Arthas Carries A Burden Deep In His Soul …

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

The Balnir Farmstead has a past mystery … a place that holds a dark secret that no one but Prince Arthas Menethil knows. A secret that would be dragged within for years. A secret that would forever damn his soul.

  • Read our preview of World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King.

  • Watch our video interview with Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson about Arthas, Rise of the Lich King and WoW: Stormrage
  • Participate on the World of Warcraft: Arthas Galley Giveaway.

Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Blizzplanet acquired 30 preview scans of Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and Tokyopop. You can view them after my impressions.

Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 will be available at bookstores on Tue 10 March 2009. A manga composed of four stories based on the Warcraft fantasy setting. Tokyopop provided me with an advance copy of this book. The manga has stories based on World of Warcraft quests and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

The first story Fiend—by Richard A. Knaak (writer) and Hae-Hwan Kim (artist)—is about Trag Highmountain (from the pages of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy).  Trag has risen with the curse of undead unable to control his mind and will. Seeking help in Kalimdor he is betrayed by his people. Only with the help of Thrall, he regains his free will and departs to Borean Tundra to pursue a special goal. To enact vengeance against Arthas the Lich King. He meets the Taunka’le Village inhabitants and protects them from the Anub’ar. That’s one of the quests you face in the expansion. Seeking a powerful weapon to face the Lich King, Trag accompanies a Taunka to Galakrond’s resting place. Galakrond has not been digged out by the Scourge yet in Dragonblight at this point. Volume 3 and 4 will be a must-have for fans who wish to learn this new lore, and to find out how the story will affect the Arthas the Lich King dungeon event.

The second story titled Crusader’s Blood—by Dan Jolley (writer) and Heinz Furukawa (artist)—is a very cool tie-in with the early Horde quest in classic World of Warcraft … Fields of Grief. After reading the story, I found similarities with a quest from the Brill Inn. Upon visit of the premises in the game, the main character is the Innkeeper Renee. The deathstalker, the Captive Scarlet Zealot and Captive Mountaneer from this story are the same found in the basement. The story remarks the cycle of hatred and vengeance the Scarlet Crusade was victim of by the likes of its true master: Dreadlord Balnazzar, and much more.

The third story titled I Got What Yule Need—by Christie Golden (writer) and Carlos Olivares (artist)—doesn’t necessarily fits the lore; but it is a refreshing story with elements of the game such as the Feast of the Winter Veil celebrated in Ironforge.  It can’t be told without spoiling the purpose of the story. It has a very touching message. Those who are used to Christie’s Warcraft novels know her writting style when it comes to emotional situations.

The last story titled The Thrill of the Hunt—by Troy Lewter (writer) and Qing Ping Mui (artist)—let’s us explore a bit of Hemet Nesingwary’s background. At an Inn, Hemet overhears a hunter who brags about a questionable kill before his friends.  Hemet tells his personal experience to teach the amateur hunter a lesson.

Overall this manga is entertaining and some of the stories can be considered canon. I certainly liked the ones that tie-in with the MMO, and show promise to reveal more of upcoming MMO content. Below you can take a look at the preview scans of each of the four stories within Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 and its art. Pre-order Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 on sale March 10.

If you question the canonity of the Tokyopop Warcraft mangas, I recommend to watch our video interview with Chris Metzen (Blizzard Senior VP of Creative Development) and Micky Neilson (Senior Writer & Voice Director) who confirm they are involved in the project and make sure that the manga, comic books, and novels tie-in with the game and are canon.

FEAR

The exciting Warcraft: Legends adventure continues with this latest installment of stories set in the Warcraft universe. From the critically acclaimed team of Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim (Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) comes part three in the continuing adventures of Trag Highmountain, the heroic tauren reborn as one of the undead.

CRUSADER’S BLOOD

In “Crusader’s Blood,” a blood elf mage and a forsaken warrior embark on a quest of vengeance against a ruthless Scarlet Crusade captain.

I GOT WHAT YULE NEED

From acclaimed writer Christie Golden comes the tale of a down-on-his-luck goblin named Krizz looking for a way to make some easy coin

Review: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Warcraft 3 News, World of Warcraft News, Wrath of the Lich King Reviews

I finished reading the book and I am ready to tell fans my experience without spoiling much. At least nothing you haven’t already seen in Warcraft III. For those catching up, we got some World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King galleys to giveaway to fans—courtesy of Simon & Schuster and Blizzard Entertainment.  A galley is an uncorrected proof (a special advance reader’s edition not-for-sale).  The advantage is that you get to read the book nearly two months ahead before they hit bookstores.

On to the review, Christie Golden has done an excellent work researching many previous books by other authors, and playing Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its Frozen Throne expansion. We get to see Arthas at age 9 and how his life and experiences shaped up what one day would be a Prince sacrificing everything zealously for his people, to be able to claim Frostmourne in order to defeat the dreadlord Mal’Ganis.

We see Sir Anduin Lothar, Khadgar and a young Prince Varian Wrynn arriving at Capital City to inform about the fall of Stormwind—an exact scene from World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg—but from the point of view of a young Arthas hiding on the upper gallery to witness the scene. We see how Varian and Arthas play together, except Varian had been trained since childhood, while Arthas was overprotected from such trainings by his father.

The love triangle between Kael, Jaina and Arthas is explored in-depth throughout two chapters and a half. Christie works her usual magic here developing feelings and passions. We get to briefly see many characters of the Warcraft universe, and various scenes from the point of view of Arthas.  We get to see that scene in Day of the Dragon when Lord Daval Prestor (Deathwing) was chosen to marry Calia Menethil when she was age 16. A scene from World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal when Muradin walks in into Capital City to find a young Arthas playing make-believe attacking illusory orcs with his training sword. This leads Muradin to volunteer to train him.

Something I found quite refreshing was the use of World of Warcraft festivities throughout the length of the book. Noblegarden, the Midsummer Fire Festival, the Hallow’s End, and the Feast of Winter Veil to develop the relationship between Arthas and Jaina together as years go by. As some people know, Christie Golden has been a World of Warcraft player for the past years on a RP-server. She knows the game with a passion.

Arthas visiting Durnholde Keep on behalf of his father, as he starts taking bigger responsibilities as a Prince. Meeting Thrall fight other adversaries at the Gladiator Arena. His induction ceremony at the Cathedral of Light where he was ordained a Paladin of the Order of the Silver Hand.

You will love how accurately Christie depicts the scenes from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos word by word as things are said either in the mission briefings or the in-game engine’s cinematics—fleshing out those parts in between to connect with the next campaign maps.

For example, remember that scene where Arthas awaits Jaina? The soldier asks Arthas if they should help Jaina. Enter Jaina …. fleeing from Ogres. She turns around and handles them on her own with the help of a Water Elemental.

That scene when they find the plagued silo, find two elven priests and even a dwarven mortar team.  Then arrive to the granary and find an Abomination.

Jaina: “By the Light—- that creature looks like it was sewn together from different corpses!”

Arthas: “Let’s study it after we kill it, okay?”

The scene where Arthas calls Uther a traitor and disbands the Order of the Silver Hand. The Cunning of Stratholme. The search for Frostmourne and the apparent demise of Mal’Ganis. Walk the halls toward the throne room of Lordaeron Capital City. Find out what went through Arthas’ mind when touching the rose petals with his gloved fingers.

For continuity’s sake, we see Jaina Proudmoore and Magna Aegwynn (Medivh’s mother) in Theramore (from the pages of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido and the current DC comics / Wildstorm World of Warcraft Comic Book). As well as various scenes from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion with brief cameos of Tuskarr and Taunka races.

The book goes as far as Warcraft III: Frozen Throne’s Undead Campaign from start to end. There is only two major omissions that I have to acknowledge may have been due to space just 25 pages away from the last page. The lapse between fighting Sapphiron to entering the gates to the Inner Kingdom was completely skipped. And the major turn off is that the Forgotten One is not even mentioned as even happening.

The epilogue presents what happened these past four years with Arthas. He is been dreaming. And he awakes leading to the invasion to Orgrimmar and Stormwind and the events of Wrath of the Lich King. But what happened during those four years of dreaming? There has been an inner conflict within Arthas the Lich King’s head … between three minds striving for control: Ner’zhul, Arthas, and … who we are familiar with as Matthias Lehner (the ghost child). The end is shocking to say the least. And unexpected.

Except for those two events omitted, the book is accurate and loyal to the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: Frozen Throne. And offers much more with extra spice from Christie Golden. I can only say one thing about this. I (beep) love this book !!!

This book is an overdosed cocktail of lore and continuity that will numb your senses.

If you are a die-hard WarCraft lore fan you can’t miss this book.  If you are a World of Warcraft player who didn’t get to play previous Warcraft games—this book will be your best chance at catching up with Arthas’ past pre-Third War and it covers both: Warcraft III and its expansion accurately. Pre-Order World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King … on sale: April 21, 2009.

Watch our interview with Blizzard’s Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson at the 2009 New York Comic Con for details of World of Warcraft: Arthas and the World of Warcraft: Stormrage book.

2009 NYCC: New DC Unlimited World of Warcraft Action Figures

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Merchandise, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage, New York Comic Con 2009, World of Warcraft News

During my visit to the 2009 New York Comic Con, I visited the DC Comics booth to check out their World of Warcraft action figures and the artists. Chris Metzen had told me after the interview to return to the booth to see three new action figures: King Varian Wrynn (Lo’gosh), a Night Elf Huntress named Alathena Moonbreeze and a Scourge Ghoul named Rottingham. These look awesome. If you are a action figures collector, these will do great. Their armor, weapons and clothing are very detailed and colorful. Very accurate to the game, standing on impressive poses.

The DC Comics was packed with hundreds of people, the ambient was welcoming with tall posters of each franchise, especially the World of Warcraft comic book. They were showcasing video on big HD monitors of DC Online, DC vs Mortal Kombat, and even playing the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro. I got video of each DC Unlimited World of Warcraft action figure from different angles for your viewing pleasure. As well as close ups. Enjoy.

Review: Music of Blizzard Entertainment: Echoes of War by EMINENCE

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

EMINENCE unleashed two flavors of The Music of Blizzard Entertainment: Echoes of War.  The standard edition with retail price of only $29.99 and the Legendary Edition that goes up at $ 49.99. I received a copy of the Legendary Edition in order to experience what other fans will feel when this product is shipped to their home. That way you may get to find out what to expect, and whether it is worth. After two weeks testing this product, I finally have a verdict.

The Echoes of War Legendary Edition gives you some extra bang for your buck. I especially recommend the Echoes of War Legendary Edition for the type of fan that loves to find out more about the people involved behind the development of Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. When a company comes out of anonymity and shows you their face, express themselves on video, and allow you to listen to their feelings when developing a product—that’s such a great experience.

I remember a few years ago, when Blizzard Entertainment was all about seeing Bill Roper as the voice behind Blizzard. And the ocassional Mike Morhaime and Rob Pardo interviews on Gamespot and at other gaming sites. Nowadays, Blizzard is wide open in their Public Relations philosophy. You see Jay Wilson, Dustin Browder, Chris Sigaty, Jeff Kaplan, and so many other developers in video interviews. We get to know all these gaming developers at the personal level. At the naked core. Knowing a person at a social level allows you to better appreciate a product, the effort put into it.

This is in part why collectors love to buy the expensive version of a film that comes accompanied with a Behind the Scenes bonus including interviews, backstage footage, and such. You get to meet the person. The same feeling you get when watching the special edition or remastered edition of a blockbuster film, is what you feel when you get the Echoes of War Legendary Edition.


The Standard Edition comes with only two Discs of music containing 15 soundtracks … over ninety minutes of orchestral music, and an 8-page color booklet. Not bad at the price tag of 29.99. Considering some of the themes are over 5-7 minutes long. You get what you pay for: The music of Blizzard Entertainment contains a few medleys that include the most interesting themes from World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Starcraft II, Diablo III and Starcraft: Ghost played by the hands of the professional Eminence Symphony Orchestra.

This product is for the fan who loves to listen to classic music by a live orchestra and loves the music of Blizzard games (IPs). Whether you are at your office, at home, commuting by train or bus in a daily basis, and why not … while driving your car through the daily traffic. If you are expecting the whole theme collection of a specific game, this is the wrong product. You can find those at the official Blizzard Store. The Echoes of War is a collection of the best themes from each game IP, including the upcoming Starcraft II and Diablo III. You will be among the first to listen to some of the Starcraft II and Diablo III themes. Guaranteed sale, eh?


Two questions would come to fans’ minds: How involved is Blizzard Entertainment in this product? Is this an independent standalone licensed product? The answer is: No. This is not a standalone product created by a company on their own. Blizzard Entertainment is knee-deep involved in the development of Echoes of War. The Blizzard Audio and Video Director, Russell Brower, spent months working on the music sheets, talking back and forth with Eminence, taking a 29-hour trip to the other side of the world to meet Hiroaki Yura, Go Shiina and Phillip Chu. And viceversa. The Eminence team also traveled to the new Blizzard Entertainment offices in Irvine, California. They spent months organizing and preparing before bringing together the musicians to record the music. This product is a collaboration of Blizzard Entertainment and Eminence Symphony Orchestra.

Now that your mindset has been refreshed with information about the Echoes of War product, I will proceed to describe the content within the Legendary Edition box.

Next page: Legendary Edition Content > > >

BlizzCon 2008 - Diablo III Hands-On Gameplay Impressions

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles, Diablo 3 News, Event Coverage

I am fortunate to be one of the lucky people who played the Diablo III demo showcased at Blizzcon 2008 in Anaheim. Not only was it a pleasure to play it, but left me craving for more. I decided to create a female Wizard. She spawns in the outskirts of the Tristram Woods where Captain Rumford and an armored warrior are piling up a bonfire of corpses. The warrior can be seen transporting the corpses off a wagon and into the bonfire.

Captain Rumford says they are burning the corpses to prevent them from rising as undead. NPCs that have something to say have a black oval with dots hovering above them when you place the cursor over them.  A popup window displays the “introduction” option, feature that remains a constant from Diablo II. However, not only does each NPC talk to you.  Your very own character talks back, interacting with the NPCs.  By saying talk, I mean both: the NPC and your character have voice over actors adding emotion and life to the Action / RPG.

Read below a lengthy preview on various features observed in the Diablo III hands-on demo

I started pressing keys to see what options were available.  Pressing (C) opens the Character window, Inventory (I), Quest (Q), Skill trees (S), and mini-map toogle (N), Game Menu (ESCAPE button)

CHARACTER STATS

At level 5, these were the stats I found on my Wizard character. Hope these stats offer you a better scope of how the Wizard stats and abilities work:

Melee damage: 2-8 |  Spell damage: 12-23 |  Armor: 34

  • 16 Strength – Physical damage bonus: 16%  |  Armor Bonus 26%

  • 28 Dexterity – Crit chance 7.0%  |  Dodge chance: 7.0
  • 18 Vitality – Life: 56 |  Mana Regen: 0.9 sec.
  • 94 Willpower – Spell damage bonus: 52.8%  |  Health globe bonus: 0.0%

In Diablo II, you get points after leveling to spend on these four stats. In Diablo III, thus far, these stats increase automatically. You no longer have control over where these points are spent into. At the bottom of the Character (C) window, you can find a table with two columns displaying the following data:

Physical Offense Defense
1.20 Attacks per second
70% Physical crit chance
150.0% Physical crit damage
0.0% Block amount
6.0% Block chance
34.0 Armor
2.5% Physical damage reduction

At the bottom left of the Character (C) window you will find your character resistances. These can be determined by icons:

Blue snowflake = Frost
Red Flame = Fire
Purple Thunder = Lightning
Green Skull = Poison
Yellow icon = Arcane

INVENTORY

The Inventory window shows a lot of visual information. It has a simple and intuitive UI frame with colorful gradients of orange and dark brown, and stylized symbols that highlight a gothic-like feeling. You can see your character model viewer which allows you to rotate your character. Around the viewer, you have 12 gear slots: helm, medallion, chest, sash, 2 rings, weapon, shield, boots, pants, gloves, and shoulder. Between the weapon and the shield is a strange circle. When clicking it, a new window pops forward. Based on the demo observation and loot, this window with 9 circles resembles the Glyphs window from World of Warcraft. In the case of Diablo 3, these 9 circles are reserved for Runes.  Thus far in the Blizzcon demo, only the Wizard can equip runes. (i.e. certain monsters may randomly drop a minor power rune).

Beneath the character viewer and gear slots can be seen the bag inventory—all in the same window.  There are 30 slots, but only a few are enabled. You can expand to the full 30 slots by adding bags into the bag slots.  On the bottom-right you can see four slots. There is where you drag the bags into. By dropping the bag item into that slot, you increase the amount of slots enabled.  Eventually your goal is to enable all 30 slots.  Each slot is thin and tall, and certain items can stack in the same slot. Doesn’t look like there is a special slot bar for potions, but mini-health potions have been seen, as well as elixir of dexterity and elixir of vitality which may have durations of up to 300 seconds (5 minutes).

RUNES

Not much was revealed about [WIKI]Runes[/WIKI]. [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Witchdoctor[/WIKI] classes don’t have runes enabled in the Blizzcon demo, so it looks like it is something still in the works. In a press panel, [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] revealed these runes will change the visual effects of your character and its spells/abilities. Imagine your lightning spell increasing its glow making it look more powerful and actually increasing your damage output.

MINI-MAP

You may toggle the mini-map by pressing (N).  It is more effective than the old Diablo II map overlay (tab). The mini-map is located on the upper-right corner.  It has no frame like the World of Warcraft circle framed mini-map.  It has an unframed tall rectangular area. By pressing the arrow keys you can move the mini-map in any direction. To reset simply press (N) twice, or escape.

How is this new mini-map more effective?  Diablo II’s overlay map would take the whole screen, and would interfere your line of sight affecting what you could see on-screen.  By placing the overlay map to the upper-right corner, your whole screen is visible for gameplay purposes.  Each [WIKI]NPC[/WIKI] is displayed as a tiny yellow dot. Place your mouse cursor over the yellow dots, and automatically a window pops up above the dot displaying the name of the NPC.  You can see and identify NPCs ahead of you, not yet within visual range. Update: Monsters are not displayed by the mini-map. You will still have the element of surprise. The mini-map helps you locate NPCs that might have a quest for you, or some interaction options to learn some lore.

RARE MONSTERS /  BOSS

In Diablo II, it was hard sometimes to notice a rare [WIKI]monster[/WIKI] among a bunch of mobs. Sometimes you would even get killed before noticing a rare was behind that bunch of mobs. In Diablo III, before the rare monster or boss enters into view, a name tag pops at the top-center with a health bar.  The health bar is divided into a few rectangles.  The health bar / name tag window displays the special attributes of the monster (i.e. a rare named Head of Grief had three attributes beneath its name tag: Vampiric, Froze, Fast.

QUESTS

While exploring the world, you will find NPCs with a yellow exclamation sign floating above their head.  When you accept the [WIKI]quest[/WIKI], the title and objectives are displayed onscreen at the right-center for few seconds, then fades out.  You can access the quest window by pressing (Q). It’s very similar to World of Warcraft.  After walking away from the bonefire of corpses at the Tristram Woods, you enter the Ruins of Tristram. There are a few destroyed buildings. You can see the Physix engine in action when randomly some debris of the ruins crumble down. Placing your mouse cursor over some of the door signs you will find Griswold’s Blacksmith Shop. While exploring, you find a well. It can be highlighted if you place your cursor on.  A quest starts and it is automatically displayed onscreen to the right: Little Girl Lost. Objective: Find a way to free the little girl’s spirit from the old well in Tristram.

When you stand near the well you can hear the girl’s voice over and weeping. She is trapped inside the well. Something funny … some of her quotes resemble that of the girl in the Poltergeist film.  Exploring further into the Tristram ruins you find a female ghost and listen to her voice over which is repeated over and over randomly: Where has gone my girl?  She must be so lonely.  She never goes away without her doll.  She’s lost without it!

Not far from the ghost you will find a chest on the ground. Within lies the doll. Loot it and return to the well. The quest is completed as you return the doll.  The spirit of the girl ascends from within the deep well and thank you. A reward is automatically placed in your inventory.  You will read a message onscreen saying how much XP (experience) you gained, and the name of the looted item. In my case, a Socketed Boots of Brawn (+9 armor, 1 socket, + 2 strength).

Before reaching the Cathedral of Tristram entrance, you will find [WIKI]zombies[/WIKI] kneeled on the ground as if eating from a body. Once you kill them, the body on the ground – tagged Dying Adventurer – automatically highlights a yellow exclamation sign enabling a new quest: The Return of the Skeleton King.

The voice over says something along these lines: “Please … listen to me!  The fire, somehow … it awoke him. The Skeleton King’s evil haunts the cathedral once more.”

Your character’s voice over says: “Skeleton King, huh?  Sounds interesting. Rest easy. I will show him the err of his ways.”

Enter the cathedral. Eventually you will find an NPC with a yellow sign on his head. Take the quest. Guess who the NPC is? If you have played Diablo 1 or have visited DiabloWiki.net the name Lachdanan will ring a bell. He was the loyal friend of King Leoric in Diablo 1.  Lachdanan killed King Leoric, who cursed him on his last dying breath.

SCROLLS & BOOKS

This is probably the most lovely lore source feature for players who decide to immerse themselves into the world of Sanctuary.  Let’s say you enter a dungeon, and find a pedestal. When you highlight the pedestal, by moving your mouse cursor over it and clicking it, you loot the book.  Open your Inventory (I) and click the book or scroll.  A sound clip pops up at the bottom-right of the screen. Underneath the clip are three buttons: play, stop, close. It is a voice over recording telling the story within the book.

For example, in the Cathedral of Tristram, the Journal of King Leoric tells his story during the time Diablo possessed his son Albrecht (Diablo I).

BUTTONS

The three buttons to the right of the main UI correspond to the Left Mouse button, Right Mouse button and an alternate Right button that switches those last two by pressing TAB button.

  • Click the left mouse button to move and attack enemies.

  • Click right mouse button to use the assigned skill
  • Press the alt key to show all dropped items
  • Use the 1-4 keys to activate assigned hot bar skills
  • Right-click on a hot bar, or mouse button slot to assign a new skill.
  • Press TAB or scroll the mouse wheel to swap between right mouse and alternate right mouse skills.

SKELETON KING

The Skeleton King appears at the third level of the Tristram Cathedral. Former King Leoric has a large axe. As told by Jay Wilson in the past, boss events can feel epic without the town portal escape trick or the heal potion spam mechanic. Once the Skeleton King engages in combat, dozens of zombies enter the room to attack you. The boss has an animation that alerts you when he is about to slam his long axe toward you. The idea here is to attack him a few times, and run away before he slams the axe in front of him. It can be avoided. Kill a few mobs for health orbs, and attack the Skeleton King again. Rinse and repeat. I was able to kill King Leoric without dying by doing these steps. Sadly, the Diablo III demo finished after killing this first boss, with a message from Blizzard congratulating me for killing the Skeleton King in this BlizzCon 2008 demo.

THOUGHTS

After playing the demo at Blizzcon, I can only say—hopefully not sounding heretic – that I loved Diablo III, and look forward for the announcement of the remaining two classes. No release date for Diablo III unfortunately, but personally I wish this game was on stores around October 2009. Gameplay mechanics are very similar to Diablo II,  except much better. The graphics are vibrant and colorful, without taking away the epic and dark feel of the previous games. The Physix engine honors the [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] class pretty well, smashing stuff and debris in all directions.

You can click emblems on the walls, that activate a mechanism that drops a candelabrum. If timed correctly, it could smash onto a group of mobs. If you move your character quickly into the area the candelabrum drops on, your character gains daze effect for a few seconds (funny). It would be cool to interact more with objects and traps using the Physix engine to benefit you on bosses and monster encounters. For those who asked me recently if [WIKI]Stashes[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Waypoints[/WIKI] are returning in Diablo III, I asked [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] and the answer is yes.  Waypoints however will play a different function this time around.  Upon death you respawn at the [WIKI]check point[/WIKI].  Check points I observed in the BlizzCon demo happen by the door toward the next catacomb (for example).  Some objects spawn near you at the check point. You need to equip them again.  This means no more running back to your corpse which is surrounded by 15 monsters. Diablo III is enhancing everything that was broken in Diablo II.

Diablo Archive – Diablo: Demonsbane Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, Diablo 3 News

After receiving the Diablo Archive, boasting 752 pages, just recently, I decided to read through it backwards starting with Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame).

I am sure the Diablo Archive will be a jewel among my Blizzard novels collection. Better to have four Diablo novels on a single tome, than have invididual books all around the place unable to find them at times. There is one thing I disapprove from the Diablo Archive however.  For such a big tome, and quiet heavy in weight, the cover designer Richard Yoo or whoever chose the cover material should have gone for thick cardboard material. This huge archive is no pocket book. It is about two inches thick. The cover material is made of the same material as any other pocket book with the same thin thickness. The result is a jellyfish-effect when you handle the heavy book around. I usually read on my bed. At times when I am uncomfortable, I usually lie on my back and rise the book above me in the air. The weight is almost unbearable after 20 minutes, but the material doesn’t help. Enough with the material rant.

What can be found inside is worth the nuisance. For years, I have heard of Diablo: Demonsbane. A lecture painted in myth. Something I knew existed, but couldn’t reach. It was a few years ago, when I first heard of its existence. It was released on 2000 in ebook format. I have a lot of Warcraft RPG books in ebook format, and even purchased Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor as an ebook.  But for some odd reason I never got around reading Diablo: Demonsbane, even when I craved it more than any other book. Curiosity compels one’s craving. I have never read a review of Demonsbane, or heard what it was about. I just knew it was the first of the Diablo stories ever released.

I reported about the first printing of Diablo: Demonsbane on paper two years ago on July 2, 2006. It was titled Blizzard Legends Vol. 1.  It contained a printed version of three ebooks from each game franchise: Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (by Chris Metzen), Starcraft: Uprising (by Micky Neilson), and Diablo: Demonsbane (by Robert B. Marks).

However, it is now with the release of Diablo Archive that fans have the opportunity to get this craved story more broadly as it comes bundled along with Diablo: Kingdom of Shadow, Diablo: The Black Road, and Diablo: Legacy of Blood.

Personally, I was expecting something different in Diablo: Demonsbane. More of a dark fantasy meets Lord of the Rings with some fancy Shakesperian old-english language accent. Part of the myth I envisioned for lack of any knowledge of a Demonsbane’s summary.

I started reading on Sunday evening and couldn’t stop reading. It caught my attention. It is a short novella spanning through page 685-738. According to the epilogue, these events take place on year 302 and seem to happen during the Sin War.  Right at the end when I read the epilogue, it made me wonder.  Did Diablo: The Sin War somehow retconned Demonsbane? I have no idea. What I do know is that none of the events of the Sin War trilogy seem to be mentioned in it. Nor did the main character in Demonsbane show up in the Sin War trilogy.

Which book comes first in the timeline is also a mystery to me. One thing does gets mentioned that might help those who have better knowledge of the timeline than me.  Sarnakyle the Kejistan mage of the Spirit Mage Clan mentioned he was among the party of mages that killed Bartuc the Warlord of Blood at Viz-jun two years earlier.

The story is centered around Siggard, a warrior who fought at Blackmarch with the Entsteig’s army. They had fought demons there led by the favored archdemon of the Lord of Terror: Lord Assur. This archdemon has a peculiar glyph of invincibility that makes him feared by the Vizjerei Mage clans. There is however one thing that may kill him, and that would be spoiling it. I did see it coming when I read what could kill him, but was unsure as the requirements for it to happen were not clear at sight, specially with the interaction of Siggard with the other characters.

Ever since the Night of Souls through the events in Brennor, it kept bouncing around my mind why Siggard can’t remember anything about Blackmarch until certain point as if he had magically forgotten. As I was reaching the last pages of the story, it was more evident my suspicions were right, but the idea resulted contradictory. Making me doubt.  Robert B. Marks wrote here a very nice story, and wrapped up with a surprise few could have seen coming. It keeps a fast pace, while adding elements of suspense. I enjoyed the read and don’t regret it. One well-known character appears a couple of times, but heavily weights on the outcome of the story: Tyrael.

I will be reading through the Diablo Archive in upcoming days. One thing I am glad of doing, however, is to have started backwards, reading Diablo: Demonsbane first. It is a pity this story was brought as an ebook and as a short novella. As an ebook, it didn’t get the attention it deserved in 2000. And as a novella, it was too short. The story was worth an entire book of 378 pages. I hope the author writes a continuation of Siggard’s adventures.  Otherwise, I would like to read a new story from him again. Take note Blizzard. Cheers, Robert B. Marks.

Go grab your copy of the Diablo Archive.

Blizzplanet - 2008 New York Comic Con - Blizzard Licensed Products

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Merchandise, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage

DESCRIPTION

Medievaldragon attended 2008 New York Comic Con at the Jacobs K. Javits Center in Manhattan to bring coverage of the event to Blizzplanet.  There I met Richard A. Knaak and Keith R.A. DeCandido who are writing material for various volumes of the upcoming Starcraft and Warcraft mangas to be published by Tokyopop.  Other Blizzard Entertainment licensed products were showcased at the New York Comic Con by Upper Deck Entertainment, DC Comics & DC Unlimited, and Pocket Books. Below are articles covering information provided at the event, and lots of product photos and images.

 

World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card - Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Upper Deck Entertainment recently announced the upcoming release of a new art book titled World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game. An official release date has not been announced, but the book should debut this month (January 2008). It will be hard to describe the contents of this book, but it is just thrilling to hold it in your hand, and browse through pages and pages of great Warcraft-inspiring artwork. This review is divided into a few categories to take you along my journey as I open the box it was shipped to me in. The first thing you see after opening the box dazzles you and makes the experience more joyful: its overall cover design.



JACKET DESIGN COVER

World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game is a big book of 288-pages and 11” wide x9” high in dimensions. The book is eleven inches in width, so you have the pleasure of viewing bigger illustrations in more detail. I placed this book on my left hand to compare its weight with the, also big, Warcraft Manga Ultimate Edition I reviewed a few weeks ago. Upper Deck’s book is heavier. The first thing that captures your attention at eye contact is the awesome Ragnaros artwork on its jacket design cover with brilliant orange and yellow tones. Placing your hand on and rubbing the material of the jacket design cover feels like soft waxed paper. I had to rub the cover a few times. It just feels so good and comfortable to the touch. Almost addictive. Shows how much well thought the design of the book was conceived to pleasure visual and tact senses.

The cover is just a jacket paper wrapped around the book, which can be easily detachable, as it has no restraints binding it to the book. Personally, and this is my choice, I would remove the jacket design cover and frame it for posterity. You don’t want a fingerprint-smeared cover. It is so perfect looking, you would want to conserve it pristine.

On the back, it has six small icons on fire showing the logos and image of the World of Warcraft TCG series: Heroes of Azeroth, Through the Dark Portal, Fires of Outland, Onyxia’s Lair, Molten Core Raid Deck and Magtheridon’s Lair.

At the top of the back cover, it says: “Experience World of Warcraft:; through the eyes of the world’s top fantasy artists in this collection of paintings from the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game. More than 300 dramatic visions of Azeroth come to life from such acclaimed talents as Samwise Didier, Todd McFarlane, Greg Staples, Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai, Marcelo Vignali, Todd Lockwood, and others. At the bottom it says: Feel the magic. Live the glory. Heed the call!

On the interior of the jacket paper wrapping the book, it says:

THE WAR IS REAL.
AND YOU ARE IN IT.

Experience the fantastic world of Azeroth like never before in World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game, a compendium of World of Warcraft®‘s most valiant heroes, devastating spellcasters, and bloodthirsty creatures. Upper Deck Entertainment, the co-creator of the popular World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game, has sifted through its vast archive of card art to share more than 300 drawings and paintings in epic detail.

Featuring the talent of such master craftsmen as Todd McFarlane and Greg Staples, World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game brings our most primeval dreams to life, weaving an elaborate tapestry of might and magic. Each breathtaking piece draws the reader further into the World of Warcraft® mythology, which has entranced millions of players worldwide. Complementing the stunning imagery are forewords by Blizzard Entertainment® Senior Art Director Samwise Didier and Art Lead Glenn Rane that provide unique insight into The Blizzard Way.

With more than 300 fantastic pieces of art, World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game is the ultimate companion to the World of Warcraft® universe and a must-have treasure for World of Warcraft® enthusiasts everywhere.

BOOK COVER AND MATERIALS

I haven’t yet reviewed the artwork within, and I am already excited by the physical aspect: materials and design of this book. Let’s remove the jacket paper wrapping the book for a moment. I couldn’t but gasp at the material of the book cover. It is fairly a one-eight-of-an-inch thick. Rock solid, rigid cardboard. It takes some effort to attempt to bend it. The solid cardboard is wrapped firmly by what looks like a brown and very textured fabric. This one can’t be detached. It is embedded on the cardboard. In front of the book cover is symbol stamped in yellowish metalic paint … Two inverted triangles merged, a flaming eye at the center and a horned-skull above the eye. Opening the book to see its interior will make many who purchase this book a happy panda. Fifteen years ago, I graduated college with a Graphic Arts degree. Material planning and cost management was among the courses comprehending its program. I can tell you, right off the bat, this book has high quality materials. All pages are thick glossy paper. Nice to the touch, visually appealing, and … hold, sniff-sniff. These pages have a pleasant perfume fragance. Shows there was a lot of work, thought, and detail put into creating this book.


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BOOK CONTENT

6 Foreword: Samwise
8 Foreword: Glenn Rane
10 Introduction: Jeremy Cranford

12 The Alliance
96 The Horde

204 Monsters & Locations

286 Acknowledgements
287 Artist Index
288 Card Title Index

Forewords take a full page divided in two columns with a sample artwork on the next page. The Samwise f
oreword section offers you a nice Samwise artwork showing the Warcraft III Panda hero who splits into three pandas showing
its fire, air and earth aspects. That would make a great desktop wallpaper, if you have a scanner. Samwise explains how each artist is handpicked from hundreds of candidates and how each artist is brainwashed, and practice and practice until they get the artistic nature of the Blizzard style.

Glenn Rane goes into explaining the term called “Blizzard Quality” which is meeting and exceeding people’s expectations. Jeremy Cranford, Upper Deck Entertainment Creative Manager, Art Acquisition of the World of Warcraft TCG explains how they aimed to bring Warcraft to life through detailed artwork, similar to how Alex Ross does for comic books. Jeremy explains the process of hiring various artists with attention to details, and how as Creative Manager he criticizes and guides each artist in capturing the Warcraft feel. His foreword shows three before-and-after sample images showing how concept art has evolved after he has criticized or suggested an artist to make changes in order to capture the Warcraft feel.

The World of Warcraft TCG cards are divided in three categories: The Horde, The Alliance and Monsters & Locations. Some of the Monsters include Un’Goro dinosaurs, Molten Core bosses, Magtheridon and Onyxia. Each artwork is catalogued with Card Name, Artist Name and Medium Used—information placed near the card artwork. For example, the first artwork is described as follows:

Card Name
Graccus
Azeroth 4/361

Artist
Douglas Alexander

Medium Used
Digital

Most of the artwork is either made on digital, oil, or acrylic medium, with a very few exceptions which use colored pencil or gouache. Most of the artworks are incredibly detailed, and were painted with bright colors. Some of the stunning artwork resembles that of old-school Dungeon & Dragons, Dragonlance book covers, and other fantasy-setting books. Other artworks such as artist Udon and Michael Komarck’s look like norse mythology a la Alex Ross. Some artists such as Clint Langley use surreal or 3D elements. Each style capturing amazingly the World of Warcraft feel. Or comic-stylish such as the four TCG artworks by Gabe from Penny Arcade: Leeroy Jenkins (Warrior), Lt. Commander Dudefella (Mage), Dizdemona (Warlock) and Wyneth Harridan (Paladin).

Every World of Warcraft race and class is represented in this book, including the Draenei and the Blood Elves. Some of the cards portraying abilities, spells, items and weapons are shown in this book, such as bloodlust, charge, battle shout, fear, Sword of a Thousand Truths, Spectral Tiger, pick pocket, dampen magic, Noggenfoggen Elixir – among many others. If you can’t have enough after purchasing the World of Warcraft: Art of the Trading Card Game, you may be glad to know the jacket cover tags this book as Volume I, which may suggest there might be more volumes with new stunning artwork from the World of Warcraft TCG Series.

Whether you are a World of Warcraft TCG player, a Warcraft fan, or an artist yourself looking for inspiration and drawing/painting techniques from other fellow professional artists, this World of Warcraft: Art of the Trading Card Game is a must-have in your wishlist.


World of Warcraft®: The Art of the Trading Card Game

In January 2008, Upper Deck and Blizzard Entertainment® will release World of Warcraft®: The Art of the Trading Card Game, a new hardcover book featuring artwork created for the highly popular World of Warcraft Trading Card Game (TCG). Published by Chronicle Books, the 288-page, 11″x9” book will include more than 300 full-color iconic pieces of art featured during the first year of release of the World of Warcraft TCG.

World of Warcraf®: The Art of the Trading Card Game will include a collection of sketches, paintings and finished artwork highlighting a selection of World of Warcraft’s most valiant heroes, devasting spellcasters and bloodthirsty creatures created by some of today’s top fantasy artists. These artists include Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Greg Staples (Judge Dredd), Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai (InQuest Gamer magazine’s “Artists of the Year” recipients), Marcelo Vignali (Disney Animation), and Todd Lockwood (Forgotten Realms), among others.

Insightful forewords are given by Blizzard’s Senior Art Director, Samwise Didier, and Art Lead Glenn Rane. Jeremy Cranford, Art Acquisitions Manager for Upper Deck Entertainment, provides the book’s introduction.

For more information on World of Warcraft TCG Products, log on to www.wowtcg.com or www.upperdeckstore.com


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CARD TITLE INDEX

Abyssal
Acolyte Demia
Aegis of the Blood God
Aldori Legacy Defender
Aleyah Dawnborn
Anchorite Kalinna
Ancient Core Hound
Anger Management
Angrida
Araelun
Arcane Blast
Arcane Power
Aspect of the Hawk
Aspect of the Viper
Avanthera

Bad Mojo Mask
Baron Geddon
Battle of Darrowshire
Battle Shout
Bellowing Roar
Benethor Draigo
Berserker Rage
Big Game Hunter
Blade Flurry
Blistering Fire
Blood Guard Mal’wani
Bloodlust
Bloodrage
Bluffwatchers
Boat to Booty Bay
Borlis Brode
Bulkas Wildhorn

Call of the Wild
Cannibalize
Challenging Shout
Charge
Chen Stormstrout
“Chipper” Ironbane
Chromatic Cloak
Chromie

Claw
Cleave
Commanding Shout
Core Hound Tooth
Corki’s Ransom
Crown of Destruction
Crush
Crushing Blow

Dampen Magic
Daspien Bladedancer
Deacon Johanna
Deadly Brew
Demoralizing Shout
Destiny
Diplomacy
Divine Shield
Dizdemona
A Donation of Silk
Doomguard
Dragon Hide
Drusenna the Vigilant
Dual Wield
Durdin Hammerhand
Dwarven Hand Cannon

Earth Shock
Elendril
Erytheis
Eskhandar’s Right Claw
Execute
Expose Armor
Eye of Kilrogg
Eye of Rend
Ez’trin

Faith Healer’s Boots
Fang of the Crystal Spider
The Fare of Lar’korwi
Fear
Field Commander Olinnae
Fillet Kneecapper Extraordinaire
Finkle Einhorn
Fire Elemental Totem
Firelord
Firesworn
Fizzle
Flames of the Incinerator
Flametongue Weapon
Flaming Assault
Flight Form
Foolish Mortals
Forbidden Knowledge
Force of Nature
Fortune Telling
Frost Shock
Frost Trap
Fury
Fury of the Firelord

Garr
Gehennas
Girdle of Uther
Goldenmoon
Golemagg the Incinerator
Graccus
Greefer
Grennan Stormspeaker
Grumpherys
Gurubashi Dwarf Destroyer
Gustaf Trueshot

The Hammer of Grace
Hammer of Ragnaros
The Haunted Mills
Hellfire Channeler
Hellreaver
Helw
en
Herod’s Shoulder
He Who Has No Life
Hidden Enemies
High Overlord Saurfang
Hotter Than Goo
Hur Shieldsmasher

Immolate
Indalamar
Infernal
Innervate
Inspire
Inventor’s Focal Sword

Jackknife
Jazmin Bloodlove
Jin’do’s Bag of Whammies

Jon Reaver

Kaal Soulreaper
Kailis Truearc
Kallipssa
Kana Nassis
Katsin Bloodoath
Kavai the Wanderer
Killing Spree
King Magni Bronzebeard
King Mukla
Kor Cindervein
Kralnor
Kulan Earthguard
Kulvo Jadefist

Landro Longshot
Last Stand
Latro Abiectus
Lava Spit
Lava Splash
Leeroy Jenkins
Legplates of Wrath
Lt. Commander Dudefella
Lobotomize
The Lobotomizer
Lokholar the Ice Lord
The Love Potion
Lucifron

Magma Blast
Magmadar
Magtheridon
Magtheridon’s Rage
Malfunction
Manhunt
Manticron Cube
Mazar
Meekway Humzinger
Mind Soothe
Mind Spike
Mind Vision
Moala Stonebinder
Mojo Mender Ja’nah
Molten Armor
Molten Giants
Mordotz
Morova of the Sands

Najan Spiritbinder
Nalkas
Nathressa Darkstrider
Nalkas
Nesmend Darkbreaker
Nightfire
Noggenfogger Elixir
Nyn’jah

Obsidian Edged Blade
Omendus the Punisher
One-Thousand-Battles
Onyxia
Orgrimmar Grunts
Ornate Adamantium Breastplate
Outrider Zarg
Overseer Oilfist
Ozzati

Pagatha Soulbinder
Panax the Unstable
Parren Shadowshot
Parvink
Penelope’s Rose
The Perfect Stout
Phadalus the Enlightened
Pick Pocket
Pithran Mithrilshot
Plagueborn Meatwall
Poison Water
Prayer of Healing
Predatory Gloves

Ra’chee
Radak Doombringer
Ragnaros
Rampage
Raul “Fingers” Maldren
Reaver of the Infinites
The Relics of Wakening
Renew
Retribution Aura
Reverend Tobias
Rexxar

Sal Grimstalker
Savin Lightguard
Scimitar of the Nexus Stalker
Scorch
Scout Omerrta
Seal of the Crusader
Seva Shadowdancer
Shadowmistress Jezebel Hawke
Shadowstrike
Shawn of the Dead
Shred Soul
Silencing Shot
Sister Rot
Slam
Slice and Dice
Slow
Snarl Hellwind
Sneak
Sonic Spear
Sow Destruction
Spectral Tiger
Spellbreaker’s Buckler
Spellsteal
Spinal Reaper
Spirit Healer
Spiritual Attunement
Spirtual Healing
Spiritual Wrench
Stellaris
Stitches
Stone Guard Rashun
Sulfuron Harbinger
Sunder Armor
Sus’vayin
Sword of a Thousand Truths

Tail Swipe
Tanwa the Marksman
Taz’dingo
Teebu’s Blazing Longsword
Telrander
Tempest, Son-of-Storms
Terrifying Presence
Test of Faith
Timmo Shadestep
Tinkmaster Overspark
Tiril Dawnrider
Totem of Coo
Touch of Chaos
Travel Form
Tristan Rapidstrike
Tyrus Sheynathren

Ubel Sternbrow
Undaunted Defense

Valanos
Valthak Spiritdrinker
Victoria Jaton
Vigilance
Vindicator Enkallus

Wanted: “Hogger”
Warmaster Hork
Warrax
When Smokey Sings, I get Violent
Windfury Totem
Windseer Tarus
Wrath
Wrath of Ragnaros
Wyneth Harridan

Yanna Dai’shalan

Zalazane
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds
Zomm Hopeslayer
Zygore Bladebreaker
Zy’lah Manslayer

Starcraft Ghost: Nova - Novel Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Just finished reading StarCraft Ghost: Nova novel, by Keith R.A. DeCandido. I had purchased the book back on December, but had procrastinated on reading it. I regret that now. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading.

Keith R.A. DeCandido is a Star Trek book writer, he is done detective and fantasy police procedural novels such as Dragon Precinct, Spider-Man: Venom’s Wrath and Spiderman: Down These Mean Streets, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer – The Xander Years, Rodenberry’s Andromeda, Farscape and others. Most recently author of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred. A very experienced book writer leaving deep footprints in top sci-fi universes.

With StarCraft Ghost: Nova, I was expecting some Zerg fragging as in previous StarCraft novels. However, this read was far from that and unexpected. Instead, the novel starts with Nova being assigned to her first outdoor mission. It meant a lot to her. This was her test before graduation after two-years-and-a-half training in the Ghost Program.

And it was not just any mission. It was one she had pleasure doing. To kill Cliff Nadaner, leader of a rebel group who hated the Confederates, the Old Families and even the Sons of Korhal. Three years before this mission, Nadaner ordered the assassination of Nova’s family … the Terra. Now it was payback. This mission would not only be payback, it was important for her to get graduated. All Ghosts must agree to a memory-wipe as requirement to becoming a Ghost officially. That would silence the memories of all the hundreds of people she killed at the penthouse and at the Gutter district, and the thoughts of her family at the moment of their deaths.

The novel has very interesting turnpoints. It mentions, throughout the story, key moments of the StarCraft Universe, letting you know where and when in time the events progress. After the first pages, before Nova carries out her mission, we are transported back three years before this mission to witness what molded Nova. She was the youngest daughter of Constantino Terra … one of the Old Families aristocrats. The Old Families were descendants of the Commanders who came in the supercarrier ships that crashed in the Koprulu sector, coming from Earth. Constantino owned various industries and ventures. He owned the company that created robotics for the Confederates such as hovercars and hoverbikes. He was the only one who opposed the Confederates and the Old Families’ decision to nuke Korhal IV.

The novel has different tastes such as humor, suspense, detective/police procedural elements, some scenes reminded me of Blade the Vampire Hunter (Marvel Comics), and a few parts which reminded me of Goodfellas film, specially when Nova is forced by a crimelord to serve him as his personal telepath bully at the drugs and crime district known as the Gutter. I wasn’t really expecting the novel to have all these elements. Although this Gutter plot deviated the course of the novel from a StarCraft setting, it did make you feel empathic with Nova and motivates you to understand what led her to become a Ghost and why she doesn’t remember her past. The loss of her family right in front of her eyes and her six months captivity in the Gutter, killing over 75 people to please her boss, explains the tough personality and honed abilities of Nova as a Ghost in the game. She may not remember her past, but the events of her past led her to wish to be trained as a Ghost and to wish to lose her memories by free will.

When I was reading the part of the Gutter which covers over 100 pages out of the 304 pages, I personally wished the author had focused more on the StarCraft events surrounding the plot and maybe removing the entire Gutter district plot. However, once the plot finished and we are moved the next six months when Nova enrolls in the Ghost Program, I had to admit that period of the Gutter district gave a meaning to Nova’s reasons to join the Ghost Program. Hers was a very tough life, and really makes you at times feel portrayed. You get to see daily real life issues upclose such as drug addiction, sex, crime, psychological manipulation, , poverty, apathetic capitalism and wealthy, anarchy, social oppression and underwage. The novel covers it all in a real life spectrum, set in a futuristic stage. I recommend StarCraft fans to get ahold of StarCraft Ghost: Nova.

You won’t see Protoss or Zerg fraggapalooza, but you will get a glimpse to various aspects of the Confederates, the Old Families and the Ghost Program in Tarsonis. As well as to witness the tragic life of November Annabelle Terra, aka Nova.

The novel starts around the time of StarCraft: Liberty’s Crusade. Throughout the novel you will read a few mentions of events – via Tarsonis UNN Press Reporters – such as:

1. The destruction of Korhal IV and the background of how the Confederates managed to get support from the Old families to carry out that decision.

2. The Protoss destroying Chau Sara and Mar Sara.

3. The attacks on Antiga Prime by the Sons of Korhal.

4. The rise to power by Mengsk claiming Antiga Prime as its ruler.

5. General Duke siding with Mengsk, betraying Tarsonis.

6. The invasion of the Zerg on Tarsonis

7. The establishment of the Dominion government with Arcturus Mengsk as Emperor.

Mengsk will do a cameo by the end of the novel talking to Nova and to Agent Malcolm Kelerchian the Wrangler (A Ghost Porgram telepath hunter). I would really like to have Nova and Malcolm as heroe units in StarCraft 2. Both are very strong characters with appealing personalities such as Jim Raynor.

Elements I wish the novel could have mentioned was the Confederates Squadrons such as the Alpha Squadron, rather than inventing a new one. The invasion of Tarsonis was mostly skipped entirely moving forward many weeks after. It would have been nice to have seen Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, and Tassadar in cameos. Specially since someone such powerful a telepath as Nova, could have drawn Tassadar’s attention when they were on Tarsonis’ orbit before the Zerg overrun Kerrigan’s basecamp on the orbital platform. It is known Tassadar had briefly contacted Sarah with his mind long before they met in one of the game campaigns, although never explained.

Or gone more deep into Constantino’s involvement with the Zerg experiments. We get to briefly read Constantino regrets helping the Confederates with experiments with Zerg. In StarCraft game, Arcturus tells Jim Raynor he witnessed Zerg held by the Confederates when he was a prisoner. This was a year before Chau Sara was destroyed. Now we know Constantino Terra, Nova’s father, had something to do with those Zerg experiments since he was owner of the main robotics industry in Tarsonis. The novel also features the eldest of the Old Families … a woman age 150. The Duke Family, mentioning two relatives of General Duke, one of which was married to Esmerelda Ndoci—Major of the Annihilators Squad, who later work as Mengsk Elite team with Nova for the Dominion.

I particularly got intrigued with the revelation that Nova’s father was involved in the first sighting of Zerg and experimentation in Confederate Military bases and the Ghost Program. Prior to the RTS Game events. It would be interesting if Keith ever wrote a new novel to dig into those plots. No doubt he got the writing skill to describe such time-frame. If you read Chris Metzen’s message below, you will notice there “may” be plans for new Starcraft Ghost novels.

Chris Metzen wrote a two pages introduction at the beginning of StarCraft Ghost: Nova novel:


Buy Starcraft Ghost: Nova

“I’m very proud of this book. I’m especially proud of what it represents. Sometimes, amidst the general insanity of the video game business, you just have to latch on to a good idea and follow it wherever it leads.

The game StarCraft: Ghost, on hiatus as of the time of this writing, has been in development for almost as long as the PS2 and other console platforms have been on store shelves. Designing and building this game was a pretty crazy process. While there were many reasons for the game’s development taking as long as it did, one key design element always stood out and gave us inspiration to keep pushing onward: Ghosts are very, very cool.

These nearly superhuman agents who stalk unseen across raging battlefields were a major component of the StarCraft mythos. Not only were these units fun to play with, but they seemed to have a certain mystique that made them stand out amidst all the other (bigger and more colorful) units in the game—I personally think it was the stunning voice-work. While we knew that a Ghost would make the perfect focal point for a console game, we were faced with a lot of options about how to bring our new Ghost character to life.

A lot of folks thought it would have been cool to see Sarah Kerrigan, arguably StarCraft‘s most famous Ghost, and have the game focus on her origins. While that could have been a killer direction (pardon the pun), we decided to create a new character whose origins—and more importantly, whose destiny—wasn’t yet set in stone.

Thus, young Nova was born. Her personality and visual design were the result of a lot of hard work by a talented group of people. The spunky, lethal Nova was one of the first characters we had ever created that would take center stage in her own game and really anchor StarCraft: Ghost as a new part of the StarCraft setting. Needless to say, we were immensely proud of how she turned out.

I’m very pleased that we’re finally able to tell her story and show the world just who this enigmatic young character is—and what events molded her into one of the most dangerous assassins in the universe.

Of course, this take would not have been possible without the amazing talents of Keith R.A. DeCandido. Keith seemed to have a deep affinity for this character, and he not only brought out all the dark, disturbing nuances of Nova’s past—but provided a fresh new look at the gritty underbelly of the StarCraft setting as well. I can’t imagine this story in anyone elses’ hands.

So, while we might not be seeing StarCraft: Ghost as a video game anytime soon, we will definitely be following Nova’s continued adventures through novels just like this one.

Enjoy! I hope y’all dig it!”

Chris Metzen
Vice President, Creative Development
Blizzard Entertainment
May 2006

SPOILERS

Nova Terra – Her full name is November Annabella Terra. Daughter of Constantino Terra and Annabella Terra. Her parents noticed her psionic abilities at age 7. Constantino kept it secret so the Confederacy military wouldn’t take her to the Ghost program. Being from the Old Families, Constantino could decide not to tell anyone nor to send her off for training where Terra would be used against the sons of Korhal. In a way to protect his youngest daughter. Nova’s designation as a Ghost is X41822N.


Cliff Nadaner – Murderer of Nova’s family. Nadaner was once a Marine. And he had been once at Antiga Prime. Like Arcturus Mengsk, Nadaner was an agitator back in the final days of the Confederacy. Nadaner was against the Old Families, the Council and the Confederates, and against the Sons of Korhal. Later against the Dominion. Nadaner did not achieve much political change. He caused trouble and murdered many. Nadaner did not kill Nova’s family himself. He contracted Gustavo McBain to do the job.


Gustavo McBain – He was a welder, working a construction contract in Mar Sara when the Confederates ordered the destruction of Korhal IV. The Confederates killed his entire family, his pregnant wife Daniella and his young daughter Natasha. McBain swore to take down the Confederacy, and shortly after joined Cliff Nadaner’s rebels. Nova learned all this info by reading McBain’s mind. Nova killed McBain at her 18th birthday. McBain had killed her family, three years ago … three days after her 15th birthday.


Planet Tyrador VIII has 10 continents. Nova’s space-pod landed upon the smallest of its continents. The small continent was a humid jungle.


Planet Tyrador has 9 planets in its orbit. Tyrador VIII is one of those smaller planets orbiting around Tyrador. Tyrador VIII orbits around Tyrador IX, like a moon would a planet.


Director Kevin Bick -Nova’s instructor and Director of the Ghost Program Academy once Dominion was established after the Confederates’ defeat. Dominion took over the Ghost Program and many ex-Confederates joined the Dominion Director. Bick replaced Director Ilsa Killiany.


Constantino Terra – Father of Nova Terra. The Terra were one of the Old Families, descended from the commanders of the supercarrier ships that transported them from Earth. Constantino discovered his daughter was a telepath when she turned 15. In her birthday, she knew her family was coming to celebrate her birthday. Usually, families would turn their sons to the military upon discovering their telepathic abilities, but the Old Families didn’t do so unless they wished to. Constantino was owner of the biggest Robotics company in Confederate territory: Servo Servants. The company lived mostly off repairs and spare parts for the robotics. Though, everyone would think his business revenue was simply from selling robotics. Constantino’s industry had captured Zerg in the Sara System and experimented with the Zerg a year before Chau Sara was destroyed.

Constantino was the only member of the Old Families who requested the Tarsonis Council to revert the decision to bomb Korhal IV. The Old Families sided with the Council and the military on the decision. Constantino thought it too radical a solution. Constantino blamed the Confederate Council for the rebel attacks … Korhal IV had backfired. It rose propaganda against the Confederacy, and the uprising of different rebellious groups and terrorists.


Annabella Terra – Nova’s mother. Annabella and Constantino were owners of separate fortunes inherited from their Old Families. Both married to unite both fortunes. However, their offspring was born by implanting his seed into Annabella using technology. Both of them had their own lovers among the servants. Eleftheria was Constantino’s lover (mistress), and Edward Peters was Annabella’s lover (jig).


Mara Greskin – Universal News Network (UNN) Reporter assigned to cover news of the fifteenth birthday of Nova Terra, where the elite members of Old Families from Tarsonis and offworld came to celebrate her party.


Handy Anderson – UNN Editor-in-Chief


Clara Terra – Nova’s older sister and girlfriend of Milo Kusinis.


Milo Kusinis – Clara Terra’s boyfriend.  The Kursinis are one of the wealthiest among the Old Families.  The Kursini Skycrapper is the highest one in Tarsonis, even higher than the Terra Skyscrapper. Milo married Clara Terra months after the penthouse massacre where the Terra family was murdered. Uniting both families’ fortunes.


Rebeka – Nova’s hairdresser


Old Garth Duke – Brother of General Duke, one of Tarsonis’ elite Old Families members invited to Nova Terra’s fifteenth birthday party.


Boris – One of Constantino Nova’s servants.


Zebediah Terra – Nova’s oldest brother.


Lia Emmanuel – Constantino’s employee. She is vice president of all vice presidents of all Terra’s businesses and ventures. Constantino’s right hand. She interrupted the birthday party to inform Constantino that rebels had destroyed the Palombo Valley plant—where hovercars and hoverbikes were in production. Arcturus Mengsk had broadcasted on TV at the same time of the plant’s destruction propaganda against the Old Families and the desintegration of economies and labor exploitation. This plant was a key component to destroy Constantino’s monopoly. Lia explained they had two choices: To rebuild the plant to get back on business, or to pay the families of the deceased in the plant attack. By choosing the latter, Terra’s business would crumble. And by rebuilding, Mengsk would gain a point for his anti-Old Families propaganda as Terra would be accussed of not caring for the families of the workers.

Lia also informed Constantino things were worse. The Protoss wiped Chau Sara and Mar Sara.


Planet Halcyon – Source of Grape crops and Framberries. On ‘07 the grape crops were aweful. So that year’s wine was as aweful—according to Constantine Terra. His wife Annabelle, however liked that year’s wine. Constantine said she had bad taste of wine quality. Planet Halcyon is also where the hab drug is prepared and distributed by crime organizations.  According to Fagin, the Gutter district gets their Hab supplies from Halcyon.


Andrea Tygore – The oldest of the Tygore family, member of the Old Families. She is 150 years old, and moves around on a hover-chair. She knew about the plant destruction and arrived to Nova’s 15th Birthday to ask Constantino if he knew of it. Nova and Zebediah found out of what happened through Andrea. Andrea had been one of the Old Families who sided the Confederacy and the military to bombard Korhal IV. Now despises rebels, specially Mengsk. The old woman thinks servants are lesser, and shouldn’t be given preference or mercy.


Morgan Calabas – Eldest son of Arturro Calabas. A young man attracted to Nova. She knew he didn’t love her. Not much for telepathy, than for his eyes never leaving her chest. This was the first time Nova was able to read minds, subconciously and involuntary. Nova had been empathic since age 7 to this day at age 15th. For first time she could listen to someone’s mind … Morgan said in his mind he would be under her skirt in no time after escorting her to a ball event.


Arturro Calabas – Father of Morgan Calabas. Although his son Morgan thinks he will be able to take Nova to a ball event, Arturro had told Charlie Quinn he would send Morgan off to planet Tyrador IX for reeducation.


Charlie Quinn – The kind of guy that finds out the latest gossip, but usually ends up getting things wrong and messing people’s reputation.


Bryan – the daytime lobby guard at Terra Skyscrapper. Household of the Terra Family. He was killed when the rebels attacked the Terra Family.


Malcolm Kelerchian – The finest investigator in Tarsonis Police Force’s Detective Squad. He investigated a murder of two children of a semiprominent shop owner. After a careful investigation using technological means he discovered the murderer to be Emmett Tygore. Rather than prosecuted by Confederate laws, Emmett was sent to a rehab facility in Halcyon. Never heard of again. The UNN reporters never digged further and focused on other news. But Mal’s hawkeye-mind never kept from thinking about this murderer. Though, not able to do anything as his superiors won’t let him near Halcyon to stay updated on Emmett’s whereabouts.

The military of Tarsonis would usually find a detective such as Mal to be a waste for local police. The normal populace’s Psi Index was 2.0 whereas Psi-talented ghosts were Psi-Index (PI) 5. Tarsonis Military saw in Mal’s files a PI 3.5—making him sensitive to telepathy, although not a telepath himself. Mal was transfered to the Military to be trained as a Wrangler—a telepath hunter—to bring in telepaths to the Ghost program.

After months of training, Mal was prepared. However, a side-effect of his ability was to get a headache whenever he was near a telepath. The day Nova found her family dead, she unleashed a massive psionic and telekinetic outburst that killed the murderers of her family and destroyed the penthouse. Even at his office, Mal got his brain spiked by the power emited by Nova far away. Nova—he thought—would be a PI 8 or higher. Telekinetics are catalogued PS 8 or higher. Only one on that scale he met during his six-months training. Locked at a government facility.

Malcolm started his investigation of the crime scene at Nova’s penthouse. He thought to himself this was a telekinetic far above PI8. The dome was anti-nuclear strike. Yet it was shattered from within.


Detective Jack Pembleton – arrived to the scene ready to take over the Terra Skycrapper Penthouse massacre investigation. Agent Malcolm showed his holographic badge showing this was now Confederate Military jurisdiction. Jack told Mal there had been seven attacks to the Old Families.


Director Ilsa Killiany is the Ghost Program director who identified Detective Malcolm as a PI 3.5—getting him to be transfered to the Wranglers training facility. Mal hates her guts for that, but mainly for being an ass.


Fiorello – A Wrangler who replaced Malcolm when reporting to Director Ilsa the murderer was Nova. Ilsa couldn’t believe a telepath this powerful hadn’t been detected before. Fiorello was to take over the case so Mal won’t be in danger. He was too good to be lost.


Fagin – His true name is Julius Antoine Dale. He is the Crimelord of the Gutter District. He oversees all operations from sex, drugs, black market, weapons, etc. He has a contact inside the Confederate Army who provides top technology in exchange for Hab (drug) for his wife. Fagin is the version of Goodfellas film’ type of crimelord. He kills for no reason. Fagin captured Nova and made her a personal telepath assassin by using a Confederate device given to him by his militar contact. The device blocks Nova from reading his mind and sends a neural shock into Nova’s brain to keep her in check as a docile slave.


BRIEF SUMMARY

A brief round up of the first 100 pages … Nova ended her studies, and she was assigned this mission by Intelligence Section. A mission that would set her in the middle of a jungle at Tyrador VIII as her last step to officially become a Ghost. Her suit during the mission wasn’t an advanced one. It lacked stealth-mode gear. The internal circuitry of her suit modulates her internal temperature to compensate for the extreme humid and hot ambience near the equator of Tyrador VIII, amidst this jungle. – page 3.

Tarsonis has 27-hours a day cycle.

Emperor Mengsk ordered Intelligence Section to send Nova to seek and destroy the remnants of Nadaner’s rebels. The drop-pod was programmed to disintegrate. This to prevent Dominion tech from falling in wrong hands. Nova’s suit contained the same auto-destructive technology to leave no trace of her if the suit did not trace her lifesigns.

The day Nova found Nadaner in the jungles of Tyrador VIII, it was her birthday. 18 age. She remembered three years ago, at the age of 15, her father had told her she would be in this star system by now.

Nova was the youngest of the Terra Family, the elite, owners of a robotic industry in Tarsonis which supplied the Confederates with technology. A Rebel leader, Cliff Nadaner, destroyed the most important robotic plant killing the whole night shift personnel. This made Constantino pretty scared that his family would be targeted by terrorists.

Shortly after, The Old Families society were worried about the destruction of Chau Sara and Mar Sara by the Protoss. Fearing they would attack Tarsonis, they sent their youngest to a resort on Tyrador IX. Constantino was planning to send Nova to Tyrador IX to protect her in case the aliens destroyed Tarsonis. Though, Constantine was still unsure of sending her to Tyrador IX, days later, the Sons of Korhal attack on Antiga Prime settled the decision. He had to protect Nova by sending her offworld. Nova cried the day of her 15th birthday when reading his father’s mind. Three days after her 15th birthday party, Nova aboarded the puddle-jumper at the Giddings Station on Tarsonis taking them to orbit aboard the Osborne Port. There Nova and the thirty young passengers would aboard the Calabase’s yatch- the Padraig—to Tyrador IX.

Constantine thought that if Mengsk was able to infiltrate or bribe someone from within his Palombo Plant to destroy it, Mengsk could also infiltrate someone into his own household putting the life of his family, specially Nova’s in jeopardy.

Nova sensed his family in danger, and before the Padraig prepared its engines to fly off the orbital station, she forcefully requested the flight steward to let her off the ship. Nova had to find out what was happening to her family, leaving on a cab back to Tarsonis.

Nova found Bryan the lobby guard dead, and took the elevator to the penthouse. There she saw Constantine, Eleftheria and Annabelle dead on the floor. His mother’s jig, Edward, betrayed them. Gustavo McBain held a gun at Zeb, Nova’s brother, and shot him. This caused Nova’s presence to be sensed in the room as the sight of her brother’s murder caused her to scream. Edward pointed a gun at Nova shortly to kill her.

The entire Penthouse blew up … the dome, able to withhold a nuclear explosion was shattered …. over 300 people died, including some servants, the murderers of her family and bystanders.

Detective Malcolm Kelerchian was removed from the Tarsonis Police Force to be recruited into the Ghost Program as a Wrangler – a telepath hunter. He was sent to investigate the Penthouse massacre scene inch by inch using his detective skills. His veredict … the mass murderer is Nova.

Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy Book One Birthright - Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

We are going to meet with Richard A. Knaak on a Public Q&A to discuss his latest Blizzard Entertainment project titled Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy. It is your opportunity to ask anything about the book, its plot and anything Diablo-related to its author. Simon & Schuster publisher provided me few weeks ago with a review copy of Sin War Trilogy. I started reading and so far it looks like a good read. I recommend it whether you are a veteran or new to the Diablo RPG video game and its lore. Spread the word!

UPDATE: The Public Q&A Transcript is now available. Fasten your belts for a bumpy and exciting ride. Diablo 3? Read the book for a portent of things to come. Sometimes the future lies in revelations from the past.


Within the pages of BIRTHRIGHT, the first novel in the SIN WARS for Diablo, readers will discover the basis for the present dire conflict as, far in the past – three thousand years before the darkening of Tristam, a farmer named Uldyssian ul-Diomed finds himself the pawn of powers both Heavenly and Hellish.  But a gift lurking within him may prove the key to saving Humanity from being caught in a celestial conflict that could destroy the world of Sanctuary. Rated-M for mature readers.

DESCRIPTION:

Since the beginning of time, the angelic forces of the High Heavens and the demonic hordes of the Burning Hells have been locked in an eternal conflict for the fate of all Creation. That struggle has now spilled over into Sanctuary – the world of men. Determined to win mankind over to their respective causes, the forces of good and evil wage a secret war for mortal souls. This is the tale of the Sin War – conflict that would forever change the destiny of man.

Three thousand years before the Darkening of Tristam, Uldyssian, son of Diomedes, was a simple farmer from the village of Seram. Content with his quiet, idyllic life, Uldyssian is shocked as dark events rapidly unfold around him. Mistakenly blamed for the grisly murders of two traveling missionaries, Uldyssian is forced to flee his homeland and set out on a perilous quest to redeem his good name. To his horror, he has begun to manifest strange new powers—powers no mortal man has ever dreamed of. Now Uldyssian must grapple with the energies building within him—lest they consume the last vestiges of his humanity.

NOTE: I finished reading the book. Its plot seems to have good material for Diablo 3 storyline. The book reveals the origin of Sanctuary and men. Not what you would naturally assume would be. Lilith – the Pandemonium Monster introduced in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Patch 1.11 appears in the Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy pocketbook.

Lilith (Demon) (Pandemonium Event)

“Lilith is believed to be Queen of the Succubi and matriarch of demons. After her legions of Succubi and strongest daughter Andariel were killed by mortals who successfully defended the Worldstone, Lilith swore to personally intervene. She masterminded the revival of Diablo by manifesting herself in the mortal realm and performing a ritual of Dark Summoning. This ritual, long thought to be impossible by the most powerful mortal wizards, allowed Lilith to link with Diablo across realms, strengthening him until he was finally able to once again reincarnate himself in the mortal plane. Rage and a deep yearning for revenge boiled within the eyes of the Lord of Terror, and together he and Lilith resurrected the two remaining Prime Evils as well as Duriel and Izual, two of their strongest agents.

Diablo announced his grand plan – the Three were finally strong enough to spread Pandemonium throughout Sanctuary. Lilith could have easily conducted an assault on her own, but because she had been left severely weakened by the Dark Summoning ritual, she agreed to aid the Prime Evils and command some of their remaining forces.”

SPOILERS – from Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright—Disclaimer: Read at your own risk.

“I am inarius, one of the Angiris Council, once a commander of the Heavenly Hosts. Once a rebel against both the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. You shall not take from me Sanctuary. I will not let you again destroy my dream! Sanctuary and all it contains will not be yours. Even if I must destroy it myself … as is my right.

I will not brook the stirring of the nephalem again. such an abomination will not see fruition again! you should not have dared return, not dared to influence that which should have been left buried so deep…”

Richard A. Knaak is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty fantasy novels and over a dozen short pieces, including The Legend of Huma in the Dragonlance series and the epic War of the Ancients Trilogy for Warcraft.  Aside from his extensive work in the Warcraft, Diablo and Dragonlance, he is also known for his popular Dragonrealm series, which includes ten novels and six online novellas, and The Sunwell Trilogy, a Warcraft manga published by TOKYOPOP. His Aquillonia trilogy, based on the world of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, is now coming out in print from Penguin/Ace. Currently, he is at work on the second and third volumes of Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy, and the first novel of Ogre Titans saga (The follow up to Minotaur Wars). A new Warcraft book is in the horizon, plus other projects.

Those interested in learning more about his work should join his email list by contacting him at his website: www.sff.net/people/knaak

Starcraft Queen of Blades pocketbook - Summary Spoiler

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

The Starcraft: Queen of Blades pocketbook was written by Aaron Rosenberg, popular writer of Star Trek books and RPG books.  You can read our public Q&A with him here. The book is focused on Jim Raynor’s perspective. As you read through chapters, you will see a lot of familiar conversations and events of each Starcraft 1 mission in the Zerg Campaign. Specifically at planet Char. There are some flashback memories mentioning events that happened through the Terran Campaign when Raynor was at Mar Sara and when he met Sarah Kerrigan in Antigua Prime, and events of Tarsonis.  The book starts six weeks after Sarah was abandoned in Tarsonis by Mengsk and was overrun and captured by the Zerg.

The following is a summary of each chapter of the book. The book contains 18 chapters and 350 pages. Excuse the lack of grammar in this summary.

CHAPTER ONE

Starcraft: Queen of Blades takes place six weeks after the events of Starcraft: :Liberty’s Crusade.

Sarah Kerrigan awakes within the chrysalis not aware of where she was or who she was. Just faint flashes of distant memories: A battle, monsters surrounding her, betrayal. Though she couldn’t know from whom, or how. Note: Arcturus Mengsk abandoned her in New Gettysburg, Tarsonis. The zerg surrounded her and her troops. Sarah could feel her body changing and morphing Her body was drugged, immobilized. However, her mind could soar. Sarah used her mind to call for help.

The Cerebrate oversaw the mobilization of the cocoon through the eyes of the Overlords as Ultralisks and Hydralisks escorted the prize through the ruins of New Gettysburg. A massive wormhole opened in the sky, and the zerg prepared for warp-travel towards planet Char, leaving the dying planet Tarsonis behind.

During his time with the Sons of Korhal, Jim Raynor had a bond with two of Mengsk’s inner circle: Reporter Mike Liberty and Lieutenant Sarah Kerrigan. In Antiga Prime, Mike Liberty reported the latest news. Emperor Arcturus Mengsk’s spokesperson said the New Terran Dominion had been doing anything to contain the alien threat and keep the population protected in the last two months. Liberty had to report news on his close friend Jim Raynor, who had destroyed the Dylarian Shipyards. However, pressed to tell the truth, an arrest warrant was aimed at Jim Raynor for this attack. Raynor stole the Battlecruiser Hyperion and other ships from the Dylarian Shipyards, leaving General Duke without his personal Battlecruiser, marking the first defeat of Mengsk’s New Terran Dominion before self-proclaiming emperor.

It had been six weeks since Raynor deserted the Sons of Korhal, after Mengsk betrayed Sarah Kerrigan abandoning her to the Zerg in planet Tarsonis. This was catalyst for his rage to take over against Mengsk. He still savors the satisfaction of punching General Duke on his jaw when he ordered to stand down. Jim quit. Raynor had no clue what to do next once they stole the Dylarian ships. There was no plan. He quit out of rage, not thinking of the consequences.

Then these dreams that have hit him since Tarsonis. Raynor did not know what the nightmares were. It was Sarah projecting a telepathic call at Jim Raynor. Jim would see through her eyes and feel her own body as his. He felt confined in the chrysalis as did she. An ash-covered ground. Unknown to Jim this was planet Char. On the sky two purple moons, a visible sun and a nearby ringed red planet.

After waking up from his last nightmare, listening to a call of his name, he took a shower and visited the bridge of Battlecruiser Hyperion. Matt Horner – his second-in-command and ship captain was a young man who joined the Sons of Korhal, and later deserted to join Jim Raynor’s men.

Raynor ordered Horner to search on Mengsk’s Nav systems aboard the Hyperion for a world similar to the description he got from the dream. Nothing came up.  However, Horner used an algorythm to make a new search using the two purple moons, the sun and ringed red planet as reference. Three options came on screen, none charted. Raynor identified the one in his dream, and ordered to set trajectory toward that planet under the grounds that Tarsonis survivors were taken there by the Zerg. And so the Hyperion and nearly four hundred men set travel toward planet Char.

CHAPTER TWO

Two weeks later, the Hyperion approached the orbit of the planet. Raynor dubbed it planet Char. Suddenly, a Terran Dominion Warship was on sight orbiting Char. The Norad III (Behemoth class)—General Duke’s warship—accompanied by two carriers, a drropship and a Science Vessel, with no further backup. Raynor thought there was a traitor aboard spying for Duke, but then he realized Duke would have been there with at least half-dozen battlecruisers if it was an ambush to nail him. Note: Behemoth class battlecruisers may carry more than 1,000 men and 24 Wraiths.

Raynor asked Horner to send a hail transmission to Norad III. General Duke showed up onscreen surprised to see Raynor in Char. After a dialogue, it was obvious Sarah had telepathically contacted Mengsk as well. Subconsciously she knew of a betrayal, but did not grasp what it was. Her memories too faint to remember. Duke hinted to Raynor he was here for the same reason. Mengsk had sent Duke here for a mission. After a lot of bravado, Duke rugged Raynor off with threats. Norad III was far superior to the Hyperion and the other three battlecruisers in Raynor’s party. However, Raynor couldn’t take it but as a bluff. Something was amiss. Someone like Duke would have at least chased them or made a couple of warning shots. Easily aboarded the Hyperion. A second transmission was open by order of Raynor. This time the bluff was blown up. Raynor said the scans reported both dropships were more than half-empty. Duke had sent men already at the surface of Char and had lost most of his men. Duke snapped and accidentally revealed what Raynor was hoping to know. Sarah was down there, but no more. Raynor confirmed his dreams were real. She was actually here.

Raynor decided he would recover Sarah at all costs, where Duke failed. Suddenly, Hornet alerted Raynor the Norad III opened its bay door. Raynor feared Duke would attack his ships after all. But then realized a shuttle and three Wraiths were heading to the surface instead. Duke was ignoring Raynor’s ships and making sure to accomplish Mengsk’s assigned mission. Duke wished to find Sarah before Raynor would. With that Raynor ordered Horner to watch the Hyperion while he and the other ships descended upon Char’s surface.

CHAPTER THREE

Upon landing Raynor moved the troops northwest to seek the hidding Zerg Swarm, while Sergeant Lisa Mannix sweep scanned the northwest grid sections. Lisa Mannix had served the Sons of Korhal, but she despised what Mengsk did in Tarsonis … unleashing the Zerg upon a whole world with the psi-emiters and ditching a whole team down there, including Sarah. Chuck Ayers served Duke in Norad II, and joined Mengsk when Raynor rescued the Norad II crew. Now Chuck Ayers left Duke and joined Raynor. Ayers and his partner Ari Patel found a small crater, that could be an entrance. They speculated it could lead to an underground cavern system. The zerg could be hidding deep in. But the crater wasn’t big enough for zerg. Maybe for Zerglings. They kept finding small craters all around along ten minutes of reconnaissance and leaving sensors on each crater to listen to any activity. Lance Messner – from the Nemesis dropship crew – called up Raynor reporting Zerglings. One of the sensors picked the distinguishing noise they emit.

They explored a crevice and saw, far below, zerg movement. Raynor was hit by a daydream vision. He was now seeing the location of Sarah. Feeling himself one with the Zerg, feeling pleasure about the experience. Then returned to his senses. The telepathic visions were stronger here. The nemesis squad and Raynor’s squad joined and walked close to each other searching thoroughfully and inspecting the area, not finding a way to go down the crevice. Suddenly, Captain Matt Horner contacted Raynor through a private link from Hyperion Battlecruiser, orbiting Char. Incoming! The Protoss were here. Raynor knew wherever there were Zerg, Protoss would show up soon or later as exterminators. Purifying entire worlds with flame, not minding other civilizations. They had done this to his homeworld Mar Sara. He had seen it in Tarsonis, but Mengsk had sent Sarah’s squad to Tarsonis Capital World to neutralize the Protoss from interfering their plans with the psi-emiters and the Zerg to annihilate the Confederacy. Raynor thought he could ally the Protoss here in Char, but would they understand or care that he had deserted Mengsk?

Raynor suspected the Protoss might be telepathic like the Zerg. And if Sarah’s telepathy was so strong as to reach Raynor and Mengsk, knowing her visions showed Zerg, would lure Protoss here too. Now he was worried he had brought his men to their doom. Protoss burn any planet tainted by the Zerg. Raynor ordered to watch the Protoss ship and to inform him their landing site whenever they get to descend to the surface. The Protoss could be their easy way to find an entrance to the lower depths of the surface to reach Sarah. However, Deke Cavez and Melinda Squire found a crater bigger than any other they had found. This crater was around five feet wide. Enough for them to descend through. Melinda approached its entrance for reconnaissance when a Hydralisk blade slashed at her. She fell back, missing the blade. Raynor pushed her farther back and trembled before the sight of the Hydralisk. He had met such creature the first time he crossed paths Mike Liberty in Mar Sara. Same day he found Mengsk and Sarah. The Hydralisk that day in Mar Sara made Raynor what he is today. Shrugging off the memory, Raynor used his rifle to kill the Hydralisk. The Squad immediately jumped into the darkness of the crater entrance to access the underground tunnels.

CHAPTER FOUR

The crater was just the mouth of a very long chute, a long fall down. There at the bottom they found themselves on a tunnel with two ways, no corridors. Not knowing which of both tunnel sides to take, he closed his eyes hoping for any hint from Sarah to lead him to her. However this time Raynor’s body in the dream was gray, almost green. Unhealthy. He felt strong, powerful. The dream was stronger. Raynor forced his eyes open to escape the nightmare vision. They led on through the tunnel and found a small corridor above. Ayers was killed by a Hydralisk in the narrrow tunnel, slashing his arm off and puncturing his chest open. Raynor threw a grenade killing it. Now the Zerg would know for sure they were there. Gina Elani(Nemesis Crew) bandaged Ari Patel’s arm. However, minutes later and deeper into more branches of the tunnel a Zergling attack resulted in Ari Patel and Elani’s demise. And many others died. Far deep through tunnels—the crew started wondering how Raynor knew the way to Sarah. Not long after, they finally found a familiar sight in a tunnel … zerg creep oozing off the ground. Suddenly, they saw a giant eye hanging off an arc, with web-like strands crossing the save, many tendrils on its back. A sentry. They shoot it, and now expected company. Zerglings, Hydralisks and Mutalisks overwhelmed them. Squire and Messner didn’t make it. Twenty men followed Raynor past the arch. He could sense Sarah was beyond it. Others who didn’t hear the command to move stayed behind in the carnage. Raynor, Fedders and the other men were astonished at the sight of this huge chamber. Its walls covered with oozing creep. A breeding place with eggs, and over forty zerg: Zerglings, Hydralisks, Ultralisks and Mutalisks. Even a Cerebrate.

Raynor spotted his prize. The chrysalis where Sarah lies within. The Cerebrate commanded the zerg to stop the Terrans from reaching the hatching chrysalis. Raynor reached it, and tried to free Sarah. The figure within didn’t look anywhere close like her shape. Too many limbs. It was hard to see within the chrysalis. Suddenly, the layer came off with two sharp limbs from within tearing it apart. Raynor witnessed the birth of the Queen of Blades. Sensed its power. She looked toward the Terrans crippling the zerg. The Overmind reached out welcoming his daughter commanding that no Terran be left alive. With a gesture on her face, she commanded the zerg to rally against the Terran. Only one survived, immobile before the presence of Kerrigan … the Queen of Blades.

Raynor: “Mother of god … what have they done to you?”

CHAPTER FIVE

The Cerebrate mandated Raynor to be killed, but Kerrigan withheld the Zerg in check, and commanded them to leave them both alone. Kerrigan let Raynor leave alive, asking him never to cross the Zerg. Raynor left behind the woman he loved. He brought his men to death’s den for a woman that didn’t want him be here. On his way out through the tunnels, past the arc, Raynor found Cavez still alive, expecting to get any orders from his leader. Raynor just couldn’t lead any orders just now. He was losing it behind a laughter that caught him thinking of the irony of traveling the galaxy just for nothing except death to nearly 100 men under his leadership. A band of survivors, badly injured is all what remained, making their way back to the dropships. It took them hours to find their way out of the laberynth. Cavez came out of a tunnel announcing daylight sighting coming out of a chute. Most of the men dropped tears of joy, including Raynor. A soldier named Non climbed up for half hour to the rim calling out clear perimeter on the surface. Each marine hardfully climbed up. Ling gave a hand to Raynor helping him up, and Raynor collapsed on the ground and closed his eyes. Too much for him.

CHAPTER SIX

Raynor was once again dragged by his visions. This time he was just an observant unable to move or talk. He could see and feel through Kerrigan. Zasz the Cerebrate and Kerrigan confronted each other tensing up the broods. Zasz reminded her that she was simply a servant of the Overmind, and to not dare cross the Cerebrates. The Overmind asked both to hold off their attack on each other, and not to fear her designs for Kerrigan was bound to his will like any other Cerebrate. Suddenly Daggoth decloaked his presence and offered the best of his brood to the service of Kerrigan. Raynor could see all this in his telepathic vision. Raynor discovered through Kerrigan’s eyes and thoughts that only Cerebrates that have long served the will of the Overmind and been successful earned a name. Other cerebrates were simply nameless. For this reason Zasz snapped at Kerrigan with resentment. She was just born and already kept her previous name and got a new Zerg name (Queen of Blades) without going through the rigurous steps any Cerebrate needs to achieve a honorable name before the Overmind.

Raynor woke up when Cavez interrupted his dream. He was not able to listen to the next words from Kerrigan, her plan to attack a Terran occupied planet perhaps. Raynor was saddened. Twenty-three men remained where three hundred came down upon planet Char along with him. They made their way back to the dropships, when suddenly another vision hit Raynor. This time Kerrigan was on the move with her Zerg inside a terran vessel seeking the Ghost conditioning files. Raynor wondered why would Kerrigan attack the Science Vessel, but not attack Norad III—a bigger threat. As Raynor and the remaining 23 survivors reached the beacons, they noticed the Zerg killed the crew and stole the dropships to reach the Dominion Science Vessel.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Pilot Sanches was cut to shreds, same as other pilots. The two dropships left in the valley were now gone. Taken by Kerrigan and the zerg to reach and invade the Amerigo Science Vessel. Raynor caught an emergency signal on the Communications system from Amerigo. A woman named Sandler was calling out for help. General Duke responded from Norad III. Raynor decided to eavesdrop the signal. Sandler reported it was not an outside attack. It was an invasion. The zerg were inside the Amerigo somehow. The transmission was still open, but only silence was heard. Shandler was no more.

Then it hit Raynor. Kerrigan and the zerg stole his own dropships and possibly Duke’s, using her telepathy to get the access codes from her victims to get entry to the Amerigo. Suddenly, new transmissions were heard on the radio. Warriton from the Chandler ship reported they were under attack by zerg. Lieutenant Physon reported a breach at the Harper ship and their captain dead. Ragay from the Trillium battlecruiser reported the same as well. Kerrigan was taking down all of General Duke’s ships. Raynor suddenly figured out why his own dropships were stolen and called Matt Hornet, his second-in-command still in orbit at the Hyperion Battlecruiser. Matt responded and was calm. He said his dropships were about to dock safely. Raynor ordered to lock down the dropships and not let anyone in and out. Matt was surprised, and couldn’t understand. He thought Raynor was inside the dropships. He was asked to follow orders with no questions. When Matt tried to seal off the dropship bay, he couldn’t. All command codes were overriden. Even Raynor’s.

Raynor thought of the Hyperion’s layout cursing at Mengsk’s ego—those wide stairways with no seal-doors. The zerg could just parade their way through if those dropships landed in the bay. There was only one option Matt could propose. One that could put the Hyperion’s crew in jeopardy. Warp drive. It required hours of warming and preparation to engage warp. A sudden jump could take them millions of years light away, or worse, desintegrate the battlecruiser. Raynor did not hesitate and asked Matt to do it. The Hyperion entered warp and was gone. Raynor felt a relief. But now the other three battlecruisers of his team were in danger. Their warp engines weren’t as powerful as the Hyperion, and could be easy target to the Zerg. Raynor felt useless to help them and worried he and his twenty-three survivors on planet Char’s surface were stuck with no way out of the planet.

Raynor didn’t hesitate and swallowed his pride contacting General Duke’s assistance. He asked him to send a dropship to rescue him and to help his battlecruisers. Duke laughed at Raynor … you want me to help you after making me look like a fool, stealing our ships and to help save those men who betrayed Mengsk and the Dominion, and left Duke walking out on Raynor’s saying so? Boy, you got some big brass ones, that’s for sure, but not a lot of brains!

Duke shoved Raynor that he would have all this deaths on his head. With that, Duke turned around the Norad III and engaged Warp, leaving planet Char’s orbit. Raynor couldn’t but feel sad for the fate of his crew and battlecruisers to the mercy of the zerg. Suddenly, Raynor looked skyward, and saw one of his battlecruisers come alight and vanish from sight. He couldn’t believe it. A protoss ship had desintegrated it. Now that there were zerg aboard his battlecruisers, the Protoss were zealously purifying them with flame to exterminate the zerg. Three of Raynor’s battlecruisers were now destroyed. A light of hope came upon Raynor when he saw a lifepod or dropship entering the orbit. However, another blast from the Protoss destroyed it too.

Leanda Bluth transmitted from the Harrison Battlecruiser, saying she did all she could. Raynor replied she did well. With that farewell, a Protoss vessel destroyed the Harrison, the last one remaining. At least two dropships: one from the Chandler and one from the Graceful Wing Battlecruisers; made it to Char’s surface barely escaping the protoss beams. Raynor and his men ran for fourty minutes to reach the damaged dropship. The Protoss were still beaming down upon the dropship. Raynor ran in for survivors. Lieutenant Abernathy from the Chandler welcomed him. They gathered all supplies and equipment they could spare. Arriving to the second more damanged dropship, they found out it was broken in half in its entry from orbit by one of the Protoss beams. Four including the pilot were still alive. The other forty in the other half section(rear) were dead. Raynor ordered all their gear was gathered.

Raynor found a third crash. This one wasn’t a dropship, but an escape pod that wasn’t damaged by the Protoss. Raynor hesitated. There was no escape pods on any of his own Battlecruisers. This one was an escape pod from one of General Duke’s ships. Either from the cargo ship or the Science Vessel. The pod was opened by four of Raynor’s men. The interior was a mess after the crash. All supplies kits and gear splattered all around. A men and female dead. And a third still alive, but deadly injured in his abdomen. Raynor was quick to offer first aid with a nearby med-kit. However, Raynor knew this guy wouldn’t survive and interrogated him. He was from Amerigo, and aboarded the escape pod before a monster would reach him, referring to Kerrigan. Raynor promptly asked what was she looking for. The man revealed the Amerigo was part of the Ghost program. The man died. Raynor immediately thought of how ghosts are strongly conditioned psychologically and chemicals to implant blocks in their memories to limit their powers and from misusing them. Mengsk had rescued Sarah from the Confederates and helped clear some of her blocks, but not all. It made sense why Kerrigan herself attacked the Amerigo. Once she could repair her mind with the Ghost program files’ secrets, she would unleash her full potential as a telepath.

No doubt she teleapathically got the encryption codes from one of the Amerigo scientists to unlock the files. Raynor feared the Zerg would be unstoppable now.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Once all survivors from the dropships and supplies were secured, they built tents. The teams of Cavez and Abernathy accounted fifty-two survivors total. That’s all what remained of Raynor’s 300 men. Abernathy set up a self-powered beacon that may last three years. However, they had food supplies for merely two weeks. Comm-links were patched through the dropship to keep communication between themselves. However, not enough power to send communication past the athmosphere. Their fate looked grim. Tropper Deslan suggested repairing the dropship. However, Abernathy said they lack the tools and machinery. Even if they repaired it, it wouldn’t take them too far of planet Char. The closest thing was 3 days travel in space. McMurty suggested reparing communications to contact the Protoss in orbit for help. Raynor laughed and asked if he seriously thought the Protoss would give them a ride back home. Raynor did not mention the very Protoss were who destroyed their Battlecruisers.

Raynor promoted Cavez and Abernathy to Lieutenants, and they named sergeants among the team to split into grids and explore the area into dangerous spots and resource spots, seeking food sources or water. Raynor walked about alone. Thinking. Suddenly he heard a humming behind him. He rolled on the ground as a huge shadow covered him from behind, and took out his gun. Amazed he stared at a Protoss Scout ship just mere feet in front of him. The Scout ship landed, and an Iris-like portal opened. A dozen Zealots came out and stood in formation, while a High Templar, they commander set path toward Raynor. He asked Raynor to follow him. Tassadar telepathically forced Raynor to follow him within the Scout vessel. There Tassadar asked if he deserted Mengsk. Raynor was surprised he knew. Raynor had seen Tassadar twice before. In Mar Sara and Tarsonis. Raynor said he was against Mengsk’s decision to attack the Protoss in Tarsonis. Breaking their Alliance against the Zerg. Tassadar sensed anger in Raynor. He admitted to have destroyed his Battlecruisers, but justified the Zerg had overrun them. He had sensed few still alive aboard, but better to grant them a honorable death, than to be assimilated into the Zerg like Kerrigan.

Tassadar ordered the Zealots to seek Kerrigan’s location. Raynor was surprised to be able to understand Protoss language. He knew Tassadar’s telepathy was achieving this, and that Tassadar was letting him in on their affairs. Raynor asked how he knew about the Queen of Blades, to which Tassadar answered he heard the calls of Kerrigan, and knew she would pose a threat to the Protoss. He sent the Zealots to seek her location, not to attack, but to learn from her capabilities before taking action.

CHAPTER NINE

Raynor no longer held a grudge at Tassadar for destroying his battlecruisers, but remembered he had to contact his soldiers to avoid an incident. Tassadar had just sent his Zealots to reconnaissance planet Char in search of Kerrigan and the Zerg. Raynor alerted his soldiers there were Protoss on Char and not to engage them. They won’t attack if they left them alone. They were here for the Zerg. His soldiers acknowledged sightings of Zealots face to face with no incident. McMurty almost wet himself facing one. The soldiers kept searching for food and found a stream and a pond. They would use detox pills and boil the water before drinking it. Elsewhere they found a cluster of giant mushrooms. Deslan sighted some type of rodent, which meant there might be small mammals for meat.

Tassadar arrived on foot at the edge of a massive hill. Once Raynor caught up behind Tassadar he witnessed the biggest crater yet. It was the rim of a volcano. The perfect entrance for the zerg to underground tunnels. Kerrigan sensed the Protoss and asked Zasz if he felt their presence. Kerrigan opened her wings wide and flew upwards toward the rim of the volcano, and landed. She approached Tassadar and said it was a mistake to have come, asking what was his business here. The dialogues between Kerrigan and Tassadar are a match with the gameplay from Starcraft 1: Zerg Campaign: Mission 6 – The Dark Templar.

CHAPTER TEN

Raynor kept exploring Char on his own trying to find the Protoss, who kept changing locations. He found them hidding on high places mounting guard to any movement. The Zerg was sighted in formation, moving toward a crater. The Protoss sneaked in and decimated many, until Kerrigan showed up. Tassadar and the Zealots ran away. By the time she flew toward the top of the volcano, they were gone. Kerrigan promised to find them and annihilate them. Zasz’s Overlord approached Kerrigan to relay Zasz’s message. Raynor watched the battle scene and Kerrigan’s arrival hidden high in the plateau. He wondered now how he would be able to find the Protoss again. They walked faster than him, and would not be found at the same place. Suddenly, Raynor heard a familiar humming. Turning around he saw the ship he saw before, but its structure was different and different color: black marble finish and bronze, ancient. The vessel’s iris-like portal opened and the creatures that came out were like the Protoss, but their appearance wasn’t insectoid. They resembled reptiles, with bone-ridges and horns, and small barbs along their cheeks, like fanged lizards, green glowing eyes instead of blue, purple skin, long strips of black cloth. Their face were dark purple below their eyes, shifting to white, and shading to ivory at the chin. Big epaulets on their shoulders, bigger bracers, and a dark purple energy emanating. Sunlight seemed to be absorbed by them, surrounded by darkness. They were the Dark Templars.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

The Dark Templar walked past Raynor and went down the volcano into the tunnel. Raynor tried to follow them and to catch up. The tall tunnel accessed to a massive chamber full of zerg. Raynor recognized Cerebrate Zasz in the distance. However, he wondered where the Dark Templar had gone. They should be on sight, yet they weren’t. Suddenly, Raynor saw the wall shift. It stroke him that the aliens had camouflaged and taken the visual pattern of the walls. Zasz mood hadn’t lessened yet after Kerrigan moments ago had killed one of his own Overlords. Zasz talked to the zerg that the Queen of Blades wasn’t worth their support and that her temper and impatience was a risk to the swarm. Suddenly, the leader of the Dark Templar squad moved toward Zasz, and his company followed not far behind. His presence was sensed and Overlords, Scourges and Mutalissk rose to the air. Ultralisks formed in front of the Cerebrate to protect their leader, followed by zerglings and Hydralisks.

The Dark Templar introduced himself as Zeratul, and invoked a moment to talk with Zasz. Zasz refused as he was the enemy. Zeratul obliged pointed out they were few and the swarm were many. And even if the swarm defeated them, he still had to contend with the Executor and the zealots. Zeratul said Zasz had to stop Kerrigan from consolidating herself as she would no doubt kill Zasz to acquire his brood and hierarchy position. Zeratul offered Zasz the wisdom and knowledge of an aged being … for he knew the weakness of the Queen of Blades. Zasz and his brood listened with interest anticipating the Dark Templar to reveal this weakness. Zeratul demanded to talk this face to face. The Zerg moved aside on Zasz’s command. Zeratul approached mere feet away from Zasz. The weakness of the Queen of Blades is the same as all of the Zerg … Zeratul moved his hand backward and a flash of yellowish-green came off his lower arm. A blade similar to those of the Protoss zealots. It radiated yellowish wisps of vapor. Zeratul buried his blade deep into Zasz causing the giant slug to scream in agony. The Zerg froze on their spots sharing the pain and agony. Zeratul sunk his blade even more until Zasz went limp. Light and energy coallesed on the hole above Zasz and the yellow energy floated above. The true form of Zasz now abandoning the dead host vessel. Zeratul slashed once more with his yellowish green blade and the light form, split now in half, vanished into bits. Immediately, the Zerg started a rampage on each other, as if they had regained their individuality. Scourges suiciding on Overlords, Ultralisks attacking Hydralisks and Zerglings, Mutalisks launching acid upon the brood. Raynor watched in astonishment, while the Dark Templars abandoned the cave. Raynor kept thinking step by step everything he had witnessed trying to make sense of what had just happened. Why Tassadar didn’t think of doing this to the Cerebrates, he thought. Maybe he didn’t know, or can only Dark Templars kill a Cerebrate?

CHAPTER TWELVE

Raynor explained to Abernathy and the troops there were two types of Protoss out there. And they killed a Cerebrate. Raynor asked them to continue their tasks as scheduled, and to leave him. He wished to find the other Protoss. However, on his way to the mountains, he saw Overlords ahead. With his binoculars he spotted Mutalisks, Hydralisks, Ultralisks and Zerglings in formation, and Kerrigan among them. She wanted revenge on Tassadar. Suddenly, a different Overlord approached Kerrigan. An emissary of Cerebrate Daggoth came to relay Daggoth’s thoughts. Daggoth informed Kerrigan that Zasz was now dead. The dialogue here is the same as in the mission briefing at the beginning of Starcraft 1 – Zerg Campaign: Mission 7 – The Culling. Raynor was spying upon Kerrigan and the Daggoth’s conversation through his Overlord.

Daggoth and Kerrigan agreed, it was strange their link with the Overmind had been severed. As if the Overmind ignored their calls. Daggoth had served the Overmind for countless ages, and for first time he felt emptiness without the Overmind. Without Zasz, his own brood was now amok and had become a threat to the Hive clusters. Daggoth asked Kerrigan to destroy Zasz’s brood. Daggoth asked the nameless cerebrate under Kerrigan’s brood to see that Zasz’s brood was destroyed. Kerrigan growled that Tassadar was hers. However, Daggoth said that both had to take care of the most immediate needs. The Overmind would have chosen this way, was he still linked to them. Kerrigan taunted Daggoth implying the Overmind would have wanted him and Kerrigan to act together against Zasz’s brood—meaning Daggoth could see the same fate of Zasz while separated from Kerrigan’s brood. In the end, she wanted Tassadar for herself after all.

Kerrigan wanted Tassadar at all costs and wondered where to find him. Suddenly, Raynor felt Kerrigan looking his way. Raynor hid, but he felt a pressure behind his eyes. Kerrigan immediately exclaimed she now knew where to find him. Although not explained, it seems she got a tidbit of info from Raynor’s mind—he knew the Protoss hid in the heights by the mountains, while her search has always been in the low lands. Hours later, the Zerg found the Protoss in a plateau. They jumped down to the plateau, and Raynor followed far behind. A hundred protoss awaited the Zerg.

Tassadar invited her to this battleground, a flat rock—this is the confrontation at the end of Mission 7 – The Culling. Kerrigan attacked with her blades, but Tassadar had moved quickly, or so Raynor thought. Kerrigan used her wings to fly fast toward Tassadar and her blades impaled a Hydralysk instead, where she only saw Tassadar to be. She identified this as an illusion. Are you afraid of me, Templar?—said Kerrigan. Tassadar replied: “As long as you continue to be so predictable o Queen, I need not face you at all. You are your own worst enemy.”

Kerrigan flew toward a Zealot, and beheaded him. She threatened to kill another one if he didn’t reveal himself. Tassadar came out of hidding pleaing to stop. Kerrigan slashed at him with her wings, and Tassadar dodged, making wise and calmed moves. However, as the battle progressed, she pinned him with her wings in mid-air grabbing Tassadar. She was ironic asking what she should do with him to make him suffer, for a quick death wasn’t as pleasant for her, while putting a finger on her chin. Looking over her shoulder she glanced at the zealots. She commanded the Zerg to annihilate all of them.

Raynor witnessed everything from his hidding place, feeling useless and cursing not having his combat suit on and rifle. Only his pistol. He needed to move as stealthy as possible while spying on the protoss and Kerrigan earlier, therefore he explored unarmored. Not knowing what else to do to help the Protoss, now almost half decimated, Raynor used his pistol to shoot three times at an Overlord. Raynor recalled the nameless Cerebrate under Kerrigan’s brood was unexperienced in battle, and the formation of the Scourges and some ground zergs in disarray proved it. The Overlord lost control of its flight and knocked another overlord causing them both to aggressively knock onto the scourges and causing an explosion that even shocked Raynor slightly. The explosion caught on a line of scourges unleashing a chain reaction. The zerglings and even Hydralisks near the explosion of the scourges were destroyed, some zerg were wounded. Protoss zealots caught by surprise flew off the plateau smashing on the rocks below. Most protoss survived the explosions with their shields. Kerrigan was full shocked from behind by the shockwave and thrown to the rocks below. Using her wings to protect herself from the rocks—and her prey, Tassadar no longer in her clutches in mid-air like moments ago, escaped taking with him his zealots and any survivor.

Kerrigan growled in rage and yelled to Tassadar he wouldn’t escape for long. Raynor, a bit bruised by the explosion, grinned as he just saved the life of Tassadar and most of the zealots, buying himself a ticket out of planet Char for helping, he thought. Raynor was too tired, and thought of returning to the camp, but changed his mind and kept forth following the zerg and the Protoss.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Raynor followed and finally found the zerg, and Kerrigan . He hid after Kerrigan asked whoever was there to come to the open. He thought he was discovered. However, she called out for a protoss that smelled different. He remembered the Dark Templars. Forty feet away from her was Zeratul standing, cloaked. And his companions not far behind. Zeratul made a salute to Kerrigan revealing they had heard of her coming. She felt flattered, with a evil smile. Zeratul said something strange: “Greetings, o Queen of the Zerg. I am Zeratul, Praetor of the Dark Templar. Your coming has been foretold. You are a part of the culmination, but not the end of it.”

Kerrigan made mock of his words, and slashed at Zeratul. The zerg battled at least a hundred dark templars, while Kerrigan and Zeratul dueled. After a long fight, and a worthy one, Kerrigan pinned Zeratul with the tip of her blades puncturing his shoulders to the rock, and basically neutralizing his movement on the bracers. Zeratul cut that she had flaws, and that she may have won the battle, but next time things might be different. She mocked there would be no next time. As the last vestiges of the sunlight were over, Zeratul simply vanished into shadows, even when she had him pinned. He simply disappear without explanation along with the remaining half of his forces. The nameless cerebrate asked if they should search for the Protoss or for the Dark Templars. Kerrigan responded with a smile they shall both. She rallied all the broods to follow her to search the whole planet, and no one shall remain unharmed. While saying this, Raynor watched Kerrigan turn around to look directly on his way. This stroke Raynor like a cold shower from behind. She knew all along he was spying upon them. And that she just declared war on him and the terran survivors. He had to get out of there asap and alert his boys. However, the noise of claws climbing the hilltop announced he was too late. He was now about to be surrounded.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Raynor used his pistol to dig himself a hole on the ground. The dry ash crust of the surface facilitated it, and Raynor hid underground, praying he wouldn’t be found. He heard the Zerg above him. A Hydralisk seemed to have detected Raynor, but Kerrigan arrived saving him from being discovered in his underground hidding place. Daggoth interrupted through his overlord. Kerrigan reported to Daggoth that the Protoss were not the only ones on Char. There were dark ones as well. Daggoth paused her. They need to figure out what exactly these dark templars had done to kill Zasz permanently, and seek away to counter them. Daggoth revealed the Overmind had been silent since Zasz’s death, studying the matter. Kerrigan agreed, and reported the Gamon brood of Zasz was no longer a threat. Kerrigan requested report on the Protoss vessels. The High Templar and Dark Templar ships were destroyed. Raynor from his underground hidding place became worried. Now his Terran soldiers were stranded on planet Char along with the templar and dark templars. Suddenly the silence was broken. The Overmind reestablished his link to the swarm.

This scene happens at the mission briefing at the beginning of Starcraft 1 – Zerg Campaign: Mission 8 – Eye for an Eye. The Zerg Overmind said: “Behold, my long silence is now broken, and I am made whole once more. The cunning Protoss have dared strike down that which was immortal. For the Protoss who murdered Zasz are unlike anything we have faced before. These Dark Templar radiate energies that are much like my own, and it is by these energies that they have caused me harm.

Yet shall their overweening pride be their downfall. For when the assassin Zeratul murdered Zasz, his mind touched with mine, and all his secrets were made known to me. I have taken from his mind the secret location of Aiur, the Protoss Homeworld.

At long last, my children, our searching is done. Soon we shall assault Aiur directly.”

Daggoth said: “For now we must ensure that the Dark Templar can cause no more harm. Cerebrate, you shall set a trap for our foes. Kerrigan will lead them to you.”

This worried Raynor who was still listening to everything said above him on the surface. Sure the Zerg would leave Terran space, but it worried him if all those Tassdars and Zeratuls were defeated in their homeworld, what would the fate of the Terrans be if the protoss race was no longer there to defend them. Kerrigan requested to her father to be left behind on Char to take care of unfinished business. She wanted Tassadar and Zeratul. The Overmind commanded he wanted her to lead the assault on Aiur. However, her plea ended convincing him and authorized her to remain behind. The Zerg opened a warp-travel wormhole toward Aiur. Daggoth offered help to Kerrigan, but she declined his assistance. She would be more than a match to her prey. Daggoth obeyed and hoped she would join them in Aiur once she was done on Char. Kerrigan stated she leads, not joins. As she moved forth for the hunt, she turned around and pierced on Raynor’s eyes looking on his direction: “My prey will never know what hit them”. Raynor felt she did not simply mean the Protoss. Raynor thought of alerting the Terran camp and to search for Tassadar.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Raynor arrived next morning to the terran camp and fell asleep. He woke up in the evening and explained to both his lieutenants what transpired with the Zerg and the Protoss. The lieutenants wondered if they could simply salvage parts from the damaged Protoss ships, even attach an engine to one of the dropships to get off planet char. Raynor however proposed to search for the Protoss to seek an alliance. Cavez wondered if it would be wise to ally with aliens, but Raynor was sure they would see them as allies if they helped the protoss. It took Raynor a week to find the protoss. Up in the mountains he glanced at a colorful light. It was the glowing shoulders of Tassadar. Climbing up he noticed the protoss were on the move far ahead. He had lost them, but one more caught up. He thought he would be able to ask for help to get off the planet once everything was said and done, but the speed and pose of the Zealots alerted Raynor they were about to battle. Bad timing to ask for a ride.

As Raynor caught up with the Zealots, he spied upon them. Out of nowhere, Zeratul showed up before Tassadar, hailing the High Templar. Tassadar recognized them as the heretics. They were anathema to the High Templars. Zeratul assured they were here as allies to fight the same cause. Tassadar refused to listen, and engaged Zeratul. Zealots charged against Dark Templars as well. Raynor witnessed a dance of swordsmanship. Battle turned into poetry. Blue and green blades striking each other without touching flesh or injuring. Both protoss factions finding a perfect match on each other. Zeratul said to Tassadar that what he knows of the Dark templars is what his superiors fed the population with. Half trues with deceptions. Tassadar refused to be corrupted by Zeratul’s ilk. Zeratul began lecturing Tassadar asking him to fight using his mind—his strongest weapon—rather than attacking in full force with his weapons and fists.

When his mind is locked on his enemy, his fists won’t fail its target, he said. This duel became more a training and a philosophical fight than a duel. Tassadar was now full of rage, and summoned forth blades like those of the zealots. However, these blades were part of Tassadar without the need of bracers and longer than those of zealots. The Zealots and Dark Templars paused their fight to behold their leaders’ epic duel. Raynor was mesmerized, but suddenly his systems targeted an image on the corner of his eye, zooming in automatically. Raynor was alarmed to see the Zerg heading his way. Raynor had to do something to alert both protoss, or they would surely be slaughtered. Their distraction would be their doom.

Raynor moved down to the plateau, and after landing at least a dozen blades welcomed him. He pleaded he was not their enemy, the zerg were, pointing above the plateau in the direction of Mutalisks diving toward them. Tassadar rallied the zealots to form positions, abandoning his duel. Raynor screamed at Tassadar they should move out of the plateau. His call ignored by the templar. Raynor addressed Zeratul then. Zeratul saw the wisdom of retreat for the right moment to resume the battle. Tassadar glanced at Zeratul asking if he would retreat like a coward. Zeratul replied if he would rather sit here until his zealots were slain. Tassadar’s eyes narrowed, seeing truth. They were outnumbered, and won’t last long. Suddenly, Tassadar watched as Zeratul jumped full force toward him. Even Raynor was surprised that Zeratul would attack Tassadar in such fashion, and pointed his rifle toward Zeratul, just to hold his fire. As Zeratul pushed Tassadar backwards, a Mutalisk’s tail sprayed his acid injuring Zeratul on the shoulder and chest. Tassadar was surprised. Zeratul saved his life at the cost of his own. A pool of blood emanating from Zeratul. Tassadar tore a large strip of his own clothing to contain Zeratul’s bleeding. Blue light came from Tassadar’s hands sealing off the wound and stopping the bleeding.

Tassadar agreed Raynor was right. There was no loss of honor in regrouping. They would surely die here and now. As they retreated, they annihilated many Zerg. However, Raynor could sense in his mind the arrival of Kerrigan, who wished to finish both protoss heroes. Tassadar couldn’t see where Kerrigan was hidding, but assured he would slay her for the honor and safety of his people. Kerrigan laughed sarcastically. All the protoss on this plateau are all what remains of the protoss race, she pierced. Tassadar didn’t understand her riddle, which she cared with satisfaction to clear up. The swarm was heading toward Aiur thanks to Zeratul, and by the next day there would be no protoss standing to oppose her. Tassadar looked toward Zeratul’s green glowing eyes accusing him with his blazing-up blue eyes. Raynor cut the grudge asking them to focus on their retreat and regrouping. Tassadar agreed to leave this matter for later, and thanked Raynor for his timed alert of the Zerg presence. Tassadar proposed an alliance with the Terran. Kerrigan mentally whispered to Raynor that he has now chosen sides, and for that she would not be merciful with the Terran survivors on Char.

Sargeras: Eredar / Draenei Retcon and Rumors

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

This is a very hot topic since the Draeni was revealed to be the new Alliance Race of the Burning Crusade expansion.

So now the Eredar were good kids, and it was Sargeras already gone mad and evil who offered Archimonde and Kil’jaeden to join him in his already established Burning Legion.

The Official site lore and Warcraft III Manual said the other way around: Sargeras was sent by the Titans as champion to destroy the evil Eredar. He defeated them and imprisoned them. And their evil and attack caused him to hesitate and go into a depression.

By the time he fought the Nathrezim, his depression was amok and he resigned his beliefs as a Titan and decided to create the Burning Legion.

That was a big retcon.

To those who missed it, Chris Metzen admitted to have forgotten that Sargeras had met the Eredar first and that it was the Eredar who caused him to blah-blah.

http://www.blizzplanet.com/?action=news&id=754

I can’t believe he could forget something like that, and he might have made that excuse up, but whatever. So now we have a retcon and it will stay. That’s what matters now beyond any eternal rants about it.

So all we are left to do is to speculate, theorize and be creative about this new retcon and adjust to its changes.

First Theory

I have read this from other people in the community. The retcon or the lore blunder since Metzen confessed to have forgotten—could be somewhat fixed up. Everything is based on timeline and timeframes.

The Titans arrived to Azeroth 147,000 years ago according to the timeline provided by White Wolf in Warcraft RPG: Lands of Conflict. I think the Wow RPG Corebook also says it.

The Well of Eternity was created 65,000 years ago. And the Titans departed Azeroth 64,001 years ago.

However, the new retcon says that 25,000 years ago, Sargeras arrived to Argus—the Eredar homeworld.

It is strange how the Eredars are now evil and part of the Burning Legion for such a short time—considering the date the Titans arrived to Azeroth (-147,000).

Back to topic, what I have heard which sounds at this point credible in a sense—heck we have to believe the retcon, so why not? hehe—is that Sargeras the Champion had defeated the evil Eredar many thousands of years ago and imprisoned them in Argus – his mind already becoming affected.

Then Sargeras the Champion fights other evil races until he finds thousands of years later the Nathrezim. He became evil and starts releasing demons he have already imprisoned long ago. Starts creating the Burning Legion.

Milenias later, he arrives to Argus. Its been thousands of years since the Eredar were imprisoned here. Their evil had been subsided as new generations of Eredar went back to pacifist ways—after all imprisoned for so long.

Sargeras arrives to free them from their prison, and convinces them to join. Kil’Jaeden and Archimonde accept right away, and Velen and a few leave the place with help of the Naaru.

Although that theory I have heard sounds neat and dandy to fix up the retcon and still maintain a sanity on the old lore—it might have a few holes. Like how an evil Eredar would eventually go good. Unless Sargeras had mindwiped the evil races and through milenias they had forgotten their evil past.

It is both digestable and yet amusing. I will leave you to dissect that one.

Second Theory

Ok—unwrap the previous theory from your brain. Let’s start blank without any influence of the previous theory.

I think the only one I have told this theory of mine is Baggins, maybe Kenzuki. Not sure.

Starting fresh, although the lore does not say that Sargeras was ever in Azeroth with the other Titans before he exiled himself and resigned the Pantheon—we do not have a timeframe date of when he did resign or when he began his Champion duties nor when he built the Burning Legion.

So let’s have that in mind for the following.

Maybe Metzen has left already some breadcrumbs in Patch 1.9 leading to the Draenei playable race and Eredar retcon.

Some will go whoa?

Here is a possibility, and it has more holes than a Swiss cheese. But here we go nevertheless.

We know in this retcon that Sargeras had created the Burning Legion already by the time he reached Argus to assimilate the Eredar into the Burning Legion in his Burning Crusade.

Which is a chicken and the egg plothole.

Having that in mind now we are left with the interrogative. What then caused Sargeras to become depressed by the time he met the Nathrezim?

That answer could be—twistingly-answered if Sargeras had been among the Titans when they arrived to Azeroth. Let’s say he was still not sent by the Titans as a champion to purge the universe of evil, so he was part of the Pantheon creating worlds still.

Let’s say that what caused the Titans to send off Sargeras as a Champion to purge the universe of evil was their encounter with the Old gods ……

After the Old gods were chained and defeated, the Pantheon became aware of the presence of evil in the Universe. After concensus, they decide they should take care of this menace to their Ordering of the Universe. Aman’Thul the Highfather proposes to choose his brother and confident.

 


Aman?Thul and his brother Sargeras
oversaw the creation of innumerable worlds across the Twisting Nether and gently guided countless races to greatness. Sargeras was Aman?Thul?s closest advisor and supporter until he turned to evil. Now Aman?Thul looks to his consort Eonar for council.
—Warcraft RPG: Shadow and Light—page 113.

So … now we have something interesting here. Sargeras was in the Pantheon when they created worlds, guiding these races to greatness. Hmm …

He was Aman’Thul’s brother and his closest advisor and supporter … Hmm.

So with this new retcon, let’s say Sargeras came with the Titans to Azeroth. Once the Titans defeated the Old gods, the Titans became worried of such an evil race. And decided this menace throughout the universe should be contained and dealt with. Who else but his brother and closest advisor to deal with this menace?

The Pantheon sends Sargeras out of Azeroth to start his duties as the Titans’ Champion to put an end to the evil races of the universe until Sargeras found the Nathrezim, and from there on he resigned the Pantheon and transformed into Galactus the Devourer of Worlds—ooops, I mean Sargeras the Destroyer.

Hmmm … but in Metzen’s retcon there was a catalyst—the Eredar—that caused Sargeras to resign the Titans’ way before he encountered the Nathrezim. What was that catalyst now that the Eredar is not it?

Hoo-haa !!! Back to Azeroth.

Here is your catalyst:

Geologist Larksbane: “In the time before time, when the world was still in its infancy, a battle between a Titan and a being of unimaginable evil and power raged on this very soil. The prophecy is unclear about whether or not the Titan was vanquished in this battle but it illustrates that a Titan fell. An Old God had also fallen – or so it was thought.”

http://www.blizzplanet.com/content/184/

This story is read by Geologist Laksbane once you defeat Roman’Khan the Emissary of the Qiraji and bring his Crystal Unlocking Mechanism to Geologist Larksbane at Cenarion Hold (Silithus).

The quest that triggers Geologist Larksbane to read the Crystal Unlocking Mechanism is named The Calling:

http://wow.allakhazam.com/db/quest.html?wquest=8315

So here we have the catalyst. If Sargeras came to Azeroth with the Titans, and fought the Old gods and the Elemental Lords—it is possible, somehow, that Sargeras fell in combat against C’Thun.

What if somehow, when C’Thun became desperate knowing he would die, slashed out to Sargeras in a unexpected way … injuring Sargeras badly and tainting him somehow. Maybe a seed in his metallic bronze body?

This scene reminds me of Wolverine# 104 when the origin of Onslaught was revealed. Some evil within Magneto reached out to Xavier’s chest as a last desperate attempt when Xavier mindwiped Magneto. Impregnating Xavier with some taint that grew and fed off Psionic energy becoming later into Onslaught.—well let’s get out of Xmen before Kenzuki goes nuts and mad lol.

Anyway, what if Sargeras was that Titan that fell in Silithus. Wouldn’t that be the catalyst Metzen is planning for this new Sargeras-Eredar retcon?

If so, Patch 1.9 was the breadcromb to initiate that long storyline to explain the new retcon later on.

This brings up many other questions for this retcon.

What if somehow the Old gods, seeing how the Night Elves wtfpwned the Qiraji and the trolls, somehow they saw an opportunity by whispering into the highborne to dare them to delve more into the corrupting magics of the Well of Eternity?

What if C’thun tainting Sargeras when they both fell in Silithus paid off—scheming until now the proper time to lure Sargeras back to Azeroth?

Ain’t that strange how they lured Neltharion the Earthwarder to create the Demon Soul? As if it was already part of a long-term plan?

The Demon Soul was a golden disc made out of Neltharion’s blood. The Goblins shaped and forged this blood in their anvils beneath a mountain until it became a simple golden disc.

The Old gods whispered to Neltharion to capture one of the demons that entered through the portal of the highborne.

Neltharion placed the Demon Soul onto the demon’s forehead and it sucked in its lifeforce into the Demon Soul. Of course, it also had some of the Old gods’ taint—which Knaak hasn’t explained. However, Knaak slipped some nice details about the Demon Soul artifact and a hint to a possible continuation of Rhonin and Krasus’ adventures in a new book after the War of the Ancients Trilogy:

http://www.blizzplanet.com/content/434/

So the keyword here is the Demon Soul.

If you read the trilogy books, basically what we are told is that Neltharion was simply a muppet of the Old gods. A tool for a means.

The Old gods wanted Neltharion to create the Demon Soul to lure Sargeras. They somehow knew that Sargeras needed a magic amplifier so that the Highborne could open the portal wide enough for Sargeras to enter Azeroth.

And that is how Sargeras commands Mannoroth to search for the Demon Soul after Neltharion transformed into Deathwing and used the Demon soul to kill many of the Burning Legion and even Elves along the way of its destructive wave when he wielded it.

This became the breaking point when Sargeras found out of this item that caused so much destruction. Sargeras immediately asked Mannoroth to find the Demon Soul at all costs to serve as an amplifier for the Highborne’s spellcasting so that the portal for Sargeras became wide enough for his arrival to Azeroth.

Now doesn’t this sound far-fetched? How could the Old gods have known all along that the Demon Soul would draw Sargeras to use it as an amplfier?

How did the Old gods knew that once Sargeras set foot in Azeroth, the Old gods could automatically escape their prison?

Can they somehow manipulate time? Did they get a message from the future from the Qiraji and the Twilight Hammer? Did the bones of Grakkarond in Silithus had anything to do with this?

Or was it when the Old gods captured Nozdormu briefly?

All we know is that for some reason there was a time-anomaly. Krasus, Rhonin and Brox were sucked in by some strange time-vortex—I assume located in Winterspring. Orgrimmar was already built when Rhonin and Krasus went back in time by accident.

It is not clear if that time-anomaly was caused by Nozdormu in an attempt to seek help, or if it was something else. Could it be the Emissaries of the Qiraji (Roman’Khan and others) somehow used the energies of the Bones of Grakkarond to communicate with the Old gods in the past? Far-stretched. :: shakes head::

Anyway. The question stands. How did the Old gods knew the demon soul would draw Sargeras to Azeroth and that once he did arrive it would cause the Old gods to be freed from their Prison?

That makes no sense.

But what if this was all a long planned thing? What if C’Thun battled Sargeras, and tainted him as a last option out of desperation? Then feigned death.

What if knowing Sargeras—the titan that fell in Silithus – would be so affected, he counted on Sargeras to eventually turn depressed and evil?

Hmmm ….

Knowing that one day he would be drawn to Azeroth (War of the Ancients) becoming their very tool to freedom from the Old gods’ prison.

Hmmm …

Share your thoughts. Don’t kill the messenger.

Starcraft Board Game - Playtesting Sneak Peek

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Be ready for a VERY SPECIAL SNEAK PEEK into the process, folks! What follows are notes collected during the first EVER playtest of Starcraft: the Board Game. None of the components, mechanics, or rules referenced below are final. We just finished the first draft of the game, and now we’re trying to break it …

Rob: Playtesting is interesting for a fairly new board game developer like me because you get to see how other designers do MATH! It may seem a little off, this whole ?math? thing; board games are about cool figs and neat powers, right? Wrong. Usually, they?re math equations first, THEN you add fun. If that sounds boring, keep in mind that the better the math, the more solid and interesting and smooth it all is, the more fun it inherently is, so the less fun you need to add later.

All of this is independent of the flavor, of course, which is what captures the imagination and allows a non-math-guy like me, a storyteller and roleplayer and adventure gamer rather than a strategist, to get into a game. I mean, I?m the guy who plays CCGs because I like the art and the story . . . which is very uncool in game design circles, let me tell you.

The game we?re playtesting right now (we being Dan and I, along with the game?s designer, Kevin) is Starcraft, which turns that normal setup on its head. The fun and the flavor are in some ways predetermined for you, because you know what the races, powers, and special abilities HAVE to be.

Dan: Well, we know that we?re going to play Protoss, Terrans, and Zerg, natch. In fact, here I am with my Terran Dominion Terrans from Korhal IV ? go me! I?m setting up on my homeworld with some Marines and Firebats and looking to smash me some Zerg. (Kevin?s playing Zerg. The default assumption is: Gang up on the game designer because he?s the only one who knows he?s doing!)

The fun part is seeing how the Terrans (and the others, but who cares about them?) are realized in this board game format. I can already tell that I have more flexibility than my enemies ? I have the special ?Regroup? order, which is way better than their puny special racial orders. Honest. I hope.

Oh man, Kevin just cranked out a transport and a whole mess of Zerglings on his homeworld. I see where this is going.

Kevin: Now, I?m only going to be semi-coherent since I?m running the playtest, but Rob just built a really nice tech building and Dan has started moving towards his coveted Goliaths.

Rob: Everyone else has lots of scary troops, and I don?t. I?m setting up good for the long term, but I hope they don?t stomp me early. Pshew, Kevin just researched and ?creeped? (Zerg don?t teleport things like nice, civilized folk like the Protoss . . . which is me). Everyone seems jealous of my tech, but I think they?re just trying to lull me into a false sense of confidence before they eat/shell me.

Dan: HERE THEY COME! Oh man, Kevin just loaded four Zerglings up into his transport and launched to orbit. Hopefully, they?re not coming for my homeworld.

You?re not coming for my homeworld, right Kevin? Because humans are not very tasty in their hard metal shells with lots and lots of guns ? I need to make more Firebats. And maybe a transport of my own.

At least Rob?s Protoss are being nice and peaceful over there with their scientific discovery and ? hey, hang on, he just built another Zealot! Those things hurt!

Kevin: Geez, you leave your first planet and people start panicking. We?ve gotta eat, right? Anyhow, I?m just heading out to wrangle up some resources.

Rob: Never trust a Zerg.

We end our dramatic re-enactment here, dear reader! Will Kevin’s Zerg descend onto Rob and Dan’s unsuspecting heads with tooth, claw, dripping slime, and other unpleasantness? Will the heroic Terrans drive the alien menace from this corner of the galaxy? Or will the long-term planning of the Protoss pay off as Rob’s advanced technology pays dividends later in the game? We’ll never really know, because we only played two turns to test out the basic mechanics!

World of Warcraft Vol. 1 Hardcover - Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

The World of Warcraft Vol. 1 is the perfect solution for those among the 10.5 million World of Warcraft fans who have missed out the World of Warcraft ongoing comic series by Wildstorm.

The World of Warcraft Vol. 1 compiles the first arc written by Walter Simonson (legendary writer of Mighty Thor and Orion among other works), penciled by french artist Ludo Lullabi and inked by Sandra Hope. A great collection of issues # 1-7 with a few extras.

When you grab this book, you are filled with awe.  On the front you have the World of Warcraft game logo at the top, with issue# 1 cover by Samwise Didier (Blizzard Senior Art Director). On the back, you have legendary Jim Lee’s issue# 1 cover with the Wildstorm logo.

Now here is something many fans out there will love to hear.  The World of Warcraft Vol. 1 is a solid hardcover. It will last you years without wearing off. The two covers I mentioned are printed on a very special paper that serves as a wrapping to the book. Yeah, you can remove the wrapping. If you wish to frame it, there you go. If you ever meet Walter Simonson, Jim Lee, Ludo Lullabi, Samwise, or Sandra Hope you would want to get this signed by them. Walter Simonson and Jim Lee were at the New York Comic Con this year. You will probably get ahold of them in one of these Cons. While you might find Samwise at BlizzCon, the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, and GCDC.

Back to previewing this book, I will just unwrap the cover as I write. The flips on both sides of the wrapping have a colored image of a dwarf on a pose resting his arms on an axe handle, with the axe top on the ground. The opening side of the wrapping tells the summary of the first arc:

“A human warrior washes up on the shores of Durotar, with no recollection as to who he is, or how he arrived there.  The man is thrust into the thick of battle immediately, and his prize for evading certain death at the teeth of a hungry crocodile is conscription into the gladiator force of orc shaman Rehgar Earthfury.  His first quest is not so simple; with no memory, he must rely on his fighting instincts to stay alive, as he searches for his true identity!

He’s aided in his quest by unlikely allies:  Broll Bearmantle—a shape-changing night elf bound to Rehgar’s service—and Valeera Sanguinar—a blood elf whose childlike form conceals a cunning mind and lust for recognition. This unlikely trio will try to uncover the secrets of Lo’Gosh’s past, but they must first rely on his instinctive prowess in combat if they are to survive their first challenge: the arena at Dire Maul!”

On the opposite flip is written the previous and upcoming works of Walter Simonson, Ludo Lullabi and Sandra Hope.

Now that the wrapping has been removed, I am facing the naked book. On the front you can see the World of Warcraft game logo; and the non-colored variant cover (UK version) by Ludo Lullabi outlined in gold foil. The hardcover gives the appearance to be crafted with a thick and strong leather material.

As I open the book, the first page, and the back of the front cover are made of the same material. A washed-out paper usually seen in professional resumes or greeting cards. Resembles old-map scroll paper. Pretty neat. On this paper is printed concept art sketches by Ludo Lullabi: an orc, tauren, undead, infernal, Alliance Footman, Ironforge outdoor, a dwarf, a night elf rogue, a troll, and Dwarves on rams marching to battle.

Flipping the page, I see the same Ludo Lullabi artwork (the one outlined in gold foil on the book cover’s leather surface). This time fully colored. Followed by the credits page, and an exclusive Foreword of two pages (two columns each) written by no less than Chris Metzen (Blizzard VP of Creative Design), commonly known as the loremaker of the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo franchises.

It was great to find out the Blizzcon 2007 exclusive issue# 0 (Prologue) printed within the World of Warcraft Vol. 1 Hardcover. This issue# 0 was an exclusive to BlizzCon 2007 attendees. In total, you get eight chapters (including the prologue chapter). Each chapter shows the variant cover and normal cover in full color.

I recommend getting this book collection. Perfect as a gift to someone who is a lore fan. This is the story of Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind—which picks up right after the Missing Diplomat quest series. Varian Wrynn will play an important role in the Alliance front against the Lich King in Northrend—in the upcoming World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King MMO expansion. This book serves as backstory. Get your hands on it while supplies last.

 

World of Warcraft Miniatures Game - Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

by Eldorian

I’m in many ways a collector at heart. I grew up in the 80’s collecting baseball cards, I had books lined with Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Ryne Sandberg, and George Brett cards. I collected sports memorabilia back then – anywhere from sports cards, to autograph pictures, to those Starter Line Up sports action figures.

When I hit high school the rage of my collection turned to Magic: The Gathering. My gaming addictions were in full force at this point and Wizards of the Coast had found a way to combine gaming with collecting and the Collectible Card Games were born. Now I had books lined with full sets of the latest MTG blocks.

I’m nearly 30 at this point, and my collecting addiction nor my gaming addictions have died down at all. Four years ago this upcoming Sunday Blizzard (one of my favorite developers) released their new MMO – and I was immediately hooked – and still am. My gaming addiction found a new friend – however, what happened next I was not expecting.

Blizzard figured out they could license their product to other companies that make collectibles. Needless to say, my wallet hasn’t looked thinner in years. First came the WoW TCG, then the action figures by DC comics, then the comic books, and released this week was the miniature game. I own all of these products (and then some – I’m not including the prints, shirts, calendars, etc. I own). I’ve never been a big fan of miniature games in general so with reading this review you should understand where I’m coming from as far as a reviewer.

First the important things – I bought a case of the minis. There are 16 boosters in a case. 3 minis in a booster, so you’ll receive 48 minis overall, which is short of the 66 minis in a complete set. The insert rate for the epic minis (the most rare) are 1 in every 8 boosters – so you should be receiving 2 epic minis per case. There are 8 total epic figures. Each figure also comes with a character sheet card and 2 ability/spell cards. Also in each booster are 2 cards you receive from the trading card game, 1 UDE point card and either a Drums of War promo card (there’s 2 different ones you can get) or a chance at a Drums of War loot card (including the coveted Red Bearon mount card).

In the case that I bought I received 2 epics – War chief Thrall and Ras Frostwhisper. I also received SIX loot cards, yes you read that right. The loot cards I received were 4 of the Shadowdance loot card and 2 of the Red Bearon Mount card (which sells for about $150-$250 on ebay). I quickly put up the mount loot cards on ebay and bought another case of minis (it paid for the case I had bought by itself and then some).

In the 2nd case I got 2 more epics (unfortunately the same ones as the first case) and SEVEN more loot cards. The insert rate on the loot cards per booster pack seems insanely high and seems like a good investment for those who are wanting loot cards. I quickly put up my loot cards again on ebay and they successfully paid for a 3rd case of minis that I am awaiting for in the mail.

If you’re looking to buy a lot of minis then I definitely suggest you check out buying them in bulk either from online retailers or your local gaming shop. Chances are they will sell them to you at a discount price (for example I was able to buy my cases for $130 which comes to about $8 per booster instead of the $15 per you buy them for individually). In the 2 cases I’ve bought so far I am still missing 16 total figures including 4 of the epic figures in order to complete the full set.

Now as far as the game play aspect you have to remember I’m not a big fan of miniature games, I like to collect them but I don’t play the game itself much. I did have a chance to play the demo at PAX earlier this year and it plays a lot like a pvp match in WoW. Each character has certain points and certain spells and abilities – and each ability has a type of cool down really. You try to gain as many victory points as you can and you gain those by holding the victory points at certain turns and killing your opponent. Whoever gets to the predetermined amount of victory points first wins.

The game to me isn’t all that exciting to be honest, but I can see where it might be for those who enjoy these kinds of games. I think having more than 2 available maps to play on will make the game more exciting.

The figures themselves are beautiful though, and any collecting World of Warcraft fanatic would love them. The added bonus of the exceptionally high insert rate of loot cards could mean that unless you buy these soon, you might be out of luck. I’m already having a hard time finding them now as they’re almost sold out everywhere.

This review was written by Eldorian. He was staff member of Stratics. You can find him at his blog: http://shamantastic.com

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Ultimate Edition

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles


Click image to Order

I just received a special gift from Richard A. Knaak and Susan Hale (Tokyopop Director of Public Relations). Many thanks to both of you. This is a priceless gift. I had no idea this Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Ultimate Edition would be so cool. I already have the trilogy as stand alone manga books. However, this Ultimate Edition blew my mind.

First off, when the UPS package arrived I was wondering if this would be the Manga or something else. It was so flipping heavy. Once I opened the package, I saw this huge book of 592 pages, approximately 7.5” width x 11” height. Sturdy and thick Hardcover, rock solid with a new front cover artwork by Jae-Hwan Kim. This Ultimate Edition will last many years to come with such solid materials. Sadly, the Manga is still black and white.

So what’s different. Why not just pick up the three smaller stand alone Manga books? Well, get a napkin to contain the excessive drooling.

1. An eight-page, full-color prologue written by Richard A. Knaak and illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim, not available in the three original volumes, featuring the story of the arrival of Dath’Remar Sunstrider and the highborne to the place they would name Quel’Thalas. The use of the Vial of the Well of Eternity to create the Sunwell. How they rose from scratch the spires of High Elven architecture from nothingness just by commanding the arcane magics of the Sunwell. The artwork matches perfectly the in-game architecture shown in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade.

2. An afterword letter from Chris Metzen – Blizzard Vice-President of Creative Development

3. Artist’s sketchbook: behind-the-scenes development art by Jae-Hwan Kim: Anveena, Jorad Mace, Tyrygosa, Sylvanas, Kalecgos, and Groth.

4. Alternate Cover and concept sketches.

5. Color art gallery including covers to all three original volumes, including the alternate cover from the KAPLAN edition and an alternate colored cover with Tyrygosa.

6. A full-color unbound Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Ultimate Edition pin-up suitable for framing.

7. An Upper Deck World of Warcraft trading card illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim, titled: Leader of the Bloodscale Rajis Fyashe. Not only you get the card, you get a full-page big-size copy of the card within the Ultimate Edition.

The Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Ultimate Edition is a very good choice for a special Christmas Gift for your Warcraft lore addict loved one: be it your son, daughter, wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend; or a nice gift for someone you know is a Western manga fan. The standalone Warcraft Manga books have been reprinted a few times, after sold out. Grab this special bonus collection.

Reading Chris Metzen’s letter made me wonder if we were twins separated at birth. Except I am roughly a year or two older. He leaks out so much passion for the Warcraft universe. Some times I wish I was working at Blizzard as a Quest Designer.

To boot the upcoming 2008 Warcraft Manga based on Burning Crusade is finally titled. Seems like ages since Knaak revealed to me a Burning Crusade-inspired manga was coming. It was merely in conversation stage between Metzen and Knaak. Not official or guaranteed back then. Now it is titled and aiming a 2008 release.

Knaak recently revealed some details of the upcoming Burning Crusade manga and the new novel in our recent video interview, hosted by Kazo and Rafo at the Istrocon manga expo in Slovakia.

Want more warcraft? Then don’t miss the new trilogy debuting in 2008 from Richard A. Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim!

WARCRAFT MANGA: DRAGONS OF OUTLAND

Tyrygosa and Jorad Mace may have triumphed over the undead in their quest for the Sunwell, but can even this dauntless duo survive a ruined dimension populated by dragons that should not exist?

Read Chris Metzen’s letter below …

World of Warcraft - The Battle For Azeroth—Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Fans are used to find World of Warcraft and Warcraft related products on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Some book products are licensed by Blizzard Entertainment to White Wolf Publishing—who develop Warcraft RPG Books; Simons and Schuster (Pocketbooks) who publishes Warcraft books written by known D&D writers such as Richard A. Knaak, Jeff Grubb or Star Trek writers Christie Golden and Keith R.A. DeCandido; and Tokyopop who developed the Warcraft Manga. All those licensed books are canon lore—with direct participation of Chris Metzen, Creative Director of Blizzard Entertainment.

However, The Battle of Azeroth book itched my curiousity since I first found it listed in Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The question came upon my mind instantly. Is this sanctioned or licensed by Blizzard? I had not seen any press release confirming so. The only description I had was the publisher note available at Barnes and Noble:

FROM THE PUBLISHER
“Aimed at dedicated fans of the role playing game World of Warcraft, this dynamic collection of essays explores the undying fascination with a game that is a welcome escape from reality for millions of people around the world. Gaming experts, developers, and bestselling sci-fi authors examine the overwhelming success of the game and the underlying motivations for gamers to spend, on average, the time equivalent to working a part-time job battling in the world of Azeroth, and address issues ranging from economics and psychology to addiction and game ethics. The outstanding design of the game and the histories of several main characters are also discussed. “

The book is not endorsed nor licensed by Blizzard Entertainment, which means Chris Metzen—Blizzard Entertainment Creative Director, or simply known as the Warcraft Lore creator—is not involved in the project. This is the disclaimer offered by the book in its publisher page:

This publication has not been prepared, approved or licensed by any entity that created or produced the well-known video-game World of Warcraft.

Recently, I received my proof copy of The Battle for Azeroth: Adventure, Alliance and Addiction in the World of Warcraft for review. This way I could wrap my brain around its content to let fans know what the book is about in advance, to rise hype, awareness, and enthusiasm; or to warn you of its content in case you get misled expecting a lore source, quests analysis or strategy guide.  This is not a Brady Games or Allakhazam.com nor a Richard A. Knaak novel type of book.  The Battle for Azeroth will be published this Summer – on July 2006 – by BenBella Books; and it was edited by Bill Fawcett. So I browsed through the table of content and decided to read the book to find out what it is about. At first, before getting my review copy I thought this was a book written by an Everquest hardcore player that fell in love of World of Warcraft and wanted to get some cash by writing an Unofficial Strategy guide. However, as I started reading through the manuscript proof I found out the book is actually written by various professional authors. And not just any wannabe. To simplify what The Battle for Azeroth is about, in a nutshell, it is an in-depth analysis of what has made World of Warcraft successful and a phenomena—from the point of view of Mass media writers, video makers, Advertising Managers, Public Relations Directors and other professionals—who were gathered by BenBella Books and Bill Fawcett to write sections of The Battle for Azeroth. Now … that makes this book a tidbit more attractive and appealing. What do the game industry and media gurus think about World of Warcraft? That’s The Battle for Azeroth book all about.

Elegant Game Design or Fishing for those Missing Hours

This section was written by Scott Cuthbertson, detailing what makes World of Warcraft compelling to players in America, Europe and Asia. From quests to tradeskills. When I reached the final page of this section, I was surprised to find out the wide expertise of the author:

Scott Cuthbertson – video game producer and writer since 1990 who has worked for Nintendo, AOL, Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. He founded Northlake Studios, LLC in Los Angeles. Specialist on writing and design for games, film, television and graphic novels.

Hardly a wannabe, eh? I wish I had a quarter of that experience. Actually, it now makes sense how he knew enough about Blizzard and its parent Vivendi Universal.

The book starts off describing the massive popularity of World of Warcraft, and the force behind its success: the game developers, publishers, and distributors. And the interaction, and relationship between Blizzard and its parent Vivendi. It was a good analysis to read, especially the TCQ triangle analogy: Quality, Time and Cost—reference from Business School, to explain the intricacies within Blizzard’s mantra: “We won’t ship the game until it meets our quality standards”.

It is not usual to see a developer-publisher relationship in which the developer is given freedom to develop a game without a deadline. Far more astonishing is to see the Blizzard logo on the loading screen of games with no mention of Vivendi/Universal. Get one of those fancy games and you get smacked on the face by Microsoft and EA logos, and a series of other logos before even getting to see the game menu. That doesn’t happen with Blizzard games.

The Book author proceeds to talk about Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and his personal experience meeting the developers at E3 1994 in Las Vegas, and what makes the Warcraft franchise and World of Warcraft to be an addictive and pleasant game.

Underworld of Warcraft

This section goes on about the harm done to the in-game economy by inescrupulous gold sellers and inflation; and how Blizzard deals with this threat to the MMORPG balance. Analysis of Account Closure Notification emails issued by Blizzard, Game Master (GM) in-game whispers and procedures before suspending accounts. Description of Warden Client—the software ran by six million players worldwide when they launch World of Warcraft—which detects the use of hacks or third party software—element that has axed most of the cheating off World of Warcraft and responsible for the banning of over 10,000 accounts. The scandal of Sony BMG copy-protected CDs ( XCP) rootkits that affected the operation of Warden Client. A deep analysis and even testimony and interviews of how gold farmers and companies operate in China and Canada. This section basically explores the underworld market of cheaters, gold farmers and Blizzard’s efforts to counter them.

Some humor is introduced when the author makes references of Tristan at BlizzCon 2005, with his “Save the Murlocs” rant and references to some popular machinima movies and song samples; or Christian and religious groups in World of Warcraft realms. This section is very amusing as it tries to cover most of the underworld activity of players using the virtual world to implement real world ideals and behaviors. The author of this section is James John Bell—who has a long professional resume since 1992 from ABC News, documentary video-making, writer/director of non-profit public interest communications Sustain. His publications have been read at New York Times, Washington Post, Communication Arts and mainstream science and technology publication The Futurist. He co-founded SmartMeme (2003) and among his clients are Greenpeace, and Breast Cancer Fund.

World of Warcraft: Timesink of the gods

This section explores the rewarding, social and psychological aspects of World of Warcraft content and design. From landscape and weather to the psychology of character’s gender and race creation, to game type selection: Roleplaying, PvE, PvP. There are few references and comparisons with Doom and Civilization games. Analysis of real-life references such as Easter eggs. The psychological disassociation of mind and spirit from your real-life body as you immerse into the MMORPG, while you ignore or put on hold physical needs such as eat, drink, bathroom, responsibilities, etc.—timesink. The author of this section in Battle for Azeroth was Justina Robson—born in Leeds, Yorkshire in the north of England. She studied philosophy and linguistics before settling down to write in 1992. Her earlier novels, Silver Screen (1999), Mappa Mundi (2001), and Quantum Gravity (Book One) : Keeping It Real (2006).

LFG … And a little More

This section covers social interactions online such as flirting, cross-gender: males creating female characters, and how Blizzard adds interaction components to World of Warcraft, such as Valentine Day and other seasonal events, dance references such as Michael Jackson’s and Saturday Night Fever dance by John Travolta. Testimony samples from players interviewed by the writer. Marriages in roleplaying servers, and how roleplayers who did marry online, did marry later on in real life too.  The complexity of moral when a player separates roleplaying and real life—marrying with another player in the game, when you are married in real life; and what happens to your real life relationship when he/she finds out. Ouch! Online cheating or just roleplaying? How will your real life partner feel about it? The section also goes on on testimony of players who have divorced over exceeding time spent on games or having a secret online relationship. The section was written by Nancy Bermann—freelance writer and editor of forty video games and twenty roleplaying sourcebooks including Los Angeles by Night (Vampire: The Masquerade), Alderac Entertainment’s 7th Sea/Swashbuckling Adventures line and co-authored several novelas for Microsoft Xbox’s Crimson Skies.

Reframed Relationships: MMORPGs and Societies

Written by Mel White, a sociologist, cartoonist, artist, game and fantasy writer—takes an in-depth look at the cultures and sub-cultures of World of Warcraft; the growth of a global culture, and social circles with people that live in different countries, sharing experiences and friendships impossible to meet under ordinary circumstances. Seemless interaction between underage and adults in-game.  The author also covers the hierarchy of game developers such as coders, hardware technicians and GMs. Terms of conduct implemented in-game to force control on players. Coding mistakes that affect the gameplay such as Hakkar the Soulflayer’s popular disease who would spread outside the instance into the major cities, affecting low level players.

The Economy of the World of Warcraft

Jerry Jackson—majored in Management Science and Service Bay 12 CEO—explains what World of Warcraft economy and the real-world economy have in common. Supply and demand. And how inflation, monopoly and farmers affect the economy negatively.

Ancestors and Competitors

This section goes on to various topics. From defining words such as graphics, persistent world, massive multiplayer, Online, roleplaying game and what World of Warcraft is; to a brief history of RPG starting with Paper Games such as the founder: Dungeons & Dragons in early 70s and Chainmail. Their influences coming from the 50s with Tolkien, Gray Mouser, Elric stories, Conan the Barbarian, Three Hearts and Three Lions. If you want to learn the history of roleplaying games and MMORPGs covering Warhammer by Games Workshop, MUDs, Ultima Online, Everquest, Asheron’s Call, Dark Age of Camelot, this is the place to read it. The author is Chris McCubbin who works at the Incan Monkey God Studios (IMGS)—early 90s publication department of Origin Systems and responsible for creating game guides of all Ultimas, Wing Commanders and Everquest: The Ruins of Kurnark among others.

Maps and Mapping

James M. Ward writes about World of Warcraft’s organized maps which help you interact with the wolrd and coordinate where you are and how to get from point A to point B. A brief history of board games and Fantasy RPGs. The history of mapping since Roman times and its difference to modern maps. The importance of Map legends such as those in BradyGames World of Warcraft Strategy Guide which offer further details of where in the map you may find NPCs, quests and other relevant info. The author of this section, James Ward, created the first science fiction RPG in Metamorphosis Alpha. He has written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Bantam and game credits include licenses for Sesame Street, Dragonball Z, Marvel, DC, Wheel of Time, Indiana Jones, Conan, He-Man, Charlie Brown among many others.

This is only half the book.  Tomorrow we will publish the second part of the review which covers the following sections:

  • Should we sell World of Warcraft by Prescription Only?
  • Altaholics Not so Anonymous
  • I play like a Girl—by Nancy Bermann
  • Advice to the Wowlorn

Part II: World of Warcraft Classes

  • Paladin
  • Priest
  • Shaman
  • Druid
  • Rogue
  • Mage
  • Warrior
  • Warlock
  • Hunter