Hello and welcome to yet another Flavor Text and Lore article. Stay a while… And read about the story and lore behind some of the most notable Priest Hero cards – and if you didn’t catch it, check out the previous “Flavor Text and Lore: The Priest Hero” to know more about the religions / faiths of Azeroth and the Priest Hero himself, Anduin Wrynn.
Classic Priest Spells
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that has played a role-playing or fantasy strategy game in the last twenty years that a priest has a variety of healing spells at his or her disposal. The Hearthstone priest is no different, though funnily enough, the most often used heal ability is the simple Hero Power lesser-heal, as opposed to some of the more powerful healing cards.
Reliability, it turns out, is the name of the game, and it’s no mistake that even as early a version of the priest as Warcraft III’s units had their healing as a quick, cheap, even automated small heal spell.
Slow and steady wins the race as far as healing was concerned in those games, and the Hearthstone Priest seems to take more than a few pages from that book, favoring the use of empowering spells like inner-fire over flat-out healing spells.
inner-fire is one taken almost straight from Warcraft III, bearing the exact same name and function, though in a considerable more powerful manner: the original spell increased attack by a mere 10% and added a flat armor increase.
power-word-shield, in the meantime, is one of the most recognizable World of Warcraft priest spells since the launch of the original game. The cheaply and quickly castable “bubble” of holy light would not only protect but actually hasten an ally or the priest himself, creating a perfect parallel with the card’s health buffing and card drawing mechanics. And it was available to priests right from the earliest levels, much like the card is part of the base priest set.
shadowform is another emblematic spell, one that grants the casting priest an increase in the damage of shadow spells and faster casting. But it also prevents her from assessing her repertoire of healing spells – and only healing spells; holy spells that protect or empower are still fair game.
This time, Hearthstone’s translation is interesting, changing nothing but the the lesser-heal Hero power into mind-spike or mind-shatter. It would have been a more fitting approach to replicate the effect of auchenai-soulpriest. Though I am sure that such a permanent mechanic change would ultimately reveal itself to be unbalanced.
The Priesthood of Azeroth
Priesthood must be a very appealing career choice for Azerothians, as there surely are a lot of priests and priestesses around. They can be found in any major or minor city or town, and even in the fringes of civilization their presence is felt more often than not.
Most human characters start their World of Warcraft journey in direct contact with the priesthood, as the human starting area is none other than Northshire Abbey, home of the northshire-cleric.
The northshire-clerics are a storied bunch. They were the first religious force to be militarized in the service of the war against the orcs, back in the first Warcraft real-time strategy game.
And later, they formed the basis for what would become Bishop Alonsus Faol’s paladin order of the Knights of the Silver Hand, as previously explained in the “Flavor Text and Lore: History and Future of the Paladin Hero” article.
They are also tied to the story of the Mage alternate Hero Medivh, as it was in Northshire that he was cared for while in a coma, in his early years.
But today, the clergy at Northshire provides guidance, early income and equipment to the budding human heroes of Stormwind, before they set off in their adventures across Azeroth.
Not all priests are so helpful, though. The auchenai-soulpriest is an example of what can happen to a priest who strays too far into the study of the void.
Originally, these noble draenei conducted the spirits of their dead to peace within the sacred draenic mausoleum of Auchindoun. But in one of their usual – and commonly self-destructive – bids for unlimited power, Gul’dan’s Shadow Council followers unleashed a powerful elemental deep inside the temple.
They were unable to contain the elemental, and the enraged being blasted Auchindoun apart, as well as a good area of the surrounding Terokkar forest.
The Auchenai, guardians of Auchindoun, fell into despair upon seeing their holy ground shattered, and witnessing the restlessness of the souls they had been charged to keep at peace, now deprived of their mausoleum.
So, they turned to darker magics, even dabbling with necromancy, in order to try to control the draenei spirits. But they eventually crossed the line into madness, and now seek to reanimate the dead simply out of spite for the living and in an attempt to hasten what they see as the inevitable demise of Draenor.
The latest World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, allows players to travel into the past of Draenor, meeting the uncorrupted Auchenai defending a besieged Auchindoun, but the Hearthstone card is unequivocally based upon their maddened, “The Burning Crusade” expansion version.
Velen and the Flight of the Draenei
One of the three patriarchs of the Eredar race, prophet-velen earned his moniker at the dawn of the Burning Legion.
As his two longtime friends Archimonde and Kil’jaeden were pondering Sargeras’ promises of power and glory for them and their people, Velen felt tempted but cautious, and sought counsel through the power of meditating on the Holy Light.
The Light provided him with a vision, and as he saw that he and his brothers would indeed grow god-like with the power that Sargeras promised, the cost would be great: in his service, they would also be twisted and condemned to spread death and misery across the universe.
As his fellow leaders dismissed his vision as the musings of an overly concerned mind, Velen resigned himself to betraying them and escaping with whoever he could take, before Sargeras asserted his dominance over the Eredar.
After despairing from the lack of a plan to do so, he was telepathically contacted by the naaru K’ure, a being of pure light that revealed himself as the sender of the vision, and offered to help Velen and his faithful escape the grasp of Sargeras.
Soon after, Velen and a handful of Eredar left their homeworld of Argus on a space-faring vessel made of light-infused crystal and manned by the Naaru, with Kil’jaeden, Archimonde and their twisted followers hot on their trail, intent on claiming the escapees for their new, dark master.
Velen and his companions travelled for millennia – for over twenty five thousand years, according to most lore sources – which makes us believe that, if the Eredar are not outright immortal, they have at least very long lifespans. During this time, they dropped the name “Eredar”, renaming themselves Draenei, “the exiled ones”, while referring to their demon-touched brothers and sisters as “Man’ari”, or “twisted” Eredar.
They eventually found a world that they felt was right for them and that allowed them to hide from the Legion. They made a (rough) landing in this wild world, and finding that their civilization was far more advanced than that of the brutish ogre clans and tribal orcs, they christened the planet “Draenor” after themselves.
Under prophet-velen’s guidance, the Draenei settled this new world, respecting nature, building magnificent cities, and interfering as little as possible with the natural evolution of the native sentient races. For two hundred years, the Draenei avoided major conflicts and slowly rebuilt their civilization, worshiping the Naaru as their saviors and the Holy Light as the power that brings harmony to the universe.
But this was not to last, and Velen saw his skill as a leader strained once more as his old friend Kil’jaeden found Draenor and started manipulating the orcs into giving in to their baser, war-like manner. Through Gul’dan, the Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion led the orcs into hunting down and exterminating most of the draenei population, before having them open the Dark Portal and marching into Azeroth.
Velen desperately gathered as many of his people as he could, and the draenei once again made their escape, this time aboard the Exodar, a vessel able to travel between worlds and the pinnacle of Draenic technology.
They promptly crashed it into Azeroth (it turns out that Draenei aren’t great at landings) on a couple of islands to the west of Kalimdor, and soon befriended the Night Elves and became part of the Alliance.
Velen has since been leading his people from within the Exodar, now converted into an Alliance capital city. He was instrumental in helping redeem the Blood Elves, using his dominion over the Holy Light to purify their corrupted Sunwell after the heroes of Azeroth had succeeded in freeing it from the influence of his old friend Kil’jaeden.
In the alternate reality created by the Warrior Hero Garrosh’s time-travelling, Velen remained in Draenor and ultimately sacrificed himself to heal and purify the dying naaru K’ara, passing the mark of the prophet on to the young draenei paladin Yrel and giving the players the means to defeat grommash-hellscream’s Iron Horde.
But currently, in Azeroth, Velen is in good health, preparing himself for the next conflict with the Burning Legion.
Vol’jin, the New Warchief of the Horde
The troll priests are somewhat unusual, at times bordering the shamanistic, and as such they are usually called “witch-doctors”, which was the case with Sen’jin, namesake of the troll home of Sen’jin village and of the loved senjin-shieldmaster, and voljin’s father.
voljin himself is a “shadow hunter”, something that doesn’t fit well with any existing World of Warcraft or Hearthstone class. Its inclusion as a priest legendary is a bit puzzling, though it can be speculated that the shadow hunter’s close relation with the witch doctors makes them closer to the priest / shadow-priest than anything else.
Vol’jin himself has become known through World of Warcraft’s history for his patience and cunning, both traits that are required to properly use his Hearthstone card’s battlecry.
He was instrumental in helping the Hunter Hero Rexxar defend a budding Orgrimmar from the machinations of the Mage Hero Jaina Proudmoore’s father, and has spent many years since at the Shaman Hero Thrall’s side, as an adviser while Thrall was Warchief of the Horde and lord of Orgrimmar.
Things soured considerably when Thrall made the warmongering Warrior Hero Garrosh into the Warchief of the Horde. Heavy disagreements between the shadow hunter and the new Warchief made Vol’jin leave his position in Orgrimmar and return to oversee his tribe at their new home on the eastern coast of Kalimdor.
But the patient shadow hunter kept his attention on the pulse of the Horde, and during Garrosh’s invasion of Pandaria, when the Warchief pushed his Horde further into an untenable conflict with both the natives of Pandaria and the Alliance’s forces, all the while causing further division among his own people, Vol’jin lead a rebellion, maintaining unity between his people, the Tauren, the undead Forsaken, the Goblins and the Blood Elves and striking out against Garrosh’s rule.
In the end, it was due to his efforts that the races of the Horde not only kept, but even strengthened their former loose alliance and were able to band against their rogue Warchief.
Recognizing this, Thrall bestowed to Vol’jin the mantle of Warchief, upon the players’ defeat of Garrosh at the end of the “Mists of Pandaria” World of Warcraft expansion, with unanimous approval from the leaders of all the Horde’s races.
For his part, Stormwind’s king and supreme leader of the Alliance varian-wrynn recognized voljin as an honorable character, and against Jaina’s wishes, declared a cease of hostilities with the Horde.
Since then, Vol’jin has been leading the Horde from the throne room at Orgrimmar, but it is unclear if he will play a bigger role in the story to come.
And so concludes our brief foray into the story and lore behind some of the Priest Hero’s most notable cards. Please let me know if you spot any corrections that need to be made or if you think that I forgot any important card.
Let me know what you think in the comments!