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Posts with tag varian-wrynn

Review of Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden

WoW Insider reviews Christie Golden's novel, Tides of War
Oh, Jaina. How far you've come.

Blizzard continues its trend of books that tie into World of Warcraft with its latest novel, Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War. This book takes place after the events in Cataclysm and after the last cinematic of the Dragon Soul raid. Deathwing is well and truly dead, and the world is a better place for it -- but for how long? Given the explosive nature of the Alliance/Horde conflict in Cataclysm, it's readily apparent that we're not about to go striding into the sunset, holding hands and singing songs of peace and harmony.

Tides of War revolves around Jaina Proudmoore and the events at Theramore Isle, which we'll see in game when patch 5.0.4 hits live servers. Jaina's been noticeably absent during Cataclysm; while we see Theramore forces out and about in the world, Jaina herself remains firmly ensconced in her tower abode on Theramore Isle. But there's a change on the winds, one that's been hinted at ever since the novel The Shattering was released. In The Shattering, Jaina was told that eventually, some day, she was going to have to choose a side. In Tides of War, she makes that choice in a spectacularly dramatic fashion.

But there's far more to this novel than just Jaina Proudmoore.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Getting into the lore of Mists

Know Your Lore Getting into the lore of Mists 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.

Well, this has certainly been a week, hasn't it? Mists of Pandaria will officially be out and in your hands on Sept. 25. In the tidbits I've discussed here and there regarding Mists of Pandaria, I've pointed out time and time again that the lore we will see with this expansion will all be new. Does it tie into old lore and events that have been set up in prior expansions? Absolutely. Will we be dealing with villains from days of old? ... Not so much. This isn't something to be annoyed about; it's something that we should embrace. The continuation of a story is always a good thing. For a story as massive as Warcraft's, it's about time we had a shot of new lore added into the mix.

The best part about the lore in Mists is that because it's all so very new, everyone will be on roughly the same page headed into the expansion. For players who know the lore inside and out, this will all be new material to learn. For new players just looking to get into the lore, you'll be on the same page -- looking at brand new material and figuring it all out. There are a few story threads that have been picked up, but by and large, everything on Pandaria originated on Pandaria.

So how do you get started processing all that stuff? Let's take a look, minus the spoilers. Sorry, guys -- you will eventually get more Pandaria info than you can shake a stick at, but it's going to be September before I start throwing it at you with unbridled glee.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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

Know Your Lore: King Varian Wrynn, or: How I learned to love the jerk

Know Your Lore King Varian Wrynn, or how I learned to love the jerk 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.

King Varian Wrynn is a jerk. He's angry, he's rude, he's deliberately inflammatory. Despite the moments of kindness we've seen from Varian, they're just small moments. Yes, he let Saurfang retrieve the body of his son for Alliance players in Icecrown Citadel to witness. But he still holds a deep and unmitigated hatred for the Horde and everyone in it, including Thrall. He will quite happily talk about scouring the Undercity and purging it of all Forsaken, and he seems to be of the opinion that the only good orc for the most part is a dead one.

But his attitude issues aren't limited to the Horde. He is endlessly frustrated and angry with Jaina Proudmoore and her insistence on diplomatic attempts. He was brusque, rude, and outright against letting the worgen join the Alliance when they were desperate for help. His anger even extends to his son Anduin Wrynn, who has done nothing to outright offend his father other than following the path of a priest rather than a warrior. Varian has even gone so far as to hurt his son, nearly breaking Anduin's arm in an attempt to force him to stay put and keep him from leaving to study with the Prophet Velen.

And yet, there is something so inherently fascinating about Varian Wrynn that I cannot tear my eyes away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: State of the Alliance, 2012

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 has never been harder to be Alliance. Throughout the years of war brought about by the orcish invasion of Azeroth, the Alliance has seen its ups and downs. During that first assault, Stormwind was destroyed, its king assassinated. However, the direct result of this was an Alliance of kingdoms that paved the way for the Alliance as we know it today -- a smart, level-headed group of races focused on survival. The survival of each race individually, and the survival of the world as we know it. A noble cause, and the Alliance is well-known for its nobility.

Yet despite bouncing back from that original, horrific assault, the Alliance seems to be in a downward spiral in the days of Cataclysm, one which is spinning horrifically out of control. And despite the best efforts of Alliance leaders, trying to staunch the flow of death and despair is becoming increasingly more difficult. This has much to do with the effects of the Shattering, and even more to do with those enemies of old; the orcs and their united allies in the Horde. Even though the Alliance has come back before, the question of whether or not they can do it again is a heavy one that weighs on the minds of all. It has never been so hard to be Alliance, it has never been this dark.

Or so popular opinion states.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: Are there some things you wish weren't canon?

Image
I liked the Warcraft comics, for the most part. Keep in mind that I say this as someone with 18 boxes of various DC and independently published comics in my closet. That said, I like comic books -- superheroes are pretty awesome. Superhero comics generally have an in-your-face quality to them, the characters are larger than life, and the stories are ridiculously complicated. In a way, it's kinda like a soap opera, only on paper with less weeping and more kicking butt. So the Warcraft comics fit quite nicely into that niche of superhero comic, in my opinion. The stories were pretty epic, there was always something going on, and the characters were larger than life.

But oh, how I wish Med'an did not exist in official canon. It's one thing to have an overpowered character in a comic book introduced for some sort of overarching epic tale; it's another thing altogether to try and shoehorn that character into a franchise full of characters that have a small spark of reality to them. Don't get me wrong -- there were plenty of things I loved about the comics series that were taken into canon. The split-personality Varian was a really intriguing element that has been pushed into what ultimately I see as a really unique way of developing his character beyond random king #3 or #4.

Med'an, on the other hand, has no redeeming emotional aspect; he's just a flat-out superhero. He doesn't appear to have any weaknesses whatsoever, and his introduction threw a wrench into Garona's character that I didn't particularly care for, not to mention Medivh's. His arrival seemed like it was solely for the purpose of telling a good superhero comic story, with no real root in Warcraft. And the fact that he's the hybrid of three races all from different planets is just a little too over the top from the standpoint of simple biology.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore: The curious dissonance of Alliance leveling

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.

Back when I was writing up the five must-do Horde zones and five must-do Alliance zones articles, I decided to play through those zones again just for experience's sake. In beta and the early days of Cataclysm, I spent a lot of time going through the Alliance 1-to-60 leveling zones and experiencing the content. I remember being really pleased with how well the zones were laid out and how nice it was to see actual story instead of just, "I'd like six pig heads; go get them from the field next door." After that experience, I played through them on Horde side and was terribly pleased to see they were just as well done on the other side of the faction fence.

I didn't really think about it afterwards, and it wasn't until I decided to do these two articles that I took it upon myself to level through these zones again. And this time ... something had changed, a little. Perhaps it was because it had been so long since I'd played through the Alliance zones. Perhaps it was because I had just finished experiencing the Horde zones when I went back to Alliance. But there was something very, very different about the experience.

While leveling as Horde, I was having all kinds of lighthearted fun mixed with bits of serious story. While leveling as Alliance, I felt like there was an oppressive weight bearing down on me at all times, and that weight was never really removed. Odd, that.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Watch the Alliance intro to Pandaria

You've seen Garrosh get mad at a goblin and toss him around the throne room. Now, watch as Varian Wrynn shouts about the missing White Pawn. Join the elite SI:7 team on a mission to rescue priority target White Pawn. Lost in uncharted waters, you and SI:7 take to the skies on the important mission.

The Alliance introduction is metered and well played out. I like the focus back on the Horde and Alliance conflict -- it feels like an old friend you haven't seen in a long time but can quickly pick up the conversation with again. Suffice to say, I'm liking this brand of cinematic storytelling over the Uldum type any day.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The hour of the king

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 King of Stormwind wears the crown on a troubled brow. He inherited the mantle as a child, not through a peaceful succession but through bloody violence and the destruction of his home. He wore it in exile and only came home with the death of the man who saved him and carried him away from the sight of his entire world burned to the ground. His entire life has been shaped by violent loss, by tragedy and death -- his mother dead before he even knew her, his father murdered and butchered in front of him, his replacement fathers cut down, his wife taken from him in a moment's passing by an errant rock thrown from a mob.

His early rule was most notable by his lack of desire to actually do much rulership, busying himself by riding the land in search of his father's killer or drifting though a haze of loss after his wife's death, a haze seized upon and manipulated by someone who was supposed to be a close advisor. The circumstances of his disappearance from the throne and his return have been discussed in detail. For now, all we need to do is accept that they did little to encourage him to view the throne as anything but a responsibility to be maintained in the face of constant peril.

Following the Northrend campaign and its heavy cost both to King Varian and the kingdom as a whole (Bolvar's death, as well as the many deaths at the Wrathgate; the invasion of Undercity and the destruction of Putress; Horde troops ambushing Alliance forces engaged with the Scourge; the astonishing cost in lives and resources), it would have been difficult for either the King or the kingdom to quickly recover. The eruption of Deathwing and the Cataclysm he caused did not allow the luxury of time. Reeling from one blow, they suffered another and another.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Worgen, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm for Dummies, epilogue

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 read Act I and Act II of Cataclysm for Dummies, you should have a pretty basic understanding of what happened during Cataclysm, why Deathwing was a threat that needed to be addressed, and what we've been doing in all of those zones, 5-man dungeons, and raids. There was a purpose to every raid that came out with Cataclysm, but that purpose isn't blatantly clear unless you're paying really close attention as you're leveling through the zones. People who love following the lore do that automatically, which is why these guides aren't for them.

However, you might want to know what all of this means or have some questions about the stuff that wasn't really resolved in Cataclysm. Or you may want to know what's in store in Mists of Pandaria and why you should be interested in what's coming next. This epilogue is going to go over a few simple end-of-Cataclysm points that should be of interest to those wanting to know what's next or still have some questions about Cataclysm's story.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 2

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 development of lore in WoW has ramped up over the years. While vanilla saw a few lore developments, players could still wander the lands of Azeroth with nary a clue as to why they were there, skipping quest text altogether in favor of simply getting the job done. The Burning Crusade saw more of these lore-related quests introduced, and Wrath pushed the concept even further. But Cataclysm's taken lore and gameplay to a new level of interactivity.

Last week, in segments #10 through #8, we talked about a few of those innovations in lore development, include the emphasis on focused, directed storytelling over the aimless wandering days of vanilla WoW and the trend of releasing free-to-read short stories on the official website. Both of these have their ups and downs, but the short stories weren't the only focus of Blizzard's writing department.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 1

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Since Rossi is taking a look at the top lore reveals of Cataclysm, I decided to jump in hand-in-hand with that. A little over a year and a half ago, I addressed some of the storytelling methods of Wrath -- what worked, what didn't work. It wasn't a look at specific lore moments as much as a look at how Blizzard was handling lore as a whole. Compared to the early days of WoW, Wrath made some giant strides forward in how we as players interacted and mingled with the various storylines of the expansion.

Much like Wrath, Cataclysm observed all that had come before, took a good look at all of it, and promptly made some giant strides of its own. What we've gotten in the past year has been nothing short of astonishing in terms of creating a meld of gameplay and lore that draws the player in and keeps them there ... to a point. After all, nothing's perfect in this world, and there are always things that could be tweaked and improved upon. Let's take a look at the top 10 lore developments of 2011 -- not the story we've seen in the foreground, but all those wonderful mechanics behind it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Anduin Llane Wrynn, Prince of Stormwind

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.

He is quiet, kind, and likely more keenly aware of the troubles of the world than most. He is drawn to the Light in a profound way, much as his father would like to dismiss it. Unlike his father, he isn't interested in the rigors of war and the brutal realities of fighting. He's already been a leader, though his reign was as a figurehead. He's suffered far more in his young life than most. His mother died when he was merely a baby, and his father disappeared and returned a man who was utterly changed by circumstances beyond his control.

He is the heir to Stormwind's throne, to a kingdom that is tattered at the edges and trying desperately to hold itself together. While the rest of the world seems to revel in the chaos brought about by Deathwing's return, eager for the battle between Alliance and Horde to rear its head, he quietly follows the path of peace, looking to the future. It's a future that Prince Anduin Llane Wrynn may very well have to put back together again, perhaps sooner rather than later.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Aiding the Alliance: The idle Varian Wrynn

I'll admit up front, I'm one of those players who has cried Horde favoritism! from time to time when it comes to the World of Warcraft. I discuss the topic with both the WoW Insider staffers and the WoW community at large frequently. Everybody's thoughts on the subject are a little different, but it always seems to come back to faction leaders and the point of contention isn't always Thrall's rise to greatness.

The Alliance faction leaders are simply ... boring. They don't do anything. They are tight springs of potential that are never given the opportunity to leap forth and act. What I've decided to do today is begin a series wherein I lay out what I as an Alliance player feel is lacking in my faction's heroes. There will be no faction fairness here, only what your average Alliance player sees, perceives and experiences and how I feel that can be improved.

Today we look at Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, 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

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