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Posts with tag warcraft-lore

Ask a CDev Round IV answers revealed

It's been quite some time since we've had a new round of Ask a CDev, addressing and answering lore questions from players. But the answers for round IV of the popular feature have been released, including quite a few questions with interesting implications. This time around, the questions were drawn directly from Twitter, and they address a variety of topics. Some highlights include:
  • Oshu'gun? That's what the orcs call the mountain in Nagrand. But the draenei that remember the mountain for the vessel it was still use its original name -- the Genedar.
  • Tyrande and Malfurion officially co-lead the night elves. Tyrande is no longer the sole leader.
  • Sadly, the Shatterspear tribe is no more, although some may have escaped and found shelter within the Horde or other organizations.
  • Just who the heck is Trade Prince Donais? Well ... he isn't Horde, exactly...
  • There is a distinct difference between the vrykul and Kvaldir, and it involves the Curse of Flesh.
Take a look at the thread in its entirety for all of the lore questions and answers. And if you have a lore question that has you stumped, head over to Twitter and shoot it to Senior Historian Sean Copeland at his Twitter account, @Loreology.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects paperback available for preorder

Dawn of the Aspects coming in paperback in November
Dawn of the Aspects, the five part ebook-only novel by Richard Knaak, is now slated to be released in paperback for book enthusiasts this November. The novel is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But for those simply expecting a print version of Knaak's tale, you might be in for a surprise -- also included in the edition is a print version of the short story Charge of the Aspects, released on Blizzard's website at the tale end of Cataclysm.

Dawn of the Aspects tells two distinct tales -- the tale of Kalecgos and his struggle with the resolution to Cataclysm that saw all of the Aspects drained of their powers, and the dragonflights with out a purpose, and a much, much older tale of just how the Aspects and dragonflights came to be. It's a really good, if confusing at times, story in which Kalecgos desperately tries to find a new purpose for dragonkind, while simultaneously taking a journey to the past and seeing the story of Galakrond, supposed progenitor of all dragonkind.

As for Charge of the Aspects, the short story by Matt Burns takes place on the eve of Deathwing's downfall, and features the four Aspects, together with Thrall, trying to figure out just how to kill Deathwing once and for all. It's available for free on the official website, but this is the first time the story has been available in print -- and it honestly provides a pretty good framing point for Dawn of the Aspects as well. If you're interested in a physical copy of both of these tales, preorders are now open on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. The book is $12.50, and is slated to be released November 19, according to both websites.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects paperback coming in November

Dawn of the Aspects
Lorehounds and story fans might remember the Dawn of the Aspects e-book that Blizzard released in five parts earlier this year. Well, if you're a Luddite like me and don't have an e-reader, in a few short months you'll have the ability to purchase the story in print. As the article title implies, the complete Dawn of the Aspects will be available for purchase in paperback this coming November. You'll be able to find it at all the usual haunts: Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and likely the Blizzard store, as well.

You can check out Blizzard's blog post for an overview of the story, as well as sneak peaks of all the different parts. If you're unfamiliar with the idea, it centers around Kalecgos gaining insight into the origins of the five dragonflights themselves, and the violence and upheaval that lead to their creation. If you're still on the fence, you can check out Anne Stickney's review of the story right here on WoW Insider.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Chronological novel, short story and comic guide updates

Chronological novel, short story and comic guide updates
If you've wanted to get caught up on the Warcraft print material, but didn't know where to start, we have a guide for you -- and it's been caught up to date. WoW Insider's Chronological Guide covers all novels, comics, manga and short stories, but presents them not in publication order, but in the order they appear in the Warcraft timeline -- which means you can start from the beginning of Azeroth's history and read your way through the years.

For reference purposes, the print material has been grouped with the game and expansion in which it takes place, making it even easier to get caught up. All works that take place over multiple points in the timeline have been listed with multiple entries and notated with mention of where they appear. At the moment, we're all caught up through Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde and the latest WoW short story, The Blank Scroll. Whether you're wondering when that book you just read actually took place, or you're just wanting to get a start on Azeroth's lore, the chronological guide will help you out.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Comics

Review of Dawn of the Aspects

Review of Dawn of the Aspects
On Monday, the fifth and final installment of Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, will be available for purchase. For those that have been waiting to download and nab the entire publication in one go, your wait is just about over. For those of us that have been reading since the beginning, it marks the end of what has been, honestly, one of the strangest tales to come out of the Warcraft stable in quite some time.

While I could simply review part five of the book, talk about my impressions and what the installment was like, to me it makes far more sense to talk about the book as a whole, now that I've finished the whole thing. After all, this was a different kind of experiment -- an entirely digital publication doled out in monthly installments for a small fee. Was the experiment worth it? Did the story hold water in the end? And perhaps most importantly -- was the story any good?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available

Dawn of the Aspects Part V excerpt now available
It's been a long journey, but it seems that the latest Warcraft fiction offering is now wrapping up and coming to an end. An excerpt from the fifth and final chapter of Dawn of the Aspects is now available for reading on the official website. Dawn of the Aspects, by Richard Knaak, details the origins of the Aspects and the five dragonflights. The five-part miniseries has been released in installments over the last several months, and the fifth chapter ought to wrap up the tale and establish exactly what Kalecgos has learned from the mysterious artifact he's found.

As for the blue dragon's mysterious dive into the past, it seems that the events of long ago are finally reaching their climax -- Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Neltharion and Malygos are preparing for the final battle with Galakrond, a battle that will change the course of their race forever. Will Kalecgos discover the true purpose of the artifact? Will he break free of its mysterious hold, or will he remain stuck in Malygos' memories for eternity? And will Malygos and the not-quite-Aspects prevail, or will history itself unravel? Good question! While the excerpt doesn't provide any answers, it does offer a good glimpse at the final chapter. You can read the excerpt in full on the official website.

Dawn of the Aspects part five will be available for purchase in several different ebook formats for a wonderfully low $1.99 on June 17. Head to Simon & Schuster to purchase the installment in ebook format -- and if you're looking for a different format for your e-reader, the website has links to several different retailers on their listing page. Hopefully the release of the final chapter will encourage Blizzard to release a print edition of the novel in full, too -- I have an empty spot waiting on my bookshelf!

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part four
It is absolutely official, now -- I have no idea how the Aspects actually came to be Aspects. For that matter, Tyr's purpose seems to be just as mysteriously vague. However, there was far more light shed on both questions in part four of Dawn of the Aspects, now available for a variety of e-readers. Despite the muddied waters of draconic origins, it is apparent that more of these mysteries will be answered in full by the time the fifth and final installment rolls around.

What did we know, to date? We knew that the Aspects were empowered by various Titans and charged with watching over the world. But that's about it -- the process of how that empowering came about is by and large a giant unknown and has been for years. What surprises me is just how willing I was to let the origin of the dragonflights slide as something that wasn't terribly important, in the long run. But when one considers that their origin appears to be tied to the fate of Tyr, it suddenly bears far more interesting implications.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
The action in Dawn of the Aspects heated up exponentially in part two of the series by Richard A. Knaak -- and part three only continues to both clarify and confuse in the most brain-bending, delightful way.

The third installment of Dawn of the Aspects, released Monday, continues to explore the purpose of the mysterious artifact Kalegos uncovered back in part one. It seems as though the visions Kalec has been experiencing are growing far more intense, enough to make the former Aspect question the reality of the future we're currently living in. More importantly, there are some important and thoroughly bizarre revelations that may actually shed some light on the Aspects as they turned out in present day.

Although the installments continue to be slightly confusing, we're beginning to get a grasp on just what this story is all about. And as mentioned in our last review, it's becoming far more clear that what happened in the past is apparently not only relevant, but incredibly important to the events of present day. Dawn of the Aspects is, so far, proving to be a delightful mystery of a book, not quite like anything we've seen come before.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
Things have just gotten incredibly weird.

The second installment of Dawn of the Aspects has just been released to an assortment of retailers, ready to be downloaded to the e-reader of your choice. The novel, written by Richard Knaak, continues to explore the events at the dawn of time, before the Age of Dragons began. As Kalecgos continues his descent into the mad visions bestowed upon him by an ancient artifact, he begins to discover more and more unsettling facts about the formation of dragonkind. But will Kalecgos be able to divine what these visions are trying to teach, or will he be swallowed into the past for good?

In our review of part one, we touched on the somewhat convoluted nature of the story, with the hopes that part two would begin to make things slightly more clear. Yet that question of the purpose of dragons on Azeroth, their origin, and what they should do now that the Age of Mortals has begun is still left unanswered. And despite the novel's focus on events long past, it's beginning to become more clear that Kalecgos' visions, mad as they are, definitely have more than a little relevance to present-day.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part one by Richard A Knaak
Everything we know about the formation of the Aspects is wrong. Well, not wrong -- but so far from what is truth that the reality of the situation is a dizzying puzzle that has only begun to be addressed. Dawn of the Aspects is a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle, and part one of the tale has only just begun to unravel these pieces into what will hopefully be a coherent whole by the end of the story.

While we've had hints and suggestions as to how the Aspects and the varying dragonflights came to be, it's never been truly defined. And when we made our trip to Northrend in Wrath of the Lich King, the proto-drakes found roaming the peaks and valleys of the continent were an intriguing puzzle. How did dragonkind make that leap from proto-drake to dragon? Who was Galakrond, and how did his existence tie into the existing dragonflights? Was he the father of all dragonkind in a literal sense, or in a far more figurative fashion?

Perhaps most importantly, at the dawn of the Age of Mortals, does any of this information really matter at all? If you're at all interested in the history of Azeroth, the answer is a resounding yes.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

Mysteries of the Isle of Giants and patch 5.2

Mysteries of the Isle of Giants
New maps have been dug up from the patch 5.2 PTR, covering both the new raid and the new zones we'll see in the upcoming patch. One of the maps is for an area called the Isle of Giants -- home to a new world boss, Oondasta. The map, shown above, looks like a mountainous island with a sunken center and the possible existence of tar pits.

In fact, it looks a lot like a crater. One that is pretty similar to two fairly substantial craters we already have in game: Un'goro Crater over on Kalimdor, and Sholazar Basin up in Northrend. Given what we've been told so far in regards to the new raid, and how the developers wanted to make something in the style and scope of Ulduar, this raises a few questions. The biggest one being -- what if that similarity to Ulduar isn't just a matter of size and scope?

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

Reputation in review: The Dominance Offensive

It took until patch 5.1, but we got it. The most perfect reputation grind in the game to date. I don't say these words lightly, because let's face it, I have pretty high standards for what I like and what I don't like with daily quests. But the Dominance Offensive appears to have taken the best out of all previous reputation grinds and wrapped it all together in a delightful ball of compelling story and quests that barely feels like a grind at all.

Please note that this is a review for the Dominance Offensive, which is the Horde side of the 5.1 reputation. At this point in time, I don't have an Alliance character at level 90, so I'm unable to play through the Operation Shieldwall quests. However, I have been assured that not only are the Operation Shieldwall quests just as good, in some ways they are even better than the Dominance Offensive material. I'm not even sure how this is possible, because these dailies are just that good.

But enough gushing. Let's get into the nuts and bolts of what makes this reputation grind so different from everything before it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Video series highlights the history of Pandaria's races

Sure, we know about the pandaren coming up in Mists of Pandaria, but there are many more races in the world. What about the hozen? The jinyu? Or how about the mantid and the mogu? YouTube user Mastus has put together a delightful series of videos that highlight the history behind the various races of Pandaria and how they fold together to create the history of Mists of Pandaria.

Considering 10,000 years of no contact with any of the races wandering Pandaria's vast landscape, these video guides help fill in just what happened centuries ago. And in the case of the mantid and the mogu, the videos help explain what these mysterious races are up to -- and why we should be worried. Please note that these do contain things that could be called spoiler content for the new expansion; however, for players looking for a brief primer on Pandaria, these videos are definitely a good way to get caught up.

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: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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

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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

Humans and orcs are just the pillars upon which the Alliance and Horde were built

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Zarhym hit the forums to clarify an important point that is being lost in recent lore discussions around the internet. Chris Metzen was quoted in a PC Gamer interview:

...the pillars of the franchise are orcs and humans; it really is the Alliance and Horde by extension, and it really is those two groups beating the brains out of each other for an extended period of time. That's always gotta be what Warcraft is about...

And as Zarhym entirely correctly points out, it's not just the orcs and humans that are all that matters now, but the entire Alliance and Horde factions that have developed over the course of the franchise's life. Warcraft started with them but has expanded unto everything else.

This is also a good opportunity to place front and center the fact that the Warcraft universe is an evolving story. It's not like Lord of the Rings, where everything that is has and (likely/hopefully) ever will be in the universe is already written in stone. Gandalf isn't suddenly going to join forces with the factions of darkness beyond the great sea while Frodo becomes the next Gollum -- but Thrall? Maybe he'll defect to the Alliance some day.* No one knows; it's evolving and ever changing.

Zarhym's full statements, after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Lore

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