Blizzard Entertainment has revived the Screenshot of the Day feature with a twist. For a short time, they will release one World of Warcraft: Cataclysm screenshot each day. Today’s screenshot shows a Gilgoblin, a sea goblin. We showed the concept art a few days ago, photo taken by Warlock (Scrollsoflore) during his tour through the World of Warcraft department during the Starcraft II Press Event (April 19).
You can view more Cataclysm Concept Art from the recent Blizzard Tour here.
Blizzard announced a new World of Warcraft merchandise giveaway from SteelSeries and J!NX. Participate for the chance at winning some computer peripheral and T-Shirt swag.
|SteelSeries and J!NX have grouped up for three weeks of World of Warcraft giveaways. You can enter to win a prize pack of World of Warcraft peripherals, apparel, and more sure to make you the envy of your fellow players. Just visit the J!NX and SteelSeries Facebook fan pages to enter! The contests run 4/29-5/19.|
Update: Stay tuned. =)
Blizzard released the StarCraft II Beta Mac Client right on track by the end of April as stated a few weeks ago. I don’t have details yet whether there will be a fansites mac beta key giveaway, so for now it’s safer bet to go to your Battle.net account and make sure you update the link that says Beta Profile Settings.
Select all three franchises: Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo.
Download and run the beta opt-in application (make sure to select the mac version). This will check out your system spec, and register you into the Beta opt-in pool. Whenever they send beta invites via email, you might be one of the winners. I will update if I hear any news on fansites beta key giveaways for mac players.
|Here are the requirements for the Starcraft II Beta, these may change when the actual game is launched, but I expect the requirements not to differ too much. Since Apple computers are being used more and more for gaming, we will now have to deal with what the PC side has dealt with for years, for better games you will need better systems.
MAC Minimum System Requirements:
MAC Recommended System Requirements:
*Note: Due to potential programming changes, the Minimum System Requirements for this game may change over time.
There is some PTR character copy activity — still disable — but one of the PTR servers is titled BlizzCon Event (PvE); and Nethaera just announced an unusual service update. There was no description of what this service entails. Could it be related to the PTR servers? We will have to wait and see. The release of this Cataclysm: Echo Isles info might be a sign that things are gearing up in place. The question to ponder is, will it be patch 3.3.5 or will it be Cataclysm Beta?
|We will be releasing a service update shortly. If you are unable to log into the system, it means the upgrade process has begun. We’re working to limit the downtime, so please try again soon!|
|As the Darkspear trolls prepare to invade the Echo Isles and reclaim the land bestowed upon them by Thrall, we bring you a first look at these islands as they will exist in Cataclysm. After Zalazane’s fall, a dramatic discord within the Horde leadership will usher in a new era for the Darkspears as they will once again call the Echo Isles home. And this time Vol’jin refuses to run. Read more about the new introductory questing experience for trolls in Cataclysm here
After years in exile, the Darkspear trolls are preparing to invade the Echo Isles and reclaim the land once bestowed to them by Thrall. Led by Vol’jin, a wise and highly regarded Darkspear, the tribe’s bravest warriors will set out from Orgrimmar and Sen’jin Village, seeking to bring about Zalazane’s fall and begin the process of rebuilding their homes and villages on the Echo Isles. In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, new troll adventurers will begin their journey on these tiny islands off the coast of Durotar, where they’ll be able to experience this time of trial and transition firsthand.
Though the Darkspears may once again have their land, the tribe’s turmoil is far from over. The impending cataclysm will spark rivalry among the Horde leadership, and after years of running from a seemingly endless string of conflicts to preserve the Darkspear nation, Vol’jin is done fleeing. The Darkspears have reclaimed their islands and have no intention of settling elsewhere. Of course, as an untested member of the tribe, you’ll have some training to do before tackling the Darkspears’ larger matters.
Every great hero starts somewhere. As a troll of the Echo Isles, the journey begins with safeguarding your people’s well-being. Early in your adventures, you’ll be charged with protecting the local Bloodtalon raptors and hatchlings from the sorcery of a nearby sea witch, slaying the beasts that feast upon the Darkspears’ primary food sources, and assaulting the naga who’ve overrun the northern isle. But it won’t be long before Vol’jin trusts you with vital — and potentially dangerous — information about the political struggles plaguing the Horde and, ultimately, the fellow members of your tribe.
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, you’ll face these trials and more in the trolls’ new and enhanced introductory questing experience (level 1 to 5). Be steadfast and honorable, and your actions will help usher in a new era of Darkspear perseverance in a time of ultimate peril.
Chris Metzen told VG247 the WarCraft film script is basically a work in progress, so don’t expect to watch it at a cinema any time soon. Boo aside, the Vice-president of Creative Development wants the story to feel right and to leverage expectations of those who have played WarCraft games.
On the bright side, fans can tell from experience that when a Blizzard game takes long in the making and goes to several iterations, the end product is worth the wait. If the father of the WarCraft mythos wants the film’s story to be the best it can possibly be, then we can wait and trust him. You can read two more questions about the WarCraft film here.
|Are you spending a considerable amount of time on the Sam Raimi-directed Warcraft film?
Chris Metzen: I wouldn’t say “considerable” at all just yet. We’ve been through a number of story meetings, and we’re still kind of getting it together with Raimi and his team and jamming on themes that we want to chase. We’re kinda getting a lot of values together – what kind of story we want to tell, what do we want people to feel, what is the best way to look at this big franchise. We had had some script iterations previous to Raimi coming on board that were cool, that had some really good bits – sometimes a little too overcooked or a little too undercooked. We’re still trying to feel out that space, so as he came in he wanted to have fresh eyes and look at the content of Warcraft in such a way as to dig out what will most people feel: “Oh, I get it, that matches my expectations when I played.”
You can aim the camera in a hundred different directions in a place like Warcraft so it’s kind of finding that right one. But in terms of division of time, or whatever, it doesn’t take up a tremendous amount of time these days. It’s really just strategic phone calls or strategic meetings from time to time until things really get moving on the Hollywood side.
The WoW Team is looking for tips and strategies for the Eye of the Storm Battleground for an upcoming issue of the World of WarCraft The Magazine (by US Future, Inc.). You can submit them at the following forum threads in Europe or USA.
|The industrious gnomes and goblins at World of Warcraft Official Magazine are currently working on the next issue. One of its regular features is “Battlegrounds Back to Basics” – this time around covering Eye of the Storm
As part of that feature, we’re looking for hints and tips from EotS veterans. Is that you? If so, please feel free to post your favourite one-line strategies, tactics and tricks that help give you the winning edge. They can either be team oriented, or even class specific. The best suggestions will be incorporated into the feature as quotes – and of course your character will be fully credited. Remember – these should be straightforward one-liners – we’re not looking for long paragraphs packed with intricate details.
Thanks in advance to all!
With StarCraft II nearing completion, the developers invite fans to submit questions through the StarCraft Twitter page. The Q&A will focus on gameplay and art. Start gearing up your questions. If you aren’t able to attend, post your question below to forward it on your behalf.
|We will be holding our next Developer Chat on Twitter on Friday, April 30, at 5:00 p.m. PDT with StarCraft II’s production and game directors, plus Blizzard Entertainment’s senior art director. This chat session will have a general focus on StarCraft II gameplay and art.
Questions will be taken live through Twitter, so be sure to sign up for a Twitter account at https://twitter.com/signup and follow account @StarCraft in order to participate!
To submit a question for the Developer Chat, please tweet using the #BlizzChat hashtag between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. PDT on April 30. Due to the character limitation on responses within Twitter, all answers will be posted on the Battle.net forums in a dedicated thread.
You can find the last Developer Chat Q&A here: #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter – 3/12
Status: Giveaway now CLOSED. It’s over. Thanks to everyone who participated. Have fun fragging some Zerg.
The new giveaway is aimed to those among our visitors without a digital camera, scanner, or mobile who couldn’t participate in the previous photo giveaway. (Note: These keys won’t work in Mac Beta according to Blizzard).
Follow all these steps to participate.
Step 1. Go to our Blizzplanet Twitter page and Retweet this article and Follow Blizzplanet for automatic news updates. (Note: You must login to Twitter to see the retweet icon. Register to Twitter if you don’t have an account).
Step 2: Go to our Blizzplanet Facebook and press the “Like” button (after you login).
Step 3: Send to this email the link to your Twitter (retweet mush be visible) and the Facebook name used. Provide your character name and realm (WoW, Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft III name and gateway/realm)
Participating won’t guarantee a beta key. Only one entry per person. While supplies last.
This week’s stalking-spree takes us to Texas, where you can find Paul Benjamin (co-author of StarCraft Frontline Vol. 1 — “Weapon of War”, a story based on the young telepath boy Collin Phash — the son of a Dominion senator who hid the kid from the Dominion, and sought asylum with the Umojan Protectorate. The fate of the boy continues in StarCraft Ghost Academy).
Bring your copy of StarCraft Frontline Vol 1-3 with you for a chance to meet Paul Benjamin and get your copy signed. If you attend, send us photos, or videos.
Paul Benjamin is scheduled to be at the Rogue’s Gallery Comics and Games along with other comic book writers to celebrate the Free Comic Book Day Saturday, May 1, 2010 from 10:-00am – 5:00pm.
Rogue’s Gallery Comics and Games (Map)
1601 S IH-35 #360
Round Rock, TX 78664
(Interstate 35, near the Outback Steakhouse)
Phone (512) 279-8888
Status: Giveaway Closed
The following are some of the proud winners of a StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta key courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzplanet will continue to giveaway beta keys while they last.
If you posted a comment, but didn’t submit a photo by email, you didn’t get a key. Any remaining orphan beta keys will be given away through other means soon, for those not brave enough to submit a photo of themselves — Alliance, of course (oops).
Kidding aside, not everyone has a digital camera, scanner, cell or iphone. Expect a new contest for fans without any of these devices — if any beta keys remain by tomorrow. Those who submitted a photo proudly showing off their StarCraft product — YOU ROCK !!!
StarCraft II introduces a new feature never seen before in the previous StarCraft games, and somewhat more akin to WarCraft III. That’s the Mercenary system available in the single player campaign.
The Mercenaries are special elite units that will help you in tough missions. Very handy for the Challenge Mode and other Difficulty Modes. These units will help you for a price. Each mission you sign up for will reward you with credits, the equivalent to money. Some of these Mercenaries cost around 40,000 credits or more. The player must be careful on how to manage finances and to choose wisely the type of mercenary needed in a given situation.
Last year, during the StarCraft II Single Player-Hands On Press Invite, held at Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine headquarter, I asked Chris Metzen (VP of Creative Development) if we would see the War Pigs as mercenaries. These War Pigs are the main characters of the Wildstorm / DC Comics StarCraft comics.
|Metzen: Interesting, will we meet the War Pigs in StarCraft 2? I think, as it stands, they don’t make an appearance in Wings of Liberty specifically. But we’ll keep it in mind, because we’ve been enjoying where the comic series has been going and there’s potentially a lot of rich characterization there so we’ll see down the road.|
Rejoice! The War Pigs can be hired in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty for the right price. In order to hire a Mercenary, you must go to the Hyperion’s Cantina Room. The dark eye-glass guy sitting to the left, Mr. Hill, is your black market contact to hire top gun Mercenaries. Click on Mr. Hill’s laptop to browse through the available Mercenaries, see their specialization and stats, and the cost.
Warlock (ScrollsofLore.com Admin) went to the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Single Player Press Invite representing Blizzplanet this past April 19th; and wrote down a few details about these mercenaries available at the three new mission maps. One of the missions is set in planet Bel’shir.
|4 elite Marines
+65% HP, +35% damage
3 squads available per mission
|These are the guys from the comic series. The description basically said they like to get drunk and start fights, and they have advanced armor (almost every merc description said something about “advanced equipment”).|
|2 elite Firebats
+60% HP, +25% damage
2 squads per mission
|Ex-Confederate Firebats, they only care about who is signing their next paycheck.|
|2 elite Marauders
+25% HP, +20% damage
2 squads per mission
|A security firm in the Kel-Morian Combine, H-Sec provides corporate security and constantly finds themselves at odds with the Terran Dominion.|
|2 elite Goliaths
+33% HP, +40% damage
|Remnants of the UED forces who were abandoned during the Brood War. They are now mercenaries for hire.|
|2 Elite Siege Tanks
+33% HP, +66% damage
2 squads per mission
|Ex-Confederate Siege Tank pilots who are now mercenaries. They have specialized canons for extra firepower.|
It is that time of the year when fans love to see Mike Morhaime (Blizzard President & CEO) stand on stage to talk about Blizzard Entertainment’s finances, but more importantly where he makes announcements about the current status of games in development, release dates, and future plans. Last time we heard Morhaime was during the 2009 Fourth Quarter Investors Conference Call held the past February 10th.
In the previous conference call Morhaime announced StarCraft II Beta would start at the end of February 2010, and the introduction of the new Plush Pets with a key code to redeem an in-game facsimile pet.
Expectations for this new conference call is high with the recent announcement of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition and the second half of 2010 drawing near, which means this might be the stage to announce its official release date.
On the other hand, World of WarCraft: Cataclysm closed beta is unofficially rumored to start around May-June, thus this conference is suitable for a announcement, and of course, any plans for the upcoming BlizzCon and a possible date for a Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals. The last one was held on June 28-29, 2008 in Paris, where Diablo III was officially announced. Stay tuned for our coverage of this conference event.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 23, 2010 — Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its first quarter 2010 results after the close of the market on Thursday, May 6, 2010. In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
1:30 pm Pacific Time (4:30 pm Eastern Time)
To listen to the call, please log onto:
During the Press Coverage, Omacron and Warlock took photos of the tour through several Blizzard game departments including the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm office. There they found several concept art on the walls and barely got out of the studios before the security guards could catch them.
These concept art show new Cataclysm bestiary mobs like the Dark Troll, the Gilgoblin (aquatic goblin), the Deep Sea Murloc, Barramunda, Shale Spider, Dragon Turtle, and the Sea Hag among many others.
The most incredible concept art is a huge mural that shows Deathwing’s transformation into his new humanoid form, and he’s scary as heck. A hint players are going to see him often a la Lich King, taunting us every zone?
Check out the gallery of photos here.
Blizzplanet infiltrated Omacron and Warlock (Scrolls of Lore admins) into the Blizzard Entertainment Studios (Irvine, California) to attend the Press Invite Summit on April 19th with the mission to steal as much cowbell and thunder as possible.
This event revealed three new mission maps from the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player, the Challenge Mode and to see the new Research and Tech Purchase UI.
We also got 13 new screenshots and two videos: Single Player gameplay of the three new missions, and the revamped Tidings of Doom warning cinematic.
We had the opportunity to throw a few questions at Dustin Browder. One of the questions was how many cinematics we should expect in Wings of Liberty. There will be around 20 cinematics.
Browse through our press coverage.
- Single Player – Gameplay Video
- Single Player Impressions
- Tidings of Doom Cinematic
- New World of WarCraft: Cataclysm Concept Art
Last year, I was invited to the Blizzard Entertainment Studios for a press coverage event of the Terran Single Player campaign. In that opportunity, I played through the first six missions. Tychus Findlay arrived to Mar Sara early in the single player and found Jim Raynor at the Joe Ray’s Bar. Raynor was drinking, and in serious budget issues. Tychus came down like a blessing when he offered Jim Raynor a lucrative gig working for his patron as a mercenary.
The entire single player missions is about fulfilling these missions for the mysterious Moebius organization which pays pretty well for the extraction of Xel’Naga artifacts and relics. The gig isn’t simple, however, because both the Zerg and the Protoss are either seeking the same or protecting them.
The all-new StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player gameplay video shows three never-seen-before missions which detail how James Raynor and the Raynor’s Raiders battle their way through nigh impossible odds to acquire Xel’Naga artifacts and relics as part of their mercenary missions.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Gabriel Tosh has asked Raynor to collect Terrazine gas. The terrazine is guarded by a group of Protoss called the Tal’darim who believe it is sacred, a gift from their gods, the Xel’naga.
New unit available: Goliath
Mission involved sending an SCV to collect the gas from containers (which the Tal’darim had previously placed it in). The SCV must be protected while it collects the container, as the Tal’darim will try to destroy it (their main units: Stalkers, Scouts, and occasionally Void Rays, Zealots, and Sentries). They will also try send their own probes to terrazine locations to seal off those locations from being collected.
After the mission, Matt Horner receives a mysterious communication from an unknown source accusing Tosh of being a threat to Raynor and explaining that Terrazine was used to create augmented Ghost abilities and create an elite group known as Spectres. Tosh does not deny this, but claims the message was obviously sent by Mengsk to pit them against each other. Raynor agrees to let the matter sit for now due to the mysterious nature of the message, but he is still not sure he can trust Tosh.
The first map in this video is a mission provided by Gabriel Tosh (the rastafarian-like dreadlock-haired dude) from the pages of StarCraft: Ghost Academy and the upcoming StarCraft: Ghost Spectres (Nov 1, 2010).
Gabriel Tosh provides the coordinates of 13 Terrazine Tanks via the mini-map. Those wondering, the Terrazine gas was a main theme in the postponed StarCraft: Ghost FPS game. The Terrazine gas has psionic properties with unpredictable effects. It is harvested by SCVs, the same way it’s done with Vespene gas.
The mission is to gather seven Terrazine canisters from the Tal’darim Protoss Altars, and to prevent the Protoss from sealing the altars.
The Tal’darim tribe was first revealed in Christie Golden’s StarCraft: The Dark Templar Trilogy (Pocket Books) — survivors left behind in Aiur by those who fled into Shakuras through the Warp Gate. These survivors were protected from the Zerg by their new patron: Ulrezaj.
During my interview with Chris Metzen, last year, he didn’t confirm or deny whether these Tal’darim in planet Monlith and other planets also serve Ulrezaj. We will have to find out later on.
In this mission, you control Goliaths, Hellions, Marines, and a Medic. Your job is to bring an SCV to the Protoss Shrine and to gather the Terrazine Canister, then escort the SCV safely to the Command Center.
Only problem is that the Protoss are also sealing altars. You get a report onscreen letting you know how many of these 13 altars are sealed. The adjutant informs you in the mini-map which altar is in progress to be sealed. You must attack that altar to prevent them from doing so.
|UPDATE: We’re currently looking into this issue. Please close the Launcher so it doesn’t continuously loop. If all else fails and you have a StarCraft II Beta\Versions\Base15097 folder, you do have the patch that we released today. You can use the StarCraft II Beta\Support\SC2Switcher.exe to start the game but Battle.net is currently down for the ladder reset.|
The StarCraft II Beta Patch # 9 build version 0.11.0.15097 is now available and the gem of this patch among many other changes is … drumroll … the Galaxy Editor release !!!
A flow of creative custom maps will start very soon. Oh yeah! You can read the full patch notes below:
- The StarCraft II Editor is now available!
- Players will now be able to begin creating trigger maps in preparation for map publishing which will be made available in an upcoming beta patch.
- Achievements & Decals are now live!
- Players will now be able to earn achievements, browse the list of available achievements, and view achievements earned by friends.
- Players will be able to highlight favorite achievements in their Showcase.
- Earning certain achievements will unlock portrait and decal rewards.
- The updated Homepage now includes a Recent Broadcasts panel and a News & Community panel.
- A new Match History page is now available which will allow players to browse and filter their last 1,000 games played.
- A new Community page is now available which features an in-game version of RSS news feeds.
- A new Friends-of-Friends feature has been added, which allows players to easily find and connect with more real life friends on Battle.net through existing friends.
- Additional friends’ presence details are now available from the Friends’ list.
- Improvements have been made on the Voice Chat system in game.
- Please use the new voice chat and provide feedback via the StarCraft II beta forums.
- The score screen now features a new graph tab.
- The art for many parts of the user interface has been updated.
- Hotkey templates have been added.
- In the gameplay options menu select from standard name based hotkeys for right and left-handed players, grid based hotkeys for right, and left-handed players, and classic StarCraft keys.
- Several hotkeys have been changed to avoid conflicts with the “Select All Warpgates” UI button:
- The Set Worker Rally Point has been changed from W to R.
- Build Sensor Tower has been changed from W to N.
- Terran Infantry Weapons have been changed from W to E.
- Terran Vehicle Weapons have been changed from W to E.
- Weapon Refit has been changed from W to R.
- Burrow has been changed from W to R.
- Spawn Larva has been changed from R to V.
- Neural Parasite has been changed from R to E.
- Concussive Shells research cost decreased from 100/100 80 sec to 50/50 60 sec.
- Build time increased from 40 to 55.
- Infested Terran
- Damage increased from 5 to 8.
- Speed decreased from 1.5 to 0.9375.
- Speed off creep decreased from 1.5 to 0.938. (Speed on creep unchanged.)
- Spine Crawler
- Attack period decreased from 1.6 to 1.85.
- Neural Parasite range increased from 7 to 9.
- Fungal Growth projectile removed; Units in the target area are now instantly hit.
- We’ve made a change to the (2)ScrapStation map to make the natural expansion easier to defend.
- New maps have been added to the ladder rotation while others have been removed as follows:
- Added (2)IncinerationZone
- Removed (4)LostTemple
- Removed (4)Metalopolis
- Added (4)AridWastes
- Added (4)Coalition
- Added (4)Decena
- Added (4)ScorchedHaven
- Removed (4)NoviceKulasRavine
- Removed (4)NoviceKulasRavine
- Removed (4)NoviceShakurasPlateau
- Added (4)NoviceDecena
- Added (4)NoviceScorchedHaven
- Added (4)NoviceTwilightFortress
Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at Forbidden Planet signing some Farscape comics today April 22 at 6:30pm. Bring your copies of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, StarCraft: Ghost: Nova, and StarCraft: Ghost Academy and say hi to the author.
Take the # 4 or # 6 Subway Train to 14 street (Union Square) and walk a few blocks)
Forbidden Planet (Map)
840 Broadway (corner with East 13 Street)
New York, NY 10003
Status: This Giveaway is now Closed.
Blizzplanet is giving away 100 StarCraft II Beta Keys courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment. Good news for those who want to get their fan-paws on multiplayer, or check out the Galaxy Editor coming out this week or the next. Note: These keys are for anyone in the world, and umm those in orbit. Sorry, PC only (These keys won’t work on Mac beta).
So what do you need to do to be among the lucky Blizzplanet visitors to get one of these StarCraft II Beta keys?
1. Post a comment below and let me know what you love of StarCraft II the most.
2. Take a photo of yourself holding any StarCraft product (be it a game box, novel, manga, comic book, action figure, Noobz, any StarCraft product). Send me the photo to the following email. Let me know the username used to post a comment on this thread in your email.
3. Provide a WoW, StarCraft or Diablo II screen name plus gateway/realm (for winner announcement purposes) in your email.
If you aren’t registered to post a comment, register here.
Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 24th. One entry per person.
Printwarcraft.com now offers the opportunity to create your own customized World of Warcraft mousepad featuring the character you play. These custom mousepads, printed in high-quality color with a slightly textured surface, allow you to select and pose your character while adding a variety of backgrounds, logos, borders, and fonts. Custom character mousepads start at $ 19.99 and are available now at Printwarcraft.com.
Use discount code BLIZZARD for 10% off until April 30, 2010!
It’s CVG beta snatching time with Day # 9 of giveaways. The question to participate is Who composed the original StarCraft score? I would really help you, but I’m a nice guy. Otherwise, I would cough-Glenn Stafford-cough.
Head over and fill out your registration if you aren’t registered. Make sure to provide the email you use for your Battle.net account. Once they submit the winners to Blizzard, they will email you the beta key. Please, use common sense, and don’t click on links shown in emails. Type the battle.net login URL manually.
Tokyopop and Blizzard Entertainment provided preview images of the upcoming WarCraft: Shadow Wing, Vol. 1: Dragons of Outland by bestselling author Richard A. Knaak and international superstar artist Jae-Hwan Kim. This manga will be available at a bookstore near you on June 1. 2010.
TOKYOPOP and Blizzard Entertainment provided preview images of the upcoming WarCraft: Mage by author Richard A. Knaak and artist Ryo Kawakami. This manga will be at a bookstore near you on June 1, 2010.
PCGamer’s StarCraft II 100 Beta Keys Day 8 kicked in. Remember to register the email account you attached to your Battle.net account. Once winners are chosen, Blizzard will email you directly the beta key. This Day 8 contest requires you to answer a very simple question. What’s the second expansion of StarCraft II named as? cough-Heart of the Swarm–cough.
Head over and snatch that beta key off their hands. Make sure to participate on StarCraft: IncGamers contest too.
The StarCraft: Heaven’s Devils hardcover continues to sell well in bookstores, and Blizzard has released two excerpts of the novel which explores the beginnings of Jim Raynor’s military career. The chapter 1 and 2 excerpts are available at the official StarCraft II website:
The Starcraft II Beta Key giveaway Day # 7 can be found today at PCGamer. It is open to the world. Simply register and fill out the personal info form. Make sure to supply the email address you used for your Battle.net account. Winners will be contacted directly by Blizzard Entertainment a few days afterwards.
Sideshow Collectibles announced the pre-orders of the stainless steel Epic Weapons – Warcraft III Collectibles Frostmourne(TM) Sword Replica have now shipped. Expect this item in upcoming days.
The replica costs $ 529, but if you aren’t able to purchase the wholesum Sideshow has a FlexPay option that splits the overall price into five easy payments of $ 106.99 a month.
Sideshow Collectibles is proud to present the Frostmourne(TM) Sword by Epic Weapons. The Frostmourne(TM) Sword replica is second to none in detailed craftsmanship and technology. Featuring a 28″ Stainless Steel Blade with genuine leather wrapped grip. It is embedded with a patented G2G (Game 2 Gear) authenticity microchip. Comes with a collector’s display mount, limited edition poster, certifi-cate of authenticity, and Game 2 Gear handheld authenticity reader.
Cryptozoic Entertainment is excited to announce that the first European Continental Championships for the World of Warcraft TCG will be held on June 12-13, 2010 at the Espace Charenton in Paris, France. The European Continental Championships is open to all players, who will be competing for their share of over 40,000€ in prizes!
327 Rue de Charenton
75012 Paris, France
Saturday, June 12: Registration opens at 8:00am. Player meeting at 9:30am. Core Constructed; top 96 players will move on to Saturday
Sunday, June 13: Scourgewar/Wrathgate booster draft begins at 8:00am; top 8 Core Constructed finals will begin at approximately 5:00pm
Q: Are there any restrictions for residency or citizenship?
A: Players may play in either Continental Championships regardless of where they live. However, players may only participate in one Continental Championship event in 2010.
Q: Is there a room block for players?
A: There is not a negotiated rate at this time. There are a number of nearby hotels that can be found at http://www.espacecharenton.com.
Q: Will there be a special event like the “Meet & Greet” at the North American Continental Championships in Las Vegas?
A: We are looking at options to host events on Friday. More details will be announced shortly.
StarCraft has been a phenomena in South Korea for over a decade, even greatly responsible for the internet growth in the country, jewel of the internet cafe and eSport competitions which are aired on TV.
The game is ready to ship in the second half of 2010, but now faces a unexpected roadblock in South Korea.
StarCraft II has been rated Adults-Only (18 age or older) by the South Korea’s Games Rating Board, a unit of the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism — according to Korea Times.
The decision is not final and Blizzard Entertainment may file an objection to dispute the decision within the next 30 days.
“We have nothing to say at this point. We are discussing our official position on the matter as well as what would be the right reaction,” said a Blizzard Korea representative.
In this case, if the objection failed here is what might happen, and this is by no means official, but conjecture on my end:
- Blizzard might tone down the content for the South Korean version of the game to amend the Games Rating Board’s allegation, and to get a 12+ rating — the way World of Warcraft’s content was for China’s GAPP (i.e. skeletons, graves, etc.). In this Korean case: Stim Packs and other content.
Could this delay the global release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty?
The answer is no. World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade launched nigh simultaneously worldwide, except in China. Blizzard China modified the expansion to comply with GAPP regulations, and got approval from said organization.
Blizzard Korea will object the decision, and determine the best course of action to either persuade the rating board to reconsider, or modify the game around their new regulations.
The Cataclysm Class Preview Q&A with the developers took place today in the Warcraft twitter. Below is a quick overview and the full transcript:
- new riding skill which will allow all 280% speed mounts to fly at 310% speed.
- Haste won’t make channeled spells (i.e. mind flay) be faster, it will last the same, but more ticks per duration
- New pets: Fox, Monkeys, and more. (I saw monkeys in Lost Isles at BlizzCon’s Cataclysm demo)
- Druid’s Tree of Life: regrowth will be instant-cast and lifebloom will apply two applications at once.
- Uldum mount hinted?
- Smoke Bomb may be used during boss encounters.
- Retribution Paladins will get an interrupt.
- Talent Tree and Glyph tab overhaul
- Stonetalon Mountains and Western Plaguelands are nigh unrecognizable.
- Rogue: Cloak of Shadows now provides 100% resistance.
- Much more
Any plans to give Fury Warriors more hit from precision or another talent due to the removal of Heroic Strike as"next weapon" hit?
Part of the problem is that Fury warriors undervalue hit as it is because of the way Heroic Strike works today. We’ll make sure they do appropriate damage with the new model, but that probably won’t be with a talent that says “I don’t have to worry about getting hit for my gear.”
Will Protection Warriors have improved AoE tanking in Cataclysm?
We will make sure they don’t feel gimp compared to the other 3 tanks. We’re not going to give them an ability that they can just spam endlessly to maintain AE threat. We think Thunder Clap and Shockwave already work well for that. We want you to have to manage threat, but we don’t want it to be insanely hard to manage. (You also might be doing less AE tanking in Cataclysm overall.)
How will haste affect channeled spells. Will it be similar to DoTs and HoTs?
They will channel faster but their duration will remain unchanged. You will get more ticks on the same cast.
Do you intend to have all 280% flying mounts scale to 310% when a 310% mount is earned, or will only purchased mounts do so?
Our current plan, is that in Cataclysm, you can learn a new rank of flying that lets all flying mounts move at 310% (even current 280% mounts). That will probably be as fast as mounts will ever get. We don’t like it that when you get a 310% mount that you stop using your old ones.
Will healing hands be a paladin-centered tranquility, or something we have to run around to keep people in range of?
The idea is that it matters where the paladin is, so it won’t be raid-wide like Tranquility will be in Cataclysm. We will make sure the magnitude of the heal is sufficient that it’s a button the paladin wants to use. The cooldown and duration aren’t set in stone either.
When does the homogenization of classes stop? Paladins are starting to look like priests. Where is the diversity?
We want the challenge of beating PvE encounters or enemy teams in PvP to be how awesome you are at strategizing, not how often you are at recruiting the right classes. While it is very, very important to us for classes to feel different, it’s also very important to us that friends get to play together.
Will there be any new pet families added, or will we simply see more additions to existing ones?
We’re not sure yet whether we’re adding new pet families or not. It’s possible. Expect to see some monkeys, foxes and other new pet possibilities though!
Is every healer supposed to be able to tank-heal efficiently, or will we still see specs excel in it more than others?
Each healer is intended to have a different niche and different strengths, such as Restoration druids with HoTs, or paladins at direct healing, Discipline priests at absorption/prevention, etc. That said, each healer should be able to keep up a tank and have some deeper “tank healing gameplay” as they do now.
Could the Shadow priest’s Mastery bonus instead be something more distinctive from shaman shield orbs (like shadow ravens)?
The original “fantasy" behind the Mastery bonus is that you’re storing shadows through combat with you, that you can unleash out using Mind Blast or Mind Spike for more burst damage. We’re not sure about ravens or how that relates to a Shadow priest, but we’re definitely going to do some unique art for them.
With the change to death knight tanking, Blood being the tank spec, what AoE aggro moves (besides Death and Decay and Pestilence) will we have to use?
We think Death and Decay and Pestilence are pretty good. We’ll add another ability if we think it’s needed, but remember, the “round things up and AE them down” strategy isn’t going to be as effective in Cataclysm until you out-gear instances.
Will relics and wands be getting any new attention in Cataclysm?
With relics, the plan is to make them class agnostic. In other words, there might be a +strength relic that a death knight or paladin might want to equip. We think that will let us add more of them to the game without them being so specialized. They will feel more like wands.
How to make wands and relics a bigger part of gameplay is something we’ve had many, many discussions on. Ultimately though we’d rather see warlocks, mages and priests casting their spells, not zapping someone with a wand. In Cataclysm we don’t expect to see much wanding, even at lower level.
Now that paladin’s Holy Shock is baseline is there any plans to change the Art of War talent?
We like Art of War, so we don’t expect it will go away. We understand the concern that Holy Shock might compete with Art of War a little bit in terms of role (an instant damage spell) and that’s something we’re going to have to address.
What will happen to our gems and enchants on gear that give us stats that are being removed in Cataclysm ?
We are going to change most gems and enchants that have obsolete stats like armor pen and defense..
Will Dark Simulacrum work on bosses? or at least be useful in PvE?
It will work on any spell you can Spell Reflect, which is actually quite a few bosses. Remember, Dark Simulacrum doesn’t cancel the incoming damage so in that sense it is easier for us to balance letting death knights use it in PvE.
Also be careful considering new spells for old encounters. The encounter designers will make the new encounters with the new spells in mind.
Are there any plans to separate the mana regeneration mechanic and the damage reduction mechanic that is in Shamanistic Rage?
It’s a drawback we’re aware of and one we’re looking at. We don’t have a change that we’re ready to announce.
I still don’t get the motivation to redo the death knight rune system. It’s been a couple years and now that it seems close, why do it all over?
Many death knights felt like they didn’t have enough global cooldowns (GCDs) to use their abilities. In some cases, the rune system started to matter less than the GCDs to hit the right button. We want death knights to have to make choices about what abilities come next. When you see DKs play today, it looks like they’re playing the piano – hitting buttons so fast. We need to buy them some room in their rotation to be able to take advantage of say procs or runes coming back sooner than expected.
What are your plans to eliminate the pollution problem in Azeroth? Motorcycles, planes, methane from Kodo gas, venture company????
Well on the one hand, there will be more druids with trolls and worgen joining the ranks. On the other hand, there will be more goblins, and you know, goblins just don’t care. They have this section in Orgrimmar where they have their little beach chairs set up to look out on a view of oil drums floating in the lake. On the third (?) hand, you’ll be cleaning up the toxic waste in Gnomeregan if you can retake it!
Can you make crowd control in raids and 5-mans an important aspect of the PvE game again?
An emphatic yes.
Thanks for having this chat! I have to say that I feel many changes are PvP-oriented. Is the game shifting more toward PvP?
What we’re trying to do at this point in the game is make abilities more niche and interesting, rather than adding Sinister Strike with a different name. A lot of talents and abilities we add initially only seem to have a PvP role at first glance, but eventually also prove useful in PvE situations too (examples are Dispersion, Body & Soul, or Typhoon).
With all the new changes to Demonology warlocks, do you plan to implement any threat reduction talent unique for Demonology?
Threat is something that we want to be binary. You should only really ever worry about pulling threat from a tank during the first thirty seconds or so, when the tank is still establishing threat, not two minutes in because your DPS was too high. In a nutshell, we’ll make sure you don’t have to stop DPS during a fight because of your threat level (ala Hodir).
Why are Restoration druids the only spec in the game not receiving a new spell?
Restoration druids are actually getting a fair bit. For one, Tree of Life is getting a whole new model (think Ancients of War) and will also “morph” some of your spells to do crazy things while in the form, such as cause Regrowth to be instant, or Lifebloom to apply two applications at once. Tranquility will be raid-wide. We’re also touching nearly every Restoration druid spell to make sure each has a niche and feels good. In general, playing a Restoration druid should feel a lot different (better!) in Cataclysm than it does today.
Can you go into more detail on Vengeance? As it stands it sounds like off tanks will be at a significant disadvantage.
We want Vengeance to have a long enough duration that off tanks won’t lose their damage bonus. In most situations, the off tank is doing some tanking along the way. The worst case scenario would be say a fight where the off tank needs to tank in phase 3 but not phase 1. Remember, even in that case though you have tools to generate high threat. Vengeance is there to keep DPS from pulling off you late in the fight.
If 310% speed is becoming trainable, does that mean we’ll be able to fly in Azeroth from the get-go?
We have considered the concept of “Old Weather Flying.” Just kidding. More than likely, you’ll just be able to fly from the beginning.
With armor class bringing mastery bonuses, will players never want to "downrank" from, say, leather to cloth?
That’s the idea, really. They still can wear the older armor, but they’ll lose some stats from doing so.
Where is my moose?
Well, we’re looking for a zone where moose would really fit. Unfortunately we did the perfect zone for them, Grizzly Hills, already. On the other hand, let’s just say we have a large, Egyptian-themed desert zone in Cataclysm….
Is Smoke Bomb going to be usable in boss fights? Because it looks like it could cheat a lot of mechanics.
Potentially, yes. It essentially follows the same room of line-of-sight. If standing around a pillar lets you avoid a boss ability, then Smoke Bomb would too. Lady Deathwhisper’s adds for example, would run up to melee you if you were in a Smoke Bomb.
How will "active spell is more powerful" be handled with no more dot clipping?
How about we get rid of “a more powerful spell is active” altogether? If you have some bonehead overwriting your more powerful buff or debuff, we’d rather you handle that issue socially.
Can you allow points spent in your off tree give a diminished amount of mastery bonus toward your main tree so as to not nerf hybrid specs?
Does the Elemental shaman really want more melee damage though? Does the Shadow priest really want to heal better? If anything it feels like it would be a nerf to hybrids, since a warlock would get more damage from any tree, while a DPS hybrid might only get more damage from their tree. If hybrids end up coming out a little short, we’ll compensate in other ways (such as more oomph in talents) instead of doing hacky things with the mastery system.
Compared to some third mastery bonuses (radiance etc) others are a little boring (+crit damage etc) Intended? Comments?
The mastery bonuses are obviously a really new concept. The risk on the one hand is that they’re too boring and don’t affect gameplay and on the other extreme they take specs which already have a lot going on and just make them overcomplicated. For now we wanted to implement a range and see what feels the best in beta. We expect to iterate on these a lot.
Why are you giving Mages more Crowd Control?
We like for classes and specs to have themes. Part of the mage kit is control. Part of the warrior kit is mobility. We like to reinforce those designs rather than give classes new abilities that remove their weaknesses. Weaknesses are supposed to be something you keep in mind while you’re playing. I’m sure Ret paladins would love Heroic Leap and warriors would love Polymorph, but that plugs a hole really, really well where you risk being a one person army who doesn’t need to be supported by other players in PvP or PvE. Obviously it risk homogenizing all the classes as well.
You mentioned at BlizzCon that all races would be getting revamped racial abilities. Care to shed some light on any of them?
We’re going to do something similar to what we did in Wrath of the Lich King, where we just refresh them to make sure they’re balanced and feel cool. Something you could see is dwarves getting a bonus to Archeology, or undead getting a new activated racial ability that will be more useful in PvE.
Will there be as much effort put into making tanking specs viable in PvP? Will Vengeance be useful in PvP?
Our goal is to make all specs as viable as we can in as many aspects of the game as possible. Currently some tank specs are not so much viable as they are overpowered (because their damage is competitive and survivability is off the charts), so that issue will have to be addressed when we start to flesh them out as more attractive and mainstream PvP spec options.
What information/ideas can you share on PvP utility in the Retribution tree? Mandatory gap closer/interrupt question. Not having a cleanse will hurt. :\
Retribution paladins will be getting an interrupt.
Can you give us some more information on how and what Path of the Titans will reward you with? Talent points? Unlock talents?
The Paths unlock a new kind of glyph called an Ancient Glyph. These don’t enhance class abilities, since they are designed to work with any class. They do grant bonuses that might be useful to a wide variety of characters as well as offer some actual new abilities as well. If you think your action bar is full, then you may want to head for the passive bonuses instead of the active abilities.
Did the developers learn anything from the death knight release that they plan to keep in mind for any possible future classes?
Um, maybe we won’t listen to community feedback about how classes need more abilities, damage and survivability? (Just kidding.)
Adding a new class is very challenging, which is one reason we don’t want to do it every expansion. It’s a really good question though, and we’d like to give a little more thought to how to answer it (when we aren’t fielding so many Twitter questions).
With more players raiding in Wrath of the Lich King than ever before, do you plan to raise the difficulty to accommodate our new skill/experience?
The heroic difficulty is designed for the players looking for more of a challenge. One of the things we learned from Icecrown is that we unlocked the heroic modes so late that players had tons of practice on the encounters on normal mode, so the step up was smaller than it was in say Ulduar when players on hard mode were still learning some of the encounter basics. (In our defense though, because of the time of year we released Icecrown we made a conscious decision to not ask players to choose between holiday events and hard-mode raiding.)
Will Ragnaros have a new weapon in Cataclysm, considering that we stole and reforged his? I’m sure he’s not happy about that either.
Oh come on, it never actually dropped for you. Then again, is there really much demand for a Strength, Stamina, Fire resist, cosmetic Fireball proc weapon?
Will the new guild perk system kill a lot of smaller guilds?
Our goal is not to encourage players to have to change their existing guild. We realize some players like smaller guilds and some like larger guilds and we don’t want to ask you to change that.
What improvements to the UI are being considered (particularly for raid healing)?
We would like to update the default Blizzard UI. It has some fatal flaws, such as not being able to show buffs and debuffs simultaneously. We probably won’t ever go as crazy as some of the mods out there just because they provide a ton of customization, which is one of the things players like about them. We do think players deserve a raid UI that is fully functional for those players who just don’t like to install a lot of mods. We hope to get this change in for Cataclysm, but we’re changing the UI for the spell book, talent pane, professions window, character stats, guild, friends and probably a dozen things I’m forgetting, so it’s just a matter of how much time we have.
What kinds of UI updates are planned for Cataclysm. Eclipse and Soul Shards are two, but any others?
We have already moved professions from the skill tab to an awesome new page on the spell book. In fact, in the absence of weapon skills, we got rid of the skill tab entirely. We have a new talent tree UI that shows all of the talent trees without scrolling and provides the passive bonuses as well. We’re changing the glyph UI to support Paths of the Titans. We’re changing the PvP queue UI to support rated Battlegrounds. We’d like to improve the V-nameplate feature. We’d like to provide more information when you level up about what new spells or features are now available to you. We’re experimenting with better ways to organize buffs and debuffs and communicate procs and cooldowns too.
What change are you most excited about?
We are changing the old zones probably more than most players realize. A place like Stonetalon is virtually unrecognizable. It has all new quests and item rewards and dramatic changes to the landscape. A zone like Western Plaguelands has actually been updated to reflect the fact that the Scourge are in retreat (which is not to say that the zone is without its dangers). Everywhere you’re going to see something new and surprising. I think a lot of players are excited about the level 80-85 experience (as they should be!) and the goblin and worgen zones (which if anything are better than the death knight starter zone, if you can believe that), but I think a lot of players are going to want to reroll new character of existing races and classes just to see how much everything has changed.
I’ve been playing since vanilla. The consciousness you’ve applied to make this game grow is praiseworthy. Thank you.
You’re welcome! One of the challenges of Cataclysm is to change enough to be exciting but not so much that the game feels unrecognizable to long-term fans. A lot is changing, but it’s still World of Warcraft.
Any plans for an untalented spell to help warlocks deal with stuns?
Possibly. It’s also possible we may take a look at stuns in general. But overall stuns will feel less impacting in an environment where players have significantly more health than they do today.
With the emphasis moving to Battlegrounds, have you looked into rogue cooldown dependency issues?
We definitely want to give rogues a considerable boost in the passive damage reduction department, and then tone down some of their active cooldowns in the process. We still want the rogue to feel twitchy and exciting to play, but not to the extent that you can’t deal with another class toe-to-toe without any cooldowns up. Oh, and Cloak of Shadows now provides 100% resistance.
What change are you most excited about?
Some of the new Balance talents for druids, like Solar Beam, which works like Freya’s spell where it instantly silences a target and they have to move out of the beam to get rid of the debuff.
When you say you’re going to make relics class agnostic, does it include druids’ idols as well?
Druid, shaman, paladin and death knight. It’s possible we will still keep some that are very specific to certain classes and specs. Overall though we’re not happy with the current design where an ability procs a buff on you. If it’s an ability you don’t use often, then the item is terrible, so they end up feeling really passive already. At the same time, the fact that we have to offer so many prevents us from ever giving you the choice of which one to use. So we make the Resto druid or Enhance shaman version every new tier. It would be a more interesting decision if there was a crit + Intellect relic and a haste + Intellect relic, and you can choose which one to use.
Does the Marksman mastery (Double Shot) work like the Wild Quiver talent (provide a free autoshot) or like the Lightning Overload talent (a free whatever spell you just cast)? In other words, can Double Shot fire a second Chimera Shot?
Double Shot is a half-strength autoshot. Wild Quiver will increase the damage of the autoshot to 60-70% (or something similar). Lightning Overload (the talent) will likewise increase the magnitude of the Elemental Overload mechanic.
That concludes this edition of #BlizzChat. Thank you all for your questions! We’ll now open up the thread for additional discussion.
Share your thoughts with the developers at the following forum thread
Participate in the StarCraft II beta key contest Day 5 (open to the world) over at PCZone. The email to provide is the same email you registered your Battle.net Account. The previous winners can be found here.
A lot of you have entered our Starcraft 2 beta key competition and run into some confusion about email addresses and Battle.net accounts.
We thought we’d clear everything up: CVG StarCraft beta winners will receive an email from Blizzard that will contain a code that has to be manually attached to your Battle.net account.
Blizzard require you to submit the email address that is associated with your Battle.net account to the competition in order for the beta key to work.
However, if you have already entered the competition with a different email address, don’t worry.
If you are a winner you will definitely receive a beta key in the email you submitted to the competition. If this isn’t the email address that you have used on your Battle.net account, create a new Battle.net account using your competition email address and the key will work with your new account.
Winners will have to wait a few days for Blizzard to get in touch with beta details. So don’t panic if you don’t get a key straight away, just sit tight.