WotLK Beta 8982 – Lady Sylvanas & Varian Wrynn New Model … Again

Blizzard is really demonstrating a lot of detail and change in Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Not only do we get inscription tradeskill, a new hero class, phasing quest system, achievements, calendars, and other bunch of features.  Blizzard is also caring for the lore aspect, and wrapping up past unfinished models.

Alexstrasza got a new model to show the difference between the dragonflight and the Dragon Aspect.  Which means Nozdormu and Ysera (which are in Northrend) are on queue for a model update. Varian Wrynn got a model update last patch, and this time it was Lady Sylvanas’ turn. She had been given a blood elf model with crazed red eyes a few patches ago. However, that was a placeholder. Now we are introduced the new Lady Sylvanas (Banshee Queen) with the true Dark Ranger model and texture.

The King of Stormwind Varian Wrynn got a second model and texture update in less than two weeks. This time Varian matches his World of Warcraft Comic book’s look. The new model even has the scar across his nose. The armor now has Lothar’s belt. The shoulders: one is in shape of an eagle, the other a lion. I am loving the new updates.

An image is worth a thousand words, and I am just … speechless, as many lore fans will. Shouts to the lore buffs over at ScrollsofLore. Watch the two short videos below.

Avatar of Freya the Lifewarden Guide – Sholazar Basin

I posted a walkthrough guide of the awesome quest chain from Avatar of Freya, daughter of the Titans who may be found near the Lost Land in Sholazar Basin.  It is a lengthy quest series, but the blue loot reward might be worthwhile for tanks and retribution paladins. It is the most epic solo quest in World of Warcraft to be honest. You control a flipping Stonewatcher of Norgannon to siege the Undead Scourge at the Avalanche area on the northeast corner of Sholazar Basin. You need to kill 200 Scourge Minions and three elite bosses with interesting abilities.

Transcript and four videos coming. Two already up.

Richard A. Knaak Interview at WoWPodcast

A few days ago, Richard A. Knaak had given me a heads up about a podcast interview he had with Jonathan Lonczak from WoWPodcast (BrokenEggsMedia.com).  The podcast will be available today Sunday in the evening. Jonathan sent me a few highlights for you to get a feeling. Oh, a new novel … World of Warcraft: Stormrage.

What got Richard Knaak into Blizzard?

They approached him because of his Dragonlance books. Some of the heads of Blizzard had grown up on his Dragonlance works and asked him to write for both Warcraft and Diablo. This allowed Richard to write for both of the kinds of fantasy that he liked, Lord of the Rings type fantasy and dark fantasy.

How much did he play the Warcraft games?
Richard played Warcraft II Battlenet Edition quite a bit. Played World of Warcraft a little bit, but used a lot of background material and screen shots for inspiration. Blizzard has lore keepers who are able to provide him with facts.  This also ensures that all of the information that is produced for the Warcraft franchise by writers is consistent.

Did he picture himself as Rhonin or Krasus?
Krasus and Rhonin are especially a part of Richard. He puts a lot of himself into all of his characters, but especially with them. It was difficult to orchestrate them into the story and to have them change parts of the history while maintaining the integrity of Blizzard’s original story.

How did he come up with the character traits of main characters?
Some of it came from the depth of the world itself, and the writing of the original story in game. Azshara’s vanity is a direct result of the way she is worshipped by her people, so it makes logical sense that this would bring about her downfall. Illidan’s lust for power acts in the same way leading to his downfall and internal conflict between good and evil.  Many of the character traits in the major characters are able to be derived by their actions in previous circumstances.

How did he come up with all the war tactics that are used in the War of the Ancients Archives?
He figured out what needed to be moved about in each battle. That determined how to bring characters to their next phase. He has a love for history and does a lot of reading about the civil war and major military conflicts. He then uses what he learned from military history and military war games into the Warcraft universe.

If he had to play any class in the game what would it be?
He likes Mages, Paladins, and Warlocks. His favorite races are Human, Tauren, and Night Elves.

Current Productions:
He has written the first story in the first Starcraft anthology. It is a moral story and is a bit longer than some of his other works. This will be released in August.

Working on “Dragons of Outlands” which will go into more detail about the outlands, but not allowed to say much more.

Working on “Night of the Dragon” this is the sequel to “Day of the Dragon” and will have returning and new characters . The book will also contain some Draenei and will be the hardest thing that Krasus has had to go through yet.

He will be working on a new Diablo novel which he can say nothing else about.
He will also be working on another new Warcraft novel “Stormrage”. Which he can also tell us nothing more about.

There are many more interesting questions and answers during the interview, to hear more please visit http://www.wowpodcast.com and listen to our streaming feed, or download the content to listen to on your portable player.

GCD 2008 Paris – Rob Pardo Says World of Warcraft Planned Free-Gameplay Originally

Rob Pardo presented a keynote today at the Paris Game Developers Conference.  The full Pardo conversation at GDC Paris is now available on Gamasutra, including the Blizzard exec thoughts on a whole host of major issues, from user-generated content through the Activision/Vivendi merger and beyond.

He elaborated: “If you make it subscription here, and free to play in Korea, that doesn’t work, because it’s a global community, and the other regions wouldn’t like it, because everyone knows what everyone’s doing. And the game design might not support it.”

Interestingly, Pardo commented on this subject: “When were first going to make World of Warcraft, we wanted to make it free and advertising supported.”

However, the Blizzard exec noted: “We didn’t want to charge a subscription, but as we researched market conditions, we realized that wouldn’t support us.”

EPIC Weapon’s Frostmourne Replica Auction Closure

A couple of nights ago, the Frostmourne Replica Auction run by Weapon Masters was closed, and you won’t believe how high the bids went.  Holy macaroonie!

Highest Bid:  $20700.00
Registered Users: 1012

The winner of the auction was Xeophonix from Italy.

A strong message to those who didn’t think this sword replica would be appealing to hardcore World of Warcraft fans, indeed. Well, at least hardcore players who have a 6-digit salary. After all there are Hollywood celebrities and professionals who play this game and have the strong cash to spend on their favorite fantasy setting.

Among known celebrities playing World of Warcraft are Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, TheGuild Webisode), Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Dave Chapelle (Comedy Central), and many others.

Keep an eye on Blizzplanet’s interview with EPIC Weapons in upcoming days.

Below is the list of the 99-bidders that clashed to be the royal owner of the
Frostmourne Replica # 1.  All the 99 participants automatically became members of the Arthas’s Army of Disciples Club. Below is a list of the auction winners. The image to the right will take you to the Frostmourne gallery.

Post a comment at the official Wow Forums.

World of Warcraft# 8 – OFFICIAL King of Stormwind

If you haven’t put your paws on the World of Warcraft Comic Book published by DC Comics and Wildstorm you have been missing a lot.  No pun intended.  Remember the Missing Diplomat questline?  It revealed that the missing diplomat was really the King of Stormwind Varian Wrynn.  After patch 1.9 the King was removed from Alcaz Island.  And Patch 2.3 introduced new Missing Diplomat quests where a special cargo had been lost during a Defias Shipwreck at the coasts of Dustwallow Marsh.  The special cargo was a human.  The name of the human was never told, but … ta-da! … World of Warcraft the comic book issue# 1 was launched a week or two after the patch 2.3 introduced these new quests, and the comic book showed an amnesic human unconscious at the shores of Durotar, apparently surviving a shipwreck.

For months fans have speculated … nay … been certain this was the King of Stormwind Varian Wrynn. Today it is OFFICIAL!  Issue# 8 starts the second story arc of this comic book series.

With this revelation, speculations may start abound on what Blizzard Entertainment’s plans are for Varian Wrynn in the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion and the Warcraft Film by Legendary Pictures.  Is the mysterious Human (Anti-Thrall) Hero of the Warcraft Film … Varian Wrynn? Will the Varian Wrynn NPC be relocated to Stormwind? What will happen to Lady Prestor and all those quests?  Will Fordragon be moved to Northrend as a leading hero of the Northrend incursion against the Lich King? Will there be new quests in Wrath of the Lich King as a follow up to the Missing Diplomat quests? Will the Comic Book finally reveal the fate and whereabouts of Varian’s wife? You gotta have to hook up and keep track of the comic book’s upcoming issues as Varian continues his journey through Wetlands toward Stormwind in search of the family he saw in his memory flashback.

If anything the story of World of Warcraft the comic book is going to become very interesting post issue# 8 as he makes his way slowly toward Stormwind.

DESCRIPTION

“The Return” begins a new story arc set in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT. Upon learning he is in fact the missing king of Stormwind, Lo’Gosh returns to reclaim his throne with his comrades-in-arms Valeera, and Broll. But all is not as it seems in the eastern kingdom, especially if one informed dwarf has anything to say about it. Enter Thargas Anvilmar!

Written by Walter Simonson; Art by Jon Landry and Jerome K. Moore; Covers by Samwise Didier and Ludo Lullabi
Wildstorm |  32pg.  |  Color |  $2.99 US

On Sale June 18, 2008

  • Check out our World of Warcraft Comic Book section here
  • If you have missed the first story arc’s back issues, don’t sweat. DC Comics is releasing the
    World of Warcraft Vol. 1 compiling all 7-issues of the first story arc. Pre-order it here.
  • Read our recent interview with Ludo Lullabi (DC Comics Wildstorm – WoW Comic Artist)

with 4-exclusive-preview-images from issue# 6.

Beginnings of the Undead Threat

The Undead’s beginnings upon Azeroth do not truly begin with the corruption of Prince Arthas-it began long before that event. The events that brought downfall of Lordaeron were long set in motion before that point; it began with the coming of the orcish clans and the burning legion.

The orcs of Draenor (the world which they originally came from) were noble and shamanistic. They were powerful warriors, strong of body and will. It was for these reasons that the Burning Legion sought them out. Kil’jaeden, a demon of great power among the Legion, wished to enslave the orcish clans and use them as his army against the worlds the Burning Legion had yet to conquer.

Kil’jaeden came to the leader of the clans, a powerful shaman named Ner’zhul. He promised Ner’zhul untold mystical power and knowledge if he made a pact with the demon that would enslave the clans to the Burning Legion. This pact sealed not only their fate but that of their world forever.

As time passed, Ner’zhul realized the fate of the clans at the hands of the Burning Legion, and the orc shaman began to defy Kil’jaeden. The demon, angered by Ner’zhul, turned to the shaman’s own apprentice, Gul’dan, who was far more corruptible than Ner’zhul.

It was Gul’dan who was responsible for the decline of shamanism throughout the clans. The promise of power and control over one’s enemies made his offers even more tempting. With Kil’jaeden’s help, Gul’dan began his manipulation of the clans. The orcs, once noble, became corrupt, mindless savages. With the introduction of demon blood into their bodies, the orcs were even more ruthless and barbaric.

Even though Kil’jaeden had corrupted Gul’dan after his failure with Ner’zhul, Kil’jaeden hated the shaman and vowed to enforce their original pact. Kil’jaeden captured Ner’zhul and began an incredibly slow physical torture on the shaman. While Ner’zhul begged for death, Kil’jaeden reminded Ner’zhul that their original pact was still binding. Kil’jaeden killed the orc but only physically. Kil’jaeden held the orc shaman’s spirt fast before it could find its way to the Twisting Nether.

Kil’jaeden placed Ner’zhul’s spirit within a block of ice gathered from the Twisting Nether. While it was trapped within the ice, he infused into it even more power. The loss of his body and the introduction of such incredible power was the defining line in Ner’zhul’s transformation.

Kil’jaeden hurled the block of ice through dimensions back to Azeroth, where it landed in the continent of Northrend, introducing this great evil to our world. Ner’zhul was gone forever; in his place was a throne of ice and hatred. The once respected shaman leader had become the incredibly powerful Lich King.

Because Kil’jaeden did not trust the Lich King, he sent his dread lords to watch over the spirit and ensure that the Lich King followed his orders. The vampiric servants came to Azeroth willingly, drawn to the destruction and power of the Lich King and the potential genocide of a planet’s entire race.

Over a decade passed. During this time, the Lich King used his vast powers to gain control over the minds of the creatures of Northrend, whom he commanded to erect a great citadel over his frozen throne. Now that all of Northrend was under his domination, the Lich King knew he needed to begin his inflitration of Lordaeron. Trapped within the ice, the former orc shaman began seeking more minds to manipulate and control. His call reached out across the continents.

The Lich King’s summons did not go unnoticed. Especially by a small handful of powerful individuals. Among them was the Archmage Kel’Thuzad, who was a powerful member of the ruling body of Dalaran, the Kirin Tor. His pursuit of all types of magic violated the Kirin Tor’s policies against learning dark magics. Kel’Thuzad abandoned the Kirin Tor, and all his ties to conventional thought and vowed to learn as much as he could from the Lich King.

A pact was struck between the two. Kel’Thuzad would receive immortality and immense power in return for servitude to the Lich King. Kel’Thuzad’s first task was to use his wealth and influence in Lordaeron to found the Cult of the Damned. The Cult promised equality and eternal life to all its members as long as they swore an oath to Ner’zhul the God of the Cult of the Damned.

Ner’zhul then created artifacts that were designed to spread the plague among the human civilizations of Lordaeron. He gave them to Kel’Thuzad, and ordered the wizard to spread them across the land. His Cult followers were to protect the artifacts at all costs.

Once in place, the plague began to seep into the land and affect its ignorant citizens. As Kel’Thuzad watched, the Lich King’s army grew quickly and he soon gained control over large portions of the land. This army became known as the Scourge, for its sole purpoes was to scour humanity from all of Azeroth.

—Book found at Scarlet Monastery

Return to the WoW In-Game Books Section

The Kaldorei and the Well of Eternity

Ten thousand years before the orcs and humans clashed in their First War, the world of Azeroth cradled ony one massive continent surrounded by the infinite, raging seas.  That land mass, known as Kalimdor, was home to a number of disparate races and creatures, all vying for survival amongst the savage elements of the waking world.  At the dark continent’s center was a mysterious lake of incandscent energies.

The lake, which would later be called the Well of Eternity, was the true heart of the world’s magic and natural power.  Drawing its energies from the infinite Great Dark Beyond the world, the Well acted as a mystical fount, sending its potent energies out across the world to nourish life in all its wondrous forms.

In time, a primitive tribe of nocturnal humanoids cautiously made their way to the edges of the mesmerizing enchanted lake.  The feral nomadic humanoids drawn by the Well’s strange energies, built crude homes upon its tranquil shores.  Over time, the Well’s cosmic power affected the strange tribe, making them strong, wise and virtually immortal.  The tribe adopted the name Kaldorei, which meant – children of the stars – in their native tongue.  To celebrate their budding society, they constructed great structures and temples around the lake’s periphery.

The Kaldorei, or NIght elves as they would later be known, worshipped the moon goddess Elune, and believed that she slept within the Well’s shimmering depths during the daylight hours.  The early Night elf priests and seers studied the Well with an insatiable curiosity, driven to plumb its untold secrets and power.  As their society grew, the night elves explored the breadth of Kalimdor and encountered its myriad denizens.

The only creatures that gave them pause were the ancient and powerful dragons.  Though the great serpentine beasts were often reclusive, they did much to safeguard the known lands from potential threats.  The night elves believed that the dragons held themselves to be the protectors of the world, and that they and their secrets were best left alone.

In time, the night elves’ curiosity led them to meet and befriend a number of powerful entities, not the least of which was Cenarius, a mighty demi-god of the primordial forestlands.  The great-hearted Cenarius grew fond of the inquisitive night elves and spent a great deal of time teaching them about the natural world.  The tranquil Kaldorei developed a strong empathy for the living forests of Kalimdor and reveled in the harmonious balance of nature.

Yet as the seemingly endless ages passed, the night elves’ civilization expaned both territorially and culturally.  Their temples, roads, and dwelling places stretched across the breadth of the dark continent.  Azshara, the night elves’ beautiful and gifted queen, built an immense, wondrous palace on the Well’s shore that housed her favored servitors within its bejeweled halls.

Her servitors, whom she called the Quel’dorei or High-borne, doted on her every command and believed themselves to be greater than the rest of their lower-caste breathren.  Though Queen Azshara was loved equally by all of her people, the High-borne were secretly hated by the jealous masses.

Sharing the priests’ curiosity towards the Well of Eternity, Azshara ordered the educated high-borne to plumb its secrets and reveal its true purpose in the world.

The high-borne buried themselves in their work and studied the well ceaselessly.  In time they developed the ability to manipulate and control the well’s cosmic energies.  As their reckless experiments progressed, the highborne found that they could use their newfound powers to either create or destroy at their leisure.  The hapless highborne had stumbled upon primitive magic and were now resolved to devote themselves to its mastery.

Although they agreed that magic was inherently dangerous if handled irresponsibly, Azshhara and her highborne began to practive their spellcraft with reckles abandon.  Cenarius and many of hte wizened night elf scholars warned that only calamity would result from toying with the clearly volatile arts of magic.  But, Azshara and her followers stubbornly continued to expand their burgeoning powers.

As their powers grew, a distinct change came over Azshara and the highborne.  The haughty, aloof upper class became incresingly callous and cruel towards their fellow night elves.  A dark, brooding pall veiled Azshara’s once entrancing beauty.  She began to withdraw from her loving subjects and refused to interact with any but her trusted Highborne priests.

A young, brazen scholar named Furion Stormrage, who had spent much of his time studying the Well’s effects, began to suspect that a terrible power was corrupting the highborne and his beloved Queen.  Though he could not conceive the evil that was to come, he knew that th enight elves’ lives would soon be changed forever.

The Guardians of Tirisfal

With the absence of trolls in the northlands, the elves of Quel’Thalas bent their efforts towards rebuilding their glorious homeland.  The victorious armies of Arathor returned home to southlands of Strom.

The human society of Arathor grew and prospered, yet Thoradin, fearful that his kingdom would splinter apart if it overextended itself, maintained that Strom was the center of the Arathorian Empire.  After many peaceful years of growth and commerce, mighty Thoradin died of old age, leaving Arathor’s younger generation free to expand the empire beyond the lands of Strom.

The original hundred magi, who were tutored in the ways of magic by the elves, expanded their powers and studied the mystic disciplines of spell-weaving in much greater detail.  These magi, initially chosen for their strong wills and noble spirits, had always practiced their magic with care and responsibility: however, they passed their secrets and powers onto a newer generation that had no concept of the rigors of war or the necessity for self-restrain.

These younger magicians began to practice magic for personal gain rather than out of any responsibility towards their fellows.  As the empire grew and expanded into new lands, the young magicians also spread out into the southlands.  Wielding their mystical powers, the magicians protected their breathren from the wild creatures of the land and made it possible for new city-states to be constructed in the wilderness.  Yet, as their powers grew, the magicians became ever more conceited and isolated from the rest of society.

The second Arathorian city-state of Dalaran was founded in the lands north of Strom.  Many fledgling wizards left the restraining confines of Strom behind and traveled to Dalaran, where they hoped to use their new powers with greater freedom.  These magicians used their skills to build up the enchanted spires of Dalaran and reveled in the pursuit of their studies.

The citizens of Dalaran tolerated the magicians’ endevours and built up a bustling economy under the protection of their magic-using defenders.  Yet, as more and more magicians practiced their arts, the fabric of reality around Dalaran began to weaken and tear.

The sinister agents of the Burning Legion, who had been banished when the Well of Eternity collapsed, were lured back into the world by the heedless spellcasting of the magicians of Dalaran.  Though these relatively weak demons did not appear in force, they did sew considerable confusion and chaos within the streets of Dalaran.

Most of these demonic encounters were isolated events and the ruling Magocrats did what they could to keep such events hidden from the public.  The most powerful magicians were sent to capture the elusive demons, but they often found themselves hopelessly outmatched by the lone agents of the might Legion.

After a few months the superstitious peasantry began to suspect that their sorcerous rulers were hiding something terrible from them.  Rumors of revolution began to sweep through the streets of Dalaran as the paranoid citizenry questioned the motives and practices of the magician tey had once admired.  The Magocrats fearing that the peasants would revolt and that Strom would take action against them, turned to the only group they felt would understand their particular problem:  The High Elves.

Upon hearing the Magocrats’ news of demonic activity in Dalaran, the elves quickly dispatched their mightiest wizards to the human lands.  The elven wizards studied the energy currents in Dalaran and made detailed reports of all demonic activity that they beheld.  They concluded that although there were only a few demons loose in the world, the Legion itself would remain a dire threat so long as humans continued to wield the forces of magic.

The Council of Silvermoon, which ruled over the elves of Quel’Thalas, entered into a secret pact with the Magocrat Lords of Dalaran.  The elves told the Magocrats about the history of Ancient Kalimdor and of the Burning Legion.  A history which still threatened the world.  They informed the humans that so long as they used magic, they would need to protect their citizenry from the malicious agents of the Legion.

The Magocrats proposed the notion of empowering a single mortal champion who would utilize their powers in order to fight a never-ending secret war against the Legion.  It was stressed that the majority of mankind could never know about the Guardians or the threat of the Legion for fear that they would riot in fear and paranoia.  The elves agreed to the proposal and foundeda secret society that would watch over the selection of the Guardian and help to stem the rise of chaos in the world.

The society held its secret meetings in the shadowed Tirisfal Glades, where the high elves had first settled in Lordaeron.  Thus, they named the secret sect the Guardians of Tirisfal.  The mortal champions who were chosen to be Guardians were imbued with incredible powers of both Elven and Human magic.  Though there would only ever be one Guardian at a time, they held such vast power that they could single-handedly fight back the Legion’s agents wherever they were found in the world.

The Guardian power was so great that only the Council of Tirisfal was allowed to choose potential successors to the mantle of Guardianship.  Whenever a guardian grew too old, or wearied of the secret war against chaos, the Council chose a new champion, and under controlled conditions, formally channeled the Guardian power into its new agent.

As the generations passed, Guardians defended the masses of humanity from the invisible threat of the Burning Legion throughout the lands of Arathor and Quel’Thalas.  Arathor grew and prospered while the use of magic spread throughout the empire.  Meanwhile, the Guardians kept careful watch for signs of demonic activity.

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