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Know Your Lore: The Blood Knights

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, we discussed the story behind the paladin's charger -- a unique mount that both dwarf and human paladins could obtain in vanilla WoW, and in Burning Crusade, the draenei. In addition to the draenei, Burning Crusade also introduced blood elves, and blood elf paladins. Unlike the noble paladins of the Alliance, these Blood Knights took the Light by force, siphoning it from the captured naaru M'uru and bending it to their whim.

Although the events of Burning Crusade and the restoration of the Sunwell dramatically changed the Blood Knights method of operation, we can't really forget where their origins began. It was a much darker place, a place born of Light lost, and the desperation of a downtrodden people to prove to the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with -- and perhaps prove the same to themselves, as well.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Famous Warlocks

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.

Yesterday, we covered the warlock as a class, discussing their motivations and history. Today, we're going to talk about specific warlocks. Now, one warlock we're not going to talk about is Gul'dan, not because he doesn't deserve it, but because we've covered the guy. We have covered the heck out of Gul'dan. It's not that he didn't deserve it. He did. But it's been done. Likewise, other important warlocks, like Archimonde the Defiler, have been covered as well. However, there are still a great many warlocks to discuss, from the six masters of the Council of the Black Harvest to lords of the Shadow Council, and its subsidiaries such as the Argus Wake, the Burning Blade, the Cult of the Dark Strand and others.

When talking of the individual warlock, we must remember the most important and powerful living warlock, Kil'jaeden the Deceiver. With the death of Archimonde and the absence of Sargeras (at least as far as we can tell) Kil'jaeden is the de factor commander of the entire Burning Legion, and therefore, in terms of raw power and knowledge first among warlocks. This does not mean he rules warlocks as some sort of leader, as Darion Mograine does for death knights, for warlocks have no ruler. Indeed, almost every living warlock would love to wrest from Kil'jaeden his over 25,000 years of experience and knowledge -- if it weren't for the fact that they would have to face him in order to make the attempt.

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

Know Your Lore: The Lore of the Warlock

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 warlock may be one of the most interesting classes in terms of its lore in the whole World of Warcraft - warlocks come from many roots, as many different people throughout history have succumbed to the lure of absolute power offered by the demonic beings of the Twisting Nether. In terms of chronological history, the warlock dates back to the time before the fall of Sargeras, when the corrupting Nathrezim would offer demonic secrets to mortals and use them to help unmake their own worlds. Sargeras defeated the Nathrezim (today known as Dreadlords) but their all-consuming evil and corruption bothered him greatly. In a way, they successfully corrupted a Titan, for it was in contemplating what their existence meant for the cosmos that Sargeras fell, becoming the Dark Titan who would come to create the Burning Legion.

The first beings to call themselves warlocks, as far as we know, are the eredar. Once corrupted by Sargeras, the arcane mages of their race abandoned their study of the mystical forces of creation, favoring the destructive power of the Twisting Nether and the demons that served the Dark Titan. As great as they were as mages, the newly fallen eredar became warlocks of astonishing power. The eredar warlock tradition would become the most widespread - warlocks from the satyrs to the orcs owe their warlocks to those of the Legion. But make no mistake - it is impossible to assume that the warlock you may happen to be dealing with is beholden to the Legion. Many, if not most, serve no other master than themselves.

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Know Your Lore: The paladin's charger

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 steed of a paladin isn't your typical mount. Unlike the early mounts of vanilla, it never existed as a physical object -- it was a spell cast by the paladin that summoned the steed from nowhere. In later years, it has since joined the rest of Warcraft's steeds on the mount tab, but for the longest time, the charger could only be found in the paladin's spellbook. This was no ordinary mount -- and its origins were also far from ordinary. While blood elves, draenei, and tauren were later introduced and given unique mounts of their own, in the original game the paladin class and its unique steed were only available to humans and dwarves.

Unfortunately, the days of tracking down and compiling the elusive materials needed to harness a charger have disappeared since the release of Cataclysm, which saw both the quest chain for the Alliance, as well as the chain introduced for the Horde, removed in patch 4.0.1. But although the paladin's charger can now simply be learned at the appropriate level, there was a time where obtaining that steed was a much more difficult task, one with a unique and interesting tale behind it. As is only appropriate for a paladin, it's a tale of Light lost, a tale of redemption and hope.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Azeroth before the First War

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 was Azeroth like before the coming of the orcs? What were its kingdoms, what were its people, where did they live and what were their lives like? It's an interesting question to contemplate. With the coming of Warlords of Draenor we're about to see a Draenor that diverged from our history... but we won't get to see Azeroth. What would it be like, this world that would never have seen the invasion of Gul'dan's bloodthirsty fel-tainted Horde? No Orgrim Doomhammer to slay the Shadow Council and raze Stormwind's walls, no Garona to strike down a king at exactly the right moment. The barrier that kept Kalimdor hidden from the Eastern Kingdoms still stood. Pandaria was a long lost fantasy. Northrend was a distant and mostly unexplored realm which few had ever seen.

Let's go back in time to the sometimes seen as idyllic days before the orcs came. Was it as perfect as we're led to believe? Did the peoples of Azeroth live in a paradise, unspoiled by war?

No. No they did not.

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

Know Your Lore: What we know 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.

There's been a lot of discussion about Warlords of Draenor ever since the expansion was announced at BlizzCon last year. The new content focuses around the world of Draenor -- an alternate version of the world we explored in Burning Crusade, one in which the Burning Legion never sank its claws into the orcish race and instead, the Iron Horde rose to take the world by force, then move in on Azeroth. It's a different kind of concept, one that might seem a little far-fetched even, until you realize we're playing in a universe where dragons, goblins, and the even the walking dead exist -- not to mention the giant humanoid talking cows.

But what seems to be concerning people the most is that the story of Warlords, despite being described as "the Alliance's finest hour," seems to be focused almost entirely on orcs. Orc warlords, orc clans, orc attacks, with little left to interest the player other than the potential of Garrisons, which aren't a story element so much as an active part of gameplay. So what gives? Are we jumping the gun on judging the expansion's lore? What do we really know about what's coming in Warlords, story-wise?

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

Know Your Lore: The Kaiju of Azeroth and Outland

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.

Okay, let's just put our cards on the table. I just saw Godzilla, I liked it, and now we're going to do a KYL about giant monsters in World of Warcraft because I'm still all sorts of giant monster marking out. So here goes another list. What are the rules? Simple. It has to be a giant. How big is giant? It's sort of a you know it when you see it but to give you an idea, High King Maulgar isn't big enough.

Also, if there are two giant monsters that are exactly the same, I'm only using one of them.

So let's get on board the monster train. This isn't a worst to best style list - it's just giant monsters, robots, and other critters.

The Fel Reaver

Yes, the Fel Reaver. While Void Reaver might be the one that drops the better loot, the Fel Reaver was the monstrous robot that made us all wet ourselves when we first stepped through the Dark Portal and began exploring Hellfire Peninsula. The Fel Reaver made such an impression that many of us will stop in Hellfire even today just to kill it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Wrathion's duty

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.

Wrathion is one of those unique and entertaining characters who appeared out of nowhere and managed a staggering degree of complexity in just a few short years in game. Although he was not introduced by name until the tail end of Cataclysm, his origins began when the expansion revamped level 1-60 content and consequentially introduced a bizarre and touching origin story in the Badlands. It wasn't until the legendary quest chain for rogues that we got a real look at Wrathion, newly hatched and remarkably intelligent for his age.

Once his tasks for rogues were over at the end of the expansion, Wrathion departed -- and then promptly showed up again in Mists of Pandaria, in a far more extensive role that stretched the length of the expansion, and beyond. But one thing has always been incredibly unclear -- exactly what Wrathion is up to, and why he is doing what he's doing. He's given us a reasonable enough answer, but can we really trust the last remaining member of a dragonflight known for lies, deceit, and evil, even if he is supposedly uncorrupted?

Please note: The following column contains spoilers for War Crimes. If you're mid-book, or have yet to read it, you might want to come back when you're finished with it.

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

Know Your Lore: When did Garrosh Hellscream go?

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.

Yes, we're still spoiling War Crimes. After this sentence, the spoilers.

No, man. I wasn't kidding. That's not cool to jump to the next sentence to see if that's where the spoilers were. Let it be on your head if you are spoiled, for spoilers there will be.

Anyway, at the end of War Crimes, through chicanery, trickery, and dragon interference, Garrosh Hellscream escapes his trial. He appears in what the bronze dragon Kairoz claims to be Nagrand, a Nagrand that does not lie on a shattered continent drifting in the Twisting Nether, but rather on a whole, intact world. The last scene of the book is Garrosh hearing the name Hellscream called out, and turning to behold his own father Grommash screaming the Warsong Clan's traditional battle cry (the one the clan is named for) and holding forth Gorehowl, without any sign of the demonic taint he gained when he drank the blood of Mannorth in our history. This means this - we know Garrosh escaped to the past of his home world before Grommash drank the blood. We already knew this.

But by showing us Grommash, untainted and present as Garrosh arrives, it tells us a few things. The first is that the Draenor we'll be visiting diverged from the history we know before Grommash drank the demon blood, but he was at least an adult if not outright chieftain of the Warsong when Garrosh arrived. This gives us a limited window - Garrosh didn't travel back sixty or so years, he could have traveled back no more than 40 or so. (Grommash was said to be 46 during the Third War, which was roughly ten years ago. If Garrosh traveled back 40 years, Grommash would be in his teens, not the adult warrior wielding Gorehowl that we see.) This means that certain things from Rise of the Horde must have already happened in our alternate Draenor.

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

Know Your Lore: The trial of Garrosh Hellscream

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.

War Crimes, the latest novel from Christie Golden, released earlier this week. In the book we finally see the trial of Garrosh Hellscream -- former Warchief of the Horde, apprehended during the final moments of the Siege of Orgrimmar. We aren't going to be talking too in-depth about plot points and book spoilers in this column. We'll save that for next week. But we are going to talk about Garrosh Hellscream, the Alliance, the Horde, and the trial itself -- the need for a trial at all.

Because let's face it: Garrosh Hellscream is a murderer. He slew countless victims, both Alliance and Horde. He decimated Theramore. He decided to ally with those that Warchief Thrall had blatantly turned away, and even directed the Horde to attack, during his reign. He didn't so much try and redesign the Horde as he did give it a gut job, tear it down from the inside out, and try to rebuild it even stronger. He's guilty. He's beyond guilty. There isn't really any need to prove what he's done, the evidence is permanently etched into Azeroth -- the crater left where Theramore once stood.

Why on earth would a confirmed killer need a trial?

Please note: The following column has a few minor spoilers for War Crimes. If you're mid-book, or have yet to read it, you might want to come back when you're finished with it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Kairoz and his plans

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'd better believe there's going to be spoilers for War Crimes and Warlords of Draenor in this one, folks. If you're still reading, I can only assume you're absolutely fine with this. Because man oh man, are they coming.

If you played World of Warcraft during the patch 5.4 period, and you did any of the Timeless Isle, you probably know who Kairoz is. Kairoz, or Kairozdormu, is a bronze dragon that we first met on that aforementioned Timeless Isle, where he enlists players to aid him in the creation of a device known as the Vision of Time. After helping him do so by collecting mysterious Epoch Stones, which are infused with the bizarre magical power that keeps the Timeless Isle from being affected by the normal flow of time, Kairoz sends you to use the artifact in the very midst of the conflict between those forces loyal to then-Warchief Garrosh Hellscream and those seeking to depose him.

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

Who I want to see in Warlords of Draenor: Gorgonna

I'm aware that Gorgonna would have been a young child on Draenor, if she was even born there at all. (Both Gorgonna and her sister Krenna grew up in the internment camps and could easily have been born during or even after the Second War.) I'm not talking about the alternate version of her - I'm talking about the Gorgonna who killed her own sister for the Horde, the one who took command of Conquest Hold when Nazgrim just stood there looking silly.

I don't have anything against Nazzy, mind you - he died for the Horde and all that - but Gorgonna displayed a knowledge of right and wrong and an ethical sense that the Horde desperately needs going into Warlords and one I'd very much like to see in action. The Horde is going to need seasoned commanders as it goes through the portal to Draenor, and Gorgonna would be a good choice.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The Arakkoa

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 one of the most ancient races on Draenor, according to relics found in Outland. Yet the arakkoa initially seemed far from any kind of enlightened society when players first met them in Burning Crusade. Certainly, they had the numbers to indicate a vast civilization -- but the arakkoa always felt like a footnote to Outland, filler rather than an important part of what made Draenor what it was, or an integral part of the Burning Crusade storyline. After all, it was all about the orcs, the draenei, and the Burning Legion -- the comings and goings of bird-people didn't really factor into the mix.

Which may be just the way the arakkoa like it. Fairly reclusive, the arakkoa don't go out of their way to tell strangers of their past. Yet even though there is little to be found where the arakkoa are concerned, the small pieces we've managed to glean point to a far more complex society than the arakkoa are willing to divulge. And in Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally be able to see the arakkoa soar -- and maybe even unravel some of the secrets of this reclusive race.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Trolls Ascendant

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 Darkspear Trolls are, as of the end of Mists of Pandaria, the most powerful tribe of trolls in all of Azeroth. Their leader, Vol'jin, sits atop the Horde as its new Warchief, the first non-orc ever to hold that title. In their time with the Horde, the Darkspears have weathered many challenges - the initial travails of their escape from the Sea Witch and the death of Sen'jin to the rise of Garrosh Hellscream and the reclamation of the Echo Isles, and most recently the ultimately successful Darkspear Rebellion that deposed Garrosh.

Once, the Darkspear were the smallest and least respected of all the jungle trolls - cast out of Stranglethorn Vale by the more numerous and aggressive Gurubashi, they came to inhabit the islands of the South Seas, where Thrall and his orcs encountered them. It's amazing to think about how these bedraggled, oppressed trolls managed to become so powerful a force. In part, it must be credited to Vol'jin. Following Garrosh Hellscream's attempt to assassinate the Darkspear chieftain, it was Vol'jin who ultimately united and led the Horde against the warchief.

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The whereabouts of Medivh

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.
As for me, I came back to ensure that there would be a future, to teach the world that it no longer needed Guardians. The hope for future generations has always resided in mortal hands. And now that my task is done, I will take my place amongst the legends of the past.

Medivh, former Guardian of Azeroth, had a tough life to put it mildly. Born to a mother who had him solely to insure that her powers passed on to someone of her choosing, Medivh was promptly left to be raised by his father, Stormwind's court conjurer Nielas Aran. When he reached the age of fourteen, Medivh came into the powers he'd inherited -- and promptly killed his father when those powers were unleashed, sinking into a twenty-year coma from which he eventually awakened, now in his mid-30's and a fully grown man.

Yet that wasn't all that he had to contend with. He also carried within himself the spirit of Sargeras, fallen Titan and leader of the Burning Legion. Sargeras used Medivh as if he were a puppet, orchestrating the opening of the Dark Portal and unleashing the orc Horde on Azeroth. He was ultimately stopped when his plans were uncovered and he was confronted by Garona, Anduin Lothar, and his apprentice, Khadgar -- and lost his head in the process. Oddly enough, Medivh came back years later to orchestrate the unification of orc, human and night elf troops to defeat Archimonde at Hyjal, before disappearing for good. Or what seemed like it was for good.

But have we really seen the last of Medivh?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation 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

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