StarCraft II Beta—Patch 12 version 0.14.0.15343

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

Our first Situation Report took a look at the changes with Patch 11 and while not a large patch, we wanted to continue sharing our insight on balance changes with Patch 12. Please keep in mind that we are continuing to keep a close eye on many of these changes to better gauge their effects and may not apply all of our planned changes into any one patch. This allows us to track the effects a bit better and layer in our planned changes to better set the pace of how they affect balance overall.

We have a few minor changes implemented as a part of the balance for this patch and are also planning some more ability changes for the zerg in the next.

Thor – Radius decreased from 1.375 to 0.8125. Model size reduced to match new radius.

We have reduced the physical and pathing size of the Thor just to make him more useable. This will end up being a minor buff to the Thor (which he didn’t really need). We made the change just to make him less frustrating to use. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this change plays out and if Thors become too dominant we will deal with them in other ways in future patches.

Forge – Build time increased from 35 to 45. Life and shield values decreased from 550/550 to 400/400.

We are seeing a Photon Cannon rush against protoss and zerg. Against protoss, players usually use a cliff edge or the enemy minerals in combination with their forge to protect their pylon. Against zerg, you can use the Forge and Pylon to block the zerg player’s ramp. We have a few numbers we can tweak to fix this, build time on the Forge being the most obvious. However if we make the build time too high it will be difficult to panic build a Forge and Cannons to block a badly played cloak attack. So we are going to try a mixture of health nerfs to the Forge and a small timing change.

Mothership – Vortex now removes Force Fields within its area of effect.

Vortex continues to be an exciting ability with some known issues. Limiting how Force Fields are used around Vortexes will help fix a few exploitable situations. Our thanks go to the community for continuing to find and report issues with it. =)

Roach – Supply count increased from 1 to 2.

Roaches are just too mighty to be a 1 supply unit. In 200 supply battles Roaches can be very difficult to deal with even with the correct counters in play by protoss or terran players.

As always, we appreciate the ongoing constructive feedback and will continue to closely monitor the effects of these changes within the game.

StarCraft II Beta — Patch 12 (version 0.14.0.15343)

The latest patch notes can always be found on our StarCraft II Beta General Discussion forum.

Balance Changes

PROTOSS

  • Forge

    • Build time increased from 35 to 45.

    • Life and shield values decreased from 550/550 to 400/400.
  • Mothership
    • Vortex now removes Force Fields within its area of effect.

TERRAN

  • Thor

    • Radius decreased from 1.375 to 0.8125.

    • Model size reduced to match new radius.

ZERG

  • Roach

    • Supply count increased from 1 to 2.

User Interface

  • Several Hotkey changes have been made (German client only).

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a crash which sometimes occurred when quitting the program.

Screenshot of the Day: Gilneas

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day shows the Forsaken fleet approaching the coast of Gilneas accompanied by a Horde Gunship.

As a consequence of the earth-shaking Cataclysm, the natural coral banks that usually blocked any incursion into Gilneas by sea, is now shattered — according to the quests I read when I played the Cataclysm demo at BlizzCon — allowing the Forskaen to invade Gilneas from the Sea. The son of Lord Genn Greymane, Liam Greymane, tends to this invasion himself, and commands you to help fend off the invasion.

This screenshot doesn’t make justice to the new water effects I saw in the demo, but as you can see it looks much better.

Here is some of my notes from the BlizzCon 2009 Cataclysm demo, a transcript of some of the initial quests that mention the Forsaken invasion:

Prince Liam Greymane: I failed to defend my people in Gilneas City. It seems the fates have given me a second chance. I will not fail again.

Lord Godfrey: Give it up. It’s time to put this one down. It’s protocol.

King Genn Greymane: Tell me, Godfrey. Those that stayed in Gilneas City so that we could live. Were they following protocol? I didn’t think so. Now hand me that potion, Krennan and double the dosage.

LAST CHANCE AT HUMANITY

King Genn Greymane: I need you to pull through. This dosage is strong enough to kill a horse. But I know you. I know what you’re made of. You will be fine.

Trust me. I know what you’re going through.

Now drink up and close your eyes.

AMONG HUMANS AGAIN

Ah! Look who’s decided to join the ranks of men once more! It looks like Krennan’s potion finally worked. Either that or all these earthquakes scared you back into being a human!

It’s a good thing. I’d hate to have to shoot you after all you did for us.

Go see Krennan Aranas. He’s going to be happy to see you made it alive.

OBJECTIVES
Speak to Krennan Aranas in Duskhaven.

Krennan Aranas (Royal Chemist): It worked! By the Light, it worked!

Gwen Armstead: Welcome back. You were fortunate. Krenna’s treatment doesn’t always work this well on people who’ve had the Curse as long as you.

Krennan Aranas: Do exercise caution. Don’t expect anyone to invite you to their homes just yet. But at least they won’t shoot you outright.

IN NEED OF INGREDIENTS

Krennas Aranas: Ah, yes. The effects of the curse cannot ever be fully cured as far as we know.

Intense anger, pain or fear … will still trigger a physical transformation.

With treatment, however, your mind will remain yours … and not that of a wild animal.

I will need mandrake essence to brew another batch of my serum for you. You will find a crate stashed beneath a shed southwest of town.

OBJECTIVES
Find the crate of Mandrake Essence

INVASION

(A long knife with a skull ornament on its hilt sticks out of the militiaman’s ribs. As you look around for clues, you spot a pair of savage-looking warships at the shore.)

(Gilneas is being invaded. Bring word back to Duskhaven’s Mayor, Gwen Armstead.

Gwen Armstead: Forsaken! Quick! We must mount a defense.

KILL OR BE KILLED
The reefs have always protected us from a coastal attack. The earthquakes must’ve opened a passage for the Forsaken ships.

Quick. Slow down the attackers while I get the rest of the militia ready.

I think I can hear the Prince and some of our men engaging the Forsaken even as we speak. Speak to Liam and see how you can be of use.

Oh …. and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed. I’m afraid he might be a little reckless in his current state.

Prince Liam Greymane: (name)!!!! You ARE Alive!

I thought I was having dreams about the old days when I heard your voice…

HOLD THE LINE
I’m still not sure if you’re alive or dead … human or worgen …

I’m not even sure if I’m really awake. But THIS I am sure of …

We’re going to kill a great many of these motherless Forsaken.

OBJECTIVES
Prince Liam Greymane in Duskhaven wants you to kill 10 Forsaken invaders.

YOU CAN”T TAKE’EM ALONE

Prince Liam Greymane: Look here. The big fat ones — abominations, they’re called — they don’t go down easy, so don’t tackle them on your own.

But I have an idea so crazy it might just work. Or it might get you killed, if we’re not careful, I suppose.

There’s barrels of gunpowder beneath the sheds and by the windmills. Grab them and toss’em right on the abominations’ heads. I’ll take care of the rest with this trusty old blunderbuss.

OBJECTIVES
Prince Liam Greymane in Duskhaven wants you to use the Black Gunpowder Kegs to blow up 4 Horrid Abominations.

WOrld of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta Opt-In

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard urges fans to update their beta opt-in profile settings to make sure you get an invitation email to join the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta testing which might start in upcoming weeks.

Blizzard Quote:
Get those opt-ins ready for the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm closed beta! The sundering of Azeroth is nigh, and you don’t want to be left out in the cold of Northrend when you could be enjoying the sun-drenched beaches on the goblin isle of Kezan. To ensure you’re opted-in and eligible as a potential candidate, you’ll need a World of Warcraft license attached to your Battle.net account, have your current system specifications uploaded to the Battle.net Beta Profile Settings page, and have expressed interest through the franchise-specific check boxes.

So get your opt-ins set up, updated, and ready; we’re worgen real hard to get the beta going soon!

Cataclysm Professions Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard released a preview of Profession changes expected in the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion.

Blizzard Quote:
While the Cataclysm updates to many of the professions are still deep in development, we wanted to share some of the work that’s been going on, as well as a high-level look at any lessons learned or changes to their underlying philosophies during the design process. Please be aware that not all professions have the same extent of information available right now, but each is receiving the same love and attention as the next.

Take heed of these teasers as you look forward to your new rank of Illustrious Grand Master!

Please enjoy!

General

  • Perks will continue to exist across all professions, and will upgraded appropriately.

Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailoring

  • Many of the green (and possibly some blue) items made during the process of leveling these professions will contain random stats. In most examples, two stats on these items will be set, and two will be random. The idea with these items is to mix up the skill leveling items so you’re not just, for example, creating 10 pairs of boots that are all exactly the same.
  • Superior-quality items that require more materials than other recipes in the same skill range provide multiple skill-ups. For example, if a recipe takes three times the reagents, it will give you three skill-ups.
  • We didn’t feel like we were getting much flexibility from specializations, so they have been removed for all three of these professions. The intent was to help people diversify their profession to feel different from that of other players, but through other professions we’ve found systems that work better to this end, such as simply making recipes available that you can earn over time.
  • To follow up the previous change, all items that required a specialization are now useable by anyone.
  • Tailoring the high-end Cataclysm items will center around a single cloth type that can be crafted through five different recipes — each with their own material components and a long cooldown.
  • All three professions will create their starter sets of PVP gear, which will be upgraded with new recipes every season. In general, these are meant to keep pace as an entry-level PvP set below whatever the current Hero Point set is.

Alchemy

  • New elixirs will be about 75% as strong as flasks. So you can get more total stat points with two elixirs, but flasks will still be the best at giving you a single offensive or defensive stat.
  • New unique material used by nearly all high-level recipes will be created by alchemists on a one-day cooldown.
  • New Mysterious Potion created with common materials restores health and mana in a massively random range, as well as sometimes granting the benefit of another potion. The health and mana range is from 1-20,000 and is able to crit. The minimum amount restored, however, is scaled upwards by the Alchemy skill, making it a great choice for alchemists to keep for themselves.
  • All potions and elixirs now use the same basic vial type. Flasks still use a fancy vial.
  • New Alchemist Stone.

Enchanting

  • In general, material component costs for most recipes are more moderate in how much they require, while the highest-end recipes will still require large quantities. The goal of this change is to make the leveling recipes more consistent and not create unintended roadblocks in getting to the higher skill levels.
  • An enchanter vanity pet is being added.

New Cataclysm weapon enchantment preview:

  • Avalanche — Chance to deal Nature damage on melee hit/spell hit.
  • Elemental Slayer — As expected, this enchantment helps players deal devastating damage to elemental creatures.
  • Hurricane — A stacking haste proc.
  • Heartsong — Mana regeneration through increased Spirit when chain-casting spells.
  • Many more maximum-level enchantments are still in progress.

Engineering

  • Engineering is still being designed, but expect new unpredictable gadgets to use on yourself or enemies. Toys, explosives, and even a new vanity pet or two. Oh, and powerful mechanical bows and crossbows in addition to guns.
  • In general, we want Engineering to remain a tradeskill mainly focused on creating fun or useful gadgets for the engineer, but we are exploring options for items that can be sold to other players for profit.

Inscription

  • With the large number of class changes coming with Cataclysm, many existing glyphs will see new functionality.
  • Minor glyphs are woefully uneven from one class to the next right now, so they’re a focus for us to clean them up and try to ensure that everyone has minor glyphs they’re excited about.
  • New Darkmoon Cards will be added, with hopes they’ll all be as awesome as the Greatness card.
  • We’ll be adding more major glyphs as well, but in the hopes of making them as balanced as possible, we’ll likely wait until after the expansion ships to add any for the new abilities in Cataclysm.
  • New and more desirable off-hand and relic recipes will be added.

Jewelcrafting

  • Some gem colors have changed! Hit is now blue. Mastery and Dodge are yellow. Intellect is now red. These simple changes have created a much more diverse matrix of gem cuts.
  • New Jewelcrafting dailies will be introduced.
  • Many cuts are being added to support the new Mastery stat.
  • Some new Cataclysm jewelry recipes have completely random properties, and can sometimes create superior and epic versions.
  • Jewelcrafters will have some fun new (and potentially lucrative) vanity items, including fist weapons, rhinestone sunglasses, monocles, and stardust (sprinkle on players for entertainment).

Herbalism, Skinning, and Mining

  • All Cataclysm herbs have the chance of containing Volatile Life.
  • There won’t be a new Lotus equivalent in Cataclysm. Alchemists will use the more reliably-found Volatile Life to create the new high level flasks.
    Herb Example:

    • "Heartblossom — Named for its deep red color, this delicate flower grows close to the ground, and always in pairs. If one blossom is taken, the other flower begins to wilt immediately and dies soon after. It is considered very unlucky to disturb a Heartblossom without blessing it first."

  • Savage Leather, the basic Cataclysm leather, can be gathered from most creatures found in the expansion areas and can be converted to Heavy Savage Leather at a 6:1 rate.
  • Pristine Hide, the rare Cataclysm hide, can be found when skinning creatures in the expansion areas, or be converted from Heavy Savage Leather.
  • Obsidian is the new common mineral found when mining in Cataclysm, and can contain gems, Volatile Fire, and Volatile Shadow.
  • Elementium is the new uncommon mineral found when mining in Cataclysm, and can contain gems, Volatile Fire, Volatile Water, or Volatile Earth.
  • Pyrite is the new rare mineral found when mining in Cataclysm, and can contain gems and Volatile Fire.
  • Previous Elementium Ore and Bar used for classic quests will be renamed to Elementium Ingot and Hardened Elementium Bar.
  • We like the gathering perks as they are; not a game-changing bonus but something themed and fun. But as all tradeskills are in the design stages these are still being discussed to a degree.

Cooking

  • Cooking is still in the early stages, but we plan on continuing with daily quests, feasts, and some fun new recipes.
  • We liked the cooking dailies that had players picking up items that spawned in the world near the quest giver, so most if not all new cooking dailies will work similarly.

First Aid

  • Bandages will have a short cast time and put a heal over time effect on the target for 8 seconds. This effect is broken by damage.
  • Three new bandages! That’s right: THREE!

Bandage preview:

  • " Dense Embersilk Bandage" Heals for 34,800 over 8 seconds. Requires 3 Embersilk to create.

Fishing

  • Lots of new fish and other fun items to catch! Fish are still used to make premium food.
  • New fishing dailies

Get Burning Crusade Free with the Purchase of WoW at BestBuy

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

BestBuy has a limited time offer when you purchase the original World of Warcraft MMO DVD. Add World of Warcraft to your cart, then select the Burning Crusade. Select add items to cart button, and you get the Burning Crusade free with the purchase of WoW.

BestBuy is selling the original WoW for only $19.99, so if you want to gift a family member or friend with the game, this is the perfect time.

Newcomers got enough time to level up and catch up once the Cataclysm expansion hits game shops late 2010.

Alert: Fake Cataclysm Beta Email Invitations

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

I just received a fake Cataclysm beta invite, and wish to alert fans to please never click on any link you see on emails that seem to come from Blizzard.com. Even if they were legit.

Always type the URL manually to be 100% secure. If anything, you will collide with a 404 Error page at Blizzard confirming the URL was fake. This is how I know when a beta invite is fake even when the email address says noreply@blizzard.com — First, I get invites directly from the Community Managers as a member of the Blizzard fansites program. Second, I only keep in contact with the Community Managers from a specific email, not the one for news submissions.

On your end, to make sure it is not fake, hover your cursor over all the links, and you will see the target link is different to the link itself. This is one of the ways your WoW account gets compromised. The page looks like the legit account login page, you enter your username and password, and nothing happens on your end, but you just gave the personal info to the hackers who proceed to wipe your gear, bags, bank and inbox across all your characters to send the gold to another ghost account. Even worse, the fake link might lead you to automatically download a keylogger, virus or trojan. Exercise common sense, and avoid scams. Always type the URL manually, and never click on links even if indeed it came from Blizzard.

You will know Cataclysm beta started when you see news in the front page of the official wow site, and in our fansite and other fansites’ front page.

This is the fake email I just got on my inbox:

You have been selected to participate in the beta test of World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™. Welcome!

In the beta test you’ll get an opportunity to test the first changes of Azeroth, and the new levels above 80. We look forward to your feedback on the overall experience, including quests, monsters, zones, aesthetics, and more. We would also appreciate reports on any bugs you may encounter. These can be logged using the /bug command explained below.

Getting started:

In order to participate in the beta test, you must upgrade an existing retail account that has been upgraded with Wrath of the Lich King, allowing you to connect to the Cataclysm™ test realms. The World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King game client that you use must be patched up to version 3.1.2 or later in order to install the beta test client.

Go to http://beta.worldofwarcraft.com (obviously the target link didn’t look like this URL) and follow the detailed, step-by-step instructions to begin playing the World of Warcraft – Cataclysm Beta.

Please be prepared to enter the current retail World of Warcraft account name and password you use, and the appropriate beta code listed below to authenticate your eligibility to connect to the Cataclysm test realms. To participate in the beta tests, you must have a valid retail World of Warcraft account active and in good standing as of August 15, 2009.

Below is a beta code that will allow you to upgrade a World of Warcraft account to be eligible for the Cataclysm beta test. Each beta code can be used only once to upgrade an active retail World of Warcraft account.

Review: World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Vol. 1, Dragons of Outland

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

TOKYOPOP Editor Troy Lewter sent my way an early copy of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING, in terms you can remember from an early interview of mine with Richard A. Knaak, it is the first volume of a trilogy titled DRAGONS OF OUTLAND, in which we learn the lore that led toward Malygos’s return to his senses from his milennia insanity and the Nexus War against the Kirin Tor and the Wyrmrest Accord.

The manga will be at a bookstore near you on June 1, 2010; but if you need a little jumpstart to get your engines going, I have written a lengthy article that mentions a few key moments of this story, without necessarily spoiling it too much. Just enough for you to get a grasp of what the first installment of this manga trilogy is about.

Without further ado, and minding a few spoilers here and there, feast my lore-hungered boys. Tip: Jorad Mace, Tyrigosa, the Nether Dragons, Deathwing and an original second war Death Knight on the loose in Outland.

If you loved the stories within Warcraft Legends, be prepared to get bewitched by World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing.

This manga trilogy is based on the two characters from the pages of WarCraft: The Sunwell Trilogy. The very same manga that spawned the likes of Kalecgos, and Anveena (known in-game at the Sunwell Plateau dungeon), Trag Highmountain (known in-game at the Argent Tournament Grounds in Icecrown) and Dar’Khan Darthir (found in-game at Deatholme in the Ghostlands, Quel’Thalas).

Like all of these characters who first were born in the TOKYOPOP manga, and appeared in-game time later during the Burning Crusade expansion, both protagonists of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING were born in THE SUNWELL TRILOGY and became quest NPCs in the Burning Crusade.

You can find both, Jorad Mace and Tyrigosa, at the Celestial Ridge in the region known as Netherstorm in Outland. To refresh your memory, Tyri (or Tyrigosa the blue dragon) gives you the quest to kill Veraku — the leader of the Nether Drakes in Netherstorm.

Her quests: A Promising Start, Securing the Celestial Ridge, and Troublesome Distractions. Ok, you got the idea. This manga gives you a prologue to their adventures in Outland, before those quests. How they got into Outland, and how they happen to learn about the Nether Drakes. That’s all in WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING.

The story by Richard A. Knaak is very fluid and packed with action in all fronts between the Burning Legion and the Alliance forces at the Dark Portal’s Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula, dragon against dragon, Gronn versus dragon, Ragnok’s forces against our heroes, and much more.

All brought to awesome detail by artist Jae-Hwan Kim: face expressions, body details, background details. The inker and texture makes this entire manga be a yummy sight. I’m not sure if the artist inked it, or Marco Paolilli, but it looks astounding. Jae-Hwam Kim’s art style and Richard A. Knaak’s writing are a perfect match for World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing. No wonder this manga took so long in the making.

Storywise, Jorad Mace comes to Outland with the Alliance forces to fend off the Burning Legion’s advancement into the Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula under the vigilance of Lord Irulon Trueblade of the Argent Crusade.

Jorad Mace continues his quest to make himself worthy and redeem his past transgressions against the former Silver Hand. The Light abandoned him long ago before the events of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, and he seeks to be worth of the return of the Light into his being.

On a separate quest, Tyrigossa has come into Outland hunting down a disturbance too familiar for her taste. She can’t pinpoint what it is, or how it relates to her hunches but she has come to seek it. It turns out to be the Nether Dragons. Are they friend or foe? Sadly both. Zzeraku sees her as a foe, but Valoku wishes to befriend the blue dragon.

“Wait hold it there, Medievaldragon — that name rings a bell.” — hah, I read your mind, eh? Yes, the same Zzeraku that became a prisoner of Lady Sinestra at Grim Batol in the novel World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak. Except, we get to see the recent past before he was captured by her. Remember Dragons of Outlands was delayed for a few years before the release of the former.

We get to see an image of Deathwing as shown in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm concept art when Tyrigosa senses the familiar magical signature in one of the black dragon skeletons found in the Nether Dragons’ lair in Blade’s Edge Mountains.

We see the interaction of Jorad Mace and Tyrigosa with the Draenei Broken tribe of Hellfire Peninsula as allies. The first encounter between the Alliance and the draenei of the Temple of Telhamat, and the introduction of Ragnok Bloodreaver — one of the original Death Knights created by Gul’dan, still in his decaying human host.

That bears some explaining for those who missed Warcraft II. During the final throes of the Second War, Warchief Orgrimm Doomhammer ordered the Horde to slay the Shadow Council. Only Gul’dan survived because he was catatonic after his mind-melding (so-to-speak) with Medivh at the moment of his death.

Gul’dan pleaded Orgrimm for his life, and offered an army of dead risen human knights holding magics to counter the Alliance’s mages. What Gul’dan didn’t tell Orgrimm was that these human corpses would be risen as hosts for the spirits of the slain Shadow Council — thus creating the original Death Knights, of which Teron Gorefiend was the first, and Ragnok Bloodreaver one of them.

It is wildly rumored by lore fans that this Ragnok might be the same mentioned in the novel World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. So far, I can’t confirm if that’s true yet.

Ragnok Bloodreaver wishes to become the new master of Outland, and plans to conquer Azeroth as well. Obviously, he is not aligned with Illidan nor the Dragonmaw Clan. He seeks to destroy Illidan and all his forces in the Black Temple with the use of the Nether Dragons, employing the services of Kadavan, a mercenary Ethereal who uses his magical technology to hunt down and capture the behemoths. Ragnok is even assaulting the Dragonmaw Clan to steal the Nether Drakes controlled by them.

Ragnok has his own cadre of Fel Orcs, probably stolen from Hellfire Citadel’s surroundings and some of the Dragonmaw are threatened to be killed by the Death Knight if they disobey or fail his orders, following him unquestionably.

Comparing both MAGE and SHADOW WING, I feel more inclined for the latter. It’s well executed with a lot of action, mystery and drama. The pacing resembles much what some of us are accustomed with comic books from panel to panel interweaving plot after plot from different points of view.

I can’t wait for volume two to come out. Expect World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Volume 2: The Nexus Point on November 2010. And the third part somewhere in 2011.

Don’t go thinking “Meh, this is a wannabe non-canon story” because you are wrong. Most of what Knaak writes is outlined to him by Blizzard Creative Team, and he fleshes out, then the developers add the story and characters into being in the MMO. It’s canon. The TOKYOPOP editor Troy Lewter, who sent me a copy of this manga a month before it goes into bookstores (on June 1) wrote an afterword located near the final pages of this manga.

There Paul Morrissey and Troy Lewter thank the people behind this story, including Richard A. Knaak, Jae-Hwan Kim, and the Blizzard Entertainment’s Creative Development Team: Jason Bischoff, Joshua Horst, James Waugh, Micky Neilson, Evelyn Fredericksen, Samwise Didier, Tommy Newcomer, Cameron Dayton and the thundergod, bourbon cowboy, father of Warcraft lore hmself — Chris Metzen. Did I miss any title? (chuckles) Ok. All-seeing and loved VP of Creative Design too, but that be the lesser of his titles before his loyal fanboys — myself included. He’s up there along with the legends: Stan Lee, H.P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, and many others loved by fans of Fantasy and Sci-fi genres. Ok. Enough boot-licking. Koff.

Get your copy of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING. You won’t regret collecting the trilogy. It looks very promising, and dare I say rival previous WarCraft manga in lore and awe.

This is the missing story that gaps World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon and the Nexus War. From this trilogy comes the truth behind Malygos’ cure and decision to start an all-out war against the Kirin Tor and the Wrymrest Accord.

And from the picture of Deathwing as seen in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’s concept art, dare I say we will learn more than we could possibly guess as a tie-in with the upcoming expansion? You bet.

Check out the preview images of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING.

Don’t forget to participate in our Blizzplanet giveaway of this manga and the giveaway at Wow.incgamers

EXTRAS

The first volume of the manga takes us to Hellfire Peninsula, Dragonmaw areas in Shadowmoon Valley, and Blade’s Edge Mountains.

Lord Irulon Trueblade – is one of the characters who led the incursion into Outland to fend off the demons from accessing Azeroth during the Burning Crusade in this manga. You can find him in the Howling Fjord at Valgarde currently in Wrath of the Lich King.

Lord Trueblade oversaw Jorad Mace’s progress to redemption, but initially gave him more humbling tasks to do such as helping with the construction of their outpost.

Amaan the Wise – from the Temple of Telhamat in Hellfire Peninsula appears in the manga with a convoy of Draenei to introduce his people to Lord Duron, Commander of the Alliance Forces at the Stair of Destiny in the Dark Portal, Hellfire Peninsula.

The Broken – (Krokul in draenei old tongue)

Warrith – leader of the Broken in Hellfire Peninsula, and father of Valwar.

There is reference to how Gruul and the Gronn killed the black dragons at Blade’s Edge Mountains as revealed in World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal.

Some of the creatures we see in the manga are:

Gronn
Wrathbringer
Shivan (six-armed demoness)
Felguard
Nether Rays

World of WarCraft: Shaman Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

After reading World of Warcraft: Mage (read my review, I discovered an interview held by Tokyopop editors with Paul Benjamin in the last pages.

The interview is about his upcoming manga titled World of Warcraft: Shaman.

I am going to post that interview in this article, but before that I just want to kick the Beehive to shake lore fans and fill them with interest. Check it out on October 2010 folks, because that’s when you will learn more about that mysterious character revealed in the pages of White Wolf’s World of Warcraft RPG: Dark FactionsHigh Shaman Muln Earthfury, leader of the Earthen Ring.

Description

Earthquakes. Fires. Floods. Tornados. The elements of Azeroth are out of control, unleashing devastating natural disasters that threaten to tear Azeroth asunder.

All hope rests with the shaman, who are able to commune with the elements. Muln Earthfury, the shaman leader of the secretive Earthen Ring, attempts to pacify the elements — but his pleas fall on deaf ears. The elements are unresponsive, full of confusion and chaos. The Earthen Ring is riddled with doubt. Have the shaman lost their ability to corral and guide the elements?

Mysteriously, Shotoa arrives. This Tauren shaman doesn’t just merely tend to the elements — he forces them to do his bidding. Shotoa promises to lead the Earthen Ring into a new era of Shamanism … As the world crumbles around them, Muln and the Earthen Ring must decide if Shotoa is a hero or a heretic …

Written by Paul Benjamin (StarCraft: Frontline) and drawn by Roccio Zucchi (World of Warcraft: Death Knight), WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHAMAN ties into the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion in stunning ways!

Available October 2010.

Interview

Is it safe to assume that you’ve played a fair amount of WARCRAFT? Do you have a favorite class to play?

Benjamin: My main is a pally retadin. That’s a paladin built to do lots of damage for any noobs reading this (Hi, Mom!). I tend to do a fair amount of solo play because if I play with a group I’m on for too long and wouldn’t make any of my Warcraft writing deadlines! The pally is great for soloing because I can heal myself and do plenty of damage. That said, I do have a lot of fun playing with guildies or doing random heroics when I’ve got the time. ANd, of course, since writing SHAMAN I’ve really been digging my new shammy character as well.

Give the fans the inside scoop on WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHAMAN. What’s the story about? Is it true that it will tie into the upcoming CATACLYSM expansion?

Benjamin: SHAMAN is the tale of a group many players have seen around Azeroth and beyond: the Earthen Ring. The main characters are Muln, the tauren High Shaman of the Earthen Ring, and his orc apprentice, Kettara Bloodthirst. The focus is on them and the elder council of the Earthen Ring, so I’ve gotten to write dranei and trolls as well as a few very important (and well known) orcs from Orgrimmar. The secrets of CATACLYSM are quite closely guarded at the time of this writting, but there’s a lot of connection between this book and the upcoming expansion. I can tell you that the elements are in upheaval adn that’s wreaking chaos with the powers of Muln and the Earthen Ring.

SHAMAN is a story about tradition versus change and choosing which one is more important. It’s also full of shaman calling down lightning, summoning elementals and manifesting totems to help them smack down any monsters stupid enough to threaten the shaman way of life. And it’s all beautifully illustrated by DEATH KNIGHT artist Roccio Zucchi, so I imagine fans will be as excited to read the book as I have been to see those pages coming in as she works!

World of Warcraft: Mage Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

Richard A. Knaak receives a lot of good feedback, which translates in the success and sale of World of Warcraft and Diablo novels, and some bad feedback from the minority.

WarCraft: MageI don’t mean to offend those with bad feedback, I have read and understand their concerns, but sales would be low otherwise if everyone or the majority thought likewise.

The way I see it, there is room for every type of writer, and each has their own technique and style. There’s room for everyone. And Richard A. Knaak has a tall condo, not just a room.

The artwork by Ryo Kawakami is not very detailed when it comes to backgrounds, like Jae-Hwan Kim or my favorite, Hector Sevilla; but Troy Lewter — the editor — does mention in the back of the manga that they were on a deadline, and the artist was pretty swift in making things happen within that deadline. So, let’s be forgiving, and see other work of Ryo.

I either like a style or dislike it. I like the artwork in World of Warcraft: Mage. Some people may think otherwise.

There’s a difference between manga and comic books, and while I am new to the manga world, I welcome the style.

I have always said I am not really into manga, but there are many styles and I do dig my first incursion into reading manga: Starcraft: Frontline, Warcraft Legends, and World of Warcraft: Death Knight are pretty cool art-wise.

I am more a comic book reader having a large collection of all kind of X-men titles, and some Avengers and West Coast Avengers. I also check out the latest previews of all kind of Marvel Comics titles (not just X-men) at Newsarama.

There’s a lot of new artists with great styles, but from my early incursions into comic books back in 1996, I like Joe Madureira, Ian Churchill, Chris Bachalo, Alex Ross, and others. Their styles are very different from one another.

If anything, I welcome different styles, and open-minded to taste other people’s work — in both fields actually: writers and artists.

I do hate some artists’s styles more than others, nevertheless, but rarely. Coughs-José Ladrönn. Sorry dude, you ruined it for me in CABLE.

Decade-old-rant aside, I read an advance review copy of World of WarCraft: Mage, thanks to Troy Lewter [TOKYOPOP editor].

The very-short description of the book released last April 2, and its front cover could barely offer fans any grasp at info to form a guess.

Reading the manga, I am surprised at how Knaak weaved the story behind the Nexus War’s assault on Dalaran.

We see how the Azure Ley Dragon Cyanigosa, dragonkin and drakonids got access into the Violet Hold, bypassing and weakening Dalaran’s outer magical-shield.

It all came from within. From the cover, you might think Rhonin and this mysterious kid Aodhan work together all along from beginning to end of the story, but that’s clearly not true for most of the first half of the manga.

Aodhan is a reckless kid who tries hard to demonstrate his abilities, who wishes to prove worthy to his father and to himself by one day becoming part of Dalaran’s defenses.

He is taught by Master Simeon, a Dalaran mage trainer, who keeps Aodhan pressed to the limit because he considers the kid needs to learn to be patient and focused before leveling up in rank even when he surpasses any other student in skill for those at the same level. The kid simply rushes recklessly without measuring the possible consequences.

There is a bit of lore thrown in into the mix about the Book of Argaleus the Crafter who lived centuries ago. Myth says he learned the spell language written on this special book from Malygos. Among the marks on the book can be seen the All-seeing Eye of the Kirin Tor.

The opening of rifts within the Violet Hold was not the first attempt. It had been breached before, with help of Aothan and his uncle Crevan. This explains why some of the cells in the Violet Hold prison are empty. Some of the lesser beings such as a fire revenant, ogre magi, and a void terror (like Immol’thar in Dire Maul west) were locked within, and freed to cause a distraction from the true target that would destroy Dalaran.

We get to see Archmage Modera, Rhonin and Archmage Aethas Sunreaver in action fending off the Azure Ley dragons from bypassing the outer shield of Dalaran, but no real background or lore about these three Kirin Tor council members.

The story focuses on Aodhan the mage apprentice, his attunement to magic which promises to see him one day as a powerful mage.

Richard A. Knaak shifts his story-telling back and forth between the present to the past to explore the origins of Aodhan, his family, and his motives to become a great mage.

However, we learn the true meaning of being a mage is not about controlling magic, but to humbly learn to wield magic for the benefit of everyone, not oneself.

World of Warcraft: Mage contains an interview about World of Warcraft: Shaman — revealed to be written by Paul Benjamin and art by Roccio Zucchi.

It also contains a preview of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING, VOL. 1: THE DRAGONS OF OUTLAND. The same exclusive preview TOKYOPOP and Blizzard granted Blizzplanet a few weeks ago.

Check out our recently-released exclusive preview of World of Warcraft: Mage.

Don’t forget to participate on our giveaway of World of Warcraft: Mage while it lasts.

World of Warcraft: Mage hits bookstores on June 1, 2010. Pre-order it here.

Blizzplanet Giveaway: WarCraft: Mage and WarCraft: Shadow Wing

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Site News, Contests, World of Warcraft News

Update – May 7: 10 copies of each book just arrived home. Thanks, Troy. =) Now get going lore folks. Let’s teh submissions commence.

Blizzplanet is giving away a few copies of WarCraft: Mage (by Richard A. Knaak and Ryo Kawakami) and the WarCraft: Shadow Wing Vol. 1

Winners will be selected randomly. In order to be added to the giveaway roster, you must complete the following steps.

1. Post in both your Twitter and Facebook the two following links and the title of both manga:

2. Post in the comments below the link to your Twitter and Facebook containing the links provided above.

3. Let me know which manga title you wish, or if you wish to run for both.

Good luck, and really hope the winners and everyone who reads both manga enjoy the stories from TOKYOPOP and Blizzard Entertainment’s Creative Development Team.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Lationo America Subscription Pricing Plans Revealed

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Quote:
StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty™ Pricing Announced

Blizzard Entertainment to offer a range of access options for its upcoming real-time strategy game

IRVINE, Calif.– Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty™, will be fully localized into Latin American Spanish and will be available in Mexico, Argentina, and Chile for a suggested retail price of $299 MXN / $119 ARS / $13,900 CLP. With this purchase, players will have six months of access to the StarCraft II single-player campaign and multiplayer play through the new version of Battle.net®, the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard Entertainment gamers. Continued StarCraft II play beyond the time included with the initial purchase will be available via 30-day and 60-day subscription options. Pricing for these options will be announced at a later date.

“One of our design goals for StarCraft II was to make it accessible to a wide range of players, from beginners to veterans”

Players who prefer to make a one-time payment for unlimited access to the StarCraft II single-player campaign and multiplayer play on Battle.net will have the option to purchase and download an unlimited-access version of the game directly from Blizzard Entertainment at pricing similar to the US price of $59.99USD.

“One of our design goals for StarCraft II was to make it accessible to a wide range of players, from beginners to veterans,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “The same is true with regard to our pricing options — we want to make sure players have the flexibility to experience the game according to their own preferences and play style.”

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying favorite units from the original StarCraft, along with numerous upgraded and brand-new units and abilities that allow for fresh tactics and strategies. The game’s new 3D-graphics engine maintains the speed and responsive control of its predecessor while rendering hundreds of units onscreen for massive battles.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty’s solo campaign will continue the epic saga where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War®. The storyline chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor and features both familiar faces and new heroes. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign.

Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies. In addition, dozens of multiplayer maps will be available for competitive play through the new version of Battle.net, which is launching alongside StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. This new version of the service has been built from the ground up to offer an unparalleled online play experience, with new features such as voice communication, character profiles and achievements, stat-tracking, ladders and leagues, cloud file storage, and more.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 and Macintosh®. Additional information about the game, including the release date, will be announced in the coming weeks.

StarCraft II Patch 11 Build 0.13.0.15250

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

StarCraft II Beta Patch 11 build 0.13.0.15250 has been deployed into Battle.net with a lot of balance changes for Terran and Zerg units, and moderate changes for the Protoss.

There were significant changes to Hotkeys changing letter of some research or attack buttons.

Nethaera fills us in with the reasoning for some of the unit changes in a situation report.

Read the patch notes and the situation report.
StarCraft II Beta – Patch 11 (version 0.13.0.15250)

The latest patch notes can always be found on the StarCraft II Beta General Discussion forum: http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=23094049316&sid=5000

Balance Changes

TERRAN

    Battlecruiser

  • The build time has been decreased from 110 to 90.
    Fusion Core

  • The build time has been decreased from 80 to 65.
    Hellion

  • The range has been increased from 5 to 6.
    Planetary Fortress

  • The splash damage now originates from the center of the target, rather than the impact location near the unit in order to maintain more reliable splash damage.
    Raven

  • Seeker Missile range has been decreased from 9 to 6.
  • Seeker Missile splash radius has been decreased from 2.4 to 2.
  • Seeker Missile upgrade no longer requires Fusion Core.
    Siege Tank

  • Life increased from 150 to 160.
  • Siege Mode splash damage now originates from the center of the target, rather than the impact location near the unit in order to maintain more reliable splash damage.
    Thor

  • Ground damage decreased from 45 to 30.
  • Ground rate of fire improved from 1.93 to 1.28.
  • Air damage changed from 8 (+4 Light) to 6 (+6 Light).
  • 250mm Strike Cannons are now an upgrade at the Factory Tech Lab.
  • 250mm Strike Cannons research now costs 150/150 and 110 seconds.
  • 250mm Strike Cannons energy cost increased from 100 to 150.
  • Anti-Air splash damage now originates from the center of the target, rather than the impact location near the unit in order to maintain more reliable splash damage.

PROTOSS

    Archon

  • The splash radius has been increased from 0.8 to 1.
  • Splash damage now originates from the center of the target, rather than the impact location near the unit in order to maintain more reliable splash damage.
    Colossus

  • The damage has been decreased from 20 to 15.
  • The rate of fire has been improved from 2.2 to 1.65.
    Phoenix

  • Can now attack while moving.
    Sentry

  • The damage has been decreased from 8 to 6.

ZERG

    Brood Lord

  • Life has been decreased from 275 to 225.
  • Armor has been decreased from 2 to 1.
    Corruptor

  • Corruptor damage changed from 12 (+10 Massive) to 14 (+6 Massive).
  • Corruptor speed increased from 2.75 to 2.9531
  • Corruption ability redesigned:
    • Single target.
    • Increases damage taken by 20%.
    • Lasts 30 seconds.
    • Costs 100 energy.
    • Range 6.
    • Cannot target structures.
    Infestor

  • Neural Parasite is now an upgrade at the Infestation Pit.
  • Neural Parasite research costs 150/150 and 110 seconds.
  • Neural Parasite can now target Air units.
  • Neural Parasite energy cost increased from 50 to 100.
    Spine Crawler

  • The root time has been increased from 6 to 12.
    Spore Crawler

  • The root time has been increased from 6 to 12.
    Ultralisk

  • Damage has been increased from 18 to 25.

General
In order to resolve a conflict with building multiple Forges with the Shift Key we have made the following changes:

  • Changed Center Camera from Shift+F to Ctrl+F.
  • Standard
    • To prevent the accidental research of Ventral Sacs when trying to train an Overlord with no Larva available, the hotkey has been changed from V to E.
    • View Own Health Bars functionality added to the Backslash key
  • Standard for Lefties
    • Due to a conflict with research Banshee Cloak, research Seeker Missile has been changed from L to K.
    • To correct a conflict with the Attack command on Planetary Fortress, train SCV has been changed from K to J.
    • In order to prevent the accidental training of Zerglings when using the Select Larva hotkey,train Zergling has been changed from L to J.
    • To prevent the accidental training of a Queen, train Ultralisk has been changed from U to T.
    • To prevent the accidental research of Pneumatized Carapace when trying to train a corruptor with no Larva available, research Pneumatized Carapace has been changed from P to C.
    • View All Status Bars has been changed from Q to the Alt key.
    • View own Status Bars functionality has been added to the Q key.
  • Grid for Lefties
    • Attack Move and all other buttons in the 0,4 position should now function correctly.
    • View Own Status Bars functionality added to Q.
    • View Enemy Status Bars moved to W.
    • View Ally Status Bars moved to E.
  • Classic
    • Changed build Nydus Canal from P to N.
    • Changed Place Nydus Canal ability from P to N.
    • Terran Infantry Weapon researches have been changed from E to W.
    • Terran Vehicle Weapon researches have been changed from E to W.
    • Train Thor hotkey has been changed from O to G.
    • Train Viking hotkey has been changed from Y to W.
    • View Own Status Bars functionality has been added to the Backslash key.

  • Icon Position Changes
    • To put all race gas extractors in the same icon position, the positions of the Supply Depot/Refinery and Pylon/Assimilator have been swapped.
    • In order to make transforming multiple Gateways easier for players using Grid key sets, Transform to Gateway has been moved to a separate icon position (2,1).

Bug Fixes

  • Corrected an issue that was causing the Polish language client to crash when receiving the “player is no longer being revealed” message.
  • Corrected incorrect battle.net links on multiple language clients pages.
  • Corrected an issue where the Zealot was using an US English voice over in the Korean language client.
  • Corrected an issue where a player is unable to build any structures that require pylon power when their protoss ally leaves.
  • Units can no longer be healed or repaired while in transports.
  • Corrected an issue where the Creep Tumor targeting circle was visible to opponents through Fog of War.
  • Corrected an issue in which selecting a Starport under construction and a completed Starport would display the select builder command in the Viking slot.
  • Corrected the Broodling weapon icon.

Netahera: In an effort to better explain changes being made within the StarCraft II beta, we wanted to establish the Situation Report in which we take the time to share a little more insight into the balance choices we make and how we believe these changes will play out. We are incredibly dedicated to bringing you the quality and high standards that you expect of a Blizzard game and StarCraft II, and hope that by sharing more of our thoughts with you, that we can continue to both receive great feedback, but continue to see great matches within the game.

We have been working hard over the last many weeks to try to make the races as fun as possible to play. We are seeing win/loss ratios (when you factor in skill) of as little as 6% between each of the races. This is a great place for us to be during a beta, when players are still learning the races and we are still making a lot of changes. In general we believe that Terrans are still a little weak against Protoss. The other match ups are too close to call and (according to our current numbers) are within 1% win/loss. We are also getting more and more excited about what we are seeing in our mirror matches. Terran vs. Terran is a very diverse match for example and we are starting to see some really nice diversity in Zerg vs. Zerg which is a huge win for us and the community considering how stale that match was when we started the Beta.

We’ve made a significant amount of changes within the latest beta patch 11 and wanted to give a brief overview on these changes.

Splash- Splash damage now originates from the center of the target, rather than the impact location near the unit in order to maintain more reliable splash damage.

We have changed how splash works for several units across the game to make it always hit the dead center of the target unit. Previously splash was centered on the front of the target unit. This makes splash generally more effective, though against certain large targets (buildings, Thors, Ultralisks) you will now not get any splash damage since the splash radius will be contained entirely within the radius of the large target.

Battlecruiser -The build time has been decreased from 110 to 90.

We are trying to make this ship a little more useful. In reality this unit is easily countered by Corruptor, Void Ray, or Viking which may already be in play by the time it arrives, but we think it might see a little more play if it’s just easier to build.

Hellion- The range has been increased from 5 to 6.

This is not an actual change to the area effect of the weapon. The weapon was always range 6, but it would only acquire targets at range 5 so it would get a little bit of splash that would hit enemies behind its initial target. By making the weapon range 6 it is easier to shoot and run from enemy units. It does make the splash a little less useful if you are just using the “attack move” command.

Raven- Seeker Missile range has been decreased from 9 to 6.- Splash radius has been decreased from 2.4 to 2.- upgrade no longer requires Fusion Core.

We are hoping to see some more Seeker missiles without unbalancing the unit. At the same time we want to reduce the effectiveness of Seeker missile in 2v2 games where mass Ravens have (on occasion) been a problem.

Siege Tank- Life increased from 150 to 160.

Siege Tanks are seeing good use in several match-ups but we still think they could be a little tougher so they can maybe get in one more shot during big fights.

Thor – Ground damage decreased from 45 to 30- Ground rate of fire improved from 1.93 to 1.28.- Air damage changed from 8 (+4 Light) to 6 (+6 Light).- 250mm Strike Cannons are now an upgrade at the Factory Tech Lab; research now costs 150/150 and 110 seconds; energy cost increased from 100 to 150.

The damage change reduces the Thor’s opening burst, which will mean that some units will be able to shoot a little longer before being destroyed. The increase in rate of fire means the damage-per-second remains the same, but it does change a few relationships. Thors are no longer as effective against Roaches (for example) without fire support from Marauders.

The Thor Strike Cannons have become an upgrade to try to help out the Ultralisk, who is countered so hard by this attack that we see very few Ultralisks in Terran vs. Zerg. This is (of course) not enough to really change that relationship, but we have some more plans for the Ultralisk in the next patch.

The anti-air changes make Thors a little more clear in their role as an anti-light AA weapon which gives more value to Vikings and Marines.

Archon- The splash radius has been increased from 0.8 to 1.

This minor buff to the Archon makes it a little bit more useful but doesn’t really change a lot of its core relationships. We still view the Archon as a recycle for a High Templar who is out of mana and not a core unit that you will build unless you are facing very specific opposition (like mass Mutalisks for example).

Colossus – The damage has been decreased from 20 to 15. The rate of fire has been improved from 2.2 to 1.65.

The changes to the Colossus damage and rate of fire are similar to the changes to the Thor. They reduce the burst damage from the Colossus so fewer units will die in the initial blast and get to shoot a little bit longer before they are hit by more blasts. The damage is lower, but the damage per second is DPS is the same.

Phoenix – Can now attack while moving.

This is a huge change that allows a Phoenix to dance around Mutalisks and other air units and attack them while moving. Phoenix always did hard-counter Mutalisks, but now even a very small number of Phoenix can challenge a very large number of Mutalisks so long as they are willing to attack and move away. Use your Phoenix to keep out of the Mutalisk attack range while firing yourself and you can do a lot of damage to a pack of Mutalisks.

Sentry – The damage has been decreased from 8 to 6.

We are seeing a lot of Force Fields which we really, really like. We don’t want to see fewer Force Fields, but we do want to see a higher cost for those Force Fields. By reducing Sentry damage we believe that Protoss players will have to be more careful about the number of Sentry they make.

Broodlord – Life has been decreased from 275 to 225. Armor has been decreased from 2 to 1.

Broodlords are awesome. They needed to be a little weaker. They should still be pretty scary.

Corruptor
– Corruptor damage changed from 12 (+10 Massive) to 14 (+6 Massive), speed increased from 2.75 to 2.9531, Corruption ability redesigned: Single target. Increases damage taken by 20%. Lasts 30 seconds. Costs 100 energy. Range 6. Cannot target structures.

All of these changes are a buff to the Corruptor. You will pay less gas for a similar level of Corruptor fire power. The Corruptor is faster and more able to keep up with your Mutalisks. In addition its special ability has changed. You no longer use Corruptors just to stun important enemy buildings but you can weaken important enemy units on the battlefield to make them more vulnerable to attack by both your air and ground units.

Infestor – Neural Parasite is now an upgrade at the Infestation Pit, research costs 150/150 and 110 seconds, can now target Air units, energy cost increased from 50 to 100.

The changes to Neural Parasite are there to try to protect the Ultralisk from being mind controlled too easily. It is also consistent with what we think the power level of the ability is against Thor and other units. We have also buffed the ability to allow it to target air units so you can use it as a defense against Void Rays.

Spine Crawler – The root time has been increased from 6 to 12.

At some levels of play we are seeing spine crawlers used to protect a Zerg player until he can advance to some dangerous technology (like Mutalisks). In these cases players are using Spine Crawlers almost exclusively to defend themselves and the ability to move the Crawler as a way to protect not only their base but their expansion as well. We want there to be a higher cost to this strategy and more risk associated with choosing to go “Only Spine Crawler.”

Ultralisk – Damage has been increased from 18 to 25.
We are buffing the Ultralisk, but we don’t think this buff is sufficient. Expect more changes to the Ultralisk in the next patch.

What’s Next?

We are working hard on a few issues for the next patch. Obviously we are going to be playing this patch with the community to see what we broke with all of these changes. We are also going to continue to evaluate the Ultralisk and the Zerg in general to make sure they have enough choices and options on all of their units.

Cataclysm: Halls of Origination

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

As with Uldaman and Ulduar, Uldum houses one of only a few of the known titan constructions, the existence of which predates that of mortal life on Azeroth. For years historians have explored southern Kalimdor for a means of entry into this ancient titan land, searching for more evidence of Azeroth’s origins. But the Cataclysm will change everything, for the façade behind which Uldum has been tucked for millennia will be ruptured, leaving powerful mysteries vulnerable to discovery by the bravest, smartest, or perhaps even most brutal explorers.

The Halls of Origination in Uldum is a level-85 five-player dungeon available in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, featuring an unparalleled journey through the timeless titan construction and seven unique boss fights. Hidden deep within its halls lies an ancient treasure that, if placed in the wrong hands, could endanger all life on Azeroth. Should players survive the perils of Uldum, they will be called to help Brann Bronzebeard unlock the mysteries within these treacherous titan halls and protect the titans’ ancient secrets.

Entering the Halls

You will immediately learn the gravity of your situation in the Maker’s Overlook when stumbling over the bodies of those who have entered the Halls of Origination before you, seeking power… and failing. Those who survive beyond the entrance of these ancient corridors will be greeted by Brann Bronzebeard just outside the dungeon’s transport system to the upper reaches. It will require more than the guidance of Brann to advance upward, however, as the secrets of these halls must first be unlocked.

Chamber of Prophecy

The column-strewn Chamber of Prophecy is truly a testament of time. In a room adorned with the relics of an ancient culture, two arks await investigation, protected by ever-faithful servants. Those who meddle with the titan relics must answer to Temple Guardian Anhuur, the overseer of this chamber and a master of holy magic and devastating hymns.

Tomb of the Earthrager

Across from the Chamber of Prophecy and just outside the dungeon’s walls lies the Tomb of the Earthrager, entrenched within a pyramid sun-scorched and bombarded with sandstorms. Littered with the bones of the long deceased, the tomb waits to collect more unprepared victims. It is, after all, the resting place of Earthrager Ptah. Those who disturb his tomb disrupt an eerily quiet place before Ptah shakes the ground beneath you in a Tumultuous Earthstorm, bringing to life the weathered bones of the deceased and unearthing vile Scarabs.

The Vault of Lights

With walls weighted by priceless titan artifacts, the Vault of Lights will serve as a chamber of punishment for your intrusion. Anraphet, a haunting statue of titan composition, awakens to serve his fellow keepers and eradicate all mortals who enter. Make no mistake: his long slumber will not prevent him from showing absolute wrath.

Seats of the Keepers

Survivors of the halls’ depths will gain access to the upper reaches. With help from Brann Bronzebeard, you must uncover the mysteries of Uldum. Your journey will lead you to areas of ultimate consequence: the Seats of Magic, Life, Chaos, and Radiance. Here you will be confronted by the construct of magic Isiset, construct of life Ammunae, construct of chaos Setesh, and construct of radiance Rajh. You will be tested by these constructs of Uldum, who will not easily give up their thrones or the secrets of the titans.

Only by exploring Uldum’s Halls of Origination in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will you have a chance to uncover their dangerous powers, and perhaps even the mysteries behind the origins of life on Azeroth.

Activision Blizzard announces Battle.net and Facebook Integration

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Activision Blizzard issued a press release announcing the integration of Battle.net and Facebook, feature that will be part of StarCraft II beta testing in an upcoming patch, and extended to other games at some point.

Blizzard Quote:
Battle.net and Facebook Integration Announced Blizzard Entertainment’s Next-Generation Online Gaming Platform Will Integrate with Facebook to Enhance Social Gaming Experience

IRVINE, Calif., May 05, 2010 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its Battle.net gaming service will integrate with Facebook, linking the world’s premier online gaming platform with the world’s most popular social platform. The first step in the integration will enable StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty players to quickly add Blizzard gamers who are friends on Facebook to their Battle.net friend lists, facilitating their social gaming experience on the service.

“We’re pleased to be working with Facebook to integrate their platform with Battle.net to enhance the social-entertainment experience for our players,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This new functionality will make it easier than ever to connect with friends on Battle.net and play StarCraft II and future Blizzard Entertainment games together.”

The new Facebook functionality in Battle.net will be tested in the near future via the ongoing StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta test and will be available to all StarCraft II players when the game ships later this year. Information about other Facebook-related features on Battle.net will be announced at a later date.

Blizzard previews Real ID

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard has revealed a preview of the Real ID feature introduced in Battle.net 2.0 as an optional way to keep track of your friends regardless of which game, realm, or character they are playing.

A New Way to Connect With Your Friends on Battle.net

One of our goals for the new Battle.net is to create the framework for an online gaming experience that is even more accessible, more engaging, and more entertaining than the previous Battle.net. Our new Real ID feature is an integral part of this effort, providing you with advanced ways for forming and maintaining meaningful relationships with your friends on the service.

Real ID is a completely voluntary and optional level of identity that keeps players connected across all of Battle.net. When you and a friend mutually agree to become Real ID friends, you’ll have access to a number of additional features that will enrich your social gaming experience in new and exciting ways.

Read the Real ID FAQ for additional details.

Real Names for Friends

Your Real ID friends will appear under their real-life names on your friends list, alongside whatever characters they’re playing. Gone are the days of having to remember which of your friends is which. You’ll also see your friends’ real names when chatting, communicating in-game, or viewing their character’s profile.

Cross-Game Chat

With Real ID, friends can now chat cross-game, cross-realm, and cross-faction across all supported Blizzard games. In World of Warcraft and need more players for your Icecrown Citadel raid? You check your Real ID friends list to see if anyone’s available, and sure enough, a couple of guildmates are playing a 2v2 ranked match in StarCraft II. Real ID makes it easy to ask them to come along.

Rich Presence

See additional information on your friends list about what your Real ID friends are up to. Find out what your friends are doing and which games and modes they’re playing in real time. Invite that buddy just sitting around in Dalaran to play some StarCraft II with you without fear of interrupting a raid or a heated Wintergrasp match.

Broadcasts

Broadcast a short status message for all of your Real ID friends to see, whether you want to issue a call-to-arms or let your friends know about an important change of plans. You can also read your friends’ broadcast messages on the “Recent Broadcasts” feed on the Battle.net welcome page — kind of a “corkboard” to leave messages to your friends when offline or busy.

Friend Once, See All Characters

When you agree to become Real ID friends with another player, both of you will automatically see all the other’s characters on your friends list. You’ll even see any characters your friend creates in future Blizzard games, carrying your social network forward and helping you stay connected with the people you enjoy playing with most.

Blizzard Announces StarCraft II Pre-order Partners

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Entertainment has announced its pre-order partners for the sale of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty throughout the world.

In USA: Best Buy, Gamestop, Walmart, Amazon, ToysRus and Frys.com

In Canada: Best Buy, Gamestop, and Future Shop

Use the dropdown to choose a language and select English (EU) to access the dropdown displaying different countries and stores accepting pre-orders. For now there are sub-listings for:

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Noway, Spain, Sweden, UK.

Other countries are listed, and pre-order stores for those will be revealed soon. Thanks, Siomer.

StarCraft II Hands On at ESL Gaming Weekend in Bulgaria on May 8-9 2010

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

The ESL Gaming Weekend kicks off through May 8-9 and Blizzard will be there to showcase StarCraft II, allowing Bulgarians and international visitors to get hands on gameplay

Blizzard Quote:
The Electronic Sports League is hosting the “ESL Gaming Weekend” on May 8 and 9 in Sofia – and Blizzard will be there!

The StarCraft II beta will be playable by the public in the free gaming area, and members of Blizzard Entertainment’s Community team will be on hand to guide your first steps in the forthcoming RTS blockbuster.

What: ESL Gaming Weekend
Where: ‘The Mall’, Sofia
When: May 8 and 9

Additionally, professional World of Warcraft Arena matches will be played on stage for the very first time in Bulgaria.

More information will be available soon on the official ESL site (in Bulgarian).

http://www.esl.eu/bg

World of WarCraft: Cataclysm Alpha Test Officially Starts

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

Zarhym has confirmed the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Friends and Family Alpha testing began today. Beta Testing has no ETA at the moment, but it’s clear it won’t be long before closed beta starts. Please, beware any type of email scam inviting you into alpha. Only friends and family are in it and under strict NDA. Don’t believe in beta invites at this point either until you see it in the official website and forums.

For now, knowing alpha testing started is exciting enough. Blizzplanet and other fansites will be covering Closed Beta whenever it starts, and make sure to stick around for possible beta key giveaways on the fansites at some point.

Blizzard Quote:
Yes, we can confirm that the Family & Friends phase of the testing process for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has begun. The closed beta test phase has not yet started, but we will provide updated information when it does.

This phase of testing is under a confidentiality agreement. As we get further along in the testing process and open it up to the public, the NDA will be lifted.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Release Date July 27, 2010

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

IRVINE, Calif., May 03, 2010 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM), will arrive in stores throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau starting on July 27, 2010. Players will also be able to purchase StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty directly from Blizzard Entertainment shortly after the retail launch.

“We’ve been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe for many years, and we’re excited that the time for that is almost here,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Thanks to our beta testers, we’re making great progress on the final stages of development, and we’ll be ready to welcome players all over the world to StarCraft II and the new Battle.net(R) in just a few months.”

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. Sporting a vibrant 3D-graphics engine, StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying legions of veteran, upgraded, and new unit types. Unparalleled online play for StarCraft II will be available through a new version of Battle.net, Blizzard Entertainment’s world-renowned gaming service. Battle.net has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard gamers, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, cloud file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more.

The solo campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will continue the epic saga where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War(R). The story line chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor and features both familiar faces and new heroes. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign. Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies.

For more information on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, visit the official website at http://www.starcraft2.com. Further details about the game, including the alternative pricing options previously mentioned for certain regions, will be announced in the coming weeks. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available — visit http://www.blizzard.com/jobs for more information and to learn how to apply.

gaikai-world-of-warcraft-on-ipad

Gaikai Teases World of Warcraft on iPad

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

David Perry of Earthworm Jim fame and now CEO and co-founder of Gaikai teased fans with a photo of World of Warcraft on iPad.

Cloud computing is an innovative technology fanfared to be the future of gaming online. There are other contenders trying to get a piece of the Cloud pie such as OnLive and OTOY, but Gaikai is heading in a different direction by licensing the technology directly to game developers, enabling publishers to stream the games themselves from their own servers.

Could you imagine what Blizzard could do with Cloud technology on Battle.net 2.0: World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Next-Gen MMO and future games?

The technology potentially eliminates the need to have a top notch graphic card and water-cooling rig, The publisher hosts a copy of the game and streams it to you via your internet browser without any need to install plugins nor download any file. All that is done by the publisher.

While this can no doubt affect NVIDIA and ATI in the future in some proportion, there would be a lot of savings for publishers, and for gamers. Cloud in theory is Green-friendly, saving energy.

David Perry points out any browser with Flash is capable of displaying streamed games, but he forgot to mention Steve Jobs recently explained why iPad doesn’t support Adobe Flash,

How he’s able to play World of Warcraft in the iPad with lack of flash is not specifically explained. According to Steve Jobs, the iPad supports HTML5, so that’s the guess. The Gaikai CEO mentioned plans for Mac Servers support.

Cataclysm: Screenshot of the Day # 3

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

The Screenshot of the Day shows the Tirisfal Glades town known as Brill will be no more the way we know it. The new Forsaken architecture seen here resembles that of Vengeance’s Landing in Howling Fjord. I took a screenshot of my character standing in the same spot as the forsaken lady. What you see in the background is the two Zeppelin towers located near Brill.

The spot I am standing at is five yards away from Ms. Winters (General Supplies) NPC. Two more things can be noticed in the Screenshot of the Day: I have a EVGA GeForce 285 GTX and all World of Warcraft video settings are set to max. My character is standing basically at the same spot, or very close to where the female Forsaken is standing. Basically, in the present Brill you can barely see any detail in the towers at that distance and the Zeppelins are a violet shade with no details; while in Cataclysm you can see rich colors and textures on the towers at that same distance.

It might be possible this is a follow up on the dismantling of the those Scourge cauldron quests in Western Plaguelands. With the Cauldrons gone, the plague fog is gone?

Second thing you may notice in the screenshot of the day is a High Elven statue in front of what is currently the Brill City Hall. That means the Blood Elves and the Forsaken have grown closer.

Doing the low level quests in Quel’Thalas, you are sent by Lor’Themar Theron (Regent Lord of Quel’Thalas) to meet Sylvanas Windrunner with the news that you have killed Dar’Khan Darthir. Sylvanas sends you to Thrall to deliver the news and thereafter the Blood Elves are officially welcomed as new member of the Horde. Before that, some fans who don’t follow up the lore outside of the game may have missed the WarCraft: The Sunwell Trilogy manga from TOKYOPOP and written by Richard A. Knaak.

The manga reveals how Sylvanas Windrunner befriended Lor’Themar Theron and Halduron Brightwing by saving Anveena (the living embodiment of the Sunwell). That friendship has grown since then — and that High Elven Ranger statue seen at Brill, in World of WarCraft: Cataclysm, reinstates that.

#BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter 4/30 Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

The latest StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter took place on April 30, 2010. This is one of the best Q&As answered by Dustin Browder and Chris Sigaty who revealed new aspects and mechanics of the single player missions, the StarCraft II Editor, Unit Balance, latency, and other themes.

The Mac beta client will be available on Europe in several languages on Monday, May 3rd. It’s a large Q&A, but it is worth the read. Check out the entire transcript below

There has been talks about possibly changing the queen a bit, can you elaborate if that is indeed true?

We have no current plans to change the queen, bearing possible balance changes.

Are there plans to release a chat utility to be used outside of game, similar to say how steam/xfire currently works?

Eventually we would like an external client for chat and other Battle.net related features, but we don’t have anything firmly planned at this point.

What unit do you feel is completely different from when it was first designed [in both art and gameplay] within SC2?

The Corruptor has changed many times in his life cycle, though he was always designed as an anti-air unit. The Mothership has had a long list of different abilities that have changed substantially over the years.

Currently, FPS UMS maps are viable but prevented by lag. Are there any plans to reduce Battle.net 2.0’s minimum latency from 250ms?

In the newest patch latency network turns have been reduced to125ms latency. We’d love to see an FPS-like custom map in the beta as soon as publishing is available!

Any plans to allow allies to see one another’s resource and supply totals as was possible in past Blizzard RTS games? If not, why?

We had talked about this and felt that the additional complexity was not worth it in our current UI. It was also a tool that was largely used by players in random games to give grief to their less-skilled allies. But we don’t hate the feature and could get enthusiastic about if we saw a need while playing.

Any UI improvements in the works for commentators, such as the ability to hide the replay bar?

Yes, we’re currently looking at this and will likely have some additional features when the game launches for hiding some of the interface.

Which unit was the hardest/most time consuming to work on aesthetically? Are you proud of certain unit? Does one still haunt you?

Thor is still difficult. We want to make him big and bad ass but then there are issues with him clipping or hiding units. We’re still polishing the God of Thunder. Favorite unit would be the Stalker, Reaper and Baneling. Simple design-wise but they add a cool newness to there armies. None haunt me. Though zergling with wings and certain dark templar have haunted our fans. smile

How does the dev team accomplish making StarCraft II units and maps "blend" together, despite three distinct races?

The races are pretty simple as we follow basic guidelines. Terrans are grey, bulky and grimy. Protoss are gold, smooth surfaced and regal. Zerg are brown, purple and spiny. With maps we usually try to make the textures more simplistic to help the units pop out. Sometimes when the texture gets too busy or dark (i.e. Creep) we lose units on them. We are still working on that issue.

Will Real ID have more privacy controls for people nervous about sharing their real name/what they’re playing?

There will be parental controls available to prevent accounts from using real ID. Other than that players should create Real ID friends with people that they feel comfortable sharing their name with.

Last Dev Chat, Terran was behind in all 1v1 and 2v2 matchups. How do the racial matchup numbers look now? Any outlier matchups?

We have several tools to measure race balance. The simplest is the win loss by race, factored by leagues. In Platinum and Gold leagues the numbers look like this.

Terrans vs. Protoss 46% – 54%

Protoss vs. Zerg 51% – 49%

Terrans vs. Zerg 51% – 49%

I do not have the more interesting numbers that factor for player skill. The last time I saw these numbers Zerg were ahead of Protoss, Protoss were ahead of Terrans and Terrans and Zerg were fairly even.

Obviously there is a lot more work to be done and more beta time in front of us but we are very pleased with the current numbers.

Are there any plans to allow creep to spill over the edge of cliffs?

We do not plan to have creep spread down cliffs. We like that there are some restrictions to creep movement.

Do you think you will add any new units (or take any out) before release or is the current unit roster definite?

I doubt we will cut units but I expect that we will make some changes to current units. The Phoenix and Corruptor are currently being evaluated and may see some changes in the next few weeks.

Currently the Map Editor has a small variety of unit/item models for mappers to use. Will there be additions to usable models?

Yes. Currently the beta is limited to objects ONLY in the beta, which is a limited number of tilesets and no campaign units or objects. There will be a much larger set of models and assets for mappers to use at launch.

The Hydralisk attack animation has gotten a lot of complaints in beta. Will it get its acid back as a part of its attack?

The Hydra attack was always meant to be spines. In the original game you couldn’t see that so we gooped it up. Now with Banelings exploding goop and the Roach attack’s looking all gooby, we thought that the Hydras would look more unique having the original spine idea incorporated back in.

FYI: Goop and gooby are Samwise trademarks.

Do you plan to implement 3v3 and 4v4 match-ups at some point during the beta? If so, when?

We do intend to release 3v3 and 4v4 matchmaking in the beta around the middle of May. We will likely limit the number of maps because we still want players to primarily focus on 1v1 games to continue to help test balance.

With the large discussion on Zerg changes, is there any planned? Or do you believe that they’re not being used fully?

We are looking at changes to the Corruptor. We are looking at the balance on Ultralisk and Infestor. We are not planning to introduce new units at this time, though we shall see as Beta progresses. =)

Will we be able to use original units for the map editor before release?

No. The beta editor will not include campaign units prior to release.

Do you feel that micro needs to play more of a role in SC2? Will moving shot be re-introduced?

I don’t think that we need MORE micro in SC2. We have a ton of it. But we are always looking to make the game more fun. A large number of units do drift in SC2 as they shoot (I assume that is what you are asking about). However our engine is a lot more precise than the original StarCraft so when you tell a unit to do something, it does it. We did find a few units this week that we felt were less responsive than we wanted (Hellion for example) and we will be making some changes to make them more responsive in a future patch.

It is a different game, we did make a new engine. We will never be able to dupblicate the controls of the original StarCraft exactly.

Will you be adding a timer in-game so we can stop using stop watches/clocks ?

We know a stop watch is desired in-game by the community and are currently discussing the feature. This is not likely to happen by launch, but is definitely something we’ll consider for a patch shortly after we’ve shipped the game.

Any plans to implement a clan system that automatically adds "clan tags" in front of your ID?

Clans are definitely something we plan to implement in the future. No specific date has been identified yet. They will likely correspond with the first expansion or a future patch.

Are there plans for a "Do Not Disturb" option that prevents incoming messages from showing?

Yes. You will have options when StarCraft II officially launches to turn off incoming messages and prevent toasts while playing the game. This may not be available in the beta prior to release.

Do you plan on rework/rebalance of the Forcefield or are you already statisfied with it.

We are never "happy" about anything in the game.=) We are always looking at everything and trying to see if it works or it is broken. We think Force Field is a fun ability that has a lot of great uses that introduces a ton of new strategy into the game. We worry that it might be a little powerful. We are looking at some nerfs to the Sentry to create a higher cost for Protoss players who choose to bring too many Sentries to a fight.

We will continue to evaluate the ability as we do all abilities during the beta and beyond.

Art direction in beta looks great so far. Will the Star Map make an appearance of some kind or has it been cut completely?

On behalf of the StarCraft II art team, thank you. We use the star map in the single player alot but it isn’t like what we have shown previously. A big galactic map is something I really want to use for future expansions.

The damage modifiers have been slowly weeded out through the patches, have you thought about getting rid of them completely?

StarCraft had a damage system that was similar to ours only it was more complicated and a lot less clear. We are very happy with our damage system as a significant improvement over the original StarCraft and will continue to use it as a balance tool to try to create the best strategy game we can. There are no plans to cut it.

Will multiple building selection for Terran stay like it is now and why is it so? (e.g. 2 barracks with different add-ons in one control group requiring the Tab key to switch between them seems odd)

We are changing the way Terrans build from their buildings with different add-ons. I get confused about what is live and what is in the version I played at the office today. =)

If it isn’t out now you’ll see it in a future patch.

Will you ever give the Medivac a follow command that does not force it to pick up units ?

We hadn’t planned on it, but I can look into it. =)

Are there any plans to giving Reapers more of a late-game viability, similar to the Zealot charge?

If we need to we can always add upgrades that make units more powerful in the late game. We have no current plans for the Reaper. Frankly the meta-game has not settled down enough yet for us to know what is and is not really useful in the end game. But I would worry about the Reaper and your suggestion is interesting.

How far in the ‘long term’ are those plans which allow for swapping to U.S. servers on an E.U. account – or a global account?

Jumping to the region you want is definitely in the long term plan for Battle.net, although we do have some concerns about communicating properly to the player what’s happening if they choose this because it WILL affect the latency of the game. As far as a date on when, I don’t have one yet. There are a number of features that we want to make sure get out their first and jumping to different servers is lower on the priority list at the moment.

Will there be cross-game communication options for people who don’t want to use RealID?

There are no plans for cross-game/realm communication without Real ID.

Would you ever bring back the cobra for the thor? Seems like it would be a much better fit and fix mech.

The Cobra was not that fun. He is OK for solo but he does not have the precise control with his "fire-on-the-move" ability for multi. There are no plans to cut the Thor.

Are there any plans to change the current high ground advantage to the Wacraft III/StarCraft mechanic or other alternatives?

No. We like the high ground rules and we think they are cool for StarCraft II. The random high ground from StarCraft just didn’t seem right for a such a skill based game. The clarity of "if you can see, you can shoot" makes a lot more sense to us.

For several Australian players at a LAN, who have logged into a custom Battle.net game, will the game be local once initiated?

You’ll be connected through Battle.net. However, we’re locating game servers more strategically to allow the best possible game experience from where you play. For Australia we are by default routing games through the Oceanic region which should provide a much lower latency experience.

Blizzard you ROCK!

You rock! Thanks so much for taking the time to join in the chat today!!

Do you plan to redo the Hatchery (Lair, Hive) art so that it represents the classical evil, sharp-looking building from StarCraft: Brood War?

No changes will be made on the Hatchery and its upgrades. We added some of the sinister, spiny-ness (is that a word?) to newer buildings like the Infestation Pit and the Baneling Nest. The core buildings were revamped to be more of what a standard zerg building would look like. They now look like upgrades to the Hatchery as opposed to completely new structures.

Will there be any more voice acting changes for the units and such before the final release?

No, the actors are final, though we may choose different "takes" they did in the studio or change some of the processing on their audio.

Any plans to put decals on units as well? As they are now only on buildings, you don’t see them much.

There are decals on some (Marine and some others), but the units are already so small and clean we don’t want to mush them up with decals. We could put them on larger ones, but there weren’t enough big bad boys to do this to. Plus, it would delay the game. Do you want to be personally responsible for delaying the game? smile

Really excited about campaign. Can you tell us about a mission that was a challenge to create?

We have a mission that takes place in deep space around a Xel’Naga space platform. This ancient floating artifact has powerful "Rip Fields" around it that warp time and space, doing damage to all of your units so long as they are in a Rip Field. Creating this exotic location and balancing the difficulty of the Rip Fields was challenging.

Our biggest campaign challenges usually center around creating really uninque game mechanics that tie to the story. It’s easy to make a battle, it’s hard to make a battle that really pushes your skills as a commander and asks you to do something you have not done in our game before.

SinglePlayer – will we see installation missions in Zerg hives or tunnels? Always wished for this in StarCraft.

We’d prefer not to ruin any further surprises . . . wink

People think zerg is boring and doesn’t support much diversity in playstyles,but it doesn’t mean imba. How do you feel about this?

We are always working on our race match ups and we will continue to do so. We have certainly heard this complaint. We think we have the tools to solve the problem. If we get more play out of Infestor, Corruptor and Ultralisk we think we might have a more fun and more diverse race. If that doesn’t work then we’ll evaluate what else we can do. We have some time left in the beta as well as patches after the beta is complete (not counting expansions) to continue to work on these races to meet our quality standards.

Still I don’t think the Zerg are boring. They can do some fun stuff.=)

You boast fewer classic "kill everything" missions but will there still be some in the campaigns? They have their place!

There are a few missions that allow you to "play with your toys" and just crush the enemy. They usually have some kind of twist (like you are fighting on a giant space platform that contains several highly unstable fusion reactors) but they are at their heart missions where your objective is to search and destroy.

Will the map editor be revised to be more newbie-friendly around release?

We have plans to put some new user help files online and additional help text, but overall the editor will not get many more newbie-friendly options as making custom maps is a pretty technical endeavor and there is already a lot of great information appearing all over the web to help with more complex development.

Please clarify response: Has the 125ms latency update been in effect since the last update or will it be available with the next?

We put this in a while ago in the US to see what the community response was. We did not announce it (even internally) to see who noticed. There was suprisingly little response to such a huge change. But some of us noticed and we thought it felt better.

The latest we’ve heard, the single-player campaign would feature about 25+ missions. Does this include the optional missions?

There are 29 total missions in the campaign. In a single play through you can get to 26 of them if you do everything. You’d have to play again to see the other optional missions. Of course, your experience through how you play those missions can vary widely depending on the technology, research, or mercenaries you’ve decided to puchase along the way.

Getting custom script into maps is currently complex. Are there plans to implement Galaxy scripting directly into the editor?

There are currently no plans for Galaxy script editing in the editor itself. However, through the Import Manager it should be pretty easy to add in your scripts as necessary. Are you having trouble doing it that way?

Flying units fly through the Colossus. Will there be any changes to make sure they fly over them?

No changes on this one. We realize this could look doink, but in a 3D game, the higher the flyer, the closer to the camera it is. We could shrink the flyer, but then its scale would be off when looking at the art from certain angles (mostly single-player). We could shrink the Colossus but then his/her/its cliff walk would look bad. We thought that it was okay enough that it would only be noticed by the most(!!)eagle-eyed fans of our games. Good job!

Any plans to alow players to pick what races they want to fight vs off of ladders so they can get some practice in ? (ie: custom game search for only people playing X race)

We are aware of the issue of players not wanting to try new races or strats on the ladder and so we know there is a desire to play "unranked" play to get some practice. I like your idea, though I don’t know that we could get to it before launch. Sounds like something we would have to consider for a future patch.

As far as unranked play goes we are discussing it, what we still have time for is the big question.=)

Can you detail how the map publishing feature is going to work?

Sure. Map publishing will allow the user to store a few maps or mods associated with their account. You can choose to publish a map privately which will not display the map in the custom game list when you open it up, but you can invite your friends into a game on the map to help you test your map and ideas. Once you decide the map is ready for the rest of the community to play you can publish it publicly and then the map will be available for the rest of the community to see and start playing games with.

Please please please let us, excited mac users, know when we can expect the client to be available on the EU realm.

We’re targeting next Monday to release the European English, French, and German versions of the StarCraft II Mac beta. smile

After the beta has commenced, how many CPU cores will StarCraft II be optimized for upon final release?

For launch, StarCraft II will be optimized for dual-core only. In the future we will definitely be looking into other optimizations to support additional cores, but do not have specific dates yet.

Will Dustin Browder PM me his name & identifier so I can show him how to play his own game? =p

Dustin: Sir, you could not handle my terrible, terrible damage. But if you are playing in Platinum, I often play in the evenings and you may get your shot. Just play everyone to the best of your ability and sometime you may end up showing me how to play. =) Hell, I lost 4 in a row yesterday. Maybe one of those was you?

Samwise: You don’t want to play Dustin. He can’t even beat the UI, let alone the AI.

Chris: Only if you’re willing to cyber …

This concludes our #BlizzChat! We’d like to thank Chris, Dustin and Samwise for stopping by to answer your questions, as well as those of you who participated.

This thread has been unlocked so you may continue the discussion.

Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day # 2

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

Screenshot of the Day # 2 features a new World of WarCraft: Cataclysm screenshot showing the most beautiful and nigh realistic landscape yet seen in this game. Blizzard is not just revamping the old World’s geography and landscape of each zone, they are building a new Azeroth with enhanced graphics, and textures.

Take a look at the water and compare it with Ashenvale or Elwynn Forest. You will see a huge difference.

In this screenshot, the water’s waves look realistic. Notice the reflection of the trees on the water. I played Cataclysm for a while at BlizzCon 2009, and my first impression when I saw the ocean water was — “OMG FarCry 2 water in World of Warcraft?”

The fog in the distance looks realistic too with a dark gothic vibe. The engine will no doubt be improved throughout the beta testing, so don’t think this is it. The tree branches do need more work. They still look jaggy, but the scene in general is awesome.

According to Bornakk, this screenshot is from Blasted Lands. Hard to believe, but considering the Night Elves have brought the Worgen as allies into the Alliance, and are teaching them the druidic ways — it’s logical the worgen druids could change the life-drained Blasted Lands.

It was revealed not long ago the Worgen race will have an Alliance base at the Blasted Lands, at the Tainted Scar.

Stay tuned for more official Cataclysm Screenshot of the Day until Beta Servers go online. Maticus and I will make sure to show screenshots and video once we get access to beta.

GiantBomb: Chris Metzen Talks StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Chris Metzen talks about the story and characters development for StarCraft II these past years, teases about a fourth race (more like he didn’t completely deny or closes the possibility down the road — coughs future episodes), but don’t hold your breath for Wings of Liberty.

Chris also talks about his work with voice actors and with Alex Afrasiabi building up content for several zones. Chris checks back with Alex about every two weeks to play the game and see how the development goes, and feels amazed of what he’s seen so far. I can’t but feel excited about Cataclysm. If the father of the Warcraft lore is amazed, that’s a thriller right there.

StarCraft II: GIantBomb interviews Dustin Browder

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Developers, Blizzard Games News, Dustin Browder, StarCraft 2 News

GiantBomb interviewed Dustin Browder at the studios recently to discuss race balance, whether there are units that will be removed or not. The developers are seeing several game situations, things they didn’t foresee players coming up with like a Queen rush on Protoss players who aren’t effective that early at blocking chokepoints and protecting the base. The Queen’s speed will be nerfed to prevent Queen rush.

Dustin also talks about the single player’s Challenge mode.

StarCraft II Beta @ 2010 Sci-Fi London 9 Festival

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, StarCraft 2 News

Are you attending the 2010 Sci-Fi London 9 Festival? The festival is holding a StarCraft II All-Nighter on Saturday, May 1 at 10:30pm you should go to the bar to play StarCraft II beta and grab your Goody Bag.

The bar will be selling Purbeck Icecream, energy drinks, tea and coffee. Look out for other giveaways on the night.

In addition, bring your copies of Wildstorm’s StarCraft Comics, and of course, your old collection of Transformers comics and merchandise. Simon Furman is in da house attending the Festival on Saturday at 11.45AM. Furman will be answering questions about anything — so go prepared to ask about the future of the StarCraft comic book.

Celebrating StarCraft II, the festival will play Independence Day, Starship Troopers, The Abyss and Screamers.

BOOK ONLINE or Call 0871 220 6000.

Screening times starts at 11:30pm

The Festival is running all weekend until May 3rd. The Sci-Fi London 9 Festival will take place at the following address:

Apollo Piccadilly (Map)
19 Regent Street
London, SW1Y 4LR