Know Your Lore: Breakers and Primals

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.

What is Draenor, exactly? It's a world beset by war on many different levels -- there's the threat of the Iron Horde, of course, and battling clans among the orcs, fighting with the ogres, skirmishes between orc and draenei. But beyond that, there's another layer of conflict on the world, one that seems like a much larger struggle, one far more ancient and primal than anything the orcs, ogres, draenei, or even the arakkoa could conjure up.

In the wilds of Gorgrond, a struggle is taking place that almost seems to serve as a backdrop to the main Iron Horde-centered story we're concerned with. While we struggle with the Iron Horde and their plans, massive creatures both plant and rock are embroiled in a constant battle with each other, either unaware of our presence, or so intent on their purpose that we are simply being ignored. Or, to turn that around, we are so insignificant in the face of this conflict that to these giants of the world, we don't even register as being anything of importance at all.

The Breakers

Somewhere near the dawn of Draenor's existence, giants roamed the planet -- colossals larger than anything seen on Draenor today. They may have been the first of the Breakers, the giants of Draenor, intent on shaping the world into one of rock and stone. There's evidence of these creatures all over Draenor, but particularly in Frostfire Ridge, where it is said the Thunderlord clan hunted the colossals and possibly even brought about their extinction.

The magaron are giants of molten stone, and supposedly direct descendants of the colossals themselves. But creatures like those that roam the hills of Gorgrond are still far smaller than their predecessors -- one only needs to head to Gorgorek's Fall in northwestern Gorgrond to see evidence of exactly how huge these creatures actually were. Their purpose is unknown -- but there are clues to suggest that these creatures, and possibly the creatures that came before them, were not originally from Draenor at all.

A garrison campaign sends players out to a druid encampment near Gorgorek's Fall in order to survey the Iron Horde stationed nearby and figure out exactly what they're up to. A short trip later, and players are then sent into the heart of one of Gorgrond's massive steam vents to head to the heart of the crater and see what exactly is going on, and what the Iron Horde are looking for. In the end, a peculiar item called Gorgorek's Heart is located. Funny thing is, the so-called "heart" doesn't look like a heart at all -- it's a disc, marked with runes and similar in appearance to plenty of Titan creations.

Titans on Draenor

We know, according to what we've been told at various panels at BlizzCon, that the Titans did in fact visit Draenor, just as they visited many different worlds, including Azeroth. But they didn't stick around for very long on Draenor -- just long enough to supposedly establish some kind of presence, some kind of semblance of order perhaps, before leaving the world to its own devices. But Gorgorek's Heart, at least for now, seems to indicate that even though the Titans spent little time on Draenor, they left their mark and their creations behind, just as they did on Azeroth.

This then begs the question of whether or not the Titan's creations were tampered with in the same way that they were on Azeroth as well. And while some scenarios point to the possibility of Old Gods on Draenor, there's not really any concrete proof to speak of. There's just the skeletal remains of the colossals, the stone magnarok, and their descendants -- the gronn, the ogron, and the ogres. That line of descendants, however, might be the beginnings of proof.

Because while the magnaron are made of molten stone, each progressive descendant along that chain is further and further from the original creature -- not just in appearance, but in what they're made of. Somewhere between magnaron and ogre was a transformation from molten stone to flesh. Is there a Curse of Flesh on Draenor, or is the planet just really strange from a genetic standpoint?

The Primals

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the latter. Because there's another set of creatures on Draenor, those who are pitted against the magnaron in an effort to reclaim eroded soil and stone. These Primals include the everything from the massive genesaur to the tiny podlings that swarm and devour. For the Primals, their purpose is clear -- they are proponents of life on the planet, not the biological kind of life you see in the native species that walk around and start wars, the plant life of the world. The wild growth, the trees, lush landscapes, breathtaking beautiful and incredibly deadly.

Because to the Primals we are nothing more than food for the planet. Our corpses serve as fertilizer for the only life that really matters. Our bodies can be infested, used as grotesque incubators for plant life. The Primals shape the planet, but they shape it into a wild overgrowth of lush greenery, and anything less is imperfection in their eyes. Certainly the creatures roaming the lands of Draenor should be allowed to exist, of course. You can't dine on steak if you kill all the cattle.

But everywhere you go in Draenor, they make their presence known. And in the wilds where green does not grow, in the lands where the Breakers have shaped the world into dust and stone, the Primals seek to fight back. This is what makes Gorgrond so interesting, because it's not so much about the Iron Horde as it is the struggle of the planet itself. And although you might think this a case of the natural, native wilds of Draenor rising up against Titan creations, this isn't the case -- because evidence suggests the Primals were established by the Titans as well.

Planetary struggle

The height of quests in Gorgrond sends players to retrieve one of two artifacts -- the Will of the Genesaur, or the Heart of the Magnaron. The Will of the Genesaur looks remarkably similar to Titan artifacts found on Azeroth. Because of this, one has to wonder how these creatures, Breakers and Primals, both potentially Titan creations, came to blows. If they were meant to shape the world, if they were meant to carve out Draenor and bring order to the planet, theoretically they should be working in tandem.

But they aren't. They're at each other's throats, fighting to establish dominance. It feels like something went wrong on Draenor -- something kept the works of the Titans from doing what they were intended to do. Either the Titans didn't remain long enough to make sure their creations would work as planned -- or they left because something about the world wasn't right. It was imperfect, and wouldn't hold up to whatever programming code of order they wanted to establish on it.

And that's an interesting thought, because as we know, the Titans didn't take failure lightly. If a planet wasn't working as designed, it was re-originated -- Algalon the Observer stated he had seen entire planetary systems born and razed in the blink of an eye, countless worlds destroyed. Why was Draenor omitted from this list of not-so-perfect planets? Or were the Breakers and Primals meant to clash against each other all along?

Next week, we'll look into the parallels between Draenor and Azeroth -- and the disquieting possibilities surrounding the Titans and their works.

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.