Blizzplanet had the great opportunity to chat via Skype with both New York Times best selling authors, Christie Golden and Micky Neilson (Blizzard publishing lead) to discuss details of World of Warcraft: War Crimes. This interview might have a few spoilers. …read more
The NECA Diablo III – El’Druin – The Sword of Justice Prop Replica is now officially on sale. It wasn’t …read more
A few days ago, I reported sighting a new Blizzard-licensed SteelSeries product advertised inside the pages of World of Warcraft: War Crimes. The advertisement included the URL: http://www.steelseries.com/blizzard
The URL was …read more
Update: April Fools’ Day – April 1, 2014
However, a real Yrel short-story may be in the works
— Micky Neilson (@MickyNeilson) April 2, 2014
I’ve been waiting quite a while for the NDA to wear off on this. I am proud to announce, in a BlizzPlanet Exclusive, the next World of Warcraft novel, World of Warcraft: Yrel: Heart of Draenor! Just as World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde had a writer new to the Warcraft franchise behind it, so will Heart of Dreanor: the famous Tara Gilesbie!
In the press details I was given by Micky Neilson, Lead Story Developer for Blizzard Entertainment, he explained this novel will bridge the gap between Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor by giving readers a look into one of the expansion’s lead characters, Yrel. The story will chronicle Yrel’s journey from a simple priestess at Karabor, to her witnessing the formation of the Iron Horde, ultimately leading to her first encounter with the player character (done similarly in Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War).
“We are incredibly excited to be working with Ms. Gilesbie,” Micky said in regards to the upcoming novel. He also mentioned we may be seeing a forbidden romance in Yrel’s adventures which will heavily affect her role in Warlords of Draenor.
He also clarified that, following another of Shadow of the Horde‘s traditions, Heart of Draenor will be a darker and more mature fare than most Warcraft novels. Due to this, I’ve had to censor the excerpt provided later on in the article slightly for the BlizzPlanet readership.
“We’ve seen how massively popular the pairing of Jaina and Kalecgos was in Tides of War, and Thrall and Aggra presented in-game is still considered one of our best works here at Blizzard. So it was natural to have another unique and well written romance. I wont’ say who catches Yrel’s eye, but I’ll give you a hint: his dad’s the leader of the Iron Horde.”
Just imagine the conflict that’s going to come from that! It looks like Yrel won’t just be Warcraft’s Joan of Arc, but perhaps their Romeo and Julliet as well?
As for our newest Warcraft author, Tara Gilesbie is a world renowned writer who, like many in today’s age, got her start on the internet. She is best known for her novella My Immortal, a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead-style take on the popular Harry Potter series of books; which chronicles Harry’s adventures through the eyes of a mentally challenged vampire student attending Hogwarts. Originally published for free, the full work can be read here if you want to get a taste of Gilesbie’s unique writing style before Heart of Draenor is out.
While I could not reach Tara herself, I was given this quote from her: “I m sooooo eksited to work on dis story! Fangz (geddit becuz Im Goffik) Blizzurd for givin me the change to work with u guys1″
I was also given a very short excerpt from Yrel: Heart of Draenor, detailing a scene between Yrel and her forbidden lover. As this is a spoiler, I’ll leave it under the read-more.
The front cover of World of Warcraft: War Crimes shows Garrosh Hellscream chained before the leaders of the Alliance and the Horde. According to Christie Golden, the novel is more about the leaders than about Garrosh. We’ll see what’s in the mind of each leader concerning Garrosh’s actions from their …read more
Blizzard Licensed Funko POP Vinyl figures seem to be selling really well with retails currently setting pre-orders for the new upcoming figures:
World of Warcraft Murloc Pop! Vinyl Figure
World of Warcraft Lady Sylvanas Pop! Vinyl Figure
World of Warcraft Thrall Pop! Vinyl Figure
No images are available at this time. To check out …read more
Over the years, I have been messaged by fans who reach out to me to say thanks and to keep up the good work. Especially, the Blizzard Licensed Products coverage. I have covered several eBay listings from time to time, and they have gotten popular. I’m adding a new section named Blizzarre Auctions to showcase some of the best picks of the week.
I was surprised to find a now rare collection of Tokyopop Warcraft Manga Lot in auction. Note: The Death Knight book has a tear in one of the first pages.
Tokyopop Warcraft Manga Collection
This lot contains 11 manga books consisting of the following items:
- World of Warcraft Legends Vol. 1-5
- Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy – DragonHunt
- Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy – Ghostlands
- World of Warcraft: Mage
- World of Warcraft: Shaman
- World of Warcraft: Death Knight
2002 Blizzard-Employee World of Warcraft L-Silk Shirt
The really bizarre item in auction right now is the 2002 World of Warcraft Blizzard Employee L-Silk Shirt with a whooping $429 [Buy it Now] price tag.
The bottom of the shirt reads Blizzard Entertainment and also has the artist’s signature. Justin Thavirat was a World of Warcraft (2004) lead artist and credited as an artist in StarCraft (1998), Diablo (1996), and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (1995) and their collective expansions. Justin also got a special thanks credit in the South Park (TV Series) Episode: Make Love, Not Warcraft (2006).
Now, I don’t know if this shirt — at that price tag — should be worn. I’d treat it as a collectible piece of art. Make sure to frame it.
BlizzCon 2013 Kerrigan, Diablo, Arthas Cute But Deadly Figures
There is a Cute But Deadly collection in auction right now. The Blizzcon 2013 Exclusive Kerrigan Diablo Arthas Figures is tagged as “A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item”. The current bid as of this posting is $20 with only 4 bidders (Might change soon). Be swift as this one is expiring on Feb 06, 2014 10:58pm PST.
Blizzard SDCC 2013 World of Warcraft Mini Sylvanas Figure
Another gem in auction is the Blizzard SDCC 2013 World of Warcraft Mini Sylvanas. This was a San Diego Comic Con 2013 Exclusive item and only 2500 were created for the event. The current bid is $50 and might increase over the next days. The listing expires on Feb 06, 2014 at 9pm PST.
BlizzCon 2013 Exclusive Hearthstone Collector’s Mug
A bit sleepy? How about a nice cup of coffee on your Blizzcon 2013 Exclusive Hearthstone Collectors Mug ? The listing says: “This product has never been used and in immaculate condition. Make your friends jealous as you stream your games online sipping from this timeless piece knowing only the most elite of elites drink from the same hearthstone masterpiece collection”. The current bid is: $10.50 and expires on Feb 07, 2014 5:30pm PST.
Jinx launched a brand-new World of Warcraft Hoodie for this Spring 2014 season. Actually, two Hoodies. How’s that? Well, you may choose the Horde Hoodie or the Alliance Hoodie. How nice is that?
The Azeroth Alliance Hoodie has the Stormwind Lion symbol-shaped zipper, the Stormwind Lion Logo on the front at the heart-level, and a large lion symbol on the back.
The Azeroth Horde Hoodie has a Horde symbol-shaped zipper, the Horde logo on the front at the heart-level, and a large logo in the back.
Both Hoodies have the Azeroth map imprinted in the interior of the Hoodie. The interior is also colored with the same hue as the logos. Grab yours while supplies last. They come in several sizes for men and women.
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Horde Men’s Zip-Up Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Alliance Men’s Zip-Up Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Horde Women’s Zip-Up Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Alliance Women’s Zip-Up Hoodie
Latest Blizzard Licensed T-shirts, Hoodies & Accessories
World of Warcraft Azeroth Alliance Zip-Up Hoodie
World of Warcraft Azeroth Horde Zip-Up Hoodie
Jinx launched a promo to gift a Kobold Miner Hat Plush for only $10 for Valentine’s Day — while supplies last.
The sale Ends on February 28, 2014 and cannot be combined with any other offer.
The Weekly CRITICAL HIT Sale Items puts the spotlight on three Blizzard Licensed Products. Save 30% on these popular J!NX outerwear items! Items will be returned to full price and replaced next week, so get them while there’s still time:
35% Off Critical Sale
Above was the weekly version, this one is the permanent sale page where over 500 products are listed with a 35% OFF discount. Browsing through all 18 pages, I found several Blizzard Licensed Products, worthy checking out. As always, double-check the pricing is for a specific gender or size before checking out the purchase.
This offer ends on January 31, 2014. So, hurry up.
Blizzard Entertainment and its partners release Blizzard licensed products every year. Some of these products come in the shape of novels, eBooks, graphic novels, action figures, dioramas, statues, children’s books, and epic weapons. Did you know from Fall 2013 to Winter 2014 there are so far 41 Blizzard Licensed Products?
There isn’t an official list of recent and upcoming products. Therefore, I will share a permanent list of recent and upcoming products for which you can pre-order now and relax later knowing that you secured your copy and it will automatically be charged and delivered on release date.
Some of the products were released already, and I felt I should mention them in case you missed them. They are in stock while supplies last and shipping now.
The Fall 2013 – 2014 Blizzard Licensed Products line up is as follows: (click links to reach the pre-order page)
Sideshow Collectibles featured a special video sneak peek preview of the upcoming Sideshow Collectibles Deathwing Statue. Too fast for your eyes to catch? No wearries, mon! I took the liberty to take a screenshot of the video. Some of the quick views shows the Stormwind tower, which suggests Deathwing is on top of the tower like in the original World of Warcraft: Cataclysm cinematic intro.
There is no release date for this product, but my personal opinion — it might be out early 2015, based on past products sneak peeks and their actual release date. Usually a year after announced.
The previous statue was based on Wrath of the Ling … the World of Warcraft Arthas Polystone Statue (still in stock). Going by that trend, speculation-mode on … will we see a Garrosh statue sneak peek in 2015, release date: 2016? Nom, nom, nom.
The weekly Jinx Critical Hit sale has placed the spotlight on the Diablo III Tyrael Hoodie, World of Warcraft Monk Hoodie (Women-only) and the StarCraft II Vintage Hoodie lowering them to 30% discount.
You should hurry up. This Critical Hit promo will be up until January 13, 2014 or while supplies last.
- Diablo III Tyrael Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Monk Hoodie (Women-only)
- StarCraft II Terran Vintage Logo Hoodie
Only Today January 28th — and there’s only a few hours left (hurry up) the new World of Warcraft Azeroth hoodies get free shipping using the promo code: NEWAZEROTH
Login first. Then order the hoodie(s) (make sure to select the right gender and size), checkout, then enter the promo code.
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Horde Men’s Zip-Up Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Alliance Men’s Zip-Up Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Horde Women’s Zip-Up Hoodie
- World of Warcraft Azeroth Alliance Women’s Zip-Up Hoodie
Our new World of Warcraft faction hoodies have been a huge success! With this new loot, our DPS tops the charts, our healing is phenomenal, and our tanks never die. Rumor has it, Garrosh on LFR is even a faceroll with them. To celebrate, we’re offering free domestic economy shipping on these new hoodies TODAY ONLY (1/28)! Act like it’s the last day of the Darkmoon Faire and you have a deck to complete. You will need to know the password, so use the promo code below during checkout to collect on the free shipping offer.
Promo Code: NEWAZEROTH
The Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Mount Series 2 is currently in stock, hot off the truck and can be purchased here.
The World of Warcraft Mount Assortment Series 2 Case contains 5 individually packaged figure and creature (subject to change):
1x Flying Machine(Alliance Gnome Rogue)
1x Swift Wyvern & Scarbuck (Horde Tauren Hunter)
1x Goblin Trike and Pitz (Horde Goblin Warrior)
1x Spectral Tiger and Seperon (Alliance Night Elf Death Knight)
1x Dragon Turtle and Windpaw (Horde Panda Monk)
Micky Neilson tweeted to a fan “stay tuned” in response to the question: “Any chance that we could see the rise of the Kaldorei empire, and their origins in a book?”.
What does this mean? There was no Publishing Panel at the 2013 New York Comic Con nor at BlizzCon 2013. So we are in collision course into 2014 without a book line-up. We are heading blind into what Blizzard Creative has in store for us. All we have on the plate for World of Warcraft is:
Fans have asked for stories based on many past eras of Azeroth. The War of the Three Hammers, The Troll Wars with the Quel’dorei teaching magic to 100 Arathi men. The birth of the Council of Tirisfal, Aegwynn and The Dragon Hunt. Many more stories out there that have been merely described in a few paragraphs, but never fleshed out as a novel or a trilogy to expand the universe.
Hearing Micky tease something is in the oven, lights up everyone’s heart. We are lore fans. These stories are our fuel to munch on and savor.
What seems strange to me is that it is been a long time since we ever got a story that doesn’t tie-in directly with a current or upcoming World of Warcraft expansion. The Tokyopop Manga was a mix of independent stories and contemporaneous stories/tie-in stories.
Is this new project a stand-alone story not tied to Warlords of Draenor? If it is tied, does that mean time-travel is involved? After all, this new parallel reality has a unmolested Azeroth with its own Nozdormu. We don’t know what an Azeroth where Sargeras has not been discovered within Medivh yet looks like. He never got to open the Dark Portal after Garrosh prevented the orcs from drinking the blood of Mannoroth. How would events have developed through without the orcs coming through the Dark Portal?
Could there be wrong-happenings and exploits of the timeways in that new reality? If Sargeras couldn’t sway the orcs to come to Azeroth, did he find a replacement to move his agenda forward upon Azeroth?
Between the time-lapse that Garrosh built the Iron Horde and the moment Kairoz opens a portal to the present to move forth the Iron Horde into Azeroth … where was Kairoz? Was he on a trip to mess further with the timeways? Just a loose thought.
Hopefully, this new story isn’t that complicated, and just sticks to the facts as they originally happened. Yet, looking into that parallel Azeroth would be so interesting. Makes me think of Age of Apocalypse where Legion went back in time to kill Magneto, but instead accidentally kills his own father Xavier in the 1970s, which gave path to a world without Xavier and the X-Men. Things got chaotic and out of of control. A domino effect that re-wrote history.
That would be a great story, and a complex one to write, but in the meantime a good old-fashioned Rise of the Kaldorei-like story would be pleasing to read, picking up right after the War of the Ancients.
New York Times best selling author Richard A. Knaak launched a Kickstarter to develop a novel titled… Legends of the Dragonrealm: The Turning War.
According to Richard, this is a three-volume saga which answers many questions concerning the Legends of the Dragonrealm and the Dragon Masters that never got answered.
That truly sounds powerfully interesting.
Blizzard Entertainment, Pocket Books/Gallery Books have published in past years several novels based on Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft which tie-in with a Blizzard video game or expansion that’s in development.
That’s a great practice because it allows players to learn what happened in between one game and the next as a bridge to inform and draw the players into an immersive story.
However, a long time passes by between the release of these novels.
Warcraft, for example, is very rich in lore, spanning more than 10,000 years of life-changing events, but most of it is given to the player through an in-game book in a very brief medium.
Who hasn’t read about the Three Hammers War?… where the Bronzebeards, the Wildhammers, and the Dark Irons went into a civil war that culminated in the eruption of the Blackrock Mountains with the accidental summoning of Ragnaros 300 hundred years before the opening of the Dark Portal.
Who hasn’t read the fabled story Khadgar once read in the library of Karazhan — “Aegwynn and the Dragon Hunt“?
How about the story that led the Darkspear to flee from Stranglethorn Vale?
Or the story about the first humans led by Tyr to safety.
Or how the first Highborne arrived to Tirisfal Glades prior to the founding of Quel’thalas.
The TOKYOPOP Warcraft Legends manga filled a great niche to tell some of these stories, but a novel is longer than a manga. Better yet, novels can extend into trilogies. Or even an entire series of more than three.
Why, oh why–hasn’t Blizzard Entertainment not caved in to the pleas of lore fans?
That’s a question that will haunt me yet for several years. I know the answer down in my heart. Chris Metzen’s plate has been full these past years with multiple games currently in development and other games not yet announced. He’s also co-producer of the Warcraft film. Not to mention the countless meetings he must participate in at each team department. Plus leading a normal life at home with his children and wife.
Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland, Matt Burns and others are busy with other projects too, and the logistics to prepare those stories before it comes to reality on paper is mind-blowing.
Still … I dream. As any other Warcraft / StarCraft / Diablo lore fan out there, I dream. I have always dreamt of the community getting involved somehow in the initial development of Blizzard novels or graphic novels. Even if everyone involved needs to sign an NDA.
The community has been influencing in the past on the forums, or via Twitter. Even at BlizzCon. Heroes of the Storm has been forged and shaped through BlizzCon and by BlizzCon feedback. TheRedShirtGuy (Ian) was very influential with his lore ABCs. Got immortalized as the Fact-checker NPC in Iron Forge. I do have an anecdote that only some fans in the Scrolls of Lore forums know about. Back in 2009, a fan by the username Timolas pointed out the unnamed captain (Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos) who spoke with the emissary of King Terenas in the scene where he recalls Arthas’ troops to return immediately to Lordaeron is named Captain Luc Valonforth. At the time, I think World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was in beta testing. Pocket Star Books (Simon & Schuster, Inc. Division) had begun printing the novel titled World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. I contacted really an awesome editor, Jaime Costas. We had been in contact for a few years. Some of our past giveaways, and interviews on and before 2009 came to happen through her. I infomed her that the captain in the quest titled: The Truth Shall Set Us Free had been given a name in-game: Captain Luc Valonforth. I had read a review copy two weeks before the novel went on sale. As soon as I told Jaime Costas, she edited the scene where the captain talked with the Lordaeron emissary. The novel then was printed with that name. As I was writing this article, I was double-checking some links and found my tale was added (without my knowledge) to the WoWpedia. See how the lore community works? It’s awesome. The original forum thread is here.
Back to the main topic… say some of the most influential lore fans around the community are picked, and invited to a Skype session or chat room with Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland or other members of the Creative Team. Prior to the meeting each is sent by mail an NDA that must be signed, notarized, and sent back. Whatever fancy or legal procedure is needed for such a thing.
Those fans then brainstorm with the creative team. Talk about the different stories, and choose one story. Everyone provides an idea, or ideas on what races or characters existed in that time-frame, what possible stories could exist within that sandbox and timeframe.
Then, Micky Neilson (Publishing Lead) posts a Kickstarter to fund the project. Here is where this dream gets interesting. The project is community-driven from concept to execution. We have seen the success of Blizzard novels.
Just an innocent examples: the Diablo III: Book of Cain reached # 1 Amazon’s best selling graphic novel before its release date. World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson & Sean Galloway reached # 3 New York Times best selling graphic novel. The World of Warcraft: Stormrage was # 1 best seller too. How did all these lore books win then? Magic-word: Pre-orders.
Pre-Order and Kickstarter are basically the same thing. People commits to buy a product they are interested in, and enlist themselves. There is a slight difference, though. When you enlist to a pre-order in Amazon or another retailer you will get that item delivered on release date. On Kickstarter or other type of crowdsourcing the item isn’t shipped if the item doesn’t reach the targeted price goal when the kickstarter expires.
However, the lore fans are there. It has been proved once and again in Amazon and the New York Times best selling lists.
It would be nice for Blizzard to have a Kickstarter-like page on the Blizzard Store or even in the World of Warcraft in-game store, but Kickstarter is more abroad in terms that non-Blizzard fans can also jump in and participate.
It’s all a bunch of dreams. However, they say dreams do come true. Hope the right people read this, and I know they do.
Another patch coming for Hearthstone, another round of card changes and adjustments.
As we move further into the closed beta, we’re continuing to closely monitor card balance as more and more Hearthstone games are played. We also want to ensure that cards acquired in Hearthstone are done fairly through our various game modes.
The amount of gold gained by winning games in Play mode per day will be capped at 100 in the upcoming patch. This cap does not affect gold gained through Quests, Arena, or Achievements. There will be an indication within the game when this gold cap is reached. This cap is intended to combat certain methods of gold acquisition that violate our Terms of Service. The spirit of fair play is extremely important to us, and we will continue to monitor gold acquisition activity closely to ensure a fun and enjoyable game environment for everyone.
In regards to card balance, there are a few cards we’ve noticed that have sprung up that warrant some tuning, and we’ll be making these changes in the next patch. Our goal is to change as few cards as possible over the course of time, but we felt the need to address these six cards in particular. The cards are:Shattered Sun Cleric, Flame Imp and Argent Commander. These cards will be adjusted along with the other cards we mentioned at BlizzCon: Mind Control, Starving Buzzard and Unleash the Hounds.
Shattered Sun Cleric is now a 3/2 (was a 3/3)
Argent Commander is now a 4/2 (was a 4/3)
- These cards are quite good for their cost, and they currently feel to be slightly above the curve in power compared to cards of a similar cost and type. Players end up choosing these cards for their deck much more often than other cards at the same mana cost. We want to increase the variety of cards being played at 3 and 6 mana.
Flame Imp’s Battlecry now deals 3 damage (up from 2)
- Warlocks have a very strong early game, and this small change to Flame Imp should help a small amount. There are other cards that help the Warlock maintain early board advantage, and we’re keeping a close eye on those as time goes on.
Mind Control’s mana cost is now 10 (up from 8)
- Mind Control has some pretty accurate flavor text … perhaps a little too accurate. Raising the mana cost will allow players to have a couple more turns to play with their big minions.
Starving Buzzard is now a 2/1 (was a 2/2)
- At some ranks, Hunter was a bit strong versus Druids, Mages and Rogues. This change to Starving Buzzard will help even the playing field against those classes in particular.
Unleash the Hounds has been reworked and now reads: “(4) For each enemy minion, summon a 1/1 Hound with Charge”.
- The old version of Unleash the Hounds was allowing for Hunters to win in a single turn, starting with no minions on the board. The new version adds some fun, new card combos to Hunters and helps with their ability to AoE.
We hope these changes will increase your versatility and creativity in making card choices for your decks, and helps to make Hearthstone a more fun game for all to enjoy.
The main changes I’m concerned with are the hits to SSC and AC. SSC is powerful for a 3 cost minion, even for a 4 cost minion. As sad as I am about it, dropping her health by 1 is probably the best move. Likewise for the Commander. He’s still almost a guaranteed 2 for 1 trade, the opponent just has more options to trade with him. I don’t Gul’dan much, or against him often, so the change to Flame Imp is one I’m more curious about than wary of. I feel sorry for Starving Buzzard – another target for Jaina to plink away. Unleash the Hounds might be more balanced, it might also be useless. I’d rather it summon a set number of hounds every time than a number that may or may not be useful depending on my opponent’s board size. A bunch of 1/1s with charge probably won’t save me if I get to summon them.
I celebrate the MC change. MC should be a dramatic game changer but it’s often so deflating, morale wise, that continuing past that point feels more fruitless than it might be. Flamestrike can wipe your entire board but it doesn’t hurt as much as MC.
As far as the gold cap, I don’t play 30+ games a day. Those that do are probably machines or machine like. You can still earn full gold from quests, achievements, and whatever so no worries there.
And no wipe! Grommash Hellscream stays in my library!
I have been alerted the World of Warcraft Illidan Pop! Vinyl Figure has arrived and it’s hot off the truck at EE. Start collecting them as they become available and while supplies last. Or find it over at Amazon.
From the World of Warcraft MMORPG series from Blizzard, Illidan Stormrage has been given the Pop! Vinyl treatment with this World of Warcraft Illidan Pop! Vinyl Figure! Illidan stands 3 3/4-inches tall, and makes a great gift for children and adult collectors alike. When you see just how cool the World of Warcraft Illidan Pop! Vinyl Figure looks you’ll want to collect the rest in this line of WoW Pop! Vinyl figures from Funko! Ages 5 and up.
Size: 3 3/4-inches tall
The ones that arrived a few weeks ago are the:
- World of Warcraft Arthas Pop! Vinyl Figure
- Diablo Lord of Terror Pop! Vinyl Figure
- Diablo II Tyrael Archangel Pop! Vinyl Figure