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Dawn of the Aspects Part 1 to release February 2013

Dawn of the Aspects Part 1 to release February 2013
Part one of World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects will see its release a little later than previous reported at NYCC last year. Simon & Schuster currently has the release date set for February 19, 2013. Unlike previous Warcraft novels, Dawn of the Aspects will be released in parts as an ebook rather than a print novel. Part one will be available for $1.99, with four more parts to follow over the coming year. And for those that can't wait, we've got an exclusive look at the full cover for the upcoming novel after the break.

Penned by Richard Knaak, Dawn of the Aspects explores the relationship between the proto-drakes of Northrend and the Aspects of here and now. Even though Deathwing has been taken care of and the Hour of Twilight has been halted, the question of what comes next for the Dragon Aspects is still unanswered. With their powers expended, how can any of the Aspects, or even dragonkind for that matter, hope to still make a difference in the world?

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Filed under: News items, Lore

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm for Dummies, Act II

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.

So, Act I of our Cataclysm for Dummies guide went over the basics of Cataclysm -- how it came to be, just who that Deathwing guy is, anyway, and why he's so annoyed with the world in general. We also found out why we're going to all those new level 80 to 85 zones and, more importantly, why we're wandering around in three different raids in three completely different locations around the world. If you made it through the basics, congratulations! You're caught up through patch 4.0.

But we're in patch 4.3, aren't we? And you've probably still got questions. Questions like: What's up with the troll dungeons -- didn't we kill those guys already? And why did we have to go fight Ragnaros again? Why is Thrall friendly as all get-out with the Dragon Aspects? Why do we have to do all this silly time travel? The good news is, by the time you're done reading this guide, you'll totally understand what Cataclysm is all about.

Please note: There are spoilers here for the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. If you're still planning on reading it, you may want to do so before you hit this recap.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm lore for Dummies, Act I

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.

Are you super familiar with Warcraft lore? Can you name all the dragon aspects, what they were created for, where they got their powers? Do you have a working definition of the Dragon Soul, what it is, what its other name is, and why it's important? Do you know who Sinestra was before she was a torn-up, reanimated corpse in the bottom of the Bastion of Twilight? Are you related to the Red Shirt Guy? Are you the Red Shirt Guy? Then this post is likely not for you.

But if you've been running the Raid Finder like a fiend, killing dragons and elementals and minions left and right, and suddenly found yourself wondering why, exactly, you were fighting in Wyrmrest Temple, this is for you. If you're wondering why Thrall is suddenly pals with the Dragon Aspects, this is for you. If you're wondering why exactly Deathwing is such a huge major threat and what's with all this running around you have to do, this one is for you.

Let's take a quick sweep through the entirety of Cataclysm and recap what's happened. Better yet, let's sum up.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Light and How to Swing It: Blinding Ultraxion with the Holy Light

ultraxion
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

As the fifth boss of Dragon Soul, Ultraxion is the gateway boss to pursuing Deathwing and stopping the second cataclysm. While Thrall and the dragon aspects are busy with the Dragon Soul itself, we're tasked with defending Wyrmrest Temple from Ultraxion's assaults. Simple, right?

Ultraxion is an incredibly simple fight for tanks and damage dealers. In fact, it's already being called the Patchwerk-fight of this tier. Aside from a few extra button presses, non-healers are simply tasked with bringing Ultraxion down as quickly as possible. Healers, on the other hand, play a very special role in this fight. We're fighting against rapidly increasing AoE damage to the raid, and the aspects themselves step in to help us accomplish our task. Ultraxion is the healer-centric fight of this tier, like Baleroc and Chimaeron before him.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm's end

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.

Patch 4.3 signifies the end of the story of Cataclysm, the moment of Deathwing's demise. Much like patch 3.3 before it, 4.3 features three dungeons that are directly related to the endgame content -- what you do in the dungeons is 100% part of the story that leads to the Dragon Soul raid. So we have End Time, the Well of Eternity, and the Hour of Twilight, all three offering different parts to this story.

All of this information has led to hundreds of questions. If we kill Murozond, what happens to that alternate future? If we take the Dragon Soul from the past, doesn't that mean our future is irrevocably altered? Perhaps most important is the last cinematic for the Dragon Soul fight, which was leaked earlier this week and raises way more questions than it answers.

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore is full of spoilers for patch 4.3 -- we're talking everything from the story behind the new heroics to the new short story to the end of the Dragon Soul raid. It also holds spoilers for the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. If you're avoiding spoiler content, turn away now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Blizzard short stories continue with "Charge of the Aspects"

Blizzard's run of short stories continues not with another highlighted leader but with an event: the release of patch 4.3. Charge of the Aspects picks up on the slopes of Hyjal, where the Cenarion Circle and Earthen Ring seek to heal the earth after Ragnaros' defeat. Though Ragnaros has fallen, something must be done to put an end to Deathwing's reign of terror and to prevent the horrors of the Hour of Twilight that threatens us all. The story highlights the Aspect's decision to use the Dragon Soul against Deathwing and where Thrall fits into the plan.

The story was written by Matt Burns, the author who gave us the excellent leader short story The Council of the Three Hammers: Fire and Iron earlier this year. Council was a well-written and gripping tale, and Charge of the Aspects follows in its footsteps. In particular, the plight of Nozdormu as he struggles with his duty and the grim nature of his fate is fascinating. The story also gives us a brief glimpse into the mind of a maddened Deathwing and just what he thinks of the Titans' charge.

Check out the story on the official site. If you have any questions about the new heroics or how they came to pass, this sets them up quite nicely.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The Dragon Soul

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 was a tiny, small, inconsequential disc. Golden in color, simple in appearance, the talisman was far more dangerous than any could comprehend. Well ... almost anyone. The goblin servants of Neltharion, the Earth-Warder, created the object, and even they weren't truly aware of just how terrible that creation truly was. For the golden disc held not only the power to tear through the Burning Legion; it held the power to control every dragon, every flight in the world -- with the exception of Neltharion, of course.

For he would rule them all. The voices told him so and promised him glory above all creatures of the world, mortal or immortal, no matter how insignificant. The Burning Legion was simply an army of pests to be eliminated, as were the kaldorei; the War of the Ancients was a petty squabble marring the glorious moment of his ascension. It was only a matter of time.

The Dragon Soul was perhaps the most dangerous creation in existence, and it was held in the claws of a dragon that was most certainly completely insane.

Today's Know Your Lore contains some information regarding Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects, the 4.3 5-man dungeons and the Dragon Soul raid. If you're avoiding spoilers, I'd skip this for now.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The Wyrmrest Accord and the order of the world

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 dragonflights may have been created at the same time, but for the thousands of years they've existed on Azeroth, they've hardly been friendly with one another. It started with the Black Dragonflight and Neltharion's betrayal during the War of the Ancients. In the moment that Neltharion took the name Deathwing, in the moments thereafter during which he destroyed nearly all of the Blue Dragonflight with the Demon Soul -- in those moments, the dragonflights were introduced to a new concept: deception. It was unthinkable that any dragon would deliberately seek to harm another, and yet it happened.

The fallout was immediate. Malygos, driven mad by the betrayal of one of his closest friends and the loss of his flight, fled to Northrend. In his madness, he split the Nexus from the rest of the land, separating Coldarra from the rest of the Borean Tundra. And then he stayed there, alone in his despair and insanity, refusing all visitors in his grief. The Blue Dragonflight crumpled, held up only by those who stood and tried their best to hold together the shattered remnants of the flight.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Insider reviews Christie Golden's Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects

Just under 10 years ago, on Oct. 1, 2001, a novel was released as a new addition to the Warcraft universe that would change the history and lore of the games forever. Lord of the Clans outlined the history and childhood of a young orc named Thrall. Son of Durotan and Draka, the former slave would break free from his imprisonment at the hands of Aedelas Blackmoore, step forward to unite the shattered and lethargic clans of the orcs, and lead the Horde in a manner that none that had played the original Warcraft games could possibly comprehend at that point in time.

Almost a year later, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was released, and that orc's journey from the beleaguered, Scourge-ridden lands of the Eastern Kingdoms to the dusty and barren shores of Kalimdor was told in a tale that captured the hearts of players. No longer simply a character in a novel, Thrall's travels and ultimate triumph, united with the night elves and humans at the peaks of Mount Hyjal and working as one to defeat Archimonde, would forever seal his place as true Warchief of the Horde.

It is only appropriate then that the latest novel written for the Warcraft franchise, detailing the further journeys of Thrall, be undertaken by the woman who started it all -- Christie Golden. Not just an author with a host of Warcraft novels under her belt, Golden is the voice of the former Warchief, the author who gave him a life of his own. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects continues the journey that Thrall began nearly 10 years ago -- and what a journey it is.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Cenarius, Malorne, and Ysera

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.

He is the Lord of the Forest, a union of the heavens, and the earth. One of the most powerful and influential demigods in Azeroth, Cenarius and his teachings have led to the development of the druids, and no other demigod has been as closely involved with mortal affairs. It's no surprise that the son of an Ancient and the closest thing Azeroth has to a goddess is so powerful -- and his connection to the Aspect Ysera made him even more so.

He is the White Stag or Apa'ro, as the tauren call him. Malorne, an Ancient who served as a protector of nature, was rumored to have roamed the forests of Azeroth long before the night elves ever came into existence. He is the father of Cenarius, and unlike his son, he meddles little with the affairs of mortals. But his love with the goddess Elune resulted in the birth of his son, and his later association with Ysera guaranteed his son would be raised safely and with the right kind of guidance.

She is the Dreamer, Aspect of Nature and guardian of the Emerald Dream. Ysera has always been held in high regard by the night elves, who were bound to the Emerald Dream with Ysera's blessing. But her relationship with Malorne resulted in a son she didn't expect. Though not his mother by birth, Ysera was just as much a mother to Cenarius as Elune -- perhaps more. After all, it was Ysera and the Emerald Dream that helped shape Cenarius into the demigod we know today.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Hyjal

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine (in our own opinions and words) what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape. Join us for a discussion about Cataclysm's new level 80 to 85 content and what made the cut as the most compelling experiences.

Hyjal is home to the majestic world tree Nordrassil, once under siege by the Burning Legion and Archimonde, an eredar leader and lieutenant of Sargeras. In Warcraft III, we vanquished Archimonde at Nordrassil and subsequently went back and ended his campaign in Hyjal through the Caverns of Time. Now, Ragnaros the Firelord has returned to Azeroth with the help of Deathwing and has invaded the sacred mountain with one goal -- destroy the wardens of Hyjal and burn their tree to the ground.

Hyjal's story

Mathew: I had an odd experience with the story at Hyjal, mostly because at first, I couldn't have given a damn about the druids and the Emerald Dream and all of that. The first time I went through Hyjal, it was a sprint, and I never stopped to smell the roses, since we were racing to 85.

It was only after I did Hyjal a second or third time that I truly dug in and found the wonderful story of the zone. Now, I am 100% involved in the Hyjal story and am really excited to see where it's going. Now, the druids are my best friends, and there is nothing I want to do more than help ancients punch fire elementals in their fiery faces.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The Sources of Magic, part 1

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.

Where does magic come from?

Specifically, in the Warcraft universe, where does it come from? That's actually a complex question, because there are many different kinds of magic practiced in the setting as a whole. We know of the nature magic of the druids and the elemental magic of the shaman (and that these two disparate types of magic often seem to relate to each other while remaining discrete; we know of the fel magic practiced by warlocks and the Burning Legion, and the pure arcane arts of mages. There's also the Holy Light as demonstrated by priests and paladins, the shadowy magics also tapped by some kinds of priests and warlocks as well, and even the raw necromantic power that seems unique to the Scourge, some Forsaken, and death knights. All of these different kinds of magic are magic, and yet each seems to draw from its own source.

Just on Azeroth, we have seen many kinds of magical power and many focusing points, or fonts, of various kinds of power. Several have descended from one another, while still others have intruded due to the interference of various entities. One thing is clear, that there are many paths to power beyond that inherent to the average denizen of the world.

What, therefore, are these sources of magic?

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

The Queue: Happy boys and happy girls

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mathew McCurley will be your host today.

It is no secret that most of my writing gets done against the backdrop of Europop and Europop-inspired artists. When I sit down to write articles or posts, I turn on Pandora and hit my awesome Aqua station, ready for the sweet, sweet Europop to blast in my ears. Why Europop? I don't know. For some reason, I am more productive when rocking out to fast beats.

What? You're going to listen to every second of Happy Boys and Happy Girls, and you're going to like it.

Felix_rew asked:

Did Blizzard explain why Ysera's eyes are open in Hyjal?

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Filed under: The Queue

Speculation: The War of the Ancients' connection to Patch 4.1's legendary staff

From the leaked information about the potential legendary staff from the next tier of Cataclysm raiding, we are slowly processing the information we have and coming to some pretty neat, yet speculative, conclusions. From images of the staff, we see what looks like a wooden body with an elaborate head, very much reminiscent of the Firelands motif we have seen so far. However, the staff components, labelled in the model view in stages, give us the ultimate clues that lead us to believe that the next tier of raiding will include the War of the Ancients, or at least deal with going back in time to when Malygos, Ysera, and Nozdormu were at their strongest.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: Fandral, Feralas, and the struggle of the Green 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.
In the sunken city, he lays dreaming ...
The drowned god's heart is black ice ...
At the bottom of the ocean even light must die ...
Do you dream while you sleep or is it an escape from the horrors of reality?

-- The Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron
We've discussed the Green Dragonflight before, from the history and background of the flight itself to the events that occurred during the Nightmare War. But the activities of the green flight continue in Cataclysm, both in the northern reaches of Hyjal and elsewhere around the world. Despite the victory at the end of Stormrage, the troubles of the Green Dragonflight are far from over, and the threat of the Emerald Nightmare still looms.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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