Azeroth as we know it has changed significantly as of Patch 4.0.3a. We all know that cities and zones have been forever altered in the wake of Deathwing's arrival. What players don't know and seem to be unsure of is just what's gone on in between going to sleep on Monday night and logging in on Tuesday after the patch hit. For a roleplayer, it's hard to play through these changes without knowing exactly what's changed or why -- so today, we're going to go over what exactly happened during the Shattering, what your character should know about, and what he or she may be unaware of.
Please note: There are a ton of spoilers here for The Shattering by Christie Golden and Stormrage by Richard Knaak. If you're planning on picking up the novels, you may want to veer away!
On the Alliance side of things, we have the Nightmare War and the Shattering itself. The Nightmare War was covered in part in a Know Your Lore a couple of weeks ago; I'd recommend giving that a read. Most characters are probably in the dark about the Emerald Nightmare; NPCs in game don't really mention it at all. Roleplayers can write that off as their character simply being asleep for the majority of it; however, all night elves should be aware that Malfurion Stormrage has returned and Fandral Staghelm has been imprisoned. Other races may be aware of it as well, depending on how close they are to the night elves. You can read about the Nightmare War in the novel Stormrage by Richard Knaak for more information, as well.
Dwarves have lost a leader; Magni Bronzebeard is no more as of Patch 4.0.3a. So what happened to him? The details can (and should!) be read in the novel The Shattering by Christie Golden, but for summary's sake: Magni found an object in Ulduar that he thought could help in figuring out what exactly the elements were up to. Players saw this in game at the conference in Stormwind, prior to the elemental invasion. When Magni tried to harness the power of the tablet, it turned him forever to stone.
This heralded the arrival of Magni's daughter Moira straight from Blackrock Mountain, where she'd been making her home since vanilla World of Warcraft. See, Moira has a son now who is still just a baby but stands in line to rule not only the Dark Iron, but potentially the Bronzebeards of Ironforge as well -- and Moira wanted to settle herself in as ruler of Ironforge until the kid is ready to take over. However, Moira's methods were a little severe, to say the least; she staged a coup and took over Ironforge, trapping all dwarves inside.
The gnomes of Ironforge have mostly moved out. Though a small contingent remains behind, the majority of gnomes, High Tinker Mekkatorque included, took their leave somewhere between Operation: Gnomeregan and Moira's coup. New gnome characters now start in New Tinkertown and work their way through escaping Gnomeregan before total irradiation!
Stormwind has been utterly devastated due to Deathwing's arrival. This time, it wasn't orcs that wrecked the city, it was a giant, fire-breathing, angry, self-professed Aspect of Death. Varian has since rebuilt the majority of the city with renovations here and there and a large graveyard for the heroes who died in Northrend, including a memorial to his wife Tiffin. However, Varian is still catching flak for his leadership skills; not everyone in the kingdom of Stormwind is happy.
The Greymane Wall has shattered, and the worgen have thrown in their hand with the Alliance. There is a new worgen district in Darnassus; these worgen are refugees from Gilneas who were driven out due to Forsaken attacks in the area. I'd recommend anyone interested in the history of what happened in Gilneas roll a worgen and play through the starting zones at the very least, to see firsthand what happened to the beleaguered city. The worgen have taken up with the night elves because the worgen curse was a direct result of the Druids of the Pack, a night elf sect that left Nordrassil long ago.
What your character does and does not know Any character who has spent a reasonable amount of time in Ironforge or with the dwarves would absolutely be aware of the loss of Magni Bronzebeard and Moira's coup. Characters will probably not be aware of what exactly it was that brought the worgen to the Alliance, other than some cursory knowledge about the Forsaken attacks to Gilneas.
Night elf characters won't really know about the Druids of the Pack; it was a sect that left night elf civilization thousands of years ago. If you're playing a really old (think 10,000 years) night elf, you might be aware of the Druids of the Pack, but most really don't know anything about it. Most characters will be unaware of the Nightmare War -- again, it's not even mentioned by NPCs. I'd suggest that roleplayers wanting to gloss over the events simply assume their character was one of those asleep for the majority of the book. You can pretty much chalk up the events as a really, really bad dream.
What's happened so far: The elements of Azeroth have been in a state of absolute chaos, to the point that nobody, not even the strongest of shaman, can speak with them. Warchief Thrall, who is incidentally one of those really strong shaman, decides that the best course of action to figure out what exactly is going on is to go to Garadar in Outland and see if the elements out there have any advice. He's also taking the journey for himself -- he's not really sure if leading the Horde is something he's supposed to be doing or if he's even capable of it anymore.
In his stead, he has appointed Garrosh Hellscream as the temporary Warchief of the Horde. Garrosh didn't get a ton of support; Cairne Bloodhoof was wary of Thrall's decision, even more so when Magatha Grimtotem decided this was an excellent opportunity to cozy up to the new Warchief and try and get an ally out of the deal. Garrosh wasn't sure what to make of Magatha, but he liked her flattery -- which was ultimately a dumb move on Hellscream's part. Vol'jin was at first OK with Thrall's decision, but Garrosh didn't treat the leader of the Darkspear with the slightest amount of respect.
But wait, there's more. Cairne Bloodhoof, chieftain of the tauren, challenged Garrosh to a duel because he wasn't sure of Garrosh's intentions. Garrosh accepted and said they should make it a traditional duel to the death, and Cairne agreed. They fought in the arena in the Valley of Honor, and each had a shaman to bless their blade. Cairne chose one of his own to bless his runespear, and Magatha Grimtotem blessed Garrosh's weapon. However, the oil Magatha used was poison -- and the moment Garrosh struck Cairne, Cairne collapsed.
Keep in mind that Garrosh had no idea what had happened; to him, he and Bloodhoof had had an honorable duel to the death, and Cairne died. It wasn't until later that Magatha's true intentions were revealed, and as soon as Garrosh realized what had happened, he condemned the Grimtotem to whatever brutal death the tauren had in mind for the tribe.
When Cairne died, the Grimtotem took over Thunder Bluff, slaughtering countless tauren who stood in their way. Their coup was short-lived, however, as Cairne's son Baine led a force of tauren to take it all back. Magatha escaped with her life, barely. Baine's decision to remain allied with the Horde may seem strange to some, but the facts still stand: Cairne knew he was potentially going to die when he requested the duel with Garrosh. Garrosh wasn't aware of Magatha's deception, and upon realizing what had happened, he apologized to Baine. Baine is much like his father -- he doesn't hold unnecessary grudges when they are not honorable, and holding Garrosh responsible for killing Cairne in a fight that was supposed to be a duel to the death, a fight that Cairne wanted, would be folly.
In the Eastern Kingdoms, Sylvanas has been recovering from the Lich King's defeat. Vengeance has been dealt at last, but at what cost? The events of the Wrathgate have pretty much put Sylvanas and her people in the doghouse as far as the rest of the Horde is concerned. Even Garrosh, who was notoriously all about killing Alliance in Northrend, found the Forsaken plague horrifying.
Not only has Sylvanas been told to go stand in a corner and think about what her people did, she's also been dealing with a major question: "What now?" See, Sylvanas and the Forsaken were all about two things -- vengeance against the Lich King and "death to the living." One of those panned out; one of those nearly brought the Forsaken to ruin. Now that vengeance has been met, what are the Forsaken supposed to do?
And so Sylvanas has been thinking, scheming, devising a way for her people to continue to thrive, and trying to give them a new purpose that will bring them back into the Horde's good graces. Since then, she has launched an all-out strike force against Gilneas, seeking to claim the territory for the Horde as a solid foothold in the Eastern Kingdoms.
What your character does and does not know Everyone knows about the death of Cairne, and the betrayal of the Grimtotem is also common knowledge. Unless you are roleplaying a troll or a character that is allied closely with them, your character is unaware of the sharp words exchanged between Vol'jin and Garrosh. Player characters should be aware of the war between the Forsaken and worgen in Gilneas, Forsaken characters in particular. Characters should definitely know that Thrall has left to go help the elements; however, his personal reasons for doing so are kept to himself and a few of his closest advisors.
- Hillsbrad Foothills
- Stonetalon Mountains
- Western Plaguelands/Eastern Plaguelands
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