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Enter to win a signed copy of War Crimes by Christie Golden

Are you dying to learn the fate of Garrosh Hellscream, former Warchief of the Horde? War Crimes, the newest Warcraft novel by Christie Golden, sets the stage with Hellscream's trial and elegantly weaves together the stories and testimonies of Azeroth's major faces in a tale that is much, much more than a courtroom drama.

Thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, we've got not one, but two copies of War Crimes to give away, and each has been signed by Christie Golden! If 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, May 13, 2014. 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. Two winners 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

Christie Golden, Micky Neilson discuss newest novel, War Crimes

War Crimes, Christie Golden's latest Warcraft novel, officially hit the shelves today. The novel details the trial of Garrosh Hellscream for his crimes against Alliance, Horde, and Pandaria alike. We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down and chat with Christie Golden, as well as Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson, about the novel, the feedback, and even some upcoming projects that are on the way.

War Crimes is a different kind of book -- it features a gigantic cast. Can you tell us a little about the challenges involved in writing and keeping track of so many familiar faces?

Christie: It definitely is. I had kind of done a run at something like this with The Shattering, that was my first experiencing writing for both Horde and Alliance, trying to weave in various characters and their story lines and still make it fast paced and entertaining. This really was a chance for me to, with the Vision of Time at my disposal, to kind of go through and not just address Garrosh, but sneak in some of the history of Azeroth. What made these factions who they are, how they thought of each other, and a lot of old hurts, as well as new things. I actually just posted on Twitter a picture of the colorful index cards that I laid out on my dining room table at work at one point just to keep track of it!

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Review of Christie Golden's novel, War Crimes

It's time for Hellscream to pay.

Or at least that's what everyone in War Crimes would enjoy seeing, to varying degrees. Christie Golden's latest novel, War Crimes, is due out next week on May 6. It tells the tale of Garrosh Hellscream's trial, an event many players have been waiting to hear about -- and it also serves as a bridge novel, of sorts, between Mists of Pandaria and the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor. If you'd like to know how Garrosh wriggled out of his presumably inevitable death and got to Draenor, this is the book you want to read.

But it's so much more than that. In War Crimes, the focus is much less on Garrosh, and much more on the people around him -- those called to the witness stand, and those simply observing the trial in progress. It's a sweep of almost every major face in the Alliance and Horde, and their unique individual reactions to what happened during Hellscream's reign. In that, it's a very different kind of novel -- and I think it was just the novel needed to bring this expansion fully to a close.

Please note: Because War Crimes has yet to be released, this will be a spoiler-free review. Please refrain from talking about spoilers in the comments -- any spoiler information posted will be deleted.

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

Recommended reading for Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor, the next WoW expansion, will feature a trip to a world we've only seen one version of. Although we've visited Draenor in game, it was the shattered version of a world post-Horde, taken over by Illidan Stormrage, his allies, and the Burning Legion. Now called Outland, there's very little to see of the old Draenor in the wake of Ner'zhul's disastrous attempt to open portals to other worlds in the hopes of continued Horde domination.

In Warlords, we'll be visiting an alternate version of Draenor -- a version in which the corruption of the orcish race was halted. This alternate version will highlight and showcase former faces of old in a new light, through the meddling of Garrosh Hellscream. Now united as the Iron Horde, the orc clans of Draenor past have turned away from the Legion, instead embracing their strength on their own. But just because this is an alternate version of Draenor doesn't mean there isn't material out there to be found about these characters. The situation may be different in Warlords, but there's a pile of relevant material that will help players understand exactly why the cast of Warlords are a force to be reckoned with.

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Filed under: Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Exclusive first look at Christie Golden's new novel, War Crimes

Christie Golden, author of a substantial amount of Warcraft novels including The Shattering, Tides of War, Lord of the Clans and Rise of the Horde, recently announced a new novel to add to the list, and we have all the details. Titled War Crimes, the new novel features an all-star cast of nearly every important figure from both the Alliance and Horde, and tells an interesting, new kind of story the likes of which we haven't seen from Blizzard before.

The brutal siege of Orgrimmar is over. Garrosh Hellscream, the most infamous orc on Azeroth, now sits in chains. His tyrannical leadership of the Horde has been ended by his many enemies, and he must answer for his crimes.

Renowned leaders from across the world gather in Pandaria to witness Garrosh's trial. Visions of his past atrocities are presented in vivid detail for all to see. But as history is revisited, old grievances and bitter memories come back into the light, and those in attendance begin to wonder if anyone among them is truly innocent. Mounting tensions and rising enmity steer the court to the brink of chaos... as the world waits with bated breath for the verdict on the war crimes of Garrosh Hellscream.

If you think a novel about a courtroom trial is going to be a dull affair, think again -- War Crimes isn't just a story about a trial, nor is it just another story about Garrosh Hellscream. In fact, it's anything but another Garrosh Hellscream novel. We were thrilled to get an exclusive interview with Christie at BlizzCon 2013 about her new title, a gigantic cast that includes some unexpected faces in the spotlight, and what we can expect to see -- as well as information on the book's release.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore

WoW: The Ultimate Visual Guide now available

ultimate visual guide
We wrote a little while back about the preorders for World of Warcraft: The Ultimate Visual Guide. If you preordered, you should probably have your copy of the book by now, and if you didn't, it is now available for purchase. As far as Blizzard memorabilia goes, this is definitely one of the nicer ones. Coming from DK Publishing, it's a large, hardcover book with dozens of pages of full-color artwork, much of it previously unreleased. There's tons of lore for the story enthusiasts, including -- wait for it -- an official timeline of events, something many of us have been clamoring for for quite a while now. If you're a big WoW geek (like most of the staff here at WoW Insider) it wouldn't be surprising for this book to earn a place of pride on your bookshelves.

You can find World of Warcraft: The Ultimate Visual Guide at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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

World of Warcraft children's book announced at SDCC

New World of Warcraft children's book announced at SDCC
Polygon is reporting an interesting bit of news from the San Diego Comic Con publishing panel -- apparently Blizzard has decided to try its hand at children's books. The first book, Snowfight, was written by Chris Metzen himself, and the book also includes some incredibly charming illustrations by Blizzard artist Wei Wang. From the image above, it looks like a story involving both Thrall and Varian Wrynn -- an unlikely tale, but hey, children's literature should be lighthearted and fun, right?

This is, of course, a huge step for the publishing team -- most Warcraft novels and manga have been placed firmly in the young adult to adult category, with nothing for the little kids. But considering how many Warcraft fans are now moms and dads themselves, this is actually a really sweet way to introduce your little ones to the games you love. And it might just be interesting enough to keep their fingers off your action figures, too! Look for pre-sales for Snowfight later this year -- the book should be making its debut at BlizzCon. For more information, check out the full article on Polygon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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

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

Know Your Lore: Why read a novel, anyway?

Know Your Lore Why read a novel, anyway 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.

Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War is due out on the 28th of this month, and it's a big book in terms of story. It covers the conflict leading into Mists of Pandaria and gives some additional development to Jaina Proudmoore, who has been in sore need of something to do since Wrath's end. I already wrote a spoiler-free review of the book, but to reiterate what I said in the review: The book is solid, it's an excellent read, and Golden's a good author as always.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Warcraft's novels. I have the complete collection sitting on my bookshelf both for reference purposes for this column and simply because I like the series. While some novels rate far above others in the list that's been released, there's a spot for all of them on my shelf. I'm not the only fan out there, but one question I get asked a lot is why exactly would one want to read all those books, anyway?

Well ... story, of course. But the answer is a little more complex than that.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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

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