Blizzard Entertainment has issued a press release announcing the North American midnight launch event to be held at Fry’s Electronics in Fountain Valley, California. Expect developers and executives to attend the event to sign copies of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition and Standard Edition.
Visit the following page to learn the location of a store near you holding their own StarCraft II midnight launch: Fry’s, Gamestop, Wal-mart, Best Buy, Future Shop.
|IRVINE, Calif., Jul 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Blizzard Entertainment today announced its plans for the official North American midnight launch event for StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM), the long-anticipated sequel to 1998′s critically acclaimed real-time strategy game, StarCraft. The event will take place at Fry’s Electronics at 10800 Kalama River Avenue in Fountain Valley, CA, with activities starting at 9 p.m. on July 26, and sales of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beginning at midnight.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty with our community at the official launch event here in Southern California and at other locations worldwide,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This is something we’ve been working toward for several years, and we’re excited to soon be able to share the results of that work with gamers around the world.”
As well as being among the first to acquire the game, attendees will have an opportunity to meet developers from Blizzard Entertainment, who will be present to welcome players and sign their copies. Live music, exhibition matches, and Q&A sessions with Blizzard Entertainment developers will also take place onsite. More details about the event can be found at http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/events/starcraft2-midnight-openings.html.
Attendees will be able to purchase the standard edition of the game for a suggested price of $59.99 as well as the special Collector’s Edition for a suggested price of $99.99. The Collector’s Edition contains the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s 1998 blockbuster hit StarCraft. With over 11 million copies sold, the franchise has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy series of all time and has become a fixture on the professional eSports circuit. 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. For more information on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, visit the official website at starcraft2.com.
With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available — visit www.blizzard.com/jobs for more information and to learn how to apply.
The upcoming Cataclysm expansion tie-in novel by Christie Golden now has a description and a sneak excerpt from the pages of World of Warcraft: The Shattering.
The not-final front cover released a few days ago, teased Thrall as a main character in this novel. The Doomhammer shattering the earth was a given.
The description reveals Thrall’s efforts to thwart and understand the confusion and sudden uneasiness of the elemental spirits. A sign that we might see some Twilight’s Hammer action. On the other hand, the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde worsens up.
Considering Christie Golden’s RISE OF THE HORDE, contained plenty of lore that was used in the creation of some Burning Crusade quests and content, it is likely this new novel might have several answers to what we are currently seeing in Cataclysm Beta.
The recent Cataclysm Developers Q&A on Twitter offered handful information about upcoming changes yet to be implemented in the beta testing, as well as clearing up some doubts.
Below is a picky list by class of some of the most important details revealed in the Q&A. Otherwise skip and check out the transcript.
- Rend will be renewed by Thunderclap. Additionally, now Rend does a tick of damage immediately on application.
- Fury-only: Whirlwind will be enabled only with multiple-mobs, not against a single-mob. Raging Blow fills the void left by Whirlwind, and may be used while enraged. It doesn’t consume the enrage. The animation makes the Fury Warrior strike a target with both weapons at once.
- Heroic Leap is designed as a means of escape for Warriors by targeting a location. Helpful against melee (Warrior, Druid, Death Knight, Rogue), and may help you get back in range of your healer in PvP. I haven’t seen this before. You can probably use it to escape by running through the caster when you see a caster’s bar (aka Line of Sight, caster must face the target).
- Arms: Throwdown lets you knock an opponent to the ground for five seconds. Usable in battle stance too. Throwndown replaced Disarming Glare (now removed from the game).
- Early Feral Druid Tree will be redesigned.
- Typhoon will be back in the Talent Tree
- Judgement of Wisdom removed from the game entirely. Only one judgement will exist causing a debuff on the target which applies the effects of Judgement of Light and Justice simultaneously.
- Improved Devotion Aura is gone in the protection talent tree. Improved Concentration Aura stays. There are talents that, say, increase healing on targets of your auras.
- The biggest change classes-wide in Cataclysm is definitely the Paladin’s new resource named Holy Power. This will be a third bar beneath the health and mana bars. You replenish Holy Power by casting Crusader Strike, Holy Shock and other talents. You can consume the wholesome of Holy Power to gain other abilities. All three specs get a different ability if I got it right. Holy Paladins, for example, gain Word of Glory (instant mana-free heal). Retribution Paladins can consume Holy Power to gain a buff named Inquisition, Templar’s Verdict or to increase Divine Storm’s damage. Protection Paladins can consume Holy Power to gain an extended duration on Holy Shield.
Templar’s Verdict: An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all applications of Holy Power to increase damage dealt:
1 Holy Power: 55% Weapon Damage
2 Holy Power: 125% Weapon Damage
3 Holy Power: 225% Weapon Damage
- Protection paladins will refresh Divine Plea on melee hit via a talent or trained ability.
- The Holy Paladin will get several new heals:
- Healing Hands: AOE heal-over-time on players standing near the paladin.
Light of Dawn: 30-yard range cone heal.
Divine Light: Similar to Greater Heal (priest spell).
Word of Glory: Mana-less instant heal. Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for a specific amount per application of Holy Power (0 mana cost, 0 cooldown, instant cast).
- Demon Soul is designed to be a burst damage power-up ability for non-Demonology Warlocks in PvE and PvP.
- Early demonology talent changes coming.
- No more stones or figurines to summon Infernal (AoE melee) or Doomguard (powerful ranged caster).
- New talent tree changes in development for Shadow Priests.
- Leap of Faith doesn’t remove movement impairing effects and causes threat. Must be used wisely.
- Dark Simulacrum reduced to 1 minute cooldown in an upcoming build.
- Runic Empowerment changes coming — search the Q&A below for details [keyword: Runic Empowerment].
- Enhancement Shamans will get a weapon damage boost for Stormstrike and Lava Lash.
- The design goal for Aspect of the Fox is to allow the Hunter a mobile dps and kiting aspect.
- Mana regeneration will require healers to deal damage against bosses, and to throw heals here and there when it is needed. This new mechanic seems to encourage healers to help kill the boss during downtime, and to do something other than spamming heals or overhealing. Otherwise, those who don’t deal damage, will find out they will go out of mana quicker than usual. This new damage-dealing-healer mindset will certainly be interesting.
- New Class-specific quests at level 20 and level 50 will be available. These will send you to specific dungeons to reward you with blue loot otherwise not available elsewhere.
- Each point of intellect grants one point of spell power, except for the first 10 points. Caster weapons will fill the gap with loads of spell power plus intellect.
- Mastery Previews won’t be ready until at least two weeks from now. No ETA.
- Expect Gnome / Dwarf starting location quest changes.
- Most Races might get a player model art redesign some time in the future.
|Will Rend be refreshed by Thunderclap on all targets used with Blood and Thunder?|
Yes. The idea is that you Rend once and then Thunderclap from then on. We still hope it’s an optional talent, not the only way warriors can AoE tank.
Is there any intent to bring back the On A Pale Horse talent for death knights, possibly in a different tree?
Will each Mage talent tree be on a level PvE and PvP footing, or do you plan to make them bias to specific modes?
With the 31-point tree, many talents still cost two or three points. Is this going to be changed, as it basically increases their cost?
Slam’s design is pretty archaic and not very fun. Is there any chance of Slam becoming an instant-attack baseline ability?
How will the Demon Soul talent work? Is it like a replacement for Demonology’s Metamorphosis, another cooldown to pop, or…?
How do the mastery bonuses work now that they don’t show up on the talent interface anymore?
Why is Vampiric Touch being changed back after the 3.0 Replenishment revamp?
Will druids finally get shapeshifting on a separate global cooldown like hunter aspects & warrior stances?
Do you consider Primal Wisdom or Shamanistic Rage “required” so Enhancement shaman won’t run out of mana? Is running out of mana intended to be a danger?
Will mages get pets for Arcane and Fire specializations at any time?
With each expansion boss mechanics become more and more complex. Don’t you think that bosses will be overcomplicated soon?
Any thought to having Retribution paladins use spell power plate to help put Holy paladins on equal footing as other healers?
Have some of the old talents been made into new glyphs?
In general, do you expect mana-saving talents to be something all players take, or are they designed to be optional utility?
Will there be account-wide Achievements? If so, can we expect to see things like vanity gifts for having multiple characters?
I’m excited about the Smite mechanic in Discipline. Are you going to do anything about hit so that mechanic can be effective?
If every specialization is intended to take their 31-point talent, why is it not baseline at the level you could acquire it?
Are all characters getting 5% stun/fear reduction baseline since they are no longer talents?
Some of the new talent trees for healers seem to emphasize a style of “mana regeneration by dealing damage.” Is that intentional? If so, why?
How does Smoke Bomb help me take on a Frost mage? Isn’t Blizzard a pretty trivial counter to keep me in combat?
Please talk about Lightwell. There has been much wailing about it on priest forums. Are you intent on keeping it in?
What about some class specific quests for Cataclysm? I enjoyed them in the early levels of WoW!
Are Fury Warriors still going to see a new attack to fill the loss of Whirlwind? Any insight?
Do you expect anyone, alts or new players, to level as a healer specialization? Do you think locking them to Holy or Restoration early is bad?
What class are you currently most happy with how the talents are currently set up? Is there one you feel needs more work?
What is the intent and thoughts on changing the rune cost of Scourge Strike?
Can we finally have Soul Link baseline, or at least give each tree its own defense mechanic so that we aren’t forced into Demonology for PvP?
Can Master Summoner become default for all warlocks? 6-second cast time is long enough for a pet.
Will Whirlwind still be a part of a Fury warrior’s rotation on single mobs or will it be multiple mobs only?
How much of an impact will the new medium glyphs have on the fun factor of choices in the new 31-point talent trees?
Incidentally, the new tiers are called Prime, Major, and Minor. Majors are the new Mediums. Glyph of Mutilate would be a Prime.
Concussion Blow is rarely used these days outside of PvP. Any plans for it? Will you unlink it from Vigilance?
Are there any plans to add Ghostcrawler in-game as a critter or elite crab?
Where do you see priests fitting in the healing world? They seem very ‘jack of all, master of none’ with the new trees.
You’ve stated warlock trees have a way to go. Any plans you’d like to share? Early Demonology in specific seems really boring.
Will Holy priests get some fun talents, like Evangelism and Archangel in the Discipline tree? At the moment it will be expensive for Holy to take those.
Are there plans to give more procs to some classes to make the rotations a little more interesting?
Any plan to make “Crit Immunity” passive from choosing a tank tree instead of spending talents on it?
I don’t care about Real ID, new talent points, or ponies, but I must have a double rainbow in a city so all can bask in its glory!
Let’s talk fashion. Any chance we could get a tophat AND monocle to display at the same time?
Death knight tanks in Cataclysm seem to be gaining a lot of defensive buttons. As a death knight I love it, b
Since implementing and receiving feedback on the new death knight rune system, have you made any changes to it you can reveal to us?
What’s the plan to give Subtlety some pressure versus plate? A slow-ticking Rupture isn’t going to cut it. Shadow damage during Dance?
Do you plan to give the Unholy tree a more centralized focus, instead of split between Scourge Strike, diseases, ghoul, auto-attack, Anti-Magic Shell?
With the new implemented Lava Surge, will Chain Lightning become useful for multiple mobs only?
Any plans to alleviate Affliction’s target-switching woes? Bane of Havoc used to be in reach of all specializations. Now it’s only for Destruction.
Will the ability to run while shooting affect PvP or PvE battles more? What was the initial intention of the new ability?
Is Moonfire designed to be a damage-over-time spell with an instant cast nuke, or the other way around?
How is Heroic Leap working so far? Is it progressing better than your last attempt at putting it in-game?
Will Leap of Faith get some sort of secondary buff? Pulling a high aggro target to a clothie healer seems dangerous.
What is the goal when re-designing the paladin class? How do you plan to change rotations, talents, etc?
A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power
Cat and Bear druid builds are only off by about 3 talent points. Why not just consolidate fully at that point?
A lot of Shadow priests’ talents seem mandatory. Any chance for a trimmed down tree? We feel like we need to pick all of them.
Is there a plan to support dual-wield tanking for death knights (something like Threat of Thassarian versus Might of Frozen Wastes)?
Dark Simulacrum for death knight has a pretty long cooldown. What’s the reasoning behind that exactly? (just curious)
With Elemental Fury becoming a passive for Elemental shaman, will Enhancement be seeing more physical based damage?
Are there plans to give more procs to some classes to make the rotations a little more interesting?
Will Spirit Link make a return after all? Ghostcrawler mentioned he’d like to bring it back, but no sighting of it yet.
What is the design choice behind the focus recharge in Aspect of the Fox, is it meant to replace Viper?
Can we expect more fun talents and maybe even shiny new abilities in further iterations of the new talent trees?
Are there any plans of making totems utility only (e.g. Earthbind, Grounding) and turning buff totems into auras or cast buffs?
Will we be seeing more talents that reward use of rarely used spells (e.g. Destruction now opens with Soul Fire, which was barely used before)?
Will Arcane spells do more damage with higher Lunar power on the scale? And will more Mastery increase that bonus damage?
Will there be a “hard cap” for Mastery rating (to avoid having 101% chance of getting a critical block, for example)?
How will pets scale with Mastery their masters’ Mastery?
The Combat tree seems really lackluster; i was taking talents like +armor and Recuperate to fill up my tree. Any plans to buff it?
Is your goal to not having to use a talent specialization solely for PvP? If so, please elaborate on how you plan to accomplish that?
Recuperate makes me feel like a tiny unkillable god of death. …you aren’t going to nerf this are you?
How do you optimize the sub-specialization choices for an Assassination rogue? Some needed talents are not reachable in the current trees.
Death knights are the only tanks without a stun, which is pretty key for a few things, like adds on Heroic Lich King. Any plans to give them one?
Will Hunters be able to pet-tank through Cataclysm (even if just beast masters)?
Are Protection paladins still going to refresh Divine Plea on melee hit (via a talent or trained ability)?
What is the conversion rate for intellect to spell power for Cataclysm? Will it differ with each class?
We realize this slightly reduces the spell power per budget on items, so we also increased the amount of spell power granted by caster weapons, and that increase entirely makes up for the deficit. Those weapons will continue to have spell power as well as intellect, and the amount of spell power will be significantly larger than in 3.3.5.
Ever thought of changing tiers to unlock with 3 Points instead of 5, now that 5 tier talents are gone?
Are we going to be able to view the Mastery talent previews for Cataclysm as soon as we can?
Last time I checked the Feral druid tree, there were only 5 points in the first tier which means NO choices. Is that getting fixed?
There are still “un-fun” talents in the 3-point trees like Spirit Tap. Are damage-dealing specialization mana regeneration talents that may feel mandatory staying in game?
Power Infusion: not in beta talents. Coming back, or gone for good?
It seems that our DPS with Runic Empowerment is very random, will that be changed?
How does Deep Healing work? Will it heal severely less at high health that it is difficult to keep a target at a safe level of health?
How are you trying to separate the play styles of the hunter specializations? What makes Cobra Shot feel different from Steady Shot?
What are you planning for Doomguard and Infernal? That Demonology talent is quite… strange.
Can you give us a sneak peek at one or two of the new Retribution abilities or talents?
If Judgement of Wisdom is being removed from the game, are paladins getting a new Judgement so we don’t all have to use Judgement of Light?
I PvP a lot in the level 10-19 bracket. What are some cool new abilities we’ll see at level 10 in Warsong Gulch?
Concerning Marksmanship hunters, why is the PvP talent Resistance is Futile a prerequisite for PvE talent Marked for Death?
What’s the deal with Typhoon? Is it going back into talents or will it be a standard druid spell?
Skull Bash has a 1-minute cooldown. Is it supposed to be that way, or can we expect it to be lowered to the likes of Shield Bash?
A druid gets Swiftmend at level 10 when selecting Restoration as a specialization, but it’s also a talent in the tree. What is the plan there?
Can you provide some clarity on the third Mastery that is affected by item stats?
Any word on that cosmetic Tree of Life Form glyph? Some players are sad to lose Tree of Life Form completely.
So, Worgen get top hats, and that’s awesome. Are there any plans to give Goblins something cool? Maybe those sunglasses?
Will we see these talent changes in Wrath of the Lich King, before the release of Cataclysm, like we did with the last expansion?
Druids were always a “jack of all trades, but master of none” and usually mocked when specializing. Will new talents change this?
Will World of Warcraft ever get a new weapon type?
Why not make each tier a 3-point system instead of 5 to advance?
Why does fury have two 31-point talents? Wouldn’t it be simpler to merge them so one doesn’t have to re-specialize when new weapons drop?
We expect the player to decide which type of dual wielder they are and collect weapons and gear that fit that type.
How will brand new players know what a good leveling specialization is? Are they expected to know what site to visit and read up?
Why was the Feral druid’s mana reduction cost removed from King of the Jungle? And what happened to two combo points on critical strikes?
Hi, it’s me Rend! I’m sort of terrible, but if tanks are having to use me in Cataclysm, may I be a good ability now?!
Is your goal to not have players have a separate talent specialization solely for PvP? If so, please elaborate on how you plan to accomplish that?
With the new 31-point tree system, how will players use dual-specialization? Do we get to choose a new tree when we first use our secondary specialization (off-spec)?
Moonkin: What are your plans for Eclipse, and why does it infect so many of our talents? What are your plans to make Moonkin fun?
It was said that players would be allowed to choose based on their play style. Do you believe fewer talents will accomplish this?
Get those fingers cracked and ready up to spend all weekend day and night playing StarCraft II Beta, because that’s the last you will experience of this historic 12-years-wait treat and memento.
StarCraft II Beta will draw to an end this upcoming Monday, July 19th in preparation to the midnight launch on the 27th. The withdrawal symptoms will drive you nuts till launch date. Darn you, Blizzard!!! But, love you too.
Nethaera revealed the new plans for the Battle.net Forums Real ID System as a response to fan feedback provided after the whole Real ID first name and last name mess that spread wildly throughout the global internet.
Blizzard has a new plan to address the feedback and concerns about customer privacy. Among these new decisions is the introduction of an opt-out to the “Friends of Friends List”, a forum post rating system and an optional Facebook Friend Search feature that pulls your friend list from Facebook to populate your StarCraft II in-game friend list.
Read the full list of answers to common community questions about Battle.net Real ID.
Share your opinions with Blizzard here, and with our community in the comments area.
J!NX has a new limited-time offer! Buy $30 or more on any WoW, StarCraft II, Diablo III or any non-Blizzard T-Shirt and get a 15% off your purchase by entering the code MEEPS (in CAPS) at checkout.
Offer valid until 11:59pm (PDT) on 7/16/10. Not valid in combination with any other sale or discount.
Several Blizzard developers will be signing copies during the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Midnight Opening in London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Moscow on July 26th.
Carl Chimes (Lead software engineer, StarCraft II) will be at Game, a shop located in 100 Oxford Street Westminster, London, W1D 1LL, UK since 10:30pm.
Rob McNaughton (Lead technical artist, StarCraft II) will be present at 10:30pm in the Media Markt (Map) located at:
Berlin-Mitte Grunerstraße 20
Dustin Browder (Game Director, Starcraft II) will be at FNAC – Champs Elysées (Map) signing copies of Starcraft II at 7:30pm (19:30).
74, av. des Champs-Elysées
Chris Sigaty (Production Director, Starcraft II) will be signing copies at the Webhallen store (Map) at 7pm (19:00) located in:
Tony Hsu (Game producer, StarCraft II) will be signing at 6pm (20:00) in Media Markt (Map) located at:
Blizzard is now offering a digital download of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty for those who will rather not get the boxed DVD game. Once downloaded, you may activate it during the release date.
G4TV sat with World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Production Director J. Allen Brack and Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton to discuss further details of their plans for the upcoming WoW expansion currently in beta phase.
There have been some changes to Durotar. The most notable are the relocation of the zeppelins of Undercity and Stranglethorn Vale, and that of Borean Tundra. These are now within Orgrimmar on the upper levels in the back of the Valley of Strength.
The Horde’s Kor’kron Deathbringers are now fighting the Burning Blade Fanatics outside the entrance to the Skull Rock cave. The goblins built a port at Bladefist Bay, just east of the Skull Rock cave; and a massive Goblin ship is seen there.
Important to note, that all the exterior of Orgrimmar is filled with tents and machinery. Lots of laborers, overseers, and archers. Furthermore, all these NPCs are tagged as Dranosh’ar archers, Dranosh’ar Laborers, and so on.
The Cataclysm didn’t leave Durotar unscathed. The Tirigarde Keep was hit by a tsunami. You can see the northern shore near Tirigarde has deep marks on the sand as a memory of a massive wave that hit the coast and reached deep into the in-land. All the Kul’Tiras fleet is now wrecked ships laying ashore on the beach and in-land. That Tsunami is probably how the Thunder Ridge and the now Southfury Watershed got submerged underwater.
The Northwatch Expeditionary Force have taken Tirigarde Keep. You can see Kul’Tiras Marine corpses still on the ground. Occassionally, the Northwatch Marines will kneel and sob before a corpse. Lieutenant Palliter is now at the Keep, instead of Lieutenant Benedict who used to have the key to the chest that contained Admiral Proudmoore’s letter…
Most of the western coast of Durotar is partially underwater. The Razormane still inhabit the area, nevertheless. This area, west of Razor Hill is now known as the Southfury Watershed.
Remember Misha Tor’kren at the farmstead northwest of Razor Hill? The quest was titled Lost but Not Forgotten. Her house is partially destroyed, and her farmstead is underwater. She’s not anywhere to be seen. She’s replaced by Grandmatron Tekla.
The Thunder Ridge made its debut in Warcraft III: Frozen Throne with the orc map campaign featuring Rexxar and Chen Stormstout sent there to retrieve reagents. They got a bit toasted by local Thunder Lizards in the attempt. In World of Warcraft, we used to go here to kill that dreadful level 12 goblin warlock Fizzle Darkclaw and his burning blade acolytes, of course, after facing some of these electrifying Thunder Lizards.
After the Cataclysm, Thunder Ridge is now completely underwater. Now all you see in the depths is several Drowned Thunder Lizards; and golden stonefish swimming back and forth. Curiously, the corpse of Fizzle Darkclaw is still there, and he still has his hand. The mission was to get his claw.
Some of the low level quests may have changed drastically, not just due to the physical repercussions of the Cataclysm, and the tsunami that submerged half of Durotar, but because simply continuity dictates that some things are no more. After thwarting the plans of the Kolkar centaur, near the Valley of Trials, they no longer reside in the area. Now the Northwatch Expedition Force is where the centaur tents used to be, and have a small post by the beach.
In other areas, continuity didn’t affect much other enemy races. The Razormane still inhabit Durotar, and surprisingly the Harpies continue to live in the Drygulch Ravine and Razorwind Canyon — so close to Orgrimmar and Razor Hill.
It will be interesting to play Durotar to find out how much the low level quests have been changed. Personally, I like the Echo Isles, and the changes to Orgrimmar. The city looks so different, and its valleys are completely redesigned with so much detail. There is a back alley at the Valley of Honor that leads straight into Azshara into a goblin area. More as I continue exploring.
Stonetalon Mountains is among the regions of Kalimdor with several changes across the board not only environment-wise, but quests have been deeply affected by the redesign of the land.
For example, the Horde might remember the entrance of Stonetalon mountain from the Barrens, just west of the Crossroads. There used to be two Horde towers and roadblock. Not far from there, down that hill was a small tent with a Tauren and a female orc. From one you got the quests to avenge his tribe by killing the Grimtotem Tribesmen. The other one sent you to kill the Venture Co. deforesting the area.
The tent is still there in Cataclysm, but the Alliance dominated the Horde in this front and built a huge wall guarded by ballistas. These are led by Commander Singleton at Honor’s Stand which has two Alliance towers, and another one in construction.
Malaka’jin looks untouched, except the Witch Doctor Jin’Zil is no longer in the cave. He’s dancing a few yards outside the cave. Thus, that quest where you are sent to gather some ingredients at Stonetalon Peak to poison the Night Elf prisoners in his cave is no more.
Find out more after the break and look out for tons of spoilers and the 78 screenshots (identifying each zone with title).
There is a Horde force in Malaka’jin known as the Krom’gar. These are composed of Orcs, Trolls and Tauren. Some of these Krom’gar Marauders can be seen all around Camp Aparaje and the Grimtotem Post really beating up the Grimtotem there, where you used to kill the Grimtotem Ruffians and Mercenaries before. Thus the quest to rescue the female Tauren Kaya from Chieftain Grundig Darkcloud’s tent is also gone in Cataclysm. She’s nowhere to be found in that area.
Chieftain Grundig Darkcloud seems to have been upgraded to Elite, and he’s surrounded by six Grimtotem aligned in a star-shape, with him inside the circle walking within it. Does seem like a group quest. Curiously, there is a random event where several Horde NPCs ambush him, and die miserably to him and his six-pack bodyguards and his thunderclap spammage.
Northwatch Expedition Base Camp
Behind the Grimtotem Post, high in the mountain can be accessed an alliance base with a flightmaster: the Northwatch Expedition Base Camp. Curiously the stable has an Innkeeper. Next to the base is a mine.
Deep Reaches Mine
The Deep Reaches mine is one of those huge labyrinths with rails. Within are several frightened miners, and Raging Earth Elementals. If you are Alliance, you should beware that everywhere you will find Horde Krom’gar assassins in stealth-mode every few steps. There are three NPCs at the entrance, so this is likely a level 28 quest. Horde players level 25-36 should stay clear from the Northwatch Expedition Base Camp because the guards here are level 40.
Not far from the Alliance base to the east, and behind the Grimtotem Post can be found an ex-Explorer’s League excavation only known as the Unearthed Grounds. On the west entrance to this excavation site is a large group of Alliance Footmen standing guard.
There are several dwarf corpses across the excavation site, now occupied by Goblin Stripminers who are protected by Krom’gar Blood Guards. In short, the Alliance was owned and lost the Unearthed Grounds.
Boulderslide Ravine and Boulderslide Cavern look unchanged. By the way, there are several Stonetalon Rams added to the region, on high grounds.
Remember that secluded area with the Deepmoss Venomspiter spiders where you could complete the Arachnophobia quest by killing the big spider? That area unexplicably is no longer secluded, it is now a big valley named Webwinder Hollow, fully accessible from the Webwinder Path. The spider boss to kill in Cataclysm is named Queen Silith (lvl 27). It’s twice as big as my Violet Proto-Drake. Now that’s scary.
The Windshear Valley was once annoying to traverse due to the several spiders and Storm Lizards you encountered to access the Windshear Crag, or to do the Goblin quest or the deepmoss egg quest. Now it is full of small tents with Alliance Northwatch Footmen.
The Windshear Crag is no longer occupied by the Venture Co. It’s now a battleground between the Horde and the Alliance. On the east side is the Horde’s Krom’Gar Fortress with a Hot Air Baloon, an Inn, mailbox, flightmaster, and a couple vendors. A Quartermaster is found there, with no loot table at this time in beta.
Some goblin cannons may be seen on the edge of the mountain, which suggest a special quest to bombard Alliance below. There’s a Big Daddy sawmachine robot for a quest, and a counterpart at the Windshear Hold, the Alliance base.
The Deep Reaches Mine mentioned before ends as an exit right beneath Krom’Gar Fortress, which contains Horde peons within.
The Windshear Crag changed radically. Instead of Venture Co. Deforesters, now we have an all-out-war between many Goblin Harvesters (the robots) versus Gnomebot Pounders, and Goblin Technicians versus Gnome Engineers. It’s a dynamite palooza from both ends. These are found all across the southern side of the Blackwolf River.
On the upper side of the Blackwolf River are the Krom’Gar Infantry across the land, and several cages filled with Captured Huntress NPCs. Obviously, an Alliance quest to free the prisoners.
Just northeast of the Windshear Crag used to be the path full of spiders leading to the Talondeep Pass, a cave tunnel that connected Stonetalon Mountains with Ashenvale. That’s no more. The Goblins used dynamite and drilling machines to demolish the mountain. It’s now a path instead of a tunnel.
High above this path is an Alliance post named the Trueshot Point, led by the night elf Kalen Trueshot and his crew of female Stardust Archers. There is some gnome Sniper Cannons here to help him shoot down Hellscream War Riders atop wyverns. Very likely an Alliance quest.
On the southeast side of the Talondeep Path is a Horde camp named The Fold. Here you might find some quests from the Incinerator, and two vendors: an engineer who can repair, and a Trader for profession materials.
That huge water wheel gizmo at the Windshear Crag’s Cragpool Lake is still there, and it continues to be operated by the Venture Co. The only property they still control. Curiously Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle is still there. Didn’t the Tinker’s Union goblin Sputtervalve in Ratchet ordered his lackey Ziz Fizziks to kill Gerenzo and to get his mechanical arm as proof? Hmm.
The Sunrock Retreat looks exactly the same, except for two things. The Blood Elf female Braelyn Firehand is no longer there by the flightmaster. She was one of the very few blood elves available in World of Warcraft classic, before Burning Crusade introduced them as a playable race. To remind you, she gave the quest titled Cenarius’ Legacy where you had to go to Stonetalon Peak to kill Son of Cenarius x 4, Daughter of Cenarius x 4 and Cenarion Botanist x 4. She also asks you to kill the keeper of the grove Ordanus at the Raynewood Retreat in Ashenvale, and to infiltrate the Talon Den in Stonetalon Peak to retrieve an item that would be your reward for the deeds.
The other NPC that disappeared was the orc Mor’rogal and his water elemental Tsunaman from the high ground above Sunrock Retreat. Mor’rogal used to give you the quest titled Earthen Arise sending you to infiltrate the Boulderslide Cavern to kill the Earthen NPC Goggeroc.
Tsunaman used to give you the quest titled Elemental War sending you to kill Fire Elementals at the Charred Vale to obtain 10 Incendrites. Neptulon the Tidehunter wanted these extinguished. Your job was to make Tsunaman the water elemental gain the Tribunal’s favor.
Both of these NPCs are gone, and the quests along with them it seems.
Ruins of Eldre’Thar
Remember how annoying it was to go all around north of the Sunrock Retreat to reach the Charred Vale, in order to reach Desolace? No worries now. Just above the Webwinder Hollow is a new path named Sishir Canyon which goes straight across the mountain into the Charred Vale. The Sishir Canyon, however, crosses through a new area known as Ruins of Eldre’Thar.
There are several Highborne marked as Undead. They seem to be ghosts who talk about Xavius, Queen Azshara and Sargeras. It’s not clear to me from their dialogue if this is a replay or echoe of what happened 10,000 years ago, or if this is part of the Nightmare. As these Highborne ghosts talk among each other, there are Emerald Spirits in the shape of owls flying around, which definitely seem to entail this is part of the Nightmare. Considering that Lord Xavius is directly behind the Nightmare as revealed in Richard A. Knaak’s World of WarCraft: Stormrage, one has to wonder if Xavius is somehow back in action in Cataclysm.
The dialogue below mentions Malfurion and his dirt-loving brothers. This in particular contradicts the notion that this is a ten milennia memory replay, because in the War of the Ancients trilogy there weren’t any night elf druids helping Malfurion. Only priestesses of the moon, militia and arcane spellcasters assisted Malfurion. Twitch, twitch!
Is this a past echoe of what happened during the War of the Ancients? Or is this a present dialogue?
I can’t ignore when Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson told me during the video interview at New York Comic Con (Feb 2009) there were big plans for Sargeras.
The Charred Vale
The Charred Vale was definitely regrown by the Tauren Druid Tammra Windfield, who gave you the quest titled New Life. You can still see green land and pine trees there, but the Charred Vale is now Charred worser than before after its rebirth. A black drake flies the area that is now scorched and devastated by a volcano and lava channels which pour all across the Charred Vale and into the ocean where you can see steam and bubbles in the water.
The interior and surroundings of the Charred Vale’s mini-volcano has fire elementals, Black whelps, and black dragon eggs.
Remember that large canyon leading to the Charred Vale where you could fight Fire Elementals and Basilisks? I even remember there were quests for these, specially the Basilisks. In Cataclysm, forget about that narrow canyon. It is now a huge valley named Battlescar Valley, and it is currently an all-out-war between the Alliance and the Horde. A lot of Krom’gar NPCs are fighting Night Elves here mano-a-mano and several catapults and glaive throwers shooting ammo left and right.
I doubt you have seen in World of Warcraft such a battlefield before with so many NPC vs NPC interaction.
There are several villages here in the midst of this huge war. The Alliance has the Tal’Darah Overlook and the Tal’Darah Grove. A bit farther southwest, is the Farwatcher’s Glen, an Alliance village with an Inn. It’s mostly inhabited by Worgen. The first image below is the Tal’Darah Grove. The second is Tal’Darah Overlook. The last three images are from the Worgen village Farwatcher’s Glen, not far to the southwest of Tal’Darah Grove.
On the other side of the Battlescar Valley is the Horde’s Tauren village named Cliffwalker Post, with an elevator. This village is high above the entrance to Stonetalon Peak.
All those quests to kill wild wyverns, gather gaea seeds, and all the stuff around Mirkfallon Lake is no more. The Mirkfallon Lake is now known as the Sludgewerks — a Horde goblin town on the north side of the lake, and an Oil Refinery at the Mirkfallon Lake.
The Pridewing Wyverns were relocated to the southeast side of the Sludgewerks. There’s a path uphill to reach them. Any ooze or other bestiary of the area was removed. Now goblins and hobgoblins wander all the area around the contaminated lake. It is now an oil refinery.
Last and not the least, Stonetalon Peak. It’s awesome. As you climb the hill that leads to this place, you will see several Krom’gar grunts, witch doctors and shamans battling Ancients of War who are protecting the entrance to Stonetalon Peak.
And believe me when I say you have never seen something quite like this. The shamans hurl fiery tornados at the Ancients of War. And in return, the Ancients of War roll giant boulders downhill to crush everyone that crosses on their path. I mean it. Literally. I was on my flying mount, and a boulder went past me beneath me. I felt a short knockback. Even at level 80 my character was killed by three boulders while I hovered near the ground. Each boulder causes over 7000 damage — pretty lethal for a level 30 Horde or Alliance character who will have to go frogger through this canyon to reach Stonetalon Peak either by dodging the flaming tornadoes or the rolling boulders.
Going past this annoyance, you reach the Stonetalon Peak. Last you visited the place as a Horde player, you were sent here by the blood elf in Sunrock Retreat to kill some Sons and daughters of Cenarius, and Cenarion Botanists. They are still there, but something has gone horribly wrong.
The first sight you will see is an invasion of tendrils coming off the ground. They will grab NPCs, and even the beasts and toss them back and forth endlessly. These also cast shadowbolts if they can’t reach you.
At the center of the Stonetalon Peak is a big Faceless One named Harbinger Aph’lass. The Storm Peak Inn is completely destroyed and ablaze, so don’t count on that flightmaster anymore. Some of the Cenarion Druids that used to live there are now corrupted and fighting the other unaffected Cenarion druids, and dryads.
The Talon Den seems unaffected by the Horde visit last time the blood elf female sent us there. The only difference here is the invasion of tendrils and the faceless one. Looks like the Nightmare is hitting this place pretty good.
The Cataclysm seriously changed Stonetalon Mountains. It’s a sight to travel through this entire place and to see all the work the developers put into reshaping the region and making it far more interesting. I look forward to leveling a Worgen and Goblin in here to find out what’s the new lore behind all these new contemporary changes based post-Cataclysm.
View all 78 Screenshots of Stonetalon Mountains.
The Creative Team is definitely cooking something interesting in Mount Hyjal. Throughout my exploration of Mount Hyjal in closed beta, I found several key characters of the Warcraft universe who either have returned, or make their first appearance in the game, straight from the novels.
Did I itch your curiousity? Good. However, that would be a Spoiler.
Malfurion Stormrage may be found at the edge of Archimonde’s Vengeance, the huge crater on the northern edge of Mount Hyjal, and a bit west of Nordrassil.
Baron Geddon has returned from Molten Core to lay siege to Nordrassil. Only problem is that Malfurion and his elite team of druids and wardens are holding him off at the center of the huge crater, while a druid is spamming entangling roots on him.
Cenarius and Jarod Shadowsong can be found at the Gates of Sothann, on the southeastern corner of Mount Hyjal. They have a large group of druids and green drakes ready for battle.
Those of you wondering how Malfurion got to be here, when he has been missing in the Emerald Nightmare, the answer to that is in Richard A. Knaak’s World of WarCraft: Stormrage.
Cenarius was last mentioned by Malfurion to be fighting the Nightmare alongside him within the Emerald Dream. How Cenarius came to be reborn in the physical plane is yet unknown. The novel didn’t even spotlight him.
The one cameo that will definitely awe is the return of Jarod Shadowsong, brother of Illidan’s warden: Maiev Shadowsong.
Jarod commandered the Night Elf forces and even the Ancients against the Burning Legion’s invasion during the War of the Ancients. Ever since, any record of his whereabouts was unknown. The Warcraft Encyclopedia doesn’t offer any clues either. Out of nowhere, Jarod has returned in the most dire moment of Azeroth since the War of the Ancients — well, the Third War was dire enough, but he didn’t see fit to come out of the rock he’s been hiding to do anything about it.
What plans does Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson and their crew have for the future of Azeroth, Malfurion, Cenarius, and Jarod Shadowsong? Only time can tell.
One big question that comes to my mind is, will we learn any of what’s going on in Mount Hyjal in the upcoming Christie Golden’s World of Warcraft: The Shattering? I really hope so.
The patch notes for the latest StarCraft II Beta Patch 16 are now available. This new version of the client is more attuned to the retail version of the game. All the A.I. difficulties are also available for play. Go ahead and test this feature, and make sure to play around with the StarCraft II Editor.
Blizzard Entertainment announced a big change to the forums that will cause a bit of controversy. Thus it is important to share your constructive feedback with the developers and let them know your feelings in a calmed and rational manner.
The current WoW and StarCraft II forums will be known as classic forums. These won’t change, and won’t be part of the change. You will continue to use them.
However, the new WoW and StarCraft II forums that will use the RealID system will display your full real name and last name when you post. You can optionally post on those two new forums. Otherwise, use the classic forums if hyou wish to remain anonymous.
Another discount special to stock up your World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Diablo III T-shirts collection to wear during BlizzCon, at home, school or work.
Grab all the T-shirts you want, and at checkout enter the code 07041776 (those are zeros, not O’s) to receive 25% off all products. Offer valid until 11:59pm on 7/8/10. Not valid in combination with any other sale or discount.
The convention-hopper Keith R.A. DeCandido just boarded an airplane from Indianapolis where he attended InConJunction 30 as its Guest of Honor. He’s back in New York City, but not for long, because he is heading to Maryland.
If you are a Trekkie, or a Star Wars junkie, or any other sci-fi nerd and you are attending the Shore Leave 32 at the Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland — you might want to cross paths with Keith R.A. DeCandido throughout July 9 – 11, 2010.
Bring your copies of StarCraft: Ghost novels and manga; or World of WarCraft: Cycle of Hatred for book signing. Shake hands and take a photo with the writer. Send it our way to post it in the front page.
While Keith has no Blizzard-related panels at the event, if you are going to the event for kicks concerning other sci-fi worlds, still feel free to approach him with your Blizzard collections for signing. You can find his three-days schedule here.
I posted over at Diablo.IncGamers my thoughts on a recent article by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame) which denounced the piracy of his Diablo: Demonsbane. You can read my post here.
I invite everyone to use word of mouth, social means to support Robert’s message. Say no to piracy. Buy the Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft books in either eBook or paperback/hardcover formats. Read and enjoy. Then continue to support these amazing writers, publishers and Blizzard’s Creative Team.
/takes a deep breath … Games.on.net got ahold of five Cataclysm Beta Keys to giveaway. You have until July 8 to participate.
As for Blizzplanet’s Cataclysm Beta Keys, be patient a shortwhile until Blizzard Entertainment assigns beta keys to all their registered fansites. So stay alert on Blizzplanet and other fansites.
From past experience, you might see gaming networks giving beta keys at some point. We will post links once those are active to benefit our visitors from such knowledge.