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Know Your Lore: Lost Lore Legends

Matthew Rossi
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

This week, while I was doing the WoW Insider podcast, we got a question about Rexxar. Now, if you know me, you know I love Rexxar. The question was, essentially, where is Rexxar and while there's a simple answer to it (he's in Blade's Edge) it's a bigger question than that. With Vol'jin getting the band back together, so to speak, with Chen and even Thrall and Baine taking part in the Darkspear Rebellion, why didn't he call in Rexxar? This is, in fact, the perfect time for Rexxar to show up and save the day in that gigantic brooding Mok'Nathal way he has of doing that.

Heck, Rexxar would be the perfect choice for a field commander of the rebellion, because as I pointed out before, Rexxar is the one guy who always believed in Thrall and Thrall's vision for the Horde even when Thrall didn't.

The orcs changed because one person said so. That person stands before you now as Warchief. Do you doubt him?

So where is Rexxar? Why is he still in Blade's Edge? If he could return to Orgrimmar to protect it from the Elemental Invasion, why isn't he in Razor Hill now, saving the Horde from bad leadership and bad intentions? Am I the only one who wants to see Garrosh throw down with Rexxar? And the Champion of the Horde isn't the only lore figure who has been conspicuously absent as the Alliance/Horde conflict heats up.

Know Your Lore Lost Lore Legends Wed
Rexxar's absence in the events of Mists of Pandaria is doubly surprising because of his acquaintance with Chen Stormstout, but he's not the only figure you'd expect to be making an appearance. Some characters have been gone for so long with so little sign of them that its probably fruitless to wonder what happened (Tagar, where did you go?) but some figures simply seem to have moved permanently away. Nazgrel, for instance, is another Horde figure you'd expect to be making some sort of appearance as Garrosh and Vol'jin head for their inevitable showdown.

Nazgrel is an orc warrior who sits in the perfect place for some real good storytelling potential. He hated humans so much during the Founding of Durotar that he believed any attempt to negotiate with them was an act of weakness, and yet he was absolutely loyal both to the position of Warchief and to Thrall personally, having gone so far as to become blood brother to the man. A member of the Frostwolf clan, Nazgrel's clan loyalty, his loyalty to the Horde, to the Warchief and to Thrall himself would all be pulling him in different directions if he was to return. As a former comrade in arms with Rexxar and Vol'jin, would he side with the Rebellion, or with Warchief Garrosh, who shares many of the same opinions as Nazgrel as far as humans are concerned? Would he be swayed by Drek'Thar's anti-Forsaken viewpoint and be revolted by Garrosh's use of the undead to push deeper into the Eastern Kingdoms, or would he see the destruction of Theramore as a step in the right direction?

It's just astonishing to me that there hasn't been any sign of this guy. He's perfect for this story. He could go anywhere and side with anyone as a complete wild card. Instead we get Malkorok, the completely uninteresting Blackrock orc who has no shades of divided loyalties and is instead just a cartoonishly racist foil, going so far as to dismiss even other members of the Horde if they're insufficiently orcish. I would have loved to see Nazgrel in that role, since his devout loyalty to Thrall would have been tested by his devout loyalty to the Warchief position and his vehement hatred for humans. Would the orc who once sent warning to the Echo Isles to prevent the trolls from being wiped out be willing to work against them now?

Seriously, what ever happened to Tagar? I miss that guy.

Rexxar and Nazgrel aren't the only figures from the Horde's past that you might be surprised haven't made an appearance so far in Mists. I'm not surprised that Sylvanas hasn't made an appearance, but I am surprised that considering two revamped dungeons have had Lilian Voss take such a central role I'm kind of surprised that seven years in, we still haven't gotten any more development of Nathanos Marris, the Blightcaller. This is a guy that the Alliance wanted dead (and by dead, I mean dead, and not moving) even before King Varian returned. I know, because they sent me and about 80 other people to kill him. He got better.

I know that the forsaken aren't really taking much part in this whole rebellion business, and I don't blame them for that, but I want to see Nathanos doing something aside from sitting in Undercity being snarky. Granted, he's great at it, but this is a character Sylvanas should be utilizing a lot more than she does. In fact, considering he's her champion, I'd absolutely love to see him operating as Sylvanas' special agent, perhaps as a spymaster for the forsaken as a whole. When Sylvanas has someone she wants removed, send Nathanos. Wouldn't it be great to find out that the forsaken haven't entirely abandoned the alliance with Magatha Grimtotem? Some covert meetings between Magatha and Nathanos would be nice, just to keep that on the boil. And come to think of it, isn't now the perfect time for Magatha to make some waves? I mean, Garrosh is occupied, Baine is occupied, the Grimtotem have managed to briefly come to terms with the Alliance in Stonetalon (which they then flush in Thousand Needles/Feralas, but oh well) - with Garrosh effectively bringing all sorts of 'Dark Shaman' into the Horde fold, Magatha is in a good position to carve out her own power base.

Think about it. All of her enemies are occupied and all of her rivals are being co-opted. Now is the time for her to sit back, gather her own disciples and followers, and wait for the inevitable fallout when Garrosh goes down. There are all sorts of locations of power in the world no longer defended by dragonflights - perhaps Magatha could make a move on the Caverns of Time? She could even attempt to weaken the Horde by preventing (yes, preventing) Cairne's death and her own exile. Who knows? We really need to see more of her.

Finally, one character who I've been dying to see more of ever since Wolfheart is Maiev Shadowsong. Frankly, I think we need to see some use made of her surprisingly murderous heel turn. Why did Maiev start killing her own people? I could understand her being hostile to the Highborne (she did fight in the War of the Ancients, after all) and I could understand her not being thrilled about the worgen (who are, after all, the results of forbidden druid magics and humans to boot) but I keep going back to wondering what he endgame is. Does she even have one?

Well, with everyone occupied with Garrosh, and the Horde stealing Azshara, half of Ashenvale, and sending troll agents to attack Darkshore, I think Maiev could be a very useful character indeed for us to finally see some polarization in night elf society. The fact is, 10,000 years of tradition have been upended in the past decade, and with Fandral dead there's no one to represent those kaldorei who are dissatisfied with how Tyrande and Malfurion are leading their people. Well, let Maiev gather those dissenting voices and turn them into a force to be reckoned with. A sect of night elves using their superior stealth and knowledge of Kalimdor to wreak havoc on the Horde invaders and the insufficient leadership of Malfurion and Tyrande would be a vast improvement. I'd love to see Maiev as a villain with an understandable reason for her actions, making decisions that have a consistent logic to them. Using Maiev to show that the night elves aren't all satisfied with the past decade of losses would be a good development.

And so we end, but there's plenty more we could be curious about. Is Saurfang really that content in his retirement that he's got no desire to correct Garrosh's behavior? What happened to Halford Wyrmbane? Is anyone ever going to see Calia Manethil again? Is Sabellian going to come back from Outland to challenge Wrathion for the title of Last of the Black Dragons? Who do you wish you'd see?
While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.

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