Location: The Black Temple, Shadowmoon Valley
Have you ever wondered about the astronomy of the Warcraft universe? We know a lot more now than we did back when Vanilla WoW first came out. From Ulduar, we have seen a full rotating globe of Azeroth, and we know exactly where Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms lie, and we know that apparently the Blue Child comes and goes when it pleases. But what about Draenor? Granted, the red homeworld of the Orcs is accessible via the Dark Portal at any point, but where is it in terms of its relation to Azeroth? My original guess would have been that it’s no where near Azeroth. No closer than say Mars is to Earth.
However, deep within the depths of the Black Temple, you can see Azeroth from Outland. Not just as a twinkling star, but as large as, if not larger, than Outland’s moon. Which would put Azeroth a little further than the Moon is to Earth. Moon. Not Mars. So apparently Outland is actually pretty close to Azeroth. Which would give some ground to form all kinds of theories on why the Dark Portal actually works. What with two close quarters worlds, you could make an argument that it would easier to link them. Granted, that argument would be founded entirely on nonsense with no actual facts to back up why since the only way the Dark Portal works is “magic” and when dealing with “magic” there’s no reason that proximity should matter at all.
But that’s not the real issue here. The issue is that if I can see Azeroth from Outland (Granted, it’s only within Shadowmoon Valley, and even then only inside the Black Temple) why can’t I see Outland from Azeroth? I mean, I know it’s a floating rock and not an entire planet but since it’s supposedly as big as the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor combined and I can see both of those continents from Outland, you think there would be a weird floating shape in the sky or something. Maybe the Blue Child was supposed to be Draenor but then it got blown up and became Outland which is why the Blue Child was removed in Burning Crusade, but then why was Blue Child in Vanilla WoW which is after Draenor, which was the ‘red planet’ not blue, was destroyed? Where is Outland in the Azerothian sky?!
It’s not there. Do you want to know why? Because Outland does not exist in the physical plane. Do you know where it is? Well, where do things go when there’s no good way to fill in a plot hole? That’s right! The Twisting Nether. So apparently, not only was Draenor destroyed at the end of Warcraft II, it was blasted into another dimension as well. So why can you see Azeroth if Outland is in another dimension? Well, there’s a theory about that. You know how the Emerald Dream is kind of a parallel version of Azeroth? Well, some think that the Twisting Nether is that for the Great Dark Beyond (Outer Space). That doesn’t really sate me, but it’s better than “No clue, dude.” Besides, you think if that Draenor was so close to Azeroth that it would be mistaken for a moon someone would have said something about it, the second war wasn’t THAT long ago. Khadgar hasn’t kicked the bucket yet for Pete’s sake.
So, you can’t see Outland because it’s in the Twisting Nether. It does explain a few things, like netherdrakes, why the big vacuums in Netherstorm can suck magic out of thin air, or how Kael’thas was able to make contact with Kil’Jaeden. But wait! Then why did Illidan have to close the portals in Outland to lock out the Burning Legion’s reinforcements? Doesn’t the Burning Legion live in the Twisting Nether? So that’s kind of like locking a door to a house that’s missing 3 of its 4 walls. There’s no reason Kil’Jaeden couldn’t have just shown up and kicked Illidan’s butt for failing. Instead, Kil’jaeden makes a deal with Kael’thas to get summoned to Azeroth to continue the attack from the War of the Ancients… I think. I’m not even going into the plot holes that surround the Fury of the Sunwell, that thing deserves it’s own post.
So ultimately I’m left with a planet whose appearance makes no sense, which trying to explain causes the a size-able chunk of The Frozen Throne make no sense, all because the plot device that is the Twisting Nether makes no sense. Am I making any sense here at all?!
Would it be an over-simplification to say there’s been a lot of talk about this whole sparkly pony situation? The responses to its release have been pretty widespread from screaming logical hiccups to squealing delightful joy. However, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about where the heck this thing comes from. Yes, yes, I know. Mei Francis sends it to you. Mei Francis – who somehow is the only person in Azeroth who knows where to find a steady supply of dragons with rare genetic problems – has somehow come into supply of horses that look like Algalon’s sidekick in the WoW 80’s cartoon.
I figured since my specialty seems to come from creating lore for things that have none. (Albeit not always great or accurate lore, but lore nonetheless) I figured I’d take my crack at giving some reasons that role-players and curious parties might want for their new super special awesome pony:
On the Blizzard Store, it mentions that the Celestial Steed comes from the Twisting Nether. Sure. Why not? After all, the twisting nether is just some weird extra dimensional realm that might as well be labeled “Deus Ex Machina” for whatever you want. Where does mage food come from? Twisting nether. Where do warlock demons come from? Twisting Nether. Where do people go when they die? You got it. It’s the WoW version of the old RPG staple of “A Wizard Did It” or “It’s magic.” Not that I can blame Blizzard for using it. They probably got their hands full with coming up with slightly more important lore. Like the end of the fricking world.
Honestly, I was never very happy with this explanation. For one, it seems odd that the same place that is used in the same way as we use “hell” or “heck” and is full of demons could possibly be responsible for bringing forth this pretty pony. Unless it is also a demon. Which it isn’t. Cause then the warlocks would probably complain. However, the netherdrakes are explained to be dragons that were from or created by exposure to the magical and chaotic energies of the Twisting Nether, so why not pretty starry ponies? Honestly, while this is the canonical explanation for their existence given by Blizzard, it reeks of unimaginative defaulting to the easiest explanation.
My favorite explanation for the celestial steeds. It’s not hard to see why you would immediately think of Ulduar when looking at these things. They look like every constellation statue you find in the Ulduar dungeons and raids. In fact a lot of people thought the steed was going to come from Ulduar (possibly as an incentive to finish it? I know my guild just skipped to ToC and ICC after getting one keeper down, and no one wants to go back because the gear is useless now… /sigh), but it turned out you can just buy the pony. But Ulduar does provide an excellent explanation for where the steed comes from.
After all, in the timeline of the expansion, Yogg-Saron has had his head shoved back into his hole and Algalon averted from sending out his message to the Titans. Ulduar is now free and back under control, perhaps it is time to do some exploring! But didn’t we already see everything that was in Ulduar, Vrykerion? There was no stable of star ponies in there! Well, no. There wasn’t. Not in the areas we explored at least. Ulduar however is huge. Brann Bronzebeard first called it a titan city from initial observations. I can’t imagine we even began to scratch the surface of that place. The Ulduar raid was a direct assault on the heart of the entire facility, but I can’t possibly imagine that was the whole place!
Imagine if Bronzebeard went back into Ulduar after Yogg-Saron had been defeated? While exploring he finds these magnificent beasts flying about in the heart of Ulduar, created by the titans as a means for others to navigate their own massive facilities. Or were unfinished creations of the titans that began to evolve all on their own. Ulduar, being a titan facility, has been on Azeroth since the beginning. That’s well over 10,000 years. I could imagine some unstable creation mutating and evolving deep within in a secluded city. They took on coloring like their surroundings, blending in to the massive constellation statues, and began to fly in order to compensate for the massive structure they were living in. There are lots of possibilities here.
The Great Dark Beyond
In case you are unfamiliar with the Great Dark Beyond, it’s essentially the Azerothian term for outer space (as opposed to the Twisting Nether – which is the space between spaces, Dr. Jones.) Yes, I am suggesting that a possible origin for the Celestial Steed is outer space. Why not? Don’t even try and tell me that aliens are too out of the box for WoW. We have the Draenei. We have the Naaru. We have another entire planet in the form of Draenor/Outland. Why is it so hard to believe that there are other creatures within the darkness of space?
Much like the Ulduar explanation, you could even tie in the unique titan design aspect of the horse into this. After all, the Titans are said to dwell deep within the Dark Beyond. They sent Algalon from wherever they are, who shares a similar appearance. Could it be that these starry creatures are titan creations on another world? Servants of the titans created as some kind of equivalent to angels or avatars? Take your pick! There are many strange things left unexplored in the darkness out there, surely there must be some creatures that choose to light the way.
A Wizard Actually Did Do It
Some could argue that this is similar to the Twisting Nether origin before. But instead of being a metaphorical plot device akin to “A Wizard Did It” that Blizzard uses to patch holes, what if a wizard actually did do it? What I mean is, what if these starry horses are arcane constructs similar to elementals or the massive robots that storm around and guard magical areas? Finely crafted by the finest wizards that Dalaran has to offer comes a flying horse construct that Mei Francis can sell in that freak sho- I mean exotic pet shop of hers.
After all, mages are the one’s with direct control over weaving the arcane and Mei Francis has set up shop in their mecca. Would be it that unlikely for them to join forces to concoct a maginficent new ‘animal’ to showcase? It’s not like they have some moral issue with using magic for something like that, heck they use magic to light the street lights and elementals to wash clothes! This isn’t some mystical sacred art, they’d use magic to scratch their own butts if they could. I can easily envision a gnome making a fancy horse out of to make a few bucks.
Ultimately, there’s probably more ways to think about this that I can come up with here. But it goes to show you that just because a mount doesn’t drop from a raid boss, doesn’t mean you can’t come up with some fun lore or reasoning behind it’s existence. It also goes to show you that you shouldn’t always just accept Blizzard’s own wacky logic of “a wizard did it” every time they don’t want to flesh out the details.