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Posts with tag velen

How the Draenei make WoW a better place

How the Draenei make WoW a better place

The light wishes suffering on none, my child. But it does not reign unopposed in our realm
- The Prophet Velen


It's no secret that I dig the draenei. They're my favorite race in the game (my second favorite are tauren, with worgen in third) and in all honesty for a long time, I never really knew why aside from my having really loved the draenei starting zone when I first played through it during the Burning Crusade beta. I really enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie I got from the various surviving crew members, all pulling together to survive, and as the history of the long displaced race unfolded and linked up to their appearance in Warcraft III and the broken ones I'd already met back in my vanilla days running through Swamp of Sorrows, I was hooked.

I liked that they were in turns noble yet murderous - I've never forgotten that it was Velen, supposedly kindly and peace loving Prophet, who ordered my draenei to go find the blood elves and their eredar allies on Bloodmyst and eradicate them. Kill them all, Velen said to me, and I did it. They even threw a party for me afterwards. I liked that for all our obvious compassion, we still were deeply flawed - there was clear racism and disquiet aimed at the Broken, whose mutated condition filled some of our people with disgust - you could see it in how we shoved them into the darkest corners of the crashed Exodar and forced them to toil out of sight. The draenei were many things - linked to the man'ari eredar through a common origin, forever exiled from their home, hunted by their former kin - but their long relationship with the Naaru and the Holy Light hadn't made plaster saints out of the draenei. I liked their having survived the orc genocide on Draenor has hardened, but not warped them.

And to be honest, I just really liked playing in one. I like how they move, how they run, how they look in plate or mail (most of my draenei are warriors or shaman, with one paladin who doesn't get out much), how their racial Gift of the Naaru makes a sigil float over their heads, their combat animations (especially how they use staves or polearms) - but it wasn't until recently that I really thought for a while about why, exactly, I still hold such a fondness for the draenei.

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

The Velen Problem: Why the draenei need dissent

The Velen Problem Why the draenei need dissent
I've been thinking about this one for a while. The character of Velen is a useful one for World of Warcraft as a whole as well as being one of my favorites in the game -- he stands for a rationally enlighten position which seeks to unite the Horde and Alliance in order to hold off the greater threat of the Burning Legion. In that regard, he's WoW's Medivh from Warcraft III. His visions of the future and powerful understanding of the Holy Light give him an unassailable moral authority - it's difficult for any allied faction leader to stand directly against Velen's position, when he makes it known. Luckily for the narrative, Velen is often distracted with seeking visions of the war with the Legion and how to defeat them and he can't always stand against the Horde/Alliance conflict... either that, or he foresees that it will play out in a way that's beneficial to his goals.

But it is this very role as unassailable moral compass that makes Velen a problem in terms of integrating the draenei into World of Warcraft and its storyline.

I'll explain using some examples. The current Battlefield Barrens weekly quest, for instance, is just the latest sign of Horde/Alliance conflict on Kalimdor. The Horde have expanded into Ashenvale, taken over Azshara, bombed Stonetalon, even made inroads into Darkshore (seemingly, at least) by allying with the local trolls. The night elves are reeling from these attacks. Their new worgen allies are stepping up to aid the Sentinels, going so far as to seek training under Shandris Feathermoon. Yet the draenei, who live on a set of islands just off the coast of Kalimdor, have done nothing.

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

What If: Velen the villain

The other night, while recording the podcast, Sacco came up with a little game that caught our fancy -- he threw out a random lore figure, said "you have ten seconds to detail how you would use this person as the main antagonist for the next expansion" and let myself and Anne have at it. Since it was an enjoyable exercise, and since the next expansion announcement is a few months away, we figure why not and so, here we are now. What are the rules to this game? Well, we're going to stick to lore figures who are alive at the moment (no resurrections of dead figures) and we're going to try and keep them short. Well, short for Anne and myself, anyway.

This inaugural edition will take a look at the most unlikely figure I could come up with for the main antagonist of an entire expansion. So here we go, ladies and gentlemen, with my rampantly untrue, completely made up, based on nothing but my own ideas speculation for what we could see in an expansion around the idea that the main bad guy is none other than the Prophet Velen.

Yes, that Prophet Velen.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore: Of Elune, naaru, and night elves

Know Your Lore Of Elune, naaru, and night elves 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.

Before we begin, I feel I should point out that the screenshot above is one that I created for the purposes of an article I wrote detailing the possible wind-chime origins of everyone's favorite kaldorei deity. It was not real then, and it is no more real now, over two years later. That article pointed out the possible correlations between the goddess Elune, the holy Light, An'she, and what might have been naaru intervention instead of divine, as the night elves would have everyone believe.

And while it connected a lot of dots, it was not true. It was simple theory and speculation. However, recent Ask a Cdev answers have once again brought the question of Elune's origins into play, and player reaction has been less than enthusiastic about the supposed confirmation. Most complain that making Elune a mere naaru is basically homogenizing night elf culture and history, something that plenty of players are apparently really passionate about.

To which I say two words: don't panic.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The long game of the naaru, part 2

Know Your Lore The Long Game of the Naaru, 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.

These posts about the naaru are mainly speculative. I hesitate to use the Tinfoil Hat title, because I'm not postulating that they're secretly evil or anything. But the fact remains, we know very little about the naaru. We don't know where they come from, how long they live, if they can enter their Light/Darkness cycle indefinitely, if they ever die naturally or even if they can be really killed. The only one we've ever defeated in combat ended up part of the Sunwell, and who's to say what he's doing in there now? Is M'uru still alive in the Sunwell, or did his mind die with Entropius? We currently have no way of knowing.

We know that despite what we experienced in The Burning Crusade, for the naaru, entering the void phase of their existence is an exceedingly rare and perilous event, at least according to the Ask CDev threads. It is this unknown quality that fascinates me about the naaru.

As we discussed last week, the Ata'mal Crystal that Velen used to create the barrier of Light and hold off Archimonde and Kil'jaeden's followers was an ancient mystery of his people. We don't really know where it comes from or if the naaru gave it to the ancient eredar or if the eredar constructed it somehow. What we do know is that at some point in the distant past before Sargeras came to Argus, the eredar and the naaru had some form of contact. This implies that the naaru may well predate the Titans. What we do know is this: Somehow, in some way, the eredar and the naaru met, and the Ata'mal Crystal was left in eredar hands until Velen came to call upon it for guidance.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Exodar and the fate of the draenei

Know Your Lore The Exodar
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 spans the universe.

No city in Azeroth can do what the Exodar can. Repaired at last, the Exodar is no mere fortress but rather a satellite of the great Tempest Keep brought to Outland by the naaru. As a result, the Exodar possesses the power to bridge the gulf between worlds, traveling through the Twisting Nether. And after years spent crashed into Azuremyst Isle, the Exodar is fully operational.

But in her turn, the Exodar is more than a vessel. The means of escape for Velen and the draenei who survived the assault of the blood-maddened orc butchery that reduced them to hiding in Zangarmarsh, the Exodar carried them forth after it had been liberated from the blood elves who had invaded Tempest Keep proper. Sabotaged by those same blood elves, servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider, the Exodar's crash landing was yet another travail for the draenei to overcome. But on Azeroth, they found a refuge from the Burning Legion and the will to move forward as members of the Alliance.

It was to the Exodar that Prince Anduin Wrynn of Stormwind came to study the way of the Light under Velen, and in so doing, in time introduce the draenei way of viewing the Light to the Eastern Kingdoms. It was at the Exodar that Velen pledged that the draenei would not leave Azeroth to fend for itself but would stay and defend their new home.

The Exodar spans the universe, right from where it sits today.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, 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: The Burning Legion

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

They burn worlds to ash. They render the verdant uninhabitable. Theirs is not the evil of mad chaos, leaping to corrupt for amusement or decadence. They are the means by which the mad Titan seeks to unmake everything. They are the Burning Legion, and it is their purpose to end existence. Nothing less will satisfy Sargeras.

Yet even within the seemingly monolithic forces of the Legion, there's room for political intrigue of a sort. While Sargeras has seemingly caused his own exile from the seat of power, his former lieutenant Kil'Jaeden now leads the Legion, a position he seemingly aspires to hold indefinitely. And Azeroth is directly in his crosshairs.

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

Know Your Lore: Velen, the Prophet

Image
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

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