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Know Your Lore: Stormrage and the Emerald Nightmare, part 2

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 events of the novel Stormrage may not have happened in game, but they still have an effect on upcoming events. While the book was released much earlier this year, the events in the book hadn't really played out until now; they occur sometime after the defeat of the Lich King yet before Deathwing shatters the world in Cataclysm. Unfortunately, we will not directly see the events presented in Stormrage occur in World of Warcraft.

Despite the lack of events regarding the resolution to the Emerald Nightmare storyline in game, things have been resolved -- to a point. On top of all of this, not only does the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden make several references to Stormrage, but certain events we see in the upcoming expansion also reference key elements to the novel. Yesterday, we began to delve into what exactly happened between Malfurion's time in the Emerald Dream and present day; read on for the conclusion of the story and its effects on the Azeroth the characters we play know and love.

Please note: The following post is all about Stormrage and contains spoilers for the majority of the novel as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you're planning on picking up the book, turn away now, lest ye be spoiled for eternity!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Stormrage and the Emerald Nightmare, 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.

The events playing out in game right now have long-lasting repercussions on future lore, but there are also events playing out that aren't present in game. The Shattering by Christie Golden details some of these events, but there's another book out there that also has an effect in upcoming events. I'm talking about Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak, which was released earlier this year and covered information regarding the Emerald Nightmare.

Even though the book was released some time ago, the effects of the book haven't been felt. This is because as far as timelines go, Stormrage hadn't really happened yet -- or has it? The book takes place somewhere between Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, and though we don't see any of the events in the book played out in game, we see players from the book and the repercussions of the book's events. Today, we're going to give an overview of what's in the book and how it affects what's going to play out in Cataclysm.

Please note: The following post is all about Stormrage and contains spoilers for the majority of the novel as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you're planning on picking up the book, turn away now, lest ye be spoiled for eternity!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

BlizzCon 2010: Costume contest gallery

The BlizzCon costume contest took place yesterday afternoon with roughly 90 entries (give or take a few, depending on how you count group efforts). We did have a screenshot of one entrant in black that was unfortunately too dark to include, but this is an otherwise comprehensive gallery of all contest entrants, the five finalists and winner. There were a number of extraordinary costumes this year, and we highly recommend giving them a look. However, I think Jay Mohr was correct in observing that it's only a matter of time before someone's going to topple over on digitigrade stilts. Please, folks -- it's okay to suffer for your art, but it's not okay to break your ankles over it!

The five finalists (you'll find them toward the end of the gallery) portrayed Ysera, the female monk from Diablo III, Jaina Proudmoore, the female witch doctor from Diablo III, and Illidan Stormrage. The eventual winner was Christina Estrada as the female monk.



BlizzCon 2010 is upon us! WoW Insider has all the latest news and information. We're bringing you liveblogging of the WoW panels, interviews with WoW celebrities and attendees and of course, lots of pictures of people in costumes. It's all here at WoW Insider!

Filed under: BlizzCon, Arts and Crafts

Know Your Lore: The Eternals part one -- the Ancients

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.

With Cataclysm coming up and the beta now up and running comes plenty of new information about what we'll be seeing in Cataclysm. One of the highly anticipated zones is Hyjal, where players will work with the Guardians of Hyjal to retake the mountainous peaks where Nordrassil has begun to grow anew. Parts of these quests involve the Eternals of Azeroth -- characters we've only seen in novels or game manuals, but never been exposed to in World of Warcraft. Today we'll be looking at some of the major players in the Eternal lineup, and how they relate to World of Warcraft.

WARNING: Some of the descriptions and Eternals in this post are taken from Cataclysm content. While I will avoid spoiling any Cataclysm quest lines or events, there will be screenshots -- if you'd rather avoid all Cataclysm content altogether you may want to skip this post.

To begin, we have to define what exactly an Eternal is as far as Azeroth is concerned. Eternals are the immortal, divine beings of Azeroth who wield godlike powers and are generally either revered or worshipped by the mortal races in one way or another. There are many different kinds of Eternals out there oddly enough -- the Titans, the Elemental Lords (who have been covered in great detail by Matthew Rossi), the Loa spirits, the Old Gods, and the Ancients. Today we're going to look at the Ancients -- Eternals worshipped mostly by night elf society as deities. The big Eternal in night elf society is of course Elune, but what about the other Eternals in the night elf pantheon? Let's take a look.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: Current Alliance Politics -- the Night Elves, Part 2


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:
The following post contains spoilers for the novel Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak. Readers still in the middle of the novel may want to veer away from this post, as I'll be discussing events covered over the course of the book.

Now that we've established what happened to Tyrande and Malfurion (in the midst of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey ... stuff), we can begin to pick apart what happened in between the Sundering, the Third War, and present day. Tyrande Whisperwind is currently leading the night elves along with Archdruid Fandral Staghelm -- and Staghelm has a history that also stretches back thousands of years, one that's led him to his current less-than-friendly leadership.

Fandral Staghelm was born about 1,000 years after the Sundering and studied the druidic arts under Malfurion Stormrage, soon rising in ranks and becoming one of Malfurion's top lieutenants as well as training many of the new Druids of the Wild. Where Malfurion was even-tempered and kind, Fandral was hotheaded and aggressive, frequently clashing with Malfurion, and nowadays Tyrande over how night elf society should be run. He holds many strong beliefs that echo the beliefs of ancient night elves, including the belief that night elves are the supreme race on the planet, all other races are inferior, and night elves are the only "true" druids. Charming, isn't he?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: 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.

Each flight of dragons is vouchsafed with an aspect of creation itself to supervise. The five Dragon Aspects were granted their powers and dominion over Azeroth's life, magic, earth, time and more by the Titans who created them from the massive proto-dragon Galakrond in long vanished times past. In the past few KYL's we've covered Alexstrasza's Red Dragonflight, Deathwing's Black Dragonflight and its offshoot the Netherwing, and deceased Malygos' Blue Dragonflight.

This time we look at what might be the strangest dragons of them all. The servants of Ysera, the dragons of the Emerald Dream, the Green Dragonflight. In order to truly understand the green dragons, one would have to be able to understand the dream they all dream, but who can do that? How can one tell the dreamers from the dream?

Easy. The dreamers are great honking green dragons that will kill you. It's relatively simple. If you doubt their power or their resolve, go to the Temple of Atal'Hakkar and ask the Atali, trapped in a complex smashed into the water by the fury and might of Ysera herself. Even when they themselves fall victim to corruption, the green dragons are fearsome opponents. While Alexstrasza and her brood concern themselves with life and living things, Ysera is effectively the shepherd of what Dylan Thomas called 'the force that through the green fuse drives the flower' - effectively, that which makes life itself possible.

This is also what often gets them in trouble with old gods, blasphemous troll deities of bloodlust, and the loathsome Scourge and its malefic master. (I have been waiting to use 'malefic' in a sentence for so long now.)

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

The Queue: Oh no, not again

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

This is The Queue that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friend. Some people started writing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue writing it forever just because this is The Queue that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friend. Some people started writing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue writing it forever just because this is The Queue that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friend. Some people started writing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue writing it forever just because this is The Queue that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friend. Some people started writing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue writing it forever just because this is The Queue that doesn't end.*

dpoyesac asked...

"Every time I kill his son I forget to ask High Overlord Saurfang when the doors to the next wing will be down. Soon?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculation station


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Be warned, ladies and gentlemen. This week's edition of Ask a Lore Nerd is almost purely discussion and speculation on the next expansion and what it might include. Why? Because it's fun! We'll get back to covering anything and everything next week, but this week we're just in an expansion sort of mood.

alpha5099 asked...

"So, most of the speculation is that the next expansion will be the Maelstrom. Would you agree with that assessment? What all do you expect to see in a Maelstrom expansion? What would you want to see? Any place you're dying to go?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Lore, Ask a Lore Nerd

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Druid

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the nineteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Nature is a system of life energy in constant flow, peaceful one moment and turbulent the next. All living things draw their life from it, and depend upon its balance for their existence. Druids are the protectors of this balance, who harness the energies it contains and try to live their lives according to its laws and principles. In this way, they become intimate members of the natural system, embodying the very force that they seek to protect. The druid is not merely a spellcaster who draws on nature to do cool stuff -- he is nature, in himself, completely one with it in every way. The world is his body, and he is an inseparable part of the whole.

It can be rather hard for those of us living in the concrete jungles of modern city life to get a feeling for what nature really is, or what it feels like to be a part of it. Perhaps if you have ever ventured off the paved highway into the distant reaches of the world, you will know the feeling of connection to the greatness of the natural world in which the human race evolved, long, long ago in a state of mind far, far away from billboards and electronic devices, pop culture and prime-time TV programming. It may no longer be possible for human beings to simply return to its ancient state, nor would that necessarily be a good thing. Today, people look out at the world outside the closed-off bubble of material civilization and wonder their new relationship with the ancient balance of nature could be.

To play a druid in WoW as a class in a game is one thing, but to try and get inside the druid worldview and understand what they might be thinking is something else. To start, it would help to look inside ourselves and see what sort of connection to nature exists there. Is there a balance? What would balance look like? How would it feel to be in complete harmony with the natural world? What would it be like to channel all the power of nature through your body or indeed feel the world itself as an extension of your body?

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Know Your Lore: Preparing for Wrath of the Lich King

If you're a regular reader of Know Your Lore, you've probably noticed that it's been missing for... oh, a month or so. As I've been going through potential topics, I keep finding myself going, "No, I can't do that, that gets updated in Wrath. No, I can't do that, it'll be a spoiler for Wrath." So, thanks a lot Wrath. Thanks for bringing us rich and interesting lore. Gosh, couldn't you be more boring so I don't feel bad spoiling everyone!?

So what we're going to do today instead is prepare you all for the expansion. We have a lot of Know Your Lore entries already for many of the characters and stories that'll be moving forward in Wrath of the Lich King, so here are some suggestions on what you should read so you have some background as to what the heck is going on in Northrend!

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

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a night elf

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the seventh in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The night elves are probably the most difficult race to roleplay well in all the World of Warcraft, which is particularly ironic considering how very popular they are. Many a roleplayer has been disappointed by seeing player character night elves who are 21 years old, who were born in Darnassus or Teldrassil, or whose mother or father is human -- all of which would be next to impossible according to the actual lore of the game. The only way to make things like this is to change the lore to suit your own preferences, or to rely on cliche devices such as time travel and special magics which really go too far into the realm of the abominably self-centered Mary Sue.

Night elves can also be difficult to understand, and full of contradictions: they can be over 10,000 years old, and yet they often do not possess the vast wisdom that would seem to come with such an age; they are deeply connected to nature, and yet they sometimes act without the blessings of nature; their women are supposed to be very fierce warriors, and yet their animation in the game has them bouncing up and down like teenage girls at their favorite boy-band concert.

And yet much of this is just the sort of thing that draws people to the night elves. There's a youthful passion combined with ancient grace and sadness that many roleplayers just love to get into. Also, for those who love to develop long and complex background stories for their characters, there is a great deal of history about the night elves' ancient past which can serve as good inspiration for many of your own character's life events. We won't go into every detail of ancient history today, however; instead we'll cover the basics that you'll need to know in order to start out with a night elf that fits in the Warcraft story, and direct you to some more resources if you'd like to make one with a really deep and complicated background.

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Filed under: Alliance, Night Elves, Druid, Hunter, Warrior, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Know Your Lore: Malygos the Spellweaver


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week (except for last week, sorry guys!) Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!

Malygos the Spellweaver, Lord of Magic, is the fourth Dragon Aspect that we'll be looking at in Know Your Lore's series on the great dragons. Malygos was empowered by the Titan Norgannon, charged with guarding all magic and arcane knowledge. He calls the Nexus in Northrend, his home.

The Aspect of the Blue was one of the more wise of the Dragonflights, and described as the most friendly of them. He was close to his 'siblings' back before the War of the Ancients, especially Neltharion of the Black. You know, before Neltharion went loco.

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

Know Your Lore: Ysera the Dreamer


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us!

Last week we looked at Alextrasza, and this week we're going to continue the Dragon theme with the Aspect of the Green Flight, Ysera.

Ysera is a dragon that goes by many names. Ysera the Dreamer. She of the Dreaming. The Queen of Dreams. The Lady of Dr-- you know, forget it, I guess it's just that one name, really. Just take the word Dream and add a title to it and you can probably use it to refer to Ysera. Though, I guess Commodore of Dreams doesn't really work, does it? Hm.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Know Your Lore: Alexstrasza the Lifebinder

Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us!

Know Your Lore has covered the benevolent dragons in Warcraft before, but I've decided to highlight a few of them in preparation for Wrath of the Lich King. I feel that saving the best for last is a bunch of crap, so I'm going to start with my personal favorite: Alexstrasza. Admittedly, it isn't terribly hard for her to seal that favorite slot right now. Deathwing and Alexstrasza are the only two Aspects we've been exposed to in a very direct way for a substantial amount of time. To make things even better, she's a headlining character in Wrath.

Alexstrasza is one of five Dragon Aspects chosen and empowered by the Titans prior to their departure from Azeroth. Each of the Aspects was given a domain that they would protect, and have the power to control. Alexstrasza's domain is perhaps the most broad: Life. While all of the Aspects are interconnected and have some sway over one another, Alexstrasza is perhaps the most connected to the others because of her connection to life. Many use this to say she is the 'leader' of the Aspects, but as far as we know, they don't really have one. At least, not until Wrath. Maybe.

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

Know Your Lore: Malorne


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm.

Before we start this week, I'd like to let you guys know about a neat little thing we've set up for you. If you have requests for Know Your Lore or questions for that other column that I do, you can e-mail me at lorenerd@wow.com ! I can't guarantee that I'll fill all Know Your Lore requests, but I'll certainly do my best. Now, on with the show!

My original intent with Know Your Lore this week was to go back to our preparation for Wrath of the Lich King with Kel'thuzad. I was pretty excited, because I adore the Scourge and c'mon, Kel'thuzad has to be awesome, right? Uh... no, not really, he isn't. He was shockingly boring and was only interesting in the context of the Scourge as a whole. He's definitely a pawn. He didn't stand up well on his own, so we're stepping away from the Road to Wrath a little longer.

Instead, we're going to focus on a topic suggested by my buddy Danny Whitcomb. Today we're going to look at Malorne, which conveniently goes pretty well with this past week's Ask a Lore Nerd. Malorne is one of many demigods in Kalimdor's history, but is/was generally regarded as one of the greatest. This makes sense, considering he and Elune hooked up once upon a time

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

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