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Ask a Lore Nerd: Shared tongues and other oddities

Alex Ziebart

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

I fulfilled my dork quota in last week's Ask a Lore Nerd, so this week I'll ramble a bit less, and answer some more of the simpler questions we've seen recently. With that said, let's get started with Chris's question...

Why is Gorehowl just an epic weapon? It was claimed to be wielded by Grommosh Hellscream and if so shouldn't the weapon be legendary?

There are plenty of weapons in Warcraft lore that've been used by major characters and aren't Legendaries. The only ones that are Legendary weapons are the ones that have something special going for them. When it comes down to it, Gorehowl is just an axe. It has no special properties, it hasn't been around for thousands of years, nothing like that. Ashkandi, Trollbane, Gorehowl, they're all famous weapons, but that doesn't mean they're particularly special themselves.

Plus, you can only churn out so many Legendary weapons in a loot related game. Game mechanics play a big role in how many there can actually be, but that's something to get into somewhere else!

Mastari asked...

Since the Knights of the Ebon Blade are part of the Alliance/Horde now. Does that make the Lich (the Frost trainer) in the DK stating area... good?

Amal'thazad would probably fall in the realm of good now, yeah. Or at least not evil. Liches are just especially powerful undead spellcasters. Like any of the undead that serve the Scourge, they didn't necessarily volunteer to become servants of the Lich King. Amal'thazad might have just been a wizard lured over to the Scourge, and the Lich King twisted him into that rather than a ghoul or a Death Knight or something else.

You can also become a self-inflicted lich without any Scourge involvement whatsoever, but that's not particularly on topic because I doubt Amal'thazad would be one of those cases if he's in Acherus right now.

Arclon asked...

In the quest dialog for "The Etymidian" it's stated that the way gate hadn't been used in over seven centuries. As far as I know that would place it's use shortly after the gates of AQ were sealed and long before the next historical event. In any case, long after the Titans had moved on. So any ideas just who used the gate then? Or has the old gal just lost track of time?

I've been trying to figure this out myself, because I don't actually know. I haven't found anything at all that happened 700 years ago that's been mentioned in the canon lore. The closest event was the Ahn'Qiraj incident, yeah. It's possible they just chose 700 years as a generic "long time ago" date, but we'll see. They may have something else up their sleeves we haven't seen yet, or they plan to retcon the date of the War of the Shifting Sands 1.0. We just don't know yet.

Jason asked...

What language is being sung in the background in the WoW Cinematics? I think it's latin, but I'm not sure. And do we know what it means?

I thought it was just a crazy made up language meant to sound cool, but when I said that here a couple of months ago I was pretty quickly corrected. It's apparently Latin, but not grammatically correct, or even sentences at all. It's just random cool sounding Latin (or almost Latin) words that have to do with war and battle.

leprakahn asked...

I have a question about when the Orcs first arrived on Azeroth. I was wondering, how is it that the Orcs seemed to already understand the Human and Troll tongues? Did the Warlock magics somehow enable them to understand the languages or did they figure out Humanese (or is it called Common like it is in the game?) and the first Trolls they met up with happened to also speak that language?

It's purely game mechanics, and not really anything to do with the lore. There was a theory for awhile that Common and Orcish were actually the same language, but it's all story convenience and game mechanics. In the RTS games, it's easier to the Orcs and Humans to butt heads if the main characters all speak the same language. In the MMO, preventing the two factions from speaking to each other prevents griefing and, in some cases, actually encourages the two factions to clash. It prevents a potential ganker from saying, "lol u dumbass, lern2play ur mage." You also can't say, "Hey, sorry man, I didn't mean to steal your mob."

So Joe Orc and Bobby Human can't talk to each other in WoW, but when Warcraft 4 comes along and they're headlining characters, they'll be able to chat it up just fine. It's all gameplay.

Ask a Lore Nerd is here to answer all of your questions about the lore and story of the Warcraft universe. From the religions of the universe to the 'evils' of Azeroth, everything is fair game. If you want more in-depth answers to some of your questions, you may find what you're looking for in Know Your Lore.

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