Who is Reno Jackson? The story of Hearthstone’s famed explorer (who has a big secret)
There are many characters who cross over from Hearthstone lore into World of Warcraft, and whose stories players of either game might not be all that familiar with. One of them is world-renowned archaeologist, “expert” treasure hunter, true menace when magical artifacts somehow find their ways into his hands, Reno Jackson. That’s a real shame, because his story has twists and turns that would fit right into any ancient dungeon — at least, the type of ancient dungeon Reno would be exploring.
Be warned that to tell Reno’s story, we’ll have to go into spoilers for Hearthstone adventures and assorted single player content, including League of Explorers, Saviors of Uldum, Descent of Dragons, and Galakrond’s Awakening — so read at your own risk.
It all began when a member of the League of Explorers was put on probation — guess who?
Hearthstone introduced the League of Explorers, a group of four adventurers that sought legendary artifacts all over the world. The group included WoW staple Brann Bronzebeard, as well as three original characters: Night Elf Elise Starseeker, Murloc Sir Finley Mrrgglton, and Human Reno Jackson. The latter was, in many ways, the comic relief of the crew: stumbling his way from mishap to mishap, and embellishing stories that had no business being embellished — like the time he wore an Ogre disguise to infiltrate Dire Maul — Reno was on probation. Based on his personality and skills — or lack thereof — it really didn’t feel like he had much to bring to the Explorers, but somehow, he always ended up succeeding in acquiring powerful magic artifacts anyway.
Such as the time when the League of Explorers found themselves in Uldum, attempting to find all the pieces to an ancient Titan artifact, the Staff of Origination. In the Temple of Orsis, after failing to resist the temptation to rub a magical lamp, Reno inadvertently summoned the djinn Zinaar, who attacked the group. However, defeating him uncovered the Rod of the Sun, a piece of the Staff they’d been seeking — a tale which just proves that despite his bumbling behavior and carefree personality, there was something about Reno that always seemed to attract him to powerful magic artifacts.
Reno’s strange attraction to magical artifacts reached its pinnacle while battling the League of E.V.I.L
A few expansions later, Uldum was now under attack: the League of E.V.I.L, led by Arch-Villain Rafaam, had just stolen the entire city of Dalaran, and now sought to unleash “The Final Plague” in order to reach their ultimate goal: resurrecting Galakrond, the father of all Dragons. It was up to the League of Explorers to stop them, and each of its members had some new tricks.
In the expansion where this story took place, Saviors of Uldum, Reno Jackson was the Mage class representative — not because he was a Mage himself, but rather because he had once again stumbled upon a very powerful magical artifact: a Gatling Wand. Basically, Reno would point this magical gun at his enemies and fire randomly — an effect which was represented in-game by the casting of powerful but mostly uncontrollable spells. Nevertheless, somehow our intrepid explorer displayed a penchant for the Arcane arts once more… something was odd here.
Although the Explorers succeeded in beating Rafaam and his cronies, the Arch-Villain still managed to run away with the Final Plague in his possession — so Reno and his friends had to give chase, taking the fight to Northrend, in the Descent of Dragons expansion.
When Galakrond himself awakened, a fan theory was proven true
Look at the picture above, from the trailer of the One Night in Karazhan adventure (one of the best Blizzard trailers ever made — I will not be taking questions at this time). It depicts The Curator about to cannonball into a pool where Reno Jackson is chilling with Sir Finley Mrrgglton and a cow. You might be wondering why that is important.
You see, this is when people really began speculating that Reno might be secretly a dragon. The Curator was a card in Hearthstone with an effect when it was played that said “draw a Beast, Dragon, and Murloc from your deck.” He shows up on this trailer jumping into a pool that contains a Murloc (Sir Finley), a beast (the cow), and… Reno? Sure, it seemed like a far-fetched theory at the time. But in the end of the trailer, amidst the fireworks in Karazhan, the image of a huge blue dragon could be clearly seen. It wasn’t much, but people kept adding to the speculation — and over the next releases, Blizzard started dropping hints as well.
Until the Galakrond’s Awakening adventure came out, and the fan theory was finally confirmed. During the final encounter, an epic confrontation against Rafaam and Galakrond himself, the sheer amount of magic going on started making Reno feel a bit… funny. Once the player cast enough spells, he somehow transformed: it was finally revealed that the “Reno Jackson” we all knew was just a visage, and his true form was that of Renogos, a Blue Dragon — a fact that he himself was unaware of! He had been delivered to an orphanage as an egg, so he grew up oblivious of his true heritage. Well, no more! Blue Dragons rule over Magic itself, so his mysterious attraction to magical artifacts was finally explained.
What adventures await Reno Jackson — or Renogos — in the future?
In the end, Galakrond was defeated, and Rafaam’s plans were thwarted. We haven’t heard from Reno or the League of Explorers in a while — but given that they’re beloved original characters, we guess it’s only a matter of time until Hearthstone brings them back, and we can’t wait to hear how they deal with the truth about Renogos, and how they dynamic will change — if it’ll change at all. Knowing Reno, there’s a chance he’ll just brush it off and move on like nothing happened!
Reno’s story happens chiefly in Hearthstone, but he has also showed up in World of Warcraft — in diverse places such as Mechagon, Uldum, and Valdrakken on the Dragon Isles. So if you’re a WoW player who’s been wondering just who this audacious member of the Explorer’s League is — now you know! And hopefully WoW players will get to see more of his cameos in the future as well.
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