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Jason Hayes’ Critical Hit: Volume One Album Shipping Today

I recently posted Jason Hayes (Blizzard senior composer) and Michael Gluck launched the fantasy rock band Critical Hit. The Critical Hit: Volume One Album is shipping today. The CD may be purchased at their official store.

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Jason Hayes was who originally composed the World of Warcraft loading screen song theme: “Legends of Azeroth”. I added a short clip of the remastered World of Warcraft song theme: “Legends of Azeroth”.

Sideshow Collectibles Teases StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale

Sideshow Collectibles is preparing to unveil the StarCraft II Tychus Sixth Scale Figure in upcoming weeks. For now it shared a preview teaser for those who love to collect high-quality Blizzard Licensed Products.

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sideshow-starcraft-ii-jim-raynor-six-scale-figure-100181_press08-001The StarCraft II Raynor Sixth Scale Figure by Sideshow Collectibles is currently in production and pre-orders are open. The Raynor Sixth Scale is slated to ship on August 2014.

To give you an idea of this Tychus Sixth Scale’s size, the Raynor’s dimensions are 15.5″ H x 9.5″ W x 6.75″ L*.

What’s in the Box?

  • Fully Articulated Figure Body with highly detailed, fully articulated armor
  • C-14 Impaler Gauss Rifle
  • Pistol with fabric holster
  • Sniper Rifle
  • Light up chest light
  • Light up Engine Vents

Blizzplanet will get you the Tychus Sixth Scale preview images as soon as Sideshow Collectibles have them ready for the masses. Stay tuned.

PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller Shipping Today

For everyone awaiting to play Diablo III on the PlayStation 4, while the PlayStation 4 is slated to ship on November 15th, the PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller is shipping now. and it is compatible with Diablo III (PS3). Follow the link to grabs yours ASAP. Only one Dualshock 4 controller comes with the PlayStation 4 Launch Edition. Diablo III supports up to four players on your couch.

The DualShock 4 is compatible with a number of current generation PlayStation 3 games. Grab a DualShock 4 and prepare for greatness before the release of the PlayStation 4. Supplies are limited. Better to grab it now while supplies last and before the console ships when everyone and their mama will be flooding local game shops.

Over 25,000 fans will have the opportunity to play Diablo III on the PlayStation 4 using the Dualshock 4 controller at BlizzCon in the Anaheim Convention Center this upcoming November 8-9.


Features

  • The feel, shape, and sensitivity of the dual analog sticks and trigger buttons have been improved to provide a greater sense of control.
  • The new multi-touch and clickable touch pad on the face of the DualShock 4 Wireless Controller opens up worlds of new gameplay possibilities.
  • The DualShock 4 Wireless Controller features a built-in speaker and stereo headset jack.
  • The addition of the Share button makes utilizing the social capabilities of the PlayStation 4 as easy as the push of a button.

The DUALSHOCK 4 controller incorporates a new, highly sensitive six-axis sensor, as well as a touch pad located on the top of the controller, which offers gamers completely new ways to play and interact with games.

The feel, shape, and sensitivity of the dual analog sticks and trigger buttons have been improved to provide a greater sense of control, no matter what you play.

The new multi-touch and clickable touch pad on the face of the DualShock 4 wireless controller opens up worlds of new gameplay possibilities for both newcomers and veteran gamers.

The three LEDs inside the light bar can generate a rainbow of colors that work with the PlayStation camera to create immersive gaming experiences. It also allows developers who choose to utilize the functionality to enable easy player identification and screen adjustment functionalities when gamers play with friends in the same room.

The DualShock 4 wireless controller features a built-in speaker and stereo headset jack, putting several new audio options in the player’s hands.

The addition of the Share button makes utilizing the social capabilities of the PlayStation 4 system as easy as the push of a button. Upload gameplay videos and screenshots of your greatest accomplishments or live-stream your gameplay sessions through popular Internet streaming services, all without disturbing the game in progress.

  • External Dimensions: Approx. 162mm x 52mm x 98mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
  • Weight: Approx. 210g (tentative)
  • Keys / Switches: PS button, SHARE button, OPTIONS button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Left/Right), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), R1/L1/R2/L2/R3/L3, Right stick, Left stick, Touch Pad Button
  • Touch Pad: 2 Point Touch Pad, Click Mechanism, Capacitive Type
  • Motion Sensor: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer)
  • Other Features: Light Bar, Vibration, Built-in Mono Speaker
  • Ports: USB (Micro B), Extention Port, Stereo Headset Jack
  • Wireless communication: Bluetooth® Ver2.1+EDR

Battery:

  • Type: Built-in Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery
  • Voltage: DC3.7V (tentative)
  • Capacity: 1000mAh (tentative)

 

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The Problem of Over Correcting

Anduin is in a powerful place. Before the Big One, the priest’s options for fighting were weak and clumsy. Velen had few uses, Fade was mostly useless, Greater Heal was entirely useless. But some redesign and new cards swooped in to bolster Azeroth’s priestly princeling into a powerful Hero.

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But there might be a bit of a problem with him now. The priest has, perhaps, the best removals in the game. Holy Nova doesn’t hit as hard as Flamestike but it does heal your minions. Shadow Words Pain and Death are leagues better than Corruption or Naturalize. There are a host of powerful 4 attack minions, Ysera and the Auctioneer for example, but those can still be countered by silences or even a +1 buff from your end. That leaves the priest with Mind Control. Yes, the controlled minion has summoning sickness. Yes, it costs 8 mana, putting it behind Flamestrike by 1 turn and it’s twice the cost of Polymorph. Despite the high cost and delay in its effect, Mind Control is devastating. It’s at minimum a 2 card counter: you steal a card from a player, and force them to deal with the threat.

The Masters of Hearthstone’s mechanics aren’t unaware of Mind Control’s potency and the priest’s recent empowerment. In a post by Takralus, the community rep said:

We are talking about the issue here and looking at the power of Mind Control at different skill levels and in different modes so we can make any adjustments that may be needed. We’re still deliberating the right course of action, but we have heard you guys and we understand your concerns.

 

I’ve got some ideas for how to bring Mind Control under control.

  • Make the cost 10. A longer delay that allows you to rush the priest a little faster.  This is the least elegant option, I think.
  • Limit the targets. Maybe only 6 attack, or undamaged units.
  • The Mind Controlled target is weakened – a penalty to attack and health or is automatically silenced, since Anduin seems to enjoy that mechanic anyway.
  • The Mind Control effect can be silenced and the creature returns to its original owner.

Obviously, Mind Control is being examined by Blizzard’s team and they’re testing and watching it closely. Keep submitting suggestions to them and posting comments on the Hearthstone forums. The priest may have been over corrected but that’s how design works: a tweak this way, a twist that way, and eventually things are balanced out.

UDON World of Warcraft Tribute Now at a Bookstore Near You

The UDON World of Warcraft Tribute is now on sale at local bookstores and online. This product was first unveiled to be in development at the New York Comic Con 2012. I took video of the UDON panel if you wish to learn more.

udon-world-of-warcraft-tribute-front-coverCelebrating the phenomenon that is World of Warcraft! Featuring hundreds of artists from around the globe, World of Warcraft Tribute showcases professionals and fan artists alike, each paying homage to the most popular MMORPG of all time. Every denizen of Azeroth deserves to have this gorgeous artwork collection in their personal library.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Udon Entertainment (October 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1926778871
ISBN-13: 978-1926778877
Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds

 

ex-Blizzard Dev Auctions Original StarCraft II Art, Kerrigan Bust and Goodies

An ex-Blizzard Entertainment developer reached me out to tip me about the sale of several StarCraft II goodies acquired as employee-exclusive gifts. I was able to confirm the identity as the name appears in the StarCraft II credits.

Some of these items are rare, and some are commonly found on eBay. Most of these can be acquired directly by texting the ex-developer by phone. The employee-exclusive goodies will be placed on eBay in a few days (I’ll update once the ex-developer provides the links).

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek into some of the items currently available for sale.

Dethling

The Dethling was a BlizzCon 2010 Exclusive item included in the Swag bag given to the event attendees. The ex-developer has two available for $60 each.

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BlizzCon 2010|2011 Pet Cards

These are BlizzCon 2010 and 2011 exclusive pet cards which contain a scratch redeem code which enables a Battle.net account to obtain a Deathy (a murloc with a jaw and features of Deathwing) and Grunty (World of Warcraft space marine companion pet) — there are two cards on sale each for $85; and another two cards with the Murkablo (World of Warcraft companion pet) and the Panda Space Marine (StarCraft II avatar). I’m not certain if these will be on sale or if they will be placed in the upcoming auction instead. Text just in case.

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Circle of Honor Limited Edition Stein

This stein is given exclusively to employees. This one seems to be given to those who have worked at Blizzard for two years. It is sealed in its box (unopened). On sale for $250.

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Diablo III Collector’s Edition

There are two factory-sealed copies on sale for $150. The Collector’s Edition includes the Fetish Shaman (World of Warcraft companion pet), the Tyrael wings (Diablo III character cosmetic wings); and three exclusive StarCraft II avatars (Diablo III-themed). It also contains the Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction inside a USB-flash drive shaped like the soulstone which can be inserted in a Diablo skull souvenir, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Soundtrack DVD, and other goodies.

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Kwurky Green Egg Murloc Plush

This is a rare Blizzcon 2009 exclusive plush toy. There is one available for $120.

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StarCraft II Chips

While there are some of these showing up on eBay from time to time, the one the ex-developer is selling is the Employee-Exclusive version, and thus a rare item. This below is the complete Blizzard chip set + the full set of the StarCraft II chips. On sale for $200.

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StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition

The factory-sealed StarCraft II Collector’s Edition includes the Mini Thor (World of Warcraft companion pet), three StarCraft II exclusive avatars, an exclusive-version of the Thor unit within StarCraft II, a DC Comics StarCraft comics # 0, the Art of StarCraft II book, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Soundtrack and other goodies. On sale for $250.

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Additional Goodies

Not all items have images, but these can be purchased directly without eBay listing by contacting the ex-employee directly.

  • How about a sealed Employee staff-exclusive shirt (Size: Large)? Only $50.

  • Employee platform services button up 2012 shirt (sealed) – $120

  • One-year Subscription World of Warcraft cards x3 for only $75 each. Buying these directly on Battle.net would cost about $84.86 (with Tax included). You save about $9.86 (depending what U.S. State you live at. Tax Example provided: New York)

Upcoming eBay Auction

I’ll update fans in the front page and at the Blizzplanet Facebook and Twitter pages when these become available on eBay. If you don’t follow Blizzplanet social network pages do so now. I was told these will be uploaded soon. These are for the hardcore fans out there with the passion to collect extremely rare Blizzard employee-exclusive memorabilia.

The Thor and Vulture original artwork was painted by artist Jack Luke Mancini. The auction will start with $300 for this limited exclusive piece.

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The StarCraft II Kerrigan Queen of Blades original artwork was used as the front cover of the Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg. This 22″ x 42″ original artwork by Glenn Rane will be in auction starting at $12,000.

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This one of a kind original Brian Huang Starcraft II Concept Art Hydralisk will be in auction for $2,200.

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Sideshow Collectibles only made 5100 copies of the Kerrigan Queen of Blades Bust Statue. So far there have been only four of these statues showing up on eBay by ex-employees and sold for about $900. This one is sealed in its box and it will be auctioned for $750.

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Stay tuned to Blizzplanet to find out when these last four items hit eBay. All other items mentioned are available directly with the ex-employee (no-eBay) by texting (310) 801-7802.

The ex-employee is willing to show photos of pay stubs and the employee plaque for verification and authenticity purposes. Prices are also negotiable.

Blizzplanet Review – Diablo III: Book of Tyrael

diablo-iii-book-of-tyrael-cover-full-sizeThe Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is now on sale at the New York Comic Con (booth #1564) and local bookstores. I grabbed my copy from the Insight Editions booth at the New York Comic Con for $28.

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael was written by Matt Burns (Associate Publishing Developer, Blizzard Entertainment).

Book Materials

In terms of printing materials, this book has the typical Blizzard-quality standards and what you would expect from an Insight Editions book. It’s awesome. The front cover’s Sword and ornaments artwork is embossed — giving you that special visual and tactile feeling. The lower part of the book is wrapped by a cover jacket.

Now I think this book kind of went a few notches up in terms of detail in comparison with Book of Cain and other similar Blizzard licensed products. If you take a look at the outer side of the pages which run along the width of the book in Book of Cain — you will notice the pages’ border were truncated to mimic ancient scrolls. Diablo III: Book of Tyrael lacks this, but instead the pages’ border is painted in gold. It’s crazy. You can even see the light reflect off the golden surface. The photo doesn’t even catch half of how it really looks like.

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In the interior of the book, all pages have this wash-out material that gives you a feeling this is an old manuscript. It’s rare to find a page that has no artwork.

Finally, at the back of the book is some sort of envelope glued to the cardboard. The center has a seal one can detach to open the envelope. Within is “The Red Tree of Khanduras” listing Deckard Cain, Archbishop Lazarus, Prince Albrecht, King Leoric, Queen Asylla, Prince Aidan, Leah and Adria.

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When you unfold the poster it is kinda huge. It has an artwork of a big tree. The roots seem to entangle The Black Soulstone. The branches have images of all the characters mentioned above concerning “The Red Tree of Khanduras”.

On the other side of the poster, it shows the same characters in their final fate: Queen Asylla decapitated, Leah as Diablo the Prime Evil, Aidan as the Dark Wanderer, King Leoric as the Skeleton King, Adria holding the Black Soulstone, Albrecht as Diablo, Lazarus and Cain death.

Review

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is written from the point of view of Tyrael. However, Tyrael attached writings from Deckard Cain’s Journal and Leah’s Journal to pass the wisdom down to his new Horadrim, and future generations. It is not written as a novel, but more as a compendium of notes.

There is no index page or content list. The entirety of the book is a roleplay from the point of view of the Diablo III characters. An exception is the credits page.

Diablo III fans should definitely get their hands on this book. There are many elements from the upcoming Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion; and probably the expansion after that.

I have never seen such an extensive collection of lore about Adria the Witch. Adria’s past prior to her arrival to Tristram is written by Leah, and her story after arriving to Tristram is from Deckard Cain’s notes. Tyrael got Leah’s notes from Bastion’s Keep.

Some of the lore comes from Diablo III: The Order by Nate Kenyon.

Tyrael shares his experience as mortal in his charge as the new Wisdom. Charge that’s short-lived as Imperius doesn’t acknowledge him and ignores his warnings about the Black Soulstone.

Tyrael is confused with all the raw emotions coursing through his mortal body. Fear to fail his duty as Wisdom. Emotional insecurities assaulting him.

The book reveals why Tyrael decided to steal the Black Soulstone from the Angiris Council, and why Westmarch as its burial ground. The story of Adria the Witch, the Founding and Ruin of Westmarch, and lore about the Crusaders can be found in the book, too. Take this book as a prelude to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls; and as a primer for the upcoming novel Diablo III: Storm of Light by Nate Kenyon which hits bookstores on February 2014.

Content List

There is no index/contet list, so I’ll simply list the sections found throughout Book of Tyrael:

Introduction – This is a letter from Tyrael to the New Horadrim.

Part One: Adria

The Witch of Tristram
Adria’s Origins
Adria’s Quest
Zoltun Kulle and the Black Soulstone
Conclusions

 

Part Two: The Fate of the Black Soulstone

Being Mortal
The Dissonance of the Angiris Council
Wisdom
The New Horadrim
Rakkis and the Founding of Westmarch – Prelude to Conquest
Campaigns Against Ivgorod and the Barbarians
The Creation of Westmarch
The Lost Ruins of Westmarch
Crusaders

 

Part Three: Miscellanea

A Timeline of Sanctuary

  • Pre-History – (Inarius)
  • Recorded History

Factions of Sanctuary

  • Amazons
  • Assassins
  • Barbarian Tribes
  • Council of Elders
  • The Coven
  • Crusaders
  • Druids
  • The Edyrem
  • Horadrim
  • Iron Wolves
  • Mage Clans
  • Necromancers
  • Paladins
  • Patriarchs (Ivgorod)
  • Rogues
  • Skatsim
  • Templar
  • The Temple of the Triune
  • The Thieves Guild
  • Trade Consortium
  • Zakarum

Figures of Interest — this is a long section with brief descriptions of several humans, demons and angels throughout history. Some only mentioned in the novels and the comic book.

 

Artists

Some of the artists behind all the artwork in Diablo III: Book of Tyrael were the same from Book of Cain, while others seem to be new.

  • The Black Frog
  • Nicolas Delort
  • ENrang
  • Riccardo Federici
  • Gino
  • John Howe
  • Joseph Lacroix
  • Iain McCaig
  • Jon McConnell
  • Petar Meseldzija
  • Jean-Baptiste Monje
  • Glenn Rane (Cover)
  • Ruan Jia
  • Dan Hee Ryu
  • Adrian Smith
  • Yang Qi
  • Bin Zhang
  • Zhang Lu

Credits

BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

Matt Burns (Writer)
Doug Alexander (Creative Direction, Layout and Design)
Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, and Brian Kindreagan (Additional Story Development)
Victor Lee (Additional Art)
Josh Horst, Kyle Williams, Skye Chandler (Producers)
Cate Gary (Editor)
Justin Parker (Lore)
Jerry Chu (Licensing)

Special thanks to: Christian Lichtner, John Polidora, David Lomeli, Benjamin Zhang, Peter C. Lee, Leonard Boyarsky, Michael Chu, Valerie Watrous, Evelyn Fredericksen, Sean Copeland, Leanne Huynh, Audrey Vicenzi, and Joseph Lacroix.

INSIGHT EDITIONS

Raoul Goff (Publisher)
Chrissy Kwasnik (Art Director)
Vanessa Lopez (Executive Editor)
Anna Wan (Production Manager)
Elaine Ou (Editorial Assistant)

SPOILERS

The Coven is actually a remnant of what was once known as the Triune (the ancient religion seen in Diablo: The Sin War trilogy)

Adria was born in Kingsport — curiously, the southern port of Westmarch — where Reaper of Souls takes place.

Adria’s father was Sevrin — a powerful merchant in Kingsport, who strangled his wife in a fit of rage.

Adria possibly killed her own father some time later when an unusual fire burned their home. She fled north to the Westmarch capital. Joined a group of witches. Turns out Adria and Maghda met there in their youth. Years later, both witches joined the Coven and took control of the group after killing its leaders.

Adria later departed the Coven after a schism with her partner — around the time of the Darknening of Tristram.

On one of Cain’s notes, he acknowledges after taking Leah as child with him, he began to research about Adria. He decided to keep what he learned a secret, and hid the truth to Leah.

I’m surprised this book has a long timeline similar to Warcraft’s. Also most of these Leah’s notes dating Diablo III (Caldeum and Bastion Keep) are written in 1285 Anno Kehjistani. Some notes are denoted as “1st day of (what seems like a month)”. Examples: Ratham, Kathon, Ostara.

Short descriptions of each important human, angel and demon throughout history (alive and deceased).

Zoltun Kulle was from the Ennead mage clan — group which delved into transmutation and enchantment magics.

The Black Soulstone was a profane simulacrum of the three soulstones Tyrael gave the Horadrim years ago.

Now we have another name of the first Horadrim group: Jered Cain, Tal Rasha, Zoltun Kulle and Iben Fahd. The latter was among the few survivors who attempted to defeat Zoltun in his lair.

The first part was Adria and Zoltun Kulle. The third part is from the point of view of Tyrael. He expresses how he feels as a human. How he felt as an Angel and how he viewed the flaws of the Angiris Council.

“I deliberately took on the form of a mortal, sacrificing my angelic essence, in response to the Council’s continued inaction. In doing so, I hoped to set an example to the Heavens — to prove that laws can be bent for a greater good.”

Tyrael left the Heavens after Diablo the Prime Evil was defeated. He couldn’t bear the angels’ judgment — who blamed him for the countless deaths of angels. I think this is the first time we ever hear how angels are born. Tyrael mentions before he left back to Sanctuary he witnessed the Lightsong — the creation of new angels. The angels tune their essences into the Crystal Arch in synch. The harmony of this “sound” and “light” creates new angels.

New York Comic Con 2013 – Blizzard Entertainment Book Signing Schedule

Blizzard Entertainment won’t have a Publishing Panel this year, but there’s still a significant presence at the New York Comic Con.

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Thursday, October 10

  • There will be a giveaway of 50 copies of Starcraft II: Flashpoint by Christie Golden and 150 World of Warcraft bookmarks at the Simon & Schuster booth #1828

Saturday, October 12

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Take a look at the Floor Plan I edited to mark the booths.

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