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Posts with tag world-of-warcraft-lore

Know Your Lore: Khadgar, Archmage of the Kirin Tor

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 do you do when your life is stripped away? Khadgar is an Archmage of the Kirin Tor -- one of the members of the Council of Six, and a powerful mage in his own right. Ancient and wizened, in his lifetime Khadgar has confronted the shadow of Sargeras, faced the orc legions that poured through the Dark Portal, seen Draenor shattered into a wasteland, and even confronted Deathwing himself and survived. And after all that was said and done, he was the first human to reach out and connect with the enigmatic naaru, bringing A'dal and his forces to Outland.

And he's done all of this by age forty-four.

Forty-four? Yes. There's much more to Khadgar than his appearance might suggest. Although his body may be ancient and wizened, there is nothing stopping what is still a fairly young and incredibly intelligent mind. But Khadgar may not be where he expected to be when, at age 17, he was asked to apprentice to the most unlikely tutor in the Eastern Kingdoms. His name was Medivh.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The challenge of roleplay in the face of Warlords

Roleplayers have to dance around a lot of lore in order to make their stories plausible and believable. While not everyone is concerned with being 100% dedicated to known canon material in their roleplay, the announcement of Warlords of Draenor brings up a lot of concerns and questions for those that are. The somewhat unorthodox method of time-travel used in the expansion leaves many players wondering exactly how to handle the situation -- and on top of that, we've been told we'll be stranded on Draenor, presumably with no way to get back to good old familiar Azeroth at all.

So how do you reconcile what's about to happen to your character? Do you ignore the main storyline of an expansion that hasn't been released yet, or do you embrace the idea that your character may not be able to return at all? What kind of challenges are roleplayers going to see in Warlords of Draenor? More importantly, is this something your character should be addressing now?

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Filed under: Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Know Your Lore: A certain point of view

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 know I promised y'all a Cataclysm roundup, but I'm burned out after that huge Wrath of the Lich King post and I need some time to recharge, so I'm taking a week and writing something more personal. This week, I want to talk about how the lore can look entirely different depending on what faction you're playing, what characters you like or dislike - how the story is effectively a prism that bends and scatters based on your perspective.

World of Warcraft is the aggregate of a lot of stories. It isn't one story. This is because it's effectively the story of your character, whoever she or he happens to be, and the story of all the other characters playing the game - and it takes place in a world made and shaped by a long history, going back twenty years now to the first Warcraft: Orcs vs. Humans RTS. And one of the results of all that is, you can have opposing viewpoints be entirely correct from their own perspective. It's sort of the old line Ben Kenobi tossed at Luke - what we believe about the story can be true, from a certain point of view.

It's one of the reasons I think all players should have at least one alt on the faction opposite their main, to see and experience the story from the other side of the fence. I'm going to use my own personal experience here for a second - this expansion alone, I've leveled a tauren, draenei, worgen and orc warrior to level 90. What did I experience? Amazingly, even between the orc and the tauren, I saw radically different things, not just because I did different zones (my tauren did Krasarang, my orc skipped it, for example) but because of who they were.

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

Know Your Lore: Vindicator Maraad

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

He isn't a faction leader. He isn't an important NPC, he doesn't offer any quests. He doesn't even offer any flavor text if you happen to click on him -- he simply stands aboard the Skybreaker, letting other NPCs do all the grunt work of handing out quests and tasks for players. He didn't make an appearance in Cataclysm, nor was he anywhere to be found in Mists of Pandaria. To those who simply play World of Warcraft, completing quests and moving on, he is a nobody -- a peculiar NPC that happens to have a name, standing silent and without any apparent purpose at all.

Yet despite not actually appearing in the expansion, he was the draenei paladin featured in the cinematic for The Burning Crusade. He has his own impressive, deluxe action figure from the DC Unlimited series. And it was revealed at BlizzCon that he will play a major role in the Warlords expansion -- one of a few draenei mentioned specifically by name. So just who is Vindicator Maraad, and why does he rate all this attention?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 4 - Wrath of the Lich King continued


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.

Last week's coverage of the lore of Wrath of the Lich King got to the thematic middle point of the expansion - the Wrathgate event. It changed the nature of Horde/Alliance relations, breaking any possibility for faction cooperation. It also capped off the Dragonblight storyline - Horde players had to deal with the realization that the very plague used on Horde troops by Putress was created by their efforts questing in the zone, while Alliance players saw the loss of one of the more beloved lore figures on their side, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. (The last name Fordragon means "He who cleaves on Dragons' in old Arathi. Okay, no it doesn't. But Bolvar absolutely did that.) Combined with the way Bolvar's previous encounters with players had been worked into the quests, it was a gut punch to lose him.

It was far from the end of the story, however. We had miles to go before we reached the foot of Icecrown Citadel. I mentioned, briefly, the Arugal storyline in the Grizzly Hills, but there was also the story of the Furbolg in the region - a story that touched upon earlier zones such as the Howling Fjord and the Whisper Gulch. These stories would be shown to be of vast importance, and connected to that of an entity named Loken, who was directing the plunder of ancient Titan sites across Northrend by a force of strange Iron Dwarves.

The story of Loken would, in a way, eclipse that of Arthas Menethil without displacing him - for while the Lich King was a clear and present danger and the reason the Alliance and Horde had come to Northend, Loken would prove to endanger Azeroth far more directly. If the Lich King succeeded, the Scourge would rule a world dominated by the undead. If Loken had his way, there would be no Azeroth at all.

The machinations of these two forces both involved a strange material called Saronite - the Scourge forces seemed determined to mine this unusual metal from specific dark corners of the land beneath Northrend's surface. Whisper Gulch, too, teemed with it. But what was Saronite, and why did the Scourge seemingly loathe and fear the name Yogg-Saron while still using the stuff?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: The final boss of Warlords of Draenor

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.

When Mists of Pandaria was announced in 2011, the reponse was a little mixed. Part of this had to do with the fact that we were dealing with a race that had been by and large considered nothing more than a fanciful April Fool's joke by many, but a larger part of it was the sheer expanse of the unknown. We had no idea what to expect out of Mists. We had only the vague descriptions and pieces of lore we got out of BlizzCon that year. We had absolutely no idea what the story was going to look like in Mists, and we had no idea who the final boss of the expansion was actually going to be.

Several months later, it was revealed that Garrosh Hellscream would be the final boss of the expansion. And at BlizzCon 2013, Warlords of Draenor was announced -- a continuation of Hellscream's plans. We got plenty of information about the various orc clans, plenty of information about Draenor, but once again, we find ourselves without a clear idea of who that final boss is going to be. And interestingly enough, people don't seem to be focusing on that at all. So why don't we take a moment to step aside and ask that question. Who is most likely to be the master villain of Warlords?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation and history based on known material. 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

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 3 - Wrath of the Lich King


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

Part one covered the original launch game, and part two covered the Burning Crusade expansion. Part three is about Corgis Unleashed.

No, no, I kid. Part three is of course about Wrath of the Lich King, when our titular king of the liches gets upset. Miffed. Irate. Angry, even. This one is going to be long - even longer than the BC recap, so long that I see no choice but to split it into two parts. The Lich King was a long time in coming - players were clamoring for him from the moment World of Warcraft launched, and when the expansion bearing his name finally hit, it changed everything.

Like The Burning Crusade, WotLK started with an event. But unlike TBC, this particular event, the Scourge Invasion, was leaps and bounds more dramatic than expected. This time, the monsters were the players, so to speak.

It began with mysterious boxes appearing in Booty Bay and other cities and towns, spreading across Azeroth slowly. The boxes appeared in capital cities, shipped from unknown locales... and slowly, all over the world, the curse of undeath began taking root. At first members of the Argent Dawn could keep ahead of the tide of plague, but as it continued, more and more of Azeroth's heroes succumbed. Soon an irresistible tide of undead threatened Orgrimmar, Stormwind, Ironforge, Undercity (yes, even the forsaken were not immune) and other locations. Some ran and hid in the countryside, avoiding major cities, because these undead seemed to possess a sadistic enjoyment and sought to infect as many as possible.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore: A lore guide to dungeons and raids

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.

When people think about learning lore in game, they automatically leap to doing quests. In some aspects, this is the right thing to do -- obviously a giant chunk of the game, and the storyline, is wrapped up in the quests you do to complete various zones. In others, it's still a little confusing for players. When Cataclysm revamped the 1-60 quest areas, it also updated their stories and timelines to Cataclysm's time -- which meant that players started out in Cataclysm's timeline, went back to Burning Crusade's storylines, continued their travels in the past with Wrath, then leapt forward to Cataclysm again. Confusing, isn't it?

There are other places where lore is tucked away as well -- in dungeons and raids. Normally doing a five-man or a raid is an exercise in not getting killed rather than paying attention to your surroundings. But a question on Twitter asked what would be the best order to complete raids in order to soak up all that lore from vanilla to Cataclysm, and that question has a much larger answer than you'd think. Raid lore ties into dungeon lore, and in some cases zone lore too. What with the holidays, and plenty of time to go easily solo most of that old content, why not take a visit to the days of old?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 2 - The Burning Crusade


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

If you were here last week, you know the drill. If not, here it is - we're covering the entire lore of the game, expansion by expansion.

Let's do this.

A world unlike our own

Were we prepared for what we'd find beyond the Dark Portal? The realm of Outland had a long and storied history, but it was a history no one on Azeroth had seen since Illidan went back following his battle with Arthas at the base of the Frozen Throne, where the Death Knight had proven the stronger and assumed the mantle of the Lich King. In defeat, Illidan had gone mad, or so the shade of his brother Malfurion had informed Remulos - mad and stewing in his humiliation, Illidan daily fought the battle again, and in his fevered rage was the victor, not the defeated. But this was all we knew, and it second-hand from Malfurion's trapped spirit. No one had seen Outland since the Third War, and the Dark Portal had squatted in the crater created by Khadgar's attempt to destroy it, seemingly inert since that time.

Then it opened. And demons poured out of it.

Dealing with the flood of demons was a momentary respite - both the Horde and the Alliance realized that their own squabbles were meaningless if the Burning Legion possessed a doorway to invade Azeroth. So both factions put together expeditions and seized control of the portal's Outland side, and for the first time since the end of the Second War, the Alliance and the Horde stepped foot onto the shattered world once known as Draenor.

But before they did, each side gained new allies.

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

Know Your Lore: Dissecting the lore of Mists

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.

Mists of Pandaria was easily the best expansion we've ever had in terms of story development. The new tools and different ways in which Pandaria's story was presented made the expansion shine in a way that cannot be fully appreciated until you simply play the game and experience it all first hand. Last week, we highlighted the highs of storytelling in Mists -- not the lore or the story itself, but the various ways in which that story was presented.

And it really can't be denied -- hands down, Mists of Pandaria is the most development we've seen in using story as a vehicle for gameplay in Warcraft. The sheer amount of improvement from vanilla to today is mind-boggling. But just because Mists was a resounding success from the developmental side of storytelling doesn't mean that isn't any more room for improvement. Although Mists made some giant leaps in the ways we learn lore, there were still some moments that faltered.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 1 - Classic WoW

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 while back I did a history of the Pandaren Campaign that just gave a bare bones overview of what exactly happened between patch 5.0 and 5.4 in terms of the story. I understand that nine years of World of Warcraft can't be easily summed up. I don't expect I'll be able to do more than a cursory retelling of the major events, and I'll probably miss and leave out quite a few. So why do it at all?

I have a few reasons. The first is that some of this stuff is gone in game - it happened, but you can't go back and experience it any more. That makes it a part of the game that needs reminders from time to time, in my opinion. The second reason is because all of this lore shapes the game as it evolves - everything that has happened - it helps place things into context. And the third reason is because this stuff is all pretty awesome. It deserves to be retold.

We're going to try and do the game at launch this week, and come back to it on a regular basis.

So let us retell it.

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

Know Your Lore: Mists lore and the art of storytelling

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.

Mists of Pandaria is coming to a close, along with 2013 -- and what an expansion it was. Every expansion, I like to go through an examine how the storytelling process has changed for better or worse. It's interesting to go back to the old posts on Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, both to see where we've been, and to realize how far we've come. Mists wasn't just a new expansion, it was an entirely new story, with an entirely new cast of characters and a prominently featured race that even long-time players of the game knew very little about.

And it was that race that had a lot of people wondering what kind of expansion we'd end up with. When Mists was introduced, there were plenty of people wondering how the heck a story about a bunch of pandas could be anything but a joke. But Mists didn't just give us the pandaren -- it gave us a whole new perspective on storytelling and gameplay, chock full of innovative new ways to deliver story to players. What did Mists bring that really worked?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The draenei and deep time

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 draenei are a fascinating people to me. Their ability to forgive is terrifying, in a way. This is a people that have seen the majority of their own kind become the stuff of nightmares - a people who have been hunted throughout time and space for over twenty five thousand years by these same fallen former kind, now transformed into demons by their willing adherence to the unthinkable, and it has changed the way they view everything. The draenei are willing to give people who have slaughtered them the benefit of the doubt, and manage to keep their hearts clear (for the most part) of feelings of vengeance and reprisal. The draenei leader Velen went so far as to help the blood elves who had kidnapped and drained the life out of his friend, the naaru M'uru, even through blood elves had stolen Tempest Keep and caused the draenei to crashland on Azeroth in the first place.

We know a reasonable amount about the draenei - we know they come from Argus, that they are refugees, those that chose to heed Velen's warnings and abandon their world before Sargeras could ensnare them in his web of lies and corruption. We know that they've fled the advance of the Legion for that aforementioned two hundred and fifty centuries. What we don't know is how it all went down. What worlds did they arrive on and settle only to have to flee again? Keep in mind that Draenor, the world they named, was only their home for roughly two hundred years out of that vast period of time.

To put it into perspective, Tyrande, Malfurion and the other until-recently immortal night elves, the ones who have lived from the time of the Sundering, are less than half the age of some draenei. Jessera of Mac'Aree, for instance, was fifteen thousand years old at least and had been wandering the cosmos for that long when the Sundering occurred. Not only are the draenei seemingly functionally immortal (they can die, but they do not seem to succumb to old age, or if they do, they have a means to lengthen their lifespans) but they've spent most of that deep time traveling from world to world... and we know almost nothing about that period of their history.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Alternate Azeroth

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.

Warlords of Draenor takes place in an alternate, splinter reality in which Garrosh Hellscream has gone back in time and prevented the leaders of the old orc clans from drinking the Blood of Mannoroth. In this version of reality, several events have changed dramatically -- leading players to ask many, many questions about alternate Azeroth, how its history has been altered, and how that changes the Azeroth we know and love today. The answer is very simple: it doesn't. Not in the slightest. That alternate Azeroth, and whatever future it may hold, has no bearing on Warlords of Draenor at all. We won't be exploring that world, and our Azeroth remains unchanged.

However, people still continue to ask. So we're going to take a little trip into that alternate reality and explore what that version of Azeroth would theoretically look like without the Dark Portal. We're going to explore this alternate world, take a look at what likely never came to pass, and what happened as a result. And then we're going to quietly put all of that away, because this is all information and events that we are not going to see in Warlords of Draenor. But it'll be nice to get it out of our systems, won't it?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation and history based on known material. 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

Know Your Lore: The mysteries of Draenor

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 funny how much we don't know about Draenor yet, considering we've not only had it as part of the setting since Warcraft II, but we've seen it in WCIII, the novel Rise of the Horde, and we even traveled to its shattered remnants for an entire expansion in Burning Crusade. Despite all that, the living world - the place that produced the orcish people, was home to a mighty ogre empire, gave birth to titanic beings like the gronn and sheltered the draenei for hundreds of years is still somewhat unknown to us.

We've seen bits and pieces of the unknown world drip out since Blizzcon, but it's all still so tantalizingly vague. Some of these lands are entirely new to us, as they were lost when Draenor became Outland, torn apart by Ner'zhul's use of the Legion's portal magics - lands like the Spires of Arak, home to the Arakkoa and the Frostfire Ridge, home to the Frostwolves and a land of glaciers and volcanoes - a land that typifies the nature of Draenor itself. The planet, or at least the one continent we have any details on, seems to be a land of violent extremes which breeds a harsh, survivalist mindset in its native children.

Make no mistake - the orcs are not the only race native to these harsh (some might even say savage) lands. The ogres sail north from another land to lay claim to Nagrand's coasts, make their presence and that of a tottering empire known even in the Frostfire Ridge, and behind them lurks the menace of the gronn. In the Spires of Arak, the proud Arakkoa burn those they capture alive in tribute to the sun. This is not a world where any live in peace - to live in harmony with nature on Draenor is to live a life of constant struggle, in a kill or be killed fight red in the shed blood of predator and prey.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

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