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The Queue: More fun with timelines

Alex Ziebart

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Here we go again!

rjjagoda asked:

I continue to question what good blueprints would be to a society that simply does not have the technology, but that's a personal pet peeve. I mean, if I took iPhone schematics back to 1984, would Motorola be able to reproduce the thing? Or even understand some of the stuff they're looking at?

I doubt they would be able to reproduce it that very second, but I'm sure they would understand it, yes. What makes smartphones possible is our current ability to make the components necessary very small. The foundations of all of the components have existed for a long time -- they were just freaking huge and unwieldy. IBM released the first device that can be considered a smartphone in 1994. They showed off the first prototype in 1992. They were likely developing it for at least a few years leading up to that. The foundations of what became the modern smartphone wouldn't have been entirely unknown in 1984. They just hadn't advanced those foundations far enough yet.

The Iron Horde's technology is far less complex than that. Let's compare it to the Greeks: Hero of Alexandria created the aeolipile, or the Hero engine. It was a device that used steam power to spin. That's the foundation of a steam engine. It was built about 2,000 years ago in the 1st century AD. It was only seen as a clever novelty and the steam engine wasn't actually adapted for meaningful commercial use until 1712. However, if people from the modern age traveled back in time and told Hero of Alexandria that his aeolipile could change the world, complete with showing him blueprints of modern engines (including pistons) and the methods of acquiring the proper materials for an industrial-scale steam engine (such as good steel), he could probably make one. If he couldn't, you can still be pretty darn sure we'd end up with ubiquitous industrial steam engines before 1712.

The Iron Stars being utilized by the Iron Horde are, effectively, a fantasy version of a coal-fired steam engine ... which explodes.

Thyz asked:

Is Warlords too difficult for players to comprehend? I see so much confused people that I'm starting to think Blizzard should have gone with a more straightforward story.

I don't think it's difficult to understand at all. The real problem is that Blizzard has yet to publish their own explanation of what's happening. You have to pay attention to every little detail about the storyline since BlizzCon and beyond -- they haven't collected it anywhere. All of the details are things they've said out loud. It's only difficult to understand if you haven't followed any of that. Many players haven't. If Blizzard actually puts an explanation in text in front of everyone, it'll be simple.

In my opinion, it is straightforward, but due to the lack of easily accessible information, people are making incorrect assumptions that make it more complex than it really is. I hate time travel in fiction but the Warlords scenario is still easy to understand when you have all the pieces.

RikOsborne asked:

I just rewatched the SoO ending cinematics again, for the umpteenth time, and ... am I the only one who would like to see Varian and Thrall finally sit down and have a "get to know ya" conversation?

They've met each other numerous times before. If you follow the extended universe (novels, comics, and so on), it's actually kind of hilarious. Varian was willing to attend numerous peace talks but they all went disastrously bad. Either Thrall brought Garrosh along for the ride and Garrosh screwed things up, or an outside third party got involved and they screwed it up. In one case, the Twilight's Hammer sent Garona into the mix and Varian did not like that at all -- Garona is the one who assassinated Varian's father.

Every time Varian steps up to have talks with Thrall, it bits him in the butt.

Rollo asked:

Why has Grom been renamed too Grommash? I've been searching around for the exact point people began calling him that and i traced back to 2013s blizzcon. Did they lose a trademark? How is that even possible, since he's a character in a story? Is it because blizzard wanted an easier way to differentiate from timeline A grom, and timeline B grom? Or is it because they wanted his name to sound similar to Garrosh? Ish and Osh etc. Just a slight detail that bugs me.

You know, I've wondered this myself and I've never seen an answer that wasn't speculation, so I can't provide much better than that. The prevailing theory is Blizzard was forced to change Grom's name due to a trademark conflict with the Grom motorcycle made by Honda. That doesn't make all that much sense to me given one is a motorcycle and the other is a fictional character, but it's possible there's some legal issue with the fact that Azeroth actually has motorcycle -- and they created a Horde/orc-themed motorcycle in Azeroth Choppers.

Expanding Grom to Grommash does make it fit more thematically with names we see out of the orcs nowadays. Garrosh and Dranosh, for example.

LyleAlbertRoyll asked:

Assuming most events from our past are nearly identical to this alternate universe, shouldn't the alternate Illiadan be imprisoned in this place? I'm not completely clear on the lore but I thought that is what happened.

The Illidan from Timeline B (the Warlords of Draenor timeline) would not have traveled to Draenor/Outland yet. He would still be on an alternate Azeroth, imprisoned by the night elves. He wasn't imprisoned on Draenor at all, that's where he ran after he'd been freed from his prison on Azeroth. In fact, the Illidan on that timeline's Azeroth may never be released from his imprisonment like he was in our timeline. If the Iron Horde isn't going to that timeline's Azeroth, Tyrande will have no reason to release him.

BootyBayBrewing asked:

Question about selecting your garrison guards. I had read somewhere that you can pick from exalted factions. Is this true, Will I be able to select my favorite Kalu'aks to guard it for me?Or maybe some Booty Bay Bruisers? :)

It isn't any exalted faction. It's faction cities. Ironforge, Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff, and so forth. It would be a little weird if vanilla players could, for example, have Gelkis Centaur guards. Or Hydraxian Waterlords.

Or if players could have Wrathion protecting their garrison.

butts.and.butts asked:

I should know this, but I completely forgot: what makes it so difficult for the Burning Legion to enter Azeroth?

The main plot of Warcraft is that the Burning Legion wants to take over Azeroth. They can't just go straight there- they need someone to set up a summoning ritual. However, they can't convince anyone on Azeroth to do it- they need to convince people from Draenor to invade and then do it for them (first attempt via Gul'dan and the orcs, second via Ner'zhul and the Scourge).

Why all the rigmarole? Just to soften up defenses? Why is the summoning ritual necessary in the first place?

The explanation we were given once-upon-a-time is that demons, like the Burning Legion, must be summoned to a given location. The Burning Legion dwells in their own realm, the Twisting Nether. They can't leave unless they have a passageway of some sort. They can sometimes reach out and communicate with other worlds, but they can't physically get there unless they have a path to take. It's similar to the barrier between Draenor and Azeroth. The orcs could only get to Azeroth through the Dark Portal. They couldn't just hop over.

It's also been said that the more powerful the demon, the more powerful the portal that is required. Kil'jaeden had to use the Sunwell, a source of enormous magical power, to try entering Azeroth. He nearly did it, but we flushed him down. Sargeras managed to enter Azeroth during the War of the Ancients through the Well of Eternity, which was an even more significant source of power than the Sunwell. However, the Well of Eternity was destroyed while he was coming through, destroying his physical form. But his consciousness is still floating out there somewhere -- it's what influenced Medivh to erect the Dark Portal.

TL;DR: Demons need portals to get between worlds like anyone else. The bigger the demon, the bigger the portal needs to be. Sargeras needed Azeroth's single largest source of magic to cross over. It didn't work. On Azeroth, there's no currently known source of magic more powerful than the Well of Eternity.

Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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