Sunday, August 29, 2010

Know Your Lore: Taking flight with the Wildhammer

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.

The dwarves of Warcraft are an interesting bunch of characters -- though they haven't had much "screen time" in World of Warcraft, over the course of the expansions we've seen more focus on this odd race and its mysterious origins. Rather than evolving or being created as a natural being like the trolls or the tauren, the dwarves were originally a race called the earthen, created by the Titans with the specific purpose of shaping and documenting the progress of the world of Azeroth.

The earthen were quite literally of the earth. Created from the stone and earth of the planet they watched over, these creatures shared a deep connection with the world itself. Each movement of the ground, every earthquake or natural disaster was felt by the earthen and affected them in a profound way. The explosion from the Sundering -- the destruction of the Well of Eternity which caused the continent of Kalimdor to split into the continents we know today -- affected the earthen deeply, and many retreated to the safety of the Titan cities from which they had originated after the explosion.

WARNING: The following post contains some spoilers for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you wish to remain spoiler free, do not continue.

Given the pain that the earthen felt during the Sundering, and their connection to the world of Azeroth in general, it's no wonder that these creatures -- eventually called dwarves -- would follow the path of the shaman. The life of the shaman is spent in communion with the four elements that make up the world -- earth, fire, air and water. Shaman work hand-in-hand with the elements and the spirits of the world to cure ailments, defeat enemies, and even to experience visions of the future or control the weather. There is a major difference between shaman and other wielders of magic, however -- where other casters simply take the powers they wield from ley lines, or bargain for it with demonic entities, the shaman ask for the spirits' favor and assistance.

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