As a separate article from my recent Shadows Rising review, I wanted to focus more on the relationships highlighted in the novel. Please, do not read further if you are sensitive to spoilers. There are heavy spoilers ahead and explanations. You are warned.

As mentioned earlier, there is a lesbian marriage in this novel between two Zandalari female trolls. Queen Talanji gave her blessing approving the marriage, and attended the ceremony.

Read More

Several weeks ago, I was given access to a copy of Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani (review here), and World of Warcraft: Shadows Rising — the Shadowlands prequel novel tie-in. Special thanks to Random House and Rogers & Cowan PMK who reached out.

I feel privileged to be able to read the novel after 87 days playing Shadowlands Alpha to understand the lore from both media.

Especially, after playing the Shadowlands Intro Questline where players participate in a ritual at The Frozen Throne to open a way into The Maw in the Shadowlands.

Reading the novel helped me fill up the gap of what led to the new expansion.

Throughout this review, I will offer minor spoilers without names in some instances, or without going into detail. So keep this in mind beyond the break below. If you want to skip the soft spoilers, but want to check out the Table of Content with chapters listed, skip to the image.

Read More

For years, I looked forward to watch the Warcraft Movie. Even more when Duncan Jones took over the reins. I followed Duncan Jones on Twitter from the beginning and he’s demonstrated his passion for the Warcraft mythos countless of times, and I have witnessed his humor, and geekiness. He’s a down to Earth gentleman, and a true and proud geek like any of us. So it wasn’t hard to trust he would make a great movie adaptation. I watched “Moon” shortly after he was announced to be the director of “WARCRAFT,” merely to get a glimpse into his past work. It was a great movie.

I still do not understand why a large portion of reviews out there are so inflammatory and spewing hateful vibe toward the WARCRAFT film. I have never read any of the Tolkien books, but when I first watched Lord of the Rings, not knowing who the characters were, I still loved it. I was probably age 8 when I first watched Star Wars, and Star Trek The Original Series in the earlry 1980s. I’m right now watching Star Trek: Next Generation Season 6 — which tells you how profoundly I love the mythos.

WC_TRAILER2_FEATUREIMAGE_1600x900

 

Read More

It’s been close a to a year since the last World of Warcraft novel was released. This Tuesday we’ll be getting another with World of Warcraft: Illidan, by William King, a newcomer to the Blizzard novelizations scene. Have you ever wondered exactly what was going on during The Burning Crusade‘s convoluted story? Pondered what its like to become and live as a demon hunter? If Illidan really is “the Betrayer” everyone makes him out to be? Want to know how William King stands against previous Warcraft novel authors? If you answered yes to any of these, read on!

NOTE: This review contains MINOR SPOILERS for the novel. You have been warned.

Read More

The day has come at last, World of Warcraft: Chronicle, is on sale now! To celebrate, and because people had been mistaking part one for a direct transcription, this next preview will be a full excerpt from the Chronicle. In particular, this will focus on the former Guardian of Tirisfal, Aegywnn, and shed light on the mage order hall in the upcoming Legion expansion. For those familiar with  other Warcraft novels, such as Jeff Grubb’s The Last Guardian, you may notice some significant changes have been made to Aegwynn and Medivh’s backstories…

As with before, heavy spoilers for World of Warcraft: Chronicle are below the jump, so read at your own risk:

 

Read More

ian-bates-the-red-shirt-guy2Greetings everyone, I’ve been given a copy of World of Warcraft: Chronicle to review and there is so much incredible lore information, I’m not sure a single review would work.

So, while I will have a proper review, I’ll also post a few summaries of some of the more groundbreaking information we’ve been given.

For our first entry, we shall look at fan favorite villain Lei Shen, the Thunder King. Of course, these will include massive spoilers. Spoilers on a “this changes the entire context of the Warcraft setting” level.

So if you want to find all this out in World of Warcraft: Chronicle for yourself, consider this a warning.

Have you ever wondered how Lei Shen truly became the Thunder King? How he died? How Uldum wasn’t always a desert? How the mogu and Zandalari came to create one of the most formidable empires Azeroth has ever seen? Read on to find out.

world-of-warcraft-chronicle-vol-1-preview-10 Read More

world-of-warcraft-war-crimes-coverThe latest World of Warcraft novel, War Crimes by Christie Golden, came out today. Reviews of the book have been pouring from various WoW fansites over the past few days, but this will not be one. Suffice to say, I really liked the book (aside from one big flaw), and it make me extremely excited for Warlords of Draenor. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the shocking revelations brought to light in War Crimes and the implications they might have for the storyline of Warlords of Draenor.

Obviously this means there will be spoilers, so if you with to read the book “fresh” then I recommend doing so first before reading this article.

Read More

dk-publishing-world-of-warcraft-ultimate-visual-guideMy copy of the DK World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide just arrived. I purchased it myself. I was curious to see such a big box for a book. When I opened the box and held the book on my hands, I literally jaw-dropped.

I wasn’t expecting this book to be such a monster-sized one. I have reviewed many Blizzard products in the past 10 years, but this one just broke the record in size. The Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches don’t mean much in context until you have it in front of you. IT IS HUGE! It is heavy too. 3 Pounds. I’m surprised I didn’t pay more for the shipping than for the book ($3.99 shipping).

dk-worldo-of-warcraft-ultimate-visual-guide-2

Cover Jacket

As usual, all Blizzard Entertainment books come with a cover jacket wrapped around the book. You can frame it as a large poster (13.8″ x 10.3″). When you remove the cover jacket, the book itself has a printed duplicate of the same artwork in full color (except for the missing logo and title text).

dk-worldo-of-warcraft-ultimate-visual-guide-3

On the cover jacket’s internal flap you can read:

”A universe so vast as to be immeasurable — incomprehensible even to your greatest minds.” – Algalon the Observer

The World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide was produced in close collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, the world’s biggest online role-playing game. The book explores the epic history, races, major characters, and locations of this thrilling fantasy realm, delving deep into the World of Warcraft lore.

In addition to giving readers an overview of Azeroth’s history, the book provides a behind-the-scenes look at World of Warcraft’s development. This unprecedented, long-awaited companion is packed with fantastic original World of Warcraft images, many rarely seen. Also featuring the very latest lore, this book is the ideal introduction to the World of Warcraft universe as well as the perfect guide for any adventurer, Alliance or Horde.

 

Adorning the interior of the book cardboard is a washed up monochrome version of this artwork.

the-burning-crusade-full

dk-worldo-of-warcraft-ultimate-visual-guide-4

The title page: World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide has the following image:

W4_009.tif

Interior Content

Throughout the length of the book you will find awesome artwork never seen before and some known. On the lore side, you will find a description of each race, kingdom, class, magic types, leaders, legendary weapons, history, an updated timeline and so much more. Among the authors are Anne Stickney from WoW Insider and Kathleen Pleet.

I can’t stress out enough how much I like to see all the epic artwork, and even new images of Turalyon, Aegwynn, Queen Azshara before and after her transformation, Hakkar the Houndmaster, Draka, Durotan, Aggra, Garona Halforcen, Orgrim Doomhammer, Xarantaur and many others. The book also covers the many independent factions including villains and raid bosses. Pretty complete collection.

There are images from Warcraft II, Warcraft III, and World of Warcraft. Others from the novel covers, novel bonus images, the TCG, the comic book, and graphic novels. But definitely new ones I haven’t seen before. This guide is basically a compilation of many artwork published by Blizzard Entertainment throughout different media, as well as sort of an encyclopedia containing the World of Warcraft MMO lore basics for newcomers or people who have been around a while but don’t necessarily know much about the Warcraft universe or the majority of fans who haven’t read the Warcraft novels, manga or comic books.

I am surprised to see new artwork of Khadgar, Kurdran, Turalyon, Alleria and Danath Trollbane. These probably come from the TCG, but in my defense I didn’t collect them.

The lore is very up-to-date until Mists of Pandaria. Mar’li the High Priestess of the Spider Loa is featured, introduced in Patch 5.2 The Thunder Isle.

This book is definitely the Ultimate Visual and Lore Guide for beginners who recently joined the World of Warcraft MMO or who lack the basics of the overall lore behind the leaders, races, classes and other aspects of the game universe, but a feast to the eyes for old-schoolers too who love to behold great artwork by Blizzard artists — including the Sons of the Storm.

I don’t want fans to grab this book expecting something in particular — like a all out new lore, or the next expansion stuff. This is just WoW in a nutshell for newcomers spanning content from 2004 to 2013.

Credits

Around the first pages there is a foreword from Blizzard Publishing Lead Micky Neilson. To know a bit more about the authors of this guide, Kathleen Pleet is a BradyGames contributor involved in the development of the Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Dungeon Companion guides. Anne Stickney is a senior editor at WoW Insider who writes the “Know Your Lore” column.

Blizzard Entertainment was knee-deep involved in the development of this guide. The credits list the following Blizzard Entertainment developers:

Production: Joshua Horst, Skye Chandler, Leanne Huynh
Editor: Micky Neilson
Lore: Sean Copeland
Lore Editor: Cate Gary
Licensing: Matthew Beecher, Jerry Chu, Audrey Vicenzi
Art Direction: Jeremy Cranford

The credits also list several DK Publishing and BradyGames personnel.

Content

Many might argue this is info already available in the WoWpedia — but you visit there to find something in specific through the “Search” feature. This guide, on the other hand, compiles all a fan needs to know about the lore basics for everything Warcraft. I wouldn’t doubt many people would visit WoWpedia to expand their knowledge after reading the guide.

The Titans, the Old gods, the Elemental Lords, the Burning Legion hierarchy and its demon races, even some of the War of the Ancients data. You can find it all in the guide. This photo shows you the Content List with all features by page.

dk-worldo-of-warcraft-ultimate-visual-guide-5

Grab your copy of the World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide while supplies last.

Blizzard Entertainment shipped me a copy of World of Warcraft: Bloodworn — written by Doug Wagner (WITCHBLADE/RED SONJA) and artist Jheremy Raapack (DC Comics Injustice: Gods Among Us).

The back of the book says: “Something stirs in the depths of Maraudon. Something wicked.”

WOW_BLOODSWORNThe tribes of the centaur have banded together and begun attacking Horde farms, villages and outposts without mercy or provocation. They murder every man, woman and child. What could bring these volatile tribes together? What are the centaur more afraid of than the imposing armies of the Horde?

In World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn, a small militia group is the only chance the Horde have of stopping an immense centaur war machine bent on overrunning all of Azeroth. Writer Doug Wagner and artist Jheremy Raapack deliver a tale of disparate heroes who must learn to embrace their differences if they are to save everything they believe in…

 

The front cover is a book jacket wrapped around the book. On the inner flap, is read:

Honor, Duty, and Loyalty: words fought and paid for in blood by every member of the Horde. Constantly fighting for their freedom, this faction of outcast races stands side by side against tyranny and persecution, but now something dark and powerful threatens their very existence. The Horde’s only hope is a small band of outcasts forced to team together. Their quest begins in the Horde capital city of Orgrimmar and will take them across Azeroth to the dreaded caves of Maraudon. Malgar, an orc hunter who desires nothing more than to be alone, is thrust together with a small Horde militia unit in hopes of stopping an enemy from an age long forgotten. This group of misfits must learn to put their differences aside if they have any hope of surviving. For to save all of Azeroth, they must defeat a god…
 

The story starts with a Horde militia chanting the Blood Oath of the Horde that players witnessed in Dragonblight when the Taunka pledged to join the Horde in the quest titled: “Blood Oath of the Horde” and later when Roanauk of the Icemist Village pledges the Taunka in “All Hail Roanauk!.”

”Lok’tar ogar! Victory or death – it is these words that bind me to the Horde. For they are the most sacred and fundamental of truths to any warrior of the Horde.

I give my flesh and blood freely to the Warchief. I am the instrument of my Warchief’s desire. I am a weapon of my Warchief’s command.

From this moment until the end of days I live and die – FOR THE HORDE!”

 

Right away the reader knows the story starts shortly after Deathwing’s Cataclysm. Garrosh has ordered the creation of the Garad’kra – a militia that will spread across all Kalimdor to report any enemy transgression into Horde territory, a militia able to act swiftly and in unison.

Readers will begin to know, separately, a little bit about each of the characters that end up banding together to follow Garrosh’s orders. These are the main characters and their bios:

Ironhoof

The warchief Garrosh Hellscream killed the leader of the tauren in a duel, allowing the grimtotem tauren (a dissident faction among their race) to capitalize on the opportunity and seize control of Thunder Bluff. Garrosh neither aided nor hindered the grimtotem, who were eventually deposed and driven out of the tauren lands, but this left the tauren less trustful of the Horde as a whole. Despite the events, the aged Ironhoof longs to prove he’s still a strong warrior and an asset to both the tauren people and the Horde.

Felgrim

The self-proclaimed “Forsaken” are an undead faction within the Horde. Its members have made several contributions to their allies, but have placed their own secretive agenda ahead of duty to the Horde in the past, a recent treachery from within the forsaken’s own ranks has made the Horde even more distrustful of their undead allies. Felgrim has grown weary of the suspicion directed towards him and reacts harshly to any sign of it.

Rada’jin

Although the Darkspear trolls served the Horde faithfully since Thrall’s arrival on Kalimdor, Garrosh saw them as weak and pushed them aside to make room for stronger allies. The Darkspear leader Vol’jin, threatened Garrosh and returned to the Echo Islands with most of his people, but ultimately was convinced to stay with the Horde despite growing tensions.

Rada’jin believes the answer is to prove how powerful the trolls can be, and as a shapeshifting druid he aims to do just that. He will show the Horde’s leaders that his tribe is a strong ally at any cost.

Ashra Valandril

Betrayal in their hour of greatest need drove the blood elves from the Alliance quickly discovering that their race could not survive without the support of allies and having no viable alternatives, these elves swore allegiance to their former enemies: the Horde. Ashra endeavors to elevate his people within the Horde, as he personally believes the orcs are using the blood elves for their own machinations.

Shagara

A shaman is called to seek harmony between the elements and themselves; an ancient tradition of the orcs that was reawakened when Thrall reformed the Horde under his leadership.

Shagara honors the ideals the former warchief upheld during his time as its leader, even when her new companions pursue their own goals over serving the greater good.

Malgar

Although he was a soldier in the Horde when they invaded Azeroth, Malgar felt he was a slave to the Horde’s masters and the demonic corruption that fueled them. When the Horde fell, Malgar was placed in a prison camp with other survivors. Thrall freed the orcs and took them to a new land, but now Malgar wants nothing more to do with the Horde. He wants the freedom to make his own way without the burden of serving others.

 

Doug Wagner has a very interesting story going on in World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn. It’s mostly focused on the centaur threat and the banding of a special Horde strike team. A dysfunctional one. Malgar is an orc hunter who used to be one of the corrupted orcs coming through the Dark Portal alongside Warchief Blackhand, and faced time in the internment camps. He doesn’t want nothing to do with Orgrimmar and the Horde. He won’t serve anyone.

A blood debt with Ironhoof bound him into this militia venture when the tauren warrior saved his hide during a centaur attack. The shaman lady orc Shagara is the leader of this team. The Undead Warlock Felgrim has to deal with hatred from other Horde races because of what Putress and his forsaken did at the Wrathgate. He has a deep regret crawling within his hollow skull. The blood elf guy lives in turmoil every single day of his life due to an important loss suffered presumably when the scourge invaded Quel’Thalas.

Criticism should be part of all reviews. There should be more about each character and revelations. It’s important to develop characters with a rich background. It’s a graphic novel, not a series, so in part due to frame space it’s nigh impossible to cover all the characters and still maintain a plot and a climax. Yet, there was enough individual character spotlight about their own inner-demons, there was a slight revelation about Felgrim the forsaken warlock which cements him into in-game events.

I think Rada’jin should have had more background lore considering he’s a troll druid and may have known

I’d personally like to see these characters again in future short stories in the website, and maybe another graphic novel or short limited series a la Ashbringer and Curse of the Worgen.

The dysfunctional team happens to grow into something else, united by a new team member whom is not even a Horde race.

Doug Wagner presents a very intriguing plot with this new teammate. Expectatives should be really high with this book, because certainly I have my doubts whether it is a simple bluff or whether Blizzard Entertainment is playing with the thought of a new playable race in an upcoming expansion. I totally didn’t see this one coming, not by a long shot. Yet it’s right there, wide open. In the canon in his graphic novel. Could it be possible?

“Lok’tar ogar! Victory or death – it is these words that bind me to the Horde…” — ‘Nuff said!

This graphic novel is going to give you an itch in the back of your mind that can’t be sated until BlizzCon for sure. A race that shares the same controversy as a playable naga race in a different way.

On the artistic side, Jheremy Rapaack totally nailed the Horde artwork. Very rich details in the armor, weapons, faces, hair. Jheremy was the perfect match to go with this World of Warcraft graphic novel, and I’m glad DC Comics and Blizzard Entertainment signed him to pencil it. Certainly, Jheremy should be in future Blizzard graphic novels, and other projects.

Grab your copy of World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn while supplies last.

Bloodsworn Giveaway

Post a comment below for a chance to take home a copy of World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn. You can sign in using your facebook, twitter, livefyre, google+, Linkedin, or open ID username and password.

Orgrimmar

Hi readers and welcome to my first editorial type article. With the release of Patch 5.4’s trailer (see it here if you haven’t already), the debate on whether or not Blizzard is biased towards the Horde in content development has risen again. Its a subject that really came to a head with the release of Cataclysm, enough so that Blizzard actually had Dave Kosak make a blog post, “Dev Watercooler: Faction Favoritism“. It was very negatively received, and in fact was seen by many as further proof there was faction bias favoring the Horde enough to be detrimental to the Alliance among Blizzard’s developers. So, does this faction favoritism really exist? Is Blizzard ignoring half their playerbase because they can’t muster the effort to to create content for a faction they don’t like? Or is this all overblown outcry from WoW’s notoriously unpleaseable fanbase?

Read More