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Medievaldragon

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

Diablo 2: Ladder Reset Announced!

With the release of the recent new Patch 1.11,  a new Ladder season has arisen for Diablo 2.  Players are welcome to climb to the top of the Ladder starting this Monday, August 8th.  The current season will not end til the weekend is over, so get out there and clash blades with Diablo, Mephisto and Baal before it all ends!  For more information on the Diablo 2 Ladder, check out our D2 FAQ.

Jason Hayes: Modding Community

Jason Hayes has announced a new feature in his website to be launched within few days, where the Modding Community of Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo universes may find valuable assistance.

Jason Hayes: “The brand new “Mod Projects” forum – a section dedicated to the burgeoning mod community! This will come online in the next day or two. It will be a great place for mod makers to come in order to find composers for their projects, and for composers to discover opportunities to write music for mods.”

Jason Hayes: Modding Community

Jason Hayes has announced a new feature in his website to be launched within few days, where the Modding Community of Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo universes may find valuable assistance.

Jason Hayes: “The brand new “Mod Projects” forum – a section dedicated to the burgeoning mod community! This will come online in the next day or two. It will be a great place for mod makers to come in order to find composers for their projects, and for composers to discover opportunities to write music for mods.”

Zul’Gurub Preview at WOW Europe

Wow Europe has a preview of Zul’Gurub Instance to be released soon in patch 1.7.0

Over a thousand years ago the powerful Gurubashi Empire was torn apart by a massive civil war. An influential group of troll priests, known as the Atal?ai, called forth the avatar of an ancient and terrible blood god named Hakkar the Soulflayer. Though the priests were defeated and ultimately exiled, the great troll empire collapsed upon itself. The exiled priests fled far to the north, into the Swamp of Sorrows, where they erected a great temple to Hakkar in order to prepare for his arrival into the physical world.

Rumor Advocate: Blizzard North Unannounced Game Analysis

There is been a lot of rumors going on for last two years, concerning Blizzard North’s non-announced project, after Blizzard North executives resigned back on June 31, 2003.  Blizzplanet has in the past started rumors that have turned out true, as in the case of Starcraft Going Multiplayer, two months before it was publically announced—as you may confirm at VoodooExtreme(IGN).

We are going now to analyze the evidence offered through past interviews and comments from Blizzard Employees to reach a veredict.  This time the hammer drops on Blizzard North’s Unannounced project.  You, the Juror, will have the final deliberation.

EXHIBIT A

Going back in time—on February 7, 2004, an article by HollywoodReporter mentioned the following:

“According to industry observers, the departure of 25-30 Blizzard staffers in the past 10 months has prompted the San Mateo, Calif.-based Blizzard North development studio to merge its two teams into one and to cancel one of its two unannounced projects.”

EXHIBIT B

I have had that HollywoodReporter article in mind constantly for months, as well as the words said by a Blizzard employee on the World of Warcraft Beta Forums on February 10th, 2004.  Although the Beta Forums are forever gone, there was a Forum Watcher script at Wow.Ethrex.com that would capture Blizzard Employee’s posts.  Here is the bold words from GFraizer concerning the game that was cancelled:

” It was Blizzard North so it was a Blizzard North type game. Blizzard North has made Diablo I, Diablo II, and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction..”

Synopsis:

  • From the HollywoodReporter article we know that Blizzard North was working on two projects by 2003 and one of the games was cancelled, moving the remaining staff to the second team.
  • And a Blizzard Employee, three days after that article, hints that Diablo 3 might have been the canned game.

So we are back at square one.  What is Blizzard North’s unanounced project?  Whatever the game is, it is been cooking for over two years now.

EXHIBIT C

Just few months ago, as reported by Gamespy, Dustin Browder, game design director for EA’s Battle for Middle-earth announced his leave from EA, and his new position as a Blizzard Employee to be effective on March 14th, 2005. Browder is under direction of Rob Pardo on an unveiled game. Browder didn’t know at that point what game he would be working on.

EXHIBIT D

Taking a look at MobyGames, Dustin Browder has high expertise in developing RTS and Action type of Games like:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle-Earth (2004)
  • Command & Conquer: Generals (2003)
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour (2003)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Dominion Wars (2001)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (2000)
  • Battlezone (1998)
  • Vigilante 8 (1998)
  • Heavy Gear (1997)
  • MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (1996)
  • MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear’s Legacy (1995)

EXHIBIT E

Curiosly Dustin Browder was assigned to work at Irvine, not at San Francisco-studio.  Recently, Blizzard North was shut down, relocating employees to the headquarters in Irvine—where Dustin Browder is Senior Designer at.

EXHIBIT F

Finally, Gameinformer recently interviewed Blizzard on July 18th, 2005, asking the following:

“Q: Will there be a StarCraft II? When?

A: Although we have not made any announcements and do not have a development or release timeline, we do fully intend to revisit the world of StarCraft on PC at some point in the future.”

Having in mind EXHIBIT A through EXHIBIT F, we have somewhat a big picture of the scene.  Blizzard North’s unannounced game is an RTS game and it is not Starcraft 2.  Another rumor has been that Diablo would be launched as a RTS game, but EXHIBIT B basically squashes that rumor. So we have now Starcraft 2 and Diablo III removed from the case.  That would leave only two possibilities: Warcraft 4 is one, but having a huge success with over 3 million paid subscribers on the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft would make a Warcraft 4 very unlikely, since Blizzard doesn’t usually create games that may affect the sales of another game.  Take in consideration that World of Warcraft Expansion was confirmed recently by Shane Dabiri on his Wow Battleplan Press Release.

The Irvine Team designated for Warcraft RTS games, is who works on Starcraft, but that team was moved to work on World of Warcraft after the release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.  Most likely that team is now working on the World of Warcraft Expansion as we speak, while the second Irvine Team is developing new content for the current World of Warcraft: Zul’Gurub is scheduled for patch 1.7.0 and Ah’Quiraj instance in Silithus is scheduled for patch 1.9.0

That leaves both Irvine teams busy.  In the past, Blizzard has always answered they plan to revisit the world of Starcraft for PC sometime in the future.  But at the Gameinformer interview Blizzard was very precise and specific saying there is no current development of Starcraft 2 at this moment.

Now the question is why was Dustin Browder, an RTS developer, moved to Irvine as Senior Designer when the Warcraft 3/Starcraft Team is possibly working on the World of Warcraft Expansion.  Blizzard North staff was relocated to Irvine to get all of their teams to have regular, direct input on each other’s projects.  If Dustin Browder is working on a Blizzard North project from Irvine as Senior Designer, having the team relocated to Irvine makes things easier.

Many fans may doubt that Blizzard North may create games other than Diablo, but in reality, Blizzard North has contributed to all other Blizzard games.  In an interview we had with Mike Huang—ex-Blizzard North employee—back on January 2004, he told us that as a Blizzard North employee they had to offer feedback to all games.  Mike Huang was who gave the idea to a Starcraft programmer to make Protoss Buildings be powered by Pylons.  He revealed to have worked on Warcraft 3 and even on World of Warcraft, which means Blizzard North isn’t simply a Diablo only studio.  If Blizzard requests them to work on “X” project, they have the capability to do it.

That leaves only one possible answer for Blizzard North’s unannounced game:  An RTS game based on a New creative universe not related to Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo series.  A new Franchise.  A possible announcement of this mysterious game could be made at BlizzCon 2005 through October 28-29.

Wow Password Trojan: Norton Anti-Virus Update

Everyone who owns Symantec Norton Anti-Virus, please, make sure to download and install the latest update of your software.  The new update, as of August 1, detects a new trojan that attempts to steal your World of Warcraft Account Password.  Among the consequences of a security breach of your computer, your World of Warcraft account could be perma-banned by Blizzard if the trojan creator caused mayhem with your account by violating any EULA or Terms of Use; your items and gold may disappear; and/or your credit card number(Partially—first 4 numbers and last 4 numbers) and personal info like home address and phone number may be in jeopardy as well.  You may visit Symantec website to see the new Trojan definition concerning
World of Warcraft Password Trojan

“PWSteal.Wowcraft is a password-stealing Trojan horse that attempts to steal the password to the “World of Warcraft” game and send it to the creator of the Trojan. “

We recommend players to read the Removal Instructions on their website to following directions on how to disable System Restore(Windows ME/XP) before running Norton Anti-Virus.
Special thanks to Redrock for the buzz!

Blizzard North Shuts Down Offices

IRVINE, California—Aug. 1, 2005—Blizzard Entertainment? today announced its plan to centralize its PC development teams at the studio’s Irvine headquarters.

As part of this initiative to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its teams, a majority of the staff from Blizzard’s Northern California office will have an opportunity to relocate to the company’s Irvine office, where they will continue work on an unannounced project.

“We’re looking forward to having our PC development teams together in Irvine,” stated Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to improving our efficiency as a company, the relocation also represents an opportunity for all of our teams to have regular, direct input on each other’s projects.”

Blizzard does not believe that these changes will cause significant delays on any of its projects in development. The company released its subscription-based massively multi-player online role-playing game, World of Warcraft?, at the end of 2004 and is continuing work on StarCraft: Ghost(TM), its upcoming tactical-action console game set in the award-winning StarCraft? universe. Plans for future products will be revealed at a later date.

World Event Nostalgia

Caydiem—World of Warcraft Community Manager—wrote a long PR response to a player who requested an explanation concerning lack of World Events like the one provided at the end of Public Beta.  Apparently those days will make many long nostalgia.  Read Caydiem’s note below . . .

Bonus: We collected nearly 140 screenshots of the Beta Finale event, check out the 3 galleries.

 

Diablo 2 Patch 1.11 is now LIVE!

The Lords of Terror, Hatred, and Destruction lurk once more in the bowels of the world, their vile blood galvanized with the thirst for revenge against the Heroes who have thwarted their dark reign. Can the stalwart Paladins, lightning-quick Assassins, and ferocious Barbarians rise to this new challenge? The call has been made, so come join the adventure once again!

  • Click here for more details on Diablo 2 Patch 1.11.

  • Click here to check out the Patch 1.11 Wallpaper.

Judgehype Q&A with Blizzard Europe

Our friend-site Judgehype in France had a Blizzard Developers Q&A concerning World of Warcraft.  We recommend you to read the English version of the interview Here

JudgeHype: Some Professions and Classes are facing inventory storage issues. E.g. the Warlock class (due to Soulshards) or some gathering professions (such as Herbalists). Is it conceivable to provide special bags, which may be created by players, in order to bring a solution to this issue ? Similarly, would it possible to create some kind of keys holder, which would be useful to store together all the required instances keys.

Blizzard: We are working on specialized bags that can only hold, for example, quest items, soul shards, keys, and profession-based materials. We haven?t decided exactly which kind of bag will be available, but our first goal is to have soul shard bags and key rings.

The Alliance/Horde characters proportion is apparently quite messy on some servers. This mainly poses a real issue on the PvP servers, due to the queuing linked to Battlegrounds, which is often pretty long at the Alliance side, while at the Horde side they have to play in inferior number. Even if the players understand pretty well that a perfect balance can’t be achieved, could you give us an example for measure that could be applied in order to bring a solution to this on some Realms ?

We are working at a number of different initiatives. It?s a complex problem, so unfortunately, we don?t have more detailed specifics at this time.

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