Mists of Pandaria is chock full of WoW lore, much of it building directly upon events that were set in motion a while ago. Patches 5.1 and 5.2 in particular have been heavy on the story , so if you're either new to the game or haven't paid attention to the lore before, you may be wondering just what in the heck is going on and why! Here at WoW Insider we talk about lore quite a bit, but there are lots of resources out there for the interested player, and it can get overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. Hopefully this compilation will serve as a handy springboard for fellow WoW enthusiasts who are looking to dive headlong into the lore.
Official WoW Webpage Resources
The most accurate source for World of Warcraft lore is, of course, Blizzard's official pages! Under the "Game Guide" subheader on the main page you can find links to many official lore resources. This is the information straight from the proverbial horse's mouth.
- The Story of Warcraft Looking for a crash course in WoW lore? You've got it. This is the Cliff's Notes edition of Warcraft's in-world history. Twenty-four quick chapters detail the overall plot behind the Warcraft RTS games as well as every WoW expansion and major content patch through 5.1. There is probably no better place for the absolute beginner to start than here.
- Expanded Universe pages Here you can find the official list of nearly all of Blizzard's ancillary WoW products. I say nearly because a few of the short stories are missing - notably "Glory" and "The War Effort". One thing to be aware of: novels and comics are listed in the order they were published, not their in-universe chronological order.
- Destination Pandaria This is the place for all short stories directly related to the current expansion.
- Leader Short Stories Learn about all of the racial leaders with these shorts.
- Short Stories Other official WoW short stories.
- Novels All of the WoW novels published so far.
- Comics The WoW official comics and mini-comics.
- Manga The WoW official mangas.
- Dawn of the Aspects is not listed in the Expanded Universe pages, so I'm linking it here!
Of course, WoW Insider loves lore, and we compile a great deal of it. Here are some good places to start for lore in our own archives.
- Know Your Lore Our bi-weekly lore column, covering everything from character analysis to historical events to extrapolation and speculation based on what we know for sure. There's a ton of good info here.
- Chronological Guide to Warcraft novels, manga, comics, and short stories Pretty self explanatory!
- All The World's A Stage Our now-discontinued roleplaying column. Roleplayers are often some of the most knowledgeable lore junkies out there. Though this column is not as directly focused on describing WoW lore as Know Your Lore is, there's a lot of helpful tips here for interpreting the lore in ways that make sense, which is also important.
There are lots of lore fans around the world wide web, and they tend to be a pretty chatty bunch! Join the conversation, ask questions, or jump into the story forums and proclaim your everlasting love for Sylvanas and watch the sparks fly!
- Official WoW Story Forums US; official WoW Story Forums EU Lot's of chatter in these two spots about the lore. Discussion can get heated, but if you want to gain new and diverse perspectives on WoW lore, these are pretty much the best places for it. Blizzard will also sometimes post lore-related announcements to these forums before the main site.
- Scrolls of Lore One of the longest-lived WoW lore-related fansites, the forums here are thorough and filled with some very knowledgeable folks.
- Wowhead Lore & Roleplaying forum As it says!
- Warcraft Lore Subreddit Oh yes, it exists!
- Other: Various RP realm forums in WoW can be useful for finding lore too (try Wyrmrest Accord and Moon Guard), as can the official WoW RP forum, World's End Tavern. The MMO-Champion forums sometimes have lore threads too, but there is no dedicated lore forum (there is an RP forum) so it can be kind of a slog to find lore stuff.
There are some truly fantastic blogs out there that regularly discuss and analyze WoW lore. These are some of my favorites.
- Orcish Army Knife If you're involved in the WoW Twitter community at all, you may recognize this blog's author, @_Rades. He's a whip-smart WoW player and lore fan, and while the blog isn't exclusively about lore, there is some really good stuff there.
- Warchief's Command Board This is an RP blog, written from the perspective of Garrosh Hellscream. I waffled about featuring an RP blog because there are so many of them, I couldn't possibly do them all justice, but this one is so good I have to include it. There is a lot of food for thought here in terms of interpreting and getting to know Garrosh's character.
- Tumblr I know, I know. You wouldn't think Tumblr to be full of pertinent WoW lore discussion! But it can be. Try searching the following tags:
- Flavor Text Lore Is it bad if I include my own blog? Well, blog collective. But seriously, we wrote a lot about WoW lore. In particular, check out Perc's series on archaeology and what it tells us about various aspects of WoW lore.
A number of podcasts focus heavily on WoW lore! Here are some of them.
- Grand Old Podcast Not exclusively about lore, but they discuss it often!
- The Overlores Now on official hiatus, the archives nonetheless contain a lot of discussion about Cataclysm lore.
- The Lorewalkers Again, been a while since this one updated, but plenty of archives for the lore enthusiast.
- Caverns of Lore I haven't had a chance to listen to this one yet, but they seem to discuss a lot of WoW's lore history, such as the First, Second, and Third Wars, the origins of the night elves, and some character analyses.
- Nordrassil Radio Every Friday at 1 pm PST Nordrassil Radio airs "But Wait, There's Lore!", a WoW lore podcast, as you might expect.
- The WoW Insider Show Mike, Anne, and Matt keep begging people to send in non-lore questions so it doesn't turn into a lore fest, but our readers and listeners keep ignoring them, so there's lots of lore on our show. Shameless plug for ourselves!
You might not expect it, but Twitter can also be a good source for WoW lore. A number of WoW's creative development team are active on Twitter, and many of them regularly answer questions. Here's where you can find them!
- Chris Metzen If you play WoW, you probably know who this guy is!
- Micky Neilson Lead Story Developer for Blizzard.
- Dave Kosak Lead Quest Designer for World of Warcraft.
- Sean Copeland Blizzard Historian, also known as Blue Shirt Guy!
- Cameron Dayton Senior Story Developer for Blizzard.
- James Waugh Lead Writer and Franchise Development for Blizzard.
- Matt Burns Writer and Associate Story Developer at Blizzard.