Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag wow-role-playing

Know Your Lore: Which Horde is Which?

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 will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post

So you may be confused right now. With the soon to come introduction of the Iron Horde, we've entered a situation where we've got several different Hordes. There's the Old Horde, the original Horde that invaded Azeroth from Draenor. There's the New Horde, or Horde 2 if you prefer, the Horde put together by Thrall after he liberated the orc survivors from the Second War, leading them out of the internment camps and to the shores of Kalimdor. Along the way they picked up the tauren and Darkspear trolls as allies, and eventually the Forsaken, blood elves and Bilgewater goblins joined their ranks. This Horde is the Horde most players are still a part of. Meanwhile, at the same time, there was the Dark Horde, consisting of Blackrock orcs under the command of Rend Blackhand and his ultimate master, Nefarian.

During his reign as Warchief of the Horde (the New Horde, to be specific) Garrosh Hellscream recruited both the Blackrock and Dragonmaw orcs to join the Horde. But at the same time, he grew disenchanted with the other races of the Horde - goblins were too greedy, blood elves too mercurial, undead too loyal to Sylvanas and distasteful to his sensibilities, the Darkspear too loyal to their Vol'jin, and the tauren ultimately too bound to their own code of honor. It didn't help that he'd killed Cairne Bloodhoof and further alienated the tauren clan leader Baine, Cairne's son, with his actions. Soon, Garrosh found himself leading a Horde he didn't much trust or care for.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Warlord Grommash 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.

Strength personified. That might be the best way to describe Grommash Hellscream, leader of the Warsong clan, trusted friend of Thrall, father of Garrosh Hellscream, and the orc who killed Mannoroth and released the orcish race from their servitude to the Burning Legion. Certainly all of those accomplishments under his belt might make Grommash sound like a shining example of exemplary heroism to some ... but in truth, that's only part of the story.

Still, the tales of his father's heroic death were more than enough to spur Garrosh Hellscream from listless would-be leader of Garadar to Azeroth. They were enough to light a fire that fueled his leadership of the campaign against the Lich King in Northrend. They were more than enough to fill Garrosh's heart with pride at the thought of a Horde war machine, one that he led with steadfast dedication as Warchief. But Garrosh's heart is the heart of a Hellscream, and another look at Grommash Hellscream's past shows that Hellscream's son is very much cut from the same cloth as his father.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Garrosh, Gul'dan, and 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.

Who is Garrosh Hellscream? And what, exactly, is his game? In the end, what is Garrosh ultimately looking for ... and what will he sacrifice to get it? It's one of those lingering questions from Mists of Pandaria that remains as of yet unanswered, but we're beginning to see the bits and pieces of the story, and we'll see more as Warlords is released and the new expansion's story unfolds. For now though, that question still plagues players -- what is Garrosh after? Why did he spurn the idea of warlocks in Siege of Orgrimmar, going so far as to have them strung up in the streets, yet embrace the methods of the dark shaman?

Garrosh isn't a character that can be easily understood. His motives -- and his morals -- seem to be all over the place, switching from merciful to merciless in an instant. And yet he's not the only piece to this puzzle -- in Warlords of Draenor, Gul'dan is already showing his face as a pretty prominent figure. Obviously Garrosh Hellscream knew of the Legion's evil when he traveled to this alternate Draenor -- he knew of his father's downfall. So why is Gul'dan still alive? Why wouldn't Hellscream, upon traveling to this alternate Draenor so similar to his own, flat out murder Gul'dan on sight and be done with it?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: The Deceiver Awaits

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.

Sargeras is of course more powerful. Archimonde more directly destructive. But for sheer malice, for spite, for a turn of mind so devious and sinister that it pursues vengeance for over 25,000 years for the slight of not wanting to become a monster, you can never find evil more cunning and persistent than that of Kil'jaeden the Deceiver.

Make no mistake. Even Gul'dan pales in comparison to the hate, greed, and wanton cruelty that motivates Kil'jaeden. The demon lord par excellence, when we look at many of the greatest ills of the modern age it was the hand of the Deceiver that shaped them. The corruption of the orcs? The creation of the Scourge and the Lich King? The Third War? Others may have taken these actions, pursued them to their ultimate conclusion, but it was the mind of the Deceiver that brought them forth and worked to make them a reality. Indeed, it's fair to say that Kil'jaeden is often far more successful when he can resist taking an active hand in events - his most recent defeat at the Sunwell took place because he chose to attempt what Sargeras had failed to do and what had killed Archimonde, namely the bodily invasion of Azeroth proper.

So let us look now upon the Deceiver, lord of lies, spreader of falsehood - liar and betrayer of betrayers.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: 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.

They are enigmatic overlords of the universe as we know it, creatures of order and perfection, bent on a seemingly never-ending task of remaking worlds and creating order from the inherent chaos of the Great Dark Beyond. Titans, marvels largely beyond our comprehension, yet intrinsically tied to the creation of our world, and the unique place that Azeroth holds in the universe. Of all the worlds in all of the Great Dark Beyond, Azeroth was spared. Of all the worlds in the Great Dark Beyond, Azeroth warranted a second chance, despite being riddled with the corruption of the Old Gods.

But the choice that the Titans made thousands upon thousands of years ago is something we know about. It's been covered again and again, we've found artifacts strewn all over Azeroth that attest to the planet's unique history. And certainly we've asked, time and time again, why Azeroth is so unique, what makes it so special in the universe. But maybe that's the wrong question to be asking, because there are plenty of worlds out there that have been touched by the hands of the Titans. Nearly all of them. We share things in common -- both draenei and natives of Azeroth practice working with the Light. Both Azeroth and Draenor have, at some point, been touched by the Old Gods.

So maybe we should be turning that line of questioning the other way. Maybe what we should be asking is a question that never, ever gets asked -- what are the Titans?

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.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Ashbringer, Alexandros Mograine

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.

Unlike other KYL's we've written here, this one's actually about two things - a person, and a weapon. The weapon is one of the most powerful ever forged, crafted by the hand of a dwarven king mourning a brother he believed slain, made with a chunk of crystal from another world. The man was a tireless crusader for his people, who stood against the forces of the Scourge - and when he did, whole armies of the undead were as ash.

We speak of both, for both were the Ashbringer. But to speak of the blade, first we have to speak of the man - for it was by the actions of Alexandros Mograine that the blade came into existence.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Quests, story, and you in 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.

A new expansion is certainly about delivering new content, but it's also a vehicle for story progression -- and the end of Mists of Pandaria left behind plenty of questions waiting to be answered. Unfortunately, any questions having to do with Pandaria or Azeroth will have to wait, as we have other, more pressing matters to think about. In Warlords of Draenor, the Iron Horde looms just over the horizon, a threat eerily reminiscent of the old Horde that began the First War so many years ago. Except the Iron Horde is stronger, more organized, and bolstered by the knowledge of just what's on the other side of that Dark Portal they are constructing, thanks to Garrosh Hellscream.

That story, the story of Warlords of Draenor, is taking us in a different kind of direction, the likes of which we haven't seen before. While Mists may have pushed the button on innovation as far as max-level content was concerned, its seemingly never-ending cycle of daily quests upon daily quests quickly grew from entertainment to frustration as players quickly grew tired of the cycle of daily gated content and rewards. Warlords has none of that -- but it does have a whole host of new ways to make the story feel important, without overpowering how the player approaches the game.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains small spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The terrifying, living world 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.

We don't really know much about Draenor. Certainly we know plenty about Outland, the shattered remains of a world once called Draenor, but that shattered world is a mere remnant of what Draenor actually was. In the Warcraft cosmos, the only planet we are incredibly familiar with is Azeroth -- and even then, Azeroth holds plenty of mysteries and riddles that have yet to be solved. But Draenor bears very little resemblance to Azeroth, touted instead as a savage land on which we'll have to fight to survive.

That statement is far more literal than you'd think. And if you thought the Iron Horde was the biggest problem we were going to face on Draenor, you'd be very, very wrong. In a universe of benevolent Titans, bastions of order, what makes a planet fight not just with aggressive invading forces, but itself?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

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.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Stranger in your homeland

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 kind of want to change gears this week. I assume if you read this column, you have a passing interest in Warcraft's lore and story. So instead of picking apart the Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge experiences from a lore perspective (and believe me, I'll be doing that in the future) I thought we could take a look at what it feels like to play through both starting zones as a member of the race that dominates the experience. This column will be about the disconnect of playing through Tanaan and SMV as a draenei -- there will be a follow up about the experience of playing through Tanaan and Frostfire as an orc. Spoilers are likely unavoidable. So from this point on, be aware of them.

For me this is one of Warlords' big strengths as a story, the way the characters are in a place that's familiar, but not too familiar. Even if you're playing a tauren or undead in Frostfire or a gnome or dwarf in SMV, it's possible to have that feeling of almost but not quite when you go there. I think it's stronger in Shadowmoon for a variety of reasons -- it's a classic BC zone (Frostfire seems to be half of the Blade's Edge Mountains) and there are quite a few moments where you feel a sense of twisted, broken recognition - the fact that the Alliance player garrison seems to be almost right on top of where the Horde starting base in the zone was, the first time you approach Karabor and see the structure dominating the region.

But playing a draenei, it's another step into the weird. Because here are your people, and yet, they don't recognize you.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Yrel, Draenor's Light

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.

At the moment, we've only got two full zones open in the Warlords of Draenor beta -- Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley. Also open is the introductory lead-in to Draenor through the Tanaan Jungle. It's there that we first meet her, fairly unassuming and not exactly remarkable in any way. Yrel was first mentioned at BlizzCon during the story and lore panel -- a draenei whose story was going to be a major part of the Warlords expansion, the comparison made that she is a Joan of Arc-like figure.

We've only seen the first few steps of Yrel's journey so far in the beta, so the accuracy of that comparison remains to be seen. But Yrel, unassuming as she may seem, already appears to hold a bright spot in the canvas of Draenor's future. So just who is this draenei, and what makes her a lore figure to watch for?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoiler content, turn away!

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Shadowmoon Valley and the Dark Star

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.

Warning - there will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post. Specifically for the Shadowmoon Valley zone.

One of the most fascinating things for me about the unfolding lore in this first zone is the new vision of the draenei it provides us. Far from the ragtag band of embittered survivors clinging on to a crashed dimension ship, the draenei of Warlords are a proud society of expatriated beings who are caught between conflicting impulses. Do they fight to hold on to the world they were forced to leave and its ancient ways, or do they adopt new ones to become more fully part of the world they find themselves on? And how many times have they had to make this choice?

As you quest through the zone, you come to discover that Shadowmoon Valley wasn't chosen as a draenei holy spot through random chance - the interaction between the draenei and the orcs in this area presages developments in other parts of the world. Just as the draenei have had to choose how they will adapt to a new world, the orcs of the Shadowmoon Clan were forced to contend with a power they did not understand. Each exists in a kind of opposition to the other, and the choices of one affect how the other develops.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Resurgence of the Infinite Dragonflight

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.

Long ago, the Titans empowered five dragons with unique abilities and powers, entrusting to them the protection of Azeroth itself. While each had their own specialization with its own odd foibles, none were as strange as the task set to Nozdormu. Aman'Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon, entrusted Nozdormu with the task of watching over time -- to guard the myriad paths of time and keep them pure. A strange task, to be certain, and one with a heck of a lot of power involved. To keep Nozdormu from abusing that power or thinking that he answered to no one, he was given the knowledge of the exact moment of his demise.

Yet somewhere in one of those myriad timelines, this apparently wasn't enough. Somewhere, somewhen, Deathwing prevailed and brought about the Hour of Twilight, leaving Nozdormu a haunted, twisted version of his former self -- a version that cared little for the restrictions or rules bestowed by the Titans, and cared much more for preserving his own skin and preventing his own death. The twisted version called himself Murozond, first of the Infinite Dragonflight, intent on bending time and changing events solely for the purpose of evading his inevitable demise. We defeated Murozond in End Time, and prevented the Hour of Twilight from taking place. But have we actually saved Nozdormu? Have we secured time itself?

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: The time-travel fallacy of Warlords

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.

Ever since the announcement of Warlords of Draenor, most players -- including myself, to a degree -- have been under the assumption that this is an expansion involving time-travel of some sort. Sure, supposedly we as players aren't traveling in time, but Garrosh Hellscream did so, to an alternate version of Draenor whose history he presumably changed. Now instead of invading Azeroth as we're accustomed to, this altered version of Draenor and its Iron Horde are attempting to invade the here and now.

Only there's one key thing we've been missing -- this isn't time travel. Not in the slightest. After playing on beta for a mere few hours, what Blizzard is doing is something entirely different. While we've been focusing on time travel and how this would affect our future, Blizzard has been quietly putting together a story with some far-reaching, drastic implications that may very well take everything we know about World of Warcraft, stand it on end, and knock it over with one well-placed blow.

Spoiler Alert: The following column contains a couple of fairly large spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding expansion information and discussion, do not continue.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: Three Mages of 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.

Last week, we talked about mages. This week, we talk about specific mages. Because for better or worse, mages have changed the very face of Azeroth and much of its history has been in reaction to them and their eternal quest for knowledge and power. And certainly, not always for the better.

After all, it was the Highborne, specifically the cadre of Highborne mages under Xavius who served Queen Azshara who tapped into the power of the Well of Eternity in a mad effort to bring forth Sargeras into Azeroth. They weren't warlocks or priests or druids - they were mages, the rulers of a mage-ruled society (Azshara herself was terrifyingly adept with the art of the mage) and their desire to understand had warped into an obsession with control. They wanted total mastery over the Well of Eternity and the potent arcane power it loosed into Azeroth -- understanding it was no longer enough when dominance seemed within their reach, and it drove them mad.

The path of the mage is, in its way, the most demanding of any because it requires the discipline of a skilled warrior and the flexibility of mind of the greatest sage. You must dominate the self, control your own inherent desires rather than be controlled by them. Even mages as great and powerful as Aegwynn failed because they lost the battle between the personal and the universal.

Today we'll look at mages throughout Azeroth's history and discuss their role in events.

Read more →

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

Know Your Lore: The Watchers of the kaldorei

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.

Kaldorei society and rank has always been complex. Queen Azshara had her court, the Highborne represented the upper reaches of society, and those chosen Highborne were magic users of particular skill and prowess. On the other end of the spectrum were the Sisters of Elune, kaldorei priestesses who were dedicated to the worship of the moon goddess Elune. And somewhere in between were the druids, primarily male kaldorei who followed Malfurion Stormrage after the War of the Ancients and Sundering were over, eventually founding the Cenarion Circle.

In between them all were the Watchers, a group established after the War of the Ancients that survives to this day. Not only has it survived, it's apparently thriving enough that some of these Watchers will be making an appearance in Warlords of Draenor. While the depth of their appearance and how much they will be contributing to the new expansion's story remains to be seen, it's worth it to take a look at this organization, how it came to be, and perhaps the most notorious Watcher of them all -- Maiev Shadowsong.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories