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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

Next WoW novel set to focus on Vol'jin

Next WoW novel set to focus on Vol'jin
Anyone who has played through the troll starting zone or read the novels knows that Vol'jin, leader of the Darkspear, is not particularly happy with Garrosh Hellscream. In fact, Vol'jin and Garrosh had an altercation in which the troll leader flat-out informed the new Warchief that when his day of judgment came to pass, Vol'jin would be the one to deal the killing blow.

Since then, tensions have continued to rise in the Horde. And while Vol'jin has been keeping quiet, that tension hasn't gone away. Between trying to lead his people, his problems with Garrosh and the sudden resurgence of the Zandalar in Cataclysm, Vol'jin has had a lot on his plate. According to Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak via the AMA on Reddit, we're finally going to hear more from the Darkspear leader in the next Warcraft novel.

Dave Kosak
If you're getting psyched about the storyline, I think you'll love the next novel which focuses on Vol'jin. Have you played the troll 1-10 intro experience? Vol'jin flat-out tells Garrosh he doesn't trust him and he'll stab him in the back the moment he sees an opportunity. The novel carries his story forward and really meshes in with the events of patch 5.1.

One of our ongoing goals is to make sure that the games and novels complement each other, and that major lore events don't happen in the novels without some kind of representation in-game. This is a huge challenge for us!! But I think we're getting better at it.

Is this the novel that Michael Stackpole is reportedly working on? We don't know -- but either way, it's Vol'jin. You know it's going to be good. Hopefully we'll see more on the new novel sooner rather than later.


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

Star Wars/Battletech scribe Michael Stackpole to write new WoW novel

Star WarsBattletech scribe Michael Stackpole to write new WoW novel
It's been a while since we've seen a new face write a WoW novel -- novels have been alternating pretty steadily between Christie Golden and Richard Knaak for a few years now. It looks like we've about to see some new blood in the lineup, though. Former tabletop designer Michael Stackpole, probably best known for his Star Wars and Battletech books, is confirmed by Simon & Schuster to be writing an untitled World of Warcraft book due out in early 2013.

By the timeline, it's safe to assume that the book has something to do with Pandaria and the events surrounding it, but I'm sure we'll find out in the nine months before it comes out. In the meantime, you can check out Stackpole's website, where he offers advice for casual writers and fanfiction authors who want to get published, or get acquainted with his writing by picking up one of his many books.

Wait, hold up, this dude designed Wasteland? Damn, maybe I'll buy five books instead of one.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore

World of Warcraft: "Wolfheart" novel description now available

A preview description for the next book set in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm universe, Wolfheart, has appeared courtesy of BlizzPlanet. The novel, penned by Stormrage and War of the Ancients trilogy author Richard A. Knaak, follows the exploits of Varian Wyrnn, Genn Greymane, night elf leaders Malfurian Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, and surprise guest Maiev Shadowsong. From the description, it appears the novel will focus on the tensions between Stormwind and Gilneas due to their tenuous new alliance, the Highborne's reintegration into night elven society, and the continued fight in Ashenvale against the surmounting Horde odds.

Christie Golden's Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, is currently on the shelves, chronicling Thrall's journey post-Cataclysm with the Earthen Ring and his counterpart Aggra, as well as the dragons and their quest to stay alive and allied during Deathwing's brutal return. With Wolfheart, it seems we're getting an Alliance leader's story opposed to that of Thrall, who was once the Horde's warchief.

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart is going to be available on Sept. 13, 2011. Hit the jump for the full description.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

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