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Posts with tag voljin

Know Your Lore: Mists of Pandaria in review

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.

With the introduction of the Warlords of Draenor cinematic, short story Hellscream, and the Lords of War animated shorts, we can pretty much tack an official "The End" on Mists of Pandaria. All tie in material has been or is in the process of being released, and all new and upcoming content seems to be focusing on the expansion ahead. Although Warlords of Draenor won't launch until November, we can pretty much consider Mists of Pandaria over and done with, story-wise.

Which means it's time to do one of my favorite things to do -- head back and review the expansion in its entirety. It's not really fair to review a book based solely on one chapter, after all. Mists of Pandaria might have seemed like a fairly simple concept from the announcement of the expansion, but it actually played out into a reasonably complex story over the course of four content patches. So how does the story of Mists hold up against its predecessors?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The dawn of the 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.

The Horde as a factional entity has without question seen the most push in terms of story development -- but that's not necessarily something that could be considered an advantage when it comes to World of Warcraft. Sure, story is all well and good, and the advancement of plot is something that's always fun to see. But in the case of the Horde, that plot and story has had some of the most tumultuous conflicts we've seen, including full out inter-factional warfare in Mists of Pandaria.

And now we stand at the cusp of new expansion, one that is turning away from the factional conflicts of Azeroth, and instead setting its sights on the distant world of Draenor and the evil schemes of the Iron Horde. Again, the advancement of story is all well and good, here. And given what happened in Mists of Pandaria, perhaps it's for the best that we depart the stormy shores of Durotar and turn our focus elsewhere ... because right now, the Horde is at its weakest. What is the future of the Horde? That's a pretty good question -- one that likely began to plague Warchief Vol'jin the moment we stepped out of Siege.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The trial of Garrosh Hellscream

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.

War Crimes, the latest novel from Christie Golden, released earlier this week. In the book we finally see the trial of Garrosh Hellscream -- former Warchief of the Horde, apprehended during the final moments of the Siege of Orgrimmar. We aren't going to be talking too in-depth about plot points and book spoilers in this column. We'll save that for next week. But we are going to talk about Garrosh Hellscream, the Alliance, the Horde, and the trial itself -- the need for a trial at all.

Because let's face it: Garrosh Hellscream is a murderer. He slew countless victims, both Alliance and Horde. He decimated Theramore. He decided to ally with those that Warchief Thrall had blatantly turned away, and even directed the Horde to attack, during his reign. He didn't so much try and redesign the Horde as he did give it a gut job, tear it down from the inside out, and try to rebuild it even stronger. He's guilty. He's beyond guilty. There isn't really any need to prove what he's done, the evidence is permanently etched into Azeroth -- the crater left where Theramore once stood.

Why on earth would a confirmed killer need a trial?

Please note: The following column has a few minor spoilers for War Crimes. If you're mid-book, or have yet to read it, you might want to come back when you're finished with it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Trolls Ascendant

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 Darkspear Trolls are, as of the end of Mists of Pandaria, the most powerful tribe of trolls in all of Azeroth. Their leader, Vol'jin, sits atop the Horde as its new Warchief, the first non-orc ever to hold that title. In their time with the Horde, the Darkspears have weathered many challenges - the initial travails of their escape from the Sea Witch and the death of Sen'jin to the rise of Garrosh Hellscream and the reclamation of the Echo Isles, and most recently the ultimately successful Darkspear Rebellion that deposed Garrosh.

Once, the Darkspear were the smallest and least respected of all the jungle trolls - cast out of Stranglethorn Vale by the more numerous and aggressive Gurubashi, they came to inhabit the islands of the South Seas, where Thrall and his orcs encountered them. It's amazing to think about how these bedraggled, oppressed trolls managed to become so powerful a force. In part, it must be credited to Vol'jin. Following Garrosh Hellscream's attempt to assassinate the Darkspear chieftain, it was Vol'jin who ultimately united and led the Horde against the warchief.

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

Know Your Lore: Pandaria's mark on Warcraft lore

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 little over two years ago, Mists of Pandaria was officially announced as the next expansion at BlizzCon to the puzzlement of many players. The idea of an expansion built around the pandaren race was a polarizing one -- some people loved the idea, and some were less than enthused. Although the pandaren were included in game lore as early as Warcraft III, there were those that scoffed at the idea of an expansion built around a race of giant talking bears, saying that they had no place in Warcraft at all. A year later, Mists was officially launched, and a little over a year after that, the events of Mists of Pandaria are wrapping up in a suitably dramatic conclusion.

And to the delight of many, myself included, this expansion has been anything but lighthearted and silly. Mists of Pandaria wasn't just a random expansion about giant talking bears, it was a revolution in the way that story and gameplay intertwine. While it may have had its faltering moments -- the inclusion of enough daily quests to make players dizzy among them -- the story took a life of its own, and the tale it told has definitely left its mark on future lore to come. Let's be clear, here: For a continent left cloaked in Mists for thousands of years, Pandaria has managed to work its way into the face of Warcraft lore in a manner that won't be forgotten, and has given us enough material to spur the story of the game for quite some time.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Escape from Orgrimmar

Spoilers for Siege of Orgrimmar in this post. The whole post, pretty much past this line. I wouldn't keep reading if I wanted to avoid those.

Yesterday I wrote a piece I intended as satirical. Besides giving me a big ol' reminder of Poe's Law, I learned the following:
  • What I think is an absolutely ridiculous scenario -- the destruction of Orgrimmar by the Alliance following the Siege -- is not only plausible to some players, it's actually desired by some.
  • Even people who oppose the idea treated it as one that is not ridiculous, or if it is ridiculous, is a real argument made by other players.
  • That is because it is a real argument made by other players. I had managed to miss that. I had read suggestions for a garrison in Orgrimmar, for forcing reparations (the return of seized lands, for example) but I had not actually seen players make an argument for the destruction of Orgrimmar itself.
  • No matter how ridiculous you think your idea is, someone is already surpassing you.
While I don't apologize for writing the piece, I am now clearly aware that it didn't work. The problem becomes that I don't see how it could. What could I possibly have suggested that would be so ludicrous that it would be immediately apparent as farcical? Suggesting that the Alliance make stew meat of the Horde, perhaps?

I'm not writing this post to bemoan my less than deft hand, however. Instead, since I've discovered that some people really think that the game should have a major faction capital city get destroyed and its population scattered across Kalimdor, I've decided to list all the ways that would be a terrible idea for the game as well as the story.

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

Know Your Lore: The future of the 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.

It's been an interesting couple of expansions for the Horde. Cataclysm saw Warchief Thrall step down from the leadership role that players were accustomed to, and appoint Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief in his stead. Mists of Pandaria saw Hellscream take that leadership role to an extreme that resulted in all-out war between Alliance and Horde, with the pandaren and the continent of Pandaria unceremoniously chucked into the middle of it all. Hellscream's reign has been brought to an end in patch 5.4 -- but where does this leave the Horde?

Warchief Hellscream's notorious visions of a new future ended up dividing the Horde, and his caustic treatment of the non-orc races drove a wedge into the faction that ultimately culminated in the events of 5.4. The end of his stint as Warchief brought about a new leader ... but what comes after the dust has settled? Will the Horde recover from the damage done by Hellscream? And what does the future of the Horde hold, now that Hellscream's reign is over?

Please note: There are spoilers for patch 5.4 immediately following the break. If you are avoiding spoiler content for the Siege of Orgrimmar, run away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Dear Jaina Proudmoore

Dear Jaina
Dear Jaina,

I'm not in the habit of writing letters to fictional characters, but in the face of what we've all seen yesterday, it seemed like as good a time as any to start. Look, I realize this is going to be hard to accept, but your fate isn't exactly in your hands. What you want, and what you'll get, are two entirely different things -- and it might not be fair. It might not be particularly right. It certainly isn't going to feel very good, but the influence you hold only goes so far. And in this case, you can't exactly order around a king.

But let's look beyond that for a second, all right? Because honestly, you seem to be more than a little irritated, justified or not. And I remember who you used to be, a long time ago. I remember a lady who was a bastion of rational thinking, one who looked before she leapt, made sound judgments, and realized that in this big, wide, crazy world of Azeroth, things aren't always black and white, good and evil. Sometimes, most of the time in fact, they lay somewhere in between.

So I'm wondering, Lady Proudmoore -- who are you?

This post contains huge spoilers for patch 5.4, including the end cinematic for the Siege of Orgrimmar. Reader beware!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore: A Precarious Position Part 1 - 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.

Things are about to get much worse.

- Deathbringer Saurfang

On the surface of things, it seems like we may be about to turn the corner. Garrosh Hellscream's True Horde is about to face its enemies and the Warchief has alienated so many of his former allies that the Horde itself has erupted in civil war. But once we start thinking about the aftermath, it all starts to seem a little murkier.

After all, even though we know that there will apparently be a new warchief appointed after the fall of Hellscream, that won't immediately fix the tensions that led to the Horde making war on itself. Hellscream's former supporters won't just vanish - with the vast majority of orcs behind him, Hellscream's legacy is bound to continue and any new warchief is going to have to face those orcs who took up arms for the True Horde and come up with a way to re-integrate them into the Horde as a whole. Meanwhile, it's likely that those who supported the Darkspear Rebellion are going to want to see substantial changes made to the way the Horde functions - the orcish ideals of Lok'tar Ogar, of unquestioning loyalty to the warchief are by necessity broken now. The Horde of the future is a Horde that has survived a mutiny, has seen a leader deposed - it cannot be bound by tight-knit expectations of loyalty and honor. The blood elves and forsaken, tauren and goblins and trolls who had a hand in making the new warchief possible will have demands, and they're not all going to be possible to meet.

Meanwhile, the Alliance will have found itself in the position of kingmaker for its enemy. What does the future hold for Alliance/Horde relations? Will the Alliance forget the past several years of Horde aggression or will it demand concessions from its weakened enemy? And if Varian Wrynn doesn't take advantage of this moment to reclaim Azshara and Ashenvale, or Gilneas, what backlash will he have to face from within his own faction? Thanks in no small part to the threat of the Horde, Wrynn has found himself rising to the position of war-leader for the Alliance as a whole. But can he maintain that position with a much less threatening Horde, especially if he doesn't move to take advantage of its weakness?

Let's look at potential threats to any return to stability. This week, we'll discuss the forces at play within the Horde.

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

Know Your Lore: The future of the Alliance

Know Your Lore The future of the Alliance
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 Siege of Orgrimmar is almost upon us, and the Alliance stands strong, ready to dive in and put an end to Warchief Hellscream's reign. Along the way, they've picked up some entirely unconventional allies in Vol'jin's group of rebels, who are also insistent upon getting Garrosh out. But when the dust settles and all is said and done, if and when the Alliance prove their military superiority, take out Hellscream, and are declared the ultimate victor of what has been a very messy, bloody war, what happens next?

Does the Alliance simply go home and wait for the world to rise up with yet another threat? Do they at last attempt some kind of tentative peace treaty with Vol'jin and his group of rebels? Will Varian Wrynn take a moment of clear victory and use it to crush what remains of the Horde? Will the Alliance leave a military presence in Orgrimmar, to carefully watch and make certain events like this don't come to pass again?

What does the future for the Alliance hold, once Orgrimmar has been taken down?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Après Hellscream, le déluge: A Lore Projection

Spoilers for Patch 5.4 lurk within this post, like a hideous phalanx of grue.

I can't shake this feeling of dread lately. Thinking about the Siege of Orgrimmar, about Garrosh Hellscream, about the Horde and what's to become of it, and of the Alliance. Thanks to the most recent sound files, we know a few things, but what we don't learn from those files is as interesting as what we do learn. And yet, I can't shake this feeling of dread.

What am I dreading? The villain will be defeated, right? The heroes will be triumphant, the rebels and the Alliance will storm Orgrimmar and the 'True Horde' will be toppled from the fortresses it has made of a formerly vibrant, brawling town. All will be right with the world, yes?

Maybe yes, but maybe no. I keep looking at Garrosh Hellscream -- the orc who successfully led a disorganized Horde rabble to Northrend and welded an army out of it -- and thinking about what comes after the siege. What happens when the son of Grom is defeated? What happens to the Horde? What happens to the Alliance? What happens to Azeroth? What happens to us?

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

Enter to win Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde

Enter to win Vol'jin Shadows of the Horde
Wondering what Vol'jin's been up to since his brush with death in the Dagger in the Dark scenario? Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, the newest Warcraft novel penned by Michael Stackpole, is a dark, gritty, and ultimately satisfying tale that fills in that part of Vol'jin's story on the backdrop of the Shado-Pan Monastery and Zandalari encroachment.

Thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, we've got a copy of Shadows of the Horde to give away to one lucky reader! And just in case you'd like a little more information on the book before entering the giveaway, feel free to take a look at our spoiler-free review.

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. ET, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can only enter once. One winner will be chosen at random and we will contact you via whatever method you've used to comment. Official rules here.


Filed under: Blizzard, Contests

Michael Stackpole, Micky Neilson talk Shadows of the Horde

Michael Stackpole, Micky Neilson talk Shadows of the Horde
Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde will be available for purchase next week, on July 2. We've already published a spoiler-free review of the novel, which features the Darkspear leader Vol'jin as he recuperates from his near-assassination in the Dagger in the Dark scenario. The novel is something a little different for Blizzard, featuring a story that not only stands apart from the gameplay of Mists of Pandaria, but features a new author as well -- Michael Stackpole, whose writing spans both fantasy and sci-fi, with notable works in both the Battletech and Star Wars universe.

Blizzard was kind enough to let us have a chat with both Mike Stackpole and Micky Neilson, Lead Story Developer at Blizzard, regarding Shadows of the Horde, its development, and the intricacies of writing that oh-so-troublesome troll accent.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Review of Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde by Michael Stackpole

Review of Vol'jin Shadows of the Horde by Michael Stackpole
I've been dying for a good troll novel. Despite their longevity in Warcraft's timeline, we really haven't seen much of anything regarding the troll race, their traditions, their customs, the loa -- none of the rich history that has been cultivated and told over the years. Needless to say, I was very excited when Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde was announced at the New York Comic Con last year -- and even more so when Michael Stackpole was revealed as the author of the book.

A prolific author, Stackpole has written a ton of books set in the Star Wars universe as well as BattleTech and a variety of original works as well. Familiar with both fantasy and sci-fi, Stackpole is an impressive author in his own right -- and his realm of expertise with both guaranteed he'd be a good fit for the Warcraft universe and its unique approach to fantasy. So how did Shadows of the Horde hold up?

This is quite possibly one of the darkest novels in the Warcraft stable. And it's brilliant.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde release date announced

Shadows of the Horde
Many lore fans have been anticipating the latest World of Warcraft tie-in novel Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde for months now, and that wait will soon be over. In a news post today, Blizzard announced that the long-awaited novel will go on sale July 2, 2013, less than a month from now. The article also includes an excerpt from the book wherein Vol'jin experiences an intriguing vision about the Zandalari, their history, and that of his own his people, the Darkspear trolls. It's not much to go on, but the preview points toward a certain fundamental conflict in Vol'jin between his role as protector and leader of his people, and what his history and even religion may demand of him.

This latest book is authored by Michael Stackpole, a familiar name in the worlds of both gaming and sci-fi/fantasy writing. It's exciting to see a new author being added to the ranks of Blizzard licensed fiction writing, and I look forward to reading Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde.

Filed under: News items, Lore

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