Archive for the ‘Lore’ Category

Discussion :: How Are Those New Races Working Out For You?

(image courtesy of Penny Arcade. Click to see the original comic!

Cataclysm has been out for a while, and although many people have spent the bulk of their time rushing to get up to 85 and geared up for heroics and other dungeons that represent the state of end-game content right now, a lot of other people have taken the other approach: take it nice and slow, and roll on the of the new races or character race/class combinations, start from the beginning, and take your time getting through all of the new quests, changed zones, and updated content.

So, if you’re one of those folks who decided to roll a goblin or worgen and start from level one, how are those races working out for you? Do you find the lore works out for you, or that it’s all just a smashed-together trainwreck?

Some people have noted that the Worgen feel kind of abandoned, much like the Draenei were in The Burning Crusade, that they’re essentially leveled to about 10 or 15 and then shipped off to do quests that essentially already exist and join the storyline of another race (namely the Night Elves.) The Goblin experience, however, is much better – but this is all secondhand that I’m hearing. What I want to hear is what you think! Sound off in the comments.

Blizzard Announces Winners of the 2010 Global Writing Contest

One piece of news that may have slipped under the radar in the furor over Blizzcon is the fact that the winners of the 2010 Blizzard Global Writing Contest have been announced! Click the link above to see the winners – unfortunately the winning piece hasn’t been published just yet.

We last mentioned the contest back in June, and want to congratulate all of the finalists and ultimately the winner who’ll have the honor of being invited to Blizzard for a tour of the facility and a sit-down chat with Chris Metzen himself to discuss lore and storywriting.

The winner also gets to take home a Frostmourne replica or a Barbarian statue from Diablo III, and each of the finalists gets signed copies of each of the major Blizzard lore books: The Diablo Archive, StarCraft Archive, Warcraft Archive, and the Warcraft: War of the Ancients Archive. Congratulations!

Blizzard Releases Official Gnomeregan and Echo Isles Information

Last week, Blizzard announced tons of new information about the upcoming Gnomeregan and Echo Isles instances that we expect to see in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next major expansion pack to the game. Among them are the fact that the gnomes and the trolls will both have an opportunity in the coming expansion to take their respective homelands back. Nethaera said on the official forums:

High Tinker Mekkatorque, betrayed by Mekgineer Thermaplugg and forced to flee the irradiated city of Gnomeregan with the few of his fellow gnomes who managed to survive, is preparing to reclaim his once glorious city. Meanwhile, in distant Durotar, Vol’jin of the Darkspear trolls is determined to exact revenge upon the witch doctor Zalazane for dividing the Darkspears and seizing the land bestowed to them by Thrall: the Echo Isles. Read more about the ongoing struggles of the gnomes and the trolls… and their plans to seek redemption.


There are already a number of spoilers floating around out there since a lot of the audio data and text have already started to appear in existing data packs and folks who are familiar with sites that do a lot of data mining may already have seen the content of the events and encounters.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the opportunity to hand Thermaplugg and Zalazane their marching orders and tell them to get the heck out of your character’s homeland? It’s been said that everything is going to change in Cataclysm, and this certainly looks like the beginning of that.

Thanks to for the scoop!

[Spoiler Alert] Fall of the Lich King Cinematic Unveiled – (Working Video)


I’m the type of person who loves to spoiler myself on things like this, but I absolutely hate spoilering other people – so if you’re not interested in finding out what happens when we eventually confront Arthas in Icecrown Citadel and what happens with him and other major figures up to this point, stop reading now!

Seriously, the video of the cinematic is after the jump. DO NOT CLICK if you don’t want to be spoilered. If you do want to be spoilered however, please, by all means, read on.


Should We Kill Arthas?


If you’ve been reading closely, you’ll notice that there’s something special about that Icecrown Citadel preview that Blizzard posted: that at the end, even in the 5-man, players will ascend to the Frozen Throne and stand toe-to-toe with Arthas himself.

This has sparked a pretty big discussion that I’ve heard on a couple of sites and perhaps most notably on the podcast, the WoW Insider Show, about whether or not Arthas should die when we face him. Do we smite him down like we did with Illidan, or do we redeem him somehow? Does he flee to return later somehow? What should happen when we face him?

There are a lot of mixed feelings about this, actually – some people feel very strongly that there isn’t anything left in Arthas to redeem, and that he should pay for his immeasurable crimes against Azeroth. They also point out, rightly, that Arthas has voluntarily allowed himself to be partially posessed by Ner’zhul, who was inside of Frostmourne before Arthas took posession of it, and that Ner’zhul the Lich also needs to pay for his crimes.

Finally, the other evidence that Arthas may not be able to be redeemed is the Icecrown quest line where the player finds Arthas’ human heart deep, deep, deep under Icecrown Citadel where Arthas discarded it long ago – and the fact that at the end of the quest chain Arthas’ heart is destroyed even though the player and Tirion Fordring had initially planned to use it to redeem him in the first place.

However, all of those events may not mean the end of Arthas, and it may not mean that players who face him won’t be able to redeem him somehow. The going theory is that in the 5-man, Arthas will battle the players and then retreat somewhere else that can only be accessed via the 25-man heroic version, and that’s where we’ll really see some action. He’s done it in a number of cases; he did it at the Wrathgate, where it was clear he was at least injured by the new plague that Putress and his ilk launched against everyone assembled to do battle there. We may even see more from the Forsaken faction that betrayed Sylvanas in the end, we just don’t know.

In any event, there are just as many arguments on the other side – that if Arthas can be redeemed that it could put an end to the scourge right then and there, and that a redeemed Arthas could be a valuable ally in the future, lore figure going forward, and even a major player in Cataclysm.

What do you guys think? Should we kill Arthas where he stands when we enter Icecrown Citadel, or should we find some way to return his humanity to him? Shout it out in the comments!

Holy Cow: It’s a Tauren Paladin!


Cadistra, artist and author of WoW, Eh? and all around awesome person, put together her interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin might look like once Cataclysm comes out and we have a whole slew of additional race/class combinations to choose from. One of the more interesting race/class combos we’ll get is the Tauren Paladin – which might immediately seem contradictory to the lore but apparently already has the framework laid in quests on the PTRs – one called An Injured Colleague.

The story is essentially that the Tauren see the druidic teachings of the Night Elves as only part of the picture – not that it’s bad in any way, but the Tauren revere the Earthmother, and the moon is only one of her two eyes (well established in the lore). The other eye of the Earthmother is the Sun, and the Tauren, being a people who strive for balance in all things, have at least a few who seek to walk the path of the Sun (and in turn, of the light) as opposed to the druidic path of the moon (as in, with the Night Elves and the druids of Moonglade and the Cenarion Circle).

In An Injured Colleague, we speak to a Tauren Warrior and a Tauren Druid who share their doubts about the path they’re both on – presumably two characters we may see become the first Tauren Paladin and the first Tauren Priest, and a blue post seemed to hint that the name of the new light-following Tauren would be “Sunwalkers.”

There is a similar Alliance quest that re-introduces the Highborne to the Night Elves, thus paving the way for Night Elf mages. The quest is called “A Cautious Return,” and there are screenshots of it on the PTR in the link to “An Injured Colleague” above.

In any event though, if Cadistra’s interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin will look like is near the mark, I’m looking forward to rolling one when Cataclysm is released. And even if it’s not near the mark, I still love it: Cadistra’s work is always impressive. Check out her DeviantArt account for a larger version of this image!

Of Leaks and Cataclysms: More Speculation on Cataclysm Leaked


First MMO Champion said it, then said it, and now that it’s been a few days since both sites leaked information that is rumored to be details from the upcoming expansion that’s also rumored to be called World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the dust has settled a bit and revealed a few very important things.

First, let’s take a look at the news that’s caused such an outrage, shall we?

New Races and Class Combinations:
* Goblins
* Worgens
* Human Hunter
* Orc Mage
* Night Elf Mage
* Dwarf Mage
* Blood Elf Warrior
* Dwarf Shaman
* Undead Hunter
* Tauren Paladin
* Tauren Priest
* Gnome Priest
* Troll Druid

Leveling Experience
* Level Cap raised to 85
* Azshara becomes a low level starting zone
* Barrens split up into two separate zones

Azeroth will be entirely revamped.

Flying is allowed in parts of old Azeroth.

Unreleased zones and dungeons, including Hyjal, Gilneas, and Uldum will become part of WoW.

Deathwing and Azshara will be playing a major role in the Cataclysm that will happen.

I’m skeptical, to a very large extent – some of the race/class combinations don’t really make sense, and the lore implications of both Goblins and Worgen and some of the changes to the fundamentals of the game (flying in Azeroth, starting zones changing, etc) are pretty wide ranging and sound like either they must have been in the works for years, or it’d be an awful lot of work for this next expansion.

But unlike a lot of people (and I’ll get to this later) just because I don’t want something to be true doesn’t mean that it might not be – we’ll see. As to the notion of Goblins and Worgen, I hit on that in a previous post, but let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?

So we know that the worgen made their appearance in Azeroth thanks to Velinde Starsong and Arugal, both of whom started summoning worgen into the world for their own reasons. Need a history lesson? Cadistra of WoW, Eh has an excellent primer as this week’s comic.

of worgen…

Velinde prayed to Elune for a weapon to help her clean up Felwood and push back the corruption, and she got that weapon in the form of the Scythe of Elune (which makes an appearance in Northrend as part of a quest chain where you essentially give it back to a group of worgen in Grizzly Hills before you know what they are). She summons more and more worgen into Azeroth and uses them essentially as weapons of war – until she loses control of them and presumably she dies at their hands – that quest chain is woefully unresolved.

Arugal on the other hand was a mage of the Kirin Tor who saw Dalaran overrun by the scourge and, frustrated with the Kirin Tor’s seeming inability to cleanse the scourge from Azeroth started summoning Worgen into the world from Shadowfang Keep to – that’s right – use them as a weapon of war against the scourge. Arugal’s worgen were fairly effective against the scourge, but as if the two events were scripted together, the same thing happened to Arugal that happened to Velinde: the worgen turned on their masters and started killing them outright.

So then, it’s clear that the worgen would have no love for the scourge, but I’m curious how Blizzard will explain their siding with the alliance. It would seem to me they would be a better match for the Horde.

of goblins…

The Goblins are the opposite. They used to be members of the Horde in the Warcraft II and Warcraft III (pre-Frozen Throne) storyline, but left after the Second War in favor of neutrality when they realized it would make them a ton more money to trade with both the Horde and the Alliance. While they may not harbor any specific hate for the Horde, it’s curious why they would break neutrality to join the Horde again, especially considering the fact that they broke with them once. It would almost make more sense for them to join the Alliance, especially in light of the other rumors about the Horde…unless something happens to make them really attractive to the Goblins, or unless Blizzard just wants to make them the equivalent of Horde Gnomes.

The new race/class combos, as some have asserted, may be indicative of the rise of some of the various factions in the game that aren’t directly allied with the capital cities. Dwarven Shamans could be Wildhammer, for example.

In any event, only time will tell whether this is all just rumor and speculation or whether it’ll all come to light. We’ll find out as news filters out of Blizzcon next week!

That being said, I hardly think that sites like MMO Champion and would risk their credibility with the fan community by reporting on these without being confident in their sources, and I highly doubt they would post this kind of information just to stir up this kind of trouble.

That brings me to a more nuanced point about journalism, ethics, and anonymous sources, but definitely a digression, so I’ll put it behind the jump below.


New Expansion, New Races Leaked?


So had the scoop today: a full-on leak that the new expansion will be called World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and two new races will be introduced in the expansion: Horde will get Goblins, and Alliance will get Worgen. Huge news, right? A massive leak, right?

Well, a number of World of Warcraft blogs and sites have been speculating this to be the case for a while now in separate theories. First, when Blizzard trademarked the phrase “Cataclysm,” speculation ran wildly high that the next expansion would be called Cataclysm. Then, when someone dissected models from a recent update and discovered that pretty high quality male and female Goblin and male and female Worgen masks had been added for the Halloween event, speculation ran wildly high that they would be the next two playable races to make their way into World of Warcraft.

So the rumor mill has been turning furiously for the past several weeks, if not months, to the point where the discussion is all but a cacophany. Is correct? Their anonymous sources have been right before, so there’s no reason to doubt them other than the fact that this is a completely unverified leak – and I don’t say that sarcastically. Until there’s an announcement from Blizzard, this is just more speculation. And something I’ve learned the hard way from being in the technology profession (and being a particular fan of Apple, for example) is that there are certainly spoilers and leaks available all over the Web, and no matter how many images and evidence you may have to support them, any spoiler at any time can just as quickly become what’s called a “foiler,” of a seed planted by a company to drum up discussion, support, and attention in advance of a major event.

Could Blizzard be leaking this information to drum up anticipation prior to Blizzcon? Sure. Could they walk out on stage at Blizzcon and say something completely different about the next expansion? Absolutely. We just don’t know yet, and shouldn’t pretend that we do. That being said, I have incredible respect for and if there’s anyone in the Warcraft blogging world I trust and believe about something like this, it’s them. So it’s a double-edged sword. If there’s any source I consider credible that’s not Blizzard, it’s, but I don’t want to make plans for a Worgen hunter or a Goblin rogue just yet.

In any event, if this is the case, I’m incredibly curious what the lore behind this will be. Both races already have a pretty well defined and well laid-out history and story in the World of Warcraft, and while the Worgen are semi-new to the universe, Goblins have been around for a good long while. Even so, just because we can explain how the races got into the game doesn’t mean we can explain their faction choices – for example, the Worgen were initially summoned and controlled by a Night Elf and used as essentially a private army. They then revolted. Why would they side with the Alliance? The Goblins have long been neutral – will they continue to be, or will there be Goblin factions where some are neutral and others have chosen a side?

There’s obviously more room to play with the Worgen than the Goblins, since the Goblins are essentially already in the game, but there’s only so many ways you can work the Worgen into the Alliance. Will they be another Draenei-like faction where the playable ones are the “good ones” and some corruption has turned all the other ones you essentially slaughter en masse in Darkshire “evil?” Will the Scythe of Elune – the one you learn about in Darkshire and essentially wind up unwittingly handing over to the Worgen in Grizzly Hills (who seem to be a more sentient, sapient type of Worgen that can disguise themselves as humans when necessary) – play a role? Where will the starting zones be, and should we expect the opening of the Greymane wall and the unlocking of Gilneas? What about the Goblins – where will they start?

Alternatively, we could be faced with something a bit more dark and sinister – the Alliance may not retain is’t pearly white veneer in the new expansion – the Draenei joined the Alliance because they thought of them as the “good guys,” and the Blood Elves, as misguided as they were, joined the Horde out of convenience and because they kind of fit over there. Maybe this time the Alliance get the “bad guys” because of Varian Wrynn’s opportunistic desire to use any means necessary to destroy the horde – maybe the Worgen are still under the influence of the Scythe? Maybe the Goblins are tired of taking a backseat to the action and decide to side with the cause they see is more righteous. Who knows.


To that end, what about the “Cataclysm” itself? Does the Cataclysm represent what we all expected it to be, and allude to the Sundering? Do we get to push back the Naga, now eager to raise themselves and their queen from the bottom of the sea under the Maelstrom to reclaim the land and crush all those who live above the surface? Do they have a far more sinister plot?

Perhaps the Cataclysm involves the words spoken by Loken when you kill him: “My death heralds the end of the world!” Effectively, in Ulduar, waiting for you is Algalon, who’s fight was described this way by Lesley Smith in a post titled: “What Happens if Algalon Isn’t Defeated?” back in April:

Basically it goes like this: Algalon is an ethereal agent of the Titans, Azeroth’s creators. He’s detected the death of Loken (when Loken said: ‘My death heralds the end of the world’, he wasn’t kidding) and that Yogg-Saron has tried to escape his bindings. When you engage him, he is about to do a scan to determine whether Azeroth needs ‘reorganising’ by the Pantheon, his Titanic masters. Said scan takes an hour and you have that long to defeat him. If you fail he sends a signal and the fate of Azeroth is sealed.

Of course, some guilds have fought Algalon and won, others have lost and the timer runs out, but Azeroth is still here and the world hasn’t ended.

Or has it? I’m starting to think that the new expansion has more to do with this than anything else; since after all, when questioned on the forums about this very issue, about what the fate of Azeroth would be if Algalon weren’t defeated, CM Nethaera responded with this, quoted from the same article:

[The] Results could be cataclysmic.

The Good Guy(s)

Draenei Shaman - Tigglesworth

I recently heard someone (I’ve forgotten who – sorry!) on The Instance mention the Draenei in the context of the other Alliance races – what is their deep, dark secret? Every other Alliance race has a tarnish, from the gnomes’ senseless forays into uncontrollable technology to the elves’ storied flirtations with dark forces. But the Draenei seem to lack a shadow; they come across as big, blue, hammer-wielding teddy bears.

As a kind of answer to that question, I offer two narrative points: that the Draenei don’t need a dark history and that they probably shouldn’t have one.

Seeing How the Other Half Lives

With Blizzard recently announcing the inclusion of Dranei shamans and Blood Elf paladins, the gulf between the Alliance and the Horde is now even greater. In a game balance sense, there is more parity between them, but I foresee an even deeper fracture between players. Faction loyalty is pretty rampant as it is, as I recently observed.

I wanted to explore the Horde content, so I made a shaman. How many people do the opposite, explore the Horde content so they can make a shaman?

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