A few weeks ago, we launched a small questionnaire on this forum, asking people to post questions directed to the CDev team. You can see the thread and its responses here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24702149985&sid=1
Most of your questions fell into one of four categories:
1. Questions that will be answered by soon-to-be-released published content (such as the upcoming novel The Shattering by Christie Golden)
2. Questions that will be answered by soon-to-be-released game content (patches 3.3.5 and 3.9.0, as well as the Cataclysm expansion)
3. Questions that can't be answered at this time without thoroughly spoiling future game and published content
4. Questions that we can answer now, if only partially
Using your questions (verbatim!) from category #4, the CDev team has been meeting with Chris Metzen and Alex Afrasiabi to nail down answers that we can share with you now. So get your secret decoder rings ready, kids! Here comes the first set of answers!
--- Q: Will a dev ever actually answer anything in this thread?
A: Yes! Q: What happened to all of the Scourge’s Obsidian Destroyers?
A: The entities known as obsidian destroyers are actually enslaved titan constructs that were once called the tol'vir. The tol'vir were created to maintain titan lore repositories and titan machinery surrounding the titan cities of Ulduar and Uldum. Not long after the troll empires divided the insectoid kingdom of the aqir, the aqir that travelled north discovered and overthrew the tol'vir society in Northrend. These aqir would eventually become the race we know as the nerubians today, having adapted the tol'vir's architecture for their own purposes. Similarly, the aqir that travelled south ransacked and overthrew a titan research station near Uldum, renaming themselves the qiraji and calling their new home Ahn'Qiraj. Although the Scourge would eventually consume the nerubian empire and throw its few remaining tol'vir slaves into the front lines, it's possible that more tol'vir still exist in the hidden titan city of Uldum or deep within the remnants of Azjol-Nerub. Q: The Blood Knights of Silvermoon lack direction. None of them were seen in Northrend, and it is very unclear whether the Order still exists, or if it's been disbanded. It's also very unclear where the Blood Knights obtain their power, now. It used to be the Naaru, but then... remnants of the naaru. Surely these remnants are all but tapped now. Do we obtain power from the Sunwell?
A: As of the end of the Burning Crusade expansion, blood elves who wield the Light do so through the power of the renewed Sunwell. It is a harmonious relationship, no longer one of discord caused by the blood elves' attempts to bend the Light to their will, which will likely have a positive effect on blood elf society in the long run. Look forward to updates that reflect this change in the Silvermoon and Blood Knight quests. Q: What happened to Frostmourne after it was shattered?
A: While this is a closely guarded secret, we'll trust you to be discreet: no one knows where the remnants of Frostmourne are now. Q: Will we be hearing from any of the old or neglected human nations in Cata, specifically Stromgarde, Kul'tiras, and the remnants of Alterac (hey, Deathwing paraded around as an Alterac noble before)?
A: With the revamp of the classic World of Warcraft zones, players will get a chance to see how the fallen nations of Stromgarde and Alterac have fared over the last few years. Kul Tiras, the island nation, will not be visible at the start of Cataclysm – something about tectonic plates shifting it out to sea.... Q: What is the nature of the Void state of the Na'aru? For a being of the Light, turning into such a dark being seems like a heavy weakness. Sucking in souls and causing destruction simply because of a loss in strength greatly diminishes their saintly image. Though, this might be a reason they don't act in combat very much, as turning on your army due to fatigue wouldn't be good for morale.
A: Because three cases of this "cycle" have been demonstrated in Nagrand, Auchindoun, and Sunwell Plateau (K'ure, D'ore, and M'uru, respectively), players may have received the wrong impression with regard to the magnitude and rarity of these events: it is EXCEEDINGLY rare for a naaru to fall into a void state, and even rarer for a fallen naaru to be brought back into the Light. A naaru's fall into the void represents a catastrophic loss for the naaru and for the forces of the Light, and it is the saddest, most heart-wrenching event for the naaru to witness. Conversely, a naaru being reborn into the Light brings renewed hope and sense of purpose to every naaru; if energy beings could weep tears of joy, this would do it. Q: What happened to Algalon after Ulduar? It didn't seem like he was just going to go back to business-as-usual.
A: As shown in the World of Warcraft Special #1 comic, Algalon is currently monitoring the activities of the mortal races of Azeroth. His outlook on life and the titans' plans has been called into question, so he seeks to understand what makes Azeroth so different from the countless worlds he has observed before. Q: What Loa do the Darkspear worship?
A: Because the Darkspear were originally part of the Gurubashi empire, they still worship many of the same Loa as the Gurubashi once did. Q: What were Varok Saurfang's notable accomplishments prior to WoW?
A: Varok Saurfang has served with the Horde ever since he drank the blood of Mannoroth alongside Grom Hellscream. Varok led forces in the sacking of Shattrath, Stormwind, and everything between, never losing in battle until the Horde was routed at the end of the Second War. When Orgrim Doomhammer seized control of the Horde in the First War, he chose Varok Saurfang as his second-in-command after witnessing Varok's efficient and brutal tactics on the field. After the demonic bloodlust had been lifted from the orcs due to Grom Hellscream's sacrifice, Varok helped dozens of veterans come to grips with their previous atrocities, ultimately saving the lives of many great Horde soldiers. Rumor also has it that Saurfang once cleaved three men in half with one swing… of his hand. Q: How did ethereals get so... ethereal? They seem to act a lot more like a mortal race than other energy beings we meet, such as elementals.
A: K'aresh was an arid planet, home to a thriving ecosystem and several sentient species before the arrival of Dimensius the All-Devouring. How the void lord found K'aresh is still hotly debated among the surviving ethereals, but the effects of his coming were unmistakable: he opened countless gateways into the void and the Twisting Nether around the planet, bathing K'aresh in arcane and dark energies. Using every scrap of its advanced technology, one of the mortal races hastily attempted to construct magical barriers around its cities, but it was only partially successful; although the dark energies were blocked, the unimpeded flood of arcane energy tore away the mortals' corporeal shells and infused their souls with enough energy so that they could subsist without a body… barely. Members of this race, now called ethereals, took to binding themselves with enchanted strips of cloth to provide their souls with enough structure to survive. This altered state proved to be a blessing in disguise, as their enhanced minds and magical abilities allowed the ethereals to fight Dimensius and his limited forces to a standstill. Over the years, however, Dimensius eventually grew powerful enough to summon armies of fellow void creatures, forcing the ethereals to flee into the Twisting Nether. Q: Do incubi exist?
A: There are several different rumors concerning the male counterparts to the demonic succubus race, and it's clear that the succubi are responsible for all of them. A few of the more common rumors are:
1. Yes, there are incubi, but the spell to summon them has been conveniently forgotten by mortal practitioners and Burning Legion agents.
2. Incubi are kept as slaves on their home planet, having been rendered incapable of escape or independent movement.
3. The succubi consumed the males of their race when they were brought into the Burning Legion. (Alternatively, the act of devouring the males is what caught the attention of the Burning Legion.)Q: Could you please explain the lore behind goblin shamans? Goblins do not seem like a particularly spiritual race, especially one that would care about the elements (as evidenced by the Venture Co.).
A: Goblin shaman are an extension of their society's single-minded devotion to making a profit; to a goblin shaman, elementals are potential customers. Goblins do tend to be a bit more forceful in their negotiations than the other shamanic races (especially the tauren) would like, though they are far less forceful than what we've seen from the taunka in Northrend. (Unless the elemental tries to weasel out of its contract. Elementals tend not to have breakable knees, so goblins sometimes have to resort to other methods of control.) As for the goblins' "mechanical" totems, note that these are merely physical manifestations of the small totems they tinker/craft to form a link with the elemental spirits. Instead of lugging around large totems, goblin shaman have a ring (probably the same ring on which they keep their house and motorbike keys) with small totems they've built as conduits for the elemental spirits they do business with. Q: Can you please explain how "light" works? The lore states that undead are physically incapable of using the light, much like the Broken, but then we have Forsaken players casting healing spells, and Sir Zeliek in Naxxramas using pseudo-paladin abilities.
A: Without spoiling too much, we can tell you that wielding the Light is a matter of having willpower or faith in one's own ability to do it. That's why there are evil paladins (for example, the Scarlet Crusade and Arthas before he took up Frostmourne). For the undead (and Forsaken), this requires such a great deal of willpower that it is exceedingly rare, especially since it is self-destructive. When undead channel the Light, it feels (to them) as if their entire bodies are being consumed in righteous fire. Forsaken healed by the Light (whether the healer is Forsaken or not) are effectively cauterized by the effect: sure, the wound is healed, but the healing effect is cripplingly painful. Thus, Forsaken priests are beings of unwavering willpower; Forsaken (and death knight) tanks suffer nobly when they have priest and paladin healers in the group; and Sir Zeliek REALLY hates himself. Q: Can you tell us anything about the manner in which trolls become druids?
A: While it's only barely hinted at during the upcoming "Zalazane's Fall" event, new troll druids in Cataclysm should learn much more about their race's adoption of these foreign practices. Q: Why was Myzrael imprisoned?
A: Myzrael fell to madness after she was corrupted by ancient evils under the earth (read: Old Gods). She was defeated during the events of classic World of Warcraft, which purged her of the corruption, but she may make a cameo appearance in Cataclysm. Keep an eye out when adventuring through Deepholm. Q: Who is the arakkoa "master" that Isfar talks about? It is not Terokk…
A: There are more Old Gods than just the ones trapped on Azeroth. It takes a lot for them to become manifested on a physical plane, however; see the quest line in Shadowmoon Valley that ends with "Thwart the Dark Conclave" for more information. Q: With Lady Prestor's, aka Onyxia, plot foiled, will Stormwind once again send soldiers to Lakeshire, Duskwood, and Wesftall or will these area's and their self-made miitias continue to defend themselves?
A: With the return of King Varian Wrynn and the removal of Lady Prestor from power, the outlying towns finally received the reinforcements they needed. As you'll see in Cataclysm, however, the reinforcements might not be enough.... Q: There was (and still is) a Moonwell smack dab in the center of Duskwood. This was the ONLY Moonwell on the Eastern Continent prior to the Burning Crusade which saw a Moonwell being added to the island west of Silvermoon (which from a lore sense, the placement of this Moonwell in Quel'Thalas made absolutely no sense.) Will the Duskwood's Moonwell's presence be explained?
A: Without spoiling anything, we can tell you that both of these moonwells are recent creations by night elves. Q: What did the massive machines around the Storm Peaks, like the Engine of the Makers, actually do?
A: These machines are all part of the same system: the Forge of Wills. Q: What's the relation between The Order of the Silver Hand, Tyr's Hand (City from Lordaeron region) and Watcher Tyr (from Ulduar)?
A: Long ago, on the continent that would eventually become known as the Eastern Kingdoms, a small group of creatures struggled to survive, using the limited supplies provided to it by parents who had just abandoned their children on an unfamiliar shoreline. These creatures, eventually called "humans," would occasionally take to gathering around a fire whilst trying to read from scrolls telling of ancient heroes and leaders – tales from the civilization that had cast these creatures out. One of these scrolls spoke of a great leader, a paragon of order and justice, who sacrificed his right hand in a fight against an unfathomable evil. Although it was within this hero's power to fix his hand after the fighting had ended, the hero instead chose to replace it with a closed fist made of the purest silver. In this way, the hero impressed upon those who followed him that true order and justice can only be accomplished through personal sacrifice. This hero, who slipped into memory long ago, went by the name of Tyr. Q: Building off that- whatever happened to Tyr?
A: The watcher Tyr was not in Ulduar when adventurers finally freed the titan city from Yogg-Saron's influence. If anyone knows where Tyr is now, he or she isn't speaking up. Q: Are Mimir and Mimiron supposed to be the same entity, or are they relatives?
A: Same entity, though only his close friends are allowed to call him Mimir. Q: What is Tiffin Wrynn's backstory in terms of family, original nation, etc.? I'd be curious as to what connections were set up through that marriage.
A: We'll keep this brief because we could easily write a few pages for this one. Tiffin Wrynn was originally Tiffin Ellerian of the Ellerian noble family of Stormwind, a small house that only had a small chunk of land in Westfall. Her marriage to Varian was pre-arranged at her birth, finally securing her family a spot on the Stormwind House of Nobles. Tiffin and Varian initially disliked each other, but they eventually became inseparable. Tiffin helped Varian control his occasional anger issues and taught him economics, while Varian helped teach Tiffin about politics and social etiquette. Tiffin was eventually known as a queen of the people, and she was the most adamant supporter of paying the Stonemasons' Guild the initially agreed-upon sum. Her accidental death during the Stonemasons' Guild riot was a monumental loss for Varian, Anduin, and the people of Stormwind. Q: Will you be explaining why the forest spirits of Hyjal will be friendly to the Horde despite the fact that Horde has done so much damage to Ashenvale?
A: By the start of Cataclysm, the ancients and spirits of the forest will have recognized that the forces of the Cenarion Circle and the Alliance combined are still not enough to stop Deathwing, the Twilight's Hammer, and the elementals they have unleashed. As much as these ancients and spirits hate to admit it, they realize that they need the assistance of the Horde. Q: What role, if any, will Med'an play in Cataclysm?
A: Med'an will not be visible in Cataclysm; something else is keeping him occupied.
More answers to come in the following weeks. Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!