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Robert Clotworthy Auctions Signed DC StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure 7/10

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

Our very-loved Robert Clotworthy — voice of Commander Jim Raynor — is auctioning the seventh (7/10) signed DC Unlimited StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure on eBay.

The great value of this auction aside from signing it is that the winner of this auction can write down the message of their choice and Robert Clotworthy will voice your message with the voice of Jim Raynor. In addition, all what you paid for the auction will be donated — listen well — to the non-profit organization of your choice.

Be a hero donating, and get ready to “kick this revolution into overdrive!”

Robert Clotworthy: It’s been a while since I’ve done this and since “Heart of the Swarm” is coming out next year it’s time to get ready.

My name is Robert Clotworthy and since 1998, I have been the voice of Jim Raynor in the iconic video game StarCraft.

As many of you know I have decided to dust off 10 Terran Outlaw Jim Raynor Series 1 Collector Action Figures from my personal collection on board the Hyperion and auction each one with the profits going to charity.

This item is brand new and unopened.

Each one will be signed by me and numbered. I will also include a personalized note of authenticity written on a Jim Raynor wanted poster note pad.

And to really get the juices flowing, I will also record an Mp3 greeting from Jim Raynor and send that to the winning bidder.

This is a limited offer Marines, I am only going to sign and number ten of these. And this is for #7 in the series. So the opportunity to own one of these is quickly running out.

I am not limiting this to Terran players only. Protoss players may bid and I will hold my nose and even accept bids from Zerg.

This auction is open to everyone, not just limited to fans in the US. I will even ship to Char or Mar Sara if the winning bidder is willing to pay shipping.

So break out your wallets StarCraft fans, this is the opportunity to own something truly unique and send some money to charity

As Jimmy says in Wings of Liberty, “Some things are just worth fighting for.”

Raiders Roll!

Robert Clotworthy – source

 

Our own Blizzplanet buddy Chris “The Bearded Gamer” Arnone interviewed Robert Clothworthy at the MLG 2012 Spring Championship in Anaheim, CA. Check that video out if you missed it.

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Monopoly: World of Warcraft Collector’s Edition Deal Dec 6 Only

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Former Blizzplanet member Eamon sends heads up the Amazon Gold Box deal of the day will have a Monopoly: World of Warcraft Collector’s Edition deal today December 6th at 8pm PST (Pacific).

The Monopoly: World of Warcraft Collector’s Edition is currently $21.99 — so, that on itself is a crazy deal. Let’s see what the Gold Box deal tonite is gonna be to beat that.

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Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Build Big, Win Big Contest Ends Dec 9

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Mega Bloks World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft News

We wanted to inform our Blizzard licensed product geek visitors, The Mega Bloks “Build Big, Win Big” contest will end this Sunday, Dec 9.

Mega Bloks invites fans to create the biggest, craziest, most creative builds possible using Mega Bloks World of Warcraft, and the best build will win the biggest World of Warcraft prize pack Blizzard has ever given away.

Entries close this Sunday, so get building now! You can check out Blizzard’s full blog post for more details (including the insane prize pack contents) here.

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Diablo Polystone Statue Pre-Orders Begin

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

The Sideshow Collectibles Diablo Polystone Statue pre-orders have begun. This statue is based on the Diablo III Prime Evil model, sculpted with the collaboration of Nick Carpenter (Blizzard Entertainment VP of Art and Cinematic Development).

The Diablo Polystone Statue is shipping on June 2013 for the price of $349. The FlexPay payment plan allows easy payments.

Description

Sideshow Collectibles is proud to bring you the Diablo statue, from Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely popular action RPG Diablo III. In a brilliant collaboration between the award-winning Sideshow Design and Development and Blizzard Cinematics teams, led by Sideshow Collectibles Creative Director Tom Gilliland and Blizzard Cinematics Creative Director Nick Carpenter, the Prime Evil’s chosen form comes to life, crafted in high quality polystone. The Diablo statue measures over 20 inches tall, hand painted and finished with painstaking attention to detail. Possess it now, before it possesses you.

Product Type: Polystone Statue

Product Size: 21″ H (533.4mm) x 9″ W (228.6mm) x 12″ D (304.8mm)*

Product Weight: 11.00 lbs (4.99 kg)*

Artists:

  • Brian Fay (Sculpt)
  • Dave Cortes (Sculpt)
  • Blizzard Cinematics Team (Sculpt)
  • Nick Carpenter (Creative Direction)
  • Tom Gilliland (Creative Direction)
  • Anthony Mestas (Paint)
  • Rick Cantu (Paint)

Backstory

In the beginning, there were three Prime Evils … Baal, Mephisto, and Diablo, also named the Lord of Terror. Cast down into the mortal realm for their manipulative ways, all three were eventually imprisoned by human sorcerers into soulstones, then buried deep within the heart of Sanctuary, where they lay undisturbed for centuries.

But even a soulstone cannot long contain a Lord of Hell. Diablo was soon freed, and possessing the body of a mortal king, he began a campaign of destruction across the kingdoms of the mortal realm.

Twice Diablo was defeated through the slaying of his mortal host, and his essence returned to a soulstone where it would wait. Until, 20 years after the slaying of his second host, Diablo and the other six Lords of Hell find themselves imprisoned within the Black Soulstone. Diablo then absorbs the essences of the other six evils, becoming the Prime Evil. Freed from his latest prison, he takes possession of a new host and sets out to destroy the power of the Angels.

Transformed by the combined powers of all seven Lords of Hell into a form worthy of a Lord of Terror, Diablo ascends to the High Heavens. There he defeats Imperius, the Lord of Valor, with terrifying ease before launching a devastating assault on the Silver Spire in an attempt to destroy the High Heavens forever.

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Jinx Blizzard T-shirts $7 Off on Select Items

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Jinx announced a selection of items from their Diablo III, StarCraft II and World of Warcraft T-shirt stock is now $7 off.

Some are now priced $9.99 and some are now $14.99 while supplies last. No Deadline specified.

Perfect timing for the upcoming X-mas holiday gifts. Note: Some of these select items are either male-only or female-only. Some of them are both genders at $7 off. Make sure to double-check. Click the images below to reach the purchase page.

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Blizzplanet Review – Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls

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

The Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls is a digital-only eBook — a rare format Blizzard Entertainment is currently pushing for the first time since year 2000. The first ever eBook from Blizzard was Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (Garwulf’s Corner). It was a time when the eBook format had just been born recently, and there wasn’t a big audience as nowadays with the boom of Kindle devices, iPad, Marvel Digital, and Comixology.

It reminds me a lot to how Chris Metzen and Flint Dille introduced Transformers: Autocracy to the fans of that universe. I was swayed into the 12-issue digital-only comic book not only because it was written by Chris who I am a loyal fanboy of, but through him I was able to re-experience one of my favorite childhood characters and sci-fi universes of the 80s when I was a teen.

A year after Transformers: Autocracy went live in the digital waves, IDW announced the Transformers: Autocracy (Hardcover).

It’s unknown if Blizzard Entertainment will go that route a year from now with Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls.

In the meantime, even if you don’t own a Kindle device you can still read this digital book straight from your internet browser via the Kindle Cloud. All you need is the Adobe Acrobat plug-in installed. Chances are you already have it installed. However, it’s a good idea to update it.

After you order the digital book, go to this URL: https://read.amazon.com to read it from your Firefox or Internet Explorer browser. You will see the eBook there. Or follow this instructions (view images).

The Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls contains fives stories previously seen in the official Diablo III website under the Game Guide page:

  • Hatred and Discipline (by Micky Neilson – Blizzard Publishing Lead)
  • Wayfarer (Cameron Dayton – Transmedia Consultant, Story Developer & Writer)
  • Unyielding (by Matt Burns – Blizzard Associate Publishing Developer)
  • Doubtwalker (by Matt Burns – Blizzard Associate Publishing Developer)
  • Firefly (by Michael Chu – Diablo III Quest Designer)

In the digital book, there are Black & White illustrations by John Polidora (Senior Illustrator/Concept Artist/Visual Development Artist at Blizzard Entertainment) placed at the first page of each story. The class sigil illustration is placed at the end of each story, too.

You will ask yourself: “Well, why would I pay $7.99 for something I can read straight from the Diablo III Website?”

You can set the Kindle Cloud to download what you purchased and to set an offline mode. In addition, there are two stories in this digital book never seen before, which expand the Diablo universe.

These two stories are:

  • Theatre Macabre: The Dark Exile
  • The Hunger

Theatre Macabre: The Dark Exile

Theatre Macabre: The Dark Exile is written by James Waugh (New York Times Best Selling Co-Author of World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen). The story hasn’t been read before in the official Diablo III website.

After reading this story, I was amazed at the lengthy dialogues between the characters. So much dialogue.

At first, I couldn’t wrap my mind around a theater theme and playwrights within the World of Sanctuary. Reminded me of Shakespeare and Dante’s Inferno for a sec. I was skeptic. Mea Culpa.

That didn’t last long though. The more I read, the more I wanted to keep going forward.

Behind all the theater stuff lies a story of the Dark Exile from a perspective we haven’t seen before. It was a mechanism to tell a grand story which reveals things not completely answered in Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.

Duriel and Andariel’s reasons to be in Sanctuary for example.

The story might also reveal who the Priests of Zakarum served, and what led to their corruption. Should be a must-read.

The Hunger

The Hunger is written by Erik Sabol (2009 Blizzard Global Writing Contest runner-up). It’s a new story we haven’t read in the official Diablo III website.

I have a mix of thoughts after reading this story. It’s about a woman who pays a wagon rider pretty well to take her cargo through the desert of Aranoch. I have to criticize we don’t know who the woman is nor her background or affiliation.

Each dialogue is short, and focuses more on fast-paced action. The story intrigued me. Out of the blue, the story ends – and I was left with this hunger to read more and figure out what really really happened in the story or what the point or goal was.

It’s a scary story, and definitely Rated M with gore and creepiness. For some reason, I was left with the feeling that we might see more about Rigley in the Diablo III expansion or elsewhere. Felt like a cliffhanger. Time will tell.

Final Thoughts

I’m game for more Diablo III themed stories. I got into reading Blizzard stories outside their video games after my very first IRC Chat interview with Richard A. Knaak back in 2003. It was a funny interview because I was asking him questions about Warcraft: Day of the Dragon (2001) without having read the book. Shortly after the interview I read the book. I couldn’t but start collecting all the books based on each Blizzard video game available at the time, and to religiously purchase every new publication from the pen of Blizzard Creative Team writers or the mainstream freelance writers whether they were books, manga, comic books or digital versions. Be it Warcraft, StarCraft or Diablo themed.

Reading the stories expands so much your knowledge of the video game, and gives a special depth to your gameplay experience. Ever since the Burning Crusade expansion, Blizzard Entertainment added another edge to storytelling with the help of Christie Golden.

Blizzard synchronizes these books and the in-game quests in ways that compliment and enhance your overall experience. In World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde you would read about the Ata’mai Crystals, Velen and the Draenei, Oshu’gun in Nagrand — and you’d play the video game and go like — “Wow, I’m playing a quest about what I read in Christie’s novel!” — “Holy! I know this place, or that character!”

Every single novel and game expansion have been woven to tie-in, thereafter. I love that.

Now we have the first digital book ever since Diablo: Demonsbane, in an era where digital books are so mainstream. The question is … will Blizzard Creative Team be bold enough to bring these story elements into Diablo III or its upcoming expansion?

How do you translate these short anthology stories into in-game content? Especially, when Diablo III has been around a long time now.

I think Blizzard should consider adding new quests to Diablo III via patches. The venue is there. Every time I roam the lands of Sanctuary is a different experience. You’ll find random optional quests. For example, The Matriarch’s Bones or the Jar of Souls Event. These are random.

New Journals dropping from monsters or libraries hinting at events happened in Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls. Something reminiscent of the Ashbringer stories found throughout the world long before there was an actual Ashbringer in-game, serving as a hint of things to come in the Diablo III expansion.

That’s what I’d like to see in this new wave of digital book tie-ins.

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Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls eBook On Sale

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

The Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls is available on November 27th, 2012 in digital format via the Kindle Cloud Reader.

This anthology of stories were written by New York Times Best Selling authors Micky Neilson (Blizzard Publishing Lead) and James Waugh (senior story developer and writer); Cameron Dayton (Transmedia Consultant), Matt Burns (Associate Publishing Developer), Michael Chu (Diablo III Quest Designer) and Erik Sabol (2009 Blizzard Global Writing Contest runner-up).

Description

A collection of terrifying tales based on the award-winning video game!

A bold demon hunter risks becoming her own worst enemy while tracking down her sinister prey… A haunted barbarian returns to his shattered homeland to face a harrowing past… A lone monk scours evil from an ancient forest where the line between friend and foe has vanished…A gifted but impetuous wizard finds out that great knowledge and power come with a price… A proud young witch doctor makes a chilling discovery that shakes his faith to its core… A desperate playwright embarks down a dark path of madness and depravity in his quest for fame… An unscrupulous wagon driver learns that his sole passenger is harboring a terrifying secret…

These are stories from the world of Sanctuary, a land of mystery and dread that serves as the backdrop for Blizzard Entertainment’s award-winning Diablo video game series. Although these narratives focus on different characters and settings, they are bound together by the web of horror and suspense that is intrinsic to the Diablo universe. In this gothic fantasy realm, terror is a constant. It comes in many forms, from grotesque horned demons to the deepest fears of mortal hearts and minds. Brace yourself for this collection of exciting and frightening tales that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Collector’s Edition $39.99 While Supplies Last

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

I talked with an Amazon Support Representative to confirm the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Collector’s Edition is currently just $34.99 with FREE Super Saving Shipping at checkout!

It usually costs $79.99, and it contains the virtual pets, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Mousepad, The Art of Mists of Pandaria, and the Mists of Pandaria Soundtrack DVD and other goodies.

Here is the image of the chat conversation between the Amazon representative and me (with her authorization):

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Black Friday 2012 – Blizzard Licensed Products Offers

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

There are a few good Black Friday deals on Blizzard Licensed Products around the web. This page will be updated as soon as more deals appear online.

Blizzard Store

Blizzard recently announced discounts on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III. Digital Download Only.

Amazon

These are boxed Blizzard video games. Not digital downloads.

15% Off Select MEGA Bloks World of Warcraft Toys at Checkout. For a limited time, save 15% on select MEGA Bloks World of Warcraft toys. Discount will be applied at checkout.

Entertainment Earth

Razer

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition Pre-Orders Begin

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

The pre-order of the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition is now available.

The Collector’s Edition pre-order also grants you automatically a Heart of the Swarm Beta key. It is sent to the e-mail attached to your Amazon account.

Below you can view images of the pre-order process, including how to enable shipping delivery on release date (arrives on March 12 to your door) instead of shipping 2 days after the release date.

Advise: Don’t wait until release date to hope you will get a Collector’s Edition. Only those who have a pre-order ticket at a local store have a guaranteed copy. I always get mine online the moment they are announced for pre-order. However, I have tried to get copies for Blizzplanet giveaways in person. Learn from our experience at Diablo III Collector’s Edition and StarCraft II Collector’s Edition.

Pre-Order Process

Before pressing the Place-Order button, there are three options to the left of the Place-Your-Order button: Shipping Address, Payment Information and Gift Cards & Promotional Codes.

Even if your Shipping Address is correct, please, click on the (Change) link. It will display all the Home Address or delivery destination (friends/family) options you might have added in the past. Choose where you want the game delivered at.

Even if the shipping address is correct, click on the Ship-To-This-Address button. This will open up the four delivery options seen in the image below. Select the appropriate one to receive the game at your door on March 12th.

Collector’s Edition Features

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WORLD OF WARCRAFT: DARK RIDERS HARDCOVER – APRIL 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

The World of Warcraft: Dark Riders Graphic Novel (Hardcover) will be on sale on April 17th, 2013. Pre-order your copy now.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: DARK RIDERS

In this new, original WORLD OF WARCRAFT graphic novel, a stalwart mage searches for a powerful artifact, stolen by Dark Riders, only to find his son accused of murder. A righteous priest, driven by a mysterious fervor, investigates a savage Wolf Cult. As the paths of these two men join, a fantastic adventure emerges! Supported by a cast of brave heroes, the two find out just how dangerous the wolf cult and dark riders are.

Writer: MIKE COSTA
Artist: NEIL GOOGE
Cover: SAMWISE DIDIER and ALEX HORLEY

On sale APRIL 17 • 144 pg, FC, $24.99 US

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Free Mega Bloks World of Warcraft 2012 Mounts at Toys R Us Stores

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Mega Bloks informed us that Toy’s R Us (local store only) has a special promotion starting November 16 for the next four weeks. For every purchase of $35 or more, the consumer will receive a free Mount from the Fall 2012 line up. This offer doesn’t apply to online stores.

Don’t forget to participate in the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft “Build Big, Win Big!” Contest — with juicy World of Warcraft Merchandise prizes. (hello, World of Warcraft Doomhammer replica!)

Don’t know which sets are available out there in the wild? Check out our Mega Bloks World of Warcraft online store.

Update: Mega Bloks sent us images of the mounts that qualify on this promotion. Choose your poison.

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Build Big – Win Big!! Mega Bloks Warcraft building contest!!!

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Mega Bloks announced a Mega Bloks World of Warcraft building contest with some juicy prizes.

Order your favorite Mega Blok World of Warcraft sets.

Grand Prize

(1 Winner)

  • ALL FIVE World of Warcraft Collector’s Editions – with option to have them signed by the development team
  • Complete Winter 2012 Mega Bloks World of Warcraft collection includ. exclusive “Jade Chen Stormstout” Figure
  • Loot Codes: Spectral Tiger Mount Code, Spectral Kitten Code
  • 1 year subscription for World of Warcraft
  • Doomhammer Replica Weapon
  • SteelSeries World of Warcraft Wireless Mouse
  • World of Warcraft Monopoly Collectors Edition
  • Hardcover copy of Pearl of Pandaria Comic Book
  • Wyvern & Gryphon Plushie (and in-game codes)

2nd Prize

(5 Winners)

  • Complete Winter 2012 Mega Bloks World of Warcraft collection includ. exclusive “Jade Chen Stormstout” Figure
  • Loot Codes: Rooster Mount Code, Rocket Chicken Code
  • 1 year subscription for World of Warcraft
  • Doomhammer Replica Weapon
  • SteelSeries World of Warcraft Wireless Mouse
  • World of Warcraft Monopoly Collectors Edition
  • Hardcover copy of Pearl of Pandaria Comic Book
  • Wyvern & Gryphon Plushie (and in-game codes)

3rd Prize

(10 Winners)

  • Selection of 2 SKUs from Winter 2012 Mega Bloks World of Warcraft collection includ. exclusive “Jade Chen Stormstout” Figure
  • Loot Code: Etherial Plunderer Code
  • Hardcover copy of Pearl of Pandaria Comic Book

Contest Instructions

Take your Mega Bloks World of Warcraft sets and stack, rearrange, redesign and recombine ‘em into never-before-seen creations. We want to see how big, impressive and creative you can be with your sets.

Once you’re ready, snap some pictures of your masterpiece and submit them through our official “Build Big, Win Big” Facebook Contest.

Prize Eligibility

Only persons residing in Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States who are at least 13 years of age can enter.

Contest Starts

November 12, 2012 @ 04:46 pm (PST)

Contest Ends

December 09, 2012 @ 04:46 pm (PST)

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Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Toymation Series – Episode 1

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Mega Bloks World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft News

Mega Bloks published the first episode of their ongoing Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Toymation series.

Mega Bloks told Blizzplanet exclusively at the New York Comic Con 2012 about this series, and that they will soon announce a contest for machinima and filmmakers with awesome prizes. Stay tuned.

Order Mega Bloks World of Warcraft sets.

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UDON Entertainment & Blizzard Entertainment Announce WORLD OF WARCRAFT TRIBUTE ART BOOK

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzplanet took video of the UDON Panel during our New York Comic Con 2012 Coverage. As we reported then, UDON announced the WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRIBUTE contest has begun. All artists from around the world are invited to submit their original, World of Warcraft-inspired artwork for inclusion in 2013’s most prestigious collection of original art and illustration: WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRIBUTE.

This collection will offer a chance for hundreds of professional and fan artists to show off their artistic skills and pay homage to their favorite characters, settings and moments from the phenomenally popular, worldwide sensation, World of Warcraft.

All styles of art are welcome – digital painting, traditional media, anime, western comics, cartoon, pixel-based, even sculptures – whatever best expresses the artist’s love for WARCRAFT! Submissions will be accepted until January 15th, 2013.

WINNERS

Selected artists for the World of Warcraft Tribute collection will have their illustration included and credited in the World of Warcraft Tribute art book being published by UDON and will receive their own free hard cover edition copy of the book once it is released. Selected artists will also be given the option to create a limited set of high-quality art prints from their image. The guidelines for these prints is noted in section 7 (Artist Prints) of the official World of Warcraft Tribute Book rules. Selected artists will be notified no later than May 1st 2013.

Press Release

UDON Entertainment & Blizzard Entertainment Announce WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRIBUTE ART BOOK

Artists from around the world are invited to share their unique visions of Azeroth with the World of Warcraft community

OCTOBER 12, 2012:At the UDON Entertainment panel at New York Comic Con, UDON today announced that it has teamed up with Blizzard Entertainment to produce the next epic installment in their ‘Tribute’ series of deluxe art books: WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRIBUTE! This massive collection will offer hundreds of professional and hobby artists the opportunity to show off their artistic chops and pay homage to their favorite characters, settings, and moments from Blizzard’s popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).

Beginning November 1, artists from around the world are invited to submit their original, World of Warcraft–inspired artwork for consideration to be included in this collection. UDON’s previous ‘Tribute’ books have served as a “Who’s Who” of international comic, concept, game, and fan artists, and WORLD OF WARCRAFT TRIBUTE will continue that tradition by collecting imaginative takes on Blizzard’s game world — from anime and western comic styles to cartoons, pixel-based art, sculptures, and more — whatever medium the artist chooses to express their unique vision of the Warcraft universe.

Blizzard and UDON will select the most epic and impressive submissions to be included in WORLD OF WARCRAFT TRIBUTE, which will premiere as a special limited-edition hardcover book at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. With thousands of entries expected, submitting artists are encouraged to bring their ‘A’ game if they aspire to have their work included in the collection.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this project,” said Erik Ko, Editor In Chief of UDON. “We really respect the amazing universe Blizzard has created with the Warcraft series, and the games have been a major source of inspiration to the artistic community for years. This book will be our biggest Tribute undertaking ever, and we’re already anticipating all of the amazing illustrations that will soon be headed our way.”

“We’ve always been humbled by the fact that some amazing artists out there have drawn inspiration from our games over the years,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “Deciding which pieces to include in this book will be a huge challenge, but we’re looking forward to working with UDON to select the best of the best and put together an epic collection. And who knows – maybe in the process, we’ll discover some great new artists to invite to work with us on future Blizzard games.”

Since its launch in 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most popular subscription-based MMORPG in the world. The original game and its four expansions, including the recently released Mists of Pandaria™, have earned critical acclaim and captured the imaginations of millions of players around the globe.

For full WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRIBUTE artwork submission details, head to WarcraftTribute.com. Contest entries will be accepted beginning November 1, 2012 through noon PST on January 15, 2013.

Blizzplanet’s Video of New York Comic Con 2012: UDON Panel

StarCraft II: Flashpoint Shipping Now

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft II: Flashpoint by New York Times best selling author Christie Golden hits bookstores today November.6.2012. The novel bridges the gap between the events of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

The very first page starts two seconds after the last StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty cinematic with Jim Raynor sinking in what just happened. He just shot his best friend Tychus Findlay in order to safe Sarah.

This novel explores the love relationship between Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan both in the present and the past (the original StarCraft game via Flashbacks). This is no longer the Queen of Blades. Sarah has been reborn after the Xel’Naga artifact zapped the Queen of Blades. This is a weakened and vulnerable Sarah, with no vestiges of her Queen of Blades personality. A purely human and emotional Sarah.

The novel’s story has its share of smart and radical twists and turns. Is Prince Valerian Mengsk holding up to his alliance with Jim Raynor, or do his machinations end up backstabbing the former-Marshal? On the other hand, readers learn more about the Moebius Foundation and Dr. Emil Narud[uran?].

Special Links

Book Description

An all-new hardcover based on the eagerly anticipated StarCraft II videogame expansion, Heart of the Swarm!

The Queen of Blades is gone. On the hellish planet Char, Jim Raynor harnessed the power of an ancient Xel’Naga artifact in a desperate bid to stop the zerg Swarm from overrunning the Koprulu sector, and the relic restored Sarah Kerrigan to her human form. Without their queen to guide and unify them, the Swarm has fractured into several broods scattered throughout the Koprulu sector. One of the greatest threats to the galaxy has been neutralized… or so it seems.

Sarah Kerrigan is on the loose. Even without the terrible powers of the Queen of Blades or the might of the Swarm at her command, the former Ghost remains a foe not to be taken lightly. But if the artifact really did set her free, then why is Kerrigan seeking out zerg broods scattered throughout the Koprulu sector? Is she still pursuing her quest for vengeance, or has her transformation given Kerrigan a new purpose? Just who is Sarah Kerrigan?

Back Description

The Queen of Blades has fallen.

The sinister zerg leader no longer commands her legions of bloodthirsty aliens against the humans of the Koprulu sector, all thanks to the combined courage and tenacity of Jim Raynor, General Horace Warfield, and a mismatched team of Dominion soldiers and outlaw rebels.

Although the queen is no more, Sarah Kerrigan is very much alive. The woman who once controlled countless alien minds in a rampage across the stars has been spirited away by the man who dethroned her. Now Arcturus Mengsk’s Dominion armada is on her heels, roaring for blood. Jim Raynor will need to test his strength, his wit, and his loyalties against impossible odds to protect the woman he loves.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint bridges the events that take place in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the upcoming StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Featuring never-before-seen glimpses into Jim Raynor’s and Sarah Kerrigan’s past, this novel opens a window into a world of passion, action, and adventure.

Chapter One Excerpt – Spoiler Alert

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“We all got our choices to make.”

Those were the last words Tychus Findlay— criminal, former marine, and traitor— would ever hear from his old friend James Raynor.

Tychus had made his choice first— to betray Jim’s trust and friendship by attempting to murder Sarah Kerrigan, the former Queen of Blades, who now sprawled shivering and vulnerable in a red-black cavern inside the planet Char.

Jim had chosen not to let him.

“I made a deal with the Devil, Jimmy.”

And for that deal, Sarah lay limp and trembling and alive, and Tychus Findlay lay stiffening in the armor that had turned out to be first a prison and then a metal coffin.

Jim lowered his pistol. Smoke still drifted upward from its muzzle, mingling with the steam that curled and coiled at his feet. The bullet meant for Arcturus Mengsk, the man he hated above all others, had instead ended the life of the man Jim had once called his best friend.

What have I just done?

Jim fought back the tidal wave of emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. This was no time for rejoicing that the artifact to restore Kerrigan had worked, for berating his own lack of judgment regarding Tychus, for mourning the giant of a man whose rumbling voice would never again utter either jokes or threats.

They needed to get out of this murky, hellish cavern, off this world, and fast.

With Sarah Kerrigan.

His men moved forward as their commander holstered his weapon, clearly intending to bring Tychus’s body with them. Jim barked sharply, “Leave him!”

“Sir?” Cam Fraser asked, confused. “We don’t leave no one behind.”

“We’re leaving him. I ain’t gonna risk any of your lives for the sake of carrying the corpse of a traitor,” Jim snarled. It was a valid argument. But even as he spoke the words, Jim knew it wasn’t the only reason for his decision.

He wanted to leave Tychus behind. Findlay had cut a deal with Arcturus Mengsk. He would have traded Kerrigan’s life for his freedom. Now Sarah Kerrigan lived, and Tychus would rot inside his suit. There was a brutal justice about it that Jim suspected would rack his soul if he thought about it too much. But, perhaps mercifully, there was no time for thinking.

They had come here, to the zerg base world of Char, to do what no doubt seemed like madness: to make the Queen of Blades human again. They had found her deep inside the volcanic, ashy planet. She seemed completely stripped of her zerg-given abilities and appearance. Gone were the bony wings, the scaly skin that had once covered her toned body. But her hair was still—

It looked like it had worked. And “looked like” was close enough for Raynor, for now.

“We need a dropship, Matt,” Raynor said into his comm.

Matt Horner, captain of the battlecruiser Hyperion, sounded stunned. “It . . . it worked?

That alien thing Valerian had us go find for him . . . it really worked?” Raynor knelt and, as gently as possible in the giant metalsuit, slid his arms beneath Sarah and lifted her. She whimpered, once, and his heart broke.

“Looks like,” he said. He didn’t voice his concern about her to Matt as his gaze was drawn again to what crowned her head.

The long red, silky tresses Raynor had once run his hands through were still only things of memory. This part of the Queen of Blades had not changed; instead of soft tendrils, what looked like a hideous cross between tentacles, sectioned insect legs, and quills adorned her skull. Maybe, like a tail that wasn’t needed anymore, it was just a vestigial relic left behind after the artifact worked its voodoo.

Maybe it wasn’t.

“I . . . really can’t believe it, sir.” Matt was still stuck in astonishment.

“I said we need a dropship, unless we’ve gone to all this trouble to free Sarah only to have her die along with the rest of us, Matt,” Raynor said. He rose. Sarah’s form, naked as any newborn’s, shifted with the gesture, rolling closer to him.

If only he were really holding her in his arms, not just carrying her in his armor, he thought fleetingly. If only he could feel her against him, as he had once, a few years ago, a lifetime ago.

Sarah . . . I’m gonna keep you safe.

“Of course, sir,” said Matt, snapping to attention again. “The zerg are going crazy without Kerri— without the Queen of Blades to direct them. Some of them are fleeing, but a whole mess of them are apparently just interested in suicide runs.

It’s going to be tough getting something down to you, but we’ll do it.”

“Attaboy,” Raynor said. He headed back toward the entrance, carrying Sarah carefully. “Now listen up: We’ve got alittle complication. Your dropship needs to wait for two groups, not just one. I had to split up my team. My group went to find out what the xel’naga artifact did to Kerrigan, and Lisle and Haynes stayed behind to protect it. Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to land that dropship, they’ll bring it with them and meet us there.”

There was no way they were leaving the artifact behind. Jim could see it in his mind’s eye: sleek and black, slightly longer than a man was tall, with blue luminescent lines that revealed where five separate pieces had come together to create a single astonishing device. Raynor knew that although they had only begun to understand what it was capable of, he would always remember it and be grateful for what it had done for Sarah.

“I’ll start analyzing the terrain for the safest place to park one, sir,” Matt said.

“You do that.” Jim ended the conversation and switched to another channel. They stepped out of the cavern—

—I killed my best friend and left him to rot in there—

—into the red glow of what passed for sunlight on Char. It was an ugly and unpredictable world. The surface was rocky and black, or gray with ash, or simply just liquid fire. The atmosphere was survivable without hardskins . . . barely. It was Hell, pure and simple, and a fitting place for the zerg to call their home.

“Jim?” The voice was weak, but it was hers. Human. And she knew who he was.

“It’s okay; I gotcha.” And that was all he needed to say. He walked slowly, carefully, then, feeling her gaze, met her eyes. He did not give her a reassuring smile. His feelings ran too deep for that. He looked at her for a moment, then returned his attention to the ugly world around him. Words could come later. Right now, he needed to get her to safety.

“Hey, boys,” he said into his comm, “it worked. You kept that xel’naga thing safe for me like I asked?”

“Yes, sir!” came Lisle’s voice. “Had to fight back a bunch of ’em when it first started, but they’ve steered clear of it for awhile. Was the damnedest thing— critters just started attacking each other.”

“And I bet you ain’t complaining.”

“No, sir, not one damn bit!”

“I’ll let you know the rendezvous point as soon as we know ourselves.” Jim glanced up at the red sky. He could see that the battle was still raging above the planet; here and there were explosions, appearing as small puffs from this distance. He could even see the tiny shapes of mutalisks closer to the surface. “We—”

Kerrigan’s body suddenly spasmed, and she began to cough. Jim swore. He should have thought of this. They still didn’t know what, exactly, had happened to Kerrigan— it could be that the transition back to human had weakened her more than they thought.

“Medic!” he called as he placed Kerrigan on the ground, kneeling beside her. Lily Preston hurried up to him, striding swiftly in her medic’s hardskin while pulling out a respiratory unit from her pack. She too knelt beside Kerrigan, fastening the unit over the gasping woman’s mouth and nose. A thin blanket, featherlight but made of a material known as insulweave that would ensure that the patient’s body heat stayed at a steady 37 degrees Celsius, was gently wrapped around Kerrigan. She whimpered softly as her limbs were lifted and tucked in like a doll’s, but the coughing and spasming stopped.

Preston peered at Jim. “We don’t know what she is anymore, Jim,” she said.

“I’m treating her like a human, but—”

“She is human, dammit!” Jim snapped, insisting on it even though he himself was gripped with a cold fear that Kerrigan really wasn’t. “She has trouble breathing the air just like we do. Her body temperature—”

The ground on which the two knelt suddenly pitched like a wild animal, and there was a huge, reverberating sound that seemed to go on forever. Several other Raiders were knocked clean off their feet. Jim held Sarah close, trying to keep her stable. Out of the corner of his eye he glimpsed a huge red glow, and he whirled to see what had happened.

A gigantic chunk of what had once been a battlecruiser was now nothing more than blazing wreckage, burning sullenly in the crater it had made. Things out of nightmares were swarming all over it. They were zerglings, the smallest package in which zerg hell came. Hydralisks were a maglev train-wreck combination of insects with scythelike arms, snake bodies, teeth that never ended, and neosteel-penetrating spines they fired from their backs. Mutalisks were monsters that brought the ability to fly in atmosphere and in deep space, acidic blood, and parasitic glave wurms into the mix. What the zerglings lacked in size and unique attacks compared to their brothers, they made up for in numbers. Seemingly composed entirely of teeth and claws and carapaces, the zerglings threw themselves on the wreckage, attracted like insects to the brightness and the heat, and screamed horribly as their bodies were burned to a crisp. Jim glanced skyward and shouted, “Brace for impact!” as the rest of the battlecruiser, in fiery chunks as small as a helmet and as large as a house, followed, slamming into the surface of Char like an armored fist into an unprotected face.

Despite Jim’s warning and the stability the hardskins provided, the ground trembled so violently that more than one of them fell. Jim hung on tightly to Sarah, swaying and fighting to remain steady out of sheer cussedness.

Many of the remaining zerglings were suddenly silenced, but others continued to scramble and shriek. Any second now the hideous things, utterly undirected, would no doubt turn and come for Jim and his team. Not because they were bearing away the zerg Queen of Blades, who had once controlled and directed them completely, but simply because the terrans were moving, and thus they were prey.

In his head, Jim suddenly saw the image that had haunted him for four years: the disturbed, broken fantasy of what Sarah’s last moments as a human woman had been like.

He heard again her request for aid, heard Arcturus’s despicable words: “Belay that order. We’re moving out.” Arcturus Mengsk— he who used people until he had used them up, then threw them away once they were of no more use or had become too dangerous. Jim heard himself screaming, “What? You’re not just gonna leave them?” The disbelief— it had still been a question then. Jim had still somehow thought he had misunderstood, that Arcturus wasn’t really doing what it looked like.

But that ice-hearted bastard had intended to do exactly that. Sarah’s voice had come again, a slight tremor of worry in its normally cool tones: “Uh, boys . . . ? How about that evac?

Damn you, Arcturus! Don’t do this.

And you are damned. You are. . .

Commander . . . ?

Pause.

. . . Jim? What the hell’s going on up there?

And then nothing. Jim had imagined her looking in all directions as they came, endless wave after wave of horror, chittering and shrieking in triumph. And after that? The Queen of Blades, part psionic human but more monstrous zerg, had been born.

He had tormented himself with wondering how she had faced what should have been her death: Firing till her ammunition ran out, then leaping on them? Standing quietly and letting them take her? Attempting to kill herself first?

I thought they’d killed you. There were times— a lot of ’em— that I wished they had.

And now, even with all you’ve done, even with so many dead—I’m so glad you’re alive.

He heard the sounds of weapons being fired in the distance, and then the inevitable high-pitched chittering and screaming of the zerg. Jim rose and reached for his pistol, taking a huge step so that he stood protectively over Sarah. They would get her only over his dead body— literally. Except he would take the precious second to kill her before they got him. Sarah Kerrigan would never again be their creation.

And today was not a good day to die. Not when his life had a chance of restarting after hurtling to a heart-shattering stop four years ago.

Fraser glanced at him quickly, then away as he too took a defensive stance. “I kinda feel sorry for the zerg right now, tackling you, Jim.”

“Me too.”

Jim looked upward, relieved to see that, for now at least, the mutalisks were busying themselves attacking the Dominion vessels in the air, which were better prepared to fight them off. Of more immediate concern to him was the cloud of ashy gray dust stirred up from the enemy’s approach. Jim could distinguish the shapes of multijawed, scythe-armed monstrosities slithering on their tail-torsos. He counted four hydralisks. Swallowed by the powdery dust were lumps that had to be several more zerglings racing forward like a pack of wild dogs, only infinitely more lethal and terrifying.

Jim took aim as the cloud drew closer and ordered, “On my mark— fire!”

His soldiers were good. Jim felt sweat trickling into his own eyes and blinked it back, ignoring the sting. He waited until that sweet second, when the attack would have the most effect but not be so late that they would be overrun. In some distant part of his mind, he lamented that he had become so familiar with how best to slaughter zerg that the timing was almost second nature.

Still they came, crying out for blood and death, crazed with the lack of guidance from their missing queen.

Jim waited.

Mark!” he shouted. The clacking, gleeful screams of triumph and lust to kill changed abruptly into sharp keening sounds as the zerg were blasted to bloody chunks. Pieces of the insectoid horrors flew wildly into the air. A chunk of carapace thunked on Jim’s helmet before sliding off. He didn’t change his pace. He kept firing, moving the pistol with a steady sweeping motion back and forth, mowing them down as they came. He had never seen independent thought in their actions or movements, but he had often seen intelligence. Kerrigan’s intelligence, directing and maneuvering them. Now, he saw only chaos and insanity glinting in their tiny, bright eyes, erratic choppiness in their movements.

He blew off the last one’s head. It dropped six paces from him, spewing blood and ichor, twitched, and lay still.

At once Jim knelt beside Sarah. She was curled up in a ball, clutching the blanket about her. Oddly enough, the gesture reassured Jim. It was . . . very human.

“Matt, where is that dropship?” Raynor shouted into his comm.

“Sir, it just launched.” Matt’s voice was sharp with anxiety. Judging by what remained of the battlecruiser still smoldering nearby, Jim could make a good guess as to what he was dealing with up there. But there was no time for sympathy. They had to get Sarah aboard, and then they had to get the fekk away from this hellhole.

“Tell them I’ll double their pay if they get here in five minutes.”

“Sir, you haven’t paid them in weeks.”

“Well, if I’m dead by the time they get here, that ain’t gonna change, now, is it?”

Matt’s faint chuckle was heartening. “There’s truth in that, sir. I’ll let them know, but there’s no guarantee when they’ll get there. Rendezvous coordinates are bearing eight four seven mark eight.”

“Good. We’re not far from that plateau.”

“Sir,” said Fraser, “readings indicate that it’s crawling with zerg.”

“Of course it is,” said Jim. “Whole damn planet is. We just got to get there and hold them off till the ship comes.”

He gathered Kerrigan in his arms. Her eyes opened. They were now back to their normal shade of green, no longer glowing and terrifying. She gave him a small smile, the pale lips of her too-wide mouth curving slightly. Her hand lifted to touch his chest, then fell back limply as her head rolled and her eyes closed, her body exhausted by that simple effort.

Oh yes. He’d hold them off. He’d hold them off forever.

Jim had notified Lisle and Haynes where the dropship would be landing and had to simply hope that the two soldiers would be able to hold off the zerg on their own. The plateau where rescue would come loomed ahead, only a few kilometers and yet a world away. Even as they ran steadily, their hardskins carrying them gracefully and easily, Jim heard a distant, low sound. He was incongruously reminded of the hot summers he had experienced, growing up on Shiloh, of the descent of twilight accompanied by the droning music of insects.

This sound, though, snapped him to full attention. He could see the creatures now, heading toward him and his team. Uncontrolled, they were reacting like the beasts they were, scenting prey and closing in on it. Jim felt a flash of grim humor as he realized that Lisle and Haynes were probably safer than he was this time.

Without Kerrigan to control them, the zerg would likely be less interested in the two humans with the artifact than the four humans without it, simply because Jim’s group would provide more food.

“Stand your ground!”

There was a clatter as the soldiers came to a halt, lifted their rifles, and stood ready to attack on his command. Jim could distinguish three separate packs. There was no order to them, no uniform numbers or types, no flanking on one side or the other, no strategy at all. There was only hunger.

Wait . . .

“Fire!”

The Raiders butchered the zerg relentlessly. Some of the things stopped dead in their tracks and whirled, turning on their fallen colleagues for sustenance with the same enthusiasm they would have turned on Raynor’s Raiders. While Jim held Sarah, the others kept firing, dropping more and more of the wretches, and when at last no attacking zerg remained, only diners and dinners, he gestured to his soldiers to go around the feast. The Raiders ran past while zerglings cannibalized hydralisks. As he left the grotesque sight behind, he suddenly wondered if the zerg would find and devour the body of a man he had once regarded as “friend,” cracking open the metal shell of Findlay’s armor to get to what was inside. . . .

He recoiled from the image for an instant and then forced himself to harden his heart against it. Tychus was dead. He didn’t have to be. He could have still been alive, have still been Jim’s friend, if he had turned his back on his “deal with the Devil.” If only he had not been about to murder the woman Jim loved. But Tychus had made his choice, and he had to have known going in what Jim would do. He knew Jim better than anybody.

Tychus. Damn, there was a time when I’d have done anything for you. And when I thought you would’ve done anything for me. A time when you did give up everything for me.

A zergling was charging up to him, slaver dripping from its jaws. Without a pack its run was suicidal, but it didn’t know that. It just knew it was hungry. Jim cradled Kerrigan close and turned so his back was to the creature, protecting her with his own body. Fraser leveled his rifle and fired a spike right between the thing’s gleaming eyes. It kept coming for a stride or two, as if its body required a few seconds to understand that its brain had just been impaled, then it collapsed. Fraser took a bead on a second one, but it was unnecessary. The other zergling came to a halt and began to tear chunks out of its pack mate.

“Behind you!”

Jim shouted. Fraser whirled and dropped two more. The other zerglings chattered excitedly at the banquet Jim and his Raiders had spread out before them. Jim didn’t even bother to wrinkle his nose in disgust. He simply held Kerrigan and started, again, to run straight for the rendezvous point.

It would be hypocrisy to condemn the zerg for turning on their own. They, at least, had excuses. Once completely controlled by the Overmind and then by the Queen of Blades, now they were nothing but simple minded beasts. What excuse did humans have for doing the same thing?

Mengsk had turned on Kerrigan without batting an eye, abandoning her to what he expected would be a horrifically brutal fate. Tychus, at least, seemed to have taken an instant to mourn what he saw as a necessity. “Damn shame,” he had muttered.

Before starting to squeeze the trigger.

Before choosing to murder a helpless, traumatized woman right in front the man who loved her.

Damn him any way.

It was becoming brutally rote: Zerg, one or two or twenty, would come out of nowhere. Jim would shout the orders. His Raiders would fire, and the zerg would fall, sometimes quickly, sometimes not. And when enough were dead, as if there were some kind of tipping point unknown to the Raiders, the zerg would stop hunting humans and start eating their own kind.

He wondered if his people resented the fact that their leader, who had chosen to put all their lives in jeopardy, stood by, holding Sarah Kerrigan, the former Queen of Blades— the one responsible for the deaths of so very many— while they fought to protect them all. Jim realized with a sick sensation that no matter how well you thought you knew someone, you didn’t. You couldn’t. Only the protoss could know someone through and through, by linking their minds and essences in the great psychic meeting space they called the Khala. And even some of their own kind, the dark templar, had chosen not to reveal themselves so profoundly.

I’m flying blind, Jim thought as he kept running, trying to cover as much ground as he could while jostling Sarah as little as possible. We all are. Every man, every woman. We’re flying blind, and we never really know shit about any other heart or mind but our own.

“Sir!” cried Fraser. “Look!”

Mortified, Jim realized he had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t seen the tiny speck in the sky that was growing larger and larger, its shape becoming clearer until he could see the familiar and welcome curves of the dropship Fanfare. It looked more beautiful to Jim than just about any other sight he had ever seen . . . except for the look Sarah had given him as he bore her away.

But as cheers and whoops of delight went up from the weary soldiers, the sound was joined by another— a buzzing, humming noise. Jim swore. The Fanfare, like all dropships, had no weapons, and it couldn’t land to rescue them until Jim’s team cleared the area first.

“Fire at will!” Jim ordered. “Ain’t gonna let a few pesky zerg get in our way!”

The soldiers agreed, and they fired on the zerg with evenmore intensity than they had demonstrated before. Zerg blew apart into pieces, and this time the Raiders didn’t spare those that stopped to eat. Jim and his soldiers kept going, winning the prize step by slogging step, spattered in zerg blood and ichor. And finally, blessedly, the Fanfare settled on the rocky but mostly flat ground.

The ramp extended and the pilot, Wil Merrick, beckoned furiously. “Hurry! There’s a whole slew of them heading this way!”

“Any sign of the second team?”

“None,” Merrick said, then his eyes fell on the blanket-wrapped form. “Damn, that her?”

“That’s her,” Jim said.

“She’s in shock,” said Preston. She reached to take Jim’s precious burden away from him, lifting Sarah as easily as he did thanks to the medic’s armor. Jim didn’t want to let Sarah go, but she needed what the medics could do for her right now more than what he could do. He handed her over to Preston, feeling a lurch in his heart as he watched the medic carry her inside. Kerrigan was eased into a seat and hooked up to an IV drip and (what looked to Jim) about six thousand other tubes or portable monitors. The words forced themselves out of Jim’s mouth, a quiet plea: “Be gentle.”

The irony did not escape him; it was a hell of a request to show gentleness to the murderess of billions. But Preston understood, nodding wordlessly as she went about her job of trying to save Kerrigan’s life. Sarah gave no sign that she was even peripherally aware of anything.

Hang on, Sarah. You’re tough; you can survive. Don’t let it be too late. Not after all this. . . .

“Damn, sir, we need to get going!” the pilot shouted. “We got another bunch of zerg incoming.”

“What kind?”

“We had to evade a whole shitload of mutalisks just to get down here, sir,” Merrick replied. “Once we hit atmosphere, they went after someone else, but sensors indicate there’s a mess of zerglings and hydralisks that seem intent on finishing the job.”

Jim glanced over at Sarah. He desperately wished she could be gone, out of danger, safely in the Hyperion’s sick bay, but he couldn’t abandon the men who had risked everything to save her.

“We ain’t leaving my men to be zerg fodder nor that artifact to be destroyed!” Jim snapped. “Keep her as stable as possible. Her survival is paramount. If I give the order for you to take off and get to safety and leave me behind, you do it, do you understand?”

“Perfectly, sir.”

Jim looked again at Sarah, her skin painted an unnatural hue by the artificial lighting, then jumped out of the dropship. The doors closed behind him.

His Raiders joined him, one of them handing Jim a gauss rifle. While he had treasured every moment he had tasted with Sarah in his arms again, Jim was also glad to be hoisting a rifle and tackling an active role in the fight once more.

He could hear the zerg coming now, feel the earth tremble beneath their onslaught. Grinning a little, Raynor lifted his rifle, pointed it at the roiling cloud of gray dust, and began to fire.

Copyright © 2012 by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.StarCraft and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarksof Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

figure-prints-xbox-live-avatars-going-offline

FigurePrints – XBox Live Avatars Going Offline

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

FigurePrints announced Microsoft is shutting down the Xbox LIVE Avatar exporter service at the end of November.

This will prevent FigurePrints from creating more Xbox Live Avatar statues.

You have a few weeks to order your Custom Xbox LIVE Avatar Statues!. Act now while you can. If in October 12th you got the free Xbox LIVE Avatar Horde or Alliance logo T-shirt from the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria advertisement campaign, and didn’t get to order a statue, now is a good timing to do so, too.

Blizzplanet Review – StarCraft II: Flashpoint

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, StarCraft 2 News

During my visit to the New York Comic Con 2012, Simon & Schuster representatives hooked me up with a copy of StarCraft II: Flashpoint by New York Times Best Selling author Christie Golden.

I finished reading the book, and it’s very hard to contain myself, and not spoil things. I’ll do my best not to reveal the entirety of the plot, but at least enlighten you with an attempt to spark in you the interest to read this book.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint literally bridges the gap between StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

I’m almost convinced the expansion will start off with Sarah Kerrigan leaving the Umojan Protectorate to start her search for the Zerg.

The Umojan Protectorate is a non-Terran Dominion territory that many fans have probably wanted Blizzard to put into the spotlight in-game as it has in the Tokyopop StarCraft: Frontline manga. One can only hope.

Chapter One

The first chapter introduces readers quickly into the exact moment two seconds after Jim Raynor shot his handgun at Tychus Findlay.

The novel gets to portray what the game nor the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty final cinematic could.

What was going on through Jim Raynor’s thoughts right after shooting his best friend. His reaction to seeing Sarah’s face as he carried her body outside the cave, as he looked into the horizon of Char’s surface.

Chapter Two

Valerian Mengsk meditates aboard the Bucephalus battlecruiser, orbiting planet Char. Ignorant of what’s happening down there. Whether Jim survived, whether the Xel’Naga artifact worked, or if Sarah had been reverted into human form or not, or if she survived the transformation.

I was glad to read Valerian remembering R.M Dahl and Professor Jacob Jefferson Ramsey (main characters of StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy).

I was surprised to read the idea the Xel’Naga artifact could change the Queen of Blades back to human form was actually an idea proposed behind-the-scenes by Jacob Ramsey. This piece of information was never mentioned in-game in Wings of Liberty.

However, it makes sense. Single-player lore fans no doubt wondered at some point how Valerian knew so much about the Xel’Naga artifact and what it could do to Kerrigan.

This is the perfect reasoning. Jacob Ramsey is not only the best archeologist in terms of ancient Protoss and Xel’Naga ruins and objects, but as read in StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy, his brain hosted the mind of a Protoss Preserver named Zamara; and learned her knowledge and that of countless Protoss’ memories throughout history.

Personally, I would have liked to see Jacob in-game in Wings of Liberty to provide the background and purpose of the Xel’Naga artifact. Nevertheless, StarCraft: Flashpoint does a great job filling readers in on what transpired behind-the-scenes in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty’s plot.

As Brian Kindreagan recently said: “We will always struggle with the fact that we get only a few lines of dialogue in this fast-paced, dynamic game to explain concepts that could fill 50 pages in a novel (such as the Overmind’s backstory, or the earlier discussion of free will). We’ll never be able to explain things in as much detail as I’d like, and will instead have to rely on the player to consider what we’ve shown and to interpret it. Narrative games are not films, and they are not novels.”

Not all stories mesh well in-game as it can in a novel. The novels have more room to flesh out things. Nobody wants to sit tight listening or watching cutscenes for 5 minutes. Gameplay comes first and foremost.

Chapter Three

Raynor’s dropship lands within the Bucephalus battlecruiser, Valerian’s flagship, to offer medical treatment to Sarah Kerrigan. Things get a little jumpy as Raynor doesn’t trust Valerian, and Valerian very well knows what Raynor is capable of for her safety.

However, what readers will find in chapter three is pure gold. You have never seen Prince Valerian Mengsk like this before. His true intentions throughout previous novels and throughout StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is revealed. Is he as treacherous as his father? Or is he a different person?

General Thoughts

I was hoping to see a sliver of the Queen of Blades somewhere in Sarah, but the author is blunt and straight to the liver. This is no longer the Queen of Blades. We truly face Sarah Kerrigan’s humanity — mind and soul.

I realize not everyone who plays StarCraft II, plays World of Warcraft or have read Christie Golden’s novels based on Warcraft. Many do. I have read all the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo novels. Call me a lore buff.

I can tell you upfront. I love the twists, humor and the plot creativity of Christie Golden in StarCraft: Flashpoint. It feels much different than her work in the Warcraft universe, but she brings with her several years of experience writing Star Trek novels, and she got a deep and mature knowledge of the StarCraft universe, its characters, lingo and the locations throughout the Koprulu Sector.

I really hate to read novels that look more like poetry in motion than a novel — you know, describing something simple in so many fancy and sweetened words that it takes three pages to say it. That style doesn’t mesh well with sci-fi. Christie is fluid, and constantly pumping action from page to page. The story moves forward at a good pace.

Christie Golden added several continuity nods throughout StarCraft: Flashpoint. Some of these nods come in the shape of adult language or lingo often seen around Keith R.A. DeCandido stories such as StarCraft: Ghost–Nova, StarCraft: Ghost–Academy and StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres.

There are several flashbacks in this novel from the point of view of Jim Raynor — visiting the memories of the moment Sarah requested an evac, but Mengsk belayed the order and abandoned her to the Zerg. Lots of these flashbacks are based on factual continuity as sort of behind-the-scene stories players never got to see in the original StarCraft single-player missions.

Sarah at some point recalls when she first met Jim Raynor and Michael Liberty in Antiga Prime. The dialogue from the original StarCraft game is used word by word, which is a very nice touch. That scene where Jim and Sarah meet for the first time is very iconic when he realizes she is a telepath after she calls him a pig.

There are other flashbacks to year 2500, where the reader gets really close to Jim Raynor’s mind and heart witnessing the little things that made him truly love this woman.

I also liked to see some of the Hyperion characters found in-game make more than just cameos: Dr. Egon Stetmann and Chief Engineer Rory Swann.

The in-game cutscene showing the Cantina fight between Jim and Tychus is referenced. Some in-game funny moments such as Matt Horner’s embarrassment with his Deadman’s Port wife — this is the pirate space junkyard planet players are acquainted with.

The novel displays the accurate dialogues between Raynor and Valerian as seen in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty through flashback.

In another scene, Valerian is at the Hyperion cantina and he’s wondering about the jukebox wrapped above on the ceiling, and smirks at listening to the song “Suspicious Minds”.

I really love to read consistency, continuity, and nods to previous games and StarCraft novels. Christie Golden doesn’t ignore those small details. That’s something fans of the game will truly appreciate.

We even get to have a name for the engineering assistant folks standing around at the Cantina in-game including Bartender Cooper. The bartender’s name is mentioned in-game by one of the guys sitting by the tables in the Cantina when players click on him several times: “Man, old Cooper sure makes a mean Mai Tai.”

StarCraft: Flashpoint also reveals the first time Raynor met Matt Horner before Mengsk’s betrayal on Sarah.

There is also a nod to Chris Metzen’s story (Homecoming) in StarCraft: Frontline. Jim Raynor’s son and former wife are mentioned a few times.

There is one Raynor’s Raiders traitor who might not return as part of the Hyperion’s crew in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, but I got a feeling we might see him at some point.

Christie Golden’s writing is non-stop action, with spiraling emotions, plenty of humor, and readers will find the many unpredictable turns very exquisite and satisfying.

Cherry on top — we learn more about Narud and the Moebius Foundation.

Get your hands on StarCraft II: Flashpoint to find out. It’s worthwhile.

I recommend reading it on a Saturday morning. Once you start reading, you will hardly have a chance to play or do domestic chores. You won’t be able to stop reading till the end with all the action and suspense.

I can hardly wait to play through the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint goes on sale on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. If you haven’t yet, pre-order StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. However, make sure to order it separately so both items ship individually.

Characters

Jim Raynor
Sarah Kerrigan
Tychus Findlay
Cam Fraser – Raynor’s Raiders marine
Matt Horner – captain of the Hyperion battlecruiser
Lisle – stayed behind to protect the Xel’Naga artifact.
Haynes – stayed behind to protect the Xel’Naga artifact.
Lily Preston – medic
Pilot Wil Merrick – Dropship Fanfare pilot
Rolfsen
Prince Valerian Mengsk
Everett Vaughn – captain of the Bucephalus battlecruiser
Emil Narud – scientist / leader of the Moebius Foundation
Emperor Arcturus Mengsk
Marcus Cade – Hyperion navigator
Dr. Frederick – Bucephalus doctor
Egon Stetmann – Hyperion lab scientist
Rory Swann – Hyperion Chief Engineer
Annabelle Thatcher – Hyperion engineering assistant
Earl – Hyperion engineering assistant
Milo Kachinsky
Bartender Cooper – Hyperion Cantina
Mira Han – Matt Horner’s wife at Deadman’s Port
Captain Roger Merriman – Herakles battleship
Scutter O’Banon – former leader of Deadman’ Rock
Ethan Stewart (mentioned) – former leader of Deadman’s Port, later Kerrigan’s zerg-infested consort in StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy
Phillip Randall (mentioned) – Scutter O’Bannon’s butler and assassin
Lieutenant Travis Rawlins – Bucephalus battlecruiser’s navigator
Scarlip – Deadman’s port thug
Yeats – Deadman’s Port doctor
Becker – Deadman’s Port doctor

Captain Sharyn Moore (flashback) – Captain of the Cormorant (old merchantman vessel) that transported Jim and Sarah to Orna III. Matt Horner’s former captain and ship.

Boots (mentioned) – Sarah’s pet for three weeks.

Dr. Orville Harris – chief scientist at the science facility of Orna III
Gary Crane – one of Mira Han subordinates at Deadman’s Port.
Liddy (flashback) – Jim Raynor’s former wife. Died of cancer. (StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 4 — Homecoming by Chris Metzen).

Dr. Phan – Ornan III
Dr. Elizabeth Martin – Ornan III
Dr. Chantal de Vries – one of the many doctors in the Space Station Prometheus who toured Dr. Stetmann.
Nancy Wyndham – doctor at the Space Station Prometheus
Joseph Reynolds – doctor at the Space Station Prometheus
Adrian Scott – doctor at the Space Station Prometheus
Elias Thompson – chief engineer of the Bucephalus.
Vrain, Osgood, Warren, Tseng and Mitchell – Narud security guards at Space Station Prometheus
Varley – White Star navigator
Maddie Wilson

Locations

Planet Char
Hyperion battlecruiser
Fanfare dropship
Bucephalus gorgon-class battlecruiser
Moebius Foundation
White Star – Emperor Arcturus Mengsk’s flagship battlecruiser
Deadman’s Port

G-2275 (mentioned) – gas giant, technological hub of the Confederacy. Raynor and Sarah were at its moon after the victory at Antiga Prime. They retrieved the plans to create upgraded Goliaths.

Orna III – science facility doing covert experiments on their citizens such as gene-splicing, brain modification, telepathic experimentation, disease testing.

Paradise – Deadman’s Rock town
Shilo (mentioned) – Jim Raynor’s homeworld
Kirkegaard Belt (known as Kick-You-Good Belt)
Space Station Prometheus – Moebius Foundation secret lab located within the Kirkegaard Belt
Umojan Protectorate

Valerian brought 25 battlecruisers to planet Char. Only fourteen survived the Zerg. Some of the battlecruiser names: Aenas, Amphitrite, Metis, Eos, Patroclus, and Meleager, Antigone, and Herakles.

Battlecruiser type mentioned: Minotaur-class and Behemoth-class.

References

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Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Toymation Teaser

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Mega Bloks World of Warcraft, New York Comic Con 2012, World of Warcraft News

During the New York Comic Con 2012, I reported Mega Bloks had plans to deploy an ongoing web show, and to announce an upcoming contest aimed at machinima and filmmakers with uber-loot$.

Today we had the first sign of life from Mega Bloks with a Toymation teaser. The web show will launch on November 2012. Stay tuned.

Watch the teaser. Comment your thoughts and opinions about it on Facebook, and whether you would love to watch the ongoing web show.

Those who retweet our topic version at Twitter will be elegible to a chance at winning one of the BlizzCon 2011 exclusive jade Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Chen Stormstout edition given to us at New York Comic Con 2012.

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Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Interactive Video Adventure – Discover Your Inner Hero

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Mega Bloks has launched an awesome interactive video adventure where the viewer decides the course of the story by choosing one of three options.

At the end of the adventure, the system identifies your faction, race and class based on your options.

A list of username participants is displayed including yours (requires registration). A progression bar shows how many Alliance and Horde players are participating, and thus deciding which faction is the victor.

This is the first of many new incoming surprises coming from Mega Bloks. Blizzplanet will inform you as these become available. Follow Mega Bloks on Facebook.

      Megabloks: Discover Your Inner Hero! It’s an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure style experience. With every choice you define your faction, race, and class in the World of Warcraft community, assigning a specific character based on your values and strengths. The more you play with different combinations, the more medals and exclusive wallpapers you unlock. The balance of power bar shows which faction you lean towards. Play for yourself and discover your inner hero: http://warcraft.megabloks.com/play.

      If you ever need a refresher or you need to teach a newbie the ropes, our online Hero Guide is a great introduction to the World of Warcraft universe. In this land where evil lurks at every corner, where unlikely unions can save the day and a comrade-in-arms can be your worst enemy, your survival is dependent on your knowledge of the world. Know your enemies weaknesses and history by reading the Hero Guide: http://warcraft.megabloks.com/hero-guide.

After some commitment time I managed to unlock all the races and classes medals which give you access to the 7 unlockable wallpapers.

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World of Warcraft Battle Chest Digital Download only $5

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment launched a new Blizzard Store savings campaign introducing the World of Warcraft Battle Chest digital download for only $5 (75% off). This offer lasts until October 29th at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

The Battle Chest currently includes:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Burning Crusade expansion
  • Wrath of the Lich King expansion

This campaign is ideal as a gift to introduce a friend or family member to the MMO.

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (physical box) currently costs only $17.81. The World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria costs $36.90.

This is a screenshot of the purchase page. As you see, the Gift icon appears to enter the email of your family or friend.

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Blizzplanet Interview – World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen Trade Paperback

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Interviews, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

Blizzplanet interviews today both New York Times bestselling co-authors of World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen … Micky Neilson (Blizzard Publishing Lead) and James Waugh (Blizzard Senior Story Developer).

World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen has gone to printing again as a trade paperback to reach the hands of fans who enjoy the lore of Warcraft. I personally read the Comixology version of the original 5-part issues back on 2010-2011. Now that this story has been reprinted as a trade paperback, I wanted to reach both co-authors to give fans (who haven’t yet read this story) a better scope of what to find within the trade paperback, and why you shouldn’t miss reading it.

Curse of the Worgen captures some of the key moments that players experienced in the Cataclysm expansion’s Worgen starting location. How was the process of matching together your story in this comic book with the in-game quests — considering the expansion’s iteration process? — For example, The Jade Forest had a complete overhaul mid-beta. Things might change overnight.

James: The beauty of developing this sort of content with in-house writers (Micky and I) is that we can be agile and are closer to the source when those changes happen. For Curse of the Worgen, the World of Warcraft team was building out the Worgen starting zone while Micky and I were writing and developing the story. This synergy was invaluable to both parties. The team was building out the zones and creating much of Gilneas—remember, no zones were ever built, the history was limited to manuals and a few books and cameos from Greymane—so in many ways they were building Gilneas for the first time.

Writing a non-game story you end up asking very different questions in order to further develop it. The questions that would help Micky and I create Curse of the Worgen came to answers that ended up informing choices the design team made and vice versa, design decisions they’d make would lead to ideas we’d never think of normally. Funny enough, at the same time, I was writing the Genn Greymane short story for the Leaders of Azeroth fiction project we did. I was going to explore Genn’s history, which of course, as the leader of his people, was Gilneas’s history. This ended up being a perfect storm, as an idea would come into fruition in the short story, get approved by Metzen, and then inform the game, and comic series. It was a pretty unique holistic experience that I don’t think could have been done if the writers of the comic were not part of the team building the fiction for the IP and a building away from the design team.

Looking back a year later, given the iteration process you mention above, we really pulled off something unique, giving you three distinct chapters of Genn Greymane’s story that paint a larger portrait.

Micky: It was an amazing experience, and a great example of cross-media storytelling. When it works, it’s beautiful. There are so many things that can go wrong. Communication is paramount. You have to be talking to the right people on the game side, and the game devs have to be willing to work with the authors and take the time to read and provide feedback. It’s a relationship. Without that close collaboration, the reader can tell, even if they’re not lore experts, that something is wrong. There will be inconsistencies and people will respond to that, and readers will lose trust in the product.

We strive to ensure that the experience of reading the comics, books, short stories, etc. is congruent with the story, tone, and environment of the game. As James mentions, the dev team was great to work with—very motivated, and dedicated to making it all sync up.

 

Who is Halford Ramsey?

James: Halford is really the creation of the one and only Micky “Superfly” Neilson. We talked about a way into this story at length. We knew we wanted to convey all the lore about the creation of the worgen and we knew we wanted to tell a story about the events of Gilneas, but we really needed a way to tether these ideas together. The Gilnean aesthetic theme is very Victorian England; and as a kid I watched a lot of Sherlock Holmes (the Jeremy Brett version)—great stuff if you haven’t seen it. I don’t know if it was Micky or I who first suggested the idea of a detective, but because of my Holmesian affinity and the tone of the Gilnean civilization, it became the key to figuring this story out. We decided that we’d move forward with a Holmes-like character; a logician. What was important to me, as to any writer crafting a linear story about a character, was figuring out what his character arc would be and letting that dictate his story. We both thought it had something to do with his rigid, analytical nature needing to change. Micky seemed to have an instinct on this and went off and wrote up a document about Halford, creating his sister, and what cut him off emotionally.

I don’t think we had the whole picture of what we created until it came together in the outline, but if the worgen experience was about finding balance, a man stuck in logic that needs to connect with his human/animal side ended up really resonating with the night elf story, the game, and the larger themes we were chasing with the worgen. But, the name, the details of the character backstory, that’s all Micky’s.

Micky: Halford was a lot of fun to write. I wanted him to be a bit of an anti-hero that would grow on people. He’s candid, he’s condescending, he’s unapproachable in many ways, especially emotionally, but he’s also a deductive genius and the further you dig into his character the more you understand where he’s coming from.

The journey of Halford finding the humanity in not only himself but in others as well was one that felt compelling to James and I, and we believed that if we could make that emotional connection with the character, readers would connect with him as well. Sherlock Holmes was certainly a big influence. I would love to explore Halford’s character more in the future.

Oh, and a fun bit of trivia: his first name is taken from the last name of the lead singer of Judas Priest, Rob Halford.

 

What will fans learn in this comic book about the Scythe of Elune?

James: Very important things! You must read it. I can’t tell you. Maybe Micky will. Maybe not. But things so important you must pick this book up! Do it. Do it NOW! It’ll change your life. . . . Or tell you the history of the scythe, one or the other.

Micky: The Scythe of Elune was one of those in-game items that was just begging for more background. The origins of the scythe are fully explored in Curse of the Worgen. Interestingly, we were also developing the story for the Alliance graphic novel World of Warcraft: Dark Riders at the same time. Dark Riders has been in development for a while; the colors are looking absolutely amazing and it’s going to be one fantastic book. For anyone who’s interested in the scythe, Curse of the Worgen is a great place to start.

 

How was the coordination between the two of you to write this story? Did you have to split topics and ideas, and mesh them together?

James: We did several meetings with Chris Metzen and Alex Afrasiabi to talk about the origin of the worgen. Alex was using a link to druidism as the root cause and had a ton built out game-wise. We liked the idea that maybe worgen were a corrupted version of a banned form. Malfurion had years as a druid to experiment that we hadn’t touched on fictionally, who knows what he tried during them? There may be a duck-billed playtypus form you just haven’t seen yet because it was banned. I digress.

After that, Micky and I did a lot of talking. There may have been beers involved. There may have not been. I don’t remember, so probably the former. We began to really talk about the themes we were seeing in our new lore and in the game and the story went from there. Halford appeared somehow. We did an outline, iterated with the dev team, and then came the task of writing. We decided we’d split up the timelines on our first pass and trade to the other person to rewrite their scenes. So, I’d write my timeline’s scenes, send to Micky, Micky would do the same. I’d edit him, he’d edit me. We’d put it together and do a pass in tandem. Then we’d send to Chris Metzen and get his notes and revise from there. It worked out pretty well. Though I believe there was an issue where this process led to us needing an extra page and for the life of us we couldn’t trim the story down to get it – we were already trying to be as economical as possible with dense material. Wildstorm was kind enough to give us an extra page for the book. Thanks DC! Won’t happen again.

Micky: James has a great story sense and he shares my philosophy regarding the importance of characters. We found a rhythm early on. Once we had the concepts nailed down, the writing process went pretty smoothly. The biggest decision we had to make at the outline stage was where to end the story. The Gilneas events in the game proceed beyond what we explored in the book.

Ultimately, we looked at the themes and the character arcs, as well as the amount of ‘page space’ we had to tell the story, and felt that we could still tell a complete story even if we ended it a little early. At the point where Genn, Halford, and the others are preparing to storm back into Gilneas, the main character arcs had reached their conclusions and the overall themes had been greatly explored. With the outline figured out, the rest fell into place. James had a clear idea of what the back story with Arvell, Belysra, and Ralaar would be and I had a direction for the Starlight Slasher storyline and Halford’s character, so splitting up the A and B storylines worked really well. And yes, alcohol consumption was part of the process!

 

What were your goals with “Curse of the Worgen”?

James: To try to get a taste of Micky Neilson’s New York Times Bestselling thunder! Actually, my goal with any story is to make you feel something. For linear narrative, I want a character change due to story circumstances beyond what they think they can handle –ultimately become better people (or worgen) from the experience of overcoming. I think we’re all trying to do that in the real world day in and day out and fiction allows us to see that it’s possible and inspires us to try harder. Sure that sounds a bit lofty; this is a comic book with purple, long eared people, after all, but it’s the only reason to tell a story in traditional mediums like this when we already have a game.

We wanted to do what the game couldn’t, and that’s really dig out character. As for the transmedia goals: We wanted to tell the origin of the Worgen, we wanted to set up franchise characters like Genn, and we wanted to tell the story of the Scythe of Elune. All of that stuff really fleshes out the world and is entertaining content. But I’m hoping that it’s accessible and lingers because of the heart.

Micky: As James mentions above, character and theme are always the top goals of our fiction. Beyond that, we really had an opportunity to explore the origins of the worgen and the Scythe of Elune at a level of detail that wouldn’t be possible in the game. There were also many unanswered questions relating to Gilneas. It was this incredible new territory—“new” simply because it had been walled off for so long. It was undiscovered country, and for a writer that’s like catnip.

On top of all that, James and I had been wanting to work on a project together, so with all those factors aligned we were in a great position to accomplish several goals with the project.

 

There seems to be a recurring complaint among readers of Curse of the Worgen who wish this cleared out. There is a conflicting name between the comic book and the in-game NPC: Belrysa Starsong and Belysra Starsong? Are both the same persona, or was this a typo? Any chance the NPC name could be corrected by the developers?

Micky: That was an error that I am happy to say will be fixed. They are indeed the same person.

 

Are there any plans for Halford Ramsey in future stories: novels, comic book sequels, online novella, or in-game?

James: I’m looking at you, quest designers! I think we’d all love to see Halford Ramsey quests. As for other content, none at the moment, though he’s a character I’m sure Micky and I would love to go back to one day. Maybe we’ll do a detective series with Halford Ramsey! . . . maybe not.

Micky: Halford’s a lot of fun. I think it’s really just a matter of finding the right story, the right fit. I have a few ideas of where Halford could go from here. With a detective character like that, there are almost limitless opportunities.

 

The Ashbringer hardcover and the Sunwell Trilogy hardcover had bonus material. In the case of the Sunwell Trilogy it retold the founding of Quel’Thalas with Dath’Remar Sunstrider. Is the Curse of the Worgen paperback including bonus material, too?

James: Not that I know of. We did a bonus/coda story for the hardcover that should help hardcore players understand quest lines relating to the Scythe.

Micky: The bonus material was the Velinde story in the back of the hardcover, which will be included in the softcover. It was a loose end that we were able to tie up, which was extremely gratifying!

 

Do you think the storyline carried over well into the game?

James: The dev team did a kick-ass job. Gilneas was a blast and I was really proud to see Belysra in game along with specific story points we talked out. Even cooler was seeing the moments in game that wrapped around the events in the comic. It seems to all fit together in a way that you really can only cross your fingers and hope for when you do this type of stuff.

Micky: The biggest benefit early in the process was really just answering the question of where the worgen came from. There were a lot of ideas, but the more we talked about it, the more the druid angle made sense. Then we were able to make connections to Goldrinn, who we had explored in the WoW monthly comic, as well as Malfurion and even the Emerald Dream. Where the worgen came from and how they came about were big questions that the designers needed to have answered so they could move forward, so the process of creating the comic certainly did inform the design of the game content. And yes, I believe it worked out really well!

 

Do you both have plans to publish more novels, and graphic novels in 2013? (Share titles or topics of upcoming untitled stories to keep an eye for)

Micky: Things to keep an eye out for: If you haven’t read World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War yet, check it out to get details regarding the fall of Theramore. Also, World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria is out right now and provides backstory and cultural flavor for WoW’s newest playable race, the Pandaren. Also, you’ll soon be hearing more about an anthology of short stories which will include, for the first time ever, Blood of the Highborne (a story I wrote many moons ago detailing the origins of the Blood Knights). Beyond that, we’ll be making a few exciting announcements at a panel at this year’s New York Comic Con, so stay tuned!

 

Have you thought of the possibility of increasing the amount of stories published per year to expand the universes? Is this feasible?

James: We’ve really upped the ante over the last few years, putting out a lot of content. It’s something Blizzard does for our players and I think it makes our worlds and characters richer and gives people more to experience. I’m not as actively involved in the publishing development these days; I’m working on the games, but I think we’re doing a good amount. These things are not so easy to pull off as we really try to make sure everything fits and that takes a lot of coordination and time.

Micky: The main thing is maintaining quality. We put a lot of time and effort into each story, so there’s also the issue of bandwidth. The plan for 2013 is to focus on telling absolutely the best stories we can tell, and to continue expanding these worlds, within the games and beyond. That being said, we do have a lot of content that we’re working on, and it’s all exciting stuff. 2013 is going to be our best year yet!

 

Thanks Micky Neilson and James Waugh for discussing details of this story. Hope to read many more. Many thanks to Lyndsi for making this interview possible.

Fans can order the World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen (Trade Paperback). It’s already on sale and shipping.

World of Warcraft: Dark Riders — mentioned by Micky Neilson above is a DC Comics graphic novel (Hardcover) by writer Mike Costa and artist Neil Googe. Release date: April 23, 2013. Pre-order now.

Don’t forget to check out the Blizzard Publishing Panel held at the New York Comic Con. Blizzplanet was there and shares video of the panel where Micky Neilson, Dave Kosak and Michael Stackpole revealed the new novel product line up for 2013.

Artists and fans should check out the UDON panel video about the upcoming World of Warcraft Tribute Art Book.

Filmmakers/Machinima fans should learn more about Mega Bloks upcoming plans for an ongoing animated webisode and the contest here.

Thanks to Bluesnews and N4G.

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World of Warcraft Series 5 Lo’Gosh Alliance Action Figure Back in Stock

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Entertainment Earth informed me the World of Warcraft Lo’Gosh Alliance Action Figure from the Series 5 is back in stock. These were originally released on December 2009, which means they are pretty rare and hard to find out there.

Grab it while supplies last here at $13.49.

    World of Warcraft Lo’Gosh Alliance Action Figure, Not Mint:

    PACKAGING NOT GUARANTEED TO BE IN MINT CONDITION. NOT MINT ITEMS MAY SELL OUT AT ANY TIME. ORDERS MAY NOT BE FILLED.

    Jump into the World of Warcraft craze with this incredibly detailed action figure! This World of Warcraft Series 5 Alliance Hero Action Figure is just what you need to get into the action. Multiple points of articulation make extreme action poses easy to achieve with this astonishing WoW piece that includes accessories. Lo’Gosh stands about 8 1/2-inches tall with his hands raised above his head. Prepare for battle!

    Age: 14+
    Size: 8 1/2-inches tall

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Mega Bloks World of Warcraft TV Commercial Hits Cartoon Network

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

As revealed on Saturday, at the New York Comic Con, Mega Bloks World of Warcraft TV Commercial aired on Cartoon Network and other channels today.

Mega Bloks will announce soon a global contest with phat lootz for machinima filmmakers. Start grabbing your World of Warcraft sets from the store. Very nice heads up to create your animation masterpiece before the contest begins.

Share your love, and comment at the official Mega Bloks World of Warcraft website.

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Mega Bloks World of Warcraft TV Commercial on Monday

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, New York Comic Con 2012, World of Warcraft News

I want our army of Blizzard licensed product geeks to stay alert on Monday, October 15th to the Cartoon Network. During my visit today to New York Comic Con 2012, I met with Mega Bloks David James Burgess (Director of Marketing). This TV commercial will air on a few kid networks.

The talented people at Mega Bloks are planning to do a couple of A.W.E.S.O.M.E. things that we rarely see in Blizzard Entertainment products.

Expect very soon a series of webisodes (I don’t remember if it was once every two weeks) where you will see the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft sets in full animated action.

Even more awesome than that? There is no ETA, but there might be a contest down the road where YOU can submit your own Mega Bloks World of Warcraft animations for a VERY big prizes. I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled to hear the best machinima filmmakers will be flooding YouTube with very creative animations for a chance at some phat lootz.

Mega Bloks will launch a new update line of World of Warcraft sets at the end of 2012, including the Sha of Anger and the Alliance/Horde Pandaren Monk sets. We’ll have the opportunity to review them soon. They are gonna send a few our way.

Once the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft TV Commercial hits YouTube, I’ll announce some Blizzplanet giveaways. David was kind to supply us with a few posters and exlusive jade Chen Stormstout figures.

Check out the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Sets store.