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Know Your Lore: Velen, the Prophet

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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.

"I failed long ago to turn my brothers from their course. And creation has paid the price."

How must it feel to be ageless? To watch as millennia tick by, each century the span of a breath and gone in an instant? To the draenei, the lives of humans must seem incredibly short-lived. To the Prophet Velen, who is at least 25,000 years old, we must seem like motes of dust, winking in and out of existence so quickly that we can scarcely be recognized as entities before we cease to exist. Velen has led the draenei through terror and triumph, from world to world, always gently spreading the benevolent message of the Light to any who wish to hear.

Yet for a being of such grace, purity and peace, Velen is also a creature of unfathomable sorrow. For Velen has been granted the gift of Sight, and with the gift he can see the infinite paths of futures that may not be, of worlds born and fallen in the blink of an eye. And despite that gift, Velen cannot prevent what is yet to pass. He cannot prevent that which has gone before, and will come again. And he could not prevent the path his friends chose, nor could he persuade them their new ally was in fact a monster so horrific that his hellish grasp would wreak havoc on immeasurable worlds.

For one that treasures life in the way only the Light can teach, it is a heavy burden to bear.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The naaru are a menace that must be destroyed

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.
A soothing light fills you as you approach the naaru. Slow musical chimes echo within your mind and though a word is not uttered, you feel an assurance of safety.

They glimmer with the purity of the Light, and their very presence fills one with a warm, calm feeling of inner peace. They also teach the ways of the Light -- the draenei would not be paladins were it not for these mysterious creature's intervention. In fact, the benevolent naaru came to Velen in a vision when his world was at its darkest hour, offering him hope, salvation, escape ... and the knowledge that there was a far larger battle out there, one that had yet to come to pass.

Kil'jaeden and Archimonde eagerly agreed to follow and serve Sargeras, becoming the highest-ranked members of the Burning Legion. As for Velen, he took the worried, the lost, the concerned draenei with him and fled, pledging his servitude to the naaru and their righteous cause. Two causes, one outwardly and easily identifiable as evil -- and the other, far more sinister and wicked than anything the Burning Legion could ever hope to achieve.

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. These speculations are merely theories and should not be taken as fact or official lore.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Winners and losers of Cataclysm

Forum poster Breccia put a lot of thought into his list of the top 10 winners and top 10 losers of Cataclysm. I don't agree with all of his choices, but I definitely agree with what he has to say about Neptulon being one of the losers -- we need a resolution of that storyline and soon. It got me thinking about who I'd consider the winners and losers of this expansion. The status quo got a pretty serious shake-up in Cataclysm, and a lot of fortunes were changed for good or ill.

Personally, I really think the worgen took it on the chin this expansion. Not only is the female model lacking (in my opinion) compared to the original preview (that semi-permanent snarly and atrophied muzzle needs to be redesigned badly), but worgen players got to see their cool storyline concluded Horde-side while they were traipsing around in the night elf starting zones. Even today, most of Gilneas is a ghost zone. I love the worgen, and I really hope we get to see them get more involved in Mists.

As for winners, I'd definitely put Velen up there as a stealth winner. While the draenei still haven't been as active as I'd like, the quest in the Swamp of Sorrows where Velen appears is a huge lore goldmine for the future. Not only does Velen spell out the true nature of the conflict at hand, he sets the stage for a war so vast and terrible it makes all previous struggles on Azeroth pale to insignificance. He also flat out corrects the idea that the Light hates the broken, showing that it's the draenei themselves who have a touch of bigotry in their souls to conquer.

I could go on all day, but it's more interesting to see what you think. Winners and losers of this expansion? What are your choices?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore, TFH edition: The true battle between Light and Darkness

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.
Cataclysm is an expansion about the struggle to stop the end of the world and the struggle between Horde and Alliance. But in the 1-to-60 zone revamps, there are fascinating little bits of lore to be discovered. Most of these involve the Alliance/Horde conflict, but every now and again, you'll find a quest chain that leaves more questions than answers, more mystery than resolution.

One of these chains begins for Alliance players in the Swamp of Sorrows, and it seems to be harmless enough. A Broken draenei named Magtoor is on his deathbed, and Anchorite Avuun is desperately looking for a cure. In Magtoor's final moments, Prophet Velen appears and returns Magtoor to the embrace of the Light with a little speech, including the quote above. The quest chain is fairly straightforward ... until we start picking at the potential meanings of that phrase.

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. 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

Wouldn't this be cool? Another draenei ship

My good friend Matthew Rossi's Wouldn't this be cool? post took hold in my brain at just the right moment in time to spark my own crazy idea. Wouldn't it be cool if there were another draenei ship out there, lost to the stars, that Velen somehow found a way to rendezvous with? The draenei version of the Battlestar Pegasus could be out there, floating in the dark, those inside not knowing of the continued threat of the Burning Legion or Velen's flight from Draenor and triumphs on Azeroth.

Let's face it: After The Burning Crusade, the draenei were shunted off into a corner and never heard from again. We saw a naaru in Wrath, and there were those draenei in Borean Tundra being refused by the Alliance military, but that was it. The draenei were even less present in Cataclysm, with their corrupted Broken brethren actually getting the lion's share of the shaman roles in the most recent expansion. Velen has been reduced to a punch line.

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Filed under: 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: Lady Liadrin

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.

There have been many paladins in the lands of Azeroth. Some hail from other worlds, such as the Vindicators of the Draenei. Still others are newly come to their powers, such as the Sunwalkers of the Shu'Halo. Ultimately, to be a paladin is to trust in a greater power than yourself to be your sword, shield and balm against the forces that threaten all you hold dear.

Interestingly, the Horde has not one but two unique paladin orders formed in recent years. Of these two, the Blood Knights of the Sin'dorei are interesting not only for the means of their foundation, but also the evolution they have gone through. This evolution is mirrored by that of their Matriarch, Liadrin. A former priest who survived the Scourge onslaught on Quel'thalas and the destruction of the original Sunwell, she lost her faith in the Light and took up the power of a Blood Knight in order to show her spite and derision for the magical force that did nothing to save her city and her people. Yet in time, Liadrin would learn that things were not as they seemed, turning against the Blood Prince Kael'thas himself for the sake of her people.

Liadrin, the first Blood Knight, became in truth as well in power a paladin. All she had to do was suffer the destruction of everything she thought she knew.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore Q&A-palooza

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.

Warcraft has a huge story behind it that stretches back over three expansions and an original MMO, three RTS games, and expansions to those RTS games. It covers novels, comics, manga, short stories, and even books, quests, and items currently found in World of Warcraft. The sheer amount of information out there can be a dizzying, massive pile of stuff to keep track of for the average player. Though Cataclysm's done pretty well with incorporating story and lore into gameplay, there are still tons of question out there left to be answered. Cataclysm doesn't cover everything.

That said, this week I decided to mix it up a bit and answer some lore questions from previous posts. To mix it up even more, I also put a call out on Twitter for everyone's burning lore questions. I won't be doing these too terribly often, but if you've got a question that isn't answered in this post, feel free to leave a comment and I'll come back here next time I decide to do a Q&A. Let's get started, shall we?

@ericisgame from Twitter asked:

How many Old Gods are there currently and how many do you think will be eventually revealed?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Sargeras and speculation on the next expansion

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.

Planes and planets, demons and mortals -- we've covered the gamut of the Warcraft universe in the past few weeks, including rampant speculation. With BlizzCon 2011 not too far away, people are already talking about what may or may not be announced, including whether or not we'll see news about the next Warcraft expansion and what that expansion could be.

Beyond all of that, however, we have the matter of identifying who exactly the real bad guy of this expansion is. Is it Deathwing? Is it the Old Gods? We don't know, and we won't know until we're closer to the expansion's end and dealing with Deathwing personally -- but whether Deathwing will be the final boss of this expansion is something that's still up in the air. Matthew Rossi wrote an interesting article last week questioning whether Cataclysm has too much potential content, and it's an excellent question. Given all we've seen of the expansion so far and the sheer amount of plot threads that have yet to be addressed, it makes one wonder exactly what else will be revealed in the months to come.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The sources of magic, 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.

What are the kinds of magic we see in the Warcraft setting?

Well, for starters, there's the magic performed by practitioners of the Holy Light, most priests and paladins. This magic comes from the same source as the power the naaru draw from and seems inherent in all living things. Then there's the somehow related shadow magics of shadow priests, which the naaru also tap into during their life cycle. Warlocks also seem capable of touching upon this shadowy magical energy, as do necromancers to varying degrees. This magic seems to derive from a clash of cosmic forces of light and darkness.

However, these are hardly the only forces of magic in the cosmos of the Warcraft setting. Mages tap into the magic that suffuses the material plane, which is generally known as arcane magic and which is the power the original Well of Eternity drew from the Great Dark Beyond. Arcane magic is the closest we get to morally neutral in the setting, but it does pretty much whatever the person using it can figure out a spell to make it do. This makes it incredibly seductive, and those who learn it often become obsessed with it. Its lure is so strong, in fact, that it even draws the attention of the demons of the Burning Legion. And the Legion is hardly without magic of its own.

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

Know Your Lore Tinfoil Hat Edition: Mystery of the naaru


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.

Oh yes, we're going here again. Since the launch of The Burning Crusade, one of the most enigmatic mysteries of Warcraft lore has been the naaru, a race of creatures seemingly formed of pure energy that equates to what we in Azeroth know as the Light. We've discussed the naaru before in another Tinfoil Hat edition of Know Your Lore surrounding Elune and the history of the Light on Azeroth. However, there's been very little to suggest where these creatures come from or what their influence on the denizens of Azeroth ultimately means.

In last week's Know Your Lore, we theorized that Azeroth isn't just some simple planet that's been organized by the Titans. Instead, it may be that Azeroth is a weapon of some sort, quietly engineered by the Titans in the midst of their regular crusade of world organization in order to combat and perhaps, one day, defeat Sargeras. But where do the naaru, who led the draenei to Draenor and away from the influence of the Burning Legion, fit in? Why do the naaru seek to eliminate the Burning Legion? Are they in league with the Titans or simply working along the same lines as our creators?

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 conclusions are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: /wave

My buddy Garrosh here just got control of the Horde while Thrall goes to Nagrand to commune with the elements. He might be gone for a while, so I'm cozying up to the man in charge. I hear the Alliance had a little meeting too, what with all those crazy tablets from Ulduar that Brann found and whatnot. I bet nothing bad can happen due to untested and unknown magical tablets. It's cool, though, since Velen's already got a master plan: Run away. Again. Varian, smack some sense into his giant forehead. Stand and fight!

PPharand asked:


Here's a question for the Queue:

Does receiving the achievement Glory of the Ulduar Raider and the 310 percent drake mount automatically teach us the master 310 percent riding skill even after the 4.0.1 patch?

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: The Prophet Velen, the light and the darkness


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.

There will be spoilers for Cataclysm in this post.

The Prophet Velen plays a long game. He thinks ahead and considers not only the past and the present but the future, which befits one who has lived for over 25,000 years and can see into the future (however malleable that future might become). To the Prophet, racial grudges, territorial acquisition, even revenge for injuries done to his people -- none of it matters. Even the great Cataclysm is unimportant. Because Velen has seen that all the battles we've fought are merely harbingers and the greatest conflict in the universe is approaching. And every son and daughter of the Light, no matter how tenuous his or her connection, no matter what forces he or she has chosen to consort with (be they divine, elemental, arcane or even fel), will have to make a choice and pick a side.

The final battle approaches. The world of Azeroth has been chosen. Good versus evil, light against darkness, life opposing death. What side will you choose?

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

Know Your Lore: The Draenei

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 love the draenei. Ever since their incorporation into World of Warcraft I've been fond of our indigo skinned (well, colors range from a light whitish-blue to an almost black), tentacle bearded, cloven hooved dimension exile friends. Yes, I'm aware that Chris Metzen had to take some heat for having contradicted his own backstory (and isn't it fascinating how the guy who wrote the original story can still be lambasted for having 'gotten it wrong'? Truly, fandom is wondrous strange.) but to my eyes, having a chance to play one of the draenei is worth all the handwaving. Their history as it has been incorporated into the game is one that I find equal parts tragic, epic and inspiring. Not many races in the universe can be said to have survived the personal attentions of Kil'jaeden the Deceiver for tens of thousands of years. Even now, after the near total genocide of the orcish Horde, the draenei endure.

They have a slight problem with steering Naaru dimensional ships, though. They've crashed two, by my current count, one becoming the mountain Oshu'gun (ironically one of the orcs most sacred sites before they fell to darkness and corruption is a crashed Naaru vessel) and the most recent being the Exodar section of the Naaru fortress seized by Kael'Thas Sunstrider and renamed Tempest Keep.

So who are the draenei? Well, for that we need to go back more than 25,000 years. Luckily, this talking dog and small child happen to have a wayback machine and no means to prevent me from stealing it from them. Hopefully Nozdormu doesn't find out.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

World of Warcraft 5th Anniversary mosaic finally complete

It looks like the fans followed through, after all, and we finally get to see the Battlecry mosaic much sooner than I'd previously thought. The completed mosaic reveals a truly awesome piece of art by Wei Wang depicting all the current faction leaders. By awesome I mean truly mind-blowing, and Blizzard has high resolution versions of both the mosaic and the actual painting available for download in different versions. The full mosaic, for example, can be viewed in all its 14400 x 6150 pixel glory. Arguably the best version is the dual screen wallpaper which shows the most detail, although there are also much smaller versions for mobile phones.

The Battlecry mosaic is comprised of 20,000 player-submitted pictures called out by Blizzard as part of the World of Warcraft 5th Anniversary celebration. Each section of the multi-part mosaic unlocked various content over the past few months, which included sneak peeks at conceptual art and even a piece of the game's musical score. The final artwork is arguably the best and coolest rendition of all the faction leaders so far, including a dual-wielding Magni Bronzebeard in armor that's significantly different from what he's wearing in-game, which may or may not hint at a possible model change come Cataclysm. Congratulations to all the fans who contributed to the mosaic!

Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

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