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Know Your Lore: Draka, daughter of Kelkar

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.

Thrall named the ship Draka's Fury after his mother. It was the ship that should have taken him without trouble to the heart of the Maelstrom during Cataclysm, but the ship was intercepted by an Alliance fleet and destroyed. It's been stated here and there that Thrall named the ship as a tribute to his mother, and to the strong orc women in his life -- but there's a problem with that. Thrall didn't know his mother at all, really. When he was just an infant, both Draka and his father Durotan were killed, betrayed by their own kind, and Thrall left to die. He named the ship after the strength of a mother that he never really knew at all.

But Draka was far from weak, in her prime -- and to her mate Durotan, she was the epitome of everything an orc woman should be. Strong, wise, brave, unwilling to bend or break, Draka spent the entirety of her childhood defying everyone's expectations, and continued to do so until the day she died. In Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally get a chance to meet Thrall's mother and father in person. We know who Durotan is, but who was that orc woman standing at his side, and what made her so incredibly special?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: I miss you, Rexxar

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 was unbelievably tempted to write another big time-travel extravaganza around my theory that Karazhan is living backwards like Merlin - that it was built in the future and its supposed creation in an explosion that made Deadwind Pass was in fact its final destruction at the end of its existence - but it's the kind of theory that I can explain in like four sentences. It doesn't really need a whole KYL.

So instead, I'm going to talk about characters I miss. Some of them haven't really gone anywhere - I can go visit them any time I like - while others have died or disappeared. Some of those characters have never even appeared in World of Warcraft.

Obviously Rexxar is on the list, so we'll talk about him first.

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

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

What's going on with Karazhan?

It's no secret that I love Karazhan. Making its debut in Burning Crusade, Karazhan was and still is, to me, the perfect raid. The sheer scope of the instance and the variety of bosses within it were more than enough to keep my raid guild at the time happily occupied. But for myself, it wasn't just the raid, it was the story behind it. I spent most of vanilla plaintively wondering when we'd see Medivh's tower open for visitors ... and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest with what we eventually saw inside.

On the 5.4.2 PTR, Karazhan is in the middle of what seems to be not a revamp, but a restoration. Mobs aren't changing, neither are bosses. But the cobwebs, the overturned chairs, the randomly placed skeletons of the dead are all being quietly swept away. One has to wonder ... what's up with that? What's going on with the tower of Karazhan, and why the sudden makeover now? Rather than indulge in yet another speculative edition of Know Your Lore, let's just take a quick look at the possibilities.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Know Your Lore TFH: Sailing to Oshu'gun

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.

Tinfoil Hats on. Let's speculate. Let's make some things up.

To be honest, I'm not one hundred percent sure that what I'm about to write is a TFH entry. It's more just speculative about the nature of the Iron Horde and the Draenor it seeks to rule, and the consequences of its rise. Since I can't actually know any of that yet, it's certainly speculative, but I have no grand theory in mind to explicate, just a bunch of speculations to lay out.

What we know so far is actually only a tantalizing veneer over all we don't know. From the time of the initial incursion that creates this new Draenor to the time that we become aware of it, a certain amount of time has to pass - it takes time to outfit an entirely new kind of army, much less create a new Dark Portal and usurp the connection to our Azeroth's Dark Portal and invade it, which we've been told will be happening. This leads to a whole host of questions - what happens during that period of time? How does Garrosh convince the orcs of Draenor that they should listen to him, a completely unknown quantity? He won't be from any tribe they know of - while he's a member of the Warsong by blood, none of them will recognize him. How does it happen?

I'm fascinated by the idea of this moment. Does he just flat out tell them who he is and where he comes from? While Garrosh is a very cunning tactician capable of deceit, he's also fairly straightforward, so I can imagine him infiltrating the tribal society of orcs on Draenor or simply strolling up to a Kosh'harg and declaring who he is. Either approach has risks, of course - while violence is forbidden at a Kosh'harg, he could easily be laughed right out of the place, and infiltrating an orc tribe would be very difficult for an outsider.

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

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Timelines, timeways, and Karazhan

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 is time, in Warcraft? Is it a straightforward line, or a tapestry of events that can be changed or altered with a simple pluck of a thread? While the bronze dragonflight may be masters of the various pathways of time, we mortal players are most definitely not. We've been sent through the pathways of the Caverns of Time on more than one occasion, but always at the behest of the bronze flight, to complete the tasks they have set and keep the timelines pristine.

But this mysterious maze of time wasn't left unexplored prior to our travels through Tanaris. Obviously the bronze dragonflight has been up to a great deal over the thousands of years that it has existed -- Nozdormu's long absence predated even our first journeys through the Caverns of Time. And for one player in the next expansion, time had absolutely nothing to do with the dragonflights, and much more to do with the mysterious home of his enigmatic master, Medivh. So how does it all weave together?

More importantly, when is time travel not really time travel at all, as the developers seemed to be so insistent on saying at BlizzCon?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains a small amount of speculation on datamined 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 TFH: The Big Lie

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.

You guys know how the Tinfoil Hat essays work by now - this is my musings, and not officially sanctioned in any way by Blizzard.

We've been lied to all along, and the evidence is mounting up.

I started to be uncomfortable with events when I first went through Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects and we were introduced to the concept of 'false timeways', alternate realities that were somehow less than real despite being filled with real people living real lives and dying real deaths. If the alternate Blackmoore who attempts to kill Thrall several times is somehow not real, then his final confrontation with Thrall and his death at the shaman's hands lacks. Furthermore, how can a person who isn't real kill you? Nozdormu's explanation for his own inactivity I bought, but the idea that the other timeline was in some way not a true timeline bothered me.

Then we went to End Time. And I really started to wonder about Nozdormu.

There we were, in a potential future - moreover, a potential future that we were attempting to avert. And in order to do so, we had to kill Murozond because he was preventing us from traveling to the distant past and upon arriving there, gleefully altering history. Things we did in the Well of Eternity instance that were not part of history before include palling around with Illidan, Malfurion and Tyrande, fight and kill Peroth'arn, attack Queen Azshara, and steal the freaking Dragon Soul. None of this happened before! Even if we assume that our pilfering of the Dragon Soul was somehow okay, that when Nozdormu lost his Titan-granted powers it was sent back (a statement we only have his word for) we still know that the Aspects and Thrall changed the Dragon Soul. Remember, we all had to grab the Focusing Iris just so they could? Furthermore, at Deathwing's demise, Nozdormu makes a cryptic statement.

It is time! I will expend EVERYTHING to bind every thread here, now, around the Dragon Soul. What comes to pass will never be undone!

Okay, so he expended everything. This is no big deal - all the Aspects make a similar statement that they're channeling their full power (one assumes the very power that they lost, that granted to them by the Titans) into the Dragon Soul. No, the line that gets me is 'bind every thread here, now, around the Dragon Soul. What comes to pass will never be undone!'

I got a Ray, what did you just do? vibe off of that moment. Which leads us to the announcement of Warlords of Draenor and the explanation of how it comes to pass.

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

Know Your Lore: The 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.

Originally, Draenor was a planet with a nigh-uneventful history until a series of progressively more incredible and unusual events, brought to the world from outside sources, plunged it into chaos. According to what we knew -- which was admittedly very little -- the orc clans of Draenor had no issues with the rest of the world, or with each other. There may have been the occasional squabbles between clans, but there was nothing remotely resembling full out war ... at least nothing that's been recorded in history as we know it. However, the announcement of Warlords of Draenor seems to indicate a big history lesson is on the way.

Draenor's history, one distinct moment in time has been altered, creating a separate fork -- a bubble of time, if you will -- that has changed the fates of these old heroes. So who are the Warlords of Draenor? We have their names. What we don't have is the new history revealed in the expansion just yet. But even in the original timeline, these orc warlords each had different, unique histories that all tied in together, courtesy of the Burning Legion's meddling and influence.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The History of Draenor

Adam's project
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 may not be Azeroth, but it's got a history just as rich and just as convoluted. In the Warcraft universe, the planet Draenor plays a secondary role to Azeroth in terms of storyline -- consider it something like a sister planet, one whose history is irrevocably entwined with Azeroth's. Although these days Draenor exists as a mere shell of what it once was, Draenor, its inhabitants, and its fate are all one of the most significant pieces of Warcraft lore out there. After all, if there were no Draenor, there would be no First or Second wars. There would be no Horde.

Why is this planet so important? It certainly didn't have very much to do with the original inhabitants. In fact, Draenor would have likely lived on in obscurity were it not for the strange, peaceful settlers from another world. Peaceful they may have been, but they had a history they could not escape -- a past that forever linked them with the Burning Legion ... and the Burning Legion knows little of forgiveness or mercy for those that incur its wrath.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore, TFH: The Aspects of the Titans

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.

Y'all know the drill here - this is a speculative jam. Nothing in this is to be taken as what Blizzard is actually saying.

In the distant past, Azeroth was formed by the hands of beings potent even beyond gods. These beings, known to us as Titans, have left the evidence of their presence in many ways - huge, magnificent complexes of astonishing construction, races shaped by their will, the prisons that held Yogg-Saron and Y'Shaarj's heart, and much more besides. From the Mogu'shan Vaults to Uldaman, from the fantastic jungles of Un'Goro to the Sholozar Basin, including the magnificent Vale of Eternal Blossoms the Titans left their mark in the very structure of Azeroth.

Recently the black dragon Wrathion consumed the heart of Lei Shen the Thunder King, a mogu warlord empowered by the stolen power and knowledge of Master Ra (known as Ra-Den to them), a Titan Watcher similar to those left behind in Ulduar. When he did that, he spoke the following words: "We have fallen. We must rebuild the Final Titan. Do not forget." I've wondered long and hard what that could mean. But it wasn't until I considered the powers the Titans bestowed upon the five Dragon Aspects so long ago. Their control of life, magic, dreams, the very land beneath our feet and time's ebb and flow was so absolute that it beggars the imagination, and it also asks us a question - could they bestow this power, if they did not have it themselves, and more besides?

We casually discuss the vast oceans of time that separate us from the Titans. Untold tens of thousands of years, perhaps more - indeed, none can say exactly how far in the past the Titans began their ordering of the universe, much less arrived to create Azeroth. Sargeras had already fallen to be the Dark Titan over 25,000 years ago, but how far before that is unknown to us. But it brings a question to mind - how could such powerful entities seemingly vanish? Why have they left their creations to their own devices? Why are emissaries such as Algalon watching over their creation, rather than the Titans themselves? Is it merely that they are so distant from mundane mortal concerns, living on a scale vastly beyond our comprehension?

I submit it is something else entirely. To determine what, we must look at their actions, and the servants they've chosen to enact their will.

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

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition: What are the Old Gods?

Know Your Lore, TFH Edition What are the Old Gods
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.

They are malignant entities, forces of chaos and destruction that were locked beneath Azeroth long, long before most of the sentient races we know today came to be. The Old Gods, horrific creatures capable of warping mind and thought, bending "lesser creatures" to their whim, once reigned supreme on Azeroth until they fell to the Titans. Yet they persisted still, even from within their prisons deep beneath the soil. C'thun, Yogg-Saron, N'zoth, and even the haunted last breaths of the Old God Y'Shaarj have presented a persistent menace that simply will not go away.

And according to at least some accounts told in Titan records, it's because they can't go away. They can't be killed. Destroying the Old Gods would result in the destruction of Azeroth itself, which is why the Titans chose to merely imprison them instead of flat-out destroy. But one question lingers, in the midst of all the this muddled history. Who -- or perhaps more appropriately, what -- are the Old Gods? Where did they come from? Which version of their history is correct ... or is the truth simply sitting somewhere in between the two?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on how it happened. 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: Who speaks for the orcs?

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 question asked via email this week on the podcast got me thinking: who is in charge of the orcs right now? All the other races of the Horde have their own faction leaders, but following Hellscream's defeat and the ascension of the new Warchief (following this paragraph, I will be using the name of the new Warchief, as Garrosh Hellscream has been available on LFR for a week now) this leads us to an unusual circumstance - for the first time ever, the Warchief is not an orc, and thus, not the direct faction leader for the orcs in addition to his role as overall leader of the Horde.

Now, for those of us who saw the cinematic, this question seems to have a simple answer: clearly Thrall is now in charge of the orcish people, yes? He is the first to kneel and proclaim that he will follow where the Warchief leads. However, upon several rewatchings, one thing is clear - he says he will follow. He doesn't claim to speak for anyone else.

This leads us to another question - if Thrall isn't to speak for the orcs, then who is? Of course, another question we could ask is, does it matter?

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

Know Your Lore: Which side is Wrathion on, anyway?

Know Your Lore Which side is Wrathion on, anyway
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.

Once upon a time, an egg from a corrupted flight of dragons was purified. Even before he hatched, the dragon in that egg began to plot and plan. His first step was freedom -- both from those who sought to contain him, and those who sought to kill him. The second, far larger step was born of a vision ... a terrifying vision of a precious, fragile world abruptly coming to a devastating end. Wrathion is one of the stranger characters to have been introduced in Warcraft. While his plans in Cataclysm were fairly straight forward, Mists has proven to be a far more complicated gambit.

And through all of the quests and all of the plans, Wrathion has remained as enigmatic as he was the first time rogues set eyes on him. He can be cruel, he can be downright merciless if the need calls for it. Yet at the same time, he seems to possess an altruistic capacity that we've simply never seen before from a black dragon. He'll promise the world to you, and then turn around and promise the same to your enemy. Is he bad? Is he good? Is he siding with the Alliance or Horde? What makes Wrathion tick, and just whose side is he on?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Do Not Despair

Know Your Lore Do Not Be
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.

Often, the most important things are lost in the crash of events. The tumultuous overthrow of the Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream, obscures events that occur elsewhere and the implications of those events. This is natural - Orgrimmar's siege was a pivotal moment in the history of Azeroth and its resolution changed the political landscape of the Horde and established the Alliance's willingness to come together. An untested Warchief now must contend with a Horde full of fractious leaders and the roar of the Lion is once again heard over Azeroth. These events, the culmination of a year spent exploring a new land, are not surprisingly dominant in our minds.

But in the end it is in Pandaria that the truth is revealed. The world has changed. A profound alteration to a land locked away for ten thousand years, imprisoned by pride. Events were set in motion by our discovery of the land behind the mists, but their final denouement was not on the floor of Garrosh Hellscream's bastion beneath the streets of Orgrimmar, but rather in the Vale he casually destroyed to fuel his ambitions.

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

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