The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You’re playing the game, you’re fighting the bosses, you know the how — but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
Of all the creatures in Pandaria, none have been quite so mysterious as the mogu. From day one they were presented as one of the villains in the saga of Pandarian history — and although the days of the mogu empires were long over, their legacy lived on. Mogu architecture, mogu statues, mogu ruins, they all littered the landscapes of where we leveled. To the pandaren, the mogu were a threat, but one that had long since died out, leaving the race as little more than scary tales to tell the children at night.
Until Mists of Pandaria, and the arrival of the Alliance and Horde. With the sudden uprising of the mantid, the release of the sha, and the frightened movement of the yaungol, the pandaren had more than enough to contend with. The sudden explosion of mogu activity was just another addition to the pile — and the appearance of the Zandalari as allies made the reappearance of this ancient threat even more dire.
But who are the mogu? Until patch 5.2, that mystery hadn’t been fully defined. And it still may not be fully defined, but at least we have a slightly clearer picture.
Please note that today’s Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 Lorewalkers content.
The origin of the mogu
The origin of the mogu is cleared up on the Isle of Thunder, where several Lorewalkers’ scrolls can be found that fill in some details of the mogu’s vague history. While we’d been originally told that the mogu just happened to learn how to harness the powers of Titan artifacts and technology, this isn’t really the case at all. The mogu were, originally, Titan constructs — similar to those found in the Storm Peaks or Uldum. They were created to protect the land, and at some point, affected by the Curse of Flesh.
One Lorewalker scroll points at mogu legends of an age of golden light, when order was brought to a world of chaos. Supposedly, the mogu walked among the Titans, creatures of stone, and shaped the mountains and valleys of Pandaria. This puts them in the same rank as the Earthen, the Titan creations that eventually evolved into the dwarves and troggs we know today. According to this scroll, the mogu called their titan master “The Storm.” He was their keeper — which sound suspiciously like Ra-den, the final boss in the Throne of Thunder.
But there’s contradictory evidence for this. Another Lorewalkers scroll is a poem, a legend that stems from the earliest known days of history. It’s been passed down again and again throughout mogu culture, and if read correctly, it explains a lot regarding the mogu, their origins, and their original purpose. The tale is called Shadow, Storm, and Stone. Rather than present it in one front, let’s look at each section of this tale and try to figure out what it all means.
The beast of seven heads
Fumed seven breaths.
The land wept shadow
And the swarm blackened the sky.
Supreme was the ancient one;
None dared waken its wrath.
This section of the legend is obviously speaking of Y’shaarj, the old god whose death brought about the Sha that haunt Pandaria to this day. This legend may very well be the only piece of recorded history Azeroth has about the time before the Titan’s arrival, the time when the Old Gods ruled the world with chaos and destruction. Also mentioned are the mantid — the swarm — who were revealed as ancient followers of the Old God to anyone who gained exalted reputation with the Klaxxi.
Until the coming of the Storm.
First came thunder, then came Stone.
The thunder Storm’s voice,
The Stone his weapon.
This is where we get into a little speculation. There is no doubt in my mind that the Stone referred to here are the mogu — they were the stone constructs of the Titans. But we have two other distinct entities referred to here: the Storm, and the thunder. While some may assume that Ra-den, the mysterious boss at the end of the Throne of Thunder is the Storm mentioned here, I don’t think that’s the case. It doesn’t fit with the hierarchy, the order that the Titans follow.