Ask Creative Development (known as "Ask CDev" on the official forums) was a round of questions posed to the Blizzard World of Warcraft creative development team about Warcraft lore. The original forum posts were on the now defunct non-Battle.net forums, but answered and continued on the new forums.
Ask CDev has had a long hiatus since June 2011 (7 months and counting), but newly appointed "lore liaison" Nyorloth suggested a new one (Round 3?) might be coming . ...and a request for Round #3 questions actually appeared about a week later! Soon™ is getting unpredictable.
As of Round #4 (answers posted April 2-4, 2014), questions seem to all be taken from Twitter.
A few weeks ago, we launched a small questionnaire on this forum, asking people to post questions directed to the CDev team. You can see the thread and its responses here:
- Bad link http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24702149985&sid=1
Most of your questions fell into one of four categories:
- Questions that will be answered by soon-to-be-released published content (such as the upcoming novel The Shattering by Christie Golden)
- Questions that will be answered by soon-to-be-released game content (patches 3.3.5 and 3.9.0, as well as the Cataclysm expansion)
- Questions that can't be answered at this time without thoroughly spoiling future game and published content
- Questions that we can answer now, if only partially
Using your questions (verbatim!) from category #4, the CDev team has been meeting with Chris Metzen and Alex Afrasiabi to nail down answers that we can share with you now. So get your secret decoder rings ready, kids! Here comes the first set of answers!
- Q: Will a dev ever actually answer anything in this thread?
- A: Yes!
- Q: What happened to all of the Scourge's Obsidian Destroyers?
- A: The entities known as obsidian destroyers are actually enslaved titan constructs that were once called the tol'vir. The tol'vir were created to maintain titan lore repositories and titan machinery surrounding the titan cities of Ulduar and Uldum. Not long after the troll empires divided the insectoid kingdom of the aqir, the aqir that travelled north discovered and overthrew the tol'vir society in Northrend. These aqir would eventually become the race we know as the nerubians today, having adapted the tol'vir's architecture for their own purposes. Similarly, the aqir that travelled south ransacked and overthrew a titan research station near Uldum, renaming themselves the qiraji and calling their new home Ahn'Qiraj. Although the Scourge would eventually consume the nerubian empire and throw its few remaining tol'vir slaves into the front lines, it's possible that more tol'vir still exist in the hidden titan city of Uldum or deep within the remnants of Azjol-Nerub.
- Q: The Blood Knights of Silvermoon lack direction. None of them were seen in Northrend, and it is very unclear whether the Order still exists, or if it's been disbanded. It's also very unclear where the Blood Knights obtain their power, now. It used to be the Naaru, but then... remnants of the naaru. Surely these remnants are all but tapped now. Do we obtain power from the Sunwell?
- A: As of the end of the Burning Crusade expansion, blood elves who wield the Light do so through the power of the renewed Sunwell. It is a harmonious relationship, no longer one of discord caused by the blood elves' attempts to bend the Light to their will, which will likely have a positive effect on blood elf society in the long run. Look forward to updates that reflect this change in the Silvermoon and Blood Knight quests.
- Q: What happened to Frostmourne after it was shattered?
- A: While this is a closely guarded secret, we'll trust you to be discreet: no one knows where the remnants of Frostmourne are now.
- Q: Will we be hearing from any of the old or neglected human nations in Cata, specifically Stromgarde, Kul'tiras, and the remnants of Alterac (hey, Deathwing paraded around as an Alterac noble before)?
- A: With the revamp of the classic World of Warcraft zones, players will get a chance to see how the fallen nations of Stromgarde and Alterac have fared over the last few years. Kul Tiras, the island nation, will not be visible at the start of Cataclysm — something about tectonic plates shifting it out to sea....
Naaru void state
- Q: What is the nature of the Void state of the Na'aru? For a being of the Light, turning into such a dark being seems like a heavy weakness. Sucking in souls and causing destruction simply because of a loss in strength greatly diminishes their saintly image. Though, this might be a reason they don't act in combat very much, as turning on your army due to fatigue wouldn't be good for morale.
- A: Because three cases of this "cycle" have been demonstrated in Nagrand, Auchindoun, and Sunwell Plateau (K'ure, D'ore, and M'uru, respectively), players may have received the wrong impression with regard to the magnitude and rarity of these events: it is EXCEEDINGLY rare for a naaru to fall into a void state, and even rarer for a fallen naaru to be brought back into the Light. A naaru's fall into the void represents a catastrophic loss for the naaru and for the forces of the Light, and it is the saddest, most heart-wrenching event for the naaru to witness. Conversely, a naaru being reborn into the Light brings renewed hope and sense of purpose to every naaru; if energy beings could weep tears of joy, this would do it.
Q: What happened to Algalon after Ulduar? It didn't seem like he was just going to go back to business-as-usual.
- A: As shown in the World of Warcraft Special #1 comic, Algalon is currently monitoring the activities of the mortal races of Azeroth. His outlook on life and the titans' plans has been called into question, so he seeks to understand what makes Azeroth so different from the countless worlds he has observed before.
- Q: What Loa do the Darkspear worship?
- A: Because the Darkspear were originally part of the Gurubashi empire, they still worship many of the same Loa as the Gurubashi once did.
- Q: What were Varok Saurfang's notable accomplishments prior to WoW?
- A: Varok Saurfang has served with the Horde ever since he drank the blood of Mannoroth alongside Grom Hellscream. Varok led forces in the sacking of Shattrath, Stormwind, and everything between, never losing in battle until the Horde was routed at the end of the Second War. When Orgrim Doomhammer seized control of the Horde in the First War, he chose Varok Saurfang as his second-in-command after witnessing Varok's efficient and brutal tactics on the field. After the demonic bloodlust had been lifted from the orcs due to Grom Hellscream's sacrifice, Varok helped dozens of veterans come to grips with their previous atrocities, ultimately saving the lives of many great Horde soldiers. Rumor also has it that Saurfang once cleaved three men in half with one swing… of his hand.
- Q: How did ethereals get so... ethereal? They seem to act a lot more like a mortal race than other energy beings we meet, such as elementals.
- A: K'aresh was an arid planet, home to a thriving ecosystem and several sentient species before the arrival of Dimensius the All-Devouring. How the void lord found K'aresh is still hotly debated among the surviving ethereals, but the effects of his coming were unmistakable: he opened countless gateways into the void and the Twisting Nether around the planet, bathing K'aresh in arcane and dark energies. Using every scrap of its advanced technology, one of the mortal races hastily attempted to construct magical barriers around its cities, but it was only partially successful; although the dark energies were blocked, the unimpeded flood of arcane energy tore away the mortals' corporeal shells and infused their souls with enough energy so that they could subsist without a body… barely. Members of this race, now called ethereals, took to binding themselves with enchanted strips of cloth to provide their souls with enough structure to survive. This altered state proved to be a blessing in disguise, as their enhanced minds and magical abilities allowed the ethereals to fight Dimensius and his limited forces to a standstill. Over the years, however, Dimensius eventually grew powerful enough to summon armies of fellow void creatures, forcing the ethereals to flee into the Twisting Nether.
- Q: Do incubi exist?
- A: There are several different rumors concerning the male counterparts to the demonic succubus race, and it's clear that the succubi are responsible for all of them. A few of the more common rumors are:
- Yes, there are incubi, but the spell to summon them has been conveniently forgotten by mortal practitioners and Burning Legion agents.
- Incubi are kept as slaves on their home planet, having been rendered incapable of escape or independent movement.
- The succubi consumed the males of their race when they were brought into the Burning Legion. (Alternatively, the act of devouring the males is what caught the attention of the Burning Legion.)
- Q: Could you please explain the lore behind goblin shamans? Goblins do not seem like a particularly spiritual race, especially one that would care about the elements (as evidenced by the Venture Co.).
- A: Goblin shaman are an extension of their society's single-minded devotion to making a profit; to a goblin shaman, elementals are potential customers. Goblins do tend to be a bit more forceful in their negotiations than the other shamanic races, especially the tauren) would like, though they are far less forceful than what we've seen from the taunka in Northrend. (Unless the elemental tries to weasel out of its contract. Elementals tend not to have breakable knees, so goblins sometimes have to resort to other methods of control.) As for the goblins' "mechanical" totems, note that these are merely physical manifestations of the small totems they tinker/craft to form a link with the elemental spirits. Instead of lugging around large totems, goblin shaman have a ring (probably the same ring on which they keep their house and motorbike keys) with small totems they've built as conduits for the elemental spirits they do business with.
The Light and the undead
- Q: Can you please explain how "light" works? The lore states that undead are physically incapable of using the light, much like the Broken, but then we have Forsaken players casting healing spells, and Sir Zeliek in Naxxramas using pseudo-paladin abilities.
- A: Without spoiling too much, we can tell you that wielding the Light is a matter of having willpower or faith in one's own ability to do it. That's why there are evil paladins (for example, the Scarlet Crusade and Arthas before he took up Frostmourne). For the undead (and Forsaken), this requires such a great deal of willpower that it is exceedingly rare, especially since it is self-destructive. When undead channel the Light, it feels (to them) as if their entire bodies are being consumed in righteous fire. Forsaken healed by the Light (whether the healer is Forsaken or not) are effectively cauterized by the effect: sure, the wound is healed, but the healing effect is cripplingly painful. Thus, Forsaken priests are beings of unwavering willpower; Forsaken (and death knight) tanks suffer nobly when they have priest and paladin healers in the group; and Sir Zeliek REALLY hates himself.
- Q: Can you tell us anything about the manner in which trolls become druids?
- A: While it's only barely hinted at during the upcoming "Zalazane's Fall" event, new troll druids in Cataclysm should learn much more about their race's adoption of these foreign practices.
- Q: Why was Myzrael imprisoned?
- A: Myzrael fell to madness after she was corrupted by ancient evils under the earth (read: Old Gods). She was defeated during the events of classic World of Warcraft, which purged her of the corruption, but she may make a cameo appearance in Cataclysm. Keep an eye out when adventuring through Deepholm.
Master of the arakkoa
- Q: Who is the arakkoa "master" that Isfar talks about? It is not Terokk…
- A: There are more Old Gods than just the ones trapped on Azeroth. It takes a lot for them to become manifested on a physical plane, however; see the quest line in Shadowmoon Valley that ends with "Thwart the Dark Conclave" for more information.
- Q: With Lady Prestor's, aka Onyxia, plot foiled, will Stormwind once again send soldiers to Lakeshire, Duskwood, and Wesftall or will these area's and their self-made militias continue to defend themselves?
- A: With the return of King Varian Wrynn and the removal of Lady Prestor from power, the outlying towns finally received the reinforcements they needed. As you'll see in Cataclysm, however, the reinforcements might not be enough....
Moonwells in the Eastern Kingdoms
- Q: There was (and still is) a Moonwell smack dab in the center of Duskwood. This was the ONLY Moonwell on the Eastern Continent prior to the Burning Crusade which saw a Moonwell being added to the island west of Silvermoon (which from a lore sense, the placement of this Moonwell in Quel'Thalas made absolutely no sense.) Will the Duskwood's Moonwell's presence be explained?
- A: Without spoiling anything, we can tell you that both of these moonwells are recent creations by night elves.
Machines in Storm Peaks
- Q: What did the massive machines around the Storm Peaks, like the Engine of the Makers, actually do?
- A: These machines are all part of the same system: the Forge of Wills.
Order of the Silver Hand and Tyr
- Q: What's the relation between The Order of the Silver Hand, Tyr's Hand (City from Lordaeron region) and Watcher Tyr (from Ulduar)?
- A: Long ago, on the continent that would eventually become known as the Eastern Kingdoms, a small group of creatures struggled to survive, using the limited supplies provided to it by parents who had just abandoned their children on an unfamiliar shoreline. These creatures, eventually called "humans," would occasionally take to gathering around a fire whilst trying to read from scrolls telling of ancient heroes and leaders – tales from the civilization that had cast these creatures out. One of these scrolls spoke of a great leader, a paragon of order and justice, who sacrificed his right hand in a fight against an unfathomable evil. Although it was within this hero's power to fix his hand after the fighting had ended, the hero instead chose to replace it with a closed fist made of the purest silver. In this way, the hero impressed upon those who followed him that true order and justice can only be accomplished through personal sacrifice. This hero, who slipped into memory long ago, went by the name of Tyr.
- Q: Building off that- whatever happened to Tyr?
- A: The watcher Tyr was not in Ulduar when adventurers finally freed the titan city from Yogg-Saron's influence. If anyone knows where Tyr is now, he or she isn't speaking up.
- Q: Are Mimir and Mimiron supposed to be the same entity, or are they relatives?
- A: Same entity, though only his close friends are allowed to call him Mimir.
- Q: What is Tiffin Wrynn's backstory in terms of family, original nation, etc.? I'd be curious as to what connections were set up through that marriage.
- A: We'll keep this brief because we could easily write a few pages for this one. Tiffin Wrynn was originally Tiffin Ellerian of the Ellerian noble family of Stormwind, a small house that only had a small chunk of land in Westfall. Her marriage to Varian was pre-arranged at her birth, finally securing her family a spot on the Stormwind House of Nobles. Tiffin and Varian initially disliked each other, but they eventually became inseparable. Tiffin helped Varian control his occasional anger issues and taught him economics, while Varian helped teach Tiffin about politics and social etiquette. Tiffin was eventually known as a queen of the people, and she was the most adamant supporter of paying the Stonemasons' Guild the initially agreed-upon sum. Her accidental death during the Stonemasons' Guild riot was a monumental loss for Varian, Anduin, and the people of Stormwind.
Hyjal and the Horde
- Q: Will you be explaining why the forest spirits of Hyjal will be friendly to the Horde despite the fact that Horde has done so much damage to Ashenvale?
- A: By the start of Cataclysm, the ancients and spirits of the forest will have recognized that the forces of the Cenarion Circle and the Alliance combined are still not enough to stop Deathwing, the Twilight's Hammer, and the elementals they have unleashed. As much as these ancients and spirits hate to admit it, they realize that they need the assistance of the Horde.
- Q: What role, if any, will Med'an play in Cataclysm?
- A: Med'an will not be visible in Cataclysm; something else is keeping him occupied.
More answers to come in the following weeks. Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!
In an effort to efficiently disseminate as much information as possible, many of these questions are amalgamations of several slight variations asked by the US, EU, Korean, and Chinese player bases. In addition, a few unanswered questions from "Ask CDev #1" are included as well. Enjoy!
- A: No. The RPG books were created to provide an engaging table-top role-playing experience, which sometimes required diverging from the established video game canon. Blizzard helped generate a great deal of the content within the RPG books, so there will be times when ideas from the RPG will make their way into the game and official lore, but you are much better off considering the RPG books non-canonical unless otherwise stated.
Missing lore characters
- A: There are several "missing" characters in the Warcraft universe, but they are not forgotten! While we'd love to talk about these characters, doing so would spoil a number of the plots we have for Cataclysm and beyond. Believe us when we say that you will definitely hear about these characters when we're ready to talk about them!
Missing Archaeology branches
- Q: Why isn't there a(n) X Archaeology branch? (X = Tauren, Aqir, Faceless One, Furbolg, Murloc, etc.)
- A: This is more of a game design question than a CDev one, but it was asked enough that we wanted to at least point out the following: just because a race doesn't have an Archaeology branch now doesn't mean there aren't artifacts for that race, nor does it mean that the race isn't a candidate for possible future additions to the profession.
- Q: Have we seen a true titan yet in World of Warcraft?
- A: No, only their creations.
Night elves and Trolls
- A: See issue #5 of the World of Warcraft Official Magazine!
Ancients in Emerald Dream and Loa
- A: Troll druids visiting the Moonglade have been overheard calling the wisps who reside there loa, just as they refer to Goldrinn, Aviana, and the other returned Ancients as loa. Night elves and tauren have tried to counsel these trolls on "correct" druidic nomenclature, but the trolls thus far have been stuck in their ways.
- Q: If trolls are able to regenerate their limbs, why didn't Zul'jin's arm grow back?
- A: For the most part, it is the speed at which trolls regenerate that makes them formidable foes. When in balance with the loa of their tribe, they are also able to regrow digits (fingers and toes). Tales abound in troll culture, however, of those blessed by the loa with extraordinary regenerative abilities, such as the ability to regrow limbs and even vital organs lost in battle. The tale of Vula'jin the Void speaks of how he regrew almost his entire body after standing in a pool of shadowflame. But just as the loa can bless, they can also curse; troll children are taught legends of those cursed by the loa, unable to heal even flesh wounds, to instill the proper respect for their patron spirits.
Indigenous Azeroth races
- Q: What races were on Azeroth before the coming of the titans?
- A: Besides the elementals, the only known sentient races on Azeroth when the titans' forces arrived to subdue the Old Gods were the trolls, the race known as "faceless ones," and the aqir. Due to the Old Gods' war against the titans, as well as the extensive terraforming that followed the war's conclusion, records of what races existed before even the Old Gods' arrival have likely been lost forever.
- Q: What contact, if any, have the tol'vir in Uldum had with the rest of Azeroth over the course of their existence?
- A: Although the systems keeping Uldum hidden from the rest of the world worked flawlessly from the ordering of Azeroth up until the Cataclysm, the tol'vir inside did have some knowledge of what was going on outside their home: many of the titans' security devices in Uldum were in communication with the other titanic cities (Ulduar, Uldaman, etc.). The Halls of Origination were actually the system that Algalon the Observer intended to activate upon his arrival in Ulduar… which the players prevented from automatically triggering when they sent the "Reply-Code Alpha" signal from Dalaran.
- Q: The "There must always be a Lich King" mantra seemed awfully suspicious, coming from ghosts trapped in Frostmourne. Was there something else going on there?
- A: To save people from generating elaborate conspiracy theories, we'll be serious for a moment and say, definitively, no. The ghosts of Uther and Terenas understood that the Scourge would run rampant without someone to keep them in check. Yes, that does also mean that Arthas and Ner'zhul were not unleashing the full force of the Scourge during their respective reigns: you are welcome to speculate on the reasons for that.
Argent Crusade and the Forsaken
- Q: What is the Argent Crusade's relationship with the Forsaken, in light of Sylvanas's recent actions?
- A: Although the members of the Argent Crusade still stand by the Forsaken heroes who joined them in the battle against the Scourge, Sylvanas's actions since the slaying of Arthas have deeply concerned the crusaders. They, along with certain members of the Ebon Blade, are now watching Sylvanas and the Forsaken very closely, as similarities between her and the Lich King are increasing in number by the day.
- Q: The Forsaken don't have a harbor or any dry docks
- how do they create their ships?
- A: The Forsaken navy is composed of ships dredged up from the bottom of the ocean. Most of them were once among Lordaeron's fleets.
Holy Light and the undead
- Q: When undead use or are healed by the Holy Light, does it cause them any actual damage or harm, or does it only cause them pain (in addition to the intended effects of the spell)?
- A: Channeling the Light in any way, or receiving healing from the Light, only causes pain. Forsaken priests do not disintegrate or explode from channeling the Light for an extended period of time… though they may wish they would.
Positive Holy Light effects and the undead
- Q: Are there long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way?
- A: It is difficult to say, as there are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.
Worgen and the Forsaken
- A: Not only are the Val'kyr less powerful than the Lich King when it comes to raising the undead, but the worgen curse also makes raising them into undeath far more difficult than it is for normal humans. The worgen curse has roots in both the Emerald Dream (through the wolf Ancient, Goldrinn) and the holy power of the goddess Elune. In addition, those worgen who imbibe the waters of Tal'doren—through the ritual they undergo to maintain balance between the worgen curse and their humanity—have a further resistance to the corruption of undeath.
Blood elf death knights
- A: No, though their new addiction, the one all Ebon Blade death knights possess, is arguably worse: the need to inflict pain. If death knights do not regularly inflict agony upon another creature, they begin to suffer wracking pains that could drive them into a mindless, blood-seeking hysteria—a far worse fate than that of those who suffer from arcane withdrawal.
- Q: What has become of the blood elf Spellbreakers?
- A: While they were already few in number to begin with, the ranks of this formidable fighting force were thinned drastically when their headquarters on the Isle of Quel'Danas was overwhelmed by Kael'thas and his Burning Legion forces. The lone squad that remains now exists as a relic of a bygone era, as the Spellbreakers have refrained from training any new recruits since Kael'thas's betrayal.
Blood elves and Highborne
- Q: How have the blood elves reacted to the Highborne's return to night elf society, heralding the return of kaldorei magi?
- A: Because their expulsion from night elf society after the War of the Ancients was due to their use of arcane magic, the blood elves were outraged to hear that the kaldorei had welcomed the Highborne back and were tolerating the practice of arcane magic again. After witnessing the "rookie" mistakes made by the new kaldorei magi, however, the blood elves are anxiously awaiting whatever mess the kaldorei are going to put themselves in. What's more, some sin'dorei have been able to exploit the kaldorei's inexperience in order to rout Alliance forces, as seen in the "" quest series in Azshara.
Blood elf eyes
- Q: Why do blood elves still have green eyes?
- A: Corruption from fel energies takes a long time to wear off. It's why most orcs are still green even though Mannoroth is dead.
- A: For all intents and purposes, she didn't; when players encounter Sinestra in the Bastion of Twilight raid, she is a husk of her former self, pieced together and reanimated by the powers of Deathwing's Old God master.
Stone and storm drakes
- A: Brann Bronzebeard recently uncovered evidence, corroborated by reports from adventurers in Deepholm, that proto-dragons and dragons may have origins in these—and other—elemental drakes. The inhabitants of Deepholm, the Skywall, the Firelands, and the Abyssal Maw are less than talkative on these matters, however, and most of them were not around when the elemental prisons were created.
- Q: Were there ever different elemental lords before the current four?
- A: Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Therazane, and Neptulon are the only elemental rulers Azeroth has had in its existence. What this will mean for the elements of fire and air with the deaths of their elemental lords is unknown, but it most certainly is not good.
- Q: Why do Kvaldir disintegrate into seaweed when they die?
- A: The Kvaldir typically reside deep in the ocean, where their corporeal forms would be crushed if their mistweaving magics didn't hold off the ravages of the depths. Although they remain flesh and blood in life, their deaths result in a backlash of mistweaving energies, dissolving the Kvaldir into mist over time. All that remains are patches of sea growth that had accumulated on their bodies and, of course, any loot they were carrying.
Gnomes and the Light
- A: The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!
Wildhammer area in Northeron
- A: Prior to the Cataclysm, the northernmost part of the Twilight Highlands was called Northeron. The rapid melting of its famed icy cliffs due to the catastrophic climate shift from the Cataclysm, the incursion of Twilight's Hammer forces, and the appearance of the creature known as Iso'rath all served to put an end to Northeron and many of the independent dwarves who lived there. Some of the wreckage is still visible along the northern coast. Fortunately, the nearby spiritual center of Kirthaven remains intact.
- Q: Is Elune a naaru?
- A: During a recent visit to Darnassus by Velen, he explained that the kaldorei's description of Elune, as well as the demonstrated powers of the goddess, matched his experiences with powerful naaru. He began to offer advice regarding how to commune with powerful naaru, but Tyrande thanked him for his opinion, then cordially requested that he refrain from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.
This was a relatively short round of questions and answers.
The heroes of Azeroth have faced down many foes; blazing Elemental Lords freed from titanic prisons, mighty demons from beyond the stars, armies of shambling corpses and even eldritch gods who defy explanation. And yet, there exist only a chosen few equipped to deal with the powerful beast that is . . . Ask CDev. Through the heroic efforts of our brave loremasters here at CDev Publishing, we proudly present to you the answers to Ask CDev #3! We even managed to get them out before our stated deadline of “when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our own.”
Here, there be dragons and magical beasts
Q: constantly claims that he is the last black dragon, but what of and the other black dragons in Outland (and even the Netherwing)? Did Wrathion somehow have them killed, or is he ignorant of their existence?
- A: Wrathion states, “To my knowledge, I am the only black dragon who remains.” Thankfully, Wrathion is not omniscient, and he is simply ignorant of the dragons beyond the Dark Portal. Both the black dragons under his elder half-brother Sabellian and the Netherwing flight remain in Outland. There is also the possibility that some black dragons on Azeroth have managed to evade Wrathion’s detection as well.
Q: states that the Aspects' "great purpose" has been fulfilled. However, the titans empowered the Aspects to watch over Azeroth and not to just stop second Cataclysm. Since Aman'Thul gifted with his powers over time, it's possible he predicted Deathwing's ultimate corruption, but that doesn't explain why the Aspects would be like, "alright, job's done, vacation time" when there's still other threats to consider (N'zoth and the Burning Legion, for example). Is this a retcon or are we missing something?
- A: Aman’Thul, the wise leader of the titan Pantheon, had seen in a vision that the Old Gods would one day cause a catastrophe with the potential to wipe out all life on Azeroth. He and a few members of the Pantheon empowered the five Dragon Aspects with the ultimate goal of averting this single catastrophe, this Hour of Twilight, though they strove to defend Azeroth whenever a suitably apocalyptic threat emerged. Despite Aman’Thul’s vast powers, however, he was not omniscient: neither he, nor any of the other titans or Aspects knew that Neltharion the Earth-Warder would become a pawn of the Old Gods and the herald of the apocalypse. However, following the War of the Ancients and Neltharion’s betrayal, Nozdormu received another vision of the future that made it clear that their own brother would be the Hour of Twilight’s harbinger. The titans bestowed upon all five Aspects enough power to avert the apocalypse, and by turning one of the Aspects to their side, the Old Gods believed this would make their ultimate plan foolproof.
- A: Many of the forest creatures that assisted the night elves were not, obviously, part of the actual military hierarchy of the Sentinels. The mountain giants, for instance, hold allegiance only to the titans, while the faerie dragons and chimaera are simply somewhat intelligent animals with ties to the Emerald Dream and Nordrassil, respectively. These beings all assisted the night elves not due to a desire to help them in particular, but because the night elves were the largest local force who opposed the Burning Legion. Short of a planetary threat, it is rare to see mountain giants, faerie dragons or chimaera fighting with a mortal army. The ancients, on the other hand, suffered heavy losses during the Third War, with many, especially the varieties that were never in great supply to begin with, returning to the forests to hopefully spread their seeds and replenish their numbers undisturbed.
Magic and Elements
- A: The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion -- hope, courage, comfort -- and the like. Shadow abilities are just the opposite, able to impart feelings like despair, doubt, and panic. In a poetic sense, it can be said that the emotions which the Light brings about come from the “heart,” whereas the emotions manipulated by shadow are often based on survival logic, and therefore affect the “mind.” That said, priests and their abilities are not necessarily always psychic or telepathic in nature.
- A: There are many elementals imprisoned within the Elemental Planes, though only the most powerful have intelligence comparable to that of a civilized humanoid. Most of these elementals were pressed into service by the Twilight’s Hammer and their Old God masters during the events of the Cataclysm, and most perished. As such, it will take a long, long time for the elemental planes to rebuild their forces into an army that could threaten Azeroth again, as most of the remaining elementals are of relatively bestial intelligence and have no desire to rule over much of anything. For the Firelands in specific, the Avengers of Hyjal are guarding its few remaining portals, to ensure that a new Firelord can never rise again.
Of the Gods
Q: Is there truly an Old God underneath the Tirisfal Glade?
- A: Nope! There’s something incredibly unsettling there, but it’s not an Old God. It isn’t recommended to go digging through the Glades, though.
Q: Why do some Alliance soldiers raised by the Forsaken immediately become loyal to the Forsaken while others do not? Are they being mind controlled? If so, by whom: or the Val’kyr? How does this relate to the fact that the Forsaken cultural identity is based on their free will and rebellion against the Lich King?
- A: Free will is one of the cornerstones of Forsaken culture, with the great capacity for both good and evil that it entails. However, some undead, especially those who die in combat or under extreme stress and are raised soon after, enter into a violent, frenzied state. Undead in this state are easily manipulated and their rage is often directed at the foes of those who raised them. After the effects wear off, if the risen corpse has not been destroyed, they are given the same ultimatum that other Forsaken are offered: join the Dark Lady or return to the grave.
Q: From the quest “,” a Worgen Death Knight could learn from that they were servants of Arugal before their death and resurrection. But, how did they keep their humanity and intelligence without drinking the Ritual Water?
- A: When the player death knights are pressed into the service of the Lich King, their minds are flooded with his indomitable will. The mind of a worgen who has not undergone the purification ritual beneath Tal’doren is in a state of constant battle between the wild, animal instincts of the curse and the rational mind of a human. Almost invariably, the curse overwhelms the human mind and renders the worgen little more than a ravenous beast. With the addition of the Lich King’s control, however, the instincts of the curse are shattered by his power, leaving the logical, human mind in the service of the Scourge. And with the Lich King’s will removed, as was the case with the Knights of the Ebon Blade at Light’s Hope Chapel, only the human portions of the mind remain, giving the now free, undead worgen control over its destiny. Similarly, the Forsaken discovered that the Archmage Arugal had access to enchantments that allowed his favored worgen servants -- which included Lord Harford -- to retain a fair deal of their human intelligence as well. The source of these enchantments remains a mystery to this day, as Arugal took these secrets with him to his grave.
The Price of Rule
Q: Why did the throne of Khaz Modan fall into the hands of the Bronzebeard clan, when the Anvilmar family still had descendants? Was it one of the causes of the War of the Three Hammers? Did the Bronzebeard clan usurp the throne from the Anvilmars?
- A: Though the bloodline of the Anvilmar family was running thin by the death of Modimus Anvilmar, it was by no means defunct, as evidenced by its modern-day descendants Thargas and Hjalmar Anvilmar. Modimus had done an admirable job of easing the tensions between the three main clans of Ironforge during his tenure as high king, though tensions always simmered under the society’s surface. After Modimus’ death and before his eldest son could be officially crowned, civil war broke out between the three clans. None know who struck the first blow -- Bronzebeard and Wildhammer dwarves blame the Dark Irons, while the Dark Irons blame the Wildhammers -- all that we know is that the Bronzebeard dwarves emerged victorious due to owning the largest, best equipped army of the three clans. Madoran Bronzebeard, leader of the Bronzebeard clan, became the ruler of the now shattered nation of Ironforge. However, due to his clan’s close ties with the Anvilmar family, he offered the now-deposed prince and his descendants a permanent seat on Ironforge’s senate as a token of reconciliation.
Q: Can we get some information on Garithos? Where he was from and on whose orders was he acting? Was there any significant event in his past that caused his hatred of non-human races?
- A: Grand Marshal Othmar Garithos was the only son of a baron who ruled over lands in what would later be the Eastern Plaguelands that bordered Quel’Thalas. While his father ruled from the town of Blackwood on the shores of the similarly-named lake, Garithos joined the army as a knight during the Second War, where he saw combat in Quel’Thalas defending the elves’ homeland from invading orcs. While he was in Quel’Thalas, however, a small band of orcs broke off from the main invading force and burned his home town to the ground, killing all of its inhabitants in spite of the valorous defense marshaled by its lord. Othmar’s family perished doing their duty, defending the homes and lives of their subjects. He blamed the elves for the loss of his town and family, believing that the elves diverted forces away from the Alliance’s true goal: the defense of humanity alone. After his father’s death, Garithos was awarded his title and continued his service in the armies of Lordaeron. By the time of the Scourging of Lordaeron, he had attained the rank of Grand Marshal and was the highest ranked surviving military officer in the region, promoted not necessarily due to his own abilities, but his father’s reputation and title. Cut off from the chain of command, Garithos amassed a small army of volunteers and conscripted civilians, and gave them the mission that he assumed the Alliance should have always had: the preservation of humanity above all else. Despite the ad-hoc nature of his forces, other states recognized him as potentially the last remnant of Lordaeron’s government and certainly the strongest warlord in the area. As such, officials from neighboring non-human states such as Ironforge and Quel’Thalas sent him aid, ignorant of his intolerant policies.
For the Alliance
Q: What is the lore behind Gilnean druidism and the existence of “harvest-witches”? Is it a native practice, developed by the humans? Did they somehow pick it up from the night elves, even before the Eastern Kingdoms’ discovery of Kalimdor?
- A: In the early days of humanity and its civilization, many tribes of humans had primitive belief systems that incorporated simple nature magic. However, the rise of organized religion such as the Holy Light and the potent arcane magics introduced by the high elves quickly supplanted such traditions. Gilneas, due to its relative isolation, has retained a degree of their ancient culture in the contemporary era. The religious leaders of what was in Gilneas referred to as the “old ways” eventually became “harvest-witches”; those who used their nature powers to augment Gilneas’ agricultural output during and following its period of industrialization. Due to the presence of harvest-witches in their culture, when Gilneans learned about night elf druids (albeit through second, third and even fourth-hand sources) they became fascinated by them and their exotic connotations, to the point where many started referring to harvest witches as “druids”, though this was quite far from the truth, as few Gilneans had any idea what a druid actually was! Harvest-witches have a limited control over nature, especially plant life, and the powers of harvest witches bear a coincidental resemblance to the low-level abilities of actual druids. Harvest witches who contracted the worgen curse (which was druidic in origin) found that their powers were somewhat amplified, and after making first contact with the night elves cursed harvest witches were offered induction into the Cenarion Circle for both study and training.
- A: Maiev may not be the most balanced individual on Azeroth, but she does understand the value of intimidating her enemies. The night elves have never completely wiped out a species, though they have engaged in brutal and efficient campaigns of total war that have shattered their enemies’ civilizations, such as the War of the Satyr, in which they completely decimated any semblance of central leadership for the satyrs, forcing them to live in small sects to this day.
For the Horde
Q: How did the blood elven fel eye glint become so widespread? The Warcraft Encyclopedia suggests that only taught the blood elves of Azeroth about how to siphon arcane magic, as most of the populace would likely be “horrified” if they knew the true extent of <Kael’s> dealings with Illidan.
- A: The situation regarding blood elf eyes is, in fact, extremely similar to that of the green skin of orcs: just being around heavy use of fel magic turned the eyes of the blood elves green. You could be the most pious of priests or most outdoorsy of Farstriders, chances are, if you were a high elf in Quel’Thalas or Outland following the Third War, you were around fel energies, and your eyes would turn green. Like the orcs’ skin color, such an effect would take a very long time to wear off. Fel magic works a bit like radiation in this sense; it permeates the area and seeps into anything in the vicinity. Anything near a source of fel magic shows signs of slight corruption, it just so happens that high elves and orcs manifest it in a very visual way.
Q: How does view the Horde? Considering that Cenarius’ first instinct upon seeing orcs in his forest was to attack them, and Cenarius was killed by the father of the current warchief, it seems odd that Cenarius and his allies are so cordial to the Horde and orcs in particular in Hyjal.
- A: Despite no longer having warlocks in their ranks, the orcs of <Thrall’s> Horde still carried within them the unmistakable mark of the Burning Legion upon their very souls up until the moment that Grom Hellscream defeated Mannoroth. Cenarius, as a being so attuned to nature that he can sense the slightest corruption, assumed that the orcs in Ashenvale were scouts of the Legion. This, ironically, sent the Warsong clan back into the service of Mannoroth and lead to the reestablishment of their connection to the potent fel magics that first bound them to the Legion. Cenarius’s spirit returned to the Emerald Dream after his defeat, and within it, he was able to sense the events of the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Cenarius saw the orcs defend Nordrassil hand-in-hand with the night elves and humans, and developed a growing respect for them. Cenarius saw that, despite their fel taint, they were allies against the Legion and defenders of the land (noting <Garrosh’s> father’s victory over his former enslaver in particular), so when both he and the Horde returned to Hyjal to defend the World Tree once again, Cenarius saw the orcs and their allies in a new light.
Q: Are the Wastewander Bandits of Tanaris and nomadic humans of Uldum native to the region or did they come to Kalimdor during the period of the Third War? If it’s the latter, why did their societies change so much in the short amount of time between then and WoW?
- A: The Wastewander Bandits descend from a small band of human pirates who arrived in Kalimdor shortly after its discovery by the peoples of the Eastern Kingdoms. When the Southsea pirates arrived and entered into competition with them, they were essentially marooned in Tanaris after their few ships were stolen. They took to a new life as bandits and started raiding rich goblin settlements and capturing their life-giving water wells. After the failure of Uldum’s cloaking device a few bandits split off from the Wastewanders to pilfer the treasures of the titans.
Q: The New Council of Tirisfal stated in the comic that they intended to investigate and the Twilight’s Hammer. However, in Cataclysm itself and the Bastion of Twilight in specific, the New Council of Tirisfal is nowhere to be found. What have its members, such as Meryl Firestorm or been up to?
- A: Most of the members of the New Council of Tirisfal have scattered to the winds, as it was not quite the secret and binding order that the original Council was. is a member of the Earthen Ring and compatriot of . returned to the Exodar and helped quash a riot caused by asylum seekers. returned to Ironforge, assisting Prince of Stormwind with relief efforts following the Cataclysm, and also helped sort out the short succession crisis during the city’s Dark Iron occupation. joined the Cenarion Circle in battling the fire elemental forces of and the Twilight’s Hammer invading Mount Hyjal. settled in Darnassus, temporarily assuming duties of overseeing druid scouting parties while he assisted in combat in Feralas. recent adventures following her tenure on the New Council of Tirisfal can be read in Christie Golden’s upcoming novel Tides of War. , though not officially part of the new Council, has been seen in various ancient libraries researching ancient tomes related to binding, imprisoning and banishing demons, in hopes that he might find a permanent prison for the dreadlord possessing him, . As for the wonderfully unique Med’an, no one has seen hide, nor hair of him following Maraad’s return to the Exodar, leading some to believe that he has traveled to a new world or plane to continue his training.
Q: Why is Tol Barad apparently home to a population of tauren?
- A: The island of Tol Barad’s location on sea lanes and lack of policing due to the collapse of many of the Alliance’s states during the events of the Third War made it a very attractive location for pirates. The town of Rustberg, originally housing many of the nearby prison’s staff, was abandoned when they were recalled to Stromgarde to deal with the catastrophes back home. The town was repurposed by a band of pirates into a base from which they would strike at the wealthy trade towns along the shores of the Baradin Bay. Over the years, some pirates had journeyed to Kalimdor and recruited or impressed various tauren into their crews, tauren who would later call Rustberg home just as their shipmates do.
This was the first round of questions which appeared to be all asked on Twitter, so the criteria for picking them must have been different (not based on up-rating).
Now then, let's get down to brass tacks. Over the past few months, I've managed to pose a handful of your questions to our titans of Blizzard lore, and they have graciously taken time out of their action-packed schedules to answer them.
Please keep in mind that the for the most part, Twitter questions seen here are presented as they were submitted, with minimal corrections to address spelling, punctuation, and so on, except for readability.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy this round of "Ask CDev," and please continue firing off your interesting inquiries my way. I'll do what I can to ensure they're answered via Twitter or recorded for future interrogation on the infamous list. I shall leave no question unrecorded!
So, without further ado, here's what the CDev folks had to say regarding your questions.
For the lore!—Loreology (a.k.a. Sean Copeland, "The Blue Shirt Guy")
Questions & Answers
Adrián Šuchta @Mordenay: Back in WotLK, Trag Highmountain claimed he will attack ICC when the time comes. When the attack occurred he was not there. Reason?τ
"Five Suns" (Lorewalker Stonestep) encounter
loopnotdefined @loopnotdefined: Can you ask if the "Five Suns" (Lorewalker Stonestep) encounter in Jade Temple dungeon is legit history or just myth?τ
Nick Rainier Santos @Ujimasa_Hojo: Has Trade Prince Donais joined the Horde as well or is he just a guest of Trade Prince Gallywix?τ
Nick Rainier Santos @Ujimasa_Hojo: What is the current allegiance of Shadowforge City?τ
Nazja @Trike_Stealer: @Loreology Goblins already existed pre-Sundering, are there no archeology objects for them since they destroy everything, leaving no traces?τ
Shatterspear troll tribe
Jay H @Mutterscrawl: Can you put an end to the debate about the Shatterspear troll tribe, are there any left after Darkshore or not?τ
Raac (Sunwell) and Castillian (Ashbringer)
Adrián Šuchta @Mordenay: Hi, some questions here: Will we ever learn what happened with Raac (Sunwell) and Castillian (Ashbringer)?τ
Mels @PurpleArrows: @Loreology Can I ask what the general opinion of DKs and Highborne are in night elf society? Is xenophobia still part of their culture?τ
R west @mrnerdzesq: Does Tyrande still hold enough authority over Malfurion to revert to being sole leader?τ
Nathaniel Woods @Azekiel: Do half-dwarves (i.e. human and dwarven parentage) exist?τ
The Chadster @killermonkey78: Can worgen reproduce naturally or only through a bite or blood? Would their child be a worgen or normal?τ
Verroak Krasha @Arakkoa: Here's a good one: is "Kvaldir" the name for all sea vrykul, or just one of their clans besides Skadir?τ
Teleportation vs. portal creation
Micky Neilson @MickyNeilson: Can you describe the difference between teleportation and portal creation?τ
- ^ Nyorloth 2012-02-07. #153 - Please Welcome Nyorloth!. Official Story Forum (US). My eye has glimpsed the forming of an Ask CDev on the horizon... perhaps, even, Soon™! You would all do well to gather your questions now, in preparation for this momentous event.
- ^ Bashiok 2011-02-07. Ask Creative Development - Round II #1715]. Archived from the original on 2011-02-07. “Expect answers sometime between next Monday and when the Moon escapes the Earth’s orbit!”
- ^ Slorkuz 2011-06-23. Ask CDev 2 - Answers. “The moon recently sent some irate emails to our Creative Development team, threatening to vacate Earth's orbit if we didn't divulge the answers to the "Ask CDev #2" thread soon. Rather than calling the moon's bluff, the CDev team stepped up its timetable and is now ready to present the answers to your questions!”
- ^ Slorkuz 2011-06-23. #2 Ask CDev 2 - Answers.
- ^ Slorkuz 2011-06-23. #3 Ask CDev 2 - Answers.
- ^ Bashiok 2012-09-05. Ask Creative Development — Round III Answers. Official Story Forum (US).
Nidrorian 2012-09-05. Ask Creative Development — Round III Answers. Official Gameplay > Story forum (EU).
- ^ Nethaera 2014-04-03. Ask Creative Development—Round IV Answers. Official Community > Story Forum (US).
Rynundu 2014-04-04. Ask Creative Development – Round IV Answers. Official Gameplay > Story forum (EU).
- Round 1 answers
- Round 2 questions
- Round 2 answers
- Round 3 questions
- Round 3 answers
- Round 4 answers