The Battle for Azeroth

Nothing quite like a double entendre, eh?

As I’ve  mentioned, I’m a World of Warcraft nerd. Battle for Azeroth launched last week so all I’ve been doing, basically, is burning the candle at both ends to reach max level (/done) and start gearing up to raid (/in progress).

In a prior post, I listed the things I’d come across that were clearly influenced by Norse myth. So far, I haven’t had the same experience in BfA. Much different tenor to this xpac — an awesome tenor, certainly, but not much Norse related (so far).

It’s possible that some of that will come back when the first raid (Uldir) launches in a couple weeks especially considering that the name of this new raid is awfully similar to an old, awesome raid: Ulduar.

So, given that Blizz could’ve named the raid anything they wanted why did they choose Uldir?

Titanic Places

Apparently, Blizz uses “Uld-” to refer to Titan-ic places…and there’s some indication that it might mean city or keep or stronghold. See here. There’s also this subreddit: wowlore (which looks like a terrifying rabbit hole).

And here’s a list of the various Titan-ic places in WoW (or at least those that start with Uld):

  • Uldir: a laboratory and quarantine facility that the Titans built to analyze and understand their ancient enemy, the Old Gods. Wowpedia says that Uldir houses something that could potentially wipe out all life on the planet. Which would be the 2nd world-ending weapon the Titans placed on Azeroth. (The first one being the zone Uldum.)
  • Ulduar: the prison of the Old God Yogg-Saron as well as the current residence of most of the titanic watchers who had fallen under its influence. The raid itself consisted of the champions (us) breaking the Titans free of that influence.
  • Uldaman: an ancient Titan vault buried deep within the Khaz Mountains, accessible from the Badlands.
  • Uldis: a subzone of the Storm Peaks located within the large mountain which the Temple of Storms lies atop. The Storm Peaks has a lot of good Norse-related stuff in it. When my eyes stop bleeding I may write something about it.
  • Uldum: the Land of the Titans and the zone itself is a weapon intended to wipe out all life on Azeroth in case Algalon the Observer’s Reply-Code Omega went through to the Titans. All I remember is that Algalon is an extra boss in Ulduar. As for the rest? Muninn never returned.

Given that I haven’t finished the main story for BfA — not even close — I don’t have too much in the way of additional speculation on what’s to come. But, I have completed Drustvar and the main storyline in Stormsong — some pretty intriguing stuff.

Bringer of War!

Just the other day Blizz released this video — Warbringers: Azshara. Well worth watching. Long story short, it shows the bargain made between Azshara and N’zoth (one of the Old Gods). There’s all sorts of reactions on YouTube to the video, not that I’ve watched ’em.

On a related note, I’m pretty sure I heard Turpster give an overview of the WoW lore probably a year or so back on The Instance podcast. This one (one of the first results on my search) dives into (hah!) the Old Gods. I would definitely search out the rest of their lore episodes — fun listens and they provide some good context for the game. (There’s also Nobbel87 in YouTube if you’re interested).

What Lies Before Us?

BfA, which is already pretty darn fun right out of the gate (and gaw-geous both in terms of art and sound/music) is obviously building up to the big ole boss(es) confrontation. We’re helping out Jaina, natch, and we’ll somehow get breadcrumbed into Uldir. I’ve no idea what’s happening on the Horde front, but I bet it’s filled with cool blood trolls and awesome architecture.

Given that an Old God (N’zoth) seems to be stirring, all the Azerite stuff, and more! I’m sure we’ll transition from battling over Azeroth into battling to save her. (Azeroth is a baby Titan.)

All that seems pretty clearly telegraphed to me. So I’m wondering when ye olde twisteroo is gonna hit.

Any thoughts on what’s to come?

WoW, Norse Myth

Shockingly, I’m a World of Warcraft nerd. In past expansions of the game, I’ve enjoyed Blizzard’s integration of Norse myth into its universe — particularly with the Ulduar raid.The most recent expac (Legion) dives back into Norse myth.

So, I thought it’d be fun to note a few examples / references to Norse myths that I’ve seen so far.

References to Norse Myth in Legion

Edit: As noted, these are references in the Legion xpac. When I have time (since BfA has sucked me in) I’ll make a list for some of the other Norse-influenced in WoW.

  • Aegira: I play a monk. Aegira is integral to one of my quest lines & ends up being one of my followers. She’s a “brewmaster.” In Norse myth, Aegir had a cauldron (fetched by Thor from a giant named Hymir) in which he brewed mead for the Aesir.
  • Egyl the Enduring: Possibly a reference to the Icelandic poet/skald Egil (“Egil’s Saga”).
  • Fathnyr: Refers to Fafnir, brother of Andvari and Regin who, in Reginsmol, murders his father Hreithmar. Fafnir somehow became a dragon, as you do, and was subsequently killed by Sigurd in the Fafnismol.
  • Havi: One of the names associated with Odin in the Havamal. It means “High One.”
  • Helya: This is Hel, of course. In WoW, she’s the body-double for Ursula (yes, from The Little Mermaid) which is both weird, funny and not at all true to the myths.
  • Naglfar: The “Nail Ship” is made from the fingernails and toenails of dead men and women — cutting the nails of the deceased before they are interred means that fewer nails get to Helheim. Therefore, it’ll take Hel longer to build the ship. Once finished, Naglfar is the ship on which the dead, along with Loki and several others sail to Asgard at Ragnarok.
  • Huginn: “Thought,” one of Odin’s ravens.
  • Muninn: “Memory,” Odin’s other raven. He sends both ravens out at dawn to scour the realms for information; they come back at night.
  • Nithogg (and his brood): “The One Full of Striking Hatred,” is a dragon of death in the Voluspa. Due to drinking blood and eating corpses, Nithogg has serious halitosis issues. This dragon lives thru Ragnarok.
  • Odyn: Odin, the Alfather. In Legion, Odyn has a full, glowing beard of fiery hot magma.
  • Runelord Ragnar, Floki, Lagertha (fallen Val’kyra): All three are references to Vikings the TV show (History channel), as well as to Norse myth and sagas.
  • Val’kyr: The valkyrie are the “choosers of the slain.” Contrary to the image of beautiful spear maidens riding winged steeds, an older interpretation/conception suggests that valkyr were vicious, demonic creatures related to the disir (female spirits).
  • Vydhar: Found in a land “Filled with growing trees | and high-standing grass” (Grimnismol, 17), Vidar is a son of Odin — and one of my book’s main characters. In a jaw-dropping moment (mine, not someone else’s) I came across Vydhar in Stormheim. He’s a tree. My jaw dropped b/c in my BK3 I had Vidar turn into a tree. Once I saw that same idea in WoW: Legion, I ditched my idea and found another, better one. It’s better b/c it ties more directly to him as a character and what he gets up to. Saying anything more would be teh spoilerz!
  • Yotnar: Or Jotnar, which is the plural form of Jotunn. As a name for a dude, it’s a little silly, but so are gnomes dancing. In a good way.
  • Ymiron (the fallen king): Obviously a riff on Ymir, the Jotunn progenitor.

Many of those listed above inhabit Stormheim (Home of Storms) which also features a really cool, humongous statue of Thorim, I think (have to double check). One of the new dungeons is the Halls of Valor; it has a whole Valhol thing going on, including a glowing golden bridge up to where Odyn’s waiting for you to comb his magma beard.

Hymdall (Heimdall) is the first boss in the “Halls of Valor” dungeon which is fitting because he guards the main gate to the halls. He’s also a huge PITA. Fenryr (Fenrir, one of Loki’s sons) is another boss in that dungeon.

Anybody playing the game catch names/places that I haven’t included?