Error: Only up to 6 widgets are supported in this layout. If you need more add your own layout.

Red Shirt Guy Explores Draenor, Part 1: Frostfire Ridge

Warlords of Draenor

Hello everybody, I know this is a few days post BlizzCon, but its the thought that counts, right? Anyways, the Warlords of Draenor demo from BlizzCon has been covered elsewhere; so this won’t be quite like the other descriptions of it. Instead I’ll be focusing on some neat tidbits I found, as well as some potential theories to the expansion’s plotline. Take the jump downwards to find out more!

Blizzplanet Review – Diablo III: Book of Tyrael

diablo-iii-book-of-tyrael-cover-full-sizeThe Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is now on sale at the New York Comic Con (booth #1564) and local bookstores. I grabbed my copy from the Insight Editions booth at the New York Comic Con for $28.

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael was written by Matt Burns (Associate Publishing Developer, Blizzard Entertainment).

Book Materials

In terms of printing materials, this book has the typical Blizzard-quality standards and what you would expect from an Insight Editions book. It’s awesome. The front cover’s Sword and ornaments artwork is embossed — giving you that special visual and tactile feeling. The lower part of the book is wrapped by a cover jacket.

Now I think this book kind of went a few notches up in terms of detail in comparison with Book of Cain and other similar Blizzard licensed products. If you take a look at the outer side of the pages which run along the width of the book in Book of Cain — you will notice the pages’ border were truncated to mimic ancient scrolls. Diablo III: Book of Tyrael lacks this, but instead the pages’ border is painted in gold. It’s crazy. You can even see the light reflect off the golden surface. The photo doesn’t even catch half of how it really looks like.

diablo-iii-book-of-tyrael-review-1

In the interior of the book, all pages have this wash-out material that gives you a feeling this is an old manuscript. It’s rare to find a page that has no artwork.

Finally, at the back of the book is some sort of envelope glued to the cardboard. The center has a seal one can detach to open the envelope. Within is “The Red Tree of Khanduras” listing Deckard Cain, Archbishop Lazarus, Prince Albrecht, King Leoric, Queen Asylla, Prince Aidan, Leah and Adria.

diablo-iii-book-of-tyrael-review-2

When you unfold the poster it is kinda huge. It has an artwork of a big tree. The roots seem to entangle The Black Soulstone. The branches have images of all the characters mentioned above concerning “The Red Tree of Khanduras”.

On the other side of the poster, it shows the same characters in their final fate: Queen Asylla decapitated, Leah as Diablo the Prime Evil, Aidan as the Dark Wanderer, King Leoric as the Skeleton King, Adria holding the Black Soulstone, Albrecht as Diablo, Lazarus and Cain death.

Review

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is written from the point of view of Tyrael. However, Tyrael attached writings from Deckard Cain’s Journal and Leah’s Journal to pass the wisdom down to his new Horadrim, and future generations. It is not written as a novel, but more as a compendium of notes.

There is no index page or content list. The entirety of the book is a roleplay from the point of view of the Diablo III characters. An exception is the credits page.

Diablo III fans should definitely get their hands on this book. There are many elements from the upcoming Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion; and probably the expansion after that.

I have never seen such an extensive collection of lore about Adria the Witch. Adria’s past prior to her arrival to Tristram is written by Leah, and her story after arriving to Tristram is from Deckard Cain’s notes. Tyrael got Leah’s notes from Bastion’s Keep.

Some of the lore comes from Diablo III: The Order by Nate Kenyon.

Tyrael shares his experience as mortal in his charge as the new Wisdom. Charge that’s short-lived as Imperius doesn’t acknowledge him and ignores his warnings about the Black Soulstone.

Tyrael is confused with all the raw emotions coursing through his mortal body. Fear to fail his duty as Wisdom. Emotional insecurities assaulting him.

The book reveals why Tyrael decided to steal the Black Soulstone from the Angiris Council, and why Westmarch as its burial ground. The story of Adria the Witch, the Founding and Ruin of Westmarch, and lore about the Crusaders can be found in the book, too. Take this book as a prelude to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls; and as a primer for the upcoming novel Diablo III: Storm of Light by Nate Kenyon which hits bookstores on February 2014.

Content List

There is no index/contet list, so I’ll simply list the sections found throughout Book of Tyrael:

Introduction – This is a letter from Tyrael to the New Horadrim.

Part One: Adria

The Witch of Tristram
Adria’s Origins
Adria’s Quest
Zoltun Kulle and the Black Soulstone
Conclusions

 

Part Two: The Fate of the Black Soulstone

Being Mortal
The Dissonance of the Angiris Council
Wisdom
The New Horadrim
Rakkis and the Founding of Westmarch – Prelude to Conquest
Campaigns Against Ivgorod and the Barbarians
The Creation of Westmarch
The Lost Ruins of Westmarch
Crusaders

 

Part Three: Miscellanea

A Timeline of Sanctuary

  • Pre-History – (Inarius)
  • Recorded History

Factions of Sanctuary

  • Amazons
  • Assassins
  • Barbarian Tribes
  • Council of Elders
  • The Coven
  • Crusaders
  • Druids
  • The Edyrem
  • Horadrim
  • Iron Wolves
  • Mage Clans
  • Necromancers
  • Paladins
  • Patriarchs (Ivgorod)
  • Rogues
  • Skatsim
  • Templar
  • The Temple of the Triune
  • The Thieves Guild
  • Trade Consortium
  • Zakarum

Figures of Interest — this is a long section with brief descriptions of several humans, demons and angels throughout history. Some only mentioned in the novels and the comic book.

 

Artists

Some of the artists behind all the artwork in Diablo III: Book of Tyrael were the same from Book of Cain, while others seem to be new.

  • The Black Frog
  • Nicolas Delort
  • ENrang
  • Riccardo Federici
  • Gino
  • John Howe
  • Joseph Lacroix
  • Iain McCaig
  • Jon McConnell
  • Petar Meseldzija
  • Jean-Baptiste Monje
  • Glenn Rane (Cover)
  • Ruan Jia
  • Dan Hee Ryu
  • Adrian Smith
  • Yang Qi
  • Bin Zhang
  • Zhang Lu

Credits

BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

Matt Burns (Writer)
Doug Alexander (Creative Direction, Layout and Design)
Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, and Brian Kindreagan (Additional Story Development)
Victor Lee (Additional Art)
Josh Horst, Kyle Williams, Skye Chandler (Producers)
Cate Gary (Editor)
Justin Parker (Lore)
Jerry Chu (Licensing)

Special thanks to: Christian Lichtner, John Polidora, David Lomeli, Benjamin Zhang, Peter C. Lee, Leonard Boyarsky, Michael Chu, Valerie Watrous, Evelyn Fredericksen, Sean Copeland, Leanne Huynh, Audrey Vicenzi, and Joseph Lacroix.

INSIGHT EDITIONS

Raoul Goff (Publisher)
Chrissy Kwasnik (Art Director)
Vanessa Lopez (Executive Editor)
Anna Wan (Production Manager)
Elaine Ou (Editorial Assistant)

SPOILERS

The Coven is actually a remnant of what was once known as the Triune (the ancient religion seen in Diablo: The Sin War trilogy)

Adria was born in Kingsport — curiously, the southern port of Westmarch — where Reaper of Souls takes place.

Adria’s father was Sevrin — a powerful merchant in Kingsport, who strangled his wife in a fit of rage.

Adria possibly killed her own father some time later when an unusual fire burned their home. She fled north to the Westmarch capital. Joined a group of witches. Turns out Adria and Maghda met there in their youth. Years later, both witches joined the Coven and took control of the group after killing its leaders.

Adria later departed the Coven after a schism with her partner — around the time of the Darknening of Tristram.

On one of Cain’s notes, he acknowledges after taking Leah as child with him, he began to research about Adria. He decided to keep what he learned a secret, and hid the truth to Leah.

I’m surprised this book has a long timeline similar to Warcraft’s. Also most of these Leah’s notes dating Diablo III (Caldeum and Bastion Keep) are written in 1285 Anno Kehjistani. Some notes are denoted as “1st day of (what seems like a month)”. Examples: Ratham, Kathon, Ostara.

Short descriptions of each important human, angel and demon throughout history (alive and deceased).

Zoltun Kulle was from the Ennead mage clan — group which delved into transmutation and enchantment magics.

The Black Soulstone was a profane simulacrum of the three soulstones Tyrael gave the Horadrim years ago.

Now we have another name of the first Horadrim group: Jered Cain, Tal Rasha, Zoltun Kulle and Iben Fahd. The latter was among the few survivors who attempted to defeat Zoltun in his lair.

The first part was Adria and Zoltun Kulle. The third part is from the point of view of Tyrael. He expresses how he feels as a human. How he felt as an Angel and how he viewed the flaws of the Angiris Council.

“I deliberately took on the form of a mortal, sacrificing my angelic essence, in response to the Council’s continued inaction. In doing so, I hoped to set an example to the Heavens — to prove that laws can be bent for a greater good.”

Tyrael left the Heavens after Diablo the Prime Evil was defeated. He couldn’t bear the angels’ judgment — who blamed him for the countless deaths of angels. I think this is the first time we ever hear how angels are born. Tyrael mentions before he left back to Sanctuary he witnessed the Lightsong — the creation of new angels. The angels tune their essences into the Crystal Arch in synch. The harmony of this “sound” and “light” creates new angels.

Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide

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.

Blizzplanet Review – DC Comics World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn Graphic Novel

WOW_BLOODSWORN

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.

Sideshow StarCraft II Raynor – Terran Space Marine Sixth Scale Figure Pre-Order Available

sideshow-starcraft-ii-jim-raynor-six-scale-figure-100181_press12-001

Sideshow Collectibles opened pre-orders for the Starcraft II Raynor – Terran Space Marine – Sixth Scale Figure.

The size and dimensions of this figure is 15.5″ H (393.7mm) x 9.5″ W (241.3mm) x 6.75″ L (171.45mm). Sideshow Collectibles is pre-ordering this item for $499.99, and offers monthly payment plans as little as $56.25 a month. The figure is slated to ship on August 2014. Don’t worry, the pre-order will only charge you $50 today to reserve your copy as a non-refundable deposit.

The StarCraft II Raynor 1:6 Scale figure was announced recently at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. Blizzplanet recorded video of the entire Blizzard Licensing Panel where this product was announced. Watch it now.

From the hit Blizzard Entertainment title, Starcraft II, Sideshow Collectibles is proud to introduce Jim Raynor -Terran Space Marine. Confederate marshal turned outlaw rebel, Jim Raynor does not back down from a fight. Equipped with technologically advanced armor and weaponry, the Raynor – Terran Space Marine was assembled from over 525 individually engineered components, making it one of Sideshow’s most ambitious Sixth Scale projects to date. The detailed armor features light up elements in the chest and engine vents, an impressive cache of weapons includes a C-14 Impaler Gauss rifle, a massive sniper rifle, and Jim’s signature revolver.

The Raynor Sixth Scale Figure features:

  • Fully Articulated Figure Body with highly detailed, fully articulated armor
  • Removable Helmet with retractable visor
  • Alternate Head(s) to display with helmet on or off
  • C-14 Impaler Gauss Rifle
  • Pistol with fabric holster
  • Sniper Rifle
  • Light up effects in chest, engine vents, and rifle (Images of finalized light-up effects, coming soon)
 

Artists

  • Anthony Mestas (Paint)
  • Michael Fictenmayer (Paint)
  • Big Shot Toyworks (Sculpt and Development)
  • Trevor Grove (Sculpt)
  • Kevin Ellis (Costume Fabrication)
  • The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

Manufactured by: Sideshow Collectibles

Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Vol’jin, Shadows of the Horde

world-of-warcraft-voljin-blizzplanet

world-of-warcraft-voljin-shadows-of-the-horde-9781416550679Gallery Books sent me a review copy of the World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde by New York Times best selling author Michael A. Stackpole.

I have been waiting for this book for about 8 months. On October 13, 2012, Michael A. Stackpole, Micky Neilson and Dave Kosak revealed plans to publish this book. You can watch later the video I posted of that Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel to learn more about the story from the writer.

I had many expectations for this book. I have played the PTR and the live realm for months, experiencing the Patch 5.1 Landfall and the Dagger in the Dark Scenario where Vol’jin is betrayed. His throat slit by an assassin sent by Garrosh to eliminate the Darkspear leader from the chessboard.

I enjoyed later Patch 5.3 Escalation, and of course look forward to Patch 5.4. This novel covers all the bases, all what Vol’jin experienced after we gathered the ingredients in Binan Village to save Vol’jin’s life. The story we missed in between the Dagger in the Dark scenario and Vol’jin’s return to Sen’jin Village in Patch 5.3 Escalation.

(Information here may be considered Spoilers — Read at your own discretion)

Vol’jin is taken to the Shado-Pan Monastery to be tended by Chen Stormstout and the monks. In his fevered dreams, Vol’jin stands before the Guardian of the Dead Loa Bwonsamdi and Sen’jin. Bwonsamdi is pretty pissed off at Vol’jin for the lack of sacrifices these past months, and for anchoring himself to life so fiercely rather than embracing death, tended by his Loa master. Vol’jin has so much to do for the Darkspear, for the Horde.

Bwonsamdi releases his claim over Vol’jin with a warning about his future. Vol’jin shall wish he had embraced death now instead of what Vol’jin will endure in the future.

Vol’jin wakes up a month after the events of the Dagger in the Dark scenario. Lord Taran Zhu and the Shado-Pan have been afflicted by unbalance lately. He sees in Vol’jin an enigma. He is Tushui, in contrast with Garrosh’s Horde. The Shado-Pan must teach Vol’jin the pandaren ways, and in return they must learn from Vol’jin and his vision of the Horde. However, there’s a twist. Two months earlier, the Shado-Pan Monastery harbored an injured human hunter. Both the human and the troll leader must learn to live together and tend to each other while on sacred ground.

Taran Zhu knows that once these two enemies heal and depart, they will be back to their old ways and kill each other. Taran Zhu seeds in them the pandaren ways, and the strength to defeat the emotions of the sha. In this way, bringing up a sliver of hope for the Alliance and the Horde.

I completely loved all the wisdom lines and elaborate parables poured in by the author Michael A. Stackpole. At times it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood TV series: Kung Fu.

It’s clear that Vol’jin will leave the Shado-Pan Monastery eventually as a different person. He will find a balance in his soul, he didn’t have before. He will return home to lead his people to victory with courage, determination and a complete domination over his fears and doubts.

He’s going to be the leader his people, his family needs. The Horde must safeguard its sense of family and unity.

Among the supporting characters readers will find Li Li Stormstout and Yalia Sagewhisper. Looks like Chen Stormstout has finally found someone to give meaning to his wanderer life.

If Yalia Sagewhisper rings a bell, you are right. She can be seen in the Shado-Pan Garrison (Townlong Steppes).

WoWScrnShot_062013_143049

WoWScrnShot_062013_143108

There are many interesting scenes in this book. The action is very quick paced to the point one can get overwhelmed taking everything in. By page 50, so many things had happened I couldn’t figure out where the story was heading to. I was just hooked wanting to learn more.

Vol’jin manages to have some dreams during his sleep, communing with the Loa, or receiving their visions. In one of them there is this scene of ancient Zandalari trolls making sacrifices on their altars. The sacrifices were … Aqir. Sacrifices feeding Hir’eek the Bat Loa.

Better yet, the story shifts to present time Zandalari in Pandaria, those harbored in the Isle of Thunder probably before the Alliance and Horde got there. Readers will get a brief glimpse how the first troll and first mogu united forces, and why they were later separated. The mists and the Sundering. Note: The mists were lifted by Shaohao in an attempt to protect Pandaria from the coming destruction as per the portents of the Jinyu 10,000 years ago.

The Zandalari are worried. They had planned in advance. They were confident with the support of the Loa spirits. They accounted for the Alliance and Horde presence, however the full attention of the Loa was now shared. This is something they did not expect. They don’t know who the troll be, but he is a wild card to their plans and their portents. They must eliminate this wild card, this shadow hunter distracting their power sources: Vol’jin.

The Zandalari fear this unknown troll occupying the Loa attention. The storm, the curtain disconnecting the Zandalari from the Loa might herald the birth of a troll destined to greatness. And in fact, this is no longer the old Vol’jin. Through the Shado-Pan conditioning and training this Vol’jin is reborn a new troll.

Chen Stormstout has his share of screen-time in the story, and the author alternates between both points of views. At one point, Chen Stormstout leaves the Monastery with Yalia to go in search of Li Li at the Temple of the White Tiger, but learn she has traveled to the Zouchin Village — Yalia’s family live there.

After the novel, players can find Yalia Sagewhisper at the side of Lord Taran Zhu in the Bleak Hollow (Isle of Thunder).

WoWScrnShot_062013_143818

This review is just the tip of the iceberg within the first 90 pages. Looks like the novel will go into the Patch 5.2 Isle of Thunder campaign — as hinted in page 106. I have so much to read and learn in this 301-pages novel.

Order the World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde (July 2, 2013).

Check out the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects Part V review also available.

If you haven’t played World of Warcraft in a while, Blizzplanet has you covered. Check out the Patch 5.1 Landfall, Patch 5.2 Isle of Thunder and Patch 5.3 Escalation quest/dialogue transcripts and videos.

Characters

Vol’jin
Chen Stormstout
Li Li Stormstout
Keng-na (cub)
Bwonsamdi (Loa, Guardian of the Dead)
Hir’eek
Shirvallah
Lord Taran Zhu
Brother Huon-kai
Yalia Sagewhisper
Tyrathan Khort (human)
Khal’ak
Gyran’zul (youngest Zandalari shaman)
Tswen-luo (Yalia’s father at Zouchin Village, master of the fishing fleet)
Brother Kwan-ji (Shado-Pan monastery monk)
Brother Xiao (Shado-Pan Monastery monk)
Captain Nir’zan (Zandalari)
Lieutenant Trag’kal (dead Zandalari)

Mentioned
Rexxar
Rak’gor Bloodrazor
Zalazane
Master Gadrin (Witch Doctor trainer)
Bolten Vanyst (human)
Yenki and Chinwa (Yalia’s marriage candidates in her youth)
Vilnak’dor (one of the darker Zandalari Loa)
Akil’darah (Eagle Loa)
Elortha no Shadra (the Silk Dancer Loa)
Garrosh Hellscream
Larsi (female hunter following Tyrathan’s orders, dead)

world-of-warcraft-voljin-blizzplanet

Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects Vol. 5

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-cover

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-coverThe conclusion of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part V e-novella by New York TImes best selling author Richard A. Knaak has reached its conclusion and it is available today.

Book Description

The final installment in an all-new World of Warcraft e-novella series from New York Times bestselling author Richard A. Knaak!

The age of dragons is over. Uncertainty plagues Azeroths ancient guardians as they struggle to find a new purpose. This dilemma has hit Kalecgos, youngest of the former Dragon Aspects, especially hard. Having lost his great powers, how can heor any of his kindstill make a difference in the world?

The answer lies in the distant past, when savage beasts called proto-dragons ruled the skies. Through a mysterious artifact found near the heart of Northrend, Kalecgos witnesses this violent era and the shocking history of the original Aspects: Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos, Neltharion, and Nozdormu.

In their most primitive forms, the future protectors of Azeroth must stand united against Galakrond, a bloodthirsty creature that threatens the existence of their race. But did these mere proto-dragons face such a horrific adversary alone, or did an outside force help them? Were they given the strength they would become legendary foror did they earn it with blood? Kalecgoss discoveries will change everything he knows about the events that lead to the…dawn of the Aspects.

2013 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Blizzard Entertainment and World of Warcraft are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., in the US and/or other countries.

Review

Kalec’s mind continues his involuntary journey into the far past of Azeroth in the body of Malygos the proto-dragon.

The relic belonging to Watcher Tyr has forced him to relive Malygos’ experiences and those of the former Aspects against Galakrond.

A time before the Titans blessed them to become Dragon Aspects and guardians of the world of Azeroth.

Jaina finally infiltrates the Nexus, bypassing the ward defenses of Watcher Tyr’s relic. However, she finds a unconscious Kalec undergoing the slow process of a unnatural metamorphosis.

In the past, Galakrond has nearly exterminated the proto-dragon population, and as he feeds he continues to transform and grow to unimaginable size.

This story fleshes out how these proto-dragons came closer together fighting for survival even though they were not exactly family. Friendships are born and take deep root.

Their individual abilities working in concert against Galakrond, inspired by Watcher Tyr’s strategies.

Considering the main characters are the proto-dragons we know and love at a primal stage with a reduced intelligence and limited grasp of a language, I’m impressed Richard A. Knaak managed to write this story.

There is more action in this story than dialogue. Both are balanced by the continuous point of view of Kalec glueing together the action and the conversations for a fluid story.

Toward the end, we learn how Galakrond died in Dragonblight, and the reader is surprised by how intrepid the feat of defeating such a behemoth came to fruition.

Readers will briefly glimpse into the arrival of two Watchers of Ulduar, and what seemed to be the Titans, moments before the blessing that transformed the 5 proto-dragons into the Dragon Aspects.

Tyr, the Watcher

The final pages of the e-novella hint we haven’t seen the last of Tyr in the present era.

Tyr looked like a character who has no second thoughts on leaving his brethren in order to fulfill his purpose as protector of Azeroth. This character truly inspires. I see so many parallels with Archangel Tyrael who said: “You cannot judge me. I am justice itself! We were meant for more than this! To protect the innocent! But if our precious laws bind you all to inaction … then I will no longer stand as your brother.”

Tyr is legendary. Epic. I’m totally sold on this character, and seeing his role in Norse mythology, and his role in the inspiration for the Order of the Silver Hand, I am certain Chris Metzen and the creative team has something epic in store for players in a future expansion with Tyr playing an important role.

One doesn’t need to be a telepath to understand Blizzard’s “To be Continued” signals.

We have read about Galakrond throughout all 5 parts of the story, but some aspects of the plot were left unresolved. As per the author, this was intentional. Blizzard Entertainment has plans for the future of the World of Warcraft universe.

The new 5-part e-novella format is really good. I kept looking at the calendar awaiting the next release date to get my crave fix. A trait I used to have back in the day when waiting for the next monthly comic book. At Blizzard Creative Team: Keep’em coming!

Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects Part IV

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-cover

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-coverIn Part IV of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects digital story, Richard A. Knaak continues the epic battle between Galakrond and the Proto-dragons who one day would become Dragon Aspects.

Best part of this chapter is that Watcher Tyr is helping the proto-drakes in battle.

In the present, Kalec is assaaulted by the artifact he found underneath Galakrond’s bones. Artifact which forces him to relive the past events through the eyes and thoughts of Malygos.

In Dalaran, Jaina searches the library for a book she remembers had studies about a similar artifact found long ago.

Readers will find in Part IV how Watcher Tyr lost his hand. This is it! This is the sacrifice remembered by the first humans throughout milennia. The legend that one day inspires the foundation of the Order of the Silver Hand.

The way this story has been split into 5-parts makes the craving for the story more impactful. Something shared by comics fans who wait eagerly for the next issue.

It is a matter of time for us now to read the last part of this story.

Many expectations ahead of us in the final part. Will we see the other Watchers? Will we see any resemblance of the human ancestors? Will we see the arrival of the Titans and the Ordering of the Dragon Aspects?

Even more important … the present. It is obvious that Tyr has come to the Nexus with a unknown mission. He chose Kalec or is testing him. As in times past, Tyr saw promise in the proto-drakes. Observed them. Tested them. Allied with them to fight a common foe.

The question is, what threat is looming in the horizon that made Tyr seek Kalec? This is not just a story mechanic to let us see Tyr and the proto-drakes.

This is New York Times Best Selling author Richard A. Knaak.

When it comes to upcoming expansions, Blizzard brings in the heavy-hitters to flesh out an epic story.

We know through Wrathion’s questline that a big threat is coming Azeroth’s way. The Burning Legion. Even more threatening. In my interview with Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson (2009) they said Sargeras is coming.

However, we know what happened last time 10,000 years ago when Sargeras attempted to enter Azeroth. How the Old gods manipulated that with the Dragon Soul.

If the Burning Legion is coming in the next expansion, the Old gods might not be too far. Could Tyr’s return in the present mean Galakrond will live again?

So many lingering questions. Hopefully, we will learn a few of them in the final part (due June 17).

World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part IV can be read on Kindle , iPad, Android and on your PC/MAC internet browser with the Kindle Cloud Reader.

Blizzplanet Review – DC Comics World of Warcraft: Dark Riders

world-of-warcraft-dark-riders-AllianceFinal_GraphicNovel_1400px

I had the opportunity to read World of Warcraft: Dark Riders courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment (Thanks, Lyndsi). I had waited so long to get this Blizzard licensed product on my hands. The first time fans heard about World of Warcraft: Dark Riders was at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. Chris Metzen, Christie Golden, and Hank Kanalz (DC Comics) showcased several upcoming products at the Warcraft, StarCraft & Diablo Swag Show Panel held there.

world-of-warcraft-dark-riders-review-1

It’s been a while since the launch of the original World of Warcraft ongoing comics series. The series, formerly published by Wildstorm, ended with issue # 25. The main characters seen in Dark Riders were originally introduced in the World of Warcraft Special # 1 (Dec 16, 2009). Through advanced solicitations, it was known that two new titles based on the Horde and the Alliance would be launched shortly after the World of Warcraft Special # 1. However those titles never came to see the light.

On December 16th 2009, DC Entertainment announced through IGN the World of Warcraft comics had been cancelled, as well as the already-announced Horde and Alliance titles. From that moment forward, DC Entertainment was to publish graphic novels based on World of Warcraft.

Fast forwarding into the present, the Alliance graphic novel is World of Warcraft: Dark Riders. It is on sale as of May 10th. The Horde graphic novel World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn will be available on August 13, but pre-orders are available.

Artwork

The front cover by Alex Horley and Samwise Didier (Blizzard senior art director) looks awesome in glossy paper. It’s actually a book-jacket wrapped around the book. No one will blame you if you wish to frame it. The artwork has canvas texture, or gives the impression it was painted on one.

The interior artwork by Neil Googe looks different to what we have seen so far in the World of Warcraft ongoing comics, The Ashbringer, or even Curse of the Worgen.

The landscapes look very detailed and true to the game’s locations. Some of the areas explored in this story are:

  • Goldshire (Elwynn Forest)
  • Karazhan
  • Tower of Azora
  • Westfall
  • Gold Coast Quarry
  • Darkshire
  • Duskwood
  • Mannor Mismantle (Duskwood)
  • Tranqui Gardens (Duskwood)
  • Roland’s Doom
  • Raven Hill
  • The Opera Hall (Karazhan)
  • The Menagerie (Karazhan)

I have a complaint, but that’s just me. The armor of these Alliance heroes looks too simple. More work is needed to make the printed media and the game mesh further. I would have liked to see a really cool armor set for each class, and make the same set of the characters available to players in-game in the challenge mode rewards (for example).

Story

The story begins in Goldshire where the two main characters make screen time. Mardigan is a young and reckless man sent by his father, Mage Karlain, to the Lion’s Pride Inn to get a potion from an old friend alchemist.

Readers quickly find out about several groups revolving around the core of the story: the Wolf Cult from Darkshire, The Defias Brotherhood in Westfall, and the Dark Riders of Karazhan.

In the Tower of Azora, Theocritus summons the aid of Mage Karlain. The Dark Riders have been stealing artifacts of power throughout the region. Theotricus sent the Hand of Azora artifact to Westfall, in hopes of preventing its theft, and sends Karlain there to make sure it stays secure.

The third character of the team of heroes is introduced in the midst of The People’s Militia in Sentinel Hill. A priest unlike any we have ever seen with a nasty attitude — wait, is there one of any other kind?

The story has a nice pace moving from one place to the next, giving the reader a taste of what’s going on. Each character has his own motivation, but their paths are interwoven. All paths leading to the Dark Riders and the artifacts they have stolen.

I am usually positive in my reviews, but I try the best for my fanboyism not to cloud my judgement. The title is World of Warcraft: Dark Riders. However, at the end of my read I was left with disappointment. Their origin is explained by Brink, but I don’t know who were behind the masks, or who their new master in the present is, or what the goal to hoard these artifacts is.

We do learn these Dark Riders are not related to The Lich King’s Scourge, nor related to Gul’dan and his Shadow Council. Their origin goes way back to the era where Medivh was still possessed by Sargeras. However, none of that explains who the current master of the Dark Riders is. It would have made sense for this graphic novel if the Dark Riders were serving Prince Malchezzar and the artifacts were meant for a ritual to resurrect Sargeras (for example).

Other than Karlain, very scarce information is provided about each member of this team. I don’t know where the priest came from, or what organization Brink works for. Considering he is a rogue and knows so much intel, I’d guess his organization is Ravenholdt or SI:7.

There were so many loose ends in this graphic novel, I can’t but wonder if Blizzard Entertainment intends these characters to appear in an upcoming novel, website short stories (like Project Blackstone), or even wrap up these loose ends in the next expansion. Looks like cliffhangers set there on purpose.

world-of-warcraft-dark-riders-preview-4The Scythe of Elune was in the hands of the Wolf cult. The graphic novel doesn’t really reveal much about the Wolf cult. We know the Wolf cult deserter in Goldshire had seen something among the Wolf Cult that made him flee. I keep trying to understand what this might be that scared him, but I have no answer.

We need megalomaniac villains with long speeches to understand their motives. Kinda too cookie-cutter, but better than the scene where we see Gervase with the Scythe of Elune uttering not a single word.

I have a lot of expectations, and love when those are exceeded with a great story. Especially the great stories that the Dark Riders, the Scythe of Elune and the Worgen are deserved to be fleshed out more in this graphic novel.

The World of Warcraft: Ashbringer and the Curse of the Worgen are among the top World of Warcraft comics stories I have read. Those are favorites for many fans, not just me. This graphic novel should have exceeded the previous in terms of lore. Lot of stuff we didn’t know about Mograine and what transpired in Gilneas while players accomplished missions can be learned in those two independent stories.

That’s the rough part of the review. Now let’s go into the good stuff. This team of adventurers is a wreak. They aren’t friendly with each other, but they learn they need each other if they are to survive the many foes standing between them and their goal to retrieve the stolen artifacts.

With a team like this, the author Mike Costa no doubt had a lot of fun writing their dialogues which include tones of comedy, irreverence, and gray personalities. None is truly evil, but not completely good-hearted.

Mardigan is reckless and easy to be angered if provoked. He doesn’t need to be provoked, though. He picks on people he feels might be bothersome or staring. He’s young with the heart of a fighter, and headstrong.

Karlain is headstrong and rushes in without care. Like father, like son. The mage is too confident, self-absorbed and arrogant. A secret he’s kept from his son boils at his core.

Revil is the most annoying priest I have ever seen in any printed media. One might wonder if even the Scarlet Crusade would abhor his zealotry of the Light. Revil’s family was killed by the Wolf Cult. This event darkened his beliefs to a degree where he justifies the misfortune of people around him as something the Light approves to happen. An example is a couple of soldiers in Westfall fighting for a piece of bread. One stabs the other. Mage Karlain asks Revil to heal the wounded man, but instead he walks away saying his is not a mortal wound, and the pain will serve as penance for his selfishness. Revil is truly an A-hole. I love him.

Brink is an enigmatic gnome rogue. He knows a lot of intel about who the Dark Riders are, and even about the Wolf Cult. He even has deep knowledge about dragons. He’s a box of surprises, and no doubt I might want to hear more of him in the future. But please, open the box so we can learn a bit more. Deal?

This team really needed a dwarf hunter, and a Night Elf druid. From what Brink says at the end of the story, he will meet a night elf. I am uncertain of what the timeframe of this story is in relation to the present and other events. I assume Curse of the Worgen happens after Dark Riders based on what happens at the end, but it’s hard to be certain.

Regardless, while the graphic novel didn’t fill all of my expectations, the dynamic between the characters, their grey personalities and humor makes this graphic novel a good read. If you think this is a graphic novel for kids, think again. Lot of beheading, cleaving of arms and gore.

A toast to seeing these characters again pop in upcoming novels, limited series or website short stories. I’m looking forward for the World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn graphic novel (Horde version) and more stories. My mind hungers for more Warcraft lore and action.

I rarely rate my reviews, because numbers can’t really capture my opinion. An 8.5 only tells you I didn’t find it to be perfect. There was much more the story should have revealed and focused on. On the other hand, it was a fun read and I crave to hear more about these heroes.

Get your copy of World of Warcraft: Dark Riders. PC/Mac users can read this graphic novel on Firefox or Internet Explorer by choosing the Kindle link, then ordering the Kindle Cloud Reader version. Do you have an iPad, Android tablet or Kindle? This graphic novel is available for those devices too.

world-of-warcraft-dark-riders-AllianceFinal_GraphicNovel_1400px

Description

A brand-new original graphic novel featuring characters from the bestselling video game franchise, World of Warcraft!

A stalwart mage searches for a powerful artifact, stolen by dark riders, only to find his son accused of murder. A righteous priest, driven by a mysterious fervor, investigates a savage Wolf Cult. As the paths of these two men join, a fantastic adventure emerges! Supported by a cast of brave heroes, the two find out just how dangerous the wolf cult and dark riders are.

Justice, Courage, and Faith: These are the pillars of the Alliance. The faction, forged in the aftermath of a brutal and bloody war, has always sought to bring light to the dark corners of the world. Every day, scores of Alliance members travel far across Azeroth, fighting for good under the faction’s banner.

Yet other heroes, like the brilliant mage Karlain, begin their battles much closer to home. When his hot-tempered son disappears after being accused of murder, Karlain embarks on a journey that will take him from the dark and misty thickets of Duskwood to the haunted tower of Karazhan. Alongside Revil, an overzealous priest haunted by the past, the pragmatic mage works to uncover a mysterious connection between his missing son and a shadowy organization known as the Wolf Cult. What Karlain and his comrade discover will put their strength and resolve to the ultimate test.

To complicate matters, the two men are harried by the Dark Riders, enigmatic bandits who prowl Duskwood and other regions in search of rare artifacts. Only through tolerance and patience can Karlain and Revil restore order to their world… and to their own lives.

Further Reading: References

The final pages of “Dark Riders” has a section devoted to pinpoint where characters or topics mentioned in the graphic novel can be traced back in printed media or in-game continuity.

A glimpse into the lives of Karlain, Mardigan, Revil, and Brink before the events of this graphic novel can be found in World of Warcraft Special # 1 by Mike Costa and Pop Mhan (It is reprinted in World of Warcraft vol. 4 and also available in digital format for the PC/Mac and tablets).

The origins of the worgen have long been one of Azeroth’s great mysteries. Details about these savage beasts and the mysterious artifact that created them are offered in World of Warcraft: Wolfheart by Richard A. Knaak; World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson, James Waugh and Ludo Lullabi; and the short story “Lord of His Pack” by James Waugh (available on the WoW website). Both Curse of the Worgen and Wolfheart are available in paperback, digital book and audiobook formats. Follow the links.

Apart from the Dark Riders, other legends abound concerning Karazhan and the infamous Medivh, former Guardian of Tirisfal. More information about the haunted tower and its prior master is revealed in Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb (of Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Magic: The Gathering fame). Warcraft: The Last Guardian was reprinted in a volume containing several Warcraft novels. You should order the WarCraft Archive.

Marshal Dughan, the stalwart defender of Elwynn Forest, makes an appearance in World of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak, when he succumbs to the dreaded Emerald Nightmare. The book is available in paperback, digital book and audiobook formats.

Characters

Karlain (mage)
Mardigan – Karlain’s son
Marshal Dughan
Tannos
Revil Kost (Priest)
Theocritus (Tower of Azora)
Commander Althea Ebonlocke
Ambrose
Gervase (Wolf cult)
Jitters
Shagra (Wolf cult)
Gorfang
Brink (Gnome rogue)
The Curator

(ONLY MENTIONED)

Warlock Morganth
Aredhel (Karlain’s deceased wife seen in a vision of the past in Karazhan)
Medivh the Last Guardian

(GROUPS)

The Defias Brotherhood (Westfall)
Wolf Cult (Darkshire)
The People’s Militia (Sentinel’s Hill, Westfall)
Guard of the Watch (Darkshire, Duskwood)

(ARTIFACTS)

The Hand of Azora
The Scythe of Elune
The Cloak of Purity

Credits

The writer of “Dark Riders” is Mike Costa. He is written The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor (Wildstorm, 2008), G.I. Joe (2008), Transformers: All Hail Megatron (2008), Resistance (2009), Transformers: Ironhide (2010) Hack/Slash (2011), Blackhawks (2011) — to name a few.

Neil Googe is the artist behind each “Dark Riders” panel. He is penciled for several comics since 1997. Shotgun Mary: blood Lore, Judge Dredd, X-men Unlimited # 41, Majestic, Wildcats: World’s End and more.

Colorists: Pierre Matterne, Lee Loughridge & Len O’Grady.

Letterer: Wes Abbott

Story Consultants: Chris Metzen & Alex Afrasiabi, Luis Barriga & Micky Neilson.

Cover: Alex Horley & Samwise Didier

Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects (Part 3)

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-cover

The World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part III (only $1.99) is now available to be read online on your PC/Mac via the Amazon Cloud or on your Kindle device, iPad or other mobile device. (Look out for Free Reading Apps for those without a Kindle device).

The big reveal: Watcher Tyr is on the spotlight.

Description

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-coverTHE AGE OF DRAGONS IS OVER.

Uncertainty plagues Azeroth’s ancient guardians as they struggle to find a new purpose. This dilemma has hit Kalecgos, youngest of the former Dragon Aspects, especially hard. Having lost his great powers, how can he—or any of his kind—still make a difference in the world?

The answer lies in the distant past, when savage beasts called proto-dragons ruled the skies. Through a mysterious artifact found near the heart of Northrend, Kalecgos witnesses this violent era and the shocking history of the original Aspects: Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos, Neltharion, and Nozdormu.

In their most primitive forms, the future protectors of Azeroth must stand united against Galakrond, a bloodthirsty creature that threatens the existence of their race. But did these mere proto-dragons face such a horrific adversary alone, or did an outside force help them? Were they given the strength they would become legendary for…or did they earn it with blood? Kalecgos’s discoveries will change everything he knows about the events that led to the…DAWN OF THE ASPECTS

PART I

The former Dragon Aspects are on the brink of going their separate ways to forge new destinies. As Kalecgos ponders the uncertain future awaiting his kind, he uncovers a mysterious artifact that allows him to see through the eyes of his late predecessor, Malygos. Intense visions bombard Kalecgos, transporting him to a time when the original Aspects were no more than primitive proto-dragons. Across ancient Kalimdor’s northern plains, they fought for survival against each other and a terrifying creature that dominated the era: the Father of Dragons, Galakrond. But many questions remain for Kalecgos. What are the origins of this strange artifact? Are its visions a gift, or a curse?

 

Part III Highlights

The Dawn of the Aspects saga continues as Kalec has no option but to witness through Malygos’ eyes the experiences of the proto-dragons who would one day become Dragon Aspects. There are several topics to browse through in this third installment:

  • As seen in Part 1 (of 5), Kalec found a relic beneath Galakrond’s skeleton that triggered a series of flashbacks in his mind, as if the artifact had a mind of its own.

  • The flashbacks show Malygos playing detective and hunter, spying upon the proto-dragon Coros and the behemoth Galakrond.

  • Jaina Proudmoore has communicated often with Kalec in the previous Dawn of the Aspect parts, but in Part III she takes a more active role as she comes in person to the Nexus to find out what’s wrong with Kalec.

  • Unbeknownst to Kalec, while he was unconscious witnessing Malygos’ past, Jaina had found the relic within the Nexus. She identified its spellwork as that of Titan origin. Jaina has knowledge of the Keepers of Ulduar — remember this story happens shortly after the Purge of Dalaran (Patch 5.1).

  • The hooded humanoid haunting Kalec in the present and Malygos in the far past is revealed. It’s a keeper. One of Ulduar Watchers. We were right all along with the clues. It is Watcher Tyr.

  • As a continuity nod, Tyr refers to the land as Kalimdor, even though they are in Northrend. This is because The Sundering that caused the flooding of the seas and the Maelstrom is yet to happen several milennia later. The lands we know as Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms was formerly a massive continent in this time period.

  • Jaina is abruptly teleported to the skeleton of Galakrond at the spot where Kalec earlier dug the relic from. Buniq (wiki) — the spirit of the female Taunka talks to Jaina. This taunka died in the pages of Warcraft: Legends Vol. 3: Fiend (Tokyopop manga).

Review

We have read so far three parts out of a total of five in this monthly-format. I like this new format. Costs only $1.99, and keeps you hungering for more. On the other hand, reading in increments of only 30-50 pages allows you to read in one sweep, and resume your daily chores in real life and in-game.

Reading 387 pages is a daunting task that might take up to six hours or longer depending how fast people reads. So, reading it in short amounts is flexible.

In this third installment, we finally see the hooded figure. Watcher Tyr shows himself before proto-dragon Malygos. The Watcher has been able to stealth his presence even to Kalec and Jaina, who are among the top spellcasters in Azeroth.

In the far past, Tyr admits he has watched all of the proto-drakes for a long time. The other watchers keep to themselves secluded in Ulduar, without interacting much with the daily affairs of lesser creatures outside.

Tyr observes the outside world. It’s implied the Watchers have been experimenting, and Galakrond is somehow consequence of what the Watchers did or lacked to do. It’s not yet clear in Part III.

So far we know that Galakrond was the same size as any other proto-dragon, but something caused him to grow massively in size. Worser yet, he has a dark hunger that causes him to eat other proto-drakes. These are raised as no-living or undead proto-drakes after he pukes them out of his gullet — serving him as mindless drones.

I think there is much more to this than what has been revealed thus far. Keep reading Part 4 (May 20) and Part 5 (June 22).

I can’t wait to learn more about Watcher Tyr in the far past, and even more important — why is Watcher Tyr watching Kalec and showing him from afar the visions of the past? Why did Watcher Tyr teleport Jaina from Dalaran to the bones of Galakrond?

It all seems as if something dire from the past is about to happen in the near future, and Watcher Tyr requires the help of mortals. Doesn’t it all sounds like a groundwork for the upcoming unannounced expansion? Hint: BlizzCon 2013 might announce the next World of Warcraft expansion.

The Battle Rages On

Located at the final page of Part III is read:

“The Cataclysm changed Azeroth and its myriad peoples in many ways. Dawn of the Aspects depicts the uncertainty that now plagues the ancient dragons. But what lies ahead for the world’s other races?

In World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, you can help shape this next chapter in Azeroth’s history. Become one of the first members of the Horde or the Alliance to explore the mysterious and exotic continent of Pandaria. Or take on the role of a noble pandaren (WoW’s latest playable race) and join the Horde or the Alliance, depending on which faction aligns more with your ideals. Regardless of the side you choose, your adventures will impact Azeroth in the years to come.

With the dragons forging new destinies for themselves, the task for safeguarding the world from evil has fallen to mortal hands — your hands. Will you rise to the challenge?

To dicover the ever-expanding realm that has entertained millions around the globe, go to WorldofWarcraft.com and download the free trial version. Live the story.”

World of Warcraft® and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with or endorsed by Blizzard Entertainment®.

Copyright © Blizzplanet.com All Rights Reserved

DMCA.com