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.
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.
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!
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.
Experience the thrill of Thrall with the Doomhammer LARP Hammer!
Transfer the excitement of WoW into the real world.
Wrapped with genuine leather, it measures 22-inches long and weighs 3 pounds!
Can’t get enough WoW? Well, the Doomhammer Live-Action Roleplaying (LARP) Hammer is for you! Transfer your roleplaying excitement from the World of Warcraft game into the real world of LARP with this exquisite Doomhammer.
Meticulously fashioned of polyurethane with PVC tube piping to maintain product integrity, it’s wrapped with genuine leather, measures 22-inches long x 10-inches tall x 7-inches wide, and weighs 3 pounds!
The World of Warcraft Doomhammer wields easily and freely for those dedicated activists desiring to experience the full thrill of Thrall. Ages 14 and up.
Jinx has several awesome Holiday offers for Blizzard fans. These offers run throughout December 3 until December 25th. Benefit from these discounts while supplies last. If you wish to send a Gift Certificate to a friend or family for the holidays then go to this page and inform about the holiday discounts.