, and Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak? We sat down with both, along with Community Manager Zarhym to talk about some of the new features found in patch 5.1. Along with questions about the Brawler's Guild, both Kosak and Stockton addressed scenarios, daily quests, tweaking old content, that pesky matter of player housing, and what's to come in patch 5.2.

Patch 5.1 was an incredibly fast patch. Is this going to be a trend with Mists?

Cory Stockton: Yeah, for sure -- this has been our goal for a long time. We can't promise that we're going to have the exact same amount of content in the exact same amount of time, but it's definitely our intention to deliver patches in a time frame similar to this with a similar or larger amount of content. It just all comes down to each individual patch and the details of what we can do, but it's definitely our goal.

Dave Kosak: We'll alternate between patches that have raid content and patches that don't have raid content as sort of required by what players are doing in the game and try and space it out. But our objective has always been faster content delivery, and we're hoping that players are seeing that we're trying to live up to that.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

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