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Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.8a Released

Earlier today, Blizzard released a new minor patch on US Realms during the Tuesday maintenance schedule. Some of these class, race or gender bugs had been acknowledged and reported by Blizzard when the original Patch 3.0.8 was deployed. It’s nice to see that the devs worked around the clock to release them this quick. Nethaera sent us word immediately. You can read the patch notes and any updates here.

Patch 3.0.8a resolves the following bugs:

Blizzard Quote:
General

  • Human females Helms will no longer lift off the character’s head during a Special2H animation or during a HoldRifle animation.

Death Knights

  • Howling Blast : The 5 second cooldown will now display correctly.

Hunters

  • All Hunter aspects are no longer on the global cooldown that is shared with other Hunter abilities. All hunter aspects are now on a separate 1 second cooldown.

Warlocks

  • Ritual of Summoning will now function as intended.

Garona Officially Orc-Draenei Half-breed

imageMy copy arrived today by mail. It is now official. Garona is half-draenei according to World of Warcraft # 15. For the first time, the official comic book has a Cast of Characters section at the back, on the last page. The profile for Garona says:

“An orc-draenei half-breed, trained from childhood as an assassin.”

Many years ago, ex-WoW Community Manager Katricia had a slip of tongue and claimed Garona to be half-draenei. This has been a long debated topic among lore scholars. But now the debate has been put to rest. The return of Garona and the revelation of her half-human son has made the comic book become a magnet for World of Warcraft lore enthusiasts. The new story arc has made this comic book very interesting. You should subscribe or pick this issue soon to get hooked to the series. Those wondering who Meryl is, this is his profile:

“A powerful undead mage , he has survived for thousands of years by the strength of his own magic.  An original member of the now defunct Council of Tirisfal, he is now Med’an’s guardian and mentor.”

Rare Interracial Couples and Hybrids in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is no stranger to interracial marriages or hybrids. There are many examples throughout Azeroth and Outland of couples from different races such as Rhonin and Vereesa at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran.  Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner who bore a child named Arator the Redeemer. Arator may be found at the Honor Hold Inn in Hellfire Peninsula. The love affair of Turalyon and Alleria was told in detail by Christie Golden in World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal (Pocket Star Books).

Admiral Proudmoore had an affair with a high elf and was father of Finnall Goldensword. Sadly, she hasn’t been added to the MMO yet. She was first introduced in the Alliance & Horde Compendium

Wintergrasp Fix And Other Patch 3.0.8 Issues

The patch 3.0.8 introduced a few bugs that Blizzard was aware of and communicated during its release, but one bug they probably didn’t foresee was the server instability that affected realms. Wintergrasp was shutdown yesterday to keep realms ongoing while the developers found options to hotfix the issues forthcoming once Horde or Alliance players won. Crygil informed the issues have been, hopefully, resolved and Wintergrasp will come back after rolling restarts across all realms. Make sure to provide feedback and report any lag issues or crashes at the following forum thread.

Blizzard Quote:
Crygil: We have found a solution for instability issues that were occurring in Wintergrasp. In order for this fix to go out to all realms, we will be issuing rolling restarts during off peak hours. Once the rolling restarts have concluded we will continue to monitor Wintergrasp and realm stability closely.

Eyonix: We wanted to compile information pertaining to issues that have arisen since patch 3.0.8. We’ll update this post as new information becomes available.

New Arena Matchmaking System
Update: We have temporarily disabled all Arena matches while we investigate current rating calculation discrepancies. Further updates will be provided once we have additional information to share.

With the release of patch 3.0.8 we have implemented a new matchmaking system for arenas that will improve the overall system and help ensure that players will be matched against others of equal skill. The new matchmaking system uses a rating that you cannot see, and is separate for each of the arena brackets.

The rating changes at the end of each match are affected by this new system, and as it just came out, there may initially be some odd behavior in rating changes, but these will straighten out fairly quickly.

Battle For Wintergrasp Temporarily Disabled
Due to Wintergrasp issues affecting realm stability, the Battle for Wintergrasp has been temporarily disabled on all realms. We

Jeff Kaplan To Be GDC 2009 Speaker

imageGamasutra reports Jeff Kaplan will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC 2009) through March 23-27 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco. This keynote will help aspiring and professional game developers; and college students to experience an insight into the process of quest design and gameplay direction.


Jeff Kaplan & Medievaldragon

The Cruise Director of AZEROTH: Directed Gameplay within WORLD OF WARCRAFT
Speaker: Jeffrey Kaplan (Associate Designer, Blizzard Entertainment)
Date/Time: TBD
Track: Game Design
Format: 60-minute Lecture
Experience Level: All

Session Description
This discussion will focus on the original development of WORLD OF WARCRAFT’s quest system and how it has changed over time, with WRATH OF THE LICH KING being the latest evolution. The presentation will also include some of the guidelines and philosophies that are followed when creating WoW content. It will also be suggested how WoW’s philosophy applies to other game genres and touch on topics such as game design as it applies to story, single player, massively multiplayer, open world and constrained locale considerations.

Blizzard Entertainment’s Jeffrey Kaplan explains the guidelines and philosophies directing the creation of World of Warcraft content, and will also provide an informative look at the popular MMORPG’s “quest system and how it has changed over time, with Wrath of the Lich King being the latest evolution.”

Win Starcraft II BETA keys !!!

Karune has just made everyone’s day with this post. Beta seems to be closer and closer with all the hint and teasing in the past days. You have the opportunity to win a Starcraft II beta key by participating in the Vespene Laughs! Starcraft II Comic Contest every month !!!

Blizzard Quote:
Vespene Laughs! StarCraft II Comic Contest Update
StarCraft II Beta Keys are up for grabs to the funniest, wittiest, able to cause a fun chuckle in your fellow StarCraft fans!

As a FYI, we will be adding (2) StarCraft II Beta Keys to the Vespene Laughs 1st place winner’s prize package each month for the StarCraft II Comic Contest. The rules will be updated accordingly for the February round of entries. Additionally, we will also reward previous 1st place winners of the contest as well with the beta keys as well.

This contest will be the first of various contests that will begin offering a chance to get into the StarCraft II Beta. If you know there isn’t a funny bone anywhere in ya, don’t worry, there will be plenty of other opportunities, just keep checking back with us.

Starcraft Patch 1.16.1 Released

Blizzard released surprisingly a new Starcraft: Brood War patch. It doesn’t really fix any gameplay bugs or exploits, but it may certainly help some players with old computers or low RAM memory overall.

Blizzard Quote:
We have just released a new patch for StarCraft! Just connect to Battle.net and the patch should automatically download.

Starcraft and Brood War Patch Information

————————————————————————————————————————
- patch 1.16.1
————————————————————————————————————————

Feature Changes

- In-game Speed Options menu now has a “Enable CPU Throttling” checkbox.
Enabling this option will allow StarCraft to consume fewer CPU cycles. By
default this option is off.

Bug Fixes

- Fixed an issue with the reply feature where any character followed by a “r “
was being treated as a reply.
- Removed an unnecessary delay when processing palette cycling updates.
- Lessened the imposed delay in the CPU Throttling feature.

The first scenario for the WoW: Adventure Game League!

Fantasy Flight Games invites players to embark into the latest World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game scenario: Alterac Valley. Heed the call to battle!

World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game is an exciting and fast-paced journey through the world of Azeroth for 2 to 4 players. Choose your favorite hero and embark on an epic journey from humble beginnings to immense power, battling vicious monsters, powerful overlords, and your treacherous fellow players!

Two to four players each take on the role of a Warcraft character. The base World of Warcraft Adventure Game comes with four unique and distinctive characters: Burbonn Fang the Dwarf hunter, Sandrai Darkshine the Human warlock, Sofeea Icecall the Undead mage, and Grumbaz Crowsblood the Orc warrior. Each character is depicted by his own detailed plastic figure and has his own specialized character and ability cards.

imageThe call to arms has been sounded. Will you take up arms? This first scenario in the World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game League will force you to reevaluate your tactics, as you must prove yourself worthy through combat. For more information on the league, check out this article. Once you have played, record your information (Include all of the information requested in this news article) and email it to the JR Godwin, League Administrator.

CGI Interview: The Making of Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer

I am glad I subscribed to a few CGI Animation and 3D community newsletters back in the days when I used to promote and recruit staff for the Starcraft Chronicles unofficial fan CGI film, a few years ago.  CGChannel has announced their latest interview with Blizzard Entertainment’s CGI Artists Jeff Chamberlain and Fausto De Martini to talk about the making of the Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer. This three-pages interview contains four never-seen-before pre-rendered footage video clips. The interview covers which techniques and software tools were used to create the Sindragosa frostwyrm, Arthas, Frostmourne and the special effects of Arthas sweeping away the snow to reveal the ice floor.

This interview can be a dream for those who are CGI students or aficionados, and to those who would love to join the Blizzard team at one point. It will help you know how the different teams work the pipeline. Read the full interview. Help others find this awesome interview by commenting at N4G.

Blizzard cinematics are popular in part because of the excellent animation of characters, effects and camera work. Does Blizzard use Motion Capture or other technologies to achieve this level of animation?

We’ve built a team of really strong keyframe animators, and we have always keyframed our animation—and we prefer it that way. As I said, we strive for a hyper-realistic look, so our characters proportions are way augmented from what they would be in real life. As a result, they would tend to look a bit odd if they moved like someone with normal proportions would. Keyframed animation allows us to move our characters in a stylized way that fits the overall look. Also, there’s something about the level of quality you can get from a keyframed animation compared to a motion-captured one.

We have used motion capture a lot for getting a realistic handheld feel in our cameras, and in the interest of creating more and better content, we’ve looked into using motion capture as a tool during previsualization. Having the ability to quickly try out different angles and layouts for a shot by utilizing the speed of motion capture is very compelling from a director’s viewpoint. As far as the final frames go, we plan on sticking with our stylized keyframed animation.

The reanimated corpse dragon in the Lich King cinematic is beautifully executed in its design, modeling, effects and animation. Can you tell us a little bit about the tools and techniques used in those sequences?

We approached the sequence in which Arthas raises the frost wyrm in exactly the same manner as we approach all of our projects. We start with a loose script written by a few cinematics guys: Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of creative development Chris Metzen; and the leads from the game team. The idea then moves to storyboarding and 2D concepting. Once that’s done, we start pre-visualizing the sequence. Modeling, animation, and production tech tend to then take over for a while, generating the meat of the project. Finally, finishing (lighting and compositing), effects, and matte painting take it all home.

Wrath of the Lich King was a project with a lot of firsts in our pipeline. It was the first time we used Maya to animate and lay out every shot, the first time we rendered every shot in Renderman, and the first time we used Nuke to composite. Some other products we use are 3ds Max and Mudbox for modeling, Mirage for storyboarding, and anything we can get our hands on for effects and matte painting.

World of Warcraft # 15 Preview - Garona Birthed A Half-Human Baby?

imageFrom the creative minds of Wildstorm’s World of Warcraft comic book writer Walter Simonson (Mighty Thor) and Chris Metzen, Blizzard has released a loregasmic preview teaser of World of Warcraft # 15.  After King Varian Wrynn decapitated Onyxia’s corpse to display her head in Stormwind, Garona makes her appearance for the first time since the events from Warcraft: The Last Guardian.  The preview reveals that shortly after Garona assassinated King Llane, she found out about her … pregnancy.  She gave the baby to an ancient human mage, named Meryl,  to raise him. It is now confirmed that Garona was cursed by Sargeras to betray and do things against her will. Therefore, she couldn’t bare to rise her own child for fear she would kill him.

This plot brings about so many intriguing questions. Who is the father of Garona’s baby? Medivh? Khadgar?  King Llane? On the other hand, Meryl is described as undead, but one who has lived by sheer will and through the use of his own magical powers to prolong his life for milennia; he exists even before Ner’zhul created the Scourge. Is Meryl one of the previous Guardians of Tirisfal?

Garona’s baby has grown up, and there is a prophecy behind him found in a scroll digged from Hellfire Peninsula. This child is to become the savior of Azeroth. Do you feel the vibe that this guy, Med’an, is the heir of Medivh? Watch the PDF preview and get that HOT comic book at a newsstand near you!

This issue will be on newsstands on January 21.

In stores 1/21.

The road back to Theramore begins in issue #15 of the ongoing series. After the events of the last arc, King Varian and Prince Anduin must return home. But who will return with them? And what role will Garona Halforcen play in this next quest? Check out the preview pages.

If you like what you see, you can visit Wildstorm for more information, locate a nearby comic store (type zipcode), or subscribe to the series directly.

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