Five bits of Warcraft lore to know for Hearthstone Battlegrounds Season 3
The Warcraft lore of Hearthstone Battlegrounds Season 3 takes inspiration from one of the franchise’s most important battles. Let’s take a look.
Just in case anyone forgot, Hearthstone is based on the Warcraft franchise. I know, right? They hide it so well that it would be easy to mistake murlocs for just any ole' fishmen. And while Hearthstone has always played fast and loose with its use of canon, the times they lean into it make an impact.
The lore used as the set piece for this new season of Hearthstone Battlegrounds Season 3 comes from an important, pre-World of Warcraft era of the franchise. What's worth knowing? Let's take a look at the five best lore Hearthstone Battlegrounds Season 3 takeaways from the Battle For Silvermoon!
Lore for the Battlegrounds: Fall of Silvermoon
The fall of Silvermoon due to the undead scourge comes to us directly from Warcraft III. As part of the Undead campaign called Path of the Damned, players take control of the Scourge army attempting to break into the High Elf capital of Silvermoon.
Even if you're only a Warcraft novice, Hearthstone fans will recognize the big lore names at work from this massive event. Not only is this where the defeat and undead conversion of Sylvanas Windrunner takes place, but the Fall of Silvermoon also sees the lich Kel'Thuzad rise in power. While a lot of this lore has been portrayed in Hearthstone before, it's interesting that one of the most iconic moments from the Warcraft RTS series is featured so prominently.
This is, essentially, the last stand of the High Elves and the creation of the Blood Elves. Silvermoon becomes awash with undead, the Sunwell is tainted with fel energy, and the great capital of Silvermoon falls into silence.
The last surviving member of the Sunstrider house, Kael'thas Sunstrider is a complicated figure in Warcraft lore. A talented mage that once held power in Dalaran as a member of The Six, the one thing Kael'thas wanted was something he could never acquire. His infatuation with human mage Jaina Proudmoore is detailed heavily in the World of Warcraft novel Arthas by Christie Golden but it's also just the start of a long spiral into madness for the Phoenix King.
The Fall of Silvermoon period for Kael is a harrowing time. His father and beloved ruler of Silvermoon Anasterian Sunstrider was killed in The Blood Wars shortly before the Scourge attack. Forced to take up the throne and getting little support from their Alliance partners, the High Elves stood alone against the undead attack.
In many ways, the skin for Kael in the Hearthstone Battlegrounds season pass is one half wish fulfilment, another half a mirror. Kael'thas would spend the rest of his life attempting to right the wrongs from this period, spiraling into evil and eventually ending up in the Shadowlands to atone for his sins.
However, Kael was also an egotist and truly saw himself as the lone savior of the Blood Elves. But in the end, he saved nothing and nobody, not even himself.
The Cult of the Damned
Lich Lady Deathwhisper and the Cult of the Damned represent two different and meaningful moments in lore brought forth for Hearthstone Battlegrounds. The Cult was initially the Scourge's spy network of living humans who kept watch on the capital cities of Azeroth.
To be undead was a special and blessed gift for the cult, meaning that there was no shortage of dummies lining up to serve and hope for resurrection. The Cult of the Damned is seen in World of Warcraft often as foot soldier enemies.
As for our new bartender Lady Deathwhisper, she's better known as a raid boss from Wrath of the Lich King and Icecrown Citadel. The first female lich in WoW, Deathwhisper was also a unique boss encounter. Instead of attacking her directly, players were forced to whittle down a mana barrier around the dark lady, draining her mana bar. Only when her mana hit zero percent could the raid actually attack the lich.
She would appear again during the World of Warcraft Shadowlands pre-expansion event, now serving The Jailer. Here's hoping she makes a better cocktail than she does serving as a raid boss.
Once a Rivendare, always a Rivendare
Thought it weird that Baron Rivendare went through a name change? Sleep easy knowing that the lore always has an answer. We've talked about the Titus Rivendare change on this site already, but it's also important to note for the sake of lore in Hearthstone Battlegrounds that the former ruler of Stratholme was always kind of a corrupt jerk. Being turned undead was just an added bonus.
Titus Rivendare was longtime friends with the mage Kel'Thuzad, so when promises of power were bandied about the Baron was first in line. He would go on to help organize the Cult of the Damned and serve as a raid boss in the original Naxxramas from Vanilla World of Warcraft.
Gee, you'd think being turned human again would have improved his demeanor.
The lore of Hearthstone: The Sign of the Phoenix
Known as a symbol for resurrection and rebirth, the phoenix featured prominently around all things Silvermoon isn't a mistake. In many ways the Fall of Silvermoon was also the rebirth of a new and now untrusting people. The High Elves were once staunch defenders of the Alliance in Warcraft. However, through a mix of fear and self-preservation, the elf capital was left to defend itself and eventually fell. Kael'thas took this to heart, declaring that the remaining high elves would seek vengeance and had been reborn as a new people, the Blood Elves, also known as the Sin'dorei.
The phoenix imagery continues in various ways, with phoenixes also being used by blood elf enemies. The most infamous to World of Warcraft players absolutely must be the raid boss Al'ar. Originally the first raid boss of the Burning Crusade raid The Eye, Al'ar was a massive phoenix and pet of Kael'thas Sunstrider. While the fight itself is nothing to write home about, the loot dropped from Al'ar is another story.
The Ashes of Al'ar is considered one of, if not the rarest in-game obtainable mount in World of Warcraft. Featuring a less than one percent drop rate, the phoenix mount is still a rare sight to see even to this day. The mount was first given to a WoW player named Ezra Chatterton, who died of brain cancer in 2008 but was given the mount as part of a Make A Wish trip to Blizzard in 2007. To this day there are remnants of Ezra in the game, including a section of the capital Thunderbluff, renamed in his honor.
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Editor | Twitter @Hammer_Barn
Will has over a decade of print and digital journalism experience, with bylines in Polygon, The Escapist, The Toledo Blade, The Austin American-Statesman, and more. He's also the host of the World of Warcraft lore podcast Essence of Azeroth, loves Murlocs just a bit too much, and owns too many cats.