Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Closer Look at Ulduar - Ignis, Kologarn, and the Assembly of Iron

Ignis the Furnace Master
Ignis is a Titan creation. As per his title, he is in charge of forging weapons and armies in his Colossal Forge. Prior to being influenced by Loken and Yogg-Saron, it is not clear what he was creating, but it seems reasonable to assume he had a hand in building much of the Titan structures and objects that exist today.

Now that he is corrupted though, Ignis has been commissioned to do a few other things. The most notable of which are Kologarn, and the iron plating on Razorscale. And you may not have realized it, but all throughout Northrend you've been fighting against Ignis' handy work, the iron dwarf armies. Once created, these armies of iron constructions are organized and sent out by the three ruling generals of the Assembly of Iron.

Ignis has a fascination with fire and things burning. He repeatedly refers to the Maker's Fire, which is the large pit of flame that can be seen behind him and is the forge where he molds all of his creations. He has many examples of his craft standing around his work area and can call them to life at will. In addition to this, Ignis seems to be very keen on recycling, muttering often that he will use the bones of adventurers as kindling, and the rest as scrap for the scrapheap.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention the large cauldron that Ignis keeps on his belt. I don't know what it's for, other than dunking adventurers in. It has earned Ignis the name, Crotch Pocket, due to the placement of the cauldron, and the achievement associated with being put in it, [Hot Pocket].

Kolo was created by Ignis for one purpose, and one purpose only. To guard the shattered walkway to the inner chamber of Ulduar where Yogg-Saron is imprisoned. So in relation to the other beings in Ulduar, Kologarn is a recent addition to the group. He is a giant stone man with extremely large arms to swat away any intruders who approach him.

What we see of Kologarn is just his upper body, but he does in fact have feet and is standing up when we fight him. If you've ever had the misfortune of running off the edge of the platform, you'd be able to see the feet, though you'd be dead from the fall. Here's a piece of advice, if you do fall, don't look up.

When defeated, Kologarn becomes a bridge for the shattered section of the walkway, allowing access to the rest of Ulduar. Poor planning by Loken if you ask me. It would have been more formidable to just leave a broken bridge with no way to get across rather than a large ambidextrous giant with delusions of grandeur.

Assembly of Iron
Three generals make up the Iron Council: Steelbreaker, the iron giant; Runemaster Molgeim, an iron Vrykul, and Stormcaller Brundir. the iron Dwarf general. These three generals are orchestrating the iron armies that plague Northrend under the influence of Yogg-Saron.

Other than that, we don't know much about them individually. However, their placement within Ulduar is worth noting, and the treasure of information that they hold. Defeating the assembly on hard mode will drop the [Archivum Data Disc]. This can then be used to access the Archivum Console behind where the Assembly of Iron is meeting. It starts the quest to reach Algalon the Observer, so we'll talk about that later, but you now know that the Iron Council is guarding the key to keeping Azeroth safe from destruction!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Argent Confessor Paletress

For those of you that have been doing Argent Tournament dailies, you may have noticed the NPC, Argent Confessor Paletress, in the Argent Crusade tent. She stands off in the corner and gives a sermon to people sitting on the benches.

I had just finished up dailies on Salthier and sat down on a bench while I was chatting on my guild channel or something when she started her sermon. I had heard it before, but I read the whole thing and caught something at the end that I had not before. She invites people who have heard her sermon to speak with her behind the "confessional screen" when she is done. Curious, I went behind the screen where she was standing.

After a few moments, the Stormwind Champion NPC got up and came behind the screen to talk with her. Not wanting to intrude, I went into cat form and stealthed. Their conversation was very interesting. Basically the Champion says, "Jousting is silly, we should be assaulting Icecrown!" and the Confessor says that all attempts have been futile so far, and that the tournament is actually a means to an end in which they will select a chosen few to take on the Lich King.

After that he gave her the human thumbs up, "Sounds fine!" and went and sat down. She returned to her position outside the confessional screen and presumably prepared to sermonize again. I left after that.

Apparently any one of the NPC's sitting there can get up and talk to her when she goes behind the screen. I don't know if it's in sequence or if it's random. The full text of the sermon and each confession is in the wow wiki article linked above. Some of them are silly, but the human and orc ones are fairly meaningful.

More than anything, this gave me answers to some things I've been thinking of in terms of Elionene's reason to do Argent Tournament dailies. She is a hunter, and seeks the hunt. She does not play games. She has been at the forefront of all the battles in Northrend and intends to take on Arthas, so she thinks the Crusade a little loony for throwing a big jousting tourney in the cold north. These confessions give a lot of insight for reasons that would allow her to participate knowing that the ends will justify the means in a sense.

Anyway, in case you didn't know about the confessions, now you do. I thought it was pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Mimiron and His Inventions

Mimiron is a brilliant inventor. His form is that of a mechanical gnome, though larger than normal gnomes. He is responsible for most of the mechanical creations in Ulduar and throughout Azeroth. Prior to his corruption by Yogg-Saron, Mimiron was a keeper of Ulduar and watched over the prison from his Temple of Invention in the Storm Peaks. The temple is now in disarray, with many of the mechanical beings there destroyed or malfunctioning. This is likely due to Loken's interference, and ultimately controlled by the Old God within Ulduar. Before his corruption, Mimiron created all sorts of things. Afterward he has worked solely on machines built for war.

Miimiron is currently located in the Spark of Imagination, a large workshop of sorts deep within the mountains behind Ulduar. In order to access it, adventurers must ride the LMS Mark II, a large tram created by Mimiron. Within the workshop, Mimiron is putting the final touches on his latest war machine. the V-07-TR-0N. No, I'm not kidding, that's what it's called.

V-07-TR-0N consists of 3 different machines. The base is battle tank called the Leviathan MKII and is similar to the Flame Leviathan that guards Ulduar's front gates. The body of the machine is the VX-001, an anti-personnel assault cannon that resembles two arms. The head of the machine is the Aerial Command Unit.

From quests in the Borean Tundra, it is speculated that gnomes were once mechanical beings created by a titan called "The Grand Architect" and that they evolved into beings of flesh through a natural process. Mmiron is not a titan, just a being empowered by them, so it is not known if he played a part in the creation of the race of gnomes. But it seems likely he did.


Flame Leviathan

The Flame Leviathan was created by Mimiron to defend the outer gates of Ulduar, or perhaps to dissuade and protect treasure hunters from what is in side. However, with the prisoner now free, it is an obstacle that must be overcome if anyone is to get inside and free the keepers and put Yogg-Saron back in his place. The large tank is powered by four orbital towers that increase it's power when active. The four towers correspond the the four watchers within Ulduar.

XT-002 Deconstructor

XT resides in the scrapyard of Ulduar, and is presumably in charge of the dismantling of Mimiron's experiment's that have not worked. This is speculation based on his name, and his ability to pound the ground with his two large arms, deconstructing anything in between. Unlike the Flame Leviathan which is wholly a machine with standard programming, XT has been given the ability of self awareness. He considers himself the child of Mimiron, his creator, and thus talks and behaves as a young boy. He imagines the adventurers he comes across as his toys. He's bad about breaking them. And he's prone to throwing tantrums.

It's not clear what Mimiron had created before being influenced by Yogg-Saron, but logically it would seem that XT-002, and the Flame Leviathan have more basic purposes, and were created before the release of the Old God. The V-07-TR-0N however appears to be a new invention, it's sole purpose being destruction, and most likely made after Mimiron's primary directives where corrupted.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Auriaya


Auriaya is the Ulduar Archavist. Although, I'm not entirely sure what she is archiving. I haven't seen any books or anything, though the Titans tended to store things on discs anyway. She is called the Crazy Cat Lady because of her two cat adds that patrol the central area of the Antechamber in Ulduar with her, as well as the third cat that spawns during the boss fight.

She is a Titan construct, so it would stand to reason that she was created for the singular purpose of being the Archavist and keeping tabs on the information stored in Ulduar. Her patrol just happens to be around where Yogg-Saron is imprisoned, so it wouldn't surprise me if she was one of the first beings to succumb to Yogg's corruption. When offing a raid member, she will exclaim, "The secret dies with you!" My best guess is that the secret is Yogg-Saron breaking free of his prison.

Auriaya is similar in both name and model to Ironaya who you may remember seeing in Uldaman. Their names are both metals. Aureo is Latin for gold, and Iron is...well, it's Iron. Ironaya also guarded a chamber of sorts with treasures, further supporting these construct's roles as guardians and lore keepers. They are further connected through [Ironaya's Discarded Mantle] which drops from Auriaya. Hunter loot, naturally. I suppose at one time, Ironaya resided in Ulduar, and was later placed in Uldaman before the Titan's left Azeroth.

There are two other bosses that share the same model, the Maiden of Virtue in Karazhan, and the Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone. The Maiden of Grief appears to be just another Titan construct in a Titan instance, though the Halls of Stone is yet another stronghold of Titan lore as evidenced by the quest line involving Brann Bronzebeard that takes place there, further associating these types of constructs with Archives. The Maiden of Virtue on the other hand makes less sense in terms of game lore. We don't know why she is in Kara, or if she was there before Medivh had left. The one interesting point of note, is that upon defeat, the Maiden of Virtue says, "Death comes. Will your conscience be clear?" which some people have now taken to be foreshadowing of the coming of the death god, Yogg-Saron.

And the cats? Well, if you were a lonely old archivist stuck in a prison guarding a brooding brain with a million maws, you'd probably want something soft and cuddly to keep you company too.


Monday, July 13, 2009

A Closer Look At Ulduar


Ulduar is a Titan base. The Titans need their own post, but for now just think of them as the creators. They essentially seeded the world with life and built a lot of things where they did their work and whatever else it is that world creators do.

Other bases of the Titans can be found on Azeroth with Uldaman and Uldum. Uldaman is a fully fleshed out instance in the Badlands. It is probably a Titan vault where they stored artifacts such as the Discs of Norgannon. Apparently it is also where the Titans stored their failed living creations, Troggs, which were released on Azeroth when Uldaman was excavated. Uldum has not been put into the game yet in any explorable form, but the entrance is located in Tanaris, and there is a quest line that informs us it is a research facility for the Titans.

So Uldaman is a vault, and Uldum is a Titan lab, what does that make Ulduar? First of all, Ulduar is huge. Much much bigger than the other places. In game terms it encompasses Halls of Stone, Halls of Lightning, and the raid, Ulduar. Because of this, many consider Ulduar to be a Titan CITY. A place where the Titans lived while on Azeroth. Quests in the game seem to confirm this. However, the official Blizzard release on Ulduar puts it pretty plainly.

Ulduar is a prison.

Yep, the central purpose of Ulduar, at least the raid section, is to house Yogg-Saron, the Old God of Death. I'll talk more about who Yogg-Saron is and why he's imprisoned here later. The short story is that the Titans couldn't kill him, because that would have lasting effects on Azeroth, so they imprisoned him instead, and placed watchers, or keepers over him to make sure things stayed that way. This is where Freya, Mimiron, Thorim, and Hodir come into it. They are stationed by the Titans to keep Yogg-Saron where he is. But something has gone wrong.

And what went wrong, is Loken. You may have heard of this guy if you've done anything in the Storm Peaks zone. Essentially, the Titans placed him in charge of everything that was going on in Ulduar when they left. Somehow, Yogg-Saron found a way from within his prison to corrupt Loken. Loken then went on to bring all of the other keepers within Yogg-Saron's control, and set the stage for us as adventurers to go in and clean things up. Now Loken is the end boss of the Halls of Lightning. When you kill him, he announces that the end of the world is heralded by his death, and he's right.

This plays into the hard mode of Ulduar. With Loken's Death, Algalon the Observer is sent to Ulduar to determine if all is well. If it is, no harm done, if it isn't, bye bye Azeroth. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So what do we know? We know Ulduar was a prison build for Yogg-Saron. We know that the keepers and other bosses in Ulduar were originally there to watch over the old god's prison and maintain it so that the world would never have to deal with him. We know they failed and that Yogg-Saron has become unchained and is seeking to do what he does best. Kill everything. Now it's our job to go in there, free the keepers from the corruption and put an end to Yogg-Saron's wanton destruction of Azeroth. But even after that's all done, we still have to convince Algalon that this world is worth saving. That yeah, Loken screwed up, buy hey, we're here now and it's all okay.

I'll expound more on each of the bosses in a later post and flesh out a lot of the things that are going on in Ulduar. Like why are there so many Iron Dwarves? Does Kologarn have feet? (Hint: Yes) And why is there a crazy cat lady walking around an open pit with a female Vry-kul hovering in the middle? And then I'll talk about the really crazy stuff.