Questions about lore/storyline

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Hi there,

First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this. Now I am new to WoW, have been playing for less than a month now, and I love it. As I am a lore fanatic, I am starting to get paranoid about the whole world changing after Cata, I mean, I was watching the MoP midnight launch, and I heard them talking about Alliance towns that got annihilated by the Horde and the Cata, would anyone be kind as to tell me about those, and if I have REALLY missed out on important stuff by playing WoW after Cata? Another thing, I want to start playing a Pandaren, but, if I do so, would I get to go through the whole storyline of TBC, WoTLK and Cata (killing Arthus and stuff), or just the MoP storyline, as I don't quite understand how all the storyline would work now that I am starting really late. Finally, also, while I was watching the stream, regarding questions that Chris Metzen was answering, I did not understand any of that, but I want to, where would I start, like this thing (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/the-story-of-warcraft/chapter1) is too brief and does not go in depth enough, like I have heard about Sargeras, but, who is he, and all the ancient lore about the Warcraft universe, where could I catch up on all of that?

Thanks again and I hope you enjoy your day :D
And sorry about writing so much.
I'm not well-versed enough to really go into any depth about WoW lore. A good starting point would be to check out WoW Insider's Know Your Lore section.

http://wow.joystiq.com/category/know-your-lore/

They discuss a variety of lore related topics and you can use the search function to find specific topics, just add lore to whatever your looking for to keep to Know Your Lore results near the top.

As far as when you are playing, anything in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor that was changed with Cata is just how it is now. While leveling you don't always go in order of how things would have happened time-wise.

TBC and WotlK being in Outlands and Northrend were not affected by the Cataclysm. When leveling in those places its more like you are "instanced" in the past.
Wowpedia.org is another site to check, there'll be lots of links to pages leading to more pages with links to click.

...I heard them talking about Alliance towns that got annihilated by the Horde and the Cata, would anyone be kind as to tell me about those, and if I have REALLY missed out on important stuff by playing WoW after Cata?

About all you've missed is the chance to experience content when it was current, like killing Illidan Stormrage, the Lich King, and Deathwing when they were still officially alive and a threat; you can still do those, but yeah, you're basically going back in time, but not quite as intentionally as you do for the Caverns of Time instances.

As far as what's been destroyed, most was from the Shattering, such as Auberdine in Darkshore and Menethil Harbor in the Wetlands, but some resulted from the war between the Alliance and the Horde, like Camp Taurajo in the Barrens, and Southshore in Hillsbrad. This explains the changes in greater detail:
http://www.wowhead.com/guide=cataclysm&world

This discusses the more recent destruction of Theramore, which I'm not sure when it'll actually start appearing as a crater for everyone, rather than the city...but it also touches on the current state of politics:
http://www.orcisharmyknife.com/2011/11/what-theramores-destruction-will-mean.html

Something you can look forward to is the removal of Garrosh as Warchief at the end of MoP -- may even have help from the Horde too, very few people like him, and it's looking to be another major event.

And welcome to Azeroth /wave
Wowpedia.org is another site to check, there'll be lots of links to pages leading to more pages with links to click.

...I heard them talking about Alliance towns that got annihilated by the Horde and the Cata, would anyone be kind as to tell me about those, and if I have REALLY missed out on important stuff by playing WoW after Cata?

About all you've missed is the chance to experience content when it was current, like killing Illidan Stormrage, the Lich King, and Deathwing when they were still officially alive and a threat; you can still do those, but yeah, you're basically going back in time, but not quite as intentionally as you do for the Caverns of Time instances.

As far as what's been destroyed, most was from the Shattering, such as Auberdine in Darkshore and Menethil Harbor in the Wetlands, but some resulted from the war between the Alliance and the Horde, like Camp Taurajo in the Barrens, and Southshore in Hillsbrad. This explains the changes in greater detail:
http://www.wowhead.com/guide=cataclysm&world

This discusses the more recent destruction of Theramore, which I'm not sure when it'll actually start appearing as a crater for everyone, rather than the city...but it also touches on the current state of politics:
http://www.orcisharmyknife.com/2011/11/what-theramores-destruction-will-mean.html

Something you can look forward to is the removal of Garrosh as Warchief at the end of MoP -- may even have help from the Horde too, very few people like him, and it's looking to be another major event.

And welcome to Azeroth /wave


I'm just waiting to end Garroshs' rule. He has always been for lack of a worse word. A jerk.
There are also a number of books you can read to catch up on the lore. They can range from the Sunwell to the War of the Ancients. Form Arthas's life to what hapened right before the Shattering (Cataclysm). From how the horde formed on Outland to the destruction of Theramore. And etc.
And as other people mentioned, there are also a number of websites you can check out as well :)
Go to this website and look up almost anything you want to know about WoW lore:

http://www.wowpedia.org/Portal:Main

As far as the storyline is concerned, most starting zones for races are set during the Cataclysm era, with the exception of the Blood Elves and Draenai, which were introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion and their starting zones were never updated like the others were. Even the Pandaren starting zone is set in the Cataclysm era, despite being part of the Mists of Pandaria expansion.

If you roll a Death Knight of any race, you will start in a special zone set early in the age of Wrath of the Lich King.....only to be sent to Outland later to experience Burning Crusade content, which actually occured in lore a few years earlier. Take it or leave it.

Also, when you enter dungeons or raids of any expansion before Mists of Pandaria, you will be sent back in time to experience events of WoW history.

If you do lots of quests, you will move forward in time as you go along until you reach the "present" when you arrive in Pandaria. If you want the broadest perspective, either roll a Draenai or Blood elf, or roll any other race and then go to the Draenai or Blood Elf starting zones later and do some of the quests available to you. You will thus go from Burning Crusade content (through Outland), to Wrath of the Lich King content (Northrend), to Cataclysm content (various zones scattered in Azeroth), until finally you get to Mists of Pandaria content (the Pandaria continent).

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